New Year resolutions are aspirations I rarely meet. Over the years, I’ve tried a number of tactics. Some years I choose a few modest goals that I know I can achieve. Other years I’ve tried a shotgun approach, listing as many goals as possible with the hope that I will accomplish at least a few of them. As we approach the New Year, the dread of resolutions not met looms, and the hope that next year I will do better is building. To help myself, and you, set achievable goals, here is a list of fifteen New Year resolutions you should never make as a gamer.
It can be hard to keep your expectations humble when the next iteration of your favorite game is on the horizon, but if the releases of the current gen have taught us anything, it’s that the hype is almost certainly not real. Marketing campaigns and our own imaginations have a tendency to get us into trouble when we begin to think an upcoming game will be on a whole new level. Our favorite games might not be as disappointing if we maintain reasonable expectations.
Trouble is, keeping your internal hype machine locked down is nigh impossible. When the weeks turn to days before your favorite game’s release, every hour will feel days long, and your dreams will be filled with the adventures soon to come. Its impossible not to get pumped, just remember that a game cannot fulfill all fantasies at once.
Every year, hell, every night, I lament my lack of sleep. I wake up as late as possible and caffeinate my way through the day, longing for a nap. Until the moment I get home. When the evening is coming to a close, the exhaustion seems to evaporate, and all of a sudden I’m wide-awake, and ready to game until two in the morning. Every night I go through the same cycle, at 10:00 PM I tell myself that I should really go to sleep, and then suddenly its 1:30 in the morning.
This year, just accept that the call of your favorite games is too strong, get ready for tomorrow to suck, and carry on.
Don’t Buy Gaming Hardware At Launch
With widespread VR just over the horizon, 2017 is going to be a big year for hardware. The thing to keep in mind is that new hardware always has a troubling period, where upon being released into the world, its myriad kinks come to light. I remember when the Xbox One and PS4 first came out and many of my games were buggy for months until developers ironed out all the issues. You could definitely save yourself a headache by allowing the technology to mature before investing.
But who can say no to products like the Virtuix Omni? VR headsets? Omnidirectional treadmills? Haptic feedback vests? Gaming is on the verge of a real revolution; we’re not just talking more powerful graphics processors. A whole new world opening up, how could you say no?
Spending Less Steam Summer Sale
Each summer Steam comes calling, offering absurd discounts on games I’ve been eyeing all year. The deals available are astounding, and refusing to buy any one game during the sale is a missed opportunity. Yet, each summer I end up spending way more than I planned, and end up with a library filled with dozens of games I’ll never get around to.
No matter how many times I go through the same cycle, the summer sale is too good to resist. This summer, accept that resistance is futile. Binge on all the games you could ever want, and maybe try to get to them before next summer rolls around.
Branch Out To Other Games
One gaming resolution that I always make, and never follow through on is to branch out. I’m solidly couched in the FPS, RPG, and turn based strategy genres. Buy me a game outside of those categories and its not likely that I’ll give it much attention. I do try. I buy other critically reviewed games from time to time, but I can’t deny that there’s simply a particular kind of game I want to play, and it’s not Forza.
This year, save money by accepting your favorite game genre. Instead of buying other games you’ll never play, get the few games you know you’ll love.
Stop Pre-Ordering Games
The pre-order industry is terrible for game developers and consumers. It preys directly on you fear of missing out, telling you that if you don’t have the pre-order exclusive, you wont be a true fan of the series. It encourages people to buy games they know almost nothing about, to get things that don’t really exist. In some cases, like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s controversial pre-order kerfuffle, gamers were encouraged to get their friends to pre-order as well in order to obtain a tiered system of in game unlocks.
Whether pre-orders are bad for the industry is an all together different topic. But there’s also no denying that a few times a year, there’s a game you just know you’ll get, no matter what anyone says. Don’t feel guilty about going for it. Just don’t preorder everything.
Spend More Time With Your Family
This is an age-old New Year resolution, and for a gamer, it is perhaps the hardest. Being in the same room as your family doesn’t count. You have to be interacting with them, not just sharing the same space. Spending time with your loved ones is vital, but when the sequel to your favorite game comes out, or when a balance patch pushes your favorite team into the top tier, all bets are off.
A better resolution would be to get your family to spend more time with you. Teach your sibling your favorite game. Give your parents a turn with your VR headset. Show your spouse how amazing you are in a multiplayer game. Relationships are always about give and take; gaming is your opportunity to give.
Get A Headset And Co-ordinate With Your Teammates
Communication is the cornerstone of teamwork. It can make a team with mediocre twitch skills a powerhouse, just by keeping the right players in the right positions, and giving them the information they need. When your team is failing, it can be tempting the plug in your head set and take command of the situation.
Don’t try. People are as likely to mute you, as they are to start annoying you out. No matter how noble your intentions, its best to stay one degree removed and enjoy the game, win or lose, from a safe distance.
Expect To Play An Annual Franchise Only If It Has Drastic Changes
Every year, the annual release schedule comes around and we receive a new version a game we’ve been playing for years. Every year, the same wave of criticism rolls across the Internet. “This is the same game as last year!” Unfortunately that’s how its going to be if we want new releases in our franchises every year. Developing games is a tremendously complicated and time-consuming task, and even when studios alternate developing the same franchise, it’s a punishing schedule to keep up with.
There’s no denying that the rage will flow though. When you have limited funds, it can be frustrating that you spent money on something that feels just like what you had your hands on just a few months ago. You can try to be understanding, but the thirst for new content cannot be fulfilled. Your inner game glutton is going to demand more no matter what. It’ll be easier to enjoy yourself if you don’t try to fight it.
Stop Buying DLC Packs
No matter what your game of choice is, it seems micro-transactions are here to stay. From Hearthstone to Halo, micro-transactions are the most stable way for developers to maintain cash flow after launch. Much of this depends on RNG, forcing you to buy dozens of “packs” in order to get the one item that you want. Resist though you might, the allure of the supply drop from the game of your choice is hard to pass up. Even when they can be earned in game, sometimes you just want to binge and open thirty packs at once.
Part of the economic success of supply drops, card packs, and loot crates comes from the almost drug like pleasure consumers get when opening them. The longer you tell yourself you wont buy another one, the weaker your resistance becomes. The coming year, just accept that sometimes you need a hit, and treat yourself.
Stop Being A Fanboy or Fangirl
We’ve all been there. When our friends tell us a game has flaws, we fight them relentlessly, demanding they acknowledge our favorite game’s perfection. The truth is, no game is perfect, even expertly crafted games have flaws.
The thing is it’s almost impossible to see that you’re a fanboy when you’re deep into a game. So don’t worry about it, go to bat for your favorite games. In a few years you’ll be able to see what those games got wrong, and you’ll be relentlessly defending something new.
Complete Every Damn Side Quest In An RPG
Almost every RPG has two conflicting pulls. One is the main story quest, the grand saga of the game. The other is the side quest, the small, intimate, and short-lived adventures that prod you into exploring every corner of a game’s world. The trouble is they can often feel more like laundry lists than adventures awaiting completion. Your time would be better spent enjoying the main quest line, and enjoying the epic set pieces.
But if we’re honest, the desire to complete an RPG stems from more than just the story. Gamers often have an obsessive need to check off all the boxes, collect all the secrets, no matter how mundane, and maybe that side quest is the one that unlocks the item you’ll need to kill the final boss. When the time comes, you won’t say no to that quest giver.
Don’t Use A Stupid or Inappropriate User Name
Part of what makes online multiplayer so miserable is getting tea bagged by some kid UbEr133769. When you first sign up with Xbox Live, PSN, or any other system, the temptation to be a troll is strong. But it’s up to you to create the version of the Internet that you want to live in.
Yeah okay. >.>
Complete A Souls Game Without Dying
With Dark Souls, more so than almost any other game, there is a temptation to complete a play through without dying. Those games are incredibly punishing, and committing to a permadeath run will ratchet up the intensity.
Really though, do you want to put yourself through that? Souls games are traumatizing enough without the threat of permanent death, why not save yourself the heartache and accept a normal run, and then play something a little more forgiving.
Wash Your Hands After Eating and Before You Pick Up The Controller Again
Stereotypes aside, the struggle is real when it comes to food debris and controller contamination. Do society a favor and wash your hands if you’re going to pick up a controller. Your family will thank you when it’s their turn, but more importantly, you’ll be doing your part of recast the gaming community as adult, cleanly and mature.
What people don’t get isthat the snacking has to continue while you game. Between matches, or upon death is when the sustenance needs to get from the plate to your mouth, and you can’t wash your hands between deaths.