The new year is a good excuse to consider how we can be better gamers. These are our promises to ourselves and those we share PC gaming with. Share your resolution with us in the comments, and see our resolutions from last year right here.
Tim Clark, global editor-in-chief, US
I will learn how to wizard competitively. My 2015 resolution was to build a new gaming PC. Or, more specifically, to gull hardware editor Wesley ‘Wes’ Fenlon into building one for me. And readers, let me tell you, that was a triumph on all counts. Except a count that includes Wes not bleeding his own actual blood onto the CPU after slicing his thumb on I don’t even know what. The point is this: I own a mid-tier PC that has been enhanced by entry-level human sacrifice. Hmm, how to top that in 2016.
I think I’m going to learn to MOBA. I’ve dabbled with Heroes of the Storm, and watched a lot of the The International this year, but I’ve yet to really spend a significant amount of time in League. The internet tells me the community is absolutely brutal to newcomers, so that’s obviously an alluring prospect. But mainly I just want PC Gamer Pro editor, and dedicated lanerpusherphile, Chris Thursten to be happy. And I’m not sure he’ll enjoy anything more than correcting my scrub-level opinions on MOBAs next year in editorial meetings. Bonus fact: He hates the term MOBA worse than war.
Chris Thursten, editor, PC Gamer Pro
I’m going to stop worrying and learn to love the Dota. Last year, my resolution was that I’d try to play more new games as they came out. I wanted to get back to the time in my life when I’d try every new singleplayer game, when I had a pretty comprehensive sense of where the industry as a whole ‘was’ at any given time. I failed. I failed completely. 2015 has been even more focused than 2014 was. Aside from games that I played for review, I’ve played Dota 2, Heroes of the Storm, Destiny, Overwatch, Invisible, Inc, and a bunch of adventure games—Her Story and Life is Strange, primarily. I haven’t touched The Witcher 3. I didn’t return to GTA V after I finished playing it for review. I don’t think I played any of this year’s big triple-A Christmas games because there was Dota to be played.
This is fine. I resolve to allow myself believe that this is fine. I’m going to spend 2016 continuing to enjoy Dota, including Overwatch more and more in my personal rotation, and maybe working on my Heroes of the Storm ladder placement a bit. I will try new things, of course, but I’ll no longer have a quota. I’m going to let my natural enthusiasms guide me, and I am pretty sure they will guide me towards games with three lanes and a lot of wizards. Tim: I will totally teach you play Dota, if you like. It’s easy! Kind of. Do you have a spare three years?
Samuel Roberts, editor
I want to make a Twine game that isn’t total nonsense. This year I dabbled a bit with Twine and challenged myself to make a whole game in a day—and I did. It was called The Intern, and it was about a young person finding their first job. It was really bad, looking at it now, but I did hide quite a lot of good jokes and tragic endings you only got from following the most arbitrary and terrible decisions in there. I’ve taken it offline recently due to Massive Embarrassment, so at this point it’s harder get hold of than Westwood’s Blade Runner game. I also half-finished writing one about eating fast food during busy deadlines, where the only win state was the one that didn’t involve your character sitting on a toilet in agony at 3AM. That was pretty bad as well, but it did feature lots of premium quality poop jokes.
Anyway, playing 80 Days recently, which is obviously far richer and not hobbyist in the way any of my Twine nonsense will be, it underlined how a simple image and great flavour text can create a genuine sense of place. I’d love to get good at making Twine games in 2016—to get better at writing fiction, funny bits of flavour text and experimenting with basic systems.
Tyler Wilde, executive editor, US
I will get smarter or maybe just play Rocket League. Last year, I wanted to really focus in on one game, and I think I accomplished that with over 100 hours of Rocket League. This year, I plan to put 2,000 more hours into Rocket League by adopting a polyphasic sleep schedule and not working, perhaps supported by some sort of Rocket League residency program. If you hear of a program like that, please let me know.
Aside from that, I want to gain a more educated appreciation of video game music. I’ve always had an interest in music theory and production—though you wouldn’t know it if you heard me play the harmonica—but I’m often disappointed by my vocabulary. I have a hard time expressing what I like about Undertale’s OST, or why I dig the Quake soundtrack so much, outside of using metaphors and comparisons and talking about evoked feelings. Those are all valid ways to appreciate art, but more understanding leads to more meaningful criticism—plus, the more you know about an art, the deeper your appreciation can go. It makes everything better. “An unexamined life, don’t even live it one time!” I think that’s the quote.
Wes Fenlon, hardware editor
I will chase the dragon until I see the light (by which I mean, learn Dwarf Fortress and Nethack). For about six months in 2014, I learned the utmost basics of Dwarf Fortress. I made a video series about it. Then I took a break, and somehow all of 2015 slipped away without me ever going back to the game. I intended to! It just didn't happen. But in 2016, I'm making it a mission. I'm going to play Dwarf Fortress. And not just Dwarf Fortress: Nethack, too, which is probably the most complex roguelike ever made.
As I've had less time to play games this year, I've come to better understand what draws me to them, these days. One of the biggest draws for me is understanding the cult following a game has, and digging into it until I'm fully immersed. Off the PC, I did that with Matsun's PS1 masterpiece Vagrant Story and the weird, but irresistible, Cavia RPG Nier. I want to push myself to commit to these games, invest myself, until I feel that same draw. I already had that experience with Dwarf Fortress; the next hump is just sticking with that investment until it pays off in more skill and knowledge. In a lot of ways, that same idea has driven my enjoyment of every game I've obsessed with over the years. I loved being competitive in Halo and League of Legends, with thousands of hours invested. I loved losing myself utterly in The Witcher 3 this year, soaking up every detail of its world.
My Internet-era attention deficit makes it hard for me to commit to games enough to get that pay-off, but I'm going to try harder in 2016.
Tom Marks, assistant editor, US
I want to get very good at a game on a competitive level. My 2015 resolution was to play more games with strangers, and I’m here to report that I didn’t really follow through on this one but potentially for a good reason. I didn’t play many online games with people I didn’t know because I started playing a lot more games with people I did. In fact, I made at least four friends through Heroes of the Storm, introduced to me by a mutual friend from high school, and then went on to meet those people in person at BlizzCon. They weren’t true strangers—that is to say I didn’t meet them in the embattled heart of solo-queue—but it was one of the first times I’ve had a dedicated group of people to play a game with, and I enjoyed it pretty much exactly as much as I imagined I would when I wrote out my resolution last year.
This year, I want to focus on my own play rather than playing with others. I’ve spent a lot of the year jumping from game to game, not residing with any one option for too long—but I’m sick of only being passably good at a lot of games. I want to be known amongst friends and co-workers for being amazing at a specific game—whether it's Heroes of the Storm, Rainbow Six Siege, Overwatch, or something I haven’t picked up yet. I used to be dedicated to League of Legends, but it's been nearly four years since I really took to a game and I miss that feeling. So in 2016, I’m going to buckle down and play a game consistently and competitively until I’m proud of the way I play. Tryhard mode engaged.
James Davenport, associate editor
I will make a bunch of tiny games that make me laugh and/or cringe. Before we get to the meat of my resolution, I need to make it clear that I have little to no skill making games. My limited knowledge of programming syntax requires a refresher nearly every time I’m in need of it, so I stick to making my bad games in suites that compartmentalize the process. Gamemaker, Unity, Unreal: they’re the real heroes. Especially because they’ve been helping me work through creative blocks and deal with emotional baggage. Creative work has always done this for me. First it was making dumb films with my friends, next was dinking around on the synthesizer I forever-borrowed from my high school. Writing fiction followed me through my college years (I’ll finish that novel, someday), and since I stopped kidding myself about my love for games, I’ve been trying to make a halfway decent one.
Most of my previous efforts went unreleased due to being terrible and bad and also bad, but may live again someday (RIP, Dog Prom). I’ve since scaled back, putting out simpler efforts like A Video Game About My Teeth and Push. They’re not polished beauties, and if executed by someone with a healthy combo of experience and talent could be much better. Even so, I’m happy I made them. Both are expressive of insecurities and tics that trouble me, and so depositing a tangle of emotion into code (and bad art) forced me to unravel my sad boy feelings into discernible, digestible bits. I also learned a good deal more about programming, design, and game logic in the process. And, as a games writer, it only behooves me to learn more about the medium I love. A win-win-win.
Phil Savage, deputy editor
I'm going to play more new games. I spent the majority of 2015 playing Destiny on the PS4. Sorry, everyone. On PC, much of my time was spent on Guild Wars 2, Diablo 3 or GTA Online. Last year, for me, was primarily about clocking up a lot of hours with a small number of games. In 2016, I want to do the opposite: get a broader, fuller overview of PC gaming at large. I want to play a little bit of everything.
Okay, not everything. Steam's upcoming list is huge and full of anime visual novels. But I do want to spend more time bouncing between different genres and styles. Weird, personal projects. Clever, small team experiences. Big, dumb action games. Maybe I'll even play the year's Call of Duty, for the first time since Modern Warfare 2 made me so angry I swore off the series.
I'll probably continue to dip into those endless online games, but I'm increasingly unsatisfied with the feeling of returning from an evening's adventuring, my bags full of loot, only to dismantle it all and watch the base resource numbers go up. I want to find something new and exciting, and then abandon it for something else new and exciting. I don't want to be really good at one thing; I want to be pretty average at loads of things. I want 2016 to be full of unexpected experiences, if only so I've got loads of weird stuff to share with you all.
Tom Senior, web editor, UK
I’m going to learn Street Fighter V. A Dota 2 game takes up to 45 minutes, maybe more than an hour. That means the learning curve isn’t just incredibly steep, it’s a slow climb. Even if I became reasonably good, it’s an incredible time commitment. I want to be able to play other games.
That’s why Street Fighter appeals. It’s fast, it’s balanced enough to sustain an esports scene, and I can play a bunch of matches in half an hour, make loads of mistakes, and learn quickly. If Capcom’s upcoming networking features work as advertised it should be easy to find matches at my (initially useless) level, and continue finding games as I claw my way towards sweet mediocrity. SF is huge, and has a big community of expert players behind it, but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
Before getting really stuck into a game I like to gauge how deep the rabbit hole goes. I’ll need a good fightstick at some point—trying to pull off two full-circles on the D-pad while jumping as Balrog already has me fuming in Ultra Street Fighter 4’s practice mode. Beyond that, though, it’s just a single purchase for the game and lots of practice. What’s more, attempting to play the game seriously will give me the knowledge to appreciate the skill on show at Evo 2016 in July. By throwing myself into SF5 I get a great game and a new spectator sport to follow. Bargain.
Andy Kelly, section editor
I’m going to get used to the Steam Controller. I’ve had a tortured relationship with the Steam Controller since it arrived in my house. I’ve loved it, hated it, loved it again, hated it again. Currently I’m somewhere in between. But I refuse to give up. I’m going to get used to that damn trackpad as a replacement for an analogue stick, because I love so much else of what the gamepad does. The user-made profiles, the way it makes mouse gaming possible on the sofa. I’m convinced that, given practice and some patience, there’s a great controller waiting to be discovered there.
Christopher Livingston, staff writer
I will donate to modders more often. The attempt to introduce paid mods on Steam earlier this year was a disaster for any number of reasons. While the execution was deeply flawed and deserved to fail, I do like the idea of modders getting paid for their hard work, and yet I admit I very rarely donate to them. I will change that this year! I respect the countless hours of work that go into mods, and while I don't expect my donations will change a modder's life or result in them being able to mod full-time, I believe even a small donation from time to time can make a difference.
I do hope a better paid mod system comes along someday—many modders with donation pages have said they don't really earn much through them—but until it does, I'll make more of an effort to donate this year. They deserve it, and they deserve a better system than Valve and Bethesda came up with. And, hopefully, I'll do better with this resolution than I did with last year's, which was to play more games with my friends. Apart from a single session of Killing Floor 2, and playing Her Story with my wife, I pretty much stuck to single-player games all year.