The RPS guides team looks back at 2023

By admin Dec 29, 2023

And thus, we arrive at the end of another year. A year filled with some very excellent games, and some very not excellent games. And through it all, the RPS guides team has been quietly toiling away, appeasing The Beast That Is Google with medium-rare slabs of SEO meat, and providing the answers to oft-asked gaming questions.

It’s important to me to have a moment in the year where we can step into the light for a little bit and celebrate everything the guides team has accomplished this year. Usually we stay well out of the spotlight, because people only like seeing guides if they’re actively searching for it. But today, we’re staging a coup. We’re taking centre stage, and threatening the lighting technician with all manner of disagreeable bodily experiences unless they keep the spotlight fixed firmly on us for the duration of this post.

2023 has been an amazing standout year for guides. Let’s take a look at the games that have defined the year for us, and celebrate some of the fantastic work our team has published.

Let’s start with the quantity. This year, we published over 1000 guides, which is more than any year in RPS’s history. That’s pretty special, and I’m very confident we’ll smash that record next year too. A good, oh, 365 of those guides are daily Wordle hints, of course, but that’s still a massive accomplishment.

We began 2023 by looking ahead at many of the most anticipated upcoming games, and writing posts covering everything we know about them: when they’re coming out, what they’ll be like, what might happen in the story. I’m particularly happy with Rebecca’s (RPS in peace) post on The Sims 5, which is written in a way that only a diehard Sims fan could write; and my own posts painstakingly picking apart the trailers and contexts for Mass Effect 5 and Marathon.

Dead Space image showing Isaac firing a a Necromorph with the Plasma Cutter.
Hayden’s Dead Space walkthrough is a truly terrific resource. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/EA

After that, the year began in earnest with the Dead Space remake. I want to highlight Hayden’s (RPS in peace) work on the massive Dead Space Remake walkthrough – a 12-page guide which confidently leads the player through every aspect of the game’s story. We don’t often write comprehensive campaign walkthroughs like this at RPS, so I’m very happy with how this one turned out.

The early part of 2023 was also a very exciting time for us, because we were playing around for the first time with our new interactive mapping tool. Using this tool, I created our first maps for Sons Of The Forest, Tchia, and later on Diablo 4. Having interactive maps on RPS has been a dream of mine for years, and now we’re living that dream, our maps – and the tool itself – will only get better as time goes on.

Also, here are some of the nice icons I made for the maps. Gotta stretch my graphic design muscles on occasion!

A selection of white icons on a black background.
Some icons I designed for our interactive maps. Can you guess what they all represent? | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

Fast forward through some lovely times guiding Wild Hearts and Wo Long, and we arrive in the summer of 2023 – a time dominated by one particular action RPG. The entire team worked on Diablo 4 guides for a good month or so, including some much-appreciated freelance help from Whitney Meers. Special shoutouts have to go to Hayden’s excellent build guides for all the different classes and beyond – for which they received many emails and comments thanking them for the assistance for weeks afterwards. That’s how you know they did a dang good job.

A close-up screenshot of a red-bladed lightsaber in Cal's hand in Jedi: Survivor.
Join the Dark Side. We have exquisitely designed hilts. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun / EA

We also spent a lot of time playing Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, and compiling a painstaking spreadsheet of over 1000 collectible locations and screenshots to aid our various collectible locations guides. Whitney also put together a fantastic, amazingly comprehensive Jedi: Survivor walkthrough which I’m very proud to have on the site. I’m also personally quite pleased with my own guide on the best lightsaber designs in Jedi: Survivor. I always love the chance to get a bit creative, and hot damn, you can make some pretty lightsaber hilts in that game.

Himeko, a character in Honkai: Star Rail, sips her tea while calling in a nuclear strike on an enemy in the background.
Rebecca did a fantastic job with all our Honkai: Star Rail guides this year. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/miHoYo

Rebecca, meanwhile, did a huge amount of work putting out endless guides for Honkai: Star Rail – a game that I was genuinely scared of covering, because HoYoverse games are dense, complex, impermeable monstrosities to try and cover. But Rebecca delivered time and again with 30-odd guides covering everything from the best characters to the various confusing currencies and pity system.

Karlach  introduces herself to the player.
Karlach is the best Baldur’s Gate 3 companion, and it’s not even close. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun / Larian Studios

We’re getting through the year, but there are still some big games ahead. Games such as the astonishingly successful and excellent Baldur’s Gate 3. This game was covered jointly by Hayden and Whitney, who covered a dizzying number of topics, on everything from romancing Karlach to losing your eye.

Starfield was even bigger for us (rubbish game IMO though), and despite getting access to the game later than most, we delivered a herculean effort and wrote nearly 50 guides ready for Starfield’s release. And then over the next month, we increased that number to well over 100 guides. In particular, I’d like to take a beat to ask for a moment of silence for the hours of my life spent cataloguing all 1692 planets in Starfield. Was it worth it? No. No, it was not.

A custom-made 2D top-down map of The Lodge building in Starfield, with the various rooms annotated.
I rebelled against the horrific in-game Starfield maps by designing my own top-down map of The Lodge. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun

At around this time of the year, we sadly said goodbye to Rebecca and Hayden. Rebecca defected and joined our sworn frenemies over at VG247, while Hayden was wrenched from our grasp by the interminable machinations of the UK’s higher education system.

Our new full-time guides writers, Kiera and Jeremy, have only been part of the team since the end of October. But they’ve both got off to a roaring start, repairing the cracks in the walls of many an old guide series, and putting out more than a few of their own excellent guides.

A close-up of Captain Price's mug in MW3.
Jeremy (not pictured) is as much of a hero as Price (pictured) for all his work on Modern Warfare 3 since joining the team. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Activision

Jeremy (with help from our newest freelancer Grace Dean) took point on our Modern Warfare 3 guides, helping us reach a dizzying total of 131 guides – mostly on guns. Lots of guns. Jeremy should be particularly proud of his MW3 best guns guide and best Assault Rifles guide, both of which do a fantastic job of making sense out of the stupefying selection of weapons in the latest Call Of Duty. And Grace also deserves a shoutout for her many gun guides, as well as explainers on topics from MW3’s Zombies mode to the choice of killstreaks or scorestreaks.

Promotional image of a Na'vi and Ikran in Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora
Kiera has been killing it with the Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora guides this month. | Image credit: Ubisoft

Kiera, meanwhile, got stuck into playing Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora, another game that is deeply confusing in its own way. But unfazed, she released an excellent Avatar tips and tricks guide, which goes well beyond the basics to deliver some very practical and useful advice. Add to this a plethora of other Avatar guides on everything from the best weapons and armour to finding Swamp Hive Nectar, and she – along with Jeremy – have well and truly made their mark on the site for 2023.

I, meanwhile, spent what sometimes felt like the entire winter putting together this Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty endings flowchart. I won’t show it here, because spoilers, but it’s quite pretty.

And that, in a nutshell, was 2023 from the perspective of the guides crew! It’s been quite a year. Lots of very busy times, but also lots to be proud of. And quite rightly, we’ll finish off the year with a look ahead at all the upcoming PC games of 2024. Here’s to another strong year for RPS guides!

By admin

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