Guides work is a very strange beast, and one that we don't talk about as often as we maybe should. By its nature, we here in guidestown can feel a bit isolated from the rest of RPS. Our guides aren't very visible to our regular readers. No one hops onto a website like this and says to themselves, "Well now! I wonder what guides have been written today that I can spend my time reading through!". The vast majority of people who read our guides come straight from a Google search into something specific like "Can I romance Yennefer and Triss at the same time?" (spoiler alert: you can, but it may not end well for you).
Because we operate so much behind the scenes, it's easy to miss some of the amazing stuff that the team did in guidestown this year. It ain't easy, writing a walkthrough or how-to that's useful for the reader while simultaneously appeasing those nebulous and mercurial SEO gods. But 2022 has been a stonkingly good year for guides, and I'd love to take a little bit of time to shine a light on some of the things we're most proud of having achieved this year - and to toast what will hopefully be another smashing year for guides in 2023!
Starting with the hulking demonic poleaxe-wielding elephant in the room: Elden Ring was absolutely huge for guides this year. With all hands on deck and over 80 guides written to an exceptionally high standard by everyone involved, it's hard to pick out just one that I'm particularly proud of. So I've picked out two instead.
Probably my greatest personal achievement this year was our Elden Ring boss locations guide, over which I crooned like Gollum over the One Ring for much of the early part of the year. Containing 9 detailed maps and almost 20,000 words detailing the locations and natures of 238 bosses, this guide was absolutely my biggest personal undertaking in 4 years of RPS guides work. And it was worth it. Want a fun fact? That one boss locations guide accounted for over a quarter of RPS's entire guides traffic in March.
Another amazing achievement of this year is Hayden's Elden Ring walkthrough. This walkthrough does the almost impossible job of showing players at any stage of FromSoft's sprawling masterpiece what to do next, while also keeping the whole guide amazingly clear, succinct, and digestible. It's definitely one of the most essential guides we ended up writing for the biggest game of 2022.
Elden Ring's monumental success at the start of the year was echoed at the end of the year with the daunting double-release of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2. 140 guides, folks. 140. That's a whole lot of words, and a colossal achievement in itself. I'm quite pleased in particular with our Warzone 2 weapon stats tables, which involved probably a dozen or so hours of me repeatedly shooting someone in different parts of the body with different guns. It was worth it though, because we ended up being the first site on the internet that gave players a full stats breakdown of every primary weapon in both Warzone 2 and MW2.
FIFA 23 was another big success for us in 2022. This was the first year that we covered a FIFA game, and Hayden spearheaded the project with all his usual enthusiasm and attention to detail. It's hard to pick out just one guide to be proud of here as they each tick all the boxes for clarity and detail, so I'll direct you towards his guide on the best Lengthy players in FIFA 23, both because it does a great job of explaining everything a reader could hope to know about the topic, and because the name of the guide makes me giggle.
Those were the biggest games of 2022 for us, but certainly not the only things that we're proud of doing this year. Back in June, Rebecca published a wonderfully insightful and detailed look into how much it actually costs to play Diablo Immortal. In this guide she skillfully lays bare every aspect of Diablo Immortal's infamously predatory monetisation model. It's a truly great read. Comprehensive, savvy, and a perfect example of what Rebecca does when she's given the time to really delve into a topic.
But why stop with just one example? Just over a month later Rebecca wrote up a guide on the gender customisation options in The Sims 4, and I just have to give it a shout out here. It's a complicated and sensitive topic, and her guide goes the extra mile in explaining the full consequences of each customisation choice in ways that only an ardent lifelong fan of the franchise could hope to write.
Predating all of this - at the very beginning of the year, Hayden published a cracking guide on the best character builds in Project Zomboid, a spectacularly dense survival game which I certainly didn't fancy the task of deciphering. Yet this is exactly what Hayden did, patiently explaining how occupations, skills, and traits all work in Project Zomboid, and then illustrating two in-depth character builds that will give new players that best chance of surviving and enjoying the game.
Build guides are something of a speciality of ours here in guidestown. I think we all relish the opportunity to dive very deeply into a game and use everything at our disposal to create the best possible build, whether it's for a gun, a mech, or a hero. One of the most comprehensive guides we published this year was Rebecca's Genshin Impact Traveler build guide. It's one of the first examples of a multi-page guide on RPS, and Rebecca absolutely packed each page with essential information on how to make the most of Genshin Impact's flexible starting character.
I'd also like to give a big shoutout to Charlie, who spent over a year producing high quality guides for us on a freelance basis. He mostly worked on Warzone and ARPGs like Path Of Exile, Lost Ark, and Diablo Immortal, but in particular I'd like to point readers towards his two excellent Escape From Tarkov guides: the first on ammo types, and the second on the best helmets and armour to use. Both these guides make incredibly complex topics far more approachable for new EFT players, and could only have been written by someone with a huge amount of experience in one of the most abstruse shooters around.
Oh go on, one more. This is one of my own, and at least 50% of the reason for including it here is to urge more people to play The Cycle: Frontier. Sometimes writing guides can be a chore, for sure. Just ask Rebecca about her work writing endless Roblox codes guides, or any of us about writing our daily Wordle guides. But other times, it can be an absolute pleasure to introduce players to one of your favourite games of the year. The enthusiasm shines through, I think, in our beginner's guide to The Cycle: Frontier. I hope 2023 gives us plenty more opportunities like this to write some true labours of love for games we simply adore playing.
Next year is already looking very exciting to us. We've got Starfield, of course, as the big new game on the horizon. Next year's Elden Ring, you might say. But there's also Forspoken, Redfall, Nightingale, Ark II, and other smaller but still intriguing opportunities for guides with games like Hades II, Planet Of Lana, and Kerbal Space Program 2. It'll be a lot of work, but the guides team has never been stronger. We'll get it done, and we'll more than likely have a lot of fun doing it.