Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And we're sort of back

So, with the hopes of me getting into the WAR beta dwindling, my MMO addiction manifested itself in the most unlikely of ways recently, with me giving City of Heroes a second look. Yeah, it surprised me too.

I had previously played from launch to somewhere before Issue 3 came out. So WAY before City if Villians, way before the Invention system, or PvP, or much of anything other than the kickass character generator and the ability to run around and punch the same guy forever. I had heard from several people that it was a much deeper game now, and still fun, so I figured what the hell.

So I reactivated my CoH account, grabbed CoV from direct2drive, and started up a villain. She's an Ice/Dark Corrupter on Justice, named Winter Soulstice if you wanna hit me up. I'm only up to level 11, due in part to the fact that I haven't had tons of time to play, and in part to the fact that the character generator is STILL so kickass that I make tons of alts that are sitting at level 2-4 just because I wanted to make them. So in addition to my "main", I also have a Zombies/Poison Mastermind (Mama Nightshade), a Superstrength/Electric Brute (Cardiak), and a Storm/Dark Defender (Darkyn Stormy). When Issue 11 hits tomorrow, I'll make an Archery/Devices Blaster, almost solely because I can have a compound bow with a purple laser sight, which is extremely pimpin. Or, you know, maybe I'll try to actually level my main, since there's tons of options and customization stuff that pops up at 20+.

Thats the strange thing about CoX. I find myself SO EXCITED about cosmetic and prestige stuff like costume options, wings, auras, cool looking new alts, etc, that I don't really think very much about the game. I mean, I do a bit of forum sharking for good builds and thinking about what powers to take, but when I look forward to level 20, it's not because I get Stamina. It's because I get a second costume slot. In other games I didn't really care too much about that. I cared a bit, in terms of trying to get matching sets of armor or buying expensive dyes, but it was an afterthought when there was nothing else to do at endgame. Here I'm not even at the point where people say "the game really starts" and I'm already planning 2nd costumes for characters and planning multiple other alts just based on appearance or cool names or powersets. I want to play around with a stalker, and the new Dual Blades looks neat as well.

Is the supers genre just that much more fun to customize than the fantasy genre? Would I have the same amount of fun doing this if it were a fantasy game (or a sci-fi game, or whatever) with the same level of visual customization? Is it the fact that no other game has the diversity to have a team consisting of a spandex-clad Golden Age cliche, a fallen angel, a werewolf, a gritty elven archer, and an army of ninjas? Or is it something more than that?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Do Not Adjust Your Computer

So I've been really lax about posting anything here, and here's why:

1. I haven't logged onto LOTR in over a month at this point, and I really have no desire to do so. The new patch probably fixed some things, but really, the problems I had with the game were so fundamental that I doubt they'll ever really be resolved. And honestly, they don't need to be fixed for LOTRO to be a successful game, which I'm sure it will be. It will just be a successful game that I don't enjoy playing.

2. With LOTRO falling by the wayside, I am not currently playing any MMOs. I don't really want to go back to WoW since I know I can't really raid and so there's a glass ceiling there for me, and starting fresh in EQ2 would be painful, though Legends of Norrath is a tempting thing indeed.

3. I am pretty much waiting at this point to get into the WAR beta, or failing that, for WAR to actually release sometime in February or whenever. If I get into the beta, I'll be sure to shout it to the heavens (and then promptly say nothing more about it, since I'll be under an NDA). Until then, I expect very few updates here for a few months. If amazing news comes out or the writing bug hits me, I'll be sure to spout off loudly so you can hear.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ok, so I'm a few days late...

But this is pretty big news. It's not like I can compete with Tobold and Darren anyway, they'll always scoop me. :)

The big SOE announcement was for Legends of Norrath. Legends of Norrath is, to put it simply, an online CCG in the vein of Magic: The Gathering Online. A proven business model.

But wait, there's more. In addition to playing this game online normally, you can also play from within EQ2. Your character can sit down in-game and play LoN with other characters using a built-in version of the standard LoN client.

You can find cards and packs of cards dropped by mobs and trade in-game. Certain rare cards can be redeemed for in-game items like mounts, cloaks, and probably lots of cosmetic items.

SOE may be the Evil Empire, and Smedley may be their Darth Vader, but this is a bloody brilliant idea. I mean, seriously, an MMO with a full CCG inside of it? That's like wrapping cocaine in bacon. MMOs and CCGs have been the two most powerfully addictive gaming experiences to come down the pike in decades (much like cocaine and bacon), and to fully integrate them in both directions is insidious. I thought the WoW CCG was a great idea, and that has half the integration that LoN promises to have.

I don't play EQ2, since it came out too close to when WoW stole my soul for a year. I've never seen anything that made me want to play it, but this is tempting.

Friday, July 6, 2007

As God Is My Witness, I Thought Gnomes Could Fly

Best. Hack. Ever.

Short version: Goldfarmers use a teleport hack to rain naked gnomes from the sky in Ironforge, spelling out the name of their website in the corpses. I shit you not.

I hate goldfarmers as much as the next guy, but man, this is funny.

I want my epics!

Info nicked from Random Battle:

Up to this point, the epic class-specific armor sets in LOTRO were only dropping in the Helegrod raid, and even then only boots and gloves. Devs swore up and down that the rest of the sets were dropping, we just hadn't figured out where yet.

Then this post comes out, and now the whole set will drop both inside Helegrod, and..."somewhere outside Helegrod". Hmm. That should make the non-raiders happy, but I'm a bit trepidous. Being an only-occasional raider myself, especially in a game where there's only one raid instance, I'm glad I can get my burglar set some other way, but does that mean it'll drop in Carn Dum? Or...just randomly around the world off high-level mobs? Off Ettenmoors Tyrants? Who knows? Also, didn't you say earlier that they were ALREADY dropping outside Helegrod? Was that true? Is it still true? Gah.

I'm trying really hard to be optomistic here, since I know it's a game in its infancy. The game has tons of potential and I'm sure it will grow into itself soon. I'm just an impatient bastard. And reading stuff about Warhammer Online isn't helping my LOTRO love grow. I want my squig-herder, dammit! :)

Super Chicken

The newest news from the LOTRO staff is that the next major content update, Book 10, will include among its myriad features something called Session Play, wherein you can take control of a non-persistent creature and control it to run around and do special quests, presumably for some rewards that will transfer to your actual character. At the time of Book 10's release, there will be three options for Session Play. In the Ettenmoors, the sort-of-PvP zone, you can take control of a Ranger or a Troll, which sounds pretty awesome, based on the experiences I've already had in the Ettenmoors. It may solve some monster play balance problems, or may exacerbate them, I'm not really sure. But it should be fun.

The third option is a chicken. A regular, run-of-the-mill, level 1 chicken. You can run around and talk to animals, do some...chicken quests, I guess. And eventually, after you do all of the instanced chicken quests, get to run around as your chicken whenever you want. I don't think you level it up or anything, and you can't attack anyone, or chat with them, or really do anything other than jump up and down and annoy them. But for some reason, a lot of people think this is a great idea. I just don't see the appeal.

Since I fall squarely in the Achiever category with a minor in Socializer, I'll probably check out the chicken play for a few minutes, and only really dive into it if I find out the end reward for my main is actually worth it. And since itemization in LOTRO is already fairly weak, I doubt it will be.

Then there's the main argument of the people who hate this idea: Why add something fluffy like this when there's SO MUCH that needs to be fixed right now? The dev response is that Session Play was done by one dev on his spare time, which is fine, but I really hope Book 10 addresses some of the concerns that are pretty much universal among LOTRO players at this point: the aforementioned weak itemization, a pretty much complete lack of character customization options, bugged pets, imbalanced PvP, etc etc.

Turbine's community managers, led by the aptly named Patience, really needed to spin this better. At the moment it's being recieved as "We know there's a bunch of stuff to be fixed, but here, have a house and a chicken!"

Official article on Session Play can be found here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Would YOU Pay to Solo?

So Cuppy has posed the following question: If a game were to come out that was identical in all ways to an MMO, in support, updates, persistent world, etc, but WASN'T multiplayer - ie, you play alone, or with NPC's, the whole game, would you still pay a monthly fee for it?

When I read that, I had almost already said "No" when I stopped to think. My answer still came out "No", but now I had to think about it. Why wouldn't I? It's the updates and support and neverending, ongoing gameplay that we're all paying for, right? We want a game that we can never beat, that keeps throwing more content at us. We still want the climactic encounters, the big boss battles that we remember from Final Fantasy games and the like, but then we want the game to keep going. That's what we're paying for, aren't we?

Well, maybe not. Maybe we're paying for the community aspect. We want to play with others, form grand adventuring companies, slay dragons, do things that one character alone could never accomplish. It wouldn't be the same to take part in a 40-man raid if 39 of them were bots. Or maybe we want to PvP, which you obviously can't do by yourself. We WANT to play with others, to know that there's hundreds or thousands of other people out there sharing our pain and listening when we brag about our accomplishments. We like other people. Right?

Well, maybe not. I mean, in general, the thing you complain about the most in an MMO is the other people. Whether it's goldfarmers or griefers or just plain idiots, let's assume that half of the people in any given game are people you don't want to play with. I don't have any stats to back that up, but it's just a number.

Am I really paying 15 dollars a month (well, 10 for LOTRO, but that's not the point) for the privelege of playing with HALF of the playerbase of the game? If not, what the hell AM I paying for?