Posts Tagged ‘mmorpg’

h1

I don’t want to drink the Aion Kool-Aid

September 11, 2009

aionscreen

Recently many of my blogging brethren have talking about Aion, the new title from NCsoft.  Even the commenters on Massively have been saying the game has stunning gameplay, immersive storytelling, bountiful PvP.  Honestly, I don’t see it.  I really don’t.  All I see is a pretty game that has World of Warcraft and Lineage II shoved into it.

That last sentence probably offended some people in the audience, so let me clarify — YOUR GRINDING YOURSELF RETARDED.  CAN YOU HEAR ME?  DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?

Ok, ok, so offensive jokes and nasty tones aside, Aion‘s not that bad.  It’s just not that good, and that’s where my problem lies.  I’m afraid too many people are booting the game up, staring at the graphics (which are gorgeous, btw, don’t get me wrong) and immediately heaping all sorts of praise upon the game simply because it has some glitter and glam.  I’m one of those people who insists that graphics never make the game, and I’d like to keep those thoughts alive.

Before I go any further, let me say what I like about the game so everyone here knows I’m not just an insane Aion hater.  I like the graphics, they are very pretty and the CryEngine stands out wonderfully.  The customization options on the game are really great, and I feel like I have my own personal daeva, not a simple “choose what avatar may or may not represent you” list.  Also, third, the dialogue in the quest and NPC speech boxes.  This game has lots of writing and the translations are not half-assed.  Major props to the localization teams because they deserve them.  The storyline, for the most part when it’s presented, is interesting.

So, with all of the nice things now said, let’s go to the not so nice things.  Be prepared to grind yourself retarded on this game.  The experience does come slowly, and the quests, while they have great writing, just don’t provide that much incentive.  Take, for example, one of the Elyos starting missions.  You have to destroy these little furry creatures that are ripping apart this guy’s farm.  Why are they ripping apart his farm?  Who knows, they just are.  Now you get to deal with it.  Kill 5 of them and that will make it all better.  For all of this good lore and nice writing, sometimes the incentive just isn’t provided, and that sucks.

It makes things feel grindier when other games use this formula and can escape it.  Champions Online does this nicely via evidence collection, doing favors for public officials, or just stopping bad guys from doing something bad.  Why do I have to take out 10 of these prison guys?  Well because they just broke out of prison and they’re destroying local property.  Why do I have to take 5 pieces of rubble off of citizens in this hotel?  Because rubble KILLS PEOPLE.  So… Aion… Why should I kill 5 of these creatures to save this guy’s farm?  How about because he’s growing food for the local village?  How about because these furry animals are being driven insane by an Asmodian plot to destroy the Elyos food supplies?  How about that?  Just give me something.

Furthermore, at low levels, the game relies heavily on the auto-attack and doesn’t let you get through battles easily.  Even by my 10th level, battles were still being sustained for a while and just not going anywhere.  Granted I was playing a warrior, so my attack power wasn’t the best, but battles dragged.  Even when I was using my abilities, their cooldowns were so long I’d use them once per battle.  This slowly begins to change later, but it doesn’t do it as quick as you’d like it to.

So, my final beef — my biggest beef — comes from grouping with my roommate.  He’s a mage, I’m a warrior.  Together, we finally solved that whole issue of “slow battles.”  We started wailing through content left and right, destroying enemies while barely taking damage.  And even together, for all of our awesome, it still took us 4 hours to get to level 10 and reach our ascension.  Afterwards, what changed?  Nothing, really.  Now we had wings and we went back to doing the exact same crap we were just doing.

Now picture doing all of the stuff we did alone.  By yourself.  Without the benefit of the damage boost from the mage or the taunts from the warrior.  It would be painful… and, trust us, we killed lots of mobs to get to where we were with very little questing fun.

I guess that’s my problem with Aion.  It’s slow.  It’s Lineage.  You can see it pretty clearly in the design.  It’s Lineage II with World of Warcraft sprinkled atop.  It’s not new, it’s not amazing.  It’s the same old stuff we’ve been getting, just with a shiny coating and half-assed flight.  Oh, I guess it’s also worth mentioning that flight is not the game changer I thought it would be.  You get to fly for a minute at start (this goes up later when you get better pairs of wings) and you can use flight potions to stay up in the air.  They wanted to make flight tactical, but in doing so they killed it for PvE use.  Also, many areas disallow flight, so it kinda negates out the whole idea of flying combat to change up the game.

In short, this isn’t a bad game.  It’s just not the amazing superawesome engine that people are making it out to be.  Just like Champions Online isn’t the superdevil people were making that out to be.  Perhaps this is because I’m not in the Abyss yet, where Aion‘s focus lies, but I just don’t see this shocking change coming to the game.  It’s just nothing new here.  At least Champions brings some innovation to the table.

(Also, before the fanboi whining starts that Aion‘s innovation lies in the “new” PvPvE content in the Abyss, let me point you to the fallen Matrix Online, which included raid bosses in PvP areas.  Whoops.)

Advertisements
h1

I bought Darkfall

July 14, 2009

Like I said yesterday… I’m sorry.

I’m on the North American server. I like to think that it makes a world of difference.

Will be posting up impressions when I have them.

So far all I can say is that I got called “a dumb cunt” in the first two minutes of gameplay. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

h1

So I’m actually enjoying Second Life…

July 9, 2009

…so much so that I’m actually making it into my column tomorrow.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore everyone with how I wander from sim to sim or how awesome my new RP group is.  It’s going to be more utilitarian than that.

Gamers seem to approach virtual worlds, like Metaplace and Second Life, with the wrong ideas in mind.  They seem to think they’re going to be getting into some crazy game, when really they’re entering into a virtual space for socialization and exploration.  Basically, if you’re not of the latter two types, virtual worlds just might be a living hell for you.  Combat and achievement players (although achievement players could still find goals to accomplish in virtual worlds if they looked for them) will probably really detest these spaces.

But me?  I like exploring and socializing.  Plus, when you find the right programmers or the right sim, you’ll actually find combat as well.  Is it fluid combat?  No, it’s not going to win awards or anything, but it’s not the worst combat I’ve seen in games.  Heck, I get to do flips in the air while I swing my scythe in Second Life.  That has to count for some awesomeness.

But, I shouldn’t let too much out of the bag.  Tomorrow’s column is going to be some tips on how to enjoy yourselves in Second Life, even if you found it to be a bit annoying on the first run though.  Reader beware, however, as I know more than a few of you will feel that Second Life just isn’t your cup of tea… then you’ll relegate yourself to complaining about how wrong I am about my tips.

If you don’t enjoy it, you don’t enjoy it.  My tips simply aren’t going to change that.  But if you didn’t give it much of a chance for the first time through… you’ll probably find something to take away from tomorrow’s column.

h1

You need a break from your own “fun?”

January 18, 2009

I’ve recently gotten back into World of Warcraft after a recent haitus with the game, and it feels good to be back.  My guild missed me, the officers missed me, and it was good to just be back in Azeroth.  But after getting back in touch with everyone, I found a few holes in the list.  I asked around to find out where some of my other friends were, and what I got was pretty similar to what I had been doing.

“Oh, he/she is going on a hiatus for a little bit.”

It was when I heard this that it hit me.  Why the heck do we need to take breaks from our MMOs?  A game is something fun and relaxing.  Something we want to play because we enjoy it.  If that was the case, then why do we feel that we need to take “vacations” from them?

Personally, I think we’re taking our fun too seriously — and yes, that’s possible.  You can see it every time a raid comes up, you can see it whenever a new guild drama forum post pops up.  People find reasons to hate one another, even if their united objective is just having fun.  Can’t do the boss in one go?  Blame someone else!  Cause drama!  Loot that you needed dropped and you lost a perfectly legitimate random roll?  Tell him he’s an asshole because he somehow concentrated so hard at his keyboard that he not only caused himself an aneurism, he also forced Blizzard’s random program to make him roll a 89 and you a 2.

This is something I probably concentrate on too much, but fun is suppose to be fun.  This is usually the point where I would say something intelligent like, “Now if you changed the loot system around and perhaps minimized the rewards in favor of promoting storyline design…” and then wish for the best, but you and I know that’s sadly not going to work.  Some people are still gonna rush to whatever the max level is, or try to complete all of your content in 4 nanoseconds faster than their next door neighbor so they can prove to all of the women on the internet (all 6 of them) that they are the leetest (word looks stupid without the 3s, doesn’t it?) hunk of manhood there is in “World of Online Game X.”  All because technically, that’s what a game is about… beating someone else.  It wasn’t originally about the fun — it was about besting someone else.

But I like to think that we’ve evolved the concept of a game past that.  To something more than just that.  To something that we enjoy doing and don’t need to take breaks from…

So please, next time you’re on that raid or in that group… try to relax and enjoy yourself.  You might find that the game might be… fun?