Posts Tagged ‘content’

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What’s this mean for me?

June 16, 2010

So now that we’ve heard a bit more about Cata and what we can expect. Some are feeling pretty down about the expansion now. Alot of friends I’ve talked to have said that they don’t feel like Blizzard is giving them enough to warrant an expansion, at least at full price. Let’s take a look at what Cataclysm offers a Level 80 raider.

Cataclysm

  • Level cap increased 5 levels
  • Re-designed talents (and two classes)
  • New dungeons
  • Some new spells
  • Mastery system (seems to add about as much as a glyph at this point)
  • Medium glyphs
  • 2 new PvP BGs with similar objectives to old BGs, also, rated BGs
  • 4.0-4.9 worth of Raid patches
  • Heroic Deadmines and SFK
  • Guild Talents Guild Levels..
  • Path of the Titans
  • Archeology will be a secondary profession like fishing and cooking
  • Underwater mounts

Now, you may saying.. “Umm, hey buddy, you kinda missed some stuff.” Well, actually I didn’t. Cataclysm offers the above to a current Level 80. Nothing more.

Why did I decide to list it this way instead of the full feature list? Because there are some folks out there who simply don’t care. They have their main and don’t plan on levelling any more toons. This isn’t unheard of, even though Blizzard promotes multiple characters.. some of us are quite fond of our mains and, well, that’s why we play the game.

So.. is this actually an ‘expansion’? I would have to say no. Many of whats listed above is added into other games usually by free content patches. With the exception usually being raid content and/or increased level cap.

“But they are revamping the entire old world!?!?”

Yes, they are. But players who don’t pickup Cata will be able to see all the revamped zones and complete all the quests, sans Goblin and Worgen stuff. It has not been determined yet if you will need the expansion or not for Azeroth flight.

Normally, a MMO that has been running as long (or longer) than WoW comes across a problem over time. Old content not being used. So, the devs decide to revamp. It’s not a bad thing and makes for interesting story-arcs. However, typically this is done one or two zones at a time, and givin’ for free to the playerbase. Blizzard is revamping a very high portion of the old world. Taking out much of the old content and adding in new. It’s been toughted that there is over 3,000 quests added.

But.. everyone will get to play at least (rough estimate) 1,500 of the quests, regardless of if you bought Cataclysm or not. Blizzard has obviously spent alot of time on this. That’s good, getting people back into old/new content is a good thing.

But.. there is an issue. What about the decent percentage of your playerbase that is really only here for Raiding.. or high end PvP. A player who has no interest in levelling a new Goblin, or playing through the new Cata revamp quests? Does this person just get the short end of the stick?

Let’s backtrack a bit. All expansions up until Cata have only extended the high end of the game. It wasn’t until Wrath that added something (DK) for non-maxxed out players.

Now.. it’s the other way around. If you’re a raider, and you only have a desire to play one character, you may feel like you are getting hit in the head with a baseball bat for shelling out $50.

New raids are always good.. no complaints there. But now you’re only going to be able to do half the raiding you normally would have with the new raid/lockout system.

5 more levels.. meh, sweet deal.

If you’re a pvp’er I’m sure you have something, bad or good, to say about the new stuff.

Medium glyphs? *scoff* We don’t know what these are yet, but the entire Glyph system is kind of a joke. At least from what it was supposed to be. (Even GC says they screwed it up)

Guild levels? Cool, but not really a expansion highlight in this dwarf’s opinion.

Is all of this worth $50 though? Depends on the person. To me.. sure. I got money to burn. More importantly though.. is Cataclysm going to keep people around?

It’s all too personal to say. For me.. I’m just not sure if there is going to be enough in Cata to keep me around for 1 patch cycle. It really all depends on the difficulty level of the expansion. If I gear out within 4 weeks of hitting 85 (like I did in Wrath), I will be sorely dissapointed.

The doomsayers have already come out and said “This is WoW’s version of Luclin.” For those who may not know, Shadows of Luclin was an expansion for EQ1 that changed the game alot. Many people left, but the mass exodus wasn’t until a few years later with Gates of Discord. Luclin did have a large effect on the game though. It put a dent in the population.

Will Cata bring WoW down a notch? At first I don’t think so.. but as we can see now, there is a major lull in the WoW-verse. Some are trying to stay positive, others negative.. and then there are the people who just don’t even know what’s going on.

Personally I fall into the category of “Just hanging around here to keep myself somewhat occupied until something better comes out”

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Quests the way I want them?!

June 15, 2010

Final Fantasy XIV has just made me spin in my office chair with glee.

All the talk I do about scaling content, and giving the players the choice in how they want to see their content.. while scaling rewards based off of the situation. Now there is a game that’s going to give it. Yay!

“Once a Guildleve is accepted by a character, they’re directed to an Aetheryte crystal to begin the quest. Touching the crystal fully restores HP and MP, as well as starting a time limit and making the targets of your quest visible. A given battle can be tuned based on party size, desired difficulty, and party level, giving players a variety of options for playstyle”

OPTIONS!?!?!? I loves me some options. SE.. keep the good stuff coming.

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Musings on the WoW news over the weekend.

June 14, 2010

In case you’re unaware, Blizzard had a press even over the weekend and released a lot of information about the current status of Cataclysm and also answering questions that the players have been confused about. I wont kill you with a wall of text of recap. Just highlight some points that I found interesting. If you want the full news head on over to your favorite WoW news site.. the details are everywhere. Let’s dive in..

Heroic Shadowfang Keep and Heroic Deadmines should be shipped in Patch 4.1

Seriously? All I was expecting was a 85 heroic scaled version of the same instance. That shouldn’t take very long to do. So why the delay until 4.1? Could be that they are completely re-designing the dungeons, or it could be that they are trying to refrain from releasing too many dungeons at once. I don’t really know, but I think that this is pretty stupid. Not a big deal though.

Path of the Titans Removal
Okay.. now it just seems like they are cutting features all together. Instead of this we’re now getting “medium” glyphs. Which will be in between Major and Minor. These glyphs are “for fun” only, so they *should* have no effect on your character’s output.

Much more boring but serves almost the same purpose and takes 1/2 the time to develop. Sure.. cool by me. Give me my Libram graphic dangling from my hip!

Guild Talents are gone

Makes it much more boring, but I can understand why. They have enough trouble balancing the class talents. To make sure the guild talents weren’t too over-done they just got rid of them all together. Now we get abilities handed to us based on our guild’s level. Much as in other games. It’s basically the same thing, they just took choice out of the equation. *shrug*

Raid Changes

Here’s the bread and butter (to me) of the press release. We knew 10’s and 25’s were going to be equalized but we didn’t have the details really. Now we do. You can break down your 25 man raid into 3 separate 10m raid ID’s if you choose. Also, a change to how the lockouts work. Basically it doesn’t tag yourself to the zone, it tags what bosses you have killed. Therefore streamlining managing your Raid IDs. Especially if you do a lot of PUG raids.

25’s will drop approx. 50% more loot than 10’s. Which is good. Most of this 50% was strongly hinted at just being extra emblems. That’s kind of boring but ah well.

It’s been stated before that 10’s will be brought up in difficulty to be along the same challenge of 25’s, now we have official confirmation that this IS in fact the plan. This makes me giddy. Being someone who simply doesn’t want to deal with attendance issues, or that one bad player that just wont get better no matter how much you talk to them.. this is an awesome thing for me. 10 man cuts down on the stupid, which is good for my blood pressure. Up until (seemingly) now 10 mans have always been insanely easy compared to 25 mans. A good majority of this comes from the simple fact of their being less people. Less chaos.

If they are ramping up the difficulty on 10m, I’m curious to see how far they take that. Will it be easier because there is less people? Or will they tune the content right and make 10/25 equalized in difficulty? It’s hard to equalize something that gets harder the more players you throw at it. No matter how hard a boss hits, things will always be easier if you only have 10 people to worry about vs. 25.

The ONLY thing I can see as a downside here is the confusion that could come about with the 25 lockout being split in to 3 different 10 man lockouts. I’m not quite sure I understand how this works. Does it take groups 1 and 2 and give them a lockout, 2-4, 5-6, and such? If it does, that could be a raid balance and administrative nightmare.

Also.. in your typical 25m raid you generally have 3 tanks and 4-5 healers. Split the group up into 3 10’s and you don’t have proper raid balance for any more than 1, maybe 2 teams.

Basically, how I see it, is.. someone’s going to get shafted every week. And while Blizzard is implementing this for guilds like mine, who have full raids on Tuesday, but then struggle Wednesday and Thursday to get numbers. I still don’t think this is a good option for that type of group. It’s basically no different from how guilds handle 10/25 now. You have your 25 team, and an “A” 10m team, and possibly another “B” team.

But this causes a lot of animosity as we’ve all seen in the past in various different guilds. My guild has an “A” team that runs 10m on the weekends, they’ve killed LK10 and are working on heroics (and we have yet to kill LK25). It’s typically always the same people. We don’t have enough support/attendance to gather a “B” team on the weekends. So.. half of us that would like to raid usually end up sitting out. Bad policy imo.. but.. what else are bored people gonna do?

What I don’t understand is.. instead of Blizzard jumping through all of these hoops with the Raid IDs and coming up with all this crazy stuff. Why not just have the raid instances scale up or down based off of how many people you have?

10 people = 10m difficulty

14 people = 10m difficulty scaled up a tad

25 people = 25m difficulty

23 people = 25m scaled back a little

..you get the idea I think. This seems more easier to me than what they’re doing. Surely it’s not an easy task, but I don’t think it requires too much more work than what they are doing now.

I guess what I’m saying is.. make a raid just that. A raid. Minimum 10 players, max 25. Have the instance(and loot) scale off the number of people you bring in. There is quite a many games that use (or have used) some sort of auto-scaling (or manual scaling) for their instances. It’s worked out pretty well for them. Why wouldn’t it work in Azeroth?

The last thing I would like to touch on is the happenings with rated Battlegrounds. I’m no PvP’er.. but even I notice that not many people make pre-mades anymore. Or if they do, teamwork is usually pretty scarce. I like teamwork. If there was more of it in BGs I would enjoy them a lot more. Thats why I like the idea of making a BG team.. it sounds awesome and maybe.. just maybe.. it will turn my view of WoW PvP around.

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Healer C-c-c-combos!

June 11, 2010

Blizzard released previews of the Cataclysm talent changes for a few classes yesterday. I haven’t gone over any of the trees in-depth too much so far except the Druid and Priest healing trees. It seems to me like healers may actually have something resembling a rotation. Some of the new talents they’ve added or changed give you certain stackable buffs after using a certain spell or spell type, and both classes have a way to “release” stored up power.

To me, it appears that they are trying to make healing more about choice and less about spam.. which is a great thing. What remains to be seen is if these abilities are/will be tuned correctly in order to make them worth using over spam tactics.

With the talks of inflated HP numbers across the board for players in Cata.. maybe healers will have more thinking to do and less “Oh crap heal, heal, heal”

I am pleased so far. The new expansion excitement continues!

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Let’s move along now, shall we?

June 10, 2010

Over the past few years, how many AAA MMO titles have we seen get hyped up, release, and shed 50%+ of its population within the first few months? 3? 5? I’m sure there is more to come as well.

I think first it started off as everyone trying to tackle Blizzard, or at least get a chunk of their cake. Games like LotRO, and WAR that were marketed by the eagerly waiting players as “the next WoW killer.”

After that I think companies started backing down to the almighty Blizzard, and decided to not shoot for 10 million subscriptions and would be happy to settle with 1 million. But even that didn’t seem to help, with games like Aion, Champions Online, and Star Trek Online.. all of which have pretty much bombed almost into the “life support” category. (In Aion’s case.. in the US/EU)

So what does a company who wants to design a AAA MMO title have to do to have a successful launch and retain it’s players after the initial flood?

There is a few things I can think of. I’m not too familiar with the development process on the inside of a studio, things like Publisher pressure and deadlines can really screw up an MMO. But that’s about all I really know about what goes on internally. To possibly gain a bit more insight I’ve emailed Brian “Psychochild” Green, online game designer and blogger and asked him to chime in on this post if he has anything to add.

Back to what I think Dev studios could do in order to make the Dev process, testing, launch and post-launch go smoother.

Shrink it!

Most AAA MMO titles feature a large world. Multiple continents, large zones and etcetera. But why does it have to start out large? Maybe the bigger companies can learn a lesson from the indie F2P developers and make your world smaller at first, but have speedy development rotations on adding new content. We all want a bigger world sure, but.. would you rather have a huge world with all sorts of problems in it, or a smaller world with drastically less problems, evolving into a bigger world with time. Vanguard is a great example of what not to do here. The world was beautiful, and enormous. And empty. Not just void of players, but even the wilderness didn’t feel very wild.

Along with shrinking your world, I never quite understood why these MMO’s ship with 15+ servers. Big worlds and tons of servers are great if you’re Blizzard. But not if you’re anybody else. The dreaded server merge announcements that we see doesn’t mean that the game is dying exactly, but anytime one is announced the doomsayers come out of their holes. Usually server merging is a sign of a slowly dying MMO, or at least one that isn’t going to be picking up steam.

So, how about trying something different for once. Start with the minimum amount of servers, and if your game grows, add more. The problem with that idea is usually launch is when you have the highest populations, thus needing the extra servers. My take on server merging is that it’s better done sooner rather than later. If you launch your game and see 500k subs the first month, but at the 3rd month mark you’re down to 400k, it might be time to start thinking about server merging. There is nothing worse than the post-launch exodus that is bound to happen, and then feeling like your left with an empty server. That’s just going to push more players away.

As your game gets older I think watching your servers is important, and knowing when to time server merges before the problem gets too bad. Take EQ2 for example. It does have a healthy population, though the majority of the community are at the top end of the game. EQ2 has had 2 rounds(or maybe just 1, I can’t recall) of server merges in the past, and in this guys opinion.. is well overdue for another. I’d go as far as to say EQ2 needs to drop down to about 8 servers total. 3 normal servers, 1 bazaar server, 1 pvp server, 2 EU servers (I don’t know what the EU population of EQ2 is like), and a RP server. If you’re starting fresh in EQ2 with no friends, it is a very, very silent and quiet game. Very lonely. Not good if you’re trying to attract new customers.

But if EVE online can have 1 server with its healthy subscriber base, why can’t other games? Yeah.. EVE is a special case because it fills a specific niche, but it’s still something to be thought about.

Target Audience?

I think it may be safe to say now that trying to market your MMO to every player type doesn’t work that well. Blizzard was able to pull it off I think because of their timing. Every MMO to come out since that’s tried this has not reached the goals they originally set for themselves and their game. I think if you build your game towards a certain niche of players and stay there, maybe adding on other features later on, you would end up with a smaller population, but a much more stable one. EVE Online does this pretty well as do a few other niche titles.

Are you trying to attract new-to-the-genre players? Harcores? Casuals? PvP, PvE? Social aspects?

Scale?

I never understood why the bigger MMO companies are drawn to making a game capable of supporting millions of people, only to have it flop after release for x reason. Instead of doing that why not set a lower target for your populations. How about 500k instead of 1 million?

I would think that once you set a goal for your customer base, it would make it must easier to design the rest of the game’s size, how many servers you’ll need, and what features you can or can’t use. Also, it would give your publisher a better idea. (Or maybe the publisher is the one who dictates what the target customer pool size will be *shrug*)

Deadlines

Now.. I’m fairly certain that deadlines are set by whoever is funding the project, which is usually the publisher. If publishers used their heads a little bit, and gave the Developer the time that they actually need, we would probably see less MMO’s fall into the sub-200k club.

Then you have the option of “self-publishing.” Which is what Cryptic studio’s original intent was. Looking back over the course of the development of Champions Online, things seemed to be going very well until Atari showed up. You would also have to have the money to back yourself. Not an easy thing to come up with hehe.

What’s worse is when something like that happens, it’s usually the Dev house that gets all the negative press, not so much the publisher. When I first played Champions Online, I was sorely disappointed. Nay. I was pissed. At Cryptic. Even though I knew the game shipped the way it did because Atari shoved it out their doors. Ok.. I don’t know that for a fact, but that’s what the speculation is.

The same thing happened to Vanguard. All was going well (so we think) up until Sony was announced to be the new publisher. Which was right around open beta if I remember right. Then all of a sudden, the game was on store shelves. Oh the cries of the fanboi’s (myself included)

What else could a AAA MMO company could do for itself to ensure the game’s success? Aside from the obvious answer of “make a good game”

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My armor smells of onions and cheese

June 7, 2010

The look of your avatar can sometimes have an impact on how you feel about your avatar. Say you’re wearing a full Tier set (pick your favorite), and you just so happen to find an upgrade for one of those slots. Sure you equip it because it’s better, but part of you doesn’t want it because it will throw off your “style”

Doing some dungeons with guildies last night this was mentioned, and well… we couldn’t figure out why Blizzard wont put something like an appearance window in the game.

Then this morning there was someone asking about the armor textures in The Queue at wow.com. The question was basically why we have all these crazy looking armors, and if there is any chance Blizzard would implement items that don’t have completely “out-there” models, but are still Epic quality. Alex Ziebart responds..

“No, probably not. The Warcraft aesthetic is all about those huge shoulders, the random spikes, the intricate little decorations on each pauldron. In Azeroth, bigger is better. Bigger is much better. Having that massive gear is prestigious. The stripped-down gear is for nameless schmucks that haven’t fought a proper battle in their lives.

If you’re looking for a simpler aesthetic, you’re really better off looking at a different game. I don’t mean that in a rude or smug way in the slightest. It just isn’t Blizzard’s style. It definitely isn’t Warcraft‘s style.”

What a way to answer the question. A flat-out no. While, yes, it’s Blizzard’s style to go for crazy shoulders and items that just look outrageous. It’s obviously not the only style, otherwise why would they have normal looking weapons and armor as you level up, or even grey/green items at level 80 as the player asking the question stated.

Since Massively(wow.com) is probably one of the most read blog/news sites for MMOs. Instead of just answering a question by saying “No way” or “Go find another game” To me… that’s just not productive at all. I wonder if the reader who asked the question wanted to throat-punch Alex when he/she read the article. I would have.

Yes, Alex has a point. But, instead of stopping there why not offer up an example of how it could be changed. Since it is the big news site, has a ton of readers of all walks of WoW life, and Blizzard employees probably pay attention to it as well. Offering up a change, new feature, or even just opinions could possibly sway the almighty Blizzard to.. change something.

Not the armor models, keep going with the “Blizzard” style. Whatever fits the expansion. Throughout WotLK there have been people who really like the armor design, and people who really don’t. As I say a lot, why not just give the option?

Unlike with talents (which I spoke of earlier today), if you’re wearing no gear, chances of you leveling all the way to 80 are laughable. There is no choice right now except to either equip, or not equip the piece. As with most everything in the MMO world.. someone’s already perfected a design option. Appearance slots.

If you played Everquest post-PoP, chances are you remember armor dyes being implemented. A very cool feature.. except they gave you a photoshop style color pallet to choose from. Which is actually awesome, until you run into an Ogre Warrior who decided he wanted to dye every piece of his armor a different, vibrant color. Rainbow Ogres.. *shudder*

Then EQ2 implemented the Appearance window. Basically it was just an extra inventory window. When you put a piece of armor in one of the slots, it didn’t matter what you were really wearing. The item in the appearance slot is what showed on your avatar. Though you kept all the stats from the armor you’re “actually” wearing. There is NO downside to doing this. It doesn’t change the game, it doesn’t appeal to the casual player base more than the hardcore player base, or PvP vs. PvE. Other games have adopted this as well. Why not WoW?

While doing some quests in classic zones this weekend, and an MC run for fun, I realized that there are quite a few items that I would prefer to be wearing. Then I looked in my bank, and found that I’m quite the packrat. I hold on to gear that I think looks neat just in case I get bored and want to play dress up.

Blizzard gave us the dressing room, which was a very nice feature. They also gave us various clothes to wear, like the Tuxedo suit. So it’s not SO far out there that they shouldn’t think about adding a way for players to customize what they wear, without effecting stats. If anything, this would be more awesome because it gives the game more of a variety.

When I stand next to another Dwarf Paladin in Dalaran, there’s very little difference visually. If we had a way to change our armor without gimping ourselves, we’d all have a bit more of a unique look.

I’d stray away from adding weapons into the appearance slots though, as a Warrior holding the Chalice from TotC-25, and beating the crap outta mobs with it would look pretty silly. But armor customization is;

1) not terribly difficult to implement.

2) would make players feel more unique

3) would create something else to do in the game (go hunting for gear you think looks awesome!)

4) something that I think the WoW community would appreciate

Is your T10 gear getting that “battle-funk” smell? Or, do you have some T6 sitting in the bank that you just think looks awesome and wish you could still wear it? This would solve those two issues.

Hell, Blizzard probably wouldn’t even have to do much. Write the code to enable the feature and let the Addon community take care of the rest. It couldn’t seriously take that much time. EQ2 was able to push it out within 1 patch cycle… and they have far less resources than Blizzard.

Side-note : *sigh* a simple post turned into a book.

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Weekly Happenings

June 6, 2010

Since I don’t have much of a reader-base yet I can’t be cool like Tobold and have an Open Sunday Thread : ( So Sundays will be the day when I go over what I’ve been up to over the week, as well as any news in the mmo-space.

This week

Well I’ve been slowly completing quests for Loremaster between raids. It’s a grind now, and very mind-numbing but I’m glad to be doing it because I get to see some quests that I’ve never seen before. Read some decent lore and actually appreciate Vanilla WoW more. I’d rather be doing these quests at level though, some of them are very good quests and doing them at 80 just feels like I missed out. But, gotta take it all in before the Cataclysm!

There is an upside to the quest grind (besides the title) That is, it’s getting me more and more excited for Cata. As I ride around the old zones, I can’t help but wonder what ‘this’ or ‘that’ will look like in a few months. It really makes me want to start a baby Worgen, or a Dwarf Shaman when the xpac does get here. But I hate alts. Most likely I will do what I did when WotLK came out. First make sure my Paladin hits level cap and gets everything he needs from 5 mans. Then I made my DK, played through the starting area, thought it was very cool and well done. After they released me into the rest of Azeroth.. /delete.

So when Cata comes I’ll probably do the same thing. Create a baby Worgen, level to 60 and stop. With the massive amounts of Phasing (a feature which I love and hate at the same time) I’m very curious to level again. But once that’s all over with and it’s time to head to Hellfire, I’ll stop playing that toon.

Guild news! This week we killed Putricide on 25 for the first time. Yay us! Only 3 more to go! This week was also the first time I’ve done Gunship on 25, and it was also Heroic. It was also probably the dullest encounter ever. There was never a time when I felt like myself, or the raid was in any sort of real danger and the fight itself was just.. silly! On a side-note, why does Blizzard always feel it neccesary to put something in every raid zone that’ll just piss people off. I’m not talking about Frogger. I’m talking about that evil train in Ulduar. There’s always someone that falls, or misses the train. TotC, some yutz always starts the events before anyone’s ready. And now Gunship. Let’s put the two NPC’s you need to talk to for two completely different reasons RIGHT next to each other. That way when we’re on our 50th time through it and people are just on “autopilot” someone runs up and starts the event instead of grabbing a rocket pack. Oh look, 4 people are on the boat. Great. And it’s gonna be like 20 minutes before everyone gets back inside the instance because the damn boat takes so long to reset. /bird @ Blizzard

Ok, enough of WoW. Let’s talk about some other games.

Dawntide

This MMO has been in development for a few years already and is in the Closed Beta stage at the moment Open Beta as of Friday, you can get into the OB by creating an account and following the download link on the official forums. This title is, out of the 3 that I’m looking forward to, highest on the list. It’s a sandbox MMO, skill-based, open-world and no instancing. Here’s just a quick snippet of the features it teases:

Dawntide is an innovative new freeform MMOG being developed by Working as Intended, an independent studio based in Copenhagen, Denmark.

  • Player Cities with shops, crafting, military and many more buildings – plus upgrades!
  • Handcrafted island world with many exciting places to Explore and Conquer.
  • Fully Conquerable world with safe areas for new players!
  • Skill based progression. No more levels or classes!
  • Complex and fun Crafting allows players to create unique items with a wide range of materials.
  • Laws and guards allow players to truly rule the territory they conquer.
  • Deep and exciting background Lore to be discovered.
  • Single, uninstanced world makes your impact on the game meaningful.

I have no idea what combat is like, and I don’t care. I’ve been waiting for a game that puts emphasis on player interaction with the world itself since Star Wars Galaxies went to hell (NGE) /bird @ Sony. But, I’m not letting myself get burned again. I’ve learned. It took me a few heartbreaks, but I’ve learned never give into the hype. If they can pull this game off, it wont be any sort of WoW killer. Not by a long shot. But, it will fill a niche in the MMO market and as long as the game isn’t utter crap and bug ridden at launch.. and things go even relatively smooth. It should snag up a decent subscriber base, probably similar to the numbers of EVE.

This game wouldn’t take me away from WoW completely, unless it had some amazing PvE raids. Which most Sandbox games don’t even have what we call “Raiding” these days. Usually it either involves PvP raids, or just grabbing a group of people and going cave diving looking for something fun to kill.

Moving on!

FFXIV

Not much news with this game in the past week. A few of my intarweb buddies have been starting to get Beta keys via email. I have not been as lucky : ( If you don’t know much about this game, it’s basically a sequel to FFXI. Well.. it’s what EQ2 is to EQ1. Only hopefully Squeenix doesn’t completely bork the launch. Being an Eastern based game it’s undoubtedly going to have more of a grind than we’re used to with western MMO’s. I’m fine with that. But the developers have also stated that they are in the process of “Westernizing” the game a bit more for us. They haven’t touched too much on what exactly that means besides less grindy, WSAD movement and Jumping (did they add jumping or not? I know it was a HUGE turnoff for alot of people 6 months ago)

I do believe that this game is still slated for release on the PC and PS3, and based on the videos I’ve watched it actually looks like a MMO I might enjoy playing with a controller. Though not on my PS3. MMO’s belong on PCs in my opinion. The game is being developed for the platform side-by-side, so it will not be a port. There will be a PS3 client, and a PC client and they are being developed by two different teams. Let me make that more clear. It’s the same game, but they are developing 2 clients to ensure that it runs flawlessly on the PS3, and the PC. A good thing.

Other than that, there are some videos floating around of some combat. It’s slower combat than what we are used to in WoW, and many of the other newer MMO’s. Someone told me that the combat speed was somewhere in between Everquest and WoW. Which.. to me sounds perfect.

The graphics look AMAZING, as do the animations, models, and world. Not cartoony, but not trying to be overly-realistic. Well.. it looks like a Final Fantasy game should. If you’re a fan of the series than you should be pleased with the art in this game.

Squeenix has also stated that it will be more solo friendly than FFXI, but still a high emphasis on groups. What I took this to mean is everyone will be able to solo just fine, but the best and most efficient way to get things done will be with a group. Flip flop that and you have what most MMOs are now /bird @ Blizzard. I think that MMO’s are about group experiences, so there should be more emphasis on grouping. We’ll see how that turns out though.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Everytime they release a new piece of news for this game I get a little less hyped for it. The more and more videos I see, and interviews I read make it sound more and more just like a multi-player version of KOTOR. Which isn’t totally a bad thing. I’ve talked about this in a previous post, and Syncaine at Hardcore Casual has written up a 2 part post about his feelings on SWTOR. I can’t really agree more.

It sounds like it’ll be a good play for a month or two, but I can’t see anything that would hold me (an possibly a good amount of others) to the game for any extended periods of time.

Bioware continues to try to hype the games storytelling more than anything else. Talking about it like it’s the new “end all, be all” feature of MMO’s. They claim to have something like “50 novels” worth of story content. Well.. so did Dragon Age. DA was a good game and alot of people agreed. What alot of people didn’t agree on about it was whether or not it was fun to replay to mix up the story. Which I assume is how SWTOR is going to fit their “50 novels” worth of story into the game.

It seems more and more that this game is geared towards the casual players, total Star Wars nerds who can’t get enough, and people who love to play multiple characters. I’m not doubting that it wont be a success (pending smooth launch), and I’m sure it will have a healthy number of subs a year after release. It just sounds like a psuedo-MMO to me though. I don’t need, nor want Bioware style conversations in my MMO’s. Alot of people do, and it’s awesome that they are (hopefully) getting what they want.

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars is probably one of the only “Major label” MMO’s that I’ve never played. It’s heavy use of instancing originally turned me off from the game and I’ve just never really had any desire to check it out. Now, with what I’ve been reading about GW2.. I gotta say, I’m excited to see what they can pull off. The dynamic quest system they’ve spoken about sounds amazing if implemented well and has the possibility of setting a new standard for quests in MMO’s. The game world also looks beautiful. GW2 has made it to my watch list.

So that’s it for this week. Next week I think I’m going to try to cut down on my ramblings a little. Try to keep the posts under 1000 words haha.

~dorfeater