Category Archives: MMO

On Current Events #2

It’s time for another post on multiple, short topics. Let’s get it going.

Amplitude Kickstarter

amplitude tracks
This is in its final day, and looks like it might make it if it gets enough attention. They did a live stream yesterday to boost support, and it seems to have done the job, but it still needs more. The Remix Mode in the original Amplitude was a very “modern” idea in a game that’s now 11 years old, and I’d love to see what awesome things come out of the new one should they get a chance to make it.

Final Fantasy 5 Draft

my party
As Bel mentioned, I may have organized a bit of fun before the Job Fiesta starts for real. I’m gradually working my way through the first segment of the game (I’m behind Bel a bit and Kodra a lot). I’m chronicling my progress on YouTube here. Blue Mage is probably my favorite class in the game, because you can do some pretty degenerate things with it (none of which I’ve done yet). I’ve recorded everything so far, but I think I’m going to start cutting out travel and grinding.

WildStar Ops Week

chua-creatorIf you really want to get a WildStar fix in, the servers will be up at random times between now and head start. I recommend checking their Twitter for information on when this is happening. If you’re more like myself and don’t care much about getting an hour or two of play in, this can still be useful. WildStar lets you save your character appearance in base-64. Keeping this saved in a document somewhere can help you get the appearance you want without spending a lot of time in the character creator on launch day, so take advantage of the opportunity while it’s open. This goes double if name reservation didn’t work out for you, or you want an early name that isn’t the one you reserved.

On WildStar

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conflicted about a new MMO as I have about WildStar. My general feeling about it is that it’s a game I want to like more than I do.

On one hand, there are a lot of things about it that I like. I’ve mentioned it in a comment on Tales of the Aggronaut, but the Chua are the best small race since the Gibberlings in Allods Online. The animations for them are awesome, and their “mad scientist” aesthetic appeals to me. I tend to play big races in games (most of my WoW characters are Draenei or Tauren), so this is a bit of a departure from the norm for me.chua

Animations for just about everything are¬†awesome. Emotes are cool, and most of the abilities are well-done (medic abilities are a bit lacking in “impact”). The fact that it has double jump is great (every game should have double jump) and the animations for it are nice across multiple races. The paths are the concept that originally drew me to the game, and their execution ranges from “passable” to “excellent”.

In general, I like the “telegraph” system, because it makes combat more interesting than “stand here and hit buttons until someone is dead”. The entire genre seems to be moving in this direction, and it’s a change I’m in favor of. FF14 had similar red marks on the ground, and even WoW gets into it with some of the enemies on Timeless Isle. This requirement for additional movement and aimed attacks exposes a bit of a problem with WildStar, however.

When in combat, you have to hold right-click at almost all times in order to ensure your attacks are properly aimed, and you remain mobile. Two addons aimed at fixing this exist, and do a decent job at it, but it’s still an odd state of affairs. The precursor to these (called Deadlock) was actually developed by one of the game’s UI designers, and I can’t help but feel like some sort of mouse-look mode (like Neverwinter or ESO) should have been built-in.

My big issue with the game it that it bores me to tears in the early levels. I keep hearing that it gets better, and that if you just wait for level randint(12,20) it gets a lot better, but I haven’t had the dedication to make it that far in any beta event I’ve been in. Other recent games (FF14, ESO) provide some sort of motive for moving forward in the story quest, and I just feel it’s lacking in WildStar.

There are some other minor problems. Going to a WoW-like faction and server split makes playing with people you know more difficult than it should be. I like the Chua a lot, but some of my friends don’t like the mustache-twirling evil Dominion faction they’re in. Agreeing on a server is also one of those launch-day headaches, and it’s extremely difficult to get multiple different groups to roll on the same server.

I did pre-order the game, so I’ll give it its initial month, but I don’t know if I’ll play it long-term. I’m still playing ESO, and I haven’t personally seen the promise of the later levels of WildStar, so it’ll have to be fantastic to grab me. So far, it just hasn’t been.

On Competition

I’m not much for traditional PVP. I play a bit of League of Legends, and I’ve messed around in Cyrodiil in ESO a bit, but it’s not really my thing. I don’t take particular pleasure in the experience of facing off against someone, knowing directly that it’s a zero-sum game; someone must win, and someone must lose. I especially don’t like it in situations that are massively one-sided, like most gank situations in Open-World PVP. There’s little sense of accomplishment in winning such a fight, and it sucks to be on the receiving end. In a sense this is why I tolerate League more than other “PVP games”, because match-ups are relatively even, at least at the outset.

But this isn’t to say that I don’t like competing against other people. I’m a sucker for leaderboards and time trials. My very first real post ended in a challenge (which as far as I can tell no one’s taken me up on). I put up a relatively competitive score for Pixel Purge as part of the Indie Game Gala for the Newbie Blogger Initiative. Someone doubled it, but I’m pretty happy with second place. I’m pretty excited about the Trials in ESO because they have leaderboards, although I realize I am not likely to be hardcore enough to appear anywhere near them. I’m not even at veteran levels yet.

I really appreciate this form of competition more than others for a few reasons. First, you can usually try again immediately. There’s a sense of progression in constantly improving your score/time. There’s a feeling of accomplishment for actually passing someone else. And when someone else passes you, there’s incentive to give it another shot and beat their score. I know World of Warcraft attempted to get this sort of thing going with Challenge Modes for dungeons, but it fell pretty flat. I’m not sure how to get people more interested, but making it part of “normal” progression helps, because at least people are trying it and making some sort of entry.

I’m not saying that other forms of PVP are bad. Battlegrounds and the like can be enjoyable if well done, and their general popularity reflects it. However, I think things like this should be considered more often.

Aggrochat

It’s Sunday, so there’s a new Aggrochat available (or there will be soon, if you’re here early enough). We spend a bit of time talking about League (and why Braum is awesome), Hex (and why lawsuits suck), FF5 (and why I’m insane), and crowdfunding (and why I think early access isn’t living up to expectations). Also, hear me be wrong about when the Wildstar Beta ends (it’s actually tonight at 23:59 Pacific). Check it out here.

On Archeage

I find ArcheAge interesting, but it’s hard to talk about it without mentioning the current buy-in price. I’m not opposed to Founder’s Packs in general, but $150 for access right now seems outrageous. I understand asking for “the price of a game” as an entry fee, as Landmark did, but the price of three games is pushing it. It doesn’t help that the lowest price point is at the “price of a game” level. Random bonuses don’t mean much without context, so it’s hard to put a value on the other included things.

That said, there are things that attract me to it. I’m a systems person, and the class structure seems like it has some potential for experimentation. I don’t yet know the full details of how it works, but the ability to mix and match wildly different skill sets to “define” a class could be great, or it could be awful. Rift tried something similar, but it resulted in so many redundant abilities that the concept fell a bit flat. Rift also had a macro system that encouraged one-button class setups (and too many abilities to get by without macroing things), causing me to lose interest long before I reached endgame.

The PVP aspect of the game turns me off a bit. I’m all for opt-in PVP, but random ganking and griefing aren’t my cup of tea. From what I’ve heard, the justice system that’s supposed to cut down on this only encourages it, because there are crime-related factions and titles. I don’t know if it’s too late for Trion to do anything about it. Some MMOs have had some systems changes when coming over from Korea to give them broader appeal, and I could see this as one of the first things to get adjusted.

All told, I’m not sure what future ArcheAge and I have together, if any. My experience in import MMOs so far has been “pretty, but grindy and uninteresting”. They’re going to have to show me a lot to overcome this initial prejudice.

One more thing: Aggrochat for the week is out, and available here.