Archive for December 2009

Random MMO Related Happenings

December 24, 2009

First, I would like to make a plain observation.  Even if the MMO is good, It’s hard to commit yourself to playing it if you know it won’t be very popular.  I think there is several MMO’s out there that are decent like LOTRO, EQ2, and EVE, that suffer because of this mindset that people have.  People want to play the most popular game.  Also the opposite I think is true as well.  If the game is just average, but very popular people will go for it.  I feel this is the case with WOW.

In case you missed it there was some MMO blogger drama last week.  To put it simply it went like this, Lum the Mad from Broken Toys wrote an article on MMORPG.com that criticized Darkfall, so Syncaine burns Lum for going after Darkfall, and Tobold goes after Syn for going after Lum.  I don’t mind the arguments, but if you have a point to make then make them about the argument not some superficial garbage.  Reader’s are intelligent they can dissect your arguments gauge them for how much worth and value they are deserving of, then compare them to your counterparts arguments and whoever has the most valid points is the person they will side with.  Just because Lum is a Veteran blogger and developer doesn’t mean you can’t criticize his points and just because Syn gets money when people buy the game from his site it doesn’t mean his points aren’t valid.  Take on the arguments not the superficial garbage.  The most childish reaction to all of this has to be Tobold’s who deleted Syn blog from his newsreader, I’m not sure exactly what that means but I’m sure it’s comparable to “Unfriending” him.

This is probably the easiest prediction for the new year that I will make.  2010 will be a kick ass year for MMO’s.  Not necessarily for releases but MMO news from the companies developing the games will start to explode and bring the MMO genre back to life.  As far as releases go I think 3 noteworthy games have a chance to make it in during 2010 swtor, ffxiv, and gw2 the chance I would say is a bit slim though.  This will most likely be my last post of the year so have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thanks for reading!

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Sometimes it Sucks Being the Healer

December 18, 2009

I think I overdosed on the new lfg tool in WOW a bit, It had to happen sooner or later. I finally found an incompatible group, and whenever shit goes wrong all the the blame tends to go to the healer. I’ve passed every dungeon numerous times, I’ve successfully healed on raids, and I’ve even done the more challenging newer dungeons so I’m defintely capable of playing my class. But appently I suck.

I suck because I can’t cast heals when I’m spell locked.

I suck because the tank thinks he’s hot and pulls double stacks of mobs in Old Kingdom, which the spell flinger’s cast a spell that decreases hp by 80%.

I suck because the group can’t move away from exploding ghouls vs the BK.

I’ve been in an argument with a player where it was like screw it I’m out of here, and I’ve been kicked from a group in toc so I go off to pit of saron and finish with no problems. So people want to throw blame at their healer without knowing the circumstances go ahead that’s the easy thing to do. Find a new healer and I’ll even wish you good luck and hope you complete. I’ll just find a new group and do my thing.
That’s the WOW community for you it’s kind of trashy but you put up with it.

Bring Your Own Group VS Selective Grouping VS Forced Grouping

December 15, 2009

My favorite thing to do in MMO’s has been the single group content, and no matter what MMO I have played that is one thing that has remained consistent.  Players talk a lot about their grouping nightmares with pick up groups, but actually enjoy doing them.  I’m sure many players have differing expeirences with the ease of getting groups, which largely depends on role and rarity of your particular class.  extended periods of being LFG is a big issue with players and rightfully so.

In a time before instances, dungeons were heavily populated and they were the place to be to get the most xp and best rewards.  On the other hand you would also have dungeons that were a bit out of the way, with not so popular rewards, and a bit greater difficulty due to this players rarely hunted there.  However, every so often you or a friend would have a main quest that would ask you to go out there, and it’s a total pain in the ass to find some people to come with you.  These are bring your own group type of dungeons, and were you would have to rely on your network of friends or guildies to join you.  WOW has made this form of grouping completely obsolete because it requires a decent community, and obviouly you can do just fine without this form of grouping.  Despite the troublesome it brings in finding players to help you, BYOG should be in MMO’s to a small extent because they mold communities and encourage exploration.

Selective grouping is the most common form of grouping.  A player needs to form the group himself, but generally the location he wants to hunt in will be popular so there isn’t a shortage of players to chose and the person forming the group can select who he wants.  He can stack certain classes, chose players who hes knows are good, chose the better geared players, etc.  This system has worked pretty well, and it also allows you to avoid players you don’t want in a group.

WOW has just come up with the express line of grouping for MMO’s with their new feature.  No need to find players or even run to the dungeon just click a button and you’re there.  For the most part it runs pretty well, the classes fall into specific roles and generally they can fulfull them.  Downside is sometimes you just get some rejects in your group, but overall it fits right into the casual design WOW has implemented.  I think it works well for their game, but I would avoid this type of grouping because your game ceases to be an MMO.  There’s no point to even have servers anymore because you just instantly teleport to an instance for whatever you want to do.  This is why people out their still prefer a persistent world over instancing.

My ideal MMO would have something like 10%/90%/0% (byog/sg/fg) for the grouping setup.

Heroe’s of Telara Hitting Some Rough Water

December 10, 2009

In 2009 there was a number of triple A MMO titles announced, and while HOT is not really considered triple A title, I always felt it would be my sleeper pick and surprise the MMO market.  unfortunately after recent events, my doubts concerning this game are reaching a peak.

The first alarming incident with HOT would be the “transitioning out” of the President and Chief Creative Officer Jon Van Canegham, however I don’t necessarily have a negative vibe about this move.  Trion released, what I feel, is a very odd statement regarding the transitioning out of JVC.  No good lucks, no thanks for the hard work, just he’s gone, we have a talented team ready to move forward, and the departure is the natural evolution of a growing company.  Sounds like a lot of animosity in there and no attempt to try to hide it.   Trion followed up the this move with the hiring of Hartsman and Reid two respectable vets from SOE and NCSoft, which really sparked my confidence towards the company.  Sometimes you have to play hardball to make sure the company is set on the right tracks.

Recently a bit more disturbing incident took place, but let me set it up a little first.  HoT really became known through their trailer and a little bit of info they released during E3 2009, and of course knowing the MMO community it created buzz and communities were formed.  Since then there has been a serious lack of information regarding the game, and they have been called out on this issue on HoT’s main community fansite forum.  Rather than take the company’s back the fans on the forum just agreed, creating a big stir.  The Trion rep even asked to be pulled out of the forum dev group.

MMO Companies need to recognize the viral marketing going around and use it to their advantage.  Trion has played it terribly, and now has tarnished public image.  However, since they are a bit under the radar it won’t be too hard to recover.

Allods Update

December 4, 2009

I’m not going to write a review of the game because I don’t feel I played the game enough to warrant one, but I want to post just some thoughts of my expierences of the game.  First off the game seems to be in very good quality for a free to play game, and I decided that I’ll play it casually at release.  They’re a lot of people on the server and in general chat it seems players are really enjoying the game, there’s a strong positive atmoshpere among the community which is good to see.

Despite the what I mentioned above, i’m not head over heels excited about this game mainly due to the fact that it fails to distinguish itself from the pile of generic WOW clones that come out.  I noticed a phrase that has become very popular amoung the MMO community that several developers are picking up on and that is ‘I want to feel like a hero at level 1’.  The MMO market has been out long enough in which we don’t need our hand held through a little tutorial in the beginning throw me into a dungeon that requires teamwork.  The players want to know what the class is really capable of, and to enable this give players a more broad range of the abilites they will be using instead of just 3 or 4 of the generic ones.  Just because the tutorial I completed says I’m a hero it dosen’t make me feel like one, do the things mentioned above and players we get a much better feel for the game.

I canceled my WOW account for no other reason other than I’m bored with it, and there is really no other game out there right now that I feel is worthy of my subscription.  So I’m gonna stick with Allods and play it in a casual manner.  I do feel the game will get better as I get more into it.

Very Early Assessment of Allods Online

December 2, 2009

I just got into the closed beta 2 of Allods online and I started playing a cleric and crusader.  They’re both at level 5 and I got to taste a few different things about the game that I’ll comment on.  Obviously getting 2 classes to level 5 isn’t very far at all and I don’t want this to seem like an all out review of the game.  This is just simply initial impressions.

  • Lag: I have never played an MMO with so many people in one area and have so little lag.  It seems like all classes start in the same area, and there wasn’t even enough mobs to go around  for everyone.  I was constantly fighting over mobs with others, but with all this huge population packed onto the server I was impressed by the lack of lag.
  • Quests: Copied right out of WOW’s playbook, nothing new here.  They do provide you with markers on your map of where you need to go to complete the quest, so I’ll give them credit for that.
  • Leveling: You blow through the tutorial and once you get to level 5 or 6 it really starts to slow down for early levels.  I would also like to note that leveling xp seem to be oriented towards solo quest grinding.  It’s not my favorite leveling route, I’d rather see it dungeon group centric leveling, but I can handle this under one condition.  Don’t run out of quests for your level range.  Don’t be like WAR.  At this point so far so good.
  • Spells and Abilities: Allods has a talent system like WOW but it’s not separated into three different branches just one.  As you level you get a point and you can select which ability you want or you can select a higher rank of the same ability similar to WOW.  They do display some creativity in their class system as I saw with my crusader.  crusader’s have barriers which allow them to delay and reduce the amount of damage that they take.  Crusader’s also have cannon’s and marks which they need to build up to use or make certain abilities stronger.  It’s too early to say whether these systems compliment or hinder combat.  I remeber WAR had a lot of systems like this, shaman’s had to do damage to make their healing spells stronger, DOK had to do damage to cast heals, swordmaster had to be in a certain stance to cast an ability the end result was that I felt they just kind of restrited the class.  So we’ll have to wait and see, but at least they’re trying to be creative.

These are my initial impressions.  I am enjoying Allods and am looking forward to continuing it.