A Next Gen MMO Revisited

A “Next Gen” MMO like Blizzard “Titan” is a Duke Nukem Forever.  There are many empty promises for years and then those evaporate and when the game or product is finally released it can not stand up to the Hype that occurred about it over the years.

So now with that understood lets look at what promises and hopefully implemented features will be needed  or at least the hooks/stubs for them at launch.

1 – Sand-Park Play

What this means is some middle ground between the sandbox nature of EVE, Minecraft and Landmark and the highly controlled and IMO railroaded play that we have become use to in WoW, SWToR, Wildstar.  I guess that ESO may come close to this but has many other system issues and I can’t stand the play perspective in Bethesda games anymore so have not given the game any time.

2 – Infinite Replay-ability

This is a new one for me but I have come to see that I much prefer the infinite grind-ability of Diablo 3 and Borderlands than the process in most MMOs.  ArcheAge had an item upgrade system that at my basic understanding of how it works could also work better than the current gear and loot systems we find in most EQ/WoW clones.

3 – Player Driven Market and Crafting

This is one side of games that outside of ESO, ArcheAge and EVE is almost completely absent.  WoW use to have a more vibrant market but that was killed over 2 expansions where the Gear and BoE items were a joke.  Not to mention crafting locked behind the requirements of both leveling to near cap or cap and reputation grind fests.  Crafting Alts are a legitimate form of play for those that like to craft to get gear than play DDR with a Raid Boss.

4 – Many Factions for Players to Belong to and Participate In

WoW has 2 factions, and almost every other clone thereof has 2.  EVE starts with 4 but approaches infinity based upon Corporation and Alliance System.  I would say 3 as the minimum odd number required but I think 5 or 7 PVE factions to start with for the basic leveling process would be a good place to start.  Then in end game systems a Guild/Corp system with Alliances in certain Areas/Continents/Planets/Dimensions could greatly increase this area of the game’s complexity while also providing an initially safe leveling/learning area.

5 – Guild/Corporation Housing/Land and Eventually Player (Character/Account) Housing

More games are finally starting to get a hint and hopefully look as some of the research that has slowing come out about gaming and other social circles.  While graphics, features, ability to lord over other players may initially bring players to your game, the key to retaining those players is getting them involved in some social group.  The more stable that group the longer the members of said group will continue to play together and the game in a larger context.  Having some visible, virtually tangible goal to work toward as in Guild Housing is one of the greatest ways to do such.  Especially if guild/group achievements in other aspects of the game can be represented in the shared space.

6 – More on Markets, the Markets must be able to support both Buy and Sell orders.

I cannot stress enough how important this one is to goal 3 being viable.  Gathers current in many games must guess what is needed now, a week from now and next patch.  The demand and to what volume is a crap shoot but past predictors can be used to get a good guess.  However with both Buy and Sell orders all you have to do is look at the Buy orders do your farming run and sell those focused targets.  It is a win-win scenario while now it is a win-unknown scenario.

Other Comments

At this point in time I think the general MMO market has a reasonably good grasp on PvE and PvP needs in general.  The only thing I will say is that exclusive rewards to a particular form and make up of said content should be cosmetic only.  There should always be multiple ways to similar levels of power in gear even if it looks different.

 

Posted in Uncategorized

New Game Arche Age, Flying (Gliding) and WoW

So I found myself playing ArcheAge, an unlikely game for me given my standard views on PvP.  I don’t do much in EVE for similar Everyone versus Everyone PvP reasons.  However for some reason I found myself drawn to this game recently and decided to dive down the rabbit hole to see what could be seen.

What I have found is a game that is almost IMO a next generation MMO when compared to many of the other games on the market.  The main features that I find missing which I feel are  requirements to be a truely next generation MMO would be the following.

Faction-less Races: So that you can play any race regardless of which faction you end up playing.

More than 2 main factions:  There are 3 in game but that is only because the Pirate/Criminal Players are considered to be a faction of their own, so I don’t consider it a true 3rd faction.

Actually the thing that EVE is lacking to be a Next Gen MMO would be a strong PVE side, otherwise it would be one.

So what are the main things that brought me to playing this game while I am completely bored with WoW, even though my accounts are active.  The main features of the game are what attracted me.  The game is a guided sandbox game.   I mean guided as there is a storyline and there is a strong leveling via questing aspect to the game.  However if you were lucky enough to get land during head start many crafting professions open up and the in-game AH/Market is almost completely player driven through crafting.

While all of this was interesting the other lesser feature that sold me on it was that the game does not try to force its interpretation of how you should quest upon you, unlike WoW.  From level 1 if you buy the items from the RM Market you can get a mount and glider.  A form of these items are acquired in game before level 7ish and 15ish of 50 so it is not like either feature is an endgame bonus.  Like WoW seems to think any conveniences  are only for endgame, where they are nice but not really a major benefit.
ScreenShot0015

 

The above screen shot was taken while I was heading back to the town on the horizon when coming back from one of the early instances.  Not it is gliding and not true flight like in WoW but it is 1000s of times better than how questing feels in MoP currently and WoD on the Beta Servers.   There is no replacement for being able to make the active choice to mostly avoid mobs when you just want to get to point B from point A if you so choose.   Now it does take some extra effort to do long runs on the glider as you need to find a high jump off point since there seems to be no updrafts that I have found and there is a longish cooldown to the only ability I have found that gives you some extra altitude which then lengthens your glide.

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ArcheAge is F2P with paid Patron level which confers some bonuses and is required if you want to actually own land or stake a claim for the in-game player housing.  This will definitely be a large distraction for me until WoD launches and potentially even after since the Gliding/Flight in this game makes it one more feature over what WoD offers.

Posted in MMOs, Other Games, World of Warcraft

10 Years :: 10 Questions

So after seeing a few of these on my feed reader list I figured I would give it a go as well.

Started Here

From my feed reader list, First and Second.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

Had already took the dive on a subscription based game, EVE-Online, and decided to give WoW a try in Summer 2005. I had stayed away because I did not want to get sucked into a Pay to Play game.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

Malota – Female Forsaken Warrior on Earthen Ring US.  I started on Horde Earthen Ring as the friend that got me to join WoW was in a raiding guild there at the time.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

Friends, then switched to Alliance when another couple of friends and I started fresh on a new server at the a month or 2 later.  That was on Sentinels US a new RP server.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

That would be to me when the small group of friends and a few others did 10-man Karazahn and took down Prince for the first time.  We did it with a couple of members from one of the good raiding guilds on the server and it took 12 minutes in total since Prince has a soft enrage mechanic as we were able to heal through everything with cheesy placement.  Also I was Bear tanking the fight at the time.

5. What is your favorite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Nothing really anymore to be completely honest.  I came back to play with friends and family since I have not found a better MMO and did try for about a year.  I use to enjoy Crafting and Leveling Alts but that ended with MoP.  It makes me sad to see that Blizzard has only partially learned from their mistakes with crafting but not with Alts.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

Alts and Crafting but have not done much with them even since I came back.  I can not stand leveling in MoP.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

I started to play in either June 2005, I had to look this up because it was during the Naxx 1.0 launch event and remember the scourge invading Undercity at the time.  I was continuous up until July 2013 when I let my primary account finally lapse.  I ran 2 accounts since early Burning Crusade through early MoP, with a 3rd account on an off depending upon scroll of resurrection rewards and or recruit a friend rewards.  Those were the reasons to get a second and 3rd account over time.  I would recruit myself.  This may sound like a lot but for about a 1.5 month period in EVE-Online I ran 6 accounts right after the launch of Planetary Interaction.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

About .05% of the time, I have done it but not very often and usually it was only when I first started playing the game.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

Yes, I played MoP for too long before taking a complete break from the game.

Now while I play the game sporadically I hate most of my time in the game.  I have periods where I can be distracted and enjoy it but those are few and far between.  Every time I log into a character not at max level while in MoP I get pissed off at the game and usually go play D3 and slaughter hordes of demons.  I regret that MoP caused me to loose complete faith in Blizzards ability to produce a quality MMO that does not have a grueling and grinding PvE component if you don’t raid.  Hell even if you do raid it is painful.  This has not always been the case, tBC, Wrath and  Cata were much better in almost all regards.  Then again I like playing Alts and those were Alt friendly, MoP was only good if you had 1 character you were completely invested in and may 1 other character.  Which after tBC, Wrath and Cata almost no one had just 1 character or even 2, 3+ was much more common.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

Short answer, it gave something for my now wife and I to talk about at length, after we first met IRL at a somewhat unrelated social event. I say somewhat, because it was at a SCA meeting and then event.

Posted in Other Games, World of Warcraft

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