Posted by: Erbse | June 1, 2010

MMO’s and 2010.

So then, I took my time sniffing around this years ‘big titles’, which I’d like to look on in this post. Granted, fanboys are likely to provide more accurate in favor of whatever game they decided to like, but I don’t have that amount of time, so I’ll try to do it briefly while on top sharing experiences I had with those kind of games.

Playing Warhammer and hence being mistreated by Mythic for the past year I didn’t get around to hear of ‘their’ next title, while ‘their’ doesn’t refer to Mythic but Bioware. Ever since EA swallowed Mythic there seems to be a lot of confusion going on with many people as to who is actually in charge of what. Overall you can say that EA is usually blamed by the player rather than anyone else, though that is false I can’t say I blame them, as EA really has very questionable company politics. While at it however, might as well wanna bash Ubisoft for the crap it is now.

Star Wars: The old Republic (SWTOR)
Developer: Bioware.
Release: Unknown.
Status: Alpha.

Star Wars is a title I been hearing of repeatedly for almost a year now, lastly due to all the nerds, geeks and other creature MMOs attract. Knowing Bioware it can be said that Star Wars: The old Republic will focus heavily on the game world and its surrounding, story as well as story telling with intriguing characters. Wait, doesn’t that sound like an offline game? It indeed does. So then, what’s their plan? From what I can tell thus far it’s a rather unusual attempt in the history of MMOs to combine what has proven to be superb offline RPG material with MMO elements. There is quite a bit of footage available on the Internet and I’m not a friend of developer trailers as they usually don’t represent what a game looks and feels like, marketing strategies I’m immune against! I’ll keep track to eventually see how they fare with such a concept as far as MMO design goes, lastly because I think it might not turn out to be a MMO by my definition, much like I don’t consider Guild Wars a true MMO. Also, what seems rather weird right now would be long time motivation and endgame in such a game. I can’t really say what their plans are, but they got themselves into one hell of a job. Currently I could only think of constant content patches that continues the story (or multiple stories within the Universe) further and further, even then the e-peen element seems to be a non factor, which is quite a bummer, as that’s what many MMOs live off of. The game will support PvP as it stands, I think there’s actually videos of it on youtube, alternatively try gametrailers.com. The videos I have seen looked rather meh, but do realize the game is in alpha still. Also, I don’t expect good PvP off of PvE games (outside of Korean grinders) and I’m rather picky in my selection as to what I consider play worthy when it comes to PvP. Lineage II somewhat spoiled me there with mix of mass battles and PvE grind.

Tera Online
Developer: Bluehole Studio.
Release: Winter 2010 ((Open) Beta scheduled for September)
Status: Beta

What do we have here?! One of my favorites. Why you ask? Because I like (!!) Korean grinders. Granted, I didn’t touch Aion, lastly however because I was in PvP mood and spend time in Warhammer since Lineage III has yet to come :P. The game uses the Unreal Engine 3, which too was planned to find its application in Lineage III, unless that was scraped. The game looks visually remarkable and has some nice tweaks when it comes to combat. How they’ll fare is yet to be seen however. The game reminds me to Aion at first glance, while I ultimately think that it indeed looks better and smoother than Aion does. What can we expect? One thing that’s for sure, Men wearing dresses casting elite spells killing the enemy and big bulky dudes wielding swords triple their size. Isn’t that awesome? (and the crow goes: FUCK YES!) So yes, from videos the game runs very smooth, probably not so much however when your rack can’t handle it or there’s actual players on your screen. As some videos gave away casters / ranged classes will have some kind of crossair so that point and click does not longer work as we know it, while meeles seem to generally have a (frontal) cone that somehow relates to the size of their weapon (I’d hope anyway). Seeing how it is a Korean grinder I don’t really think it will do too good in the American / European room, as people gotten way too spoiled by World of Warcraft as far as easiness in a game goes. Enemies seem to share the cone attack behavior, which gives the game some more flair, as you’ll get the opportunity to actually run out of range, or dodge attacks by moving, making you responsible for hits taken, at least when facing slow hitting monsters. The grind is likely to be unbearable for many and I assume that the open beta will be the make of break for a game of such kind in the US / EU region. I’ll probably check it out at very least, eventually anyway. Tera will offer the possibility to PvP, from what I’ve gathered. Much like Lineage II it’ll be open PvP for most part. There’s not too many details given yet, as a general direction I’d point out Lineage II as well as Archlord to get somewhat of an idea what you might be facing. For some reason the game strikes me as a modernized version of Cabal Online, can’t really help it.

Guild Wars II (GW2)
Developer: ArenaNet.
Release: Done when it’s done.
Status: Unknown.

Ah, the good old Guild Wars. NCSoft, who doesn’t love them? They bestowed titles on such as Lineage, Lineage II, Guild Wars, Aion and probably more (not necessarily brought all their titles to the western world). NCSofts motto with the exception of the Guild Wars series: Grind grind grind grind grind MOAR, grind harder GRRRRIIIIIIND and kill whoever whenever you please with possible penalties, which in Lineage II gone to the point of dropping ones gear upon dying a PK death. Browsing the FAQ reveals what to expect rather quickly, as GW 2 will try to stick to what GW already brought us: A heavily instanced game less focused on grinding and competitive gaming. Now, the instancing part is the tricky one, and why I don’t consider GW a true MMO, while GW2 might won’t be either. Guild Wars never had an open world with everyone in it but dozen of instances of the same city to spread the player base between. Lastly, PvE zones where limited to a group of people which had to assembled pre-entering a zone. Inside of your zone you’d never find a soul but NPC mobs to kill, which made the originally title a bit bleh for me. Not saying that it’s bad, but I simply don’t like it and opinions, as we all know, are moot. While Guild Wars II obviously tries to stick with the whole thing, to an extend anyway, there’s always a chance they will overall handle their instancing differently enabling greater interaction between players. Then again, keep in mind that GW2, much like GW1 will not cost any subscription fees. If the PvP will be as good and easy accessible it was GW1 the game will surely find its player base, lastly because there isn’t much competition in that field. GW2 fills a niche for casuals and hardcore gamers to not be bound to any expenses but the box to hop on whenever ones PvP needs arise.

Final Fantasy XIV (FF14)
Developer: Square Enix.
Release: Unknown (2010).
Status: Beta.

Final Fantasy, a game series without much competition out there. Final Fantasy 14 will be the second MMO to carry the Final Fantasy franchise name, with Final Fantasy 11 being the first one. The game looks very promising thus far, for those that can deal with grind and simply love to join a world to forget the real one. Here I see potential to take the PvE crown away from EverQuest II. Final Fantasy 14 is visually stunning but there’s only very little information available at this point, even on the games’ homepage. According to unreliable sources Final Fantasy 14 will be very PvP light, possibly not even allowing PvP of any kind, much like it was in EverQuest II until years later. That’s not a bad thing, dependent on what one looks for in a game. While the PvP e-peen might shrinks in this title the PvE is likely to triple. I never gotten to play Final Fantasy 11 due to having beeng too young and not having had access to a credit card back then, but from what I heard it is and was one hell of game, incredibly hard not even rewarding at times – that combination ensures immense e-peen grow through rare PvE drops and beating certain encounters quicker than others, don’t you think? Besides astounding environmental art the game has to offer I’ve high hopes for its music too, as Enix used to accompany their games with very memorable music which up to today partially has no competition either. Definitely not so much a game for the masses but a game that attracts its very own kind of players that are willing to put effort into a game just to feel rewarded eventually.

That’s about all ‘big’ titles that spontaneously came to mind for 2010. It’s obvious that MMOs are reaching a new level visually, which may or may not means the death of some outdated games at this point in time. The choice will be yours, the options are there. Who knows, maybe we’ll even all stick with Warhammer! Huzzah.

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Responses

  1. Mal sehen wie es wird Erbse 🙂


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