Saturday, April 12, 2008

MMORPG Extraplayinganza

One month of UO two years after one month of UO years after years of UO:
I believe the guy writing The Worst Ninja has things down pretty well. He's approaching UO for the first time, making all the too-contrived conventions appear that much more obviously. Here's a quote from my favorite part of his descriptions of his 14-day trial.

[The bank, where long-time players discard items they can't fit in their bank box on the ground] is a treasure trove. Armour, weapons, magic talismans, mysterious keys and, best of all, a complete, joyously humiliating jester outfit, which I duly don and prance about in for the benefit of my silent patrons. And then, there it is. Thank you, thank you, thank you, kind strangers. An axe. A huge, magic axe, several orders of magnitude more powerful than my geeky claws. I don’t care about its magic, though. This could be a one-of-a-kind ancient elven heirloom for all I care. All I care is that it can chop down bloody trees. At last, I can be the ninja-jester-lumberjack I’d always dreamt of becoming.

The picture of the guy's worth a look.

It is much easier to kill things now. Mobs drop lots more magical loot than before as well. Kingdom Reborn's interface would be much nicer if the sys reqs weren't so high and it didn't crash my box at least once an hour. I did enjoy the special moves you can pull off in combat, which is also a new feature, but this is still no game for the soloer with so many more enjoyable options out there. The majority of the interface still stinks, and for the first time I can ever remember I wasn't able to retrieve my corpse in time and lost some gear. No big deal, but I was upset to see that the stuff I'd dropped on the ground was still there though my adventuring gear disappeared with my body.

Oh well. I like that it's still around.

EVE Online

14 day trial wasn't bad. The game looks great, that's for sure, and they're able to pull off the simulation-first goal of UO very well. For instance, you will almost certainly be buying all your new gear via contracts with other players. When I bought a new ship, it was player made. This is good -- a true economy. I'm sure there are drains somewhere, but for the most part it appears to be about as closed a economic loop as you can get. I've also read a number of interviews with EVE folk that show that their push was to build a good, persistent, impressive simulation rather than just the tired cartoon that is WoW (which I'll still be playing soon).

My only gripe is that fighting seems to be pretty much a big dice-roll fest. I'd rather have Elite-like dogfights, and those aren't found here. You control your ship with the mouse, afaict, making it move to points, or you select targets and orbit (including combat) or get within x meters and stop. There's no real evasive action, though until you learn to target sans mouse, it sure feels like there is.

Even with the older client, it's a gorgeous game. Really, it is. That I enjoyed quite a bit. If I was going to play two MMORPGs at a time, this would be a great change of pace from UO/CoH/WoW. It's very tempting, but the complete lack of twitch play turns me off.

City of Heroes

There's a certain type of game engine that makes me puke. This is one. I get green playing it. In my first shot, I didn't interact with other players much at all, ran through some very boring missions (not unlike ones "real" heroes in comic books do, but without the character development/exploration), and ran away from some of the tougher two-bit street crooks between mission goals. The engine is very dated, with 2-D textures on walls, eg. Reminds me of Tek Wars, another game that made me puke, and, yes, Perfect Dark (yet another pukefest when someone actually commented that I looked green after playing on the floor for a few hours). But the reminder wasn't just the queasiness, but the tech in the engine. Tired engine, bland missions, and large headaches means they likely won't be getting my dough. I'd like to play more to give it a longer chance, but my personal, physical reaction will probably nix that.

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