So where do I go from here?

For the last few gaming sessions I have opted to play CS:Source over anything else. I did try and load up LOTRO on Sunday due to the free weekend, however, the Turbine Download Manager sure is a piece of crap. I have up to Mines of Moria installed and won Siege of Mirkwood (along with Mines of Moria :p) from Kill Ten Rats, so I can play a lot of shit I’ve not experienced. Honestly, I think this post may be pointless now that I think on LOTRO. Anyways, let’s avoid thinking of LOTRO and move on to the point, which is that I haven’t been into an MMO in quite some time.

I recently had a discussion with a friend regarding SW:TOR and their needed 1 million subscriber mark in order to break even. We wished we knew exactly how long they would need 1 million subs to actually break even. What the debate turned into was whether EA spending that much friggin money on an MMO would help or hurt the genre as a whole. I argued that it would hurt the genre and he said it would help. His standpoint was that it was business and that the behavior makes sense from a business point of view. He said that the game could introduce new potential customers to the MMO market by way of Bioware singleplayer game fans. Obviously most of our argument was based on speculation and we did not come to an agreement really.

My thoughts are similar to Mr. Jennings’ in that when that much money is involved there are less risks taken and thus the games will not stray very far if at all from the “normal MMO path” (read: WoW). Not to mention that if the game with a lot of money thrown at it fails (see: Tabula Rasa) then what does that say to potential MMO investors? I’ll tell you what it says, STAY THE HELL AWAY, that’s what it says. It seems like once or twice a year I remember something else from the times before WoW that I had forgotten post-WoW. For instance, when there wasn’t a WoW, there were no blatant copies of entire games. Which means that people took risks and actually TRIED to make something different.

Now let me ask you this: what is SW:TOR bringing to the MMO genre that is new? A lot of voiced work? Hmm, EQ2 did that if I recall correctly. EQ2 didn’t have it as in depth as SW:TOR will have it with different dialog trees and such, but really, I don’t think that by itself is a very big deal. Now maybe that added element of “singleplayer” when added with some of the multiplayer elements will really make the experience feel as if you are the hero. I know that in Borderlands, which is mostly a singleplayer game, that those singleplayer talking to the NPCs with a side of cutscenes really added to the experience in a positive manner. Maybe it will do the same here, in fact it probably will, but I’m trying to not get my hopes up.

I mean, how much MMO, excuse me, I mean multiplayer experience does Bioware even have? As far as I can tell Neverwinter Nights is about it and that was a remake of someone else’s game. I’ve not played NWN or NWN2, but I know it is similar to Diablo/Baldur’s Gate/Dungeon Siege type games which while some of those games can be compared to MMOs in my mind, they are mainly singleplayer games imo. If there is one thing I’ve learned from MMOs is to not get my hopes up. Maybe that is where all of this negativity is coming from.

Part of me feels like SW:TOR could make or break the genre for me. What I mean by that is that if they are successful and make their 1 million sub mark and hold it however long they need or shit, even if it grows, I just have a hard time seeing that as bringing anything positive to the genre. I mean, sure, maybe it will bring in new people just as WoW did but we all know how that went. They won’t want to play anything else and if they ever do decide to, years later I’m sure, they will be complaining left and right about how it isn’t like WoW or SW:TOR. Then we will have two games full of people who think that their game is the definition of MMO. Which would lead to even more people shooting down original ideas because they can’t see passed the purples, oranges, dungeons, and battlegrounds.

Now I know someone will probably want to say how WoW hasn’t stopped new ideas and change in the genre because of games like Fallen Earth and Darkfall. Well Darkfall, for one, was coming before WoW released, so that doesn’t count. Fallen Earth however, sure, it is a bit different. It is a FPS in which everyone can use both Ranged and Melee attacks, bravo I say. However, that is about all that was brought imo and some could argue that SWG’s facelift had this before Fallen Earth (though I believe there is an “enable autoaim” checkbox in the SWG options somewhere). The post-apocalyptic setting wasn’t really a change imo because it was basically just the graphics and textures that changed. If anything it justified the game’s mechanics more by saying oh well since it was the future and now that future is destroyed, we have this technology where you come back to life immediately after you die.

I mean come on, where is the new stuff? How long have we been waiting for new stuff? Let’s go down the list and see what we can think of as new stuff. Let me check a wiki for MMOs or something, hrrm, kinda found something but meh.
AoC
Aion
Darkfall
LOTRO
POTBS
STO
Vanguard
Warhammer

Age of Conan made shit pretty and made people’s computers crash. I don’t have any experience with the endgame but from what I heard in Murder Herd it was pretty fun. From what I can tell there isn’t much originality in the game to be honest, except for Tortage and the Day/Night quests, but is a singleplayer/multiplayer toggle really that new?

Aion gave everyone wings and the ability to glide. I must say that gliding is pretty fuckin cool but the actual flying is just like a flying mount in WoW except for the flight time. Sure there is aerial combat which yeah, was new, but it’s one tiny thing in the game.

Darkfall didn’t really bring anything new imo, it just used a lot of the tools most developers automatically threw in the trash such as a seemless world (of course with instanced dungeons), full loot, fps, skills, etc. The combination of these tools was new as shit, but the tools themselves had been around for some time.

LOTRO didn’t bring much imo except the monster play, which really hasn’t taken off lol. I’ve yet to check out these new skirmishes I’ve heard about though I believe they may be battlegrounds? I don’t know. But again, there wasn’t a whole lot of new besides the graphics, scenery, and setting.

POTBS aka the boat game everyone tried in beta and quickly quit in beta. This game seemed promising for a while and it did bring in new stuff. Naval combat was pretty new (unless you boated into another boat in UO and fought/bugged to fight someone). But, the majority of the game was the same old shit.

STO I know pretty much nothing about except that I don’t need to know much about it.

Vanguard didn’t bring anything new really, unless you want to consider the diplomacy as new, though I believe other games had similar card games already. The crafting was different and interesting, I will give it that. The rest? SSDD.

Warhammer felt like it brought in the most new stuff. From the Tome of Knowledge to Public Quests, I have to hand it to them, they introduced the most new stuff. Shit, when WoW steals your new idea, you did something right.

I’d like to say that CoH/V with the architect stuff was definitely pretty cool.

So how many things is that? Around 6 from what I can tell. Are any of them really game changing? Maybe the POTBS boating would be considered game changing as that game seems quite a bit different from your standard MMO, though there is a large portion of ground quests.

My point is, if the focus is on getting the big money by spending the big money, where is the change going to come from? When you’re paid a shit ton of money to make a game that is like this one but a little different cus it’s Star Wars and not Elves and shit, are you going to risk your large paycheck to say that maybe we should try something new? Of course you’re not, because people have been getting fired for shit like that recently, shit, people have been getting fired for just about nothing recently. So as Mr. Jennings’ said, I will say it as well, where is the new stuff gonna come from if it isn’t from the people with the money to publish a game?

Oh and what the fuck am I going to play? I need an MMO fix, maybe lotro but, redownloading the whole thing sounds gay, maybe some SWG? Meh, DAOC? Meh, who knows!

Borderlands: What the crap was that?

I finished up my first playthrough of Borderlands last night with my buddy. I was really disappointed to be quite honest. The whole time you’re being told about this fucking vault and oh man the treasure! Next thing I know the game is over and it ends right outside the vault. Ugh, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t played it, but I have to. The “guardian angel” is actually a satellite for the Hyperion corporation. The Atlas corporation I believe are the “bad guys” even though they’re pretty much just your competition.

Such a let down. I wonder if I will be going for a second playthrough on what I believe will be “hard mode”. I’m kind of disappointed though. My friend might want to get the additional content xpacs but I don’t know. It is hard to describe the level of disappointment I had last night when we won.When my friend told me the final boss was level 35ish I was level 28 or so and was already disappointed with the lack of length (that’s what she said) in the game.

MEH! I have 6 days left on my UO subscription, that is a possibility. Another is returning to the Project 1999 EQ emu server. More people from PKer are playing so I may just jump back in.

On a side note, I’ve been watching a shit ton of Survivor. I’ve watched the most recent season a bit and it has inspired me to go back and watch the previous seasons. So far I’ve seen the entire Seasons 1 and 2, yesterday I started Season 3. I can’t get enough of this and I don’t feel bad because it isn’t as shitty as the majority of reality shows. These people are actually living in the bullshit and having to get along, I think all of that shit is definitely real. Now sure, they’re never in a shit ton of danger, but it would still scare the shit out of me. So far it is hard to hold a torch up to Season 1, but I’ve just reached a crazy twist in Season 3 where they switch some team members and saved my favorite, Frank, from getting picked off by the young and dumbs.

Anyways, that’s all I’ve got for ya! Schools been rough, tax season at work, meh!

Borderlands: Pretty Fuckin Cool

I’ve kind of given up on the free EQ deal. I got to around 10 or so on a Necromancer, died probably 100 times in the process, and just can’t stand torturing myself anymore. I may return sometime, but not until I am done with Borderlands.

Yes I have been playing Borderlands like a mad man recently. I have a level 28 or so Brick, 23ish Soldier, 17ish Hunter, and a 16 Brick. It’s hard to describe what it is about this game that really draws me in, but I shall attempt to!

First of all, it is an FPS. I am unaware of the engine that they use for the game but since it runs through Steam I want to think that it is the Source engine. For me, that is a big plus.

Secondly, you have character levels, skill levels, a class defining ability, and talents affecting either your ability or your character. These things are a positive because they are in most MMOs and a thing I have come to enjoy subconsciously whether I think I like them or not.

The FPS part works. This may seem like a stupid positive to some of you but you’d be surprised how many FPS hybrids seem to not work at times. Accuracy, recoil, swaying (for sniper rifles), and fire rate. All of these things are implemented into the items and work well. My one gripe is weapons that do not have high zoom (above 1.0 grants you a scope sight I believe) use the guns barrel. Now, I’ve shot a few guns in my day and I’m pretty sure I know how to use the barrel’s sights, but this game doesn’t seem to agree with me. Whenever I’ve shot a gun, you put the I in the U and whatever the I is covering is what gets hit. In this game you put the I in the U and then after the recoil raises the barrel, the bullets hit above where the I is. Moral of the story: aim lower. Not a fan of that.

Vehicles that have a machine gun (that can only aim ahead of you), rocket launcher, and seats 2 people. One person can drive and easily control both weapons, or you can have a driver controlling the machine gun and a passenger controlling the rocket launcher. Either way you’re going to have fun. Especially when you get into the place where you fight mobs that are using vehicles as well.

Graphics. I’ve not seen a game with this style of graphics that I know of, so it just adds to the uniqueness of the game. Sure the game may have taken the best parts of other games, but this new color of paint sure does hide that fact rather well.

NPC Dialogue. So good. My favorite guy is Scooter, the guy who gives the vehicles out. He talks about how busted his momma’s girl parts are in the beginning and later he’ll have you rescue his friend and say “by friend I mean dick bag” in such a charming way. They really seem to have tried hard and even taken some risky steps into “cheesy” territory. I would say it paid off.

I love the few introductions they do for certain boss mobs. The first boss, Nine Toes, is introduced by saying Nine Toes (he also has 3 balls). For Sledge they make sure to remind you (you’re not friends). They managed to put stills into my FPS in a way that doesn’t seem intrusive and is entertaining.

The audio in itself is great. Pain noises, grunts, war cries, etc. They are all very good and add greatly to the game. From the Brick going ape shit with his Berserk ability (omg I love this so much, he gets sooo fucking mad I love it) to the midget shotgunners charging you and screaming their squeaky little screams. I love going AFK and hearing my own character say, “Well, standing here is just great!”, while being in my kitchen.

If you haven’t played Borderlands, I would highly suggest giving it a shot as it is a very fun game.