Friday, March 6

Something or other Online, a sure win title.

Before I forget to mention it, again, I made an alteration to the template so the link "New Post" allows you to start a new Blog entry without visiting your Dashboard first, provided you're logged in of course.

When I look back at my MMO gameplay history, specifically how many months I played each of them, I will have to say that City of Heroes/Villains is secretly my favorite MMO. I mean, I've played it for over a year now. 6 months on my EU account and another 6 on the US one which the sole, substantial benefit of having Phè to play with. And I'm now on month 13 I think. Second longest MMO run, and actually longest run in a continuous time period, would probably be Guild Wars. I played that a lot for 9 months straight, but when I quit my Gameamp staff position and went through that infamous 36 second final battle of the second campaign, I rather quickly lost interest.
Third place is Vanguard saga of Heroes at 8 months. An experience I still have mixed feelings about, with lots of downs in the form of a gaming community hell bend on tearing itself apart over hardcore/casual PK/carebear issues and two Guild destroying drama's. However, slowly yet steadily the bad memories start to fade and the good memories take on the glossy feel of nostalgia so that I suspect that SOE will soon be getting hold of more of my money.
Fourth place is shared between EverQuest II and Anarchy Online, both at 6 months. I'm not counting two short return visits to EQ-2 and I am counting two visits of 4 and 2 months for Anarchy Online. After that it's several 1-3 months try-outs like Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Lineage II and games I tried but once without completing the first free month: Tabula Rasa, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Eve Online, Rising Force Online, Archlord, Last Chaos and some other Korean F2P games of which the name didn't even stick.
My shortest time in an MMO, counting from the moment the client was installed and patched until the moment I hit the uninstall is 26 minutes and that was that commercial failure known as World of Warcraft. Final Fantasy XI despite actually lasting 30 minutes because I couldn't discover how to log out for a bit for now holds pride of place as my Worst MMO Experience Evah, thanks to Square Enix's torture session that they refer to as "account creation".

But this post wasn't intended as a rant about Square Enix's bizarre account creation torture system, nor was it intended as a show case of all the MMO's I tried. I actually want to talk about two upcoming MMO's and about which, if any, I want to play. It's odd really that City of Heroes/Villains is my favorite MMO. It isn't really. It's my fallback MMO if nothing else is available. It doesn't have the comfortable feel of a well worn boot or garment that it undoubtedly has for someone like Phè, who has been playing it for nearly 4 years now I believe. It's also a rather unlikely MMO for me, as Superheroes by and large aren't my thing. Sure I know a bit about X-Men with Wolverine naturally being my favorite character, and collected the early Gen-13 series for a bit. But by and large, Superheroes represent what I don't like about American culture and Hollywood. The same holds true for Phè, though she's way more of an expert on American culture than I am, having actually lived and thrived in that culture.

Ok, this is also not supposed to be about the con's and maybe a pro or two of American culture.
The thing is, there's two new Superhero MMO's in the making. Champion Online by Cryptic and DC Universe Online by .... Someone. Now, not being an actual Comic/Superhero buff I'm not sure which superheroes fall under the DC license. I do belief the worlds of Superman and Batman were split between DC and Marvel respectively, and the X-men are definately Marvel. Fantastic Four is probably DC and I'm sure I've made enough mistakes now to properly destroy my reputation with any Comics fan. Anyhoo, the appeal of DC Universe, without going into gameplay yet, is probably running around and meeting famous iconic figures like The Punisher, or Spiderman, or are these Marvel figures again? I seem to remember them being in the trailer for Marvel Online, the game that Cryptic was going to make for Marvel then didn't and went on to do the Champion Online thing. So, I suspect that the iconic figures that I'm actually familiar with are part of the Marvel IP, not the DC appeal. If given the choice between Superman and Batman I'd pick Batman any day, despite the Christian please-clear-your-throat-sometime Bayle twit.

The appeal of CHampion Online is obviously that it's being made by (some of) the same people that made a reasonably succesful Superhero MMO before. What I've read and seen from that game so far is heartening and discouraging at the same time. Complete Character Customization is taken to extremes in Champions. Besides having complete control of how you look, the diversity of builds is extended way beyond the already very flexible Archetype system used in CoX. You even get to define your own Arch Nemesis, though it's so far been absent from any gameplay footage/coverage which makes me wonder how versatile it will really be. You see I still remember some of the hollow promises of Vanguard, and that makes me realize this Nemesis thing can still end up being nothing more than pre-fab missions where the end-boss is the nemesis of the current team's leader.

Going by this review by Rock, Paper, Shotgun I fear that of the two, I'll like DC Universe more.
It's more aimed at the Console market, which is a moving target for me as to whether it'd be a pro or con, but as a result I also get the feeling it's more aimed at small groups than large ones. Judging by the presentations it's also more story driven than Champions, which had a demo that sounded an waful lot like some of the XP farm missions in CoX that I manage to avoid quite well.
While the mission generators are a strength in CoX, I fear that Champions really will be a cell-shaded CoX-II with like generated content maps, and probably more grind and raid-like content without really taking the next step. They may be wanting to take the next couple of steps, but I've heard many developers talk the talk before and stumble on the actual walk. In fact, that's what every game launched post WOW has done to a greater or lesser extend.

In short, I suspect that of the two I'd like DC Universe Online more.
I'll just have to get over my dislike for the guy that flies around wrapped in his red diaper.
So, I completely forgot to talk about why I'm looking for a Superhero MMO despite it not being my thing, rather than a Fantasy MMO which, based upon the 200+ books of that genre in my library, is my thing. Yet somehow I did manage to create another wall of text, so I'll leave it to you to speculate on that.


  1. A probably more interesting take on the whole DCUO or CHO debate can be found here.

  2. My view on both Champions Online and DC United Online is that they are rather unnecessary games. I am not too excited about either of them. Just like Lani I have nothing with superheroes. I don't like superhero movies, and I have basically never read a superhero comic.

    But on the other hand I am playing COH for over four years continueously. Which means the genre must be doing something right. I think the big charm of the game is the diversity of characters (both in look and action) and the modern day setting. Both of which make it ideal for me to play out virtual characters.

    Since CO and DCUO probably both have those same features I probably could have a lot of fun in them too. But I have the feeling they are pushing more for action than RPG. Which means they putting emphasis on the one part of COH I care the least about.

    Although that sounds hollow and hypocrit. Of course I am not playing a game to just dress up and reading lenghty tomes of lore. The action is actually important too.

    I am most likely going to try out both CO and DCUO. But I am going at it with a sense of 'I'll see it when I see it'.

  3. I noticed the push towards more action oriented MMO's myself.
    I guess it makes sense to try and go for the more action oriented market segment that plays shooters on Consoles, particularly as the original market is pretty much saturated by WOW.

    I have grave concerns about whether those types of games will be fun for me and whether they will actually play well on Consoles. Take AoC for instance. I really wouldn't want to have to fight melee using an XBox360's lousy directional pad. If they do spell-casting targetting in the 'traditional' way of the consoles I suspect there won't be any casters doing PvP, or much PvE from a console. It's too mouse-centric at the moment.

    But I've since learned that the Superhero franchise that I give a dime about, or for, are all Marvel. So I probably will be trying CO even if it is CoX 2.0 with cell-shading.