Sunday, March 7

Prying loose the nail

Hmmmm, since when is there a 4096 character limit to comments? That's barely enough to set up your argument structure!

They way I look at MMO's is similar yet subtly different at the moment. Maybe because I don't have an Old Faithful like Cuppycake and Phè.

When I look at the wide selections of MMO's available now and in the future, nothing cathces my eye really. I foresaw Star Trek Online being the bitter disappointment it is to most people interested in it, but I couldn't get up the energy to blog about it. Part of that is my new life/schedule which in a complete inversion of my old style has me more socializing and doing other stuff I neglected for the most part during those days at a cost to my online gaming and socializing.
The other reason is that I couldn't be bothered STO was making the same mistake every MMO maker does when trying to bank on their first prior IP so far has made. They're made with Hollywood Blockbuster checklists. Of course since tons of people per-order these games, sometimes multiple times, before the bad news gets out, these games do well on opening weekend which is another check on the Hollywood checklist. It's financially sound, just not a good MMO.

It happened with DDO, Matrix Online, WAR, CHampions Online and now STO. Turbine learned something from DDO I think and did better with LoTRO, Cryptic didn't learn from Champions or it was too late to change anything. Age of Conan was a bit different maybe, or it felt that way to me. It wasn't just exploiting the IP. There was genuine love for the IP, the MMMO genre and a desire to make a 'good game' rather than just big bucks.

I'm still hoping to find another MMO sometime which I feel I can sink my teeth in again. My main worry is that with the wide spread of flavours these days we've become jaded. Meaning that where when viable the options were 3-4 fantasy MMO's and 1-2 Sci-Fi ones it was easier to get in an MMO with your friends than it's now with over a score of Fantasy MMO's to pick from and even a handfull of Sci-Fi ones. It's so easy to get disheartened with an MMO which is unpolished in one area or another. But because we're all different, no current day MMO can ever satisfy us all. Odds of getting into an MMO that everyone likes (everyone being a group of friends betwen 5-20 with the latter being a persistent guild I guess) are slim.

The Old Faithfull MMO is like a well worn shoe. It's comfortable, and you've learned to walk so that the rough bits don't chafe anymore. No new MMO will ever give you that comfy feeling. Despite that we all keep claymoring for NEW and INNOVATION. This has developpers trying to do that for us. Resulting in games that do a few things well and a lot of things poorly to barely adequate. Somehting else the "Great MMO's of yore" did was do a few core things very well and added additional things as they became good enough. Even WOW did that and didn't nearly have the sleuth of polished features it has now. Unfortunately a new MMO needs to compete with that, or manage to tap into that "Artistic vein" that'll allow them to do the Few Things Very Well, add more later. I think two MMO's managed to capture that in recent years. Darkfall and Fallen Earth. Both do their core gameplay well, and in such a way there's no-one complaining within 2 weeks that they "finished" the game and there's no end-game. They're adding additional stuff after launch and their subscribers are for the most part patient with them and happy with the additions.

Of course, both games are what we'd call Niche Games today and don't appeal to a wide variety of players.

One difference between Cuppy and Phè I noticed:
Whereas Phè foresees having to socialize in RL rother than virtually, Cuppy is shifting towards the genre of "Social Network gaming and Twitting". I'm personally not interested at all in the 45 second attention-span crowd or the games built to further diminish their ability to delay reward. I wonder though if Phè or Cuppy's reaction is the more common reaction to the situation?


  1. In case you were wondering, I can still do the Wall of Text thing ;-)

    I stopped though as I'm realizing that while I haven't been writing a lot, I didn't shut down the grey matter thing and there's a lot of ideas and words trying to force themselves out just now which would make this even more rambly so I'm clamping down on them.

  2. It seems that we are seeing a common feeling across the interwebz, You've lost that lovin feeling ends with similar thoughts "the genre needs a serious kick start, an injection of fun that's been lost in translation for a long time".

    It seems there's a lot of us who have been doing this for some time now who have become jaded (rather than frustrated) by any real lack of innovation, says a lot about the impact of too much of the same thing, I've stopped caring so much.

    My enforced time away from games is a good thing, I am definitely in recovery now (he says optimistically) and can spend a few hours at the PC. It's good because I didn't get any chance to go near anything in depth, I didn't waste any time looking at STO, I'm a fan of the IP in a limited way so I wouldn't have been too miffed about lore breaking, from what I read though the game play sounds lackluster and there was no surprise reading about Cryptics shenanigans.

    My 'old faithful' has definately become AoC, I like the lore and world, I could care less about the standard world of magic and psychedelic colours, although I still do find myself hunting down something more visually exuberant from time to time, probably a left over from my misspent youth :)

    I'm playing SUN at the moment, is it new or a great game?...nope but for now I'm getting some fun out of it and it fills some time until the AoC expansion comes along.

    After 2 months of agonising pain and forced seclusion I find myself at a bit of a loss with life in general, which says to me that it's time for change, never a bad thing :)

    Great to see you back posting Lani!

  3. Gah that should have said

    "After 2 months of agonising pain and forced seclusion I find myself at a bit of a loss with life in general, not just with games, which says to me that it's time for change, never a bad thing :)"

    It's in context now ^^

  4. Glad we are all still slightly different. I think my issue with the current MMO world is still slightly different. My Old Faithful is City of Heroes. I am still have great fun when logging in on Sundays. I pre-ordered the Going-Rogue expansion, which gave me instant access to the duel pistol powerset. So I spent Sunday morning playing a new heroine. It was fun. They really made somthing fresh. But it is still COH. It can't hold my attention for more than a day or so. I am still enjoying Fallen Earth too, I think. But I haven't logged in all week. I have installed SUN after Geek told me about it. I played that for 15 minutes and realized I don't want to spent any time in it. (Sorry Geek, not my game.)

    To stick to Lani's shoe analogy City of Heroes are my walking shoes. Fallen Earth are my sport shoes. I am still going to the shoe store trying and looking at new ones, but realize I already have all the shoes I need. So why am I in the store? The shoes are not the problem, but the fact I am done walking. And talking about walking too, I guess. It is time to do something else.

    The strange thing about MMO play is that it sort of feels like useful time spent. Twitter, casual gaming, TV, even single player games, those are the real evils of life. If I go there I will be doomed! I think I am sort of trying to hang on to some misplaced higher standards. MMOs have great social and techinal mechanisms I love to talk, think and ponder over. I don't want to loose that. But it is getting to an end, and it feels like a piece of what I am is dieing.

  5. And woohoo! Glad to hear you are doing a lot better now, Geek!

  6. Something Phe said keeps haunting me:
    The strange thing about MMO play is that it sort of feels like useful time spent. Twitter, casual gaming, TV, even single player games, those are the real evils of life. If I go there I will be doomed!

    I played MMO's as a means to get through the days of being unemployed for nine months (Guild Wars, CoV) and again when I was equally unemployed for six months (EQ2 & Vanguard), so for me MMO's is as much about killing time as anything else. So Phè's lifting up MMO's above other forms of consumerism entertainment is not something I share.
    of course i don't suffer from the same preclination against the other forms of entertainment mentioned. Tonight I'll be watching Stargate Continuum, the Second SG:1 movie. This'll be the culmination of a 2.5 month project of whatching the entire Stargate SG:1 series start to finish.
    For the uninitiated Stargate SG:1 ran for 10 years averaging 21 episodes per season and I watched them all, though some I nodded off during or started folding my clothes to have something to do. Granted I probably look at shows like this slightly different from the non-show-directing interested nerd but a large part of the fun is just sitting there and letting the mostly good stories come over you.

    It's different from an MMO, or a book or single player game for that matter. I've also been having a lot more social life off late. It's all fun, different fun. But nothing is of a higher level than the other things for me. I don't think I 'better' myself through entertainment for instance.

    Having said that I think there's a difference between how I watch(ed) shows and being a couch potato who sits and vegetates in front of the big screen. I've come close to that person, but behind an MMO, not a Telly screen.

    Hmmm, I'm rambling aren't I?
    I think the doom lies waiting for you no matter what you do. it's about letting (yourself) go. The path to it isn't dependant on the genre of game you play or the medium you use for your entertainment. It's about how you go about it and what you use it for.

  7. P.s. The SG:1 project is naturally also a case of "Doesn't have a spouse" :-)

  8. See! You need to comment and ramble more so that I can see how ridiculous my own statements are.

    And yet, I think that is exactly the point too. MMO as game is not any better than the other evils I mentioned. It is in the fact it has social interactions. And as a result of that there are things in and out of the game that make me think, argue, and keep me mentally busy. TV, casual gaming, and twitter stifle all that.

    The fact I think that way means I killed all other outlets my arguing and thinking. And that is really scary and sad part. Without my MMO outlet my world is getting quite small. And I really need to do something about. Not sure what my plan is yet.

    Spending 2.5 months watching SG:1 sounds awesome. I like SG:1. But the does have a spouse make that pretty impossible :-)