Daily Blogroll 7/21 — Scrapyard edition

The Junk Beast in the Plane of Innovation

I almost resubscribed to WoW last night. Just for a month, just so I could see some of the new places, see if the stuff the expansions added changed the game for the better. I didn’t, though, because to roll up a Death Knight and see all this cool stuff would cost me $$$ for the core game, Burning Crusade, and Wrath of the Lich King. Maybe when Blizzard finally makes all-in-one editions, like everyone else these days.

Ack, there I go, comparing WoW and EQ2. I should learn to leave that to the professionals, like Wolfshead, whose first note on why WoW is better than EQ2: WoW has a smaller ESRB warning. As an EQ2 player and recovering WoW player (you’re never an EX-WoW player, just recovering. They teach us that in Warcrafters Anonymous), I naturally feel protective of my chosen game and could, if I wanted, spend a few minutes refuting that post. But it’s okay. Syp tells me not to take it personally.

Spinks writes of Zoltan, the WoW player who is a better person than you. All men want to be him, all women want to be his, because he is the best Achiever in the entire world. All around the Earth, millions of people feel a darkening in their soul as they realize they should have spent more time playing WoW.

Seems everyone is on WoW’s case these days. Stingite at Friendly Necromancer took yesterday’s apologia from Wizard 101’s Cyrus Drake about releasing the latest expansion, Grizzleheim, as a parallel development path instead of new high level content, and compares it to how Certain Other MMOs release new content.

Before we leave WoW behind for awhile, Wilhelm wants us all to remember that being a Druid is AWESOME.

This is why I play EVE Online. Someday…

If you missed playing EverQuest when it was new, Keen brings you back to the time when men were men, halflings were halflings, and elves were just rumors, the way they should have stayed. He remembers stopping by Rivervale on his epic journey from Halas to Freeport, where young halflings would give him jumjum as a friendship gift. I was one of those halflings! I remember journeying to Qeynos my first time, with my friend Noffin, because we’d heard rumors that there was a HUGE FIRE BEETLE we could kill there!

Halflings are ALL ABOUT the fire beetles! But it was so strange to see all those tall humans and taller Erudites, and mostly we stayed in Misty Thicket, with regular folk.

Moorgard talks about the value of great ideas when designing a new MMO, looking back on Vanguard as an example. Long story short: Great ideas mean nothing compared to great implementation. If you can’t make those great ideas a reality, they are just words, after all.

Melmoth at Killed in a Smiling Accident (best blog name ever) looks at the wordy, voice-overed quests in the new Star Wars: The Old Republic trailer and wonders — will the entire group have to sit through everyone else’s long discussions with NPCs about where exactly would those space rats that need lasering might be found?

And lastly, it’s sweeping the globe, gonna be bigger than WoW for sure, Enviro-Bear 2010: Operation Hibernation.

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12 thoughts on “Daily Blogroll 7/21 — Scrapyard edition”

  1. I started to read that “First 15 minutes of EQ2” critique but found it not worth my time. Too many classes, too big an ESRB label?

    I mean, if you set out to find things to fault a game on, you can find plenty of faults with every game.

    But it gave all the EQ2 haters some joy I guess.

  2. @ Pete and Tipa: The ESRB label complaint is somewhat silly, as is the assertion that every MMORPG interface should have a button that makes it look like WoW, but there are some good points in that article.

    I’ve spent literally hours studying the wiki, forums, and blogs to learn about what the classes do in EQ2. Even after all of that time, my first attempt at an EQ2 character – a Fury – was a bit of a fail. No one explained to me that I had to be casting debuffs I did not need on mobs I could kill quickly so that my root spell would not automatically fail due to low subjugation skill when I got it four levels later. The tip for the Heroic Opportunity system convinced me that it was only used in parties, and low level druids really need the extra DPS from their solo HO. And yes, frankly, the density of harvestables is a bit distracting at the extremely low levels – your instincts tell you that you should be picking up stuff that is worth money when you don’t have any, and you need to harvest to start working on your skills, but this also means a lot of time watching your character harvest (and fail to harvest), some very full newbie bags, and generally a distraction from exploring the game.

    It will be interesting to see whether the new trial area coming next year will try and streamline some of this stuff a bit.

  3. I’m not arguing that EQ2 is any better than other MMOs. I’m just saying that if you set out to find things to knock a game for, you’ll find them. People stumble when they first start WoW, EQ2, Warhammer, etc etc etc. MMOs are complex games…we just forget that because we play so many of them.

  4. OK Green, just for you I went back and read the whole thing, and I still pretty much came away with “This isn’t like WoW” as the basis of most of his arguments.

    Take crafting, for example. You can level 1-80 in EQ2 as a crafter. It is as viable a choice as being a fighter. So there’s a reason crafting is there so early on — some folks don’t want to fight, ever.

    But the author is treating EQ2 like it is a WoW clone. I’d love to see how he’d trash the character creator in City of Heroes since it has so many possibilities (which is bad, apparently). Even though that’s one of the most heralded character creation systems in the MMO-space.

    I also disagree with his assertion that Sony should be promoting The Shadow Odyssey to new players. When I boot up WoW and get promotions for the Lich King, then find out I can’t touch that content for 50-odd levels, that’s just annoying to me. Different strokes.

    Anyway, sorry Tipa, for going off-tangent in the comments!!

  5. The irony there is that Wolfshead slams WoW for its mistakes with just as much gusto. He’s got a point, though, if WoW is the “industry standard”, for better or for worse, it establishes expectations that will naturally warp players’ perception of your game. The genre is pretty inbred, and there are a LOT of players who picked up WoW as a “first love” these days. Savvy UI design would make poaching them easier.

  6. I didn’t write my article to score points with veteran EQ2 players. I wrote it to improve the MMO from the perspective of a new player encountering Norrath v2 for the very first time and from the perspective of someone who has designed video games for a living.

    Much of what is in my article is basically “inside baseball” that would take place at an internal design meeting analyzing the competition of any top video game company today. Therefore I don’t expect the average MMO gamer and EQ2 veteran to appreciate what I’m talking about. To them I’m just insulting their beloved MMO which is not my intention.

    I also don’t write blog articles to be popular and gain favor with a certain dominant clique in the MMO blogosphere.

    Like it or not as Tesh has so eloquently stated, most MMO players see WoW as the de facto MMO experience. Failure to address their expectations is going to cost you subscriptions. Subscriptions that SOE desperately needs to pay for development costs and new players that MMOs desperately need to keep their MMO fresh and alive.

  7. I started to read that “First 15 minutes of EQ2″ critique but found it not worth my time. Too many classes, too big an ESRB label?

    I mean, if you set out to find things to fault a game on, you can find plenty of faults with every game.

    But it gave all the EQ2 haters some joy I guess.

    I stated quite the opposite. I liked the fact you had many class choices. I guess you didn’t read that.

    I’m not an EQ2 hater as I have no dog in the hunt as they say. However I stated my biases and past experience with SOE products clearly from the outset of my article.

    Of course you can find faults with any game but why continue to tolerate them and not fix them to prevent alienating new subscribers?

  8. Ironically I am playing WoW, yeah yeah I know ……. I am on Shadowmoon – Alliance on either Noffin or Nuffin.

  9. Not sure I should post this here or on Wolfs site or on my own blog, but I’m here and I’ve got it all worked out, so here it goes.

    Just because WoW is the top dog, doesn’t mean everyone needs to compete on Blizzard’s level to be successful. EQ2 is, well EQ2 not WoW and it really doesn’t need to incorporate WoW-ish themes to be successful in the MMO world. if you’ve played WoW and are looking to try something new, then try something completely not WoW like EQ2 or EvE. Just because it would make the transition easier by making it more WoW like at the start, doesn’t mean its flawed, it means you as a player need to adapt not the game.

    Granted, I know that EQ2 is a bit more complicated than WoW. It also isn’t solo friendly, or at least it didn’t seem that way when I played it back at launch, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it or the way I like to my MMO’s. For the record, I like them Easy, which is why I play WoW, but that doesn’t mean that WoW is flawed either, it just means it is MY chose of play.

    There doesn’t need to be any hating. WoW is a good game as is a number of other MMO’s currently on the market, otherwise they would close down like Tabula Rasa did. It’s personal preference and people shouldn’t be harping about how one is better than the other, they are loved by everyone that is currently subscribed to them, because who wouldn’t love something for 15.00 a month, well, except Free Realm, but is that really an MMO anyway?

    Wolfshead expressed what he thought was a flawed game and he has that right. He is a bit biased because of his time spent with WoW, probably. Did it color his judgment in picking out the problems with EQ2, I’m pretty sure it did, but you can’t compare the new with out holding it up to the old, especially if the old is a game you loved to hate for so long.

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