Daily Blogroll 9/9/09 – Galaxy Express edition

That’s like Galaxy Express 999, NOT the Futurama ship. That’s Planet Express.

My pet loves me when I'm dead

Ever, like, DIE in a game, and your pet begins dancing around your decaying corpse, singing about what a great day it is? Thanks, Hello Kitty Online! Leveling has slowed quite a lot in that game. My pet is having a super time, though.

If you spend several hundred hours in your game of choice, the LAST thing you really want is someone coming up and telling you that you’re wasting your time, because Game B is SO much better than your Game A — insert any two games in those slots. Super Mario World vs Legend of Zelda. Cribbage vs Bridge. WoW vs…. well, any other game that is not WoW.

Tobold writes that people become so INCREDIBLY vested in their GoC, that they can’t even LISTEN to anyone praising a different game. Because they are WRONG and always WILL be wrong — as they run back to their computers and log in to their comfort game. MBP notes that it’s not just EVE, Darkfall and other non-WoW gamers that pile on to any mention of WoW’s merits, but WoW players who can’t understand why anyone would play any other game. MBP kinda makes that point as well, saying that “World of Warcraft is the biggest, most popular, most polished mmorpg on the planet. It is a very good game.” Well, EverQuest and EverQuest 2 are both bigger, and Aion is arguably more polished, and Maple Story has over 72 million players… kinda makes you wonder just what WoW DOES have going for it, aside from fanboyism… Blizzard, treat your fanboys well, they are your greatest treasure.

Karen of Journeys with Jaye makes a stellar comeback to her too-long-dormant blog with a homily to the power of a good guild to turn a game into a community. I love guilds, but that’s a huge problem for a MMO mayfly like myself that floats from game to game. I do love my EVE corp, OtakuDyne, to death, though — the game would be far too frustrating without them.

Speaking of EVE, omgtheyarenerfingtitans! Titans, for non-capsuleers, are moon-sized ships of ultimate destruction — like the Death Star, except bigger, and without a lot of starship-sized paths to the power core. Gordon of We Fly Spitfires says the Titan-only 10k radius sphere of destruction is being made… single target. Now, I’m still an EVE noob, but even I can see why that is a Bad Idea. AE spheres of doom don’t need to lock on to a target, they just kill everything in range. Weapons requiring a target can be foiled all sorts of ways. Hey, if I just spent hundreds of billions of ISK and a year or two of training to fly a Titan — which is like flying an asteroid-sized target around — I want it to be UBER.

Paladins RULE!

Zubon of Kill Ten Rats has been having a grand old time making and leveling new characters in the largest, most polished, most popular MMO in the whole world, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft. His take: Night Elf druid boring, Gnome mage nerfed at low levels, and OMG Paladin!!! I wanted to make a screen shot of a paladin with its magic horse for this bit, but I am among the WoW-challenged, so I offer up the screen shot of a paladin and her magic horse in Nethack, instead. But it’s just like WoW in most ways.

Recently-capped protection warrior Copra finds the game changes at 80… especially in pickup groups. He has a dozen things PuGs have taught him about playing in a group with both random strangers and consummate professionals….

Massively has a great video of ship combat in the in-development Star Trek Online. One of the criticisms of combat in EVE Online is its slow pace of combat — STO looks to change all that. Can’t wait to see how all that comes together.

Wizard vs Crab

I’ve been back in Free Realms for a few days now, studiously leveling up my wizard. The game has sure changed a lot since its launch. I’m not sure why that surprised me, but it did. Beau of Spouse Aggro likes to point to Free Realms as an example of a larger trend among MMOs to remove all the boring bits and just move the player from one fun activity to the next at a good pace. Because, seriously, modern games are all more or less a collection of mini-games, right? Some just wear the badge more proudly than others.

Wolfshead was one of the fortunate few who went to Seattle’s PAX over the holiday weekend. He had this to say about the games he saw on the show floor:

Part of me is worried about the lack of originality and experimentation given this apparent grand consolidation of gaming features. This is probably because of WoW’s success and the simple fact that most people in the industry creating video games have either played WoW or are playing WoW and are understandably enamored of its success. I suppose in some ways it’s good to see features becoming standard much like a rear view mirror and seat-belts became much like standard features in the automobile industry. Still, it is a bit unsettling that all games seem to be converging into one game.

That IS disturbing, and I know that Wolfshead would agree with me when I talk about the virtues of games that do things in a different way.

Well, love to talk more, but have to head to work. A bunch of Republican thought-czars are coming to Hartford today, and traffic is gonna be AWFUL.

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10 thoughts on “Daily Blogroll 9/9/09 – Galaxy Express edition”

  1. “but that’s a huge problem for a MMO mayfly like myself that floats from game to game”

    – too true, I know exactly how that feels. I like to wander from game to game depending on where my mood takes me, and finding a guild that is sympathetic to that and understands can be daunting to say the least.

  2. Thanks for the link-love again, dear. I can tell that right away from the spike in my daily visitors. But hey, doesn’t my list apply to all mature MMO’s which contain the “End Game” portion?

    C out

  3. You really think that Aion is more polished than WoW, despite it not even being out yet? … I meant that as a serious question without any snark, as I just pre-ordered my copy of Aion last night and haven’t yet played it, so I am honestly curious in your assessment. :)

    I guess that the thing that WoW has going for it is that even though EQ/EQ2 are bigger, WoW is “big enough” for most people, I would say that it is a nicely polished and fun fast paced game to play, and even though it can’t match subscriber count of a freebie like Maple Story, it does have PLENTY of players. So it hits all the bases at once. When both WoW and EQ2 were new, WoW was, IMHO, clearly the most accessible and fun to play MMO out there. Blizzard did a great job of nursing their baby into the juggernaut that it has become. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed early EQ2, but it ran like crap on my PC and I hated the zoning and instancing at the time. It made me constantly aware that I was playing a computer simulation of a fantasy game … at 10 frames per second.

    These days, for whatever reason, the zones of EQ2 don’t bother me nearly as much. In fact, I like the EQ2 community a lot more. I think that when it comes to player base, that quality matters a LOT more than quantity. I would rather interact with the same 10 awesome, friendly players, for years than have my pick of a million douchebags to choose from, you know?

  4. Aion is INCREDIBLY polished, it puts WoW to shame, actually. If polish is what someone wants in a game, they should definitely play Aion. But is that what people REALLY want in a game, or is it just something people have been TAUGHT to say they want?

    Polished is good, without question, but the number one aim of ANY game should be FUN. Is it fun?

    I like Aion, Aion is fun for me. It would be fun even if it weren’t so polished.

  5. rob: Even the original EQ had “enough” zones after just one or two expansions, the designers just didn’t make very good use of all the space anymore.

    In Shards of Dalaya those zones are better exploited. The SoD guys couldn’t use all the expansion zones (for technical and “severe understaffing” reasons, I guess), so they made the most out of the Classic + Velious zones, plus a select few from other expansions. The result is that there isn’t a single zone that is completely useless, and that the average zone always has a few people in it. The game feels much more alive that way. Even live EQ with 200 more players per server didn’t feel this alive.

    I tried WoW twice, for 30 days each. This is not against WoW in particular, just an observation: I was alone most of the time in the classic zones, and most of the people I met were only passing through. No groups at all. It’s such an empty world if you’re just surrounded by NPCs.

    In other news (related to this post): Why can’t some people see that there are multiple ways to do things, and none of the ways is the “right” or “better” way? You could criticize DDO’s controls for “not being like WoW”, but if DDO’s controls were like WoW’s, when does DDO stop being DDO and become WoW?

    “Only WoW does it right and everyone before and since has and will do it wrong, because they don’t do it like WoW” doesn’t even make sense :P Some valid criticism came off those articles, but I’d prefer them with less attitude :(

    (Disclaimers: Yes, I also like to read scientific papers. That level of dryness please, when discussing such topics. There we go.)

  6. At first I looked at the hack screen without reading your description and said ‘A player with a unicorn!’ Then I second guessed myself, weren’t unicorns h? Then I go look it up and realize just how long it’s been since I played regular hack.

    Though if you’d had our brave paladin facing off against a master mind flayer that would have been a very different screen… hehe.

  7. I’m definitely looking forward to Aion and agree that it’s way more polished than WoW. WoW has more content, obviously, but in time I expect Aion will have that as well (as long as NC doesn’t kill it in one way shape / form).

    I wanted to comment on the EVE thing in that A: The Titan nerf (though I too have never seen one) sounds like a needed one since the DD weapon is a large reason fleet battle including Titans scare me now :P and B: The fighter-bomber would be a seriously good way to (not that they will or have any plans to) introduce actual player-piloted ships, like from inside the cockpit a la Black Prophecy (or Wing Commander if you prefer).

    I know people are very fond of the idea and frankly, the way EVE is set up right now it wouldn’t really work anyway, but imagine launching a fighter bomber in a fleet battle and when you do it basically puts you in a (dare I say) mini game where you are to pilot the ship to the target capital ship, download the schematics to find the weak points, target those weak points and unleash hell in the form of bombs, then get back w/o dying. Maybe they could even put in a fighter escort :P

    I’m not saying anything needs to be changed in EVE at all. I’m just looking at how things could be done instead of the standard “click to target, press Fx to launch bombs, then orbit while your ordinance is deployed” scenario.

  8. I pre-ordered two copies of AION as my last hope of finding a new MMO to entertainment. Tipa I will email you do see what server you’re going to for release. Perhaps we can hook up.

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