Daily Blogroll 5/13: Truth in Advertising Edition

Dragon Age Legends

One thing you gotta say about Dragon Age Legends: like the single player games upon which its based, in Dragon Age Legends you Get. To. Kill. DRAGONS. (Warning: link goes to Facebook). Unlike, say, Dungeons and Dragons Online, where I have yet to kill a dragon. The one you see in the tutorial is little more than a tease. It’s fighting a mind flayer, though, and we HAVE started killing those in our static group, but the name of the game isn’t Mazes and Mind Flayers Online now, is it?

Mazes, though — we’ve had more than our share of those.

Facebook RPGs like DAL (“The first real game on Facebook“) and Treasure Abyss (“Hey, we were here ages before those guys!”) have kept me sane when I haven’t been able to play any deeper games.

More game stuff after the break.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

Here we see a good long look at 38 Studios’ forthcoming single player action RPG set in their Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning universe. The combat seems stripped down, fluid and well-suited to a game controller; clearly the game designers for Bioware’s Dragon Age 2 and KoA:R have been drinking the same secret sauce in regards to making combat cinematic. DA2 tends to focus on setting up team abilities, where in KoA:R, it’s all you. Very much in the flavor of Devil May Cry and God of War series, except, as the narrator points out, the fights here aren’t scripted.

Can we expect the eventual MMO set in this universe to have the same sort of stripped down but graphically intense combat? From Ixobelle’s comments about the sad result of his interview with 38 Studios, we see that they are planning for story to be an important part of the game. Story implies a more relaxed pace in which to enjoy the story. And unless the KoA MMO is a single player leveling experience as in World of Warcraft, that probably means a good deal less self-reliance. Your MMO character will worship your single player character as some sort of god.

Now THAT would be a fun thing to put into a game…

Looking for Group Tool


Rift’s latest patch is out, bringing with it appearance slots and the looking for group tool, among other things. It’s all very WoW-like, except for the appearance slots. I think Blizzard is missing a bet by not offering appearance slots in World of Warcraft; SOE is presumably making piles of money by selling appearance armor and weapons in their cash shop. If the games were running, that is.

As Ogrebears points out, though, the looking for dungeon tool isn’t guaranteed to get you a group. It’s an all-in kind of thing; if not many people are using it, not many groups are getting formed. On my level 24 cleric, a character who can take on all four roles (tank, healer, dps and support) and has access to two dungeons, Iron Tombs and Deepstrike Mines, I got zero groups after an hour of waiting. I finally left the queue so I could join in an invasion of Stonefields by the Plane of Earth, which in the end was far more fun and lucrative, anyway. Rift Junkies has more on the problems people have been having with the LFG tool.

I did try the tool on my 50 rogue, where after about fifteen minutes I got a group for Expert Foul Cascade. I’d never done the expert version of this dungeon, but the fact that I never needed to go bard for it probably points out just how hard these instances were nerfed. Thanks to a lucky epic necklace I won, I now have enough +HIT to qualify for T2 dungeons, so we’ll soon see how those work out. I had enough Plaques of Achievement to upgrade my level 43 green belt with a level 50 purple one, so I was pretty happy about that progress.

To Quest or not to Quest?

Wolfshead of Wolfshead Online stirred up a bit of controversy by quest-ioning the need for quests in MMOs. He argues that the quest hub mechanic World of Warcraft introduced has essentially turned those games that rely on this mechanic — most modern MMOs — into an automated leveling mechanic devoid of adventure, risk or any lasting reward, and so on-rails that a simple mechanism could just do the whole thing for you.

We can decry the dumbing down of modern games all we like, but in the end, WoW has 12 million 11.4 million players, Darkfall has like 5-50k players, and grand old dame EverQuest has ZERO players. People love quest hubs. It’s not that without them, they would play differently. Without quest hubs, they wouldn’t play AT ALL.

So if you WANT a lot of people to play your game, you will put quest hubs in. If you’re smart, you’ll put parallel mechanisms in there for the other people, but you can’t skimp on the quest hubs if popularity is one of your goals.

I have to admit that watching a bunch of soloers come together organically to form a raid in Rift is a joy. Tanks step up, healers step up, stuff gets done. Give people a chance and they WILL form a community. The real trick is hiding the fact that you’re doing it.

I type so slowly!

Time to head to work. Game safe!

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4 thoughts on “Daily Blogroll 5/13: Truth in Advertising Edition”

  1. Regarding Rift, I think now cross-server LFD is inevitable. There’s been strong opposition to it from part of the player base but single server simply doesn’t have the critical mass to make the system work.

    Regarding quests I can’t help that the alternate reality Woflshead is pining for is a reality in which the largest MMO sub base has less than 200K players. I am impressed that he’s moved from WoW being the devil to now include EQ. What next? UO is also the devil and the only decent way to play a MMO is with a $5 an hour sub through AOL on your 14k modem?

  2. Kingdoms of Amalur looks really good.

    @Stabs: You and 11,6 million sheep can follow the green arrow till you finally reach the exit or maybe, after 10 more years, get bored of it. But don’t forget to kill 10 rats before you enter the dungeon finder queue.

    I would rather join the 200K.

  3. A game that’s not on rails is entirely possible. Eve does very well. CoD, Halo are all massive online games (without the role playing) that don’t need quest hubs. When I started in EQ I didin’t think about grinding quests, all I wanted was to log on, find a group of friends and adventure. Experience and loot came so slowly that they were not the primary endpoint.

    Before you crucify me with your Ashbringer or Shadowmourne, I loved WoW. It was great. Key word: WAS. I would guess that over 50% of the players I started with in WoW have moved on just like I have. I honestly don’t believe in Blizzards sub numbers anymore. My server is dead and most guildmates who keep playing agree.

    Some may say only 200k want and “EQ” style game. That may be true. But I would pay 30$ a month so have that opportunity.

    I’ve like what I’ve heard out of GW2 about losing the exclamation points over quest givers. Hopefully they sense the large group of players wanting a little less hand-holding.

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