Why should you read anything I have to say about gaming?
Well, I am old and as such I have played a few games. I remember a time when game play and engaging the imagination were necessary because they only had limited graphics/sounds to work with.
Below are the MMOs that I have played with some comments I have about each one. I find myself playing almost exclusively MMOs for the past many years. Single player games are more of a rarity for me. It used to be the reverse. Despite that fact, you will most likely find me “soloing” in those MMOs. I despise forced grouping in any fashion.
I used the excellent MMO timeline from Bio Break to make my list http://biobreak.wordpress.com/mmo-timeline/
Everquest – My first MMO. I played with friends from work and we used to have “meetings” at lunchtime to discuss our adventures. For a brief time, we even worked on trade skills from our work computers over lunch breaks until the crack down. I remember making a guild was in in game event with a real GM and a ceremony! I hated the downtime, losing xp and levels, and camping mobs.
Anachy Online – One of my favorite MMOs. I could never get any of my friends to play (maybe it was less popular because it was SciFi). I still get made fun of for puffy pink pillows of power (Concrete Cushions were a buffing item that low levels could mission for and sell to higher level characters). I loved the setting but I felt that the over equipping system, which let you wear extremely powerful gear at low levels with the right resources, made it unfriendly to the new player. Also, money seemed hard to come by and above a certain level you needed team mission loot drops to advance your character.
Dark Age of Camelot – Another fun game. A lot of my EQ friends moved to this game. I liked the grahpics, especially the fireball spell the mage type class got (real smoke trail and cool explosion!). I really don’t remember why I stopped playing this game. I guess it just did not have that “it” quality that made me keep wanting to play.
Final Fantasy XI – I really did not play this one long at all. First there was separate online service software to install, and then the game to run after you were connected to that. Also it was an obvious poor console game port. Soloing seemed rather hard past the noob levels. The funniest thing was the Asian culture who were already established in the game. I literally had someone get extremely ticked off at me for just inspecting his character. That’s right, looking at his gear set him off. The fact that they deleted your character after you unsubscribed and made you pay extra for more than one character slot did not help with retention either.
Everquest Online Adventures – “It’s time to slay the dragon!” Who remembers that tagline? Well, I fell for it. I already had a PS2 and it seemed like a no brainer. A couple of people from work got it as well. It never really took off for us. I guess I just need a mouse/keyboard combo to feel comfortable.
Eve Online – Suffice it to say I have had a love/hate relationship with this game. It is gorgeous in many ways, boring in others. Excel in space, anyone? The player base believes that because it is touted as an open ended, player driven sandbox style game instead of a traditional “theme park” MMO that it excuses them from degenerating into the most vile of human behaviors. Behavior other games would label as griefing, scamming, non-consensual PvP combat are simply part of the game and the moment you undock your ship you need to be mentally prepared to lose it all. That is why some chose not to and simply trade virtual goods from the safety of their station. Miners especially, who provide the raw materials for making everything in the game, are currently held in extremely low esteem – but only if they chose to do so in the confines of the games noob area known as high security space where there is a police force and rules of engagement. I must admit the user interface and graphics are much more refined now and one of the things that keep me playing this game. I usually only subscibe when they have a deal that boils down to $10 per month rather than the normal $15 though.
StarWars Galaxies – This game had so much promise, but to be honest I stopped being hooked long before the much maligned NGE (new game experience) and CU (combat upgrade). At first it was a breath of fresh air, with the skill point system allowing many strange builds of characters and the crafting industry. Later it became a chore, setting all your resource gathering and crafting buildings with power and money to keep them running. The space combat added in the Jump to Lightspeed expansion was one of the games saving graces – very reminiscent of X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter. Character advancement in combat seemed hard as well, perhaps due to tweaking to counter the power gamer endorsed builds to maximize your effectiveness. I do miss my creature handler/bio engineer who made mounts and pets. It probably went downhill when they let anyone be a jedi, but I will always miss Ytir – my wookie jedi character. Also of note, when I macro’ed my way to a max level entertainer character it was the first time I reached max level in any MMO I had played at the time.
City of Heroes – I never really game this game much of a chance. Maybe superhero games just are not for me (I have yet to try DC Universe online despite it beeing free to play now). I remember you could make female characters that would make you embarrassed to be in mixed company, but game play wise I just did not take to it.
World of Warcraft – I also have a love/hate relationship with WoW. I have always come back for each expansion. I finally buckled down between the Lich King and Cataclysm expansions to get a max level character and now I have two with a couple more closing in. I just needed to focus and for whatever reason, the timing was right. I read someone else write something about WoW being like an old girlfriend and they are right. You can always go back and pick up where you left off. I picked up the annual pass late last year to score the mount and the free Diablo 3, which I am enjoying now. I don’t know about this next expansion though for the future of the game. I have a secret addition to Pokemon, so the pet battles appeal to me but I’m not sure about the rest of it. Account wide achievements and mounts/pets is a nice addition. I guess we will see what survives the beta.
Everquest 2 – Well, to SOE’s credit this was better than EQ1 in my opinion. I did not appreciate the tier structure to the abilities where you get a crappy version and then need to craft or get epic drops to upgrade them. It was very ahead of its time graphically or just poorly coded. It was quite a while before I had a system that could max it out. I really did not play much by the time that happened. I liked the mentoring system and how you could lock your experience point gain to max out your AA points.
The Matrix Online – It was ambitious, but I never really got hooked. It also seemed rather complex. On the plus side, I picked it up for $1.
Vanguard: Saga of Heroes – Ah, this was supposed to be EQ2 for the hardcore EQ1 players that were disappointed by the real EQ2. The only problem was they lived in this dream world of what they thought it was going to be and must not have read the forums because the developer wanted to make it accessible and not EQ1 with better graphics. It held me for a couple months and that was it. Like most MMOs unfortunately, or fortunately for my wallet 🙂
Age of Conan – Anyone who played this and got their first critical/fatality/whatever they called it was instantly pleased with the graphic gory results. The game was solid through the starting area, Tortage, up to level 20 or so and went rapidly downhill from there. My friend and I still practice the accent of the guard captain saying “The tyrant of Tortage” (with emphasis on the t’s) way too often to be healthy.
Warhammer Online – This was interesting as I had no prior experience with the Warhammer fantasy setting except for the single player game Shadow of the Horned Rat, which just was not my type of game. I felt the game play was pretty solid and this is the first game I actively sought out PvP battles for the first map you get that is basically a 3 area capture and hold where you get points while you’re there. I loved using pushback abilities to push players over a cliff in one spot on the map. It did not kill them, but I know it bothered them and it amused me to no end. I also found some success with breaking off solo for some 1 on 1 matches and actually won some of them. The public quest system also showed promise.
Fallen Earth – I really love post-apocalyptic settings and it seemed like this game would be a great fit. I don’t know, it seemed kind of complex and not as polished as most modern releases. I also did not like being able to solo some things, even after I out leveled them. The crafting system was interesting and gathering would easily fill up your backpack but then you were still close to town and not really questing.
Dungeon’s and Dragons Online – I tried this after it went free to play and was not completely impressed. There is some depth in the character build system but I never really felt the pull to play it.
Star Trek Online – this one started out strong and then seemed to peter out before the end of the first month. The space battles were fun and gorgeous looking. The ground combat was not fun to me. I have not even gone back since the free to play conversion.
Lord of the Rings Online – I tried a demo of this before it went free to play and never made it past the first map. I thought it was a poor console port. I went back later after the free to play conversion and found what can be a graphically stunning game. I don’t care for the whole morale instead of health and defeat instead of death system they use and the musicians as healers is just odd to me. I was loving some time as a hunter which was what I wanted the WoW hunter to be – pure range damage without relying on a pet to “help” you. The burgler was fun too. I felt like a Klingon bird of prey coming out of stealth for a big backstab. The crafting is fun too. I found some of the story line quests where you follow the fellowship characters were modified to let you solo them but others were not. I wish all the quests had a solo option.
Rift – This was only the second MMO where I got a max level character. I played since the 4th beta and knew I wanted to be a rogue, a bard specifically. I know that is odd after my comment about the LotRO healing class. I was loving me some Rift and stuck with it to max level. I also hooked up with a great guild on my server and that helped immensely. I started doing dungeons, heroics, and dipping my toe into raiding – something I had never done in another game before. Everything was going great and then I found I did not like repeating the same content time after time, wipe after wipe. I became sick of heroics and raids because of the pressure. I was doing this to relax and it was starting to stress me out. Then the StarWars the Old Republic beta hit and Rift was but a memory. My guild was pretty much gutted from that game also. I suspect Rift as a whole suffered due to SWTOR. It was the place to be if you were sick of WoW.
StarWars the Old Republic – I started in the betas for this game and really liked the story telling. I cared about the quests and my characters because the cinematic way the dialog is handled pulls you into the story. The only problem is replayability. I really get sick of certain planets and all classes pretty much have to level on the same planets in the same order and other than a handful of class quests, the quests are all the same. Also, while the first flashpoint (dungeon) is great, the subsequent ones lack the same amount of immersion. I was a sucker and bought a collector’s edition for the very first time due to the in-game vendor that you only got with the collector’s edition. Well, the stuff on this vendor, for now, pretty much stinks and I feel ripped off. My only hope is that they will change it over time to be worth it. I have a couple of characters in the 40s split on two servers for Republic and Empire. I’m sure I will hit max level once I get some time to buckle down.