Whats new on the mmo horizon?

Well gang, whats coming up?

From what I see the one of the biggest titles is the Neverwinter MMO from Cryptic Studios. It looks pretty damn amazing, however I have played several titles form Cryptic and they all look good in the beginning however they tend to be filled with bugs, and trouble with class balances resulting in huge numbers leaving early on.

This game looks a bit different and I hope they have learned from what I consider mistakes.

Neverwinter from Cryptic

 

Starswars – The Old Republic going FTP

Well we’ve played the game, enjoyed it

despite the numerous bugs the game was launched with – after a healthy start the game has seen a decrease in numbers over the last few months, rumours say down 1 million customers from 2 million in late February.

There Bioware has made a statement that SW:Tor is going free to play (FTP) later this fall. After the server mergers the players seem to enjoy a lot more activity and we can only hope that going FTP up until lvl 50 will help the game, just like it has for Lord of the Rings Online, Everquest 1+2 and many more.

I for will check out Guild Wars 2 in late August, while keeping my SW:Tor account active, because I’m looking forward to the expansion in early December.

Star Wars – The Old Republic is now live!

Well – we’ve begun our saga. SW:Tor has gone live, and is currently hovering around 1 million subscribers.

The game launched in waves, with more and more people being let in, this created frustration on some level, however the overall feedback that I can find is that this launch is the best and most hassle free launch of any mmo game to date, only other thing that comes to mind is Rift from Trion.

Overall the game play great, and with a great story for all classes, it seems that people will be entertained for a long time.

There are already several max level players, and Bioware has promised they will release more content soon (Currently there exists 1 operation (raid) – 1 raid boss (comparable to Onyxia in World of Warcraft) and several world bosses of different levels.

So start playing and enjoy the game :)

Star Wars – The Old Republic

Well as most of you know, SW:Tor the upcoming MMORPG from Bioware and Lucasarts opened up for preorders earlier this month, and with recordbreaking numbers, it seems SW:Tor will be blockbuster the investors hoped for.

Some of my friends and me, have decided to start a pregame guild called Old Heroes, you can read more about it here.

If you have decided to order the preorder, it comes with early access, and so you should expect a launch in late october/early november.

Beta weekends are coming in september, so if you haven’t signed up for testing yet, you can do that here, and maybe you will be one of those randomly selected players that will recieve an invite to test out the game. Closed beta has been running for well over a year now, but invite only, like the beta weekends will be.

May the force be with you….

Rift – a good game…

For those who haven’t tried Rift, think of it as a mix of Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft – they have taken many good things from both games and created something that plays really well like WoW, looks like an updated version of Everquest 2, and overall provides an enjoyable experience. Last I read they had around 850k active subscriptions after the first free month was over, so what does this mean?

Well I think that Rift with its new dynamic and shifting episodes called Rifts will remain a strong game for at least a year or two. The true test comes once new MMO’s start hitting the stores. Strong contenders like Starwars – The Old Republic, Everquest Next and of course the next installment of World of Warcraft’s next expansion, and Blizzards next mmo, currently called Titan.

Until then I hope that Trion will continue to do what they have been doing since launch, listen to their customers and provide great content.

Read more about Rift here


Group sizes, support classes and more…

Everquest 2

Everquest 2

A trend has manifested itself in mmo gaming over the recent years: The move towards soloplay and casual short time play.

The greater mass it seems, has no real desire to be dependant upon grouping in order to accomplish things, and no desire to spend hours doing a certain task/quest thus game developers create their games with the ability to solo from level 1 to max without ever having the need to find other people and group, sure in a group you can kill larger things, but there is no need. The same with quests, apart from some of the “epic” quest lines in games, they can all be soloed more or less.

That brings me to another thing which again ties into the solo aspect of current mmo gaming. The lack of a true support/buff class which in my definition. is a class, that by itself is not a strong class, but in a group they shine, and provide so many benefits to the group, that without such a class, a group could be struggling to achieve its goals.

Old mmo games, like Everquest 1, Dark Age of Camelot, Anarchy Online relied heavily upon support/buff class and they were fun to play, because groups wanted you, these days with such a tendency towards solo play, no one needs a buff class, and since they were tough to solo with, they are more or less gone, Rift (new mmo) does have a few support/buffers. It seems that SW:Tor (the next big thing to hit stores) is continuing where World of Warcraft left of, ie. all classes are geared towards solo play. In my book it is sad, because once again, the social aspect of a mmo is being neglected.

I want games back the allowed you to solo perhaps from level 1 to 30ish, but then from 30ish to max (50-70) you needed to be in a group. Because lets face it, if you don’t want to group, play Dragon Age. MMO’s offer such rich enviroments for groups of people to be creative in and in the meantime expand their horizons and developing basic social skills, instead of this harsh way of thinking, that “unless you fit into this mold I believe is the best, you are a n00b”

Everquest

Everquest

Mmo games offer something for everyone these, instead of focusing on a niche, that in return means that certain aspects of the game suffers, in order to allow room for other aspects.

This brings me to group sizes, currently group sizes is around 4-5 people (WoW/SW:Tor), that doesn’t leave room for much variance either.

Everyone goes with 1 tank, 1 healer and 2-3 dps. If you allowed for larger groups you could much more easily accommodate for variance, one group might want two healers, or two tanks, and still be equally good and completing the encounter, and allowing the group to flex up and down in play styles solely depending on what classes they wanted to bring, instead of what they have to bring.

It seems though that Rift, with a near perfect launch, is doing things differently, and lets hope they have the courage to break the mold, and create a game, that does things differently than what the establishment does, and still be successful, I think they will continue to be successful if they continue to think outside the box, and create a game, that caters to a specialized audience, and not just everyone.

So what games can we look forward to in the coming years…

RiftCurrently Rift is getting a lot of attention, some people moan “its a wow-clone” – well to be honest, World of Warcraft is the single biggest entertainment product currently, surpassing even most famous movie franchises in revenue, so why wouldn’t you look toward such a cornerstone of gaming and try to emulate the parts you think are good.

The next big thing that really stands out in sheer anticipation is of course, Star wars – The Old Republic, nothing new about a release date, but the game hinges itself around storytelling, and the consequences a player can have on his or her own “fate” – Currently there are rumors about SW:Tor being the most expensive game ever produced with current cost anywhere from $100 million to $300 million – whatever the number may be it means that nothing short of a million subscribers will be considered a success – which means it must hit huge, the latest big mmo game since the launch of World of Warcraft was Age of Conan, which initially had talks of 400.000 subs but after suffering massive bugs and glitches at launch, the numbers quickly dwindled, the same story goes for Warhammer Online, developed by Mythic, which started big, but has since shown itself to be a failure at least from an industry stand point.

But what about in the next few years then? Will there be something as big as World of Warcraft? – I doubt it personally, but then again no one thought that Google was going to beat Yahoo, or that Facebook was going to demolish Myspace as the preferred social media. So maybe something new is in the works that will conquer WoW – Blizzard announced that their next gen mmo – known as Project Titan, will be a new social gaming experience, with a completely new ip (intellectual property) – rumors are saying that it will be something of a dual life thingie, where you in the one life act as a normal 3d chat program with avatars, much like the Sims, and it in the second one you will be going into an fps world and battle it out there for stuff and achievements, nothing has been said though.

Secret WorldThen we have Funcom’s “Secret World” – which may be Funcom’s return to the stage of being a successfull company, with two massively failed launches of first Anarchy Online, which later was fixed up enough to have a steady fan base and then Age of Conan, which also was launched full of bugs – FC’s Secret World seems to have gained attention from Electronic Arts who will be publishing Secret World. The idea behind the game, sounds awesome, whether or not they can pull it off is more of a mystery with the history they have.

My own personal favorite is Everquest Next – which will be a mix of Everquest 1 and 2 with new graphics, Everquest 1 is the model on which World of Warcraft originally was built – but in my opinion it offered a much greater varierity and chance to be different than World of Warcraft will be ever feature. Everquest 2 tried to offer the same, and introduced some cool concepts like instanced raiding, which World of Warcraft perfected.

Everquest 1 was different, raid bosses were on timers, sometimes it took a week after being downed before it came back up, and there was only 1 boss per server, so if someone killed Trakanon that week, no one else on the server could and people had to wait – which meant that most of the top guilds had to divide the zones between each other, so that one week – one guild had dibs on Trakanon, while the other guild had dibs on the Nagafen (another dragon). That in turn meant that servers only had about 3.000 active players if they were full – which again meant that your reputation mattered. If you got a shitty rep, you couldn’t do much until you fixed it :)

Everquest Next

So hopefully we will see Everquest Next bringing back some of the ideas that made Everquest 1 and 2 great – in a new package, and hopefully they will have the guts to not worry about being a niche game, and that 2-300.000 subscribers is more than enough.

Read more here
Everquest 1
Everquest 2
Everquest Next
World of Warcraft
Secret World
Starwars – The Old Republic

Reflection on the implications of online gaming…

Many of us remember the first time we stepped into an online world. It was exciting, confusing and most of all something different. There were people running around, some are helpful, some are not, some you become friends with at least to a certain extent. The people, I among them, who keep coming back to these worlds, are we looking for something the “real” world cannot provide us with? I wrote quotation marks around “real” because reality is how everyone else perceives it – its different for all of us. But why do we keep coming back to different games – while others who might have enjoyed a game for several years suddenly stop?

I think it’s either because they excel at it, they crave the excitement of achievement, being good at something is rewarding for us – I am sure it releases some kind of dopamin or serotonins – and once you stop at one game, or the game itself is broken, to old etc. – we move on and if the real world still doesn’t provide the same reward we seek out a new game. Others like myself stay in gaming because of the social aspect of it, it gives me a reward aswell, one that I cannot explain but it could be the same, but I enjoy making friendships in games, it’s what keeps me coming back – so here I am wondering if it because I am missing something in the “real” world – I have good friends, a good family, active social life, and yet I keep coming back, because of the enjoyment the friends inside these online worlds bring me.

So am I helping myself, or are we in reality “faking” our brains into a mold, that releases the reward we are looking for? Would we better off being good at sports, racing, our jobs – would we be better of finding more/new friends, a new family, a new wife – girlfriend/boyfriend?

What do you think? Which of my categories do you fall under? Number 1 – the one that craves the achievement or number 2 – the one the craves the social interaction? Maybe something else keeps you coming back? Or maybe you once played these games a lot, but suddenly stopped because something else in your life happened – if so please comment, would be interesting to know if I am the only one with these thoughts.

I would like a….

So you have this guild, clan, group of friends and what not, and you would like a forum/webpage online…well this is where Mamundi.com can help.

I can help you setup a subforum/subdomain on my site, add free – you will be the admin, and have the control over looks, language etc – and as long as the use there of is within normal legal boundaries, I don’t care what it is used for.

So get in touch with me if you would like some help with it, and we will get started…