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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

MMO? NNO...

6 comments
A recent post by J3W3L over at Healing the Masses sums up much of my current issue with the MMOs that are around right now. I'm still dabbling in The Old Republic and The Secret World, but the vast majority of my gaming time recently has been spent with other types of game (such as Dragon Age Origins, The Stanley Parable, DiRT2 or tabletop RPGs).

Is it just me that is making a sad face at the current crop of new MMOs?
It seems that the current crop of MMO games just don't appeal to me any longer. Some friends have started playing EQ2 again recently, but I just don't feel any urge to play. Rift, Guild Wars 2, Eve Online, Final Fantasy XIV - none of them appeal to me (I've played most of them before anyway). Perhaps my fourteen year love of the genre is finally dying out.

There are plenty of reasons, many of which I've discussed before, but I think primarily it's down to a move towards mechanics and systems that fail to foster server community and a move towards less challenging content.

Of the upcoming MMOs there is very little I'm getting excited about. The jury is still firmly out on Everquest Next (I have plenty of worries as to how it will turn out, but remain open to being surprised, and hopeful that their AI system will offer some real challenge for once).

The Elder Scrolls Online looks so average it hurts. I'm not a fan of the Elder Scrolls lore (and have always struggled with the single player games until Skyrim), and from what I can tell, apart from the setting, it just looks like more of the same-old same-old. Is there any reason to choose to play Elder Scrolls Online over any other themepark MMO other than the lore? I'm not seeing it.

The art direction and design for Wildstar are not my cup of tea. Again it looks like another themepark MMO (sure to be highly polished if the developers' pedigree is anything to go by) with a few interesting systems layered on top. The housing system sounds great, but it's not enough by itself to get me to subscribe. Perhaps if the reviews are stellar and all my friends jump in I'll give it a go.

ArcheAge - fingers crossed!
I've been keeping an eye on ArcheAge for a while now. Now that it's released in Korea it doesn't actually appear to live up to the promise it once held, but there is so much potential that I'll be checking it out when it does (if it ever does) get released by Trion in the States and the EU. Whilst still containing many themepark elements there seems to be plenty of sandbox systems too, and things like the player-run legal system look really interesting.

Looking further out there are a few games that hold a glimmer of hope. Trials of Ascension is in the very early stages, having only just opened up on Kickstarter. It's a sandbox MMO that offers some really interesting systems. My main concern is that the developers don't really have any kind of track record and it seems to be a very small team involved.

I'm still undecided on Star Citizen. It looks interesting enough that I've decided to back the crowd-funded space trading and combat game (not that it needs my money; it is by far the most successful crowd-funded game yet, having just reached $26 million in funding).

The one game that I am really pinning my hopes on right now is Camelot Unchained, another crowd-funded sandbox MMO. CU seems to offer what I am looking for in my next long-term MMO game - a sandbox game with housing (very similar to the EQNext construction system), realm-versus-realm combat, and challenging content (no auction houses, very limited fast travel, and a focus on server and realm community). It's a spiritual successor to Dark Age of Camelot and is being developed by Mark Jacobs who was responsible for that game.

Camelot Unchained - the last, best hope..?
Camelot Unchained has only been in development for a few months but already seems to be making great progress. The development team is very open to feedback on the founders forums and they give very detailed fortnightly updates on their progress. I do have a couple of niggles with what I've seen so far (for example, the proposed Cat race is definitely not to my taste), but in all the important ways it is looking good.

The fourteen Foundational Principles that the developers wrote prior to starting work on the game really set out what they are trying to do and match pretty well with what I want from a new MMO experience. Tie all that into a huge, open, procedurally-generated voxel-based world, with a meaningful crafting system and it sounds like just what I'm after. I understand however that such a game may be anathema to others, but the developers of Camelot Unchained are not aiming for a mass market game and have stated they won't compromise by trying to appeal to a larger audience.

Unfortunately I think that where we are right now with new MMOs is in a pretty stale and sorry state. Looking forwards there are very few games in development that seem to fulfil my desires, in the short to medium term at least.

Oh well, the MMO space may be stagnating but there are plenty of interesting looking games in other genres on the horizon, especially those emerging from the booming indie developer market right now. It may be time for me to take a vacation from MMO-dom for a while.

6 comments:

  1. I have been going through a similar phase as of late and found myself flitting back to single-player games (both on and offline). I guess fortunately for me I still have a number of MMOs left to try out which I have not played yet (FFXIV, Rift) and tried EVE for the first time a month or so ago so it's all still sparkly for me.

    I hope we are beginning to move out of the 'must make the next WOW' phase of MMO development and am interested to see what comes of Camelot Unchained. I was aware of Dark Age, but didn't really get in to MMOs until WoW came along.

    Also is the Stanley Parable any good? Finally try Cardhunter if you have not done so already, it's a good little time-sink!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loved The Stanley Parable, but it's an odd game and I can see that plenty of people wouldn't like it. Try the free demo, which gives you a good idea of the tone of the game but doesn't actually contain any gameplay from the main game so you can remain spoiler free.

      I have been playing Cardhunter and couldn't agree more. Great fun and a great timewaster!

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  2. I'm a little excited for ESO. it seems that they are iterating on the foundations in a way I actually like. The combat has a more modern edge to it, positional and reactive active.. plus aiming (to an extent) and blocking. lots of cutomisation to it as well as it should be interesting.

    The AvA looks to improve on the failures of WvW in GW2. more space, laregr amount of people on the map, seems more for the strategically minded.

    Wildstar.. meh. I just don't see the appeal at all. The housing looks ok but if I was going to play a themepark solely for housing it would be rift

    Sadly I don't believe Archeage will hold up to the hype either. The never actually fleshed out the sanbox enough and crammed in these weird themepark mechanics that kind of ruin it. Plus they have barely developed even a quarter of the thrid continent and the combat system is insanely imbalanced

    CU.. hallelujah

    I'm also interested in seeing how Black desert shapes up. great open world housing, a focus on open world, and a zone based trade system. combat is average and the questing is standard fair but still

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm surprised at how much support CU is getting. Let's hope it translates to a great game too.

      Forgot about Black Desert, it hasn't really been a game I've been following, but I like the sandboxy elements to it.

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  3. "Some friends have started playing EQ2 again recently, but I just don't feel any urge to play."

    Muwahahaha!

    ReplyDelete

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