I’m excited, again. This is a result of a few events since i last wrote.
Time is running
First of all, i haven’t had much time to play all through september until the middle of this month. What i do then is what i should always do: fire up the games i like to play in this moment. See, since i know i won’t be playing for longer than, let’s say, 1 hour , there’s not much of a point to “force” myself into those MMORPGs i decided to treat as “main MMO”- if i’m in the mood for some The Secret World atmosphere, so be it.
As a result, i’ve played that one in those weeks where my weekly average playtime was about 3-4 hours. Sometimes i started something else- like Lotro, for example, and even Star Wars: the old republic (which i still find surprisingly enjoyable, but more on that later). So these 6-8 weeks freed me up, as a result, my list of MMOs i play grew back again.
The other game
Now, there has been Syl’s NBI armchair game designer – or how that other MMO keeps ruining my gameplay experience and i wholeheartedly agree, as someone who falls into the same trap more often than not. I keep thinking about how nice it would be if MMO x borrowed feature a from MMO y with a twist of MMO z’s way of handling things. Or i bemoan missing stuff, thing the game developers have done wrong and so on. As a result, every MMO experience feels incomplete.
I like them all in one way or the other- well all of those i covered here- from Fallen Earth to EVE, Vanguard, TSW, Rift, Lotro, FF14 and so on- they’re all great in some ways and lacking in some others. Being in one of them makes me miss some others. Or even think about that MMO that is sure to come out “soon” which will be a perfect fit for me. I used to think about ArcheAge in that way, and before i really liked GW2, but it turns out that none of those is perfect. And believe me, Black Desert won’t be perfect, as well.
I think this mentality has resulted in what i’d call the first deemed-failure-before-release MMORPG, ArcheAge. If Jef is thinking of jumping ship to another MMORPG that’s even further down the line (with no word on NA/EU release whatsoever), many others will be already done with ArcheAge.
So i’ve come to the conclusion (before reading Syl’s posting, but his words really fit perfectly) that one should enjoy those MMOs that are out there- there’s no point in always chasing the next release- which i think the community’s been doing since the release of Age of Conan.
The Secret World should be a hit
When playing TSW, i always think that this poor game is neglected because of…well, i don’t know. Maybe because it launched too close to GW2, maybe it is because it’s a bit rough around the edges or maybe it is because those who tried it found it to be “more of the same”, a mistake quite easily made when you give the game only an hour or so.
When you dive in, though, there are so many points where TSW innovates and tries new stuff that one would think all those players who scream for “something different” (myself included) should happily be playing The Secret World. The quest system might look like “more of the same”, but it isn’t. You’d have to give the game a little bit of your time to realize that, but the quests in TSW are very interesting story-wise and they offer a lot of variety.
Also, The Secret World is a game where it really is about the journey- i think one could run through everything in a quite short amount of time, but that wouldn’t be the point. I agree with Syp that story-wise, the Secret World is as good as it gets in MMO space.
But even if you’d play through the experience and were “finished”, with the releases of content (Issues) down the line, you could always expect to return to TSW for a short time- and i’ve heard those storylines are really great. The business model is a very good one, as well. You don’t need anything from the shop (except additional content) and you don’t suffer any restriction compared to subscribers. In a way, it’s quite like GW2’s business model- without the lockboxes and with stuff you’d like to buy in the item shop.
What i like very much about TSW, as well, is the balance in group/solo play. TSW doesn’t force you into grouping up (unfortunately it forces you to do some of the stuff solo) except for dungeons, but a group is really handy because the fights in this game take some time. If you can get a friend to join you, it’s more fun and easier.
I am glad i’ve “returned” to The Secret World, it’s a great experience that works very well with my gaming schedule and playstyle. Of course, if another game beckons me again, i’ll be there. And by now i already know when this is going to happen and with what game.
A good guild
I’ve always thought that guilds play a big part when it comes to longevity of an MMORPG- and right now, i’ve made a good choice. In the past, i’ve made no experiences with guilds despite almost always joining one in the games i play. Most of them were chat channels, the german guild i joined in Rift was a chat channel where tidbits of voice chat conversations would sometimes appear.
I think a guild should be more, though. And it’s not about going to dungeons or getting help, it’s about building community. At least if a guild is always recruiting it should always do community building. How much that can be, i learned in the TSW cabal i just joined.
There’s a cabal meeting every month- i can’t remember when i last was member of a guild that did guild meetings, possibly the ones i co-founded / co-lead. Guild meetings allow the members to meet up, see the characters of the other people even when they are at different stages in the game. Also, you can catch up to news about the guild, talk to the other members and stuff like that. It helps. Especially in a game like The Secret World that doesn’t really allow you to chat and play along simultaneously.
There’s also a newsletter/magazine published by quite a talented member of the community- it covers everything from news to articles provided by other members.
And the third reason i joined is a sub-group within that community that wanders different MMORPGs every few months. If interest is high enough, recruitment for the guild founded in that game will commence and it will become a part of the community. So Multigaming and game-hopping are built in.
What i like is that there is a vision, and there is an idea how to follow through on this vision. It’s neither a casual nor a “hardcore” setup in this guild. I feel great with these guys, and while probation is still ongoing for me, i’m already confident that i’ll stay with them in the long term. If they don’t kick me, that is ;)
Soon we’ll embark on a new adventure in a new game, and i’m pretty excited to start with this group of people.