Yeah, who would’ve thought- i caved and bought the most recent hype-machine. Haven’t played yet, but took screenshots of 10 starter planets in No Man’s Sky. Enjoy- i’ll be off starting on planet 11.
That isn’t asking for a close-down, to the contrary, actually.
Part of being a dirty time-casual is that there are way more gaming options out there than could possibly fit in the schedule. This is both in relation to games in general and in terms of MMORPGs. I’ll take a look at the latter here. Even when I was very happy to stay in Elder Scrolls Online for the first half of the year as well as with my choice for the second half, there are quite a few MMORPGs I’d like to see through to the end.
Lord of the Rings Online: If I were able to stick with it, i’d be playing it right now. Lotro is beautiful, especially the landscapes. Turbine did their very best to recreate one of the most iconic fantasy worlds out there- and succeeded, in my opinion. Unfortunately, I think its time comes to an end (not official! just gut-feeling) in the coming year, due to licensing. I’m sure they’d keep the lights on as long as possible- but when they aren’t allowed anymore? Who knows. Could WB save it or simply not care to shut it down? Possible, I don’t know. But we do know the license is up in 2017.
Still, I could play it whenever the mood strikes- and I possibly will at some point, but whenever i think about the need to see this recreation of middle-earth, I remember Moria and a sigh escapes my mouth. Honestly, not even Gandalf wanted to go there. Could Lotro still be a subscription game if they had chosen overland zones for their first expansion?
Maybe i’ll get past that, at one point. I hope so.
The Secret World: No problems with this game whatsoever, just difficulty to put it into my rotation. Sure, it only has missions as content, but it has one of the most engaging storylines in the genre.
Blade and Soul: There aren’t many MMORPGs that have an eastern setting and flavor of story while being a triple-A product and quite fun to play. Blade and Soul is one of them.
Wildstar: Look, revenue is increasing…but it’s still at $2 million a quarter. That’s really not all that much. I still feel this is undeserved- it is a solid MMORPG maybe released at a time when many were tired of that old formula and Wildstar maybe didn’t do enough to shake it up. I have to confess that here, i wouldn’t be in it for the game, the zones, the story, the atmosphere, but the housing. In Wildstar, housing would be my endgame; unfortunately, I feel it starts too slow despite being introduced at an early level.
Here I* am, still thinking about whether or not to preorder No Man’s Sky for its PC release on friday. The game sounds interesting enough, even if I’d say it lends itself better to the couch and tv in the living room than the PC at the desk. I’m fine with everything I’ve read so far and didn’t expect anything else, maybe because I didn’t care much for the hype beforehand. It’s released now and it seems to be a single player game, but I didn’t take a longer look at the game before it was released. Insofar, I’m glad the PS4 version released a couple of days before the PC version; that way, I still have about 48 hours to make up my mind.
The thing is, to me, the game loses value as soon as it is released. Strange as it might sound, I actually do want to name species, planets and stuff. So as soon as others go about doing that, the chances of me being able to call something “Strangebird” or “Legolas” become slimmer every day. And the game would lose some of its attraction for me.
Interesting, though, is to see how much the devs seem to skirt around that multiplayer thing- my guess is that if it was clearly labelled as singleplayer game, Massively wouldn’t have covered it.
Another thing popping up in my head is the lack of content in NMS- yes, i said it! 18 bazillion planets don’t really mean a thing to me if
- I can’t build a base (apparently an upcoming feature)
- there is no civilization- and I’m not talking about a strange building here and there, but cities, skyscrapers, sentient species moving on planets (don’t really know if NMS has something like this)
- I can earn spacebucks, but don’t really have a way to spend them (possibly ship and multitool upgrades)
- what am I gathering resources for?
I mean, even if it is great for exploring, for sure, it could still feel empty. Ah well, but I’m the guy who plays Civilization games on an Earth map, if possible, because I don’t find randomly generated worlds to be plausible. Maybe I lack fantasy.
Elder Scrolls Online will get housing in its Q1 2017 update- we know this already. We probably also know that it’s semi-instanced. I’m very much looking forward to housing in ESO – but i do have a few wishes.
I hope housing will be accessible very early in the game and not be a max-level thing. It should also be somewhat attractive by default- players who like housing are a creative and loyal bunch, if housing is done right. However, housing players will only “suffer” through so much gameplay they don’t enjoy to get something for the part of the game they do. Leveling to 50 would be a bit long. Of course housing should scale very well and accompany players throughout their characters’ lives. At any point from level 10 onwards, i’d like to be able to see and do something about my house.
Not a byproduct
I hinted at that wish above, but i think this bears repeating: don’t make me run 10 dungeons to – maybe- get some housing item i’d like. Don’t simply attach housing stuff to achievements. Sure, do housing drops, they’re nice loot. Ideally, housing would be a different path to take in the game, maybe even accompanied by a new crafting profession or new recipes for existing crafting professions.
I hope we’ll be able to share our spaces, let visitors come in. A player owned house would be great for guild meetings. It would be even better if we were able to visit houses of strangers (if they set the appropriate permissions).
There are great housing systems out there- Wildstar’s and Rift’s housing systems are both very accessible and very complete- however, in both cases i had trouble to connect them to the virtual world they should be in. It’s not a lore- or immersion problem, per se, as the teleporting and locations fit into both games, but in both cases, i couldn’t shake the feeling of disconnect. In ESO, we already seem to know that the houses are part of the zones, so this wish seems to be granted.
It is very important for an MMORPG to have means of spending earned gold. The last couple of years brought us more and more alternative currencies in other games, often different ones for different activities (questing, dungeons, pvp etc.). You’d get some kind of token that you can then spend at some NPC for items. It’s an…ok system to have, but as with bound-on-acquire gear, i think of it as a band-aid that’s hurting the economy. You really only need one currency- gold. Elder Scrolls Online thankfully features gold as a currency mostly, to my knowledge. While i am always broke in this game (and think this is a good thing), i’ve heard others state that they didn’t know what to do with their gold- housing is a good way to get them to spend it.
Light on cash shop
Of course we know housing is going to be monetized in the cash shop- there’ll be exclusive items, possibly even houses, and i have no problem with that. As with everything, though, it’s important to keep a balance. I think it would be a shame, for instance, if crafters couldn’t create anything for the houses, in-game means would be quite limited and everything else would go into the cash shop. Housing items should be attainable through as many means as possible, including but not focussing on the cash shop.
Some time, i guess this month when i’ll be looking for inspiration, i’ll tell you the tale on how i got interested in MMORPGs. The short version is: i wanted to become a baker. Nowadays, i’d like to become a tavern owner. Sure, setting up one’s home is nice and all, but in the end, that’s kind of limited in scope- let us build taverns, bakeries, shops, barracks, hiding spots, casinos and more underground stuff. This ties into the wish of housing being shareable, as well- as a tavern owner, for instance, some visitors would be nice.
So that’s basically it- i guess i’d like it to be as close as possible to EQ2’s housing with a hint of Wildstar’s to add flavor.
So MMOGames.com is looking for writers and it hasn’t gone unnoticed. If you’re willing, see if you’re able, too. I love how mmogames tends to recruit bloggers, many of which i’m reading on a regular basis. Bloggers make for a very different tone in their articles, and it shows. I’ve said it before, and i’ll do it again: mmogames is a rising star in the mmo site business- i don’t know about money, but quality-wise and as a “collection of blog posts”, it’s great. Now, i’m not looking for a job, but i found their writing prompt interesting:
500 words on 1 feature all multiplayer games need
While Twitch is a big thing nowadays and has been for some time and i have more history as being someone who’s watching others play instead of playing myself (at least in my youth when people still hung out to play games together), i haven’t found much joy in watching others play games. There really is only one exception: Rocket League.
So yesterday here i was, watching Rocket League’s watchamacallit championships instead of the olympics- and it made me think. Back when i was a kid, athletes were more or less “normal people” excelling at some type of sports. Their training routines were “normal”, as was their behaviour. This might, of course, be a simple case of rose-tinted glasses, but one thing that’s bothering me with professional sports nowadays is that it seems to be cranked up to eleven. Everything needs to be perfect. Remember those muddy soccer/football games? Today, there are roofs over the stadium, maybe even electrical, to provide the players with dry grass, cut to the perfect length. They even go out on the field before the match and “test” the grass. In the european championship, the teams even went out the night before and decided whether to give water to the grass again or not (it was a thing in one of germany’s matches- the more technical germans wanting to water the grass to be better suited to quick play, the other team declining).
And then money comes into play, as well. European Championship, World Cup, Champions League and soon the european nation’s league in football are all hyped up events where the executives ideally want us to go out to public viewing areas and shower their sponsors with money. Instead of giving local businesses the opportunity to profit from such events, they send them out of the area so they can’t “steal” money from official sponsors. When i read the news about how non-sponsors are prohibited to use certain hashtags on Twitter, i rolled my eyes. While it must have been true for some time now, i feel they’re sucking the fun out of these events for everyone- the athletes just as well as the viewers.
It was interesting to watch the Rocket League stuff. Sure, the players are sponsored or part of professional eSports teams and i’m sure there’s a lot of “professionalism” going on behind the scenes, but it still felt much more down-to-earth than pro-sports do. I still enjoy professional sports, but it was that lighter tone that stood out to me yesterday; it didn’t feel like they were blowing the thing up to more than it was and watching these matches was actually fun- although matches i watched were very one-sided affairs.
It used to be the case that i had much time- i could watch tv series, read books and play games. That’s about 15 years ago, though, and especially with the birth of our son, me-time is a rare good. As i start to write this, it’s 9 p.m., so i have two, maybe three hours left to spend as i want. Now, playing games is still doing ok, watching tv series is, as well. What has been swallowed, somehow, is time to read. You see, i mainly read in bed, choosing to go to bed early (around 8 pm), start to read and see where it takes me. If the book in question entertained me, i might have read up until 12 a.m. or later.
As our son is still co-sleeping in our bed, that doesn’t work anymore. I do, however, still consume books when i go to bed- because i listen to audiobooks now. Sure, sometimes i still do read, but it’s a much slower progress as it used to be. It’s even slower than the audiobook-listening, even though i usually fall asleep within 5 or 10 minutes of listening. However, i still get to enjoy great stories. Here’s what i’m listening to or reading at the moment.
Interesting. On my old blog, i had this post about being supportive of the few (and getting even rarer) companies who bring MMORPGs to us- at that time, it was about Trion’s up-to-then unknown imported game. Today, i’ll return to this topic in regards to Rift’s new expansion Starfall Prophecy- this post started its life as a comment on Psychochild’s blog, but i felt like it was getting too long. TLDR would be: “don’t hold a grudge”.
Trion once was that highly respected company- everyone cheered when the news broke that they’d be publishing ArcheAge. Then something bad happened and now they’re struggling – reputation wise.
Here’s the thing, though: what big MMO devs/publishers do you know? Blizzard? Cancelled their latest MMO in favour of a lobby shooter. Daybreak? Ha, well, they seem to be downgrading lately. Turbine? Already on their way out. Funcom? Is struggling and needs to do something other than MMOs to actually earn some money.
Now, we can have all the business model talks or how exactly each and every company developing MMORPGs went wrong, but i’d like to state something else:
I feel Trion is on the right way.
Oh well, doing daily posts is going to be fun 😉 All in all, i’ve got a couple of drafts waiting to be written, but as i realize today, sometimes it’s not so easy to make time to write- i’ll need to flesh out some of those ideas when i have more time. So this will be a short one.
Yesterday, i ended my personal summer break from Elder Scrolls Online and logged into my main character to do a bit more than buying clothes. Finally, i’d have to say, as this was my plan for more than a week now.
Coming back in isn’t so easy, though- it’s good that Elder Scrolls Online has a limited skill bar that makes returning and re-exploring the rhythm of combat a bit easier. I’m still in Malabal Tor, level 38- i guess i could venture ahead into the next zone, but i’ll stay in Malabal Tor for another while.
It’s a wood zone, difficult to navigate, which makes it a bit more difficult to find the places i need to go to in order to continue questing. I managed to finish one series of quests and filling up my inventory, which surprised me- i thought my bags to be practically endless now with the crafting bag. But i guess at some point, 100 swords, bows, armors and intestines fill the backpack just as well.
Once again, as i’m playing on a new PC, i was surprised at how beautiful the game is and how much i like the minimalistic UI it uses. So, my feet are on the ground again, now i need to take a look and see where i am, where i wanted to go, what i wanted to achieve next.
The time of playing Elder Scrolls Online exclusively has passed. The summer break put an end to that. Playing one MMORPG exclusively has positive and negative side-effects on my playing habit, although one could argue that the positive outweigh the negative aspects.
All in all, during those six months, i felt more invested and more connected to ESO in particular but also MMORPGs in general, which is strange considering my interest in other games was basically nonexistent in this time. Another interesting side-effect was that i didn’t think about what to play when i was in the mood for gaming, it was a simple decision of wanting to play or not. And for once, i thought of things like reaching the level cap and maybe playing single-player games as achievable.