Tag: SWTOR

Dual Wielding: is SWTOR a universe to live in?

Dual Wielding: A series featuring two bloggers writing on one topic and answering the question, “If the pen is mightier than the sword, what happens when you dual wield?”

Don’t miss out on Ironweakness’ take on the subject.

Review

The last edition of Dual Wielding was all about the “one or many MMOs” topic- as said, it’s a big topic for me as i don’t have much time to play and also divide that time by too many MMOs i play or i’d like to play. I think it was an interesting experiment and i really enjoyed what Ironweakness wrote on the topic at hand. Basically, both of us don’t think there is a “right” or “wrong” answer, but that the key lies in choosing one style or the other. Both come with distinct advantages and caveats.

Based on what we wrote and my own experience, i chose to have a 3 MMO approach- one being my main MMO that hopefully serves as MMO home, two other MMOs with their main focus being on casual and varied gameplay depending on mood. I’ll allow myself to change the two side-MMOs on a monthly basis, the main MMO on a three-monthly basis that, again, hopefully doesn’t come into fruition. The main MMO also needs to become a side MMO for a month after it had its time in the spotline and the new main MMO needs to have been promoted from the side MMOs.

And then i started thinking which MMOs could serve as a main/home MMO and was surprised to not find many candidates. Meanwhile, Ironweakness and i decided on our next Dual Wielding topic- looking at Star Wars: the old republic as possible MMO home.

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What makes an MMO sticky?

I hinted at what i’d call an engaging endgame yesterday – basically, it comes down to the use of credits or ingame gold in a broad measure and different ways to gain said gold/credits. This means that there should be as many different systems in place as possible- a bajillion different dungeons and raids don’t serve as engaging endgame for me. There should be credit- but not so many timesinks to accomodate different moods and session lengths. This is not the same; after all, i could make some credits in a very short session by flipping items on the GTN; if, say, one has to finish a main story questline to access game features, the smallest measurable progress in a session would be finishing a step in a quest. Sometimes, that takes a longer time.

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Also, an MMO home can’t be of the “play-to-finish” type- quite a popular style of MMO to be developed in the last years- SWTOR began as one, i’d consider The Secret World, Guild Wars 2 and Lord of the Rings Online among them, as well. Maybe even Elder Scrolls Online. Play-to-finish MMOs, to me, are games where you are provided very few ways to play once you finished all the zones. They’re still big- the amount of content available in Lotro, for instance, could keep me busy for years. In Guild Wars 2, this is debatable, as well, since you can do world completion, exploring, pvp, wvw among others. And doing dailies is always rewarded. So it’s not an exact science; different people will view different MMORPGs as being of the “play-to-finish” type.

Another thing that’s important is replay value- if done correctly, you could level different characters without having much overlap in content- World of Warcraft is great in this regard. Star Wars: the old republic isn’t, and that’s why they’re going to activate 12XP again on may, 4th.

Anyways, Star Wars: the old republic came a long way since its release and i wouldn’t put it into the “play-to-finish” corner anymore. I’m no expert on the game by any means, so i might be wrong on some points i’m going to make, but it is my impression for now that SWTOR is one of the best MMORPGs to call a home nowadays.

Can you live in a galaxy far, far away?

SWTOR still is a story-heavy MMO that funnels its players through quite linear paths of worlds, quests and- for the expansions- story. Once the story is finished, there are still reasons to continue playing for players like me, though.

Credits matter

With many MMOs and their wildly used different currencies, one has to wonder why they bother to give players ingame gold at all. I know there’s RMT, botting, exploiting and other things to be considered and alternative currencies are an easy way out, but if i don’t have anything to spend ingame gold on, it defeats its purpose.

In SWTOR, there are huge credit sinks in place now. From strongholds, decorations, the outfit designer and/or even buying things offered in the cartel market (the real-money ingame shop) on the GTN, there are many possibilities to spend hard-earned credits. I don’t know how many credits are considered “much” at endgame, but a fully unlocked stronghold costing 6 million credits and craftable decorations with their materials coming in at 100k credits each on the GTN sounds much to me. There are also some threads of players complaining about them on the official forums- in my opinion that’s a great indicator of some mechanism being in place that is actually healthy.

SWTOR: Taris

I know, i know, one shouldn’t talk bad about other players- but let’s face one thing that’s quite obvious when you look at the development of the genre in recent years; players hate it when stuff doesn’t come to them easily and they hate it when their progress is halted by something. For instance, despite open pvp being a thing you can avoid in ArcheAge, its existence was a hindrance to many. In EVE, high-sec life is entirely possible and i, personally, have never been killed, even when moving and mining through low-sec systems- players still don’t like it. Rift’s Rifts used to have a big influence on the zones they happened in- they were nerfed into the ground on the basis of “player feedback”. Rift was also much more difficult in the beta compared to release. Players generally like that things are being gated, but their tolerance ends when they feel they can’t play a game in the way they want and be rewarded in the ways they want anymore. All these things have in common that they are obstacles instead of rewards coming at a certain point.

So i’ll leave some links here that- in my opinion- show that gaining and spending credits is implemented in many different ways in the game.

I don’t know how crafting ties into this- crafting in SWTOR seems to be functional if a bit disconnected from your character- it’s the companions that do the work, after all. But you can get good gear upgrades if you keep it on-level; a thing that will become even more important when 12XP for story missions comes.

So there is an economy

With 12XP, i’d expect many players to start a new character or returning to the game. One major problem these players will encounter will be their gear- sure, you’ll get upgrades from the story missions, but it might not be enough, even when they’ll give out more commendations with the story missions coming may 4th. Some players might use the market to buy gear or crafting materials. So if i were to guess- gathering and crafting now and putting all that stuff on the GTN after may, 4th, will be a good way to make some credits.

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SWTORs economy isn’t a big thing in the game – the GTN is global, so there are no differences in prizes depending on regions. It’s still ok, though- i’ve read multiple times that inflation is being kept in check in this game. And if a game can make me (a casual newbie) think stuff like in the paragraph above, there has to be an economy of some kind. Combine that with the ability to spend earned credits, credit sinks that are far beyond my reach for now and you have what i’d call an endgame.

More than just story

SWTOR offers a great variety of content- if i’d like to relax, i’ll go with questing or stronghold decoration/planning, if i’m in the mood to play with others, there are enough Flashpoints. Then there is the on-rails-space-fighting-minigame for shorter sessions, and pvp both in battlegrounds and space. Not that i’m playing that type of content, but it’s there. You can also do achievements, search for datacrons and/or ways to unlock codex entries for the lore. You can raise the affection of your companions, equip your starship and so on. There’s a lot to do at level 60.

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It ties very nicely into different moods, session lengths, general involvement and different group sizes – SWTOR was mentioned quite often when Massively Overpowered asked for the best MMO to be played in a duo. The flashpoints are interesting group experiences not only with their content difficulty, but also in story-telling. The conversation options tend to be quite predictable if you play by yourself, but in a group, when rolls decide what kind of story your character experiences, it’s very interesting to see.

Alt-friendliness

Despite the fact that the levelling experience is a pretty linear affair, SWTOR still is one of the most alt-friendly games out there, even more so when 12XP hits, since you can just go for the class storylines without much overlap in content with your other characters. You only have to look at the numbers of characters veteran SWTOR players throw around when they have the opportunity to do so: double-digit numbers aren’t a rare thing, the legacy perks even give some “account progression” system to make it worthwhile and interesting to level more than one character. Roleplaying would be one reason to do so, but it seems alting is quite interesting for longterm SWTOR players.

The legacy sytem

The legacy system is a way to progress your “account” on a server. It’s slow; i’m still level 1 (well, i’m only level 25, after all) with level 2 coming closer. After you levelled up your legacy, you can unlock abilities for convenience, faster progress, faster travelling, unlock new races and so on. There’s a lot of stuff to be unlocked in the legacy system. I think you can unlock almost everything at any time you’d want if you were to spend cartel coins, but you can also progress through the legacy system and spend credits for these perks. There really is so much to explore here; i haven’t grasped the whole thing yet.

Strongholds

SWTORs version of housing puts you in appartements on a few selected planets. You can get decorations in a few different ways; from the ingame shop, by doing quests, certain achievements, crafting and so on. Dulfy has a great overview of decorational items and ways to get them.  I like that you can make your stronghold functional, as well: you can put in crafting resources (i tried it yesterday- you can collect from every node, even if you don’t have the crew skill needed, but there’s some kind of cooldown on the use, which is good), mailboxes, legacy storage and so on. If i’d look for a downside here, i’d say it’s a pity that the decorative objects aren’t really interactive. Sitting in a chair still is a rare sight in SWTOR; i’d like to water my plants, lie on my bed and so on- all of this has no use, but i think it would add a lot to the game.

Outfit designer

The outfit designer is SWTORs way of doing a wardrobe cosmetic gear system. I’m glad they dropped the restrictions on what you’d be able to wear (or is it only because my trooper can wear everything anyway?) for looks. It’s also a big, big credit sink if you’re going to make use of it extensively. Although i found out yesterday that the prize of placement isn’t fixed on 14k per item (it asked me to pay 1k for placing one item into one outfit), it’s still huge if you’re going to open and maintain all 16 slots.

 

What’s interesting is the monetization- SWTOR seems to go its own route in these things- in other games, you’re charged shop currency to unlock another outfit; in SWTOR, it’s optional- you can pay in credits or cartel coins. I think this is valid for pretty much everything since you can buy/sell everything from the cartel market on the GTN.

So, in the long term, the outfit designer is a thing to work on. Unlocking outfits, putting items in slots- it all has a credit cost attached to it.

The business model

It has to be said- SWTOR’s free-to-play model is often criticized for being more of a trial than a real option- i think that SWTOR’s revenue- i think it’s the second most profitable MMO out there- speaks for the game, in fact. After all, earning money is the goal of these games and they have to do so to provide content in a constant pace, quality and quantity. That BW wouldn’t be able to put out 8 class stories was obvious (to me, at least; that was one of the biggest reasons i saw for the game going f2p shortly after release- there was no way they could add storylines for 8 classes quick enough to retain their subscriber count).

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I think SWTOR is entirely playable for free (up until the expansions, of course). It is slower, much slower, in fact, and there are restrictions in place that make you cringe. But you can unlock it all (except for expansions) with credits and buying from the GTN. I’d go the “preferred player” route, though, by spending a few bucks, and then buy all i’d need to enjoy the game either with credits or cartel coins. What to buy, though, isn’t very obvious; in fact, it’s a pain just to find out what the best unlocks would be.

Fortunately, there is a great overview of account types and a list of suggestions on what to buy from the cartel market on reddit. If you want my opinion, i think SWTOR is pretty much a subscription game. But it is possible to play SWTOR as a non-sub game, as well.

The verdict

I have to say, Star Wars: the old republic is one of the best MMORPGs to call a home these days- the developers seem to make an effort in building up the universe and keeping it healthy, as well. The credit sinks, general prizing both ingame and in the shop, are indicative of this. As are the latest additions to the game from Galactic Strongholds to the outfit designer. Star Wars: the old republic is a great place to be at the moment, with the coming 12XP and whatever the next content updates are going to be possibly adding more story, variety and quality-of-life improvements to the game.

It also speaks for the game that, despite huge credit sinks and not knowing what the endgame really holds, it doesn’t seem very grindy. Sure, after your tenth character levelling alone might feel grindy because of the linear nature, but SWTOR doesn’t gate content (that i know of) behind the main storyline, reputation grind or something of this nature.

This has gotten very long- on a personal note; i plan on having SWTOR in the rotation at least until the end of may, and even then, i’m strongly considering to put it into “main MMO” spot after Final Fantasy XIV in august, maybe, if one of the downsides of FF14 (grind, content gating by MSQ) prove to be too much for me.

Milestone: 25 in SWTOR and Rise of the Emperor

Soofoo the Republic Commando reached Level 25 on Nar Shaddaa while doing secret service stuff and helping the population fight their drug addiction by cutting off the supply. Levelling in these levels is still pretty fast- about two hours for a level is a reasonable amount of time for a level-up. Of course, when this happens at level 24/25, one can only assume what the levelling curve will look like in the 40s. On Nar Shaddaa, i stick to the class story questline but take on every quest i find, as well- i’m just not following up on them. If they are in my path, i’ll clear them. On the other hand, fixing the drug problem involved quite a bit of travelling, but it was for a good cause, after all.

I think SWTOR does this story- and “why should i care” thing pretty good. The stories and the characters involved aren’t really ‘better’ than, say, the questlines in Lord of the Rings Online, but there’s voice over and communication. These two things do have an influence on me- suddenly, i want to cut off the drug supply (we’re not talking about substances with medical use here, after all)- or even when i’m not immersed, i want to follow through- i like to see how the dialogue/quest/debriefing develops. And maybe- i don’t think so, but maybe i’ll meet the same characters later on.

Cruising in/on Nar Shaddaa
Cruising in/on Nar Shaddaa

One thing that’s really interesting for me when playing SWTOR is that i know practically nothing about it. The game and i have a history, though. When i applied to a german guild for the game Global Agenda in march 2010, i noted that i wasn’t playing any “real MMO” at that time and that i didn’t expect that to change until SWTOR would release. So i was interested in early 2010. In 2011, Rift happened and kept me busy for about 6 months. When i didn’t like my experience in Rift that much anymore (Level cap options were quite limited then and when i asked my fellow guildies what to do and they answered: dailies, hardmode dungeons and raiding i was done with the game) and then the first news trickled in concerning Guild Wars 2. From the very moment i saw the design manifesto and read about ArcheAge, SWTOR became everything that is wrong in the genre to me. You know, ever shrinking group size, heavily instanced content, even companions so you have even less incentive to look for a group and socialize with your fellow players- and of course i predicted the f2p transition. And so on. Of course, at that time i thought either GW2 or ArcheAge would do everything right. Turns out they didn’t.

So following a small spike of interest when they announced the game, i focused pretty much on the features of the game that were lacking, in my opinion. I didn’t read up much on it, i didn’t follow the hype. When it released, i bought it (GW2 was a ways off, still), went in to see what i expected to see and, of course, wasn’t disappointed to see i was right- in my opinion, of course, that i had formed already in the months prior to release.

In my defense, i don’t think it would be fair to compare the SWTOR from early 2012 to what it is today, but it still goes to show how expectations can turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.

Nowadays, i’m quite happy that i don’t know jack about the game- it makes me experience it in game. So i’m hoping to at least some degree of character development from npcs and some regular cast of characters that i’ll meet throughout the game. And there are indicators- why would EA/Bioware advertize today’s patch by writing something along the lines of “reunite with NPCs Lana Beniko and Theron Shan” if they weren’t recurring characters?

Rise of the Emperor

Rise of the Emperor- i thought there was one?
Rise of the Emperor- i thought there was one?

All of this serves as an introduction as to why i’m both baffled by and interested in the coming content of SWTOR. OK, Revan i could understand…somewhat. But “Rise of the Emperor” and the possibly coming expansion “Fallen Empire”? Hm, i thought there was but one emperor? And how is an emperor able to rise when an empire falls? Is there more than one empire? Possibly, but i don’t know. That’s intriguing.

Rise of the credit sink

Today’s patch contains some storyline, a new planet (Ziost, for all who know what that means) and, of course, the new outfit designer, where even putting items into it costs about as much per item as Soofoo owns. Yes, living on Nar Shaddaa, but no money for furniture or clothes. Now i don’t know why the Bioware devs didn’t follow the lead of, say, Lotro or Rift or GW2, but if you’re guessing i don’t like them charging for that stuff you’d be wrong. I love it. As for prizing- you can take a look over at Massively Overpowered for that. Spoiler alert: it’s expensive. At least for me. But i’m still excited to see how it works out and we’ll get one slot for free, after all.

Fall of the planetary questlines

On may the 4th, 12XP will be activated and it’s going to last until fall. I don’t understand why that might be- if you’re going to keep it running until fall you might just keep it on forever. Well, except if you’re planning something. A major expansion? Something that’ll somehow try to rake in cash in combination with the coming movie? That might be it, but why take 12XP away then?

Subscribers will be able to toggle the 12XP with a free ingame-shop item, which is a good thing. My strategy will be to get one character up to level cap as quick as possible and have at least one character in each faction where i’ll take it slower. 2XP is fine and works very well in my favour- it accelerates the levelling process just for the right amount to experience the planets and leave them before i get sick of them. 12XP, well….it will allow for the same, but if i were to keep it active all the time, i’d miss so much. And right now, i really like exploring this game.

Taris almost done

Commander Soofoo progresses through SWTOR in a slow but steady pace. I’ve made it to level 23 by now and am finding SWTOR to be an experience similar to Lotro in some ways, but without Moria. Alas, it’s also lacking the Shire so far- i’m not impressed with the planet design. Coruscant i found to be a mess and while Taris is slightly better it still isn’t all that good. What strikes me most is the hub-to-hub quest design and the missing day/night cycle.

But there are upsides, as well. I like the pace of the game, and i like the on-rail-spaceship missions. I can relax playing SWTOR and the spaceship missions provide an activity when i can or want to only play for half an hour or something.

Taris is nice to look at
Taris is nice to look at

What did i do?

Whenever i had time for strolling through Taris, i did some quests- after a while i concentrated on the class storyline which was….ok, i guess. I don’t know, is it a spoiler if i talk briefly about it? I don’t think so, because, well, the game’s 3 years old by now and my guess is that many players have already experienced this part of the game.

So the Commando’s looking for former members of Havoc squad and finds traces of “Needles” on Taris. Soofoo went out to find him and in the end, she did. She also executed him. Needles wanted to develop a weapon out of something that could turn people into Rakghouls. Luckily, Soofoo was able to stop him…and take some probes to the general of the republic, earning her some Dark Side points. I don’t really “roleplay” her in the sense of giving her certain motivations for her actions – i always found “military roleplay” quite boring- i might do something with my Consular when her time comes, but Soofoo basically makes the choices i’d make if i were in her place.

Earning 350 Dark Side points wasn’t part of the plan, but killing a war criminal and securing a possible weapon of mass destruction at least for research seemed to be worth it.

Soofoo looking for Needles
Soofoo looking for Needles

In shorter sessions i just went about the starship missions. I know they’ve been criticized a lot for being an on-rails minigame, but in my opinion, they work just fine as a distraction and something to do when there’s less available time. I became used to logging out in Soofoo’s stronghold, since that is a resting place and provides multiple options to travel either to the fleet, the last planet we were on, the starship or the planet of the stronghold. So when i don’t have much time, starting up a space mission is a quick affair and with 2XP active, it gives quite a good amount of XP.

One night i also went ahead and queued up for a dungeon. I was surprise that it takes so long to get in, but even more surprised when i got a group for Athiss and found them to be at some other place on a map i didn’t know. I hurried to follow them, couldn’t find them, asked for help (without an answer), found a hole in the ground, jumped down in a hurry, died, tried again and when the first member of the group came into view, they vote-kicked me. For what, i don’t know. Maybe they thought i was just hanging around somewhere for the XP, maybe it was because i told them i was new. Anyway, i found that without so much as a whisper, it was an unfriendly thing to do. Once again i found myself thinking about FF14’s community (in general very nice) and how that game provides simple solutions to problems like this one: everyone stands in a circle until every player has arrived.

Outlook

Right now is a good time to be in SWTOR. Granted, the 2XP event will be ending some time today, but the 12XP buff for subscribers will be activated on may 4th. I might make use of that primarily to get the Consular past Coruscant and maybe take a deeper look at the Imperial Agent’s story and others, but we’ll see about that. 12 XP is a great thing for those that have already seen all- or as much as they want- of the planets’ stories. I worry about it being too quick a progression for someone like me who wants to see the planets as well as the class stories. On the other hand it’s nice for me, as well, because it is quick progression, after all.

I'll find you, Needles!
I’ll find you, Needles!

I like my experience in the game so far, although i’m a bit worried about the variety of gameplay as well as planet design. For instance, i don’t know if crafting is a thing to follow through on, but i try and gather materials on my way from quest to quest and plan on crafting a bit to see if it’s “worth it”. The strongholds are nice, as are the space missions. If the zones would be more open and a bit better designed (have you seen WoW’s zone design? That alone is a reason to play World of Warcraft), i’d be very positive right now.

I’ll have to look for a guild, though. So far it seems as if the Progenitor’s more social guilds tend to be on the imperial side and i can’t see myself as a disciple of the empire. The most interesting classes to me are the Commando and the Jedi Consular. There are other options, of course. I could look for a german guild on one of the german servers (the german PvE server seems to be the most active server in europe) or even migrate over to NA; i don’t think the latency would be much of an issue. Timezones might.

Anyway, my experience in the game is good enough to put SWTOR on my personal “main MMO” spot for the rest of the month, at least. In may, i plan a return to FF 14 and make a push for Heavensward, but since i’ll still have subscription time left in SWTOR and the 12XP will come, SWTOR will be in my rotation at least until the end of may.

It’s SWTOR week

For now, i’m indulging in my fickle style of “playing” just about every (major) MMORPG there is while still trying to make progress. Double XP events like the current one in SWTOR help with that. Furthermore, i couldn’t resist the recent discounts and other sales there were: i own a stronghold, i took advantage of the offer when SWTOR released the Galactic Starfighter minigame and the most recent one giving two months subscription, Cartel Coins and the Shadow of Revan expansion. So, there’s a lot of incentive (read: spent money) to play SWTOR.

Lucky me, the double experience event lasts a week. I also have some stacks of XP potions that will allow me to further increase XP gain for about 50 hours. So there you go, reasons to play SWTOR. It’s not that i dislike the game, it’s interesting enough, but i couldn’t really connect to it before- i grow tired of the game quickly, sessions rarely last longer than an hour or two; and it’s not so easy to get immersed when you do one of these sessions once a month.

So i’m about to change that. I’m also going to take my own advice and make some decisions regarding MMORPGs- which ones to follow, which ones to drop. It’s not going to be easy, because i like all the MMOs i play, ranging from FF14, EVE, over to Lotro, SWTOR, ESO, TSW and so on. They all offer unique experiences. But since i made some recent investments in some games, i won’t be able to narrow it down as much as i’d like to just yet…so i’ll choose a setup for a week and review it afterwards. Expect the start of a new series on this blog in the coming days where you’ll be able to follow the exciting process of me trying to make tough decisions and cut down the MMOs i play to three at a time.

To make it short, for the coming week, the setup will be as follows:

Main game: Star Wars: the old republic
Side Games: The Elder Scrolls Online, EVE online

Anyways, back to SWTOR. My character, Soofoo (The Progenitor) is a republic commando of level 19. And yes, that’s my main. She just got access to the next flashpoint, Athiss. I’m looking forward to seeing it, because i really liked the group experience of the previous flashpoint. What i didn’t like was Coruscant- i found it to be too fragmented and too much playing in buildings. So Taris is an improvement in this regard.

Finally found out how to hide the UI
Finally found out how to hide the UI (ALT+Z)

So far, i’ve only been out there, questing, returning to the fleet when i saw that i had “93/100” commendations for fear i’ve capped out that currency and need to spend it soon. So i bought some equipment before heading to my Nar’Shadaa stronghold and take a look at SWTOR’s housing mechanic.

I have to say, i like the “hooks” system of housing in general. The total freedom of Rifts Dimensions and to even further extent Landmark paralyze me- yes, i could do just about everything within these systems, but mostly i don’t do anything- although i’d really like to, perhaps, build an inn of some sort. With SWTORs strongholds, i’m just going to think about what fits to my character- what would a commando specialized in healing call a home? For now, i’ve only placed a metal couch, but more will follow. I have to say the stronghold itself feels gigantic to me- there’s so many rooms to decorate, i’ll have to take a closer look and decide what to do with each room. I’ll take care of that when i enter the dungeon queue the next time and wait for it to pop up.

What’s interesting is that SWTOR now offers quite attractive side-activities that play very differently to the usual questing- housing is one, of course, another would be the crafting system, then there are the “space on rail shooter” missions which i find to be fun. Sure, they’ve been criticized for not being “free-roaming” space shooters, but they’re still a nice diversion and offer a lot of additional XP. And of course i could do some battlegrounds and get stomped. It’s not as broad in activities as FF14, but they spice up the gameplay.

I can’t tell much about the story yet, because i didn’t continue through it much yet and have forgotten about where i was when i last played. I know it’s the imperial agent’s story that gets much praise, but i tried the class and wasn’t impressed much (by the class gameplay). Still, i’m looking forward to my experience in the coming week- i’ll move things around come next friday (or thursday even- friday isn’t such a good idea, because in the evening there is the guild project and i can’t play another MMO anyways).

Dual Wielding: one or many?

Dual Wielding: A series featuring two bloggers writing on one topic and answering the question, “If the pen is mightier than the sword, what happens when you dual wield?”

Don’t miss out on Ironweakness’ take: Dual Wielding: Depth versus Diversity.

First things first

I’m excited to start this project in cooperation with Ironweakness over at Waiting for Rez– it was his suggestion in a tweet to prompt each other for topics to write about and an idea i instantly fell in love with. Ironweakness and i share some attributes, the biggest of which is our reason to blog/restart blogging more regularly: when Massively’s closure became known and imminent, we started to wonder where the community might go- we both felt the loss in MMORPG coverage would be big and while we certainly wouldn’t aspire to be a substitute for a site like Massively, we wanted to keep the conversation going and stay in touch with the larger MMO community- so we (re-)started our blogs. In a sense, i think this project fits so well with our motivation to blog. So thank you for suggesting this, Ironweakness, and i hope we’ll have many interesting topics to write about as well as interesting perspectives. Today’s topic is one that seems to be more prominent these days- for me personally, but it appears that in a bigger picture, this is something that touches on the greater MMO community, as well.

Should you play one or many MMORPGs?

Stickiness of MMORPGs is a big topic these days- not only am i always returning to this line of thought in search for maxlevel, guilds and communities, but there were some articles on Massively Overpowered skirting this topic, as well. Then there was the MMO Hobo and his very recent post wherein he asked if we, as players who might look for “the one” MMORPG to play, might shoot ourselves in the foot by joining multigaming guilds. I think this topic is very broad- you can view it from so many different angles, but i think you could boil it down to one big question- what do you want to get out of your MMORPG playing experience? Do you play this genre as “games” or do you play it for the virtual worlds they present, the social ties, the community? I believe most MMORPG players want to play “the one” MMORPG- i don’t have a poll up, but my guess is that in the end, we’d like to have that game back that allows us to dive in and play more or less the same MMORPG for years. Sometimes, we’ll look at a game that will be released in the close future and think that this time, it might be it. And it rarely is.

Those hopeful days
Those hopeful days

I’ve seen times when i somehow, without expecting it or giving it a deliberate effort, will stay with an MMO for 2 or three months- Final Fantasy XIV comes to mind. But there always comes a time when i want my experience to differ, i want something else out of a session. And this is a strong reason to go with multiple games.

If nothing’s perfect, why not mix it up?

The MMORPGs we have are surprisingly good. I don’t look at “success” much, because i think in this regard, the releases of the last decade failed to deliver on their expectations and World of Warcraft, while being the most successful MMO, isn’t the best in my eyes. And while we often lament every new release to be a “WoW clone”, by which i think we mean “themepark MMO”, they’re not as similar to each other as one would think.

Still one of the better themeparks out there- wish i had time for it
Still one of the better themeparks out there- wish i had time for it

And these differences make switching between different titles an attractive option- first, you get to use all of those “special weekends” and events like the release of an expansion, a meaty patch or something and see for yourself how they fare. Then, you’ll always have a choice in combat mechanics, depth, even different economies, atmosphere and general gameplay experience. In some games, questing is pretty much all you do (Lotro), in others it’s the same but delivered in a different way (TSW), you’ll have a somewhat lighter atmosphere (FF14, Wildstar) or the more grimdark experiences of Elder Scrolls Online or Age of Conan. There’s polished content without much of a story (Guild Wars 2, and yeah, i know it’s lore-heavy, but i think the story is not presented very well in-game) and story-heavy questing (SWTOR), involved crafting (FF14, EQ2), standard crafting (WoW, Rift, Lotro) and hands-off crafting (Neverwinter, SWTOR), and i don’t even touch on how the game’s paces differ from, say, EQ2/FF14 to something like Wildstar or Neverwinter. For me, playing multiple MMORPGs makes sense because i don’t want to play the same game when i want to play. Sometimes i want a very relaxing and slow atmosphere, sometimes i like to get more involved and these are the times when “action combat” is a major point of decision making on what to play. Wildstar, for instance, with its very involved combat and high mob density is a fun game, but one i can’t play for longer stretches of time. Lord of the Rings Online is quite a slow game, it’s very relaxing, at least in the early zones, but the combat isn’t very engaging. One game that, in my opinion, gets the mix very right, is Guild Wars 2- it’s a fun game, but not too stressful. GW2 has the downside that i seem unable to find “depth” there.

The downside: you won’t set roots

So for almost every mood you might have, there’s an MMO waiting to give you the wanted experience. Only, it’s just not one game and if you don’t have a lot of time, you’ll be having trouble being where the buzz is. It’s also kind of hard to immerse yourself when you play half a dozen MMORPGs at roughly the same time- you’ll forget skills, current goals of your character, the story and other things. It might also be tough to get in touch with a good guild- and a good guild is essential to enjoying an MMORPG.

"Play-to-finish" MMORPGs can be a great addition
“Play-to-finish” MMORPGs can be a great addition

Now, this might not be a problem for someone who’s able and willing to play 20+ hours a week- a player with that mindset could juggle more than two MMORPGs just fine, i think, although i believe even then it might be more difficult to make friends ingame. MMO devs have been criticized a lot for making MMORPGs less social- by adding dungeon finders or even PUG raids- but i don’t think we can put the blame for our less social experience solely on the devs- it’s within our responsibility as players to be more social- the option isn’t removed from the games, we just aren’t forced to connect to other players anymore. If it were a dev thing, especially games like Guild Wars 2 and Rift would be very social affairs- both provide huge opportunities to form bonds with other players- and yet we don’t.

If you want a home, choose it

There was such a great opinion piece on that on the olden pages of Massively, but i can’t find it anymore. What Eliot Lefebvre wrote in his opinion piece basically came down to this piece of truth: if you want “the game”, you shouldn’t wait for the perfect fit. You shouldn’t think that the “next game” will make everything work out perfectly for you. He made a somewhat dangerous connection to a relationship- and the mindset of going to a date with the expectation that you’ll only date the partner three times or something instead of going all-in for a longterm relationship. If you’d want a shorter, more superficial relationship, that would be fine, but if you’re looking for a longterm partner, you should meet them with that in mind. (Edit: Thanks to Eliot for providing the link to the article– it’s a great read.

I agree- but having started with great hopes in Guild Wars 2 and Archeage, i can attest that even when something looks good on paper and makes you think you found the game, it can still be screwed up in a million ways.

Everything looks good on paper
Sometimes, things look good on paper

I would argue that if and when you choose to play one MMORPG exclusively, your experience will be much better, because you can dive deeper into the game mechanics as well as interact in social groups within that game. You’ll be there for content additions, you’ll sometimes log in and “just chat with guildmates/friends” and so on- you won’t do something like that if you’re playing too many MMORPGs at a time- because before you log in just to chat you’ll be launching something else. On the other hand, if you’re a “time-hardcore” player, MMORPGs might not provide you with enough content to play in your time- so maybe you might be able to juggle more than one MMO and guild- and then there’s the topic of “play-to-finish” MMORPGs which are basically all about the journey and not-so-much about endgame (The Secret World comes to mind). If a game really doesn’t provide you with any activity you’d want to do, switching to another one might not be such a bad idea. But this is a problem for players who play a lot, really. From my point of view, TSW, for instance, would provide me with enough questing and story-related stuff for…well, maybe for its whole lifespan.

And sometimes, it doesn't look good on paper but is surprisingly good on screen.
And sometimes, things don’t look good on paper but are surprisingly good on screen.

I wrote about reasons to play only one MMORPG earlier- in fact, it was one of the first posts on this blog. I think many of these reasons come into fruition now when you read about how more and more bloggers make their way into Final Fantasy XIV- others are there, there’s even a free company of (not only) bloggers somewhere, they stick with the game and have a great experience others want to have, as well. If you think about interesting blogs to read, at least in my opinion, it’s written by people who mainly stick to one MMORPG and can provide deep info, interesting, different ways to play and experience “their” game. Their excitement and dedication is infectious, they stick with a game long enough to alter the experience in these games beyond the obvious while us game-hopping individuals only see quests, quests and quests.

So you’re saying playing only one MMORPG is better?

No, i’m not exactly saying this straight- i think our experiences would be better if we stuck to as many MMORPGs as we can realistically handle. That number would differ from player to player. I’d say that if i were to choose one MMO to play with my ~10 hours a week, my enjoyment in this MMO as a “virtual home” would grow, i’d have more interesting topics to write about here and maybe would even be able to form friendships in that game- all of this isn’t possible when you divide your 10 hours to 4 MMORPGs at a time. Someone playing a lot would possibly be able to handle that number.

But still, as noted earlier, the games are quite different to each other, so much so that only one MMO wouldn’t fit into all our moods. So i guess my suggestion would be to “choose” one main MMO that you play for depth, social ties and as a “virtual home” and spice it up with some other games that offer different experiences. Also, i’m somewhat in agreement with Isarii right now: maybe don’t join multigaming guilds if you want to find an MMO home. But i don’t want to open that can of worms right now.

The cycle

I play MMORPGs almost exclusively- there used to be only one, World of Warcraft, although i didn’t linger there for as long as most players do- i played for about 6 months before questing in Stranglethorn Valley and the Un’Goro crater put an end to a fun progression and made it a grind. Since then, i’ve gained maxlevel only once, in Rift, and that was because i had great fun in a great group- i think i did play only dungeons from the mid-thirties to level 50. Everything else i played, i got stuck in the early mid-levels. Let’s say level 30 usually is when i hit a wall. Curiously, i’m not alone in this, as Ironweakness has a post up to announce a series on his blog about levelling from “One to X”.

That post made me think about reasons for my not being able to do something like that, as much as i’d want. There are some.

Something else beckons

I like most mainstream MMOs that are out there. Often, when i return to a game, i wonder why i left/didn’t continue/don’t put more deliberation in that particular game. It really doesn’t matter which game it is we’re talking about- i cycle through Lotro, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, SWTOR, Elder Scrolls Online, Guild Wars 2, Marvel Heroes, maybe even EQ2 and World of Warcraft (not really) all the time. It’s offers and updates that are calling me.

Just to take the more recent events- i’d like to play FF14 and Guild Wars 2 for their respective expansions. I wanted to get into SWTOR for their housing system, always want to continue Lotro for its story and world, The Secret World for the New player experience and so on. But while i am on game x, there’s always something happening in game y. I really wish i’d be there, at the level cap, to witness all new content. If i were to make an effort to play “One to X” in each of these games successively, i’d be in a happy place.

It gets cumbersome

The early levels of many MMOs are quite fun. Even when you are a time-challenged casual player like myself, you’ll be able to make some progress- even if it’s just “finishing one quest” in MMOs where one quest really matters, like in ESO or TSW. In Guild Wars 2, even in the higher levels, i manage to get a level out of most play sessions while mostly just taking a look around.

But sometimes, it’s just getting very cumbersome to make any progress in the games. So much so that i’ll need a whole play session just to figure out where i left, what my goals were and how to play my class. Quests and other ingame goals take you to places all over the virtual worlds, the inventory is cluttered and i don’t even know what is useful and what isn’t. Mobs take ages to get down and so on. Life in the midlevels is busywork.

The most recent example in my personal experience would be Final Fantasy XIV, where i simply wanted to get the main story quest up to the level my character is. It took me about two months and still i didn’t reach that goal. Of course i did other stuff- i made progress in crafting, different combat classes as well as gathering. Unfortunately, this all didn’t really feel like progress because i was merely catching up on all positions- trying to get the gathering and crafting jobs as well as the main storyline up to par with my combat class level- and it took ages.

Zone design

I don’t believe in worlds- even virtual ones, that are devoid of any humanity. Often, you’ll have the starting zones and they’re happy places- there are villages, woods, beautiful sights all around. All this vanishes when you hit the early midlevels. Think about Lord of the Rings Online- you start either in the shire, bree-land or Ered Luin – all beautiful places, with villages and signs of humanity all around. Then you’ll continue to the Lonely Lands- ok, they’re named fittingly, but all you get there is an inn. The North Downs aren’t much better- from the second area up until Moria you’ll only get ruins, cabins and other small places. There’s Rivendell, of course, but not much of cities in other ways. And then…comes Moria, the epitome of boredom in zone design (in my opinion; it’s designed in a very good way, but these are still basically caves).

And later on, there will be desert/lava zones. Nobody wants to see something like that. Of course, i can see why dangers must present themselves and an all-green happy-place world might be equally boring, but i still can’t understand why people build great cities in the early game and live in tents from level 20 onwards.

Ways out

So i was thinking- how could i do something like Ironweakness and Syp, who also plays a bajillion MMORPGs but somehow manages to be at (or almost at) the top of the content curve in all of them? Of course, one way to do it would be to not play 30 MMORPGs at the same time and instead reduce to a number i could handle- namely, one at a time. This won’t work, of course, because diversity is the spice of life, after all.

“Going buy-to-play”, as i’ve mentioned in my previous post, would be another way to reduce the amount of concurrent MMOs as well as lifting some pressure off me. There would be three games available- Elder Scrolls Online, Guild Wars 2 and The Secret World. They would offer a diverse diet as well as some depth in their gameplay. All i’d really cut out would be Final Fantasy 14, SWTOR and the newly-returned-to EVE. And Lotro. But frankly, i doubt i’ll ever make it through Moria.

So i don’t know, this is still a topic. It’s a funny thing- this blog was created because i wanted to document my finding of a new MMORPG home- i guess it worked in that way. Unfortunately, when i started it i was of the opinion that i’d found it by now.

 

Interesting guild: Remnants of hope

I wonder why guild topics seem to be so underrepresented in the blogging community- is it because it’s a taboo topic, is everyone content in their guild, has everything been said on the topic or is it something you just don’t talk/write about?

My situation

See, the thing with me and guilds is this: i find them to be an interesting and very important part of MMORPG gameplay. It’s metagaming, alright, but it is important. As games and player mentality move away from a design where you would meet other interesting players in the respective game worlds, interact, socialize, add to friendlists, chat and so on, the importance of guilds as a social background to the games we play only rose in importance. Sure, guilds are there to achieve ingame goals, as well, but that’s secondary to me.

To weave such a social network, i think that guilds, or better yet- multigaming communities, need to put a framework out- some kind of structure within the community- to make it work. Yes, that means rules. And players willing to take a leadership role and responsibility. I have been in three multigaming guilds, all german, all “laissez-faire”, and found the experience to be lacking everytime. Sure, the people are nice, but in my opinion most people are and to me it just isn’t enough that players “are willing to help you if you ask for company in a dungeon”. With LFG-tools, i don’t need help with that.

So i’ve made a decision regarding my current multigaming guild (namely, for now i’ll just stick to my little project within that community and see how it goes, but will look out for a better fit, as well). Also, i kind of want to make “great guilds / communities” a topic here.

Remnants of Hope

So when researching communities – and i think it might be a good idea to turn this “bad” topic in a positive one- i came across the multigaming community Remnants of Hope. They’re active in Star Wars: the old republic, Guild Wars 2 and Wildstar. So they’re all games i don’t play, which is unfortunate, because i think, structurally, they’re great. I don’t know if they would be a good fit on a personal level, but there are lots of things i like about this community- on paper.

Recruitment

They do forum applications. And while i don’t like this way of doing things very much, i understand it is one of the better ways to go if you aren’t a small guild of friends who recruit personally but a community that also recruits “strangers”. But they take it one step further- if you’re accepted, you’ll have to pass some Trial membership goals- namely, there’s a number of forum posts expected, joining the guild in ingame activities (and they do those) and other stuff. If you fail to deliver, your application is going to be declined, but you may apply again after a short period.

Structure

The remnants of hope make use of ranks- there are officers for diverse playstyles within the respective games- it seems the minimum for officers is: PvE, PvP, social and recruitment. I like how they divided recruitment and social- then there’s the PvE officer for progression and the pvp officer for, well, pvp. In some games, they additionally appoint RP and crafting officers. This is the setup a guild should go for- and if every officer does his or her job, there will be many offerings of in-guild activities, ranging from PvE stuff to RP/social events- while not putting a large burden on a single officer. See, if every department puts out one event a month, there’s something for every week. Officers can also appoint Assistants (members willing to contribute would have to apply for that role), so that they can get help from other players.

A plan for opening and closing chapters

With all the guilds i joined so far, there’s been the “let them do what they want” attitude. So when a new game released and it was clear that a handful of members would want to play it, a chapter was opened up- if someone was willing to take the role of guild leader. The guild leader was appointed by doing a forum thread: “Hey, we want to play this game, but we need a guild leader. Who wants to do it?” and…. a lot of silence.

The Remnants of Hope have a process to open new chapters- members interested in forming one need to write a proposal to the community elders, who’ll then make a decision whether this new chapter has a chance to succeed. I imagine you’ll also have to name your guild leadership with the minimum of officers. This makes sure that there’s not only enough interest in a new game, but also enough interest and investment in a guild within this game.

They also have what they call “casual games”- now, i have limited forum access (of course, i’m not registered and don’t do interviews yet), so i don’t know for sure, but what i’d do with these “casual games” is found a guild without need for leadership (because it only consists of members of the community) and without recruitment. If someone wants to elevate the guild in that game to elevate to a real division, again, there needs to be a plan.

For closing chapters, it seems easy: the community elders question chapters when more than 50% of the officer roles are vacant for more than two weeks. If they think the chapter has run its course, they’ll ask the leadership of the chapter for their opinion. If this leadership thinks it is able to turn things around, there’s going to be a probation.

Conclusion

Easy enough, right? I think this is a good way of doing a great multigaming community- providing a framework for members to participate in forming the community, a process of recruitment that isn’t so easy and makes use of one simple thing: if a player invested time and energy to succeed in his or her “trial membership goals”, he or she also invested in the guild and community. You’ll want those players, because “let’s just recruit nice people and let them do whatever they like” ends in….inactivity.

WoW tokens, unfair monetization and random things

So, i’m having otitis, which does some things for me. First, i’m not really in the mood to play right now- i don’t know why but i feel kind of “isolated” in myself right now because i can’t hear properly. Furthermore, i can’t listen to audiobooks, because, well, putting headphones in sick ears must be bad. This results in me reading Peter F. Hamiltons “Judas Unchained” instead of listening, because frankly, it’s so good i don’t want to take a break- so that also cuts into my game time- in the end, this means i don’t really have much to write about. But still, there are a few things happening.

WoW Token

World of Warcraft is introducing its own ingame-subscription-currency you can buy with real money and sell for ingame gold. I guess this is a good move for Blizzard, it probably will further increase revenue and customer loyalty, because my guess is you’ll have to play a considerable amount of the game to be able to have your subscription continued for “free”.

Of course, it isn’t free. Someone has to pay for the token- and this is where i don’t really like these subscription currencies, because they end up as a way for new/casual/slow players paying the subscription for more hardcore/veteran/power players. One could say that this is fair because, well, the veterans probably already paid Blizzard a lot of sub and expansion money, they play the game and are “content” like the free players are in a f2p game. I still don’t like it. Besides some kinds of f2p model incarnations, the MMO space is a place where people who play less pay more (per hour played).

I don’t think that’s fair and i’d really like to see someone offer some kind of “in-game-subscription”, either at an hourly rate (with an optional way of paying a flat fee for a “normal” sub) or just make the “30 days sub” so that these days will only be used if you log in. It’s obvious, though, that this wouldn’t be in the best intentions of the publishing studio. First of all, it doesn’t put pressure on the players to log in as often as possible- in contrast, if they’d substract 1 day subscription just for logging in, many players would think twice if they wanted to play on any given day. And they wouldn’t get all the money they gain from people who forget to cancel their sub in time.

Last but not least, i do wonder- is gold really something that you need if you play WoW? Aren’t there some dungeon tokens and other alternate currencies at work for getting loot from dungeons etc.? What would you need gold for? I haven’t played the game in quite a long time, so i don’t know, but i have to say, excluding maybe Guild Wars 2, ingame gold has never been an issue for me (not even in FFXIV….yet).

Star Wars: the old republic promo

SWTOR gave all former subscribers 7 days of subscription time. Being me, i took advantage of that offer, of course, and did 2 or 3 quests, played 1 or 2 hours and haven’t been back yet. I’d like to see the story in this game, and from time to time, i really like to log in and play- i was especially impressed with the way dungeons work in regards to the communication options- they’re interesting and since you don’t get your dialogue options in every time, you might see the story develop from a different angle than you would if you were alone.

They also have an offer up that gives 60 days subscription, 2400 Cartel Coins and the Shadow of Revan expansion- for 35€. That’s actually quite a good deal and i’m thinking of maybe taking advantage of that and become a free/preferred player going forward. There are some nasty restrictions, but i have accumulated some shop currency to maybe make it worth a try to play without a sub.

On the other hand, there’s Final Fantasy XIV and i don’t really need anything else- especially considering the fact that soon, Cities: Skylines will be released and i’m hopeful that this is going to be a citibuilder worth playing….so, there’s really no need.

Other games

Crowfall

There has been the start of the Crowfall Kickstarter campaign and it has been wildly successful. I’m not in on this, because i’m not really a pvp player, but the premise looks interesting. I’m also quite a huge fan of A Game of thrones, and they are for sure trying to take advantage of the hype around the books/tv-series. While i’d like my MMOs to be virtual, persistent worlds, in this case i find the resetting of the worlds very interesting. This might be the reason for me buying it…when it releases.

Scree starts building a guild for this game and i have to say, i really look forward to reading more posts about the planning and realization of his guild. So far his “Series on the creation of a Crowfall guild” has three posts up. Guild leadership/creation and the inner workings have always been one of my favourite topics in MMO space and i think it’s a topic that’s somewhat too rare on blogs (i don’t know why that is, really), so i really appreciate Scree writing about it.

Skyforge

Just a short paragraph concerning Skyforge. I think it looks decent and may even provide a nice gameplay like, for instance, Wildstar/Neverwinter. For my tastes, it seems quite shallow on the virtual world front, but then, not every game needs to be- sometimes a change of pace is nice. The setting seems interesting, although i have to say i’m not a fan of “becoming god”- while i’m not very religious myself, i don’t think we, as humans, should strive for that- and, yes i know, it’s just a game, but it doesn’t appeal to me very much in games, either.

They’re selling founder packs and surprisingly, they’re reasonably prized. I’m tempted to opt into the lowest tier- but then again, why would i do that? We’ll see.

Final Fantasy XIV

Sometimes, i do play FF14- and i have made some progress, mainly bringing the Weaver to 20, the Botanist to 21 and the Conjurer to level 11. Next time, i might start the first experiment in growing my friendslist- by running FATEs for some time. I don’t know if this is a good way to socialize in the game, but i’m curious to see if it works.

The guild project

The guild project is moving away from Everquest 2 at the end of the month and it seems we’ll be starting up in Age of Conan. Well, i like the game, but i think it will make it hard for me to plan for the group (or even groups)- it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of group content in the form of dungeons and something like that. I know that you can enter Elite versions of all the zones- but i don’t know if it will become more interesting that way and also, what would we do if we were to split in two groups? If you have any suggestions or experience  in regards to playing AoC in a full (or even small) group- content-wise, i’d appreciate it if you’d let me know about them.

This week in /saved

I’m still playing catch-up when it comes to all these new blogs i’m following, all the people i followed via Twitter and so on. This week has been a busy one, for me, so some nice posts might have slipped- which i guess is always true, because it possibly is impossible to follow all these great blogs out there.

Bloggers and Media

This topic carried on through this week, as well. We already saw people chime in who know both sides of the medal, this week Syp from Biobreak also took a turn and offered an interesting perspective on the matter.

Ravious from Killtenrats thinks MMO journalists should concentrate on being less a part of a games’ PR and keep the dev studios more on their feet. He wants MMO press to be “needed” instead of “wanted”.

Ironweakness shares the opinion that on Massively, there were authors who are from a range of play styles and Massively served as a kind of good example in letting every opinion be valid and important in a discussion. He thinks that in a blogging community, this wouldn’t happen as much.

The last one ties in with another discussion that went on some time ago where someone mentioned that bloggers rarely seem to disagree. I’m so sorry, i can’t find the source right now and i’m pretty tight on time, so i’ll maybe get around to sharing a link when i find it.

More than pixels

There’s also been a discussion if online relationships are somewhat different than real life relationships. Belghast thinks it’s only different if you make it different, while Braxwolf thinks online relationships lack multiple things that real-life relationships have, while having some advantages, as well. I think he’s of the opinion that they lack depth.

My view on this, in short: i always try to treat pixels as people- everything else wouldn’t be true, after all there’s another player playing on the other end. But i’m not equating online friends to real life friends, this doesn’t work- have you tried to explain to a non-gamer who calls you once every several weeks that you can’t talk right now because you’re in a group? Yeah, i tried and it didn’t go so well. I’ll try and keep appointments, but really, when a friend’s standing at the door i’m not going to tell him to go away because it’s Guild EQ2 time.

Daybreak

Daybreak Games have been a topic this week- i guess there’s a good roundup out there. I haven’t shared my opinion on the topic because….i have none. Or i had none. I don’t know, i guess i was and am slightly worried, because investment firms aren’t very good for the longterm health of the companies they buy, in my opinion. But then Daybreak decides to let Dave Georgeson and Linda “Brasse” go- and, forgive me, i’m not a longterm fan of SOE/Everquest and haven’t followed the games religiously, but come on! These names, i do know. I know Dave’s face, he was very enthusiastic about the games he lead, which is always a good thing. In my opinion, letting these two people go was a poor decision and i have to wonder if they didn’t know that already- or might it be true that they stood against something that Daybreak wants to do in their games and had to be removed?

Anyway, here are the opinions of people who know more about the subject than i do.

Syp from Biobreak

Moxie, the battle priestess

Syl, the MMO Gypsie

Bhagpuss, Full Inventory

General

There have been other great posts, as well. First of all, i love how Syp tells his gameplay experiences- it’s just one way to do it, mind you, but i like how they are quick to read and entertaining, as well, with all these pictures.

J3w3l from Healing the masses took a look at the new content in Firefall, while Wilhelm Arcturus took an outlook on SWTOR’s 2015 and Telwyn went and did some advanced solo dungeons in Everquest 2 (looking forward to those!). A completely different approach was taken by Belghast, who shares the best games he isn’t playing.

And then, Massively Overpowered’s Eliot, who also writes the shaman class column for Blizzardwatch, was very mean, at least in my book. He shared his view on the Enhancement Shaman as the last true hybrid. I loved playing the Druid as a hybrid and i’d love to experience something similar again, so i was quite tempted to see if what he writes is true.

 

So, what are my plans for 2015?

2015 will be a good year for MMORPGs. I believe so, because there’s not much in the way of “new shiny” coming out. This will be good, in my opinion, because the genre will relax a little bit- players will be more happy with their choices (because there’s nothing coming out next month that will make everything better), the chosen games will turn a profit and see some kind of development, and maybe some will be left behind and close shop. This may seem like a sceptical outlook, but i think this year is going to be healthy for the genre and its players.

So, i’ve put my resolutions for 2015 into some words and there’s two that are hopefully going to define my MMORPG-related gaming in 2015: focus better on some titles instead of spreading out too thin and “be ready when they come”. Also, i’d like to NOT discover an open subscription to a game like i did with Final Fantasy XIV the other week.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV

Speaking of which, FF14 will be my first candidate. With Update 2.5 possibly coming in January and the expansion, let’s say, in April, there’s still some time to get my main character to 50 at least in one class/job and hopefully one gathering and one crafting profession, as well. As i’ve mentioned a couple of times, i like the game a lot- it’s a nice mix of old school mechanics and new features and it at least tries to make crafting and the economy somewhat worthwhile.

So, at least in the first quarter of the year, i’d like to make that one my main MMO and hopefully get something done in there.

Everquest 2

Everquest 2 will be my “main alternative” MMORPG for the time being. I like it a lot (in reality, this is my problem- it’s not that all MMORPGs suck, but that they all have their strengths and i do like them).

EQ2 New Halas Mount

 

I’d like to play it when i’m not in the mood for FFXIV and continue levelling my Inquisitor slow and steady. My goal is to be where i need to be when the next expansion comes, presumably some time in November. But, of course i know that this game would be too big for that goal even if i’d play EQ2 exclusively until November, so i’ll see how far i’ll come.

Other candidates

SWTOR will lie dormant for the time being. It’s that “third” MMO i’d like to play, but i won’t have it in my roster permanently- the other two will take up all my free time to achieve what i’d like to achieve there. But still, when i’m in the mood, i’ll probably fire it up some time.

The Repopulation- i’ll take a look before headstart/final wipe and i’ll play it if and when it releases. But we’ll see if that’ll be in 2015, anyway, soooo i’m totally relaxed on that part.

Landmark- i have a vision i’ll share when i looked into the game and my abilities with it and have decided to follow through with it. So that might come up at some point, as well.

World of Warcraft is postponed. I might get back to that if i’m in the mood.

Lord of the Rings Online. If and when they let me buy my way through Moria i’ll take a look at the lands beyond. I won’t play through those caves, though.

Elder Scrolls Online and Wildstar. If and when they go buy-to-play and/or free-to-play, i’ll be there on relaunch day.

The Secret World. Hmmm, i don’t know. Funcom did something spectacular with this game, it might just be the best “play-to-finish” MMO out there, but unfortunately, it’s too quest-heavy for my tastes. But it is possible i’ll be hopping in from time to time.

Did i forget something?

For sure. I’m fickle. Sometimes i’m in the mood for this and sometimes i’m in the mood for something else. As much as i’d like to call one MMORPG my home, i don’t see a candidate yet. It would have to offer almost everything MMOs have to offer in one game- also, my guess is it would have to be polished and, of course, at least hack-and-cheat-free. Also, of course, there are Elite: Dangerous and The Crew, which you might or might not call MMO…and there’ll be new games.

Doesn’t matter, though, for now. We know Heavensward is coming and that should be my priority right now, because i know for a fact i’ll consider buying it and it would be a nice change to finally see an expansion i paid for. So, right now, i’d like to declare 2015 to be the FFXIV and Everquest 2- year for me. We’ll see if that pans out. (Spoiler: it probably won’t)