Archive for January 17th, 2010

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What’s Really Important?

January 17, 2010

As I was once again browsing my favorite game forums, I realized something kind of sad. We as MMO fans have been spoiled.

What can you expect, though? Years of innovation and advances in technology have brought us one AAA game after another, so it’s only natural to expect more with each upcoming title. To be sure, frequent a forum for any upcoming MMO for any given period of time and sooner or later you’ll see people discussing their expectations…and sometimes, they’re just downright misguided. When does it become too much? At what point do we stop and say, “Wow, I think we’re really taking things for granted”?

If there’s a game on the horizon that you’re just dying to get your hands on, consider this question: What would kill it for you?

Like any MMO player, I’ve come to appreciate many new features that have been introduced over the years. Things like player housing, achievement systems, public quest areas, etc. are all things I’ve come to enjoy, but I’m not about to spout drama-laden diatribes about how the absence of any these would be deemed a game-killer in my book. On the other hand, stability issues, lack of playable content, unreasonable pricing, non-existent or nonsensical story elements? These are what kills a game for me, and anytime I have had to stop subbing to a game in the past it was because of one or more of these issues.

As you can probably tell, it bothers me when I see people complaining about the more trivial things. For example, I’m all for being able to customize the look of my characters, but comments like, “OMG the game is completely ruined and my life will be over if there’s no character customization!” always make me cringe. Yikes. What ever happened to the spirit of gaming? Can’t we just sit back and enjoy what a game has to offer instead of worrying about things like whether or not I can add scars to my toon’s face? Would it truly destroy the overall experience if you couldn’t make your elf sunburned and pockmarked? I wonder how we ever survived the days of gaming when choosing your character’s gender was the extent of customization.

There has to be bigger things with which to concern ourselves. Just look at World of Warcraft. The biggest MMO on the market, and the level of character customization in that game can be considered atrocious by today’s standards, but does it matter? The devs have added many features over the years, some good, some bad…but what they’ve done well overall is concentrate on the things that will hook people in and keep people playing, features that ensure progression, beef up the combat, add to the lore, etc. You know, the stuff that matters to the average gamer, and what still makes WoW immensely popular with millions. I think we need to do the same and stop nitpicking the little things and start looking at the big picture.

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Star Trek Noob Moment

January 17, 2010

My better half is finally using the Star Trek Online open beta key I got him. Being a Trekkie, he seems to be enjoying it so far. Keep in mind I know next to nothing about Star Trek, so I’m glad I have him around as a resource for information on lore and characters. So someone links this item in chat today, and I asked him, “What’s a Tribble?”

He just laughed.

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Searching for my Sci-Fi Fix

January 17, 2010

Over the last few days, I’ve been trying to divide my time between playing the Star Trek Online beta and my EVE Online trial. And I gotta be honest–most of the time, STO wins out.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy EVE Online. It’s a fun game…just a different kind of fun. It’s not surprising that most gamers call it a “niche market MMO” as it’s certainly not for everybody. I personally don’t even know if it’s right for me yet. Sometimes I think, “Gosh, I don’t really feel like playing the game right now, but I really should log in real quick just to queue up my skills training.” Fast forward to two hours later, and I would find myself still in the game, and whether it’s doing some mining or carrying on a mission, I just don’t want to stop playing.

It’s a little hard to explain. There are times when EVE feels less like fun and more like work, and after a long, tedious day the last thing I feel like doing is play the game. Yet, once I’m actually in it, I get hooked instantly. When it comes to theme park MMOs vs. sandbox MMOs, I thought I would naturally gravitate towards the former simply because I’m a goal-oriented person, ie. I enjoy being provided with a sense of direction so I know just exactly what I’m working for every step of the way. Yet, the beauty of the sandbox MMO is that you’re allowed so much freedom, and that feeling easily becomes addictive. For me, this addiction manifested itself in the form of my in-game to-do list, to which I kept adding items faster than I could check them off. Before I know it, it’s way past my bedtime and the game has sucked me in once again.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure if this justifies subscription. While I realize STO and EVE are completely different beasts, apples and oranges, they just happen to be the two games I am trying out concurrently. Personal opinion alert! I won’t lie; if I had to choose my sci-fi fix based solely on my own level of enjoyment–that is, the pure and unadulterated no-strings-attached fun experienced–I think I would have to go with STO at this time.

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