Archive for the ‘Champions Online’ Category

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Try New Things

May 28, 2010

As I’ve reiterated so many times before on this blog, I’ve just started playing World of Warcraft again after a long period of being away. But I realized I never really explained why I took my break. Yes, I was a little tired of the raiding, the heroics, the dailies, the treadmill and all that jazz, but the ultimate reason was much more than just plain old burnout. You see, back then I was mostly just playing WoW. Meanwhile, as the market expanded, new games were popping up left and right. All of a sudden, I felt like I was missing out on these other great titles because I was too focused on just one game.

I also want to take this opportunity to talk about a disturbing trend I’ve been noticing. Certain segments of the MMO community seem to treat WoW like a disease, don’t you think? That’s nothing new; people can say what they want about a game and it doesn’t bother me. No, instead, what really irks me these days is the ostracizing and belittling of all the game’s players like they’re mentally handicapped or that their opinions don’t count or matter if they “only play WoW”.

Well, I think dismissing people solely based on their game of choice is a bit elitist and unfair. But then I’m also going to play devil’s advocate here and say that if you look past the insults and attitude there’s a smidgen of logic there, even if it’s just barely. If your only focus is on one game, whether it’s WoW or some other MMO, you’re limited to a very narrow view of the genre.

So with this post, I want to talk about the matter of playing one game versus many games, and the notion of branching out and trying new things. Now, I don’t think it’s a bad thing if a player only sticks to just one game, because what it really comes down to what you enjoy. In the end, you should play the games you want to play, not because of what anyone else thinks. Yes, I used to only play WoW…and am currently playing it again along with a few other MMOs. Its critics can crap on the game all they want and I don’t care; they’re entitled to their opinion and the only thing that matters to me is whether or not I’m having fun. Sometime last year, however, I made the decision to experience more MMOs and broaden my horizons. It was my own personal choice, and it had nothing to do with anyone or anything else.

For me, my hiatus from WoW availed me to try many other MMOs out there and I don’t regret any of them at all. Especially now that I have this blog, I find it easier these days to engage in meaningful discourse with other gamers like the ones on my blogroll. Whether or not I agree with a certain point of view, I feel more informed and thus more comfortable now with piping up on many MMO topics than I ever did before. It’s wonderful when I find that I actually “get it” when I read about someone’s unique take on things, or their thoughts on certain playing styles. Even when they talk about a game I’ve never played before, at least I feel I can add to the discussion by drawing parallels or giving examples.

My time away from WoW has also taught me a lot about my own gaming habits. I look at the games I’ve played over the last couple of years, and see all these titles I’ve tried (EvE Online, Champions Online, etc.), subscribed to and dropped for good (Warhammer, Aion, etc.), or canceled only to be picked up again (Age of Conan, Lord of the Rings Online, etc.) Regardless of the result, I think each game was a valuable experience. It made me realize what I liked, or what I didn’t like.

For example, while it’s arguably one of the most polished MMOs on the market, WoW isn’t perfect. I knew that before, of course, but it was hard to pinpoint exactly why. But now that I’ve seen some of what’s out there, I am more aware of the various mechanics, features, systems and other things related to gameplay. I think to myself, I love this from Game X or that from Game Y, or I think such-and-such in game Z isn’t as well executed compared to Game A, B, or C, etc.

Playing more MMOs has also given me a new perspective on how their developers operate. Obviously, not every company has the resources Blizzard has,  and it’s interesting to see how different teams tackle the same challenges. I’ve come to recognize that while a certain solution might work for one game, it doesn’t automatically mean it can work for others. Instead of making me go, “Well, Blizzard can do it, so why can’t they?” it’s actually made me a lot more open-minded and sympathetic.

So speaking of which, if I seem overly positive in some of my articles, it might also be due to the fact that many things are still so new and fresh to me. After all, I’ve only been playing MMOs for about four years, and for more than half that time I was only playing WoW. So admittedly I’m a noob compared to some of the MMO veterans out there, but just give me another ten or so years and a few dozen more MMOs! Who knows, you may make a cynical and jaded gamer out of me yet!

All joking aside though, I thought I knew what things were like until I took a break to try new things. Some MMOs have pleasantly surprised me, others have lead to disappointment. Regardless, I’m still having fun and my eyes have been opened ever since I started giving more games a chance.

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DAW: My Dev Appreciation Post

March 24, 2010

A toast...to game devs everywhere!

Following in the footsteps of others, I’ve decided to participate in Developer Appreciation Week with my own post to honor the people behind the games we love. DAW is originally the brainchild of Scarybooster, who is showing his thanks by spotlighting a developer for every day of this week. It’s a nice breath of fresh air to see something positive like this, and I loved the idea as soon as I saw it. Game developers get dumped on too much these days; instead of complaining, it’s time to turn that around and tell these hardworking folks that you appreciate them and everything they’ve accomplished. Blue Kae and others have already done it, now I’m going to do it too! It’s not too late to join in the fun, simply pick a day to post and share your gratitude for something great you feel a developer has done.

For myself, I have a lot to be thankful for from a lot of developers. Some bloggers are showcasing individuals, but it’s hard enough for me to pick just one creative team, let alone a single person! It’s been a great year of gaming, after all. However, I really liked the format Scarybooster used in an earlier post, so I think I’m going to adopt it for my own use here. This way, I can also thank the entire crew for bringing me the games I have enjoyed over the last twelve months.

So, here we go!

1. Aion team: You guys have one of the most beautiful looking games out there, and while I don’t play anymore, my mind is still filled with many wonderful memories from the two months that I did. You guys gave me a chance to soar over Atreia, and I thank you.

2. Funcom team: Wow, you guys are awesome! Thanks for all the hard work you’ve put into Age of Conan since launch, it really shows. I recently resubbed after more than a year of being away, and I have to say I’m impressed with all the improvements. Keep up the great work and I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys can come up with in The Secret World.

3. Allods Online team: You guys were my first free-to-play experience and I still remember being completely floored by the excellent quality of your game. Thank you for the fun times and I’m definitely keeping the game around because I just know I’ll be back very soon.

4. Cryptic team: I want to show you guys some extra love because it seems like all you get is hate these days, and not all of it is deserved. Yes, you’ve made some harebrained decisions in the past but you guys are always quick to own up to your mistakes, which is becoming more of a rarity in this day and age. I want to thank you first for Champions Online, which was a great game that I think I would have kept playing if my computer hadn’t had stability issues. I also want to thank you for Star Trek Online, which I am still thoroughly enjoying. I want to give credit where it’s due, so let me just say this: space combat — you guys got it right. Considering the constraints, I’m willing to overlook the trivial flaws and enjoy it for the elaborate and entertaining system that it is. It’s obvious you guys work hard, so keep listening to your fans and improving your games, and I wish you all the best!

5. EVE Online team: You guys aren’t afraid to make the game you want to make, and kudos for that. In the end, EVE just wasn’t for me, but I appreciate the time I had with it all the same. Thank you for your unique vision and innovative ideas. You have given thousands of gamers a MMO they can call home.

6. Lord of the Rings Online team: I’ve always wondered what J.R.R. Tolkien would think of your game if he was alive to play it today. And you know what? I think he would be damn proud. Turbine, you guys have brought Middle Earth to life and I thank you for it. I might not be playing LOTRO now, but I’ll be back one day! You guys haven’t seen the last of me!

7. Blizzard team: I can’t thank you guys enough for World of Warcraft. It has given me years of enjoyment, and while I’m taking a break from it now, my reasons for it have nothing to do with the state of the game. I just really wanted to broaden my MMO horizons and see what other games were out there. See you again when Cataclysm hits!

8. Bioware team: Would it be terribly clichéd of me to say something like, “You had me at ‘hello’”? I’ve been a fan since Baldur’s Gate, and while you guys haven’t made an MMO yet, I’m liking what I see when it comes to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Thank you for making excellent RPGs. You guys pour your heart and soul into your games, that’s how I know SWTOR will kick ass.

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If You Could Date Your MMOs…

February 11, 2010

Well, Valentine’s Day is coming up and I figure a post like this is appropriate. It was inspired, after all, by a conversation with a friend of mine, to whom I asked, “So, got any plans for Sunday night?” She replied, “Me? Hell, no. Just a date with World of Warcraft.”

This got me thinking…what if we could date our MMOs? What kind of relationships would they be?

Before I go on, let me just preface this post with a disclaimer. The following comparisons are based loosely on my real life and personal experience with these games, as well as some of the more general/popular opinions that you can find out there in the MMO community. While there are some aspects I agree with and some that I don’t, the thing to remember is that this post was written purely for fun. It is certainly not meant to offend, so if you play any of the following games, please don’t get your feelings hurt. On a similar note, if you happen to be one of my ex-boyfriends reading this and find that some of it sounds a little familiar, I assure you these accounts are completely fictional and any similarities are purely coincidental…but should you still find yourself offended, well, in that case, I frankly don’t care.

Aion is the super hot foreign guy who roars into town wearing expensive designer clothes and driving a fancy sports car. You jump at the opportunity to go out with him because he’s just drop-dead-gorgeous, and you figure dating him would be a nice and refreshing change. Things are fantastic for the first month or so until it finally hits you: the two of you have absolutely nothing in common. Sure, he’s still very nice to look at, but a pretty face only takes a relationship so far. You begin to find it more and more difficult to establish a connection to him, even when the two of you get together to share stories about your lives. Whenever he talks, you find yourself doing a lot more nodding and smiling, rather than actually paying attention to the things he says. On top of that, you find out he’s a commitment-phobe. You begin to work overtime trying and get through to him, but the guy is stubborn and progress is nerve-wrackingly slow. Finally, you wake up one day, realize you’re not getting anywhere, call up him up on the phone and say, “Listen, we have to talk…”

Champions Online is the guy who catches your eye from across the room, the one who cuts a great figure and says all the right things. So when he finally asks you out, you readily agree. What could go wrong? Dinner on the first date is a pleasant experience until the cheque comes and he pats his breast pocket and goes, “Oh crap, I think I forgot my wallet. Damn, this is so embarrassing, but can you spot me just this once?” Fighting the urge to let your jaw drop to the ground, you think, okay, just this once. It’s not often you get to meet a decent guy like this, after all. So you give him another chance for now, especially since he assures you that the next date will be entirely on him. But when that night comes, you find yourself shelling out for popcorn at the movies and think, what gives? It gets worse until the day finally comes when he asks you to help him with his car payments, and that’s when you snap your checkbook shut and say, “It’s over.” (Apologies to Cryptic, even though I’m thoroughly enjoying Star Trek Online right now, I just couldn’t resist!)

Age of Conan is your overeager and somewhat awkward high school sweetheart. Your first couple weeks together are a little shaky, thanks to the unstable nature of teenage relationships (“I call and he never picks up! Why doesn’t he ever pick up?”) but the two of you manage to overcome the awkwardness to share your first kiss. In your naivete, you convince yourself that what you’re feeling now has got to be true love! And certainly, things are fresh and fun for the most part immediately after that. A few months later, however, the two of you are sitting restlessly on the couch at his place trying to decide just what else there is to do besides making out like the couple of horny teenagers you are. You turn to him and go, “Dude, you need a car.” Chances are, the rest of the world will likely open up once he gets his license, but until that happens the two of you are stuck watching the same movies and playing the same video games in front of the TV in his basement.

World of Warcraft is the popular motorcycle-riding, leather-jacket-wearing bad boy that you meet at the local nightclub. The two of you fall madly, head-over-heels in love with each other and the dates you go on are hot, heavy unrestrained nights of wild abandon. Despite its whirlwind start, you are delighted to see the relationship solidifying into something more stable and long-term. Things are getting really serious, and one day he tells you he’s decided to work on settling down a little. Good idea, you think to yourself. After all, we all have to grow up sometime. The thing is, he ends up mellowing out a little too well. One day, you look across the table at him in his khaki slacks and pastel sweater vest and you can’t help but wonder, “What the hell happened to the man I fell in love with?” On the bright side, everyone including your parents loves him now.

Star Wars Galaxies would be the sweet, down to earth guy you’ve been happily and steadily dating for years…up until the alien abduction that changes his entire personality. Enough said.

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