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Casual Thoughts from a Semi-Retired Philosopher

I play MMOs as an alternative to TV. Sometimes it even turns into quality time with the girlfriend. Most of the time it's a distraction from doing something productive or meaningful.

Author: Hluill

A Good, PvP-Centered MMO?

Posted by Hluill Thursday March 15 2012 at 10:29AM
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There's a debate raging on the forums about a need for a "Good PvP-centered Game".  Why do I hang out on a PvP forum?  I do have masocistic tendancies, but I would love to see a good PvP game as well.  I just don't they can exist, considering developers, marketers and fans.

 

I deleted my response as it started to get really long.

 

 I cannot believe that I read all seventeen pages...  I feel a little less intelligent now.  Heck, I don't even know what the debates are about anymore.

 

I thought I understood the question, to which I answered no, by the way.  I answered no because there are enough PvP-centered games out there, cool ones, too.   I realize that they are not MMOrPGs.  I realize that the top sellers are not PvP centered.  In PvP-centered games, people seem centered on PvPing, surprisingly enough.  Stuff like crafting, house decorating, exploring and the other stuff for the RPG part of MMORPG, all fall by the wayside.  If somebody whines because they got ganked while decorating their house, they're dismissed for being a Carebear.  I think Mortal Online is a great example of an MMO trying to have a cool world system, but if you don't like PvP, it sucks to play (unless you like killing weasels, chopping wood and getting mugged).

 

The other problem with PvP is combat mechanics.  Since the early D&D days, they've sucked.  They're written by geeks who intellectualize mortal struggles but probably don't even know how to make a fist.  At some point in most rule systems, more advanced characters are immune to their lessers' attacks.  Sure, a full suit of chainmail (the uber gear a millenium ago) greatly reduced one's chances of dying in combat, but, number one: it did not reduce them to zero, and two: it didn't mean one didn't get knocked unconscious and held hostage or killed later.  Point is: that lowbie wood cutter?  Yeah, he should have a chance of taking you and all your uberness down. 

 

Another factor is that ganking is called a well-coordinated attack in the real world.  Sometimes it's an ambush, or raid or a deliberate attack.  It's about killing the enemy while he's still sleeping, surprised or distracted.  If I don't have an unreasonable advantage, then I ain't fighting.  And even with that unreasonable advantage, I still know I could lose.  But where's the fun in playing a game where one has to be in sneaky-sneaky, stalky-stalky mode all the time?  Maybe that's the thrill die-hard PvPers crave.  I have a hard time believe that it's that popular.

 

So, for anybody unfamiliar with my blogs, I am going to make this point absolutely clear, again: The first rule of combat is that anybody can kill anybody.  If the game does not allow for Uber-elite guy in top-teir gear to be owned by lowbie in rags with a rock, then your combat-system is for sissies.  Go back to sucking your thumb.  History is filled with examples of the top guys getting owned.  Sometimes it's a fluke, sometimes it's a well executed ambush.  Sometimes the top guy just spends too much time reading his own PR and believing it.  Yeah, boom, you're dead.

This is still a fun game, but...

Posted by Hluill Tuesday March 13 2012 at 10:30PM
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I've been playing this game for over SEVEN years now!  Wow, kind of sad.  It's fun to log in and mindlessly gather, or group with the girl and the daughter and run a dungeon.  It's fun tweaking my toons with gear and Alternate Acheivements.  I've been experimenting with other classes recently.  Shocking though it may be, classes other than berserkers and brigands can be fun to play.  I've even rolled up a couple of healers AND had fun playing them.  I am having a lot of fun with my baby ShadowKnight.  I still don't like paladins.

 

But as I take my baby avatars exploring, I can't help but remember the old days.  See, my friends from old EQ talked me into making the switch, so I had an instant group.  One needed a group then, even for the open, overland zones like Antonica and the Commonlands.  Mobs were tough and leveling was slow.  There were no Alternate Advancements and one had to retrieve one's shard after losing a fight.  I have a fond memory of making my first cup of watery coffee out of dog spit.

 

The game has come a long way since then.  We all have mounts, fast ones.  Or one can rent a griffon or horse to ride through mob-filled zones now.  There's a stable outside the Temple of Cazic-Thule, stables throughout Zek and even Lavastorm!  I remember helping to build the griffon towers in the Nektulos.  And remember the quests one had to do in order to use them.  

 

Anybody can solo anything and legendary gear drops off mundane quests and mobs.  And legendary items now add hundreds to one's attributes, of which only two matter.  Gone are the days of needing a group to help with the level-twenty armor quest.  Heck, my baby alts have been soloing Heritage Quests, at level.  

 

Gone are the days of balancing attributes for speed and power and health and avoidance.  Fighter?  Strength!  Scout?  Agility!  Priest?  Wisdom!  Mage?  Intelligence!  And, of course, everyone needs Stamina!  One can recognize the old quest rewards because they still have what are now contradictory attribute bonuses on them, like agility and intelligence.   Yeah, the only intelligence required is deciding which appearence gear to equip or where to put that rug.   If the game gets any simpler, I may teach my dog to play.  He'd make a great Beast Lord.

Remember Journeyman's Boots?

Posted by Hluill Thursday March 1 2012 at 12:33PM
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Good Ol' J-boots!  The quest for them was epic and horrendous in EQ.  There was a version available with one of the box sets.  But they were awesome, like a twenty-percent-movement-speed increase.  That was epic.

I remember them as well in EQ2.  The Heritage quest for them still exists, I think.  My Brigand did it back in the day and wore them for years.  

See, J-boots, with their twenty-percent movement-speed increase, were awesome because mounts were higher-level items and a pain in the ass to get and use.

Now awesome, maintenance-free mounts are solo-quest rewards at twentieth level!  Mounts double movement speed.  Who need to bother with a Heritage Quest?

Yeah, sounds like I am whining.  I am.  I am also shaking my cane at those damn kids playing on my lawn...

More than whining, is observing of the trend, in which J-boots are a mile-marker sign.  Remember when stamps were only six cents?  As a historian, I love gages like that.  They communicate consequential and correlative relationships.

So what are the J-boots telling us?  They're telling us we don't have the time to jog through our favorite games.  We need to gallop through them.  We need to hurry through the zones and the quests and the hubs.  We don't have the time to waste with walking ingame...

Huh, our game time is so valuable that we need it to be productive?

There are villages in Africa where washing laundry is considered a leisure activity.  Here in the advanced and civilized world, we shouldn't even relax while recreating.  Productive game time...  I remember when that would be considered paradoxical.  Now our need to squeeze the most out of our game time finds us riding to the broker and the merchant and the mender, even though they are now right next to each other.

What's really interesting is we'll still spend hours organizing our Raid, or perusing gear and stats, or running the same instance repeatedly.  We don't have the time to /walk, /wave, or even /nod, but we can be found standing in front of the broker, mounted, for hours.

Yeah, I remember my first pair of Journeyman's Boots, in both EQs.  I remember corpse runs and Looking For Group too.