I have this idea in my head of my perfect MMO. It’s The Old Republic’s personal story, it’s The Secret World’s mystique and game world, its Guild Wars 2’s dynamic events, Final Fantasy’s class system and Blade & Soul’s combat. I’m never going to get that MMO, and besides you know what they say about be careful what you wish for.
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Blade & Soul is a new addition to my wish list of MMO’s. Well it’s a new addition in the sense that I had put it in that far off category, until a few days ago it didn’t even have a true English site, and NCSoft was refusing to talk about the game. With the closing of Paragon Studios and City of Heroes, the launch of Guild Wars 2, and the launch of the Blade & Soul in native South Korea; NCSoft is finally opening up about the game.
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The thing is, whenever the game finally drops, it feels like it’s the second coming of Tera. Everything about Blade & Soul, feels like the yesteryears except for its combat and the story. In an MMO market that is likely beyond saturation point, Blade & Soul is markedly ‘so last year’. From the distinctly Asian sexualization of both the male and female form, to the freeform combat style, to the reliance on flashy graphics over substance to sell copies; Blade & Soul looks poised to fail from the gate.
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The thing that all of those MMO’s I named have in common with each other is that I got bored. When I had finished the personal stories in The Old Republic I quit, when I had leveled all the classes I liked in Final Fantasy XI I quit, when I had seen all the game world I wanted to see in Secret World I moved on, when Guild Wars 2 dynamic events get old I’ll be gone as well; in the end all the things that made me love those games gets used up. We’re always looking for our perfect MMO’s, both gamers and developers; Funcom’s Age of Conan game director Craig Morrison was quoted as saying “We can still make great games, just smarter and more efficiently”.
|'It's always about timing' - John Crichton|
The reason the perfect MMO doesn’t exist is the same thing that makes video games so unique; Time. More than any other form of entertainment video games take time, time to enjoy them, time to cherish them, and time to make them. Time is the Achilles heel of any MMO, take too much time to make new content and gamers will leave in droves. And while they may come back for expansions, each one brings back less than the last. The perfect MMO then isn’t in story, combat, graphics, or any other feature; it’s found at the nexus of time and quality. The Perfect MMO is a daydream on the perfect summer afternoon, it doesn't exist in anywhere but the recesses of our minds, the sooner we let go of the fantasy the sooner we start truly enjoying the here and now.