I have been telling people for a while that F2P's are quickly coming up the quality ladder. That market and those developers just have a knack for it. Now, I am not saying that the bulk of freebies are currently at that quality level, but seeing a game like Ether Saga Online really makes you wonder how amazing the games are going to be in a very, very short time.
Remember Dragons Lair, the old video game that let you "play" through a cartoon? Basically, you just hit a series of triggers and you would move on to the next spot. But now, these games really look like cartoons, but play like MMO's.
I'm more in touch with the "realistic" side of MMO's, but there is something to be said for the fact that if you are doing a "cartoon" MMO, you can get much closer to the mark because the mark is so variable. Reality is harder to get to and often the developer can fall short because current technology in MMO's just doesn't allow for a game to look THAT amazing while supporting hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
But it is getting close, too.
Still, there is something endearing about cartoony characters. There is even something in me that is starting to get the super-mega-duper-cartoony-ness of Anime. I can see that when you have something like a little dot of an animal and you make it so cute that it has only button eyes and a little stalk for a hat, and then you add the fact that when it gets mad that it blows up the entire universe, you get some kind of appealing (yet often times annoying) juxtaposition of power and sweetness.
Something so cute, fluffy and cartoony becomes so pouty that it's bottom lip swells to the point of destroying mankind.
I hope this makes sense.
It really is art, in some cases, this comparison of rubber jelly and searing pain.
I really hope this makes sense.
Ether Saga is going for less of a cute/powerful thing and more for a cute/smooth thing, but the power is still there. The engine they use for this game is amazing, and seeing it makes me realize that my prediction is coming true: Asian market F2P games will lead the world in graphics and (soon enough) game-play.
Think about it: they spit these games out faster than a jackrabbit on a date. But almost all of them have splendid design (if not repetitive) that plays on almost any system. And now with games like Perfect World, Runes of Magic and Mabinogi, you get the same game-play that you would normally pay for.
Again, do they still have some ways to go? YES and YES. But, they are getting there. If we want, we can sit back and watch as our gaming companies become the same as our car manufacturers and certain tech fields: out-sourced and crapped out. We need to step it up.
These games are getting better all the time, and I don't have to worry about keeping the sub going. Now, if they could all have deeper systems like Mabinogi. :)
PS: Oops, I meant >.<
Dog, what I have become?