As a drummer, I love rhythm based games like Guitar Hero (although I found the drums to not be as responsive as I'd like) or Elite Beat Agents.
So, although I had always known about some of the dance based MMO's out there, I never gave them a try. Maybe I felt a little funny playing a "silly dance game" when in fact I was already playing "silly dragon games" and "silly half cow/half man games."
So, I decided to try out two of the ones I had heard the most about, or from companies that I had used before. The game was going to be between Nexons' (the makers of my fav Mabinogi) "Audition" and Cubizones' (I had played Perfect World with them a while ago) offering called "STEPS." STEPS is, from what I understand, in open beta, but I could be wrong. I hate going to a site and clicking on a link only to be pulled into another site that is nothing but a splash page. Then, you go to the "official site" which leads you to another site for the download.
And with STEPS, a simple registration and download take forever, and in the end came out as useless for me. Needless to say, I did not get a chance to play STEPS. First, I could not get the "catchpa" type thingy to even recognize my attempts. I literally did this like 15 times.
I got sign in errors time and again as well. No kidding, I tried maybe 15-20 times in the end.
Then, once I finally got in, I downloaded the client overnight.
But, upon running the .exe, I got this crash:
This type thing happens when the file gets corrupted or something, so I downloaded it again. Same error. So, needless to say, it looks like STEPS has lost out. I won't be trying it. Perhaps it's NOT in open beta right now? To be honest, I think it is but don't feel the need to have to go digging through a website just to find out if it is. So, I went to the Nexon site and went to grab Audition:
Signed in using my Nexon ID, and within one hour I had downloaded, patched, and logged into the game.
I like the rhythm parts of the game, but it is a little confusing right now. I think the game-play is simple enough, but it's a strange MMO that reminds me more of a Gaia (not the 3-d one, but the older browser based one.) I can't figure out how to run the game in either windowed mode or how to increase the resolution, but I suspect that it is ran in the default of 800x600 to keep it in the grasp of younger gamers or gamers without much of a graphics machine.
My dance instructor, Sarah, showed me the ropes.
It worked, and the game was responsive. I decided to try and conquer my resolution problem before really moving on with the game, but I am not sure I can defeat the res beast without diving into the files in my program files. (SIDENOTE: As I am writing this, I am posting on forums, checking email and eating lunch. I just came across an answer to one of my questions I posted. The answer? No, you cannot change the resolution!) One of the main screens has a chatroom, or a chat window (like the regular ole chat window in most MMO's) as well as links to some of the things you can do.
I REALLY need to customize my character.
Anyway, I jumped into a game with 6 or so dancers and decided to give it a go. I knew my leet dance skillz were not what they should be, but I did OK. The music starts to count off, and the other players gave good advice like "stay calm" and "don't go too fast." Everyone was very nice, and the chat was riddled with the staple Anime-Style phrases like "..." and "o_o". The music was upbeat and a little fast. I figured I had joined a game or a song that was maybe WAY too advanced for me.
The object is to push the series of arrow keys before the dot gets to the 4th beat. Essentially, you go something like "up up up down SPACE BAR." While the series of button smashings can be out of time, as long as the space bar is hit on that fourth beat you're good. Interestingly my brain had a harder time with some directional buttons, and sometimes I got confused because of the arrow that preceded the one I was supposed to push next. Hard to explain, but soon enough I would bet you that I could read the series of arrow keys faster and will be able to push them without pause.
I really wanted to compare the other rhythm game, STEPS, to this one. I wanted a face-off. But, I couldn't even get STEPS to download properly, and hard a hard enough time signing up. I am open to the possibility that I missed something which wouldn't surprise me.
In Audition you have the standard avatar, but quickly you can deck them out in all sorts of attire. The cash shop portion of the game seems to be mostly for fashion, and at one point you gain access to a house or apartment. (I couldn't gain access to mine, at least on the map, so I wonder if it comes later or I have to pay for it with real money.)
So far the chat has been very clean and nice, and after playing so many F2P's I am realizing that younger audiences aren't nearly as "naughty" or filled with as many tools as pay games that often have 20 sumthings and up frequenting them. Generally (in my experience with the 40 some odd F2P games I have played) females are much "nicer" and less likely to use curse words than young boys. Of course, I am basing this off of the players declaration of age, names that have birth dates, and the fact that un-capitalized names can sometimes indicate age (sounds strange, but test the theory.)
These are all generalizations, but after 40 something games worth of talking to players, it seems that there are plenty of tweens, teens and even adults playing these games..all at about equal measure. Granted, a lot of the time the player could be lying to me or I could be taking the wrong indication of age away from the meeting.
But a game like Audition is probably frequented mostly with teen girls (that's just a guess) but I have ran across a good deal of male avatars and plenty of adults, too. Point is, these crowds that have a wide variety of players tend to be (again, in my opinion) much much nicer and more open to questions than any crowd I have ever played with.
Go try out Audtion, and if you have played STEPS or get into the game, let me know what I might be doing wrong. According to my evidence, it is in open beta, so I think it wasn't me. And do the tutorials...it takes some getting used to.
Now go DANCE YOUR BUTT OFF!!