Anymore, I have to first look at a games controls to consider if it will be a good game for me to play. I might first open the options panel to see what can be re-mapped to fit my "mostly keyboard" style. I usually am best with movement being on the WASD keys, along with the arrow keys. I also like to find a few ways to attack, to loot (if applicable) and to travel long distances.
Consider it for a second: how many tiny clicks or hand movements do you make during a gaming session? Ever have achiness in your hands, or take a break to massage your arms or wrists? Ever do that thing where you shake your hands around as though they have sticky substances on them? That's because slowly, but surely, you are causing damage to your arms/wrists/hands.
I've been causing this damage for most of my life. I have not only been playing drums, but been playing drums HARD. I have been a painter, too, sometimes doing detailed or massive artworks that required huge brushes. And then there is the last 10 years of PC usage. Overall, I have hurt myself, but it's not so bad that I can't work around it. At least for awhile.
So seeing how some of my favorite games are going F2P soon, I want to look at how they work with my play-style. I just want to concentrate on the basics with this article, because the first thing to consider in a game is how you might go throughout the world.
DDO Unlimited: This game has been absolutely thrilling to play again. When I played it for the show a while back I enjoyed it enough, but when it came time to pay the sub I chose to spend my money elsewhere. Although I can afford several subs per month, I have to pick and choose how much I spend like anything else. And now that this game is going F2P, well, I am more than excited.
It plays wonderfully smooth. The game looks incredible but runs great, even on my older system. The cash shop is a nice balance of functional and cosmetic, and the beta has been a blast.
But, I was worried about the hack and slash FPS style controls. If there is one thing that destroys me, it's holding down a move button while controlling views with my mouse. All those little clicks add up to one big pain. But, this game has so many options for controls it's crazy! I can basically re-map anything, and in a couple places. I can now be in FPS mode (if I chose to be) and with the push of the T button, can be in a customized "classic" version with two movement key sets, three attack choices (either ctrl key or a mouse click) and many other click-saving options. It's been wonderful to play, being able to switch on the fly between play-styles. I can also control the camera movements with a button set, and attacking is pretty accurate and smooth. Overall, I am thrilled to be playing this game again.
The Chronicles of Spellborn: I raved about this game for a long, long time. When it came out it was almost like I couldn't believe it actually came out. I loved the look of the game (it is probably my favorite art style besides Ryzom) and enjoyed the game play. Granted, running for 4683 miles is not that fun, and the linear story-quest leveling gets a little clunky, but the story is engaging and the world is beautful.
Again, though, when the time came to pay the sub I had already played to near level 20 on the over-seas servers. When the North American version came out, I was not thrilled to be playing the same character, basically, following the exact same story. In fact, that's one weak point about a story driven game (SWtOR?): re playability is low. Once you go through the story, being forced to go down it again gets very old very fast.
But you can play to level 10 now, and when it goes F2P you can take your time and gain high levels without the pressure of a subscription. Being that I have already been through a good deal of the earlier levels, I can only play it in chunks.
So, how does this "FPS" style game do for me? Well, it does OK. This morning I played with the controls and was shocked to be reminded that there is not a single control for cameras besides zoom out or in. I am actually able to pull out my weapon, hit the mob and fight pretty well by using classic MMO modes. Granted, the attacks normally have to be clicked by the mouse to go off, but I found that pushing the number that corresponds to the attack will fire it off also. So, I can actually play it pretty well if not for the lack of such a simple thing: camera control.
Yes, I know the game was meant to be played FPS style. The point is though that these small controls can be the difference between having many players being able to play and many players avoiding your game. FPS style is so taxing that alternate forms of control would be helpful for almost anyone.
Wizard 101: This "kids" game has been very successful due to the fact that it has fun and surprisingly deep game-play. It is basically a card collecting combat game, but has brilliant player housing and a cash-shop for all the impulse buyers out there. It will run on older machines, but the animations and effects are far from amateur.
I became concerned when I couldn't figure out how to control the game during combat with anything but the mouse. I almost lost several fights because I was trying alternate buttons just to see what they do! In time, I found out that you can arrow over to the card you want and select it with space. Then, you simply arrow over to the enemy you want and hit space again. Voila! Instant destruction! Moving and camera work is not complicated or anything new. In fact, the camera is pretty restricted so you don't even worry about that.
Over all, I am so happy that these games are going to be more comfortable for me to play. Even with only playing maybe a few hours per night, I am up to icing my arms at least twice a day. If this can cut back on the discomfort, then I am a happy gamer.
I am going to look into more alternates for these games and see what I can come up with. It's nice to see that there are options, but I could always use more.