Hi, guys, I am protodoxa. This is my first blog on mmorpg.com, where I occasionally lurk. I've decided to share some of my MMO gameplay experience here. Perhaps my experiences might indicate at some level cool things about the genre, or things to avoid even, since I have a MMO habit that is at times rather beastly.
Nice to meetya, and since introductions are now out of the way, let me begin on my first topic: Age of Conan after Guild Wars 2 (and to a lesser extent Star Wars the Old Republic).
Now let's get something very important out of the way. I freaking love the heck out of GW2. Its exploration, accessible but deep character development system, great crafting for a themepark, insanely cool class design (at least for the Mesmer and the Engineer) - I could gush at length. I even like the freaking hearts. I should also add that I had dabbled a bit in the predecessor without fully enjoying myself since it felt more lobby focused than I cared for and since I despised the combat and the auto-attack tab-targeting design (I did enjoy character development in this game). So I was skeptical of GW2, but I bought it, and it ran rather surprisingly decently on my old laptop (although I would never do WvWvW on it, so my opinions on the game I am gushing about are limited soley to PvE).
Having said this, I must admit that despite my enthusiasm I found myself after a while quite sad about the way that story is entirely channeled through DEs and the personal storyline. DEs, since they spawn, can be missed, and often the succeeding episode in the event takes too long to occur (or does not at all since I guess some condition has not been met), which leaves my Asuran mesmer wandering around exploring and generally going wow - there's some mysterious stuff going on here, wonder what it is. My levelling is never too negatively impacted since I feel I always have tons of stuff to do, but I admit that in themeparks it is very important to get the story to draw you into your environment. Your mileage may very on this, indeed, but this is how I see it.
So I returned to a game I had not played in a while, rolled a new character (as is my habit, more on this later - it's a problem), and just went with it.
Yes, the game was Age of Conan, and I know next to nothing about the lore, but let me tell you what I appreciate was the way they canvas the entire Tortage experience in story and expertly crafted cutscenes with solid voice acting for the most part. Although I stumbled at first (I think I began kill stealing, since I was still in GW2 mode - sorry, folks), I found myself much more immersed in Tortage than ever before. I know that Tortage is limited to the first 20 or so newb levels but the difference in immersion is notable.
Is this a problem for GW2? Not for me, as long as I avoid the habit of creating new characters every time I return to a MMO, as this game delivers at some many different levels. But I wonder if Aoc simply has more soul than GW2?
I don't think this is the case, as truly soulless MMOs like Perfect World and Forsaken World feel very different to what I get from GW2, but I can tell you this, AoC brings the immersion factor into play in a way that surprises me.