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OP 7/22/12 8:38:43 PM#1
Wall of text incoming
Preface for the rabid people: I am human. Not only can I change my mind at a later date, I will and often. It's part of being a person, get over it. I am writing this to not only help me see exactly how I feel (It helps when I write things out) but it may help someone else which I say great. And of course, don't take my views personal. I hereby give you permission to dislike things that I love, please do the same for me. Let's both be grown up enough to realize that we have different views and move on. Sad times that I had to write this paragraph to try and stop it from turning ugly...
I will start by saying I specifically avoided most talks of this game after seeing how much hype was being built up on it until I could try it out myself. This includes even going to their main website. They have an obligation to be passionate about the product they are making, believe in it profusely, and I wanted to avoid really looking forward to it. I wanted a clear head, so to speak, and take things in as they were presented.
I thought the game was... average. I mainly do PvE so this will be from that perspective. I didn't touch the PvP at all so I can't and won't comment on that. I will write down some bullet points.
Classes: Very nice selection just by looking at the list. Certainly not too few of them and it seems that at least one will grab the attention of most gamers. From the more supportive Guardian, to the boom of an Elementalist. They seem to have one for everyone. With that said, they got the archetypes right but not the layout. They seem to have made the weapon swaps a key point. If you want to play to the full potential of your class, you will have to swap. This meant switching my staff Mesmer to a greatsword, then to a one-handed sword. I don't care for that at all. Would I be able to stay staff all the time? Sure. I could also stay with just my starting weapon and nothing else but that doesn't mean it's even close to ideal. To get the full potential of your class, you're going to have to swap. You may not like the idea of a Ranger that dual wields axes but at some point you may have to suck it up and deal.
Combat: Polished and (my guess) exactly what they were aiming for. It felt very responsive which is sometimes hard to come by. I enjoyed it for the most part. It's as action oriented as you will get while remaining tab-targeted. It's not TERA but I don't think it's meant to be either. Seems like a hybrid. This may be a bad thing for some since you will not be able to type and talk to friends in chat while in combat but that may be how you like it. You will have to pay attention to mobs to know how to react. My biggest gripe about this is that this system plays against itself with a large number of people. Quite a few times while doing Dynamic Events I died because I couldn't see what the mob was doing from all the particle effects. It obscured the mob to the point that I had no visual indicator that said "Hey dumbass, dodge!". I simply knew it when I got slammed.
Hearts: These have been covered at great length in other posts I have been reading. Standard fare for an MMO. Swap hearts for quests and you get the idea. My main gripe, for most of the early ones you won't even be using your own weapons while fighting. Whether you're holding a hammer to disable/enable a robot, or carrying a bomb to throw at people. It will give you new abilities while removing your usuals which you can drop to swap back, but then you have to grab another to continue doing the same thing. That's about the base of it. Won't go more into it then that.
Dynamic Events: I found these to be similar to Rift's rifts. They pop up, people gather to complete it, then go about what they were doing before. These however seem much more fleshed out. It's not simply a static rift that pops every three minutes. Sometimes things had to be done first, and sometimes things continued far more afterward. If you pay attention to the npcs afterwards they usually lead to another that chains itself and can actually tell a complete story which I enjoyed. Some are one giant mob that needs to be defeated, others are angry bees. Different in presentation which can really make or break it for ya. I think if you approach these more as a story book than a rift you will find them more enjoyable.
Personal Story: Not the greatest writing by any stretch of the imagination and other more recent games I feel have done a better job with this, TSW and SWTOR being two. Certainly not bad either. Voice acting alone was a huge deal not that long ago and they deliver in spades. The voice acting wasn't horrible at all, it just continually lacked something that made me want to care. With that being said there are some golden moments that actually made me laugh. Most of these happened early in my Asura's story. You may need to search for the right combo to really connect with the story that is being presented. Where I felt the humor and light-heartedness in my Asuran Engineer studying in the school of Dynamics, I felt nothing for my Human Guardian that was raised among nobility.
Graphics: Good. Not great, not awful, just good. The game seems to suffer from the same thing Rift did for me however. I call it "The Haze". It's when my eye automatically goes towards my UI or character but never my surroundings or the actual game world. I have to actually force myself to stop and take in some of the amazing artwork of something so simple as the sky. Not sure what causes it but I usually realize it later when I am trying to recall something from the game and I have no memory of the area, but I could tell you exactly what my character was wearing and my skill layout precisely at that moment.
A LOT of things I didn't touch on but I figure this post is long enough. Just wanted to do some of the more key aspects of the game. In closing, I thought the game overall was decent or average. Usually when I stop playing a great game I can't wait to play it again or I have dreams about it. Conversely, when I play an awful game I never want to pick it up again or have to force myself to. This didn't do either of those things. I will buy it and it will sit here for when I am bored of other games, but I will still buy it and play it at some point.