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All Posts by Stormwatch

All Posts by Stormwatch

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86 posts found

I am interested why it is that MMORPGs are pretty much the only genre that must reinvent itself with every new game (somewhat defying the idea of genre). The only thing where everyone can agree on is that it features "massively-multiplayer" and a somewhat persistent world. Traditionally, it ought to have RPG mechanics (as anything more complex, or real-time wasn't feasible at the time).


All the FPS, racing games, RTS, jump'n'run, shmp and whatnot are pretty much the same as they were since the beginning of time. Their innovation is in comparison a little bit of tweaking here and there, a different weapon reload mechanism, etc.


I think the reason has to do with two main things. On one hand, the genre specifications, like being "online" are no longer exclusive to MMORPGs. On the other hand, technological advances allow almost any kind of game being played online (there are still limits, like massive battles with thousands of players with realistic bullet physics, but you get the idea).


MMORPGs have become a sort of container for all kinds of mini-game collections, and everyone has a different idea on what should be included. Some like "jump puzzles", many don't. There is no reason why you can't have horse racing in a medieval fantasy game, or interior design with 23rd century style designer furniture one some space station. After all, the original idea behind MMORPGs was "virtual world" and in a world you can do pretty much anything, as long as someone puts it in.


With that being said, I sit and wait until the MMORPG genre description begins to break down. People still call some music "Pop Music", but that label is pretty much meaningless but on the most superficial level.

I haven't read all the in-depth commentary of the devs, but of course knew about the dynamic event design it would have. Now, I did just play and also believed that the hearts (generally) guide me through the content. It is how the game is introduced and explained in the first few minutes. When I wander around to explore—as I am more of a sandbox mmo lover—the game frequently penalizes it by enemies that one-shot kill me. Since I know of the design of the zones, my impression is then that I can't play the areas anyway, so I go back to places where I have been already and where it seems I have done all the major events. I also cannot complete my thief's current "story quest" as the buddy I have to escort always keeps attacking the assailants and we make near no progress, until he runs out of health and I have to revive him. This is then not possible as I cannot both fend of the assailants and heal him. Yeah, I have to bring friends, but suddenly require to have a group when in the beginning of the game your're likely a loner still (and it's the story mode) seems wrong.

So I can kind of understand where the issues come from and it has nothing to do with not being able to play a game without had holding, as some entitled elitists make it sound. Playing a video game is not exactly rocket science.  


Originally posted by GrumpyMel2

Lol Sanya.... your engineers have clearly not watched enough old Star Trek episodes.....

One of the very first lessons I learned as an engineer was to always TRIPLE the amount of time you give Management or the CSR's as an estimate for a fix from what you think it will ACTUALY take.

Unfortunately my current boss has been working with me for 10 years now and he's actualy figured it out by now.



Kirk: "Scotty, how long before those Warp Engines are back online?"

Mr Scott: <does a few mental calculations and comes up with an estimate of 2 hours>  "Well Cap'n I dinna think you'll have em back on line for at least another 6 hours, maybe more."

Kirk: "Dammit Scotty, I need those engine back online in 2 hours not 6!"

Mr Scott: <deep sigh> "I'll do my best Cap'n, but no promises."

2 hours later

Mr Scott: "Scott to bridge, Warp Engines now restored"

Kirk: "Scotty, you're a $%@@ Hero!"

Mr Scott: "Aye..."


I thought it goes more like that:

  • Kirk: How much time before we can take her out again?

  • Scott: Eight weeks, Sir -- but ya don't have eight weeks, so I'll do it for ya in two.

  • Kirk: We are dead in two hours!

  • Scott: Aye Sir, I'll do it in one.

I don't see why this is scary at all and it doesn't have to do with "gamers". If you unleash a large number of people to an (essentially) matematical problem, they home in to the solution by using a combination of brute force trial and error and shared knowledge. The setup allows some rapid testing (which is done in parallel) and the brain power of all combined solves the problem at hand. The same happened throughout history as no single individual for example "invented" a dragon boat or how to build a cathedral.

"If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants" (and the Giants were other humans, who were themsevles building on top of other humnans before them and so forth).

Then, lets take a look at games. There are several academical and arcane definitions but they all agree that game isn't space marines, zombies and dark elf wizards. A game is a kind of model that works with underlying rules and the player is able to manipulate some parts of the model in order to reach a goal, however to reach the goal, they must understand or "grok" the rules and profoundly understand the patterns. Scientists are gamers. They create models and play around with them to see if their setup behaves like the real thing.

I like the fact that we are slowly coming into a time when people understand that games are so much more and are useful for some much more. This is a very good thing indeed. It could be that the most effective way of human cooperation is through a game (-like) mechanism.

Vampires: female fantasy about eternal love and romance.

Zombies: male fantasy about protecting your kin with a chainsaw.

Your score description (still) seems off. Anything from 0-4 is hopeless, 5 poor etc. You should seriously consider to make 5 truly average. Suggestions about such a scale have been provided in the editorial by Jon Wood where he asked for feedback about the rating / review policy.

I like to share some tips for future Community Managers:

First off, make sure that developers and players never communicate directly. If developers annoy you with stuff they want communicated, throw it away and rewrite it (only if you absolutely must communicate, better get rid of them). Consider to turn it into a weekly series and plan ahead so that two or three bits of information will last out for a couple of months. Players love trivia and forum games better anyway, so make sure that the dev tracker and similar tools are always filled to the brim with such things. However, not having a dev tracker is preferrable as players love to discover news, for example that their class has been changed.

It is very important that any information you have up your sleeve is prepared in at least eight different ways. The new skill description you have; you could turn the information into an interview, video, essay, blog entry, screeshot, conference speech, dev diary, (fake) forum post and a news bit all at once and release it over the course of a year. Maybe just post the skill icons as a monthy wednesday feature. Players will discuss them for a long time and tell all their friends about it (and make YouTube videos). That way you can keep the players entertained with only giving away the icons of 3 skills. Repeat the same process with the skill description and other things. You could also make a dev chat event and ask the intern to submit questions about the skills you have presented earlier the week. Players will be happy that they have not missed out information of their favorite game. If you also place the dev chat so that it is in the middle of the night (say 3 a.m.) for half of the player base, the information you provide will appear even more valuable. If you have limited stuff to give away, it also best to announce it on such occasions.

People play MMORPG fantasy and sci-fi games to escape reality so you generally don't want to communicate on issues that need improvement or fixing. If you encounter problem-posts in the forum, just delete them without any notification to help players with their immersion. People who offer critique should be banned (make sure you also ban their account). Most of the time they will purchase another one and play your game longer. This is also a good way to remove items and gold from the in-game economy, something developers usually screw up.

Even if you feel tempted, do not collect feedback from the players in the forums. Only a vocal minority is posting and they do not represent the player base at all. Since they are the minority, you want to communicate the opposite of what you are observing to describe what the majority actually wants. Make sure that your data remains accurate. You only want to pop into threads that are written as Isabelle is suggesting. It is also good if you participate in random and off-topic forum posts. Players soon think you are their buddy and it is a good method to keep game information a little bit more hidden (more mystery is good).

Consider to include a few veterans into player counsel or correspondent programs. If you follow the other rules, the players will feel special and involved and stick around forever. If some player demands match with what the developers are doing anyway, make sure you communicate that the developers meet player wishes. This is considered a win-win situation and should be the goal at all times. If players never suggest the right things, consider to hire some interns that help the playerbase to come up with things that are best for them (i.e. on the internal to-do list). If the intern posts the suggestion, immediately  jump in and write that this is a great idea! This will signalize to anyone else that you are truly listen to player feedback.

If your game has different classes and/or factions make sure you pick only one each at the beginning of your career and only reply to threads and posts relevant for that class or faction. This will increase tension and drama in the forums and we all know this is good to foster community and the meta-game. You may also ask the developers and the rest of the team which class or faction they like best. Otherwise, stick to the rules as listed above concering information policy. It is better to have 8 out of 10 questions in interviews already covered elsewhere. Should you lack the material, you can always ask how someone came to work this morning.

As you see, the job of a Community Manger is great fun and the players will love you for what you are doing even if you bitch about them in the office.

Good article. I don't want to repeat the same stuff, so I am adding another perspective.

They used to be a great company and they used to have good games. Then inexplicably bad creative direction crept into their games (I am leaving NGE out, really!). It went downhill already when SWG introduced nothing else than Barbie doll house decoration items and the team did anything in their power to avoid any references to actual Star Wars (you only saw these on promo material, while they dedicated time to implement such things as pink mandalorian armors. Really.)

SOE would repeat their formula of fail on DCUO as well, when they thought that centering their updates on holydays would be a good idea. Who thought that german expressionism Batman would be successful, as with Tim Burton's take. And who thought that you can make an animated series using art deco and film noir designs? Well, people who obviously know their stuff (Batman originally being a pulp detective comic).

I know that it's just one aspect, but wrecking entire franchises like that is the most efficient way to destroy both reputation and image of the company. SOE really is the Joel Schumacher of the online game world.

I made an extensive suggestion here, but wanted to stress the point that you need to use sub-genres. In other gaming sites people quickly see "Racing Game" or "Platformer" and the like and it sets their expectations. WIth sub-genres I mean "Sandbox", "Themepark" and the like, maybe you find better sub-genre names.

The burden (and joy) is usually on journalists to come up with genre names, hence I think you guys (and others) are still a bit clueless about your role. Grow up.

A couple of suggestions from my side.


Stick to the 10 Point scale. As you say, it works well with MetaCritic and you want your reviews to appear over there as well. But [1] enforce consistency and assign each number with a [2] proper meaning, which you should also [3] spell out right next to the number or by providing a link to a rating policy page, where you may also conveniently explain your criteria. The reviewer should first have a verdict, only then translate it to the scale. Here is a take with keeping in mind that 5 should be the true average.

  • 10 — Perfect
  • 09 — Excellent
  • 08 — Very Good
  • 07 — Good
  • 06 — Above Average
  • 05 — Average
  • 04 — Below Average
  • 03 — Bad
  • 02 — Atrocious
  • 01 — Abysmal
You could use categories and rate on each separately and weight the categories differently, making Character Creation more or less important than something else, depenend on your criteria. These weighted scores are then aggregated into the final score which should line up with the verdict as listed above, when your criteria and weights are set correctly that is. You only need to setup an Excel table and it would be easy for your staff to use it. I won't overdo the categories though. A few would be enough.
  • Character Creation: breadth (many options), depth (option has many settings)
  • Usability: from installing to playing, how convenient and smooth does it feel like. Is it intuitive, clunky, responsive ...
  • Sophistication: in lieu of a better word: is it ripe, how many and how severe are bugs, how feature complete is it?
  • Core Game: there is a play pattern at the heart of any MMO that is repeated over and over, mostly combat wrapped in quests. How is the quality of that? Too many skills to use? It is too repetetive? Does it grow old quickly?
  • Scope: breath and depth are adequate terms to describe what to expect as well. Does it offer more than other games on release? Does it have few large and awesome features? Is it more a collection of many minigames? Has it enough PVP and PVP. What about crafting?
  • Balance: There are many kinds of balances, not just between classes. How about the ratio between action and downtimes. What about difficulty on your level? Can you outheal the opponent? Are other classes so much easier to play?
  • Presentation: I'd lump graphics and sound into that one, and other production values. Be careful with rating graphics merely from a technical point of view. MMOs are geared at large audiences and state-of-the-art is usually not the priority. Where it ends up depends on many factors, some deliberate (maybe the game is aimed at an older demographic expected to have more outdated machines) and some more or less coincidential (development time, rule of thumb etc.). It would be unfair to rate down a game for a certain deliberate strategy. Rather, look at art style, concistency, quality in the substance (lighting, atmosphere, personality etc.) and the like.
  • Innovation: I am bit hesistant with this one. I think it is overrated. A genre simply has certain genre characteristics and the community and some reviewers on this site places too much emphasis on it. You would have to find out whether its bad to have the basic DikuMUD Gameplay and if different approaches should yield better scores. Every game is different and most games have their own take on known features at least. So I remain skeptical with this.
  • Fun: The game could totally suck at anything and still be super fun. This might be the Joker card that influences the final score the most.
  • Social: I feel this should show up somewhere as well, but don't judge whether most players of this game are douche, but at how game features condense in the community. Keep in mind that drama is good in some games and detrimental in others. Also, some things are really opinions, like if mandatory grouping is a good thing. Remain impartial on that one. But if grouping is strongly discouraged, dungeon finder teleporting makes it so that you never see anyone anymore and the like, there are too many player hubs so there is none, these  are  reasons to consider. Also did the devs introduce rally points (factions, alliances, guild features) to identify with, and does it pan out well? Do the emotes have a positive impact?
Target Players
You have a box with the Pros and Cons, which I think is great. You could expand this to recommend it to a certain player type, you think this game caters to the most. Examples:
Players who liked Game X and Game Y may also like this Game.
Bartle-Class Recommendations
They are typically depicted using the playing cards symbols which is also an excuse to make it look nice: Explorers (♠), Killers (♣), Socializers (♥), Achievers (♦). These are motivations and every player has them in varying degrees.You could use them to describe where the game is strong at. Lot's of PVP and very twitch based? Then Killers should look into it. Or is the game very item centric with a huge achievement system? Is it an open-world game or very instanced? This pretty much influences to whose motivations the game will cater to.
Nick Yee's Classification
It's bit differently and essencially three-sided. Achievement, Social and Immersion with some subcategories. You could combine it with the rating suggested above, or very quickly indicate strong points and weak points by just pointing out the words, thus complementing the Pros and Cons. You should keep this standardized and place a longer overview page behind the words. Please note that you do not rate the game itself, but how you assume the game will cater to players who are motivated by certain factors. E.g, Game X: "Advancement, Teamwork, Competition"
MMO (Sub) Subgenre / Distinctions
As anyone and his mom knows there are several traditions of MMORPGs and they can make the gameplay dramatically different. The two broad categories are of course the Sandbox vs Themepark distinction, actually rather Simulation vs. Game. Themepark actually means a game world that is based on attractions in well-crafted thematically different areas (think Magic Kingdom style, "Adventureland", "Tomorrowland" etc.). This is of course the hallmark of World of Warcraft, which seems to be modelled fairly close to original Disneyland (no surprise since their Irvine office is only a tossed dwarf away). Games that are more sandbox-y, that is simulationist, are rather based on emergent gameplay, Ultima Online, EVE and the like. In the former developer control is emphazised, player control in the latter.
Another one would be Open-World vs. Lobby/Tunnel . Open-World games have a more or less freely accessible game (over) world, where you may find mobs of your level range in corners of many different zones. Games with a lobby are almost entirely instanced and the instances may be rather linear tunnels to fight till the end boss. Sandbox games are usually open-world as well, but the distinctions should not be confused (WOW is open world as well).
The next distinction, again extreme ends, would be Twitch vs Turn. One places heavy emphasis on the players inherent abilities like hand-eye coordination (twitch) so that you cannot be a master archer if you aren't in real life, so to speak. The other extreme are turn based games or MMORPGs where the old Wargaming roots show through and only your strategical/tactical choices matter, so you can be master archer even as real life paraplegic, because your character sheet says you are (this is also at the heart of "What means RPG", which is not speaking with a pirate accent all day).
Most MMORPGs are actually somewhere in the middle, where some reflexes are required even in barely concealed quasi turn based games on one end, and the newer action-oriented MMORPGs which still resemble DikuMUD combat, but feature a more free-form targeting and faster gameplay. Essentially, Boring vs. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Anyhow, the core characteristcs could be summed up as well, getting rid of comments that somehow demand the opposite type of gameplay.
The Review

Generally, many reviews I've read had too much focus on the reviewer, what the person personally likes and dislikes rather than strongly reflected on the game itself (wait. I get to that). It often read like apologizing in advance or dodging bullets that commentors may shoot. Personal preferences could be outsourced to introduction / profile pages of the reviewer, possibly adhering to some standards, like the classifications mentioned above. So you don't want to read too much of "I am personally fine with Kill Ten Rat Quests, but Jade Doe may not like this." The key information here would be that the game is full of these quests and the reader will know what to make of it. Likewise, I don't want the reviewer to point out that players who don' like PVP will not like this game. I want them to point out that PVP is mandatory or that there is little else beside it. If things are merely described, keep it tight. If you analyze, stay away from "No Shit, Sherlock?" territory. If you offer an opinion, it should be "reasonable". Generally, I have no qualms with that one, usually seems to be the case..

I miss a certain standard of journalism in gaming and I guess games are not considered a matured medium, unless game journalism is more mature as well. It could also be more unexpected at times, like Gonzo Journalism in Middle Earth. You could also show more Genre Savvy-ness at times. A word or two could be said about all the corny clichés that reappear in any new next-gen incarnation. It's boring to poke fun at Elves and Orcs per se, why not go step further and make fun of all the ridiculous "conventions". I already gave you some links to start looking (but be warned, it will ruin your life).



Originally posted by Slapshot1188

The concept of letting players fill a wider range of roles is a positive..  BUT... the simple fact that they stick to a system where players HAVE to fit pre-determined group roles is not good.


Let's move past the holy trinity concept.  It provided a good starting point for game design a decade ago, but we need to start moving on to newer and better concepts.  I don't want to hear anymore about group roles and archetypes....



Ok., there are two dudes with each a health bar. You can knock the health bar of the opponent down: DPS. You can make your health stay where it is: Tank. Or you can fill the health bar up again: Healer. You can then do this on different ranges and with a different radius and differentiated by single-target and multi-target (AOEs, splash etc). Last not least, you can prevent someone else from doing his job, or make your friend perform better: Supporter. In a nutshell: that's it with any somewhat static "classic" MMORPG combat system.

You can remove aggro, then stuff like tanking will be diminished or push the game more towards twitch (where then other factors may be more important).  If you wanted to make it really different, you would have to remove the concept of a health bar entirely (or any functionally similar bar)—then work from there. Where you probably end up with a very different kind of game.

Anyhow, it allows to come up with different playstyles that play quite differently and diffetrent roles in a party, which is good for the multiplayer part (which isn't trivial). Sometimes removing or changing something will cause many other things to also break.

I pretty much expect from columnist to state an opinion, but then I also want them to write something meaningful, something they noticed or discovered, something to stop by and read about their findings. This site could be the headquarter of MMORPGs, but you miss too many opportunities and then the commentary became too shallow and stale, just peek at what epic veteran columnist Scott Jennings does regularily on his blog. There isn't that, nor is there the insight you find at some other sites regarding the design of the games. This site is hanging in the middle between armchair design commentary and touchy-feely that is all not really relevant, the middle is where the roadkill is. If I just wanted an idea about some game, I just peek at a random board to get this idea. So, to sum up, sadly, the site just doesn't cut anymore. This has nothing directly to do with your contributions, but I think this and the reason you write this is rather revealing.

My opinion only as well, of course.

Bill Murphy : […] It astonishes really the way in which so many drop World of Warcraft for some new game, get tired of said new game, and then go back to WoW to await the next messiah.  I just don’t get it.  Why even leave Azeroth in the first place, then?  Or if you’re sick of WoW to be looking for something else, why go back to it when the “new shiny” doesn’t deliver?  Why not just play nothing until something else comes along? […]


When I play a game very often, it happens that I sometimes play a different game for a change because I feel like it. I know, this is very illoyal of me as each human being should only play one game ever (which is also soulbound and policed by the government). Maybe these players are not sick, maybe they do not await a next messiah. Maybe they just played through the main content of WOW (or whatever other game) and want some change and you know, just check out some other game for a change.

Any of us has a first MMORPG which is special and if it wouldn't entirely suck or shut down by now, and updated and well fed with content, well, maybe, just maybe, we would check in regularily as well. Sorry, but I expect a little bit more from a columnist than straw mans (and no, I am not a WOW player).

Originally posted by Shinami

Americans know that gaming is about having fun and feeling that level of fun is rewarding enough. Americans know the difference between high stake games, competitive games and average gaming. [...] Majority of Asia-Prime cultures and civilization fall into the idea that in order for something to be worth it, one must undergo hardwork and hardship. [...] The problem in European Culture deals with the Educational Elitist that attempts to silence anyone and everyone.

The greatest being that Americans KNOW that gaming is about fun, and nothing pisses of a European or anyone from Asia-Prime (and even Asia-Minor) than telling a non-American the words 

 [object Window]I am not playing because it is simply not fun[object Window]

1) Asians mostly play in social places such as internet cafes. This leads to games that do not suck up all of the attention. Immersion is less important. Games arent all about fun only, just as comics arent just for kids anymore. 2) You claim europeans are elitist, at the same time you make the impression you view yourself (and americans) as something better. This may give some a sour feeling 3) I can only talk a bit about german gamers: board games are still extremely popular in this country and there is even a large (and very influental) branch of games called german-style board games coming out of this. Computer games tend to fill a more sophisticated niche (strategy games and the like). At the same time outright war/conflict related games werent that popular due to historical reasons. That[object Window]s a difference. The elitist reason you gave, I never.ever. heard of.

If a game isnt fun, people wont play it. Just what fun is, is viewed different.

Damion Schubert (Game Design Veteran currently on SW:TOR) has put up some slides on Grind.

Gear is a very good game metaphor. For the sake of illustration: you could copy World of Warcraft but make it a stone-age setting, where the characters don't have any gear at all. The gear would become unlimited buffs, e.g. Snowserpent Mail Helm > Snowserpent Shampoo Buff, the game would remain exactly the same. The designers could also disguise it as Spirit allies — once you know them, they add some points to your character (increase stats), that would mean the Snowserpent Mail Helm would become Snowserpent Spirit Friend. You get the idea.


Items are a good metaphor, as it is how we perceive things around us. After all, tools are an extension of our body since the dawn of mankind. They feel natural to us. Tools enhance our body in a way. And they fit very well with the settings. We perceive history as a series of technical advancements and it is the foundation of fantasy. Sci-Fi is arguably all about technical progression. 


We have the points and stats, because of the RPG genre. Virtual characters and their abilities matter, not real-life player skills  (of course certain player skills always matter, like Google skills, or timing). You can be a Master Archer without being a Master Archer in real life, as these abilities are represented by a values of virtual characters.


So when you went out on adventure to level your character,  it wasn't any different from obtaining items. The metaphor is a little different, but the thing itself is the same. It seems that "levelling" (increasing stats and points in some form) became too important. I guess it is also due to the setting most RPGs are set in. They are usually derived from the Heroes Journey trope, where the hero becomes stronger over time until she is able to overcome the adversaries. 


Maybe the progression overshadows the adventure too much, but that seems to be a different issue. 


P.S. please someone at MMORPG.COM fix the blog view.

At this point I just note that in recent memory, three out of few columnist have contributed an opinion on this very community and — more or less polite — pointed out that something is wrong, with tips how to fix it.

This is interesting.

I would make a "gaslight fantasy" world — somewhat 18/19 (and early 20) century  but in a free-form kind of way in the same way as traditional fantasy treats the middle ages. There are Golems alongside Automatons (think Droids, Warforged, classic Golems). There are working-class Orcs shoveling coal into forges. There are Elf mages with an air of stage magician. There are thugs with steel jaws and prosthesis limp shaped like an iron lobster pincer. 


It have a decend amount of Cloak & Dagger and Pulp Adventure style to it, intrigues, espionage, secret societies (a kind of church versus freemason-type of beliefs, magi orders — you name it). I would take inspiration from pre-Tolkien fantasy works, Alice in Wonderland to Wizard of Oz, but adapted and modernized. It's a world where your awesome fantastic guild Zeppelin (fully mobile guild hall) can be attacked by Winged Monkeys. Throw in some Lovecraft as well, and Crimson Skies for good measure. It would have a "used" look to it, like the old Star Wars movies. I'd also like some Jim Henson "cute but creepy" elements. I know it sounds like a Terry Gilliam fantasy and it might become a little quirky, but I think that this can be made extremely cool. I'd take some inspiration from this looks as well. It won't be too dark visually, rather keeping it varied, but the lore would explore dark topics as well (also looking at modern fiction like Harry Potter or Star Wars, which I see as dark storytelling while still being acceptable as mainstream). That would be plain awesome, to me at least :D


The game play would include some action-adventure elements, mirroring the lore. Your guild or group would frequently travel with a zeppelin or submarine and try to get rid of terrors of the deep, cultists, church zealots or powerful villain tycoons trying to setup a base in antarctica. There is a nazi inspired evil empire, with plenty of mooks (troopers) to battle as well. Other encounters range from massive black tanks equipped with flame throwers to weird wild-west inspired Gunslingers.


Finally, I'd also throw in lots of easter eggs, secrets rooms with treasure and pop culture references. The classes are stuff like Rocketeer, Gunslinger, Vigil, Magician etc. 

Played them both at the GamesCom, next to Guild Wars 2. My thoughts only, so please take it with a grain of salt.

RIFTS: Felt very old school MMORPG to me. This may be a good thing for people who love the classic EverQuest-kind of feel. It has crisp graphics but it also looked a bit, in lieu of a better word, stiff. The eponymous rifts (fire) felt more like you stepped into a lava zone with burning zombie monsters limping around in circles. The "rift game play" itself felt fairly static to me, even if the appearance of the rift is controlled dynamically. You attack one zombie, 1-1-2-dead, then you turn around and go one meter and 1-1-2-dead again and so on (they didn't help each other), you get your XP, you go back to the quest giver who asked you to kill the firy zombies in the first place, well sounds familliar. That is probably the whole point. So in essence it was like that in soviet … RIFTs, the lava zone comes to you! I think they may have some more things up their sleeves, but it will be a "classic" MMORPG at its core.

TERA: Is very action oriented, lots of hack and slay but in a relatively slow pace, depending of the class you play. Where pressing the right number key is the primary combat play in a lot of mmorpgs, it is positioning and timing in TERA. You only have very few different abilities but they put some efforts in making them look nice. Most of the time you seem to engage in kill-X quests, but to be fair this was the case in the Rifts demo as well. Since the core combat was fun to me, I found this enjoyable. I cannot say how it works out in long session or how long term motivation is. I assume that too much action and fast paced stuff doesn't work that well with the MMORPG genre over long periods of time. I noticed that TERA offsets the action part with quite hardcore downtimes, so you didn't heal up instantly after combat and such things. Maybe this works out in the long run. Anyways, the world of TERA looked very nice but it is true that it has some kind of AION feel to it, I guess mainly due to the coloring (asians seem to love purple and turquoise). 

To sum up: TERA cannot deny its asian roots in terms of style but the characters and other elements have stuff for western audiences as well (you can make manly characters that don't look like boys). Combat is about positioning and timing, real time blocking or doding when you see a wind-up movement of the monster and stuff the like, and not about applying different skills in the best sequence while staying still. RIFTs seems to be in the tradition of classic high fantasy games like EverQuest and Vanguard in terms of style and core gameplay, with crisp graphics that have a western feel to it. You do what you do in these games, kill monsters by unleashing your powers, spells and skills on them. So you're using more the number keys rather than WASD. 

They all will want to stay out of the wake of the Cataclysm, so don't expect major MMO releases this year and not too soon in the next year. I guess toward Q2 seems more realistic.

Originally posted by Baseline

and the dev was [...] making fun of the guy asking saying "yeah, because in star wars, han and chewie just got in the falcon and said "let's d*ck around, let's fly off that way and go mine that asteroid for loot. No? We didn't see that either. What we saw in the movies is them going forward a lot either into a fight or zooming from one planet to another".

And people want to say "wait till it comes out to judge it". 

Basically, that dev acted completely unprofessional in response [...]

I fail to see why this is unprofessional. All of Bioware games I can think of are pretty directed content (=heavily story driven) games. Star Wars always and ever was based on a strong adventure plot structure with plenty of cliff-hangers and episodic action scenes (where heroes essentially stumble from trouble into more trouble). I cannot stress enough that this is at the very core of the experience and ever was, except in this one bizarro star warsl game, which was about  things like the colonialisation of Tatooine or being a pikeneer or cook. Well, who ever dreamed of being a cook in the star wars universe. I realize there are fans for almost anything, but you have to see that this is a very, very minor minority that make people dressing up as star wars furries and attending conventions look like mainstream.

I fail to see why it was unprofessional to give a straight and honest, non-marketing answer. 









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