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All Posts by Gormogon

All Posts by Gormogon

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176 posts found

See, I actually thought BioWare handled their Revan "expansion" reasonably well in this respect.  It wasn't geared specifically to returning players, but it did let returning players catch up to the current storyline and help get them back up to speed.  There was a 12x XP phase leading up to release which allowed players to hit max level with just the class quests.  Upon release they gave players who hadn't played the related storyline instances to that point the ability to play them in an evening with a powerful droid companion.

 

The environment is different now than it used to be.  Contrary to the doom and gloom spouted around here, there are many quality gaming options, and I suspect more players, rather than playing 40+ hours a week, 52 weeks a year in the same game, are bouncing around between those options.  So yeah, I think it makes sense for developers to at least be mindful of that part of their audience and consider ways they can accommodate those players if it fits in their broader plans for the game.

 

 

Looks nice.  I still think that the technology hasn't quite reached the point yet where photo-realistic objects look right.  To me, Landmark's look (and therefore EQN's) is more in line with where voxel tech in a major commercial release stands currently, though I could see EQN being "old" in that respect by the time it's released. Either way, competition is a good thing IMO.  It will help push companies to continue to improve the tech.

 

Landmark's of Landmark

1. no vote

2. Divinity: Original Sin - I suspect I'll like Wasteland 2, but I haven't played it yet.  I would suggest adding a category like "Best Indie Debut" in the future.  There's clearly a difference between indie Larian, which is a significant studio with a record of commercial success, and indie startups like Experimental Games, maker of Boot Hill Heroes.

3. Hearthstone - Not a big fan of TCGs, but I had fun with Heartstone and it's influence is spreading.  FFXIV:ARR is adding one of the card games from the FF series, and I wouldn't be surprised if Pazaak finds its way into SWTOR within the next year either.

This article touches on it, but I think the issues run deeper than just quest design and management (yellow exclamation points, quest counters, arrows, etc.).  Before getting to that though, I will say that trash has always been a part of RPGs.  What has not is having to dangle quest rewards out there for everything.  "I hear there might be some treasure to be found in those ruins. Only be careful, rumors tell of werewolves and worse that inhabit them now," was once good enough to encourage players to show some initiative and investigate them.  Today you have to make it a quest objective and give them gold and gear upgrades to do it.

 

Other things I think have negatively affected single-player RPGs:

 

Class equality (aka "class balance") -- as in every class should be able to do everything more or less equally well.    Once upon a time your class or party composition affected the way one arrived at solutions and even controlled access to certain areas and treasure.  Modern players reject this type of choice and consequence, which has systematically been eliminated from MMOs -- not for bad reasons necessarily -- and it has filtered into single-player RPGs.  Follow the development of any SPRPG these days and you will find players clamoring for every class has to have AOEs, ways to unlock chests and doors, ways to disarm traps, ways to heal, and so on that all amount to variations on the same generic spells.

 

Which gets to another significant area where MMOs have hurt single-player RPGs: combat abilities for every class have been turned into variants of magical spells.   The old school pen-and-paper abilities and ability "modes" based on net stat bonuses and sacrifices (Power Attack raising damage in exchange for reducing accuracy for example) for classes like warrior and thieves have been supplanted by "melee spells."    "Do you want to cast your spells with a sword, bow and arrow, or a magic staff?" is one of the few decisions left.  Tactical statistical advantages -- racial advantages, positional advantages, vs. armor type advantages, elemental advantages, etc. -- that used to be a staple of RPGs are downplayed because modern players consider them inconveniences and hence poor design.   

The Planescape settings (see Planescape: Torment) is still my dream MMO setting.  We're at the point where the unique physics of individual planes and plane shifting, like while traveling along the River Styx can be faithfully realized.  Numerous factions with which to work with or against. Some interesting playable races and the ability to advance to higher forms of your race if you're, say, a modron, devil, or demon.  An awesome social hub (Sigil) that can be expansive enough to be an adventure area as well.  Tons of built in lore to generate the stories of the planes, since the setting is already well developed through RPG material and draws heavily from not only other DnD settings but real-world mythology to boot.

 

Also:

Pokemon - already has multiplayer elements; expand into a modern 3D MMORPG with both solo objectives and PvP.

 StarCraft - already mentioned, but offers a lot of interesting possibilities if Blizzard were willing to break from the basic RPG race-class and quest-dungeon paradigms.

 

Yep. I probably play a dozen or more old releases a year; some are new to me and others like the KotORs or Baldur's Gates or the Zelda games are long-time favorites.  GOG is my go-to online store for old PC games.

 

My Nintendo systems seem to hold up incredibly well, so I've played some SNES and N64 favorites in the last five years.  My ex's brother had a working NES, so I've even played some SMB 2, Punch-Out! and Paperboy relatively recently.  After years of development in controller design, it's funny how uncomfortable the original NES controller feels.

I don't want it to be an expansion.  Of course, I would love to play new zones and races and fight new world bosses because I think nobody has done it better than ANet with GW2, but there's still plenty of fun to be had elsewhere, and the idea of cosmic justice makes me giddy.  I would gladly sacrifice my 1200 hours and gem store contributions to see the world's worst fanboys get stuck celebrating more LS chapters while other games actually release numerous zones, permanent story (including nearly fully-voiced story in SWTOR's case), new gameplay objectives and options, and even entire expansions over the same amount of time.

1) No vote

2) SWTOR - The game has been much improved from the one that was rightfully dumped on in 2012.  2014 also saw the addition of strongholds and the Revan expansion.  IMO BioWare deserves some recognition for working to give the game some legs after the beating it took.

3) The Witcher 3 - While PoE, T:ToN, and FFXV are on my list, TW3 is the only one I'm expecting to be blown away by.

4) EQN - I seriously doubt 2015 will actually be the year, but it's on top of my most anticipated list.

I used to be a team player.  When I helped run a raiding guild in WoW I didn't care about what my characters had or didn't have, and spent my game time trying to gear up guildmates or work with them on rotations and tactics on various pulls.  That was a really fun group of people to be around though.  I haven't found one like it in any game I've played since.  There are also downsides to it.  I'd go months at a time not seeing my characters do anything but trade gold for raid consumables.   New gear was always going to the person for whom it would help the raid the most, and I didn't have time to work toward acquiring other things in the game.

 

Today I play MMOs mostly to acquire stuff, but I don't really care what anybody else thinks about it.  I play to feel good about the investment I make in my characters and the subsequent payoff, not to say "Look at me!"  Of course, it is nice when I get a whisper form somebody who says "Hey!  Your toon looks awesome!" or "That (pet/mount/trophy/piece of gear) is really nice.  Where did you get it?" but I don't play for that acknowledgement.  I also make the same complements to others when I notice provided they aren't being obnoxious about it.   And even though I don't particularly go out of my way to actively help anymore, I'm still always happy to share information with players who are looking for it.  We can both enjoy our in-game accomplishments.  It's not a competition.

 

However, I think there is a substantial subpopulation in the gaming community that does place a high value on social prestige.  They play games to feel good about themselves, which they perceive as a reflection of their social standing.  It's one of the reasons why some gamers have to be "in" as early as possible ... they perceive that being able to say "I was in the beta" or "I was the first warrior to hit 100" confers social prestige. 

 

I also believe it's one of the reasons why MMOs are so popular despite many of them today being glorified single player games.  They provide a relatively level playing field (compared to playing a single player game with the potential of mods and cheat codes that can make different playthroughs extremely different), and you can show off your accomplishments in the forms of titles, gear, pets, mounts, and so on in a way that you really can't when it comes to single player games.  You can be a great Baldur's Gate player, know the game inside and out and know the perfect tactics to deal with every combat scenario in the game, but it's harder to convey that to the community than it is to show off your accomplishments in an MMO.

 

Self-aggrandizing behavior transcends both genders and all ages.  It's good at least to see people acknowledging that old farts in MMOs can be among the worst offenders.  I know that half the population of the games I play would be considered my peers in the real world (I'm 36), so I wind up shaking my head a lot when I see "kiddies" being blamed for the behavior of 35+ year-olds-going-on-10.

It would be fun to see the correlation between players that don't really read quest text and players who think all quests are boring and the quest model is awful.

Yeah, there's mostly a bunch of "kill this guy," "fetch this," "deliver this," "save her," "forge this," and "activate that," and MMOs do a horrendous job allowing players to arrive at the necessary solutions using different approaches, but these types of quests aren't an MMO invention.  They go back to the days when RPGs were only something played on table tops.  I own many  DnD modules that can attest to that.  If  a video game (or DM in the case of a tabletop game) does a good job providing the proper context, it can mask the rather generic nature of the tasks the player is being asked to do.

 

WoW has had some involved quests lines, and many of the vanilla quests were rich in WarCraft lore, but I know many players didn't bother to read them.  Now a lot of that wonderful writing is gone.

Personal favorites:

Fallen Hero of the Horde, The Redemption of Tirion Fordring, Marauders of Darrowshire, Hero of the Mag'har (Outland, Horde), and the multiple lines beginning in the 40s covering the history of the trolls and leading up to a confrontation with Hak'kar the Soulflayer in ZG.

Even in more recent times though WoW has still had some fun quests, even if they aren't as interesting lore or taskwise:

The "This is madness!  This is ... DRAGONMAW!" quest in Twlight Highlands (whose chain actually begins with Garrosh's pretty cool attempted aerial invasion of the zone).  The Horde quest where you become a quest giver to NPCs in Hillsbrad.  The "Give me minutes, and I will give you a thousand lifetimes" defense quest from the dying ancient tree in the Hyjal quest line.  Tortolla's  "I slumbered in the healing silt of Hyjal. I slept until the world broke open. When the others came, I was not ready. I am ready now.  My children and I. Slow to anger.  But our wrath is final.  Tell those who sent you that we are prepared for war. The others will be cast from the mountain."   Sunwalker Dezco trying to save his wife in Pandaria but losing her even as she gives birth to twins.   The Battle for Ox Gate, which climax's with some of the greatest game music ever.

 

SWTOR ranges from obnoxiously tedious to really pretty cool depending on the class, chapter, and how you play your characters.  The smuggler storyline from Belsavis on is awesome as far as providing context for rescuing a criminal mastermind from an off-the-map prison and taking down a Republic senator, among other possibilities.

 

RIFT's Defiant prologue has a really cool hook overall, with the player entering the fail safe and being sent back in time as the world ends.

 

At the end of the day, if you're not actually interested in experiencing the blasted game -- that is to say not paying attention to what the game is trying to convey -- that's on you.

 

 

From a "mechanical" standpoint, like many others, I particularly enjoyed the investigation missions in TSW and would like to see quests like that expanded to fantasy scenarios too.  The same thing applies here too, though.  If you look up the solutions well of course they become trivial and uninteresting.

Unsubbed for the first time since picking the game back up around SoO.  Unlike most WoW fans, I enjoyed my year or so in Pandaria in between playing GW2 and some SWTOR and consider it one of the most underappreciated pieces of MMO real estate.  WoD feels like two steps forward, three steps back for me.

 

I know there's the whole "Vanilla/TBC was the best time in WoW and WoD is like going back" contingent, and I would be among the first to raise my hand and say "It's not just rose-tinted glasses.  I had more fun back then than I do today too," but the community and my own expectations are different now.  WoD failed to convince me that the game is actually going anywhere.  I actually think it feels more like a mobile gaming and month-long GW2-style living story experiment in a space where it conveniently won't wreck the rest of Azeroth than anything like TBC or WotLK.

 

My gut feeling is that there will be a lot of "WoD is the best expansion evah!, but I need to take a break" in the coming months.  That of course is nothing new in the months following an expansion, but  I'd certainly love to see a six-month review by the author here.  Hopefully Blizzard will stand on principle and never introduce flying at max level ... I enjoy hearing about how much better it makes the game.

For many gamers I suspect it's really whatever their game-of-the-moment has.  This mind trick allows them to get around their own petty "If you hate it so much, go play something else!" argument.

 

My first PC games were text adventures, and most of the games I played until KotOR were predominantly text-based.  I'm a big fan of the old Infinity Engine games, including Planescape:Torment, which has so much text it's basically an interactive novel.  I played WoW for thousands of hours and unlike most people actually read the quest text.

 

BUT... I personally would prefer interactions with NPCs be voiced.  Modern games and computers can support it.  The only major barrier is cost, which I accept as a valid reason for not having voice in one's game.  For games with large budgets, if not having voice truly means more quality content and gameplay features -- and doesn't just use that as an excuse -- I would definitely support that decision.   On the other hand, I think good voice work (among other things) adds character to the characters and makes them feel less like glorified quest boards.  

 

Discarding SWTOR's interactive conversations, which have certain demands on conversation flow, my ideal game would offer a text window that mirrors what the NPC says and allows one to turn on, turn off, pause, and replay the voice component of a chunk of text.  And if you want to turn off the voice or text options completely in the game options, go for it!   Given a theoretically unlimited budget, allowing players to experience the game either way is ideal IMO.  While group play could cause conflict with the propensity of modern players to want to rush through everything whether it's text or voiced, a logging system could allow players to at least be able to go back and listen to and reread the dialogue, even if they can no longer influence it.

Dwarves.  You could take a dwarf from one game and put it in another game with dwarves and it wouldn't be out of place.  Even more than elves and humans, dwarves and dwarven culture are virtually identical across games.  I have probably a hundred different MMO characters and none of them are dwarves.

 

 

The reality is that many gamers DO place a value on preorder perks and advantages.  That people get mad over the existence of preorder packages is absolute proof that these things are not worthless regardless of their lack of physical substance.

 

Part of the disconnect is that the value is mostly in the enjoyment "feeling special" grants to the gamer.  We don't want to recognize it because of what it might say about us, but we can't escape the economic reality of it.  It means something to many gamers to be one of the first to play a game.  It means something to be the first to hit certain in-game milestones.  It means something to have in-game items that other players don't have access to.  It means something to believe one has an opportunity to contribute to a game's development or direction.  It means something to be able to dream/delude oneself about being noticed cheerleading/apologizing on a beta forum and being offered a job by the developer.  It means something to show your loyalty to a brand or franchise. 

 

Maybe not to you or me, but it does to a lot of gamers.  Millions of them, in fact.  And because these things DO mean something to many gamers, they are willing to pay for the opportunity to experience them.  If everybody felt ripped off by preorders, everybody would stop preordering, and they would go away.

 

In the long-term, of course, it's not so simple, for reasons identified in the OP.  Players can wind up feeling ripped off, either because of the quality of the perks or because of the quality of the game itself.   Players who didn't preorder can become angry and disillusioned because they don't have access to certain things that might be associated with a preorder (or maybe were just removed from the game).  I might not value X now, but after a couple of years I really get into the game and now I place a high value on X.  Sometimes the perception that a developer is catering to certain players during development because those players threw money at them can actually negatively impact the value somebody else places on the game.  Sometimes the perceived value gamers place on having preordered leads to a caustic element in the community.  Basically, there are long-term "costs" to having dissatisfied customers that are not easily quantifiable.

 

TL;DR

I'm not convinced there is a problem. 

If people are getting the requisite amount of enjoyment for their preorder -- and there are many people who obviously do or they would cease to exist -- who are you or I or anyone to say they shouldn't be able to spend their money on said preorder?  If you feel you got ripped off, learn to both better assess the enjoyment you will derive from preorder perks and advantages and better inform yourself about a game before you preorder again.   In a free market economy the onus is on you to be a responsible and informed consumer.  Of course, sometimes companies probably do need to be more mindful about the potential negatives and figure out ways to manage player disappointment associated with preorders, with eye toward to minimizing those negatives in the long-term, or even turning them into positives if possible (ie trading in perks, rolling things over to other games, etc.).

I find GW2 to be the fastest for the way I play.  The ability to earn really good XP in different ways and a pretty good variety of PvE paths (different zones one can efficiently level in at a given level) make it possible to go from 1 to 80 without getting bogged down by what becomes a repetitive experience in other games.

 

Without boosts and legacy perks, I found SWTOR leveling agonizingly slow after the first two planets.  I mean, like, "**** it.  I'm done with this game" slow.   F2P leveling in SWTOR must be a kind of living hell.  It's not really a "math problem" with XP being too hard to come by; it's an issue with the game being structured in a way that exhausts me very quickly.

Possible reasons this happened that come to mind:

 

...the now ubiquitous automatic group matching features.  Nobody wants to be matched with "bads," and few can be bothered to take players under their wing, explain fights, make spec and ability recommendations and so on in a tactful way, so the motivation for the developer is to remove the ability to be a "bad" as much as possible without losing an unacceptable number of people due to anger over "dumbing down." 

 

... players who feel their chosen style of play should be functionally equivalent to every other style of play.  Rather than adjust their spec and tactics to become more efficient, they demand their current spec and tactics be "viable."  Beyond being impractical in the first place, it's too hard to implement across the board and maintain game balance.  It's easier to just remove the option to play in an inefficient way.

 

... reduction in resources being devoted to areas of games that involve balancing and rebalancing specs and abilities as necessary changes are being made.  In the Content Is King Era, those resources are better devoted to making new content, which can in turn be made faster without having to worry about how dozens of different approaches might exploit it. 

 

... in the ongoing effort to expand the potential MMO audience, the courting of gamers with FPS and/or competitive gaming backgrounds who favor uniformity because it is believed to emphasize skill over potentially non-skill-based choices (such as class and spec), accomplishments (and their related gear rewards), and the "evil RNG."

 

... in the ongoing effort to expand the potential MMO audience, the courting of gamers with little or no background in RPGs who have difficulty determining the effects of different build and ability choices that other gamers grasp intuitively.

 

Personally, I think that as long as a players are willing to accept that they are making a tradeoff between efficiency and personal enjoyment, having the option to create unique characters in an RPG is vastly preferred to homogenization.  So yeah, I support you OP.  Unfortunately, unless and until games/developers are punished for it in the marketplace, we're stuck with it.

What I'd like to see are dynamic event chains similar to the temple chains in Orr combined with large scale coordination similar to Tri-Worm.  I actually think they've overdone it with that particular boss (insofar as I've only seen one head killed once and that was with an organized guild run), but if you get the balance right (like Teq IMO), you can have some pretty fun PvE content that still fits the overall approach of the game IMO.

Square Enix has Tetra Master and Triple Triad card games from the Final Fantasy series they should have already exploited.

 

Not sure how the Disney acquisition of StarWars affects releasing a stand-alone Pazaak game, but given the commercialization of everything else in SWTOR it seems there would be an opportunity there to add it.  Heck, players have been asking for it since the game was announced (yet another way BioWare screwed the pooch with the game).

I definitely resent that BioWare coopted the KotOR story to serve as the backbone for its MMO.  They had centuries to work with between KotOR and the New Sith Wars, and instead of coming up with something new, inflated the KotOR story to fill the space.  In so doing they killed off the greatest RPG franchise of the 3D era.  Instead we got a book that was a commercial for the MMO and fanservice for the Revan fanboys ... and some of the worst EU to have ever existed.

 

I won't say the fans were owed a KotOR 3 in any legal or moral sense, but they deserved a KotOR 3 that allowed them to participate in the closure to the Revan-leaves-for-the-Unknown-Regions-and-the-Exile-follows-him arc established by the second game.  SWTOR and its GDP-of-a-medium-size-country budget don't exist if the KotOR games hadn't become as popular as they did.  It was a poor way to "leave" things with the fans.  Now that Disney has taken over, the old continuity is dead anyway.

 

Anyhow, to BioWare's credit, they have added gameplay features to diversity the SWTOR experience.  It's just a shame they needed the game to blow up before they committed to saving it.  If SWTOR is your "home" MMO, between collections, strongholds, space combat, and so on, there's more there to keep you invested.  I still won't call it a well-made game, but it's more worth the money today than it was two years ago.

 

We'll see how the execution goes, but massive props for trying to implement the idea.  Undoubtedly it will take some time to balance.

 

Expanding beyond the vanilla MMO experience and making use of the opportunities the TES setting and style of gameplay provide is a good thing.  Industry-wide, more effort should be made trying to capitalize on those type of opportunities.

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