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A better Sci-Fi MMO

Anarchy Online, Neocron (1&2), Eve Online, and several others have tried, but why isn't there a top-tier Science Fiction MMO out there right now? I'll tell you what I think...

Author: BigDaddyTee

Waiting for the one...

Posted by BigDaddyTee Thursday August 13 2009 at 7:17AM
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I've been reading a few blog posts here and there and they several seem to say exactly what I'm feeling... So instead of just posting responses, I thought I'd take the time to my thoughts down for others to read as well...

I've been playing graphic MMO's since Ultima Online came out.  Prior to that I had played in several MUx-type, text-based games that I enjoyed a lot.  I had a great time with UO at first and found that I really liked the idea of being able to interact with others.  It wasn't until World of Warcraft came out, however, that I really got deep into graphic MMO's.  

I spent nearly 2 years playing the game off and on with a great guild.  I spent a lot of time working with new peeps in our guild and just grindin' my character.  Never seemed to get anywhere, but hell, the commraderie made up for any lack in level progression and we all had a great time together.  After a while though, things changed in real life, as they so often do, and I was forced to put WoW on the back burner... New babies will do that.  When I started to have time to game more often again, I found it difficult to get back into WoW.

My tastes have always been more sci-fi than fantasy and I was starting to develop a severe urge for something along those lines.  I'd been playing in a few pen and paper RPGs that were set in a cyberpunk or steampunk setting and I was longing for a game that touched on that.  I played Anarchy Online and enjoyed it for awhile but I never felt like it was as engaging as WoW had been for me.  Maybe it was the player population or maybe it was just me. 

I bounced around from one beta to another and often to the retail product after launch if the game had potential.  I've often returned to games well after release, if I thought the game had had great potential at launch but hadn't quite found it.  Things change and I'm always willing to give things another try.  Planetside provided a few months of fun from the beta to the retail product as I assisted in running a guild.  I never really found what I wanted, though, and I eventually moved on.  I was in the beta for Star Wars Galaxy and I loved it.  When that product went live, I fought through all the problems and played it for months.  Eventually, I lost my desire to continue.  I did go back a few years later and played through the Jedi arcs which I enjoyed.  However, at the end of the scripted parts, I found the game a little lacking and without direction.  Eventually, again, I left SWG.  

The game I've gone back to most often at this point, though, is City of Heroes/Villains.  I'm a superhero guy at heart.  I really enjoyed building my own character and fighting through things.  Eventually I made the switch to villain and had just as much fun there.  But I always seemed to fall off of that as well.  I've been back for each of the free weekends and have had fun but I never can convince myself to buy a game card.  The gameplay just gets old after awhile...  Maybe I should give the Architect Edition a try... We'll see...  I also played in the beta for Lord of the Rings and then had the retail product at launch and again 6 months later.  It's a good game, mechanics-wise.  I just had a hard time staying involved.  Again, that's probably more me yearning for sci-fi than any failing the game has.

Right now, I'm waiting on Champions Online with the most fervor.  DC Online is a close second... Anything that lets me join Hal Jordan to kick some bad guys square in the teeth is a good game...  Star Trek Online has the potential... I'm a Trekkie and I've accepted that.  Global Agenda looks good as well.  I am in the beta for Fallen Earth and I'm just not sure about it...  Guess, I'm curious about Earthrise as well as The Agency.  All that being said, Champions comes out next month and I'm anxious to get to it. 

In case you're thinking about the games I haven't mentioned that might be out there for me to try, here's a list of games that I have played before or since WoW(returned means that I had played them before and went back and tried them again): Planetside, EQ, Guild Wars, RF Online, Anarchy Online (returned), EQ2, SWG (returned), Matrix Online, Eve Online, City of Heroes/Villains (returned), Neocron 2, Conan, Age of Armor, Atlantica, Dark Space, Crime Craft (beta), Dark Age of Camelot, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Exteel, S4, Final Fantasy Online, Fusion Fall, Lineage 2, Phantasy Star Online, Chronicles of Spellborn, Ryzom, Fallen Earth (beta) and a few others... Nothing has held my interest for more than 2 months since WoW. And most for not even a single month.

So there you have it.  I've been around and I'm still out there looking.  I wish my MMO love life was as stable as my real world love life but alas it isn't.  So what about you?  Are you still yearning for a game that has your tastes in mind?  Why hasn't anyone created something specifically for you?  And what the hell is wrong with a decent sci-fi mmo that doesn't have elves, trolls, or magic?  What's your take on all of this?

My ideal Sci-Fi MMO Part 2

Posted by BigDaddyTee Friday January 25 2008 at 2:46PM
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I mentioned in my last blog that I would be more specific about my desires in the future.  So here we go...

First, I think that character creation is the crux upon which the rest of the game rests.  So, to that end, I think we have to start by looking at an in-depth character creation system.  I like the old, Ultima-style of asking questions to help you find the type of character most suited to your playing style.  I also think that alot of people know what they want and just want to get down to it. 

CHARACTER CREATION

  • Physical - The physical strength of the PC.
  • Agility - The character's ability to dodge and perform melee-based actions
  • Constitution - The character's ability to withstand damage and gain health
  • Intelligence - The ability of the character to understand complex technical issues and gain skill points
  • Wisdom - The character's ability to retain knowledge
  • Charisma - The character's ability to interact with NPC's
  • Humanity - A measure of how human the character feels.  Limits the cybernetic upgrades allowed

Characters would be based around a few standard templates or they could make their own.  The basic templates allow you to choose a general direction at the begining of the game but doesn't restrict your ability to head elsewhere later in the game.

Soldier Template

  • PHY - HIGH
  • AGI - MED
  • CON - HIGH
  • INT - MED
  • WIS - LOW
  • CHA - LOW
  • HUM - HIGH

Soldiers begin the game with all basic weapon and armor proficiencies.  The core ability of soldiers is that their initiative meter refills faster than other templates.  This allows them to inflict more damage in combat and to make attacks more often. 

Hacker Template

  • PHY - LOW
  • AGI - MED
  • CON - LOW
  • INT - HIGH
  • WIS - HIGH
  • CHA - MED
  • HUM - HIGH

Hackers begin the game with only pistol weapon proficiencies and no armor proficiencies.  The core ability of Hackers is the Menu ability which allows them to process the net better and gives them more options when in the net.  While this is not nearly so important in a fire-fight, they can still be useful as healers using the medic trait and applying stimpacks and bandages to frontline fighters.

Cop Template

  • PHY - MED
  • AGI - MED
  • CON - HIGH
  • INT - MED
  • WIS - LOW
  • CHA - MED
  • HUM - HIGH

Cops begin the game with pistol, rifle, and shotgun weapon proficiencies as well light and medium armor proficiencies.  Their core ability is Authority or the ability to gain access to secure areas and to detain NPCs.  Cops are good at combat and are second only to Soldiers at dusting up the opposition.

Well, that's it for today... I've got that whole "WORK" thing to attend to.  Note, that alot of this is based off the idea of a Cyberpunk-type setting and none of this is realistically going to happen.  Just me shinin' off some time at work...

A better Sci-Fi MMO

Posted by BigDaddyTee Thursday January 3 2008 at 3:16PM
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You know, I've been playing around with computers and gaming since I was like, what, 5 or 6?  I've tried every console that's been released in the states and even a few that weren't.  I've been dingin' around on PC's for as long as I can remember.  Why, then, can I still not find a decent Sci-Fi MMO?

I actually liked Anarchy Online a lot when it first launched.  I spent a ton of time playing it.  I thought that Eve Online was cool, although it wasn't really what I was looking for.  Star Wars Galaxy, when it launched, was not so bad as many have said.  Hell, I recently found Neocron 2 and it has come the closest to being what I was hoping for in a Sci-Fi MMO but even it left me feeling a little let down.

I think the biggest problem is that we've been teased with what a sci-fi universe could be by the great movies that we've grown up watching.  We've also been teased by great fantasy MMO's like WoW, EQ2, and a few others.  Having grown up playing pen and paper games like Cyberpunk and Shadowrun, a good portion of us have been teased by those fantasies, as well.

What are we looking for in a Sci-Fi MMO?  I can't guess what you're looking for.  But i can tell you what I want.  I want a game that allows me to create a character, a class-less character, who can interact with the world in a way that I want to.  I want a game that includes things, in balance, that make science fiction science fiction.  Plausible, but not silly.

I want a working society.  Not just a company head that sits all NPCish in an office in a tower all day, every day. I want him to work a schedule.  I want him to walk out of that board room, up the stairs and get on his private helicopter when the day is over and leave.  I want that helicopter being there to be a sign of whether or not daddy is home to the PC's in my world.

And while we're talking about my PC's, I want them to be able to form gangs, groups, guilds or even corporations to tackle other, existing, NPC organizations as well as other PC organizations.  I want a butt-load of customization.  In this day and age, I want to be able to have a robust character creation system that is more than just 3 settings on a line.  One of the best character creation systems I can recall was in Star Wars Galaxies.  Bar none, this system was limitless in what you could do with the face.  Now, I want that same idea wrapped up with the entire body.

Is it going to eat some systems for breakfast? You're damn right it will.  It's Sci-Fi, after all, and that's what you want.  I want an AI controlling the individual building security systems.  Instanced or otherwise.  I want player housing.  I want PVP when I want and RVR when it's appropriate.  I want my toiling away in this cyber landscape to have a definitive effect on it and I want to know what I'm working towards.

Now, are we ever going to play this game?  I don't know.  There are a few out there that have tried.  But with the Fantasy climate as hot as it is right now, I'm sure anyone can step up and publish a game like this even if it was in development.  It's a risk.  There are so many great MMO's in the pipeline right now, it's going to be  a tough market to enter.  Even if you're sporting something different, it's all still a fee-based computer application that requires an in-flux of capital to maintain and keep operational.

So who's going to make this game?  Are you?  Am I?  Who knows.  But somebody had better step up soon.