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Caskio's Blog

I plan on creating a few blogs about my thoughts and feelings on past, current, and future MMO gaming I experience.

Author: Caskio

Options to Avoid Risk?

Posted by Caskio Tuesday July 19 2011 at 10:22AM
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There’s something I’ve noticed browsing MMO sites and forums, and that is some players want certain options, or not, based on a feeling of avoiding risk, even if they would prefer the game to have said option, they will not take that path if it means more frustration in the end.  Sometimes they feel it is unfair to have this function as optional to a player-base or something they feel is completely necessary to attain to be more competitive and powerful.
Let’s take permanent death for example.  There is no doubt a minority of players that would like to see this implemented in more games.  As harsh as it may be I could care less if they implemented it or not, as long as I am not forced to use it.  But the issue at hand is really that even if it was just a check box option when creating a character, those that want permanent death would rarely take the option if presented as optional in the same server as those who don’t use it.  It is not financially feasible for a company to have just a single server for this option as it is just a minority that would use, if they even would after some time passes in a game’s lifetime.
Basically the mentality is why I should force myself to use something to penalize myself for whatever reason when others do not.  I think development studios can include such features as an option, but the way many games are created or designed; having a permanent death penalty option would mean making the content easier for those players.  Otherwise, they would die way too often and wouldn’t use the feature anyways.  It would be an open PvPer’s nightmare to have a permanent death.  It just creates a situation where people could make mistakes, and outside force could stop you in your tracks, or be griefed into pure frustration.
The other example of this comes from the F2P business model.  There are F2P titles out there that don’t sell power to the higher level players if you assume that Health/Mana potions don’t count as combat gameplay altering.  I feel many players do, and in some F2P games I would as well if those items could not be gained through other means.  The loudest outcry for such items comes from the more PvP focused players and rarely from the PvE focused players.  Don’t the players that use the potions use them because they need that extra boost to win?
The basis here is that when the player duels another to find they have extra potions it makes the job of killing that other player much more difficult.  But are players not asking for more of a challenge?  Would facing a tough player opponent not be a challenge?
In any case, I do see these situations all the time.  I would never play a game with permanent death, nor would I play a game where power can be bought at max level leaving the other players far behind.  Potions I don’t mind as they are usually a small hurdle to overcome.  And if you are a good player extra potions won’t make a difference.  Basically we have these games or possible game designs where the player is presented with an optional function and some players cannot help themselves but take the less risky path if presented with one.

My Personal Review of RIFT

Posted by Caskio Thursday March 17 2011 at 2:30PM
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I was bored recently and I wanted to lpay an MMO and I was deciding between DCUO and RIFT.  I went with Rift.  So I figured I would create a review blog for the recently released MMORP.  Rift is among the dominant fantasy setting among MMOs.  Overall for myself, Rift is between the good and bad, but still a step up compared to WoW.  It's fun, but still lacking.  Here's my thoughts.

First off the first thing anyone notices are the graphics, which are pretty good for an MMO.  I can play Rift on Highest settings and get good fps.  Heck even my laptop plays it on High and still get above 30 fps.  It's a beautifully looking game.  However, I feel some of the animations are too fast.  For example when I play my rogue, as do 75% of the other players, my attacks are so fast I don't know what the character is doing to deal damage to the opponent.  Not too mention if you start another attack in the middle of the animation of the first its like teleporting your arms. My biggest gripe is the endgame armor looks horrible for most classes.  Are you disgusted by huge spikey shoulder pads?  Then stay away from Rift, as it has that in mass quantities.
I got to say the sound in Rift is actually pretty good.  I can hear the rumble of a nearby rift and the sound from combat actions do sound like you are striking/slicing the opponent.  The only issue I that was frustrating was not hearing the music of the game more often.  I don't tend to listen to music when I play MMOs because I want to hear the MMO.  So I would notice the music wasn't playing often when I was just running collecting or exploring.  It felt too quiet at times. 
I had fun leveling my rogue from 1-50 in about 2 weeks.  I’m pretty hardcore could easily put in some 8-12 hours a day for leveling.  The pace of the combat was fast enough in most situations.  I could see some builds having a slower time, which for me was just too slow and unexciting.  I play an assassin/nightblade/bladedancer character so I can take down a mob in seconds with the right combos.  Overall, the combat is fun and engaging.  Also the fact that a rogue can tank or heal, a cleric can dps, a mage can heal, or a warrior can dps creates some interesting group combos and lessons the burden of trying to find specific roles for group content.
Crafting is a tricky topic for me as I never really do like to craft in MMOs.  And that sentiment doesn’t change for me in Rift.  It’s the same old boring collect and hit a button to make something over and over.  I would much prefer minigames for crafting success in my opinion.
The zones in Rift feel pretty large to me as it would take some time to travel from one side to the other if there wasn’t a transporter.  They are large enough for me to say, “Uhg…I got to go all the way over there?”  The areas are very detailed with environmental aesthetics. The mobs are rightly packed and all over the place.  That’s why I think I preferred my permanent stealth assassin so that I could traverse through the mobs without too much effort.
Bugs are few and far between.  I went from 1-50 and only found 3 bugs, which I reported.  The game is polished and runs smooth.  A welcome change of pace in today’s MMOs.
I chose not to join a guild until I was higher level and I believe I was around level 35 when I joined my first guild in Rift.  Great group of guys and gals, very helpful in answering questions, but like most guilds from the start of a new MMO, they lacked the experience and in most cases high level classes for running dungeons.  Don’t get me wrong we ran through an expert difficulty King’s Breach dungeon with 4 rogues and 1 cleric.  And almost from the start of my playing there were chat trolls trying to drag other players into arguments.  One in particular I believe got a temporary ban from all the reports he might have had against him as I haven’t seen him in chat for sometime.   Overall the community is helpful, but also everyone is trying to get endgame gear and it can be difficult to find groups as most of the players are dps only.  So you’ll end up seeing a lot of groups looking for tanks/healers for a time, sometimes even hours.
Finally, my impression from Rift is that it is a good game, but doesn’t have enough to hold my attention.  I have already canceled and won’t likely continue for the rest of the game’s lifespan unless something drastic is done.  I would give this game a score of 6 out of 10.  The negatives out way the positives just enough for me not to continue playing this game after the free month is over.  

My MMO History and Changing Interests

Posted by Caskio Monday September 20 2010 at 12:32PM
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 The first MMO I ever played was Star Wars Galaxies. It started with open beta and ended there for about 7 months when I eventually purchased the game. From there I played the game for over 3 years. I experienced the JTL expansion, which was annoying at best, the Combat Upgrade, which I actually liked better, and the Wookie expansion, then finally the Mustafar expansion with the New Game Experience. The NGE was not enough to make me quit a game I still found fun and enjoyable.

During my time playing SWG, I expanded my MMO portfolio. I played and enjoyed Planetside up to the point when the trial was canceled and the population dropped dramatically. I also picked up 9Dragons, a free to play grind-fest. However, I really enjoyed the combat and community in 9Dragons. I also played other free to play MMOs, but none of them really stuck out like 9Dragons for myself. Up to this point I went from a Star Wars themed sandbox to grindy linear gameplay. I spent months in 9Dragons to not get very far at all and I still played it while it was in Acclaim's hands.

I eventually got bored and stopped playing MMOs altogether and moved on to Coutner-Strike:Source. I played CSS for awhile until Funcom's Age of Conan was released. Friends I met from SWG and CSS joined me in playing this game. It was a good game and provided months of enjoyment. However, I was bored again as all I could see to do after hitting max level was PvP and raiding, and that was not enough to keep my interest. It lacked a social aspect of the game. I twas just fight, fight, and fight some more. I ended up bouncing between Age of Conan, City of Heroes/Villains, and other free to play MMOs on the market. Nothing could hold my attention like SWG could for all those years.

I tried to go back to SWG and could not get into the game as it did not have that exciting factor it once had. The community I knew was long gone and I was not up to the task of finding new friends in an MMO where people are constantly coming and going. I will admit I did try the SWG Emulator Project and uninstalled it the same day. I lost my interest in SWG's gameplay whether it was new or old.

After all this I would set my sights on Aion: Tower of Eternity. Two weeks into the game I felt bored. The combat was slow and the grind heavy. I am a bit OCD when it comes to figuring out my grind time and efficiency, which I'm sure contributed to a feeling of despair knowing how long it was going to take to level. After this I would continue trying new free to play MMOs and constantly quitting them within a mater of a few weeks.

Why can't I find an MMO I really want to play for longer than a month? The answer to this question is my gameplay interests changed. I no longer want to feel equal to a single regular mob. I want to feel epic. When I think of regular mobs I think of the Joker's goons, easy to take them all on and then move to the Joker one on one. So after bouncing around on MMOs I already bought or were free to play I found a game I felt worthy of a Life-Time Subscription, Champions Online.

I would find myself playing Champions Online on a daily basis with the rare week long break. This game with it's costume customizing and combat style of fighting multiple enemies at once felt incredibly fun. I played enough characters to max (4 almost 6) that I knew a lot about the game and could answer some one's concern on a quest without know which step they were working on. I also tried Star Trek Online during beta and found it was just not what I wanted to play. In my opinion, STO's space combat was fun but slow, and the ground combat was annoying and frustrating.

I can easily tell my MMO interests and needs have changed over time, but somethings never changed. As typical, I never read the quest giver's text, I was only interested in the reward at the end. There's only so much raiding I can take before I end up wiping everyone because I fell asleep at the keyboard. All in all, there are things I hope some MMOs bring to the table that can satisfy a large community, but more importantly design it's features to support and sustain that community. For me, an MMO without the social design is an empty shell of just combat and progression to eventually reach the end and move on to the next MMO.