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MMORPG Reviewer

Posted by lordaltay1 Friday August 29 2008 at 7:14PM
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Once you’ve played a few MMORPGs, you’ve pretty much played them all. I’m not going to rant about all MMO games being clones of each other again, but I’d love to see an MMORPG do something revolutionary. Just a heads up, revolutionary doesn’t have to mean good. Even if a game with unique game play is terribly broken I would still give the game some credit for doing something out of the norm. With game companies churning out new titles each week, it’s getting difficult to review games, as nearly every game I review feels too much like another game I’ve already looked at. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing MMORPGs, but it’d be nice to have a bit of variety every now and then.

To be fair, the last few games I’ve looked at were pretty unique. S4 League was a blast to play, as it offered an alternative to the only other fast paced anime shooter, GunZ the Duel. Although S4 League didn’t exactly revolutionize it’s genre [Shooters], it did add variety to the genre. There really aren’t a lot of anime inspired shooting MMOs out there, so it made sense for Alaplayer to publish the game. Outspark also recently released their snowboarding MMO Project Powder, and it was fairly revolutionary, as it is the only snowboarding MMO out there! Publishers don’t always think like this though. There are countless fantasy MMORPGs out there today and publishers keep bringing more and more of them to the market. The problem with this is that developers continue to produce the same generic MMORPGs. I enjoy reviewing unique games like S4 League and Project Powder, but playing a generic fantasy MMORPG isn’t at all exciting.

If I were to play two games; one very polished 3D Fantasy MMORPG and a buggy 3D time traveling Sci-Fi MMORPG, odds are I’d write a more favorable review for the 3D Time traveling Sci-Fi MMORPG, as the game is unique. There are countless 3D Fantasy MMORPGs out there already that are phenomenal, the market doesn’t need more! If you’re looking for a good fantasy MMORPG, go ahead and play Florensia or even SilkRoad Online, they’re both great games. Obviously if the Sci-Fi MMORPG was unplayable buggy, the generic fantasy MMORPG would receive a more favorable review, but my point is that developers need to innovate!


Imbalanced MMORPG Classes

Posted by lordaltay1 Monday August 11 2008 at 2:12PM
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With so many new free MMORPGs out on the market there are bound to be games where one class is either extremely over powered or absurdly gimp. The biggest problem with class imbalances are that developers rarely fix them. This isn’t a new problem either. Some MMORPGs have been plagued with class imbalances for years and they choose to ignore them.

The best example of an MMORPG with imbalanced classes is Zero Online. The game only has two classes; Artillery and Infantry. You’d imagine that a game with only two playable classes would at the very least be somewhat balanced, but nope. The artillery class is ridiculously over powered compared to the infantry class. To put these two classes into “fantasy MMORPG” terms the artillery class is a wizard while the infantry class is a warrior. The artillery class can basically annihilate the entire screen in a few seconds using huge laser cannons that can hit 20+ enemies at a time while the infantry class can only attack a single enemy at a time using a sword. Because enemies die incredibly fast, there is absolutely no reason to not play the game’s artillery class. TQ Digital, the developers of Zero Online, have a reputation for being lazy, as their two other games; Crazy Tao and Eudemons also have 2-3 classes and play almost identically to Zero Online. Both Crazy Tao and Eudemons also have the same problem as Zero Online. The Mage class is absurdly overpowered.

Another example of an MMORPG that suffers from imbalanced classes is Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC). DAoC is actually a pay to play game (P2P), so even P2P games have imbalances. The game has a lot of classes, but with a lot of classes comes imbalances. World of Warcraft’s developers were smart enough to only create a handful of playable classes as having too many different classes usually results in game imbalances. In DAoC the two imbalances are warrior and enchanter. Warriors are incredibly gimp while enchanters are absurdly over powered. In DAoC to gauge a monster’s strength, all you have to do is click them. Depending on what color their name is in they are that difficult to kill. The scale from hardest to easiest goes like this; Purple [Very Very Hard], Red [Very Hard], Orange [Hard], Yellow [Even Fight], Blue [Easy], Green [Very Easy] and Gray [Very Very Easy, No XP Gained]. A warrior will usually never be able to kill anything rated as “orange [hard]” to him at any given time by himself, and if he does manage to, he’ll come close to death. An Enchanter on the other hand, would have absolutely no problem killing 5-7 monsters at a time marked as “orange [hard] to him. Not only can an enchanter kill more monsters than the warrior at a time, the enchanter will also kill the larger group of monsters at a much faster speed. Other than these two imbalances, the other classes in DAoC are pretty fairly balanced.

There are plenty of other examples of imbalances classes in games, but they’re mostly in less popular games. Popular games like Maple Story and Fly For Fun usually fix imbalances often. Hopefully, developers will spend a bit more time balancing classes as there’s nothing more frustrating than seeing someone of equal level to you being incredibly over powered.

MMORPG Crafting Skills

Posted by lordaltay1 Monday August 4 2008 at 11:54PM
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There is no doubt that MMORPGs today are getting more and more technically impressive. With every new MMORPG release developers are raising the bar higher in terms of graphics, sound and game play, but unfortunately developers aren’t putting much attention to crafting skills. An MMORPG without player interaction isn’t an MMORPG at all, and what better way to make players interact other than encouraging them to trade amongst each other. Crafting skills can add a lot of depth to a game, and quite frankly, an MMORPG without a crafting system by today’s standards is pretty lacking. My chief complaint about crafting skills is that developers don’t put much effort into them and usually end up putting something together that feels cheap and unimpressive.

Games like MapleStory and Fly For Fun are fine examples of how crafting should not be done. MapleStory has absolutely no player interaction in its crafting system. In order to craft weapons / armor players need to talk to an NPC and bring that NPC items gathered from monsters. Players don’t actually have to craft the items themselves, they simply have to bring a bunch of items to an NPC and the NPC crafts the item for you. Sure this… ‘works’ to some degree, but it doesn’t encourage player interaction and since you have to bring a bunch of items to an NPC it’s the same as completing quests for items, and because of that the game has an extremely limited number of craftable items. The system is so lousy that players rarely even participate in it.

The game that I’m most impressed with in terms of crafting skills is Luminary: Rise of the Goonzu. The game has a really simple crafting system. Collect items and use certain components to make armor and weapons. The beauty of Luminary is the significance of crafting skills in the game. In order to buy weapons / armor you HAVE to buy it from another player through the game’s auction house or directly from a crafter, as NPCs do not sell weapons or armor. This sort of system makes item crafters extremely valuable and actually useful in the game.

MMOs today need to work a bit harder on developing solid crafting skills. Too many MMO games simply have uninspiring crafting skills.