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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

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Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

In a Game of Skill, I Lose...

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday June 30 2010 at 4:56PM
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But I still have fun.

I've been enjoying my romps through APB thus far, having just begun my affair with the title (impressions coming later this week, and full review down the road).  It's actually a pretty compelling game experiment, but I won't go into too many details about it just yet.

What I will say is that to succeed at the PvP in APB, you'll need to be a skilled FPS/TPS gamer.  Me?  I'm not quite that.  There's a general slant these days of the hardcore calling for MMORPG games to require more skill, and I'm all for that.  The argument can me made that running around and solo-ing WoW isn't exactly much more than a chore of time and less of a chore of skill.  But I do believe the titles upper-echelon content still requires a great deal of team effort and coordination.  Skill.

APB is different though.  You need the team coordination sure, but you also should probably not suck as bad as I do at shooters.  I'm likely going to quickly make a name for my character as a complete and utter rube around the streets of San Paro, but it IS still fun.  I've still made my share of cash, upgraded some weapons, and will slowly but surely get better gear for my Enforcer (yes, I'm a do-gooder).  It's just going to likely take me longer than those who actually don't suck at shooting games.

I'm used to the cover and pop-out mechanics of games like Mass Effect 2 and Gears of War, and I'm still coming to grips with the nuances of combat in APB, even if it seems like a fairly straightforward shooter at heart.  I still keep wishing I could dive behind a barrier and remain there until I pressed the right-trigger to pop up and shoot.  But this isn't ME2, and these enemies aren't static and dumb AI.  They're humans who are quite good at this game, and I get the feeling that to them I'm more likely the "dumb AI".

Se la vie.  When I die one too many times, I can just take a break and go design some clothes... man, I'm a sissy.

Game Trailers....what do they mean to you?

Posted by garrett Wednesday June 30 2010 at 8:23AM
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At E3 we got to see a whole bunch of game trailers. From the seven minute epic trailer of Star Wars: The Old Republic “Hope,” to the two minute Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium first time game play trailer. Game Trailers are critical in catching their audience and play an essential part in whether or not gamers buy your game.
In my opinion the best game trailer ever was Warhammer Online’s trailer from Blur Studios. Not the first one, the second one with the huge battle. This was one of the best Warhammer pieces ever made. The same can be said for last year’s Old Republic Trailer with the Sith storming out of the ship inside the Jedi Temple, pure awesome.
The issue is, how much of these movie trailers actually portray game play? While Blur Studios is insanely talented, are these trailers an accurate portayal of how the game will play out? They are epic don’t get me wrong and they also create just enough hook to get you into the game, but then it is up to the game deisgners to keep you there.
Blizzard has a history of epic trailers as well, and while WoW originial trailer was very cool, the game play was quit different. The Wrath of the Lich King trailer was a huge disappointment for me as I expected more action, oddly enough, Northrend turned out to be much more fun than its trailer.
As a gamer, I want to see game play. I want to know what I will be looking at for 3-4 hours a night and generally months on end as I level up, play in the end game, and make decisions about my character. I want to know how the game works. For me, a trailer needs to give me that information and lately more and more game trailers have not.
This is one area where the movie industry has influenced the game industry. Someone, somewhere in some board room has decided that games need an epic trailer to pull the audience in. I like to think as gamers we are much smarter and look much more closely at games before we decide to buy them, than just being sold on a few minute movie. They don’t make bad movie trailers, but how many times have you seen a movie when all the best parts are in the trailer?
Overall I do feel there is an important place for game trailers in the world. However, I do feel strongly that the trailer should reflect the game, not some stirred up movie. You spend endless hours developing and designing the game, show us that instead of a movie which is costing a fortune.
Although I have to admit, the movie trailers do rock, they don’t give us the in depth look we deserve as players who will spend hours upon hours in the game.

Community Spotlight: Skill in MMOs

Posted by MikeB Thursday June 24 2010 at 1:18PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Anyone else not going to be satisfied with MMOs until "skill" is added into the gameplay?” by BioNut. In the thread, BioNut laments the lack of “skill” in MMOs:

“I have been playing MMOs for a long time (Aceron's Call was my first) and I have never really been satisfied by the gameplay.  Well, why play them you ask? To be honest, I play them mostly to relax and have have some nice casual multiplayer with friends. I also play them for story and roleplaying purposes. But this said I would really like an MMO to come out that is not for casual gamers but for hardcore gamers.

But wait, wait!!!??!!! WoW has plenty Hardcore gamerzzz doesn't it?

Short answer= No, mmo hardcore people are NOT hardcore gamers. That thought is laughable.

Long answer= Hardcore gamers are people who enjoy games that require skill, not time commitment. (think street fighter, Call of Duty, japanese top down shooters).

This is really the crux of my issue with MMOs. They require absolutely no skill at all. I mean, there isnt a single open world MMO thats PvP or PvE  doesn't boil down to who has better gear, higher levels, better traits, etc.

I want to see a guy tank the biggest boss in the game wearing nothing at all because he is just that FREAKING good. I wanna see an underdog win because he has a flawless fight against a better geared character. I want to get ganked by three other people and end up killing them all because I am just that freaking good. I want skill to matter and gear to be a bonus.

That way players can truely become legendary not for being "first to" but for being epic. For fighting against all odds and winning. Until then MMOs will continue to be casual "side attractions" and stuck in the stone ages they find themselves in now.”

While the OP’s post was a bit abrasive, the resulting discussion on the forums was nothing short of interesting, with many different viewpoints.

Swanea, like many members, define the basic idea of skill in an MMO differently:

“Certain mmos out now do involve skill.  Twitch games may measure reaction times as much as they measure "skill".  Knowing when to use abilities in MMO combined with the ability to change your tactics based on what is going on is very common.

PvPing in some MMOs involve just as much if not more skill then any other type of game.  You would just choose to ignore it since you can't lolheadshot them all the time.

Knowing when to CC, when to stop healing to help dps, when to LoS, when to use your elite skill, when to blow cooldowns.  And again, it's not just "when", it's the ability to adapt when things are not going your way.

Overall, sure, most MMOs might involve less "skill" then a fps.  But if you are looking for fps skill in a normal mmoRPG, you are looking at it from the wrong point of view.”

Mrbloodworth takes the opposite view:

“Huge diffrence between skill, and knowing the mechanics guys. MMORPG are simply about who has the higher number, and who knows the mechanics better, FPS games do all of that, and include skill.”

redOrc asserts that an MMORPG requiring skill already exists, Guild Wars:

“Guild Wars PVP is based on "skill".

You can open max level PVP character on day 1 and play with it. Gear is of almost no importance. Anyways you can "open" all gear options (for PVP) within several days of game play.

Each guild in the game gets "rating", which matchs it's skill to the other guilds. When you enter a Guild-Vs-Guild game, an automated selector will select a guild matching your skill. Winning a match will improve your rating and loosing will decrease it. So very fast you will find yourself playing your rating guilds.

The game is a little low now, since everybody are waitng for GW2. I hope it will be the same in that respect.”

RajCaj invokes the venerable Ultima Online to explain his position on skill:

“I've been waiting since Ultima Online redesigned their itemization in Age of Shadows.

The problem, as many have stated, is that gear progression is a GREAT way for developers to lead players around through the "content" as they see fit.  It's just easier from a development standpoint to be proactive about the content if they know in advance that everyone will be doing "this" to upgrade their gear.

And of course you get all the problems with a gear progression based MMO, like STATS > SKILL, extrinsic reward system gets players doing things they don't neccessarily enjoy doing, etc.

The key to creating a MMO that is primarily skill based is that the item system has to be relatively common or craftable.  There were magic weapons and armor in UO but it typically something used to give you an "edge" and not a rediculous advantage. 

The other key componet is that the combat system has to be relatively simple and/or uniform.  Ultima had only 2 main base classes....Mages & Warriors.  There were slight variations of the two that allowed for some tactical diversity.....but on the whole it was an even playing field with a very unique casting system that made Mage Dueling one of the first E-Sports.

In a day where MMOs are trying to seperate themselves from the rest of the pack by offering MORE stats and MORE classes.....its highly unlikely that any game devloper will be able to fully balance all class types with eachother.  Instead they adopt a Flavor Of The Month system that continueously changes all the classes so that each get their 15 min in the sun of domination over the rest.”

Of course, I have to quote our very own Garrett Fuller here, who asserts (along with several other users) that TERA will indeed require player skill:

“TERA definitely has skill factored into all of its game play.”

There are so many other great responses in the thread (that’s why its in our spotlight, duh!) so be sure to check the full thread out and jump into the discussion.

As for me, as soon as I saw the thread I knew that it would essentially take a detour into a discussion of the definition of “skill”, as its been a long-standing debate for many years with MMO gamers. We are all too hung up on the word. MMORPGs command a different set of skills than an FPS does and there isn’t anything more legitimate about either of them. Skill is skill. I wouldn’t compare a master chess player negatively against an Olympic shooter because the shooter can hit a moving target at a few hundred yards. They both require different sets of skills and they are both valid.

Now if you accept the basic premise that MMORPGs can require skill (not that all do), the larger issue here is that at least for most of us here who have a ton of experience with these games, is that we’ve mostly mastered the RPG format over the years. Things haven’t really changed enough to provide us a challenge. Couple that with the trend for developers to appeal to a broader audience, thus resulting in simpler games, we have a situation where many players are understandably dissatisfied, myself included.

With the exception of casters (who played on a traditional playing field), I felt that Age of Conan offered some pretty decent (though imperfect, to put it lightly) gameplay that rewarded player skill. I’m a huge PvP nut and I won tons of fights (before the gem stacking craze, and before they simplified the game some) by simply being a better player than my opponents in Conan. I’ve won 2-3 on 1 fights numerous times, simply by taking advantage of the fact positioning and timing played an important role in the game. That isn’t to say that traditional skills such as knowing your class and how to play it don’t matter, but in this day and age, and I’m echoing a lot of posters from the originating thread here, simply don’t allow much exploration and variety. If they’ve got a talent tree, the developers have budgeted the tree a certain way so that they can balance it. While builds the developers don’t account for tend to appear and surprise people, they quickly become overused and eventually marginalized in the name of balance. It’s a tricky balance, designing to allow for depth, complexity, and player creativity, and to keep things on a relatively even keel. MMORPGs can reward skill, but not all of them do.

Some Non-MMO Notes Taken From E3

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday June 23 2010 at 5:47PM
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I want to take a tiny little moment and talk about some non-MMO things from E3.  Contrary to popular belief (sarcasm), the mega-show out in LA actually had everything from videogames to remote control quadricopters on hand.  I mean, largely the whole show is about games, but I feel good stories would go wasted if I didn't at least mention a few of them here.   And as Bullet Lists are all the rage these days, I figure it's probably the best hammer out the following:

  • I'm not sure why, but there was porcelein plateware at E3 this year.  Someone was carrying several of them just minutes before the show opened on Tuesday, dropped them all, and the shards flew apart with one snagging me right in the upper lip, leaving me a bloody mess as I shuffled to my first appointment.  It was an auspicious way to start the show, and a good sign that I'd be haggard and weary come Thursday.
  • They say they've cut down on the number of "booth babes", and maybe it's just LA and they grow them more plasticene there, but there were a startling number of women who looked on the verge of falling over due to severe balance issues. 
  • Here I would typically say something egalitarian like, "They should have booth hunks for the female gamers" but the truth is... E3 is a sausage-fest.  And the companies know it (see my last bullet point).
  • I discovered just how badly I suck at Marvel vs. Capcom.  Not by playing it, but by watching it.  Most (and I stress most as there were a few stinkers I could have taken) of the people playing for the awesome t-shirts they were giving away were far beyond my skill-set.  Despite this realization, I need that game.  I want to pretend I don't suck with Deadpool in the worst way.
  • There was a hippy-sort lady handing out protest cards near the Dead Rising 2 kiosks.  The card itself urged me to support zombie rights, with the clever hypothetical situation "What if this was your grandma?" It even had a picture of granny about to be taken out undead style to tug at my heart strings.
  • E3 is one of a very select few places in the world where you can see a massive Sonic the Hedgehog be ushered around in the same building as an army of Stormtroopers, while just around the corner a group of militant Korean actors march to warn us of their impending imperial might (check out the THQ game Homefront, for more on that story).
  • And lastly, I've discovered the reason that the convention center overcharges for all of its food... it's because nearly every booth is giving out free soda, water, beer in some cases, and even snacks.  A persistent member of the media won't need to spend a fortune on crappy tacos and nachos.
In short... E3 is an amazing cornucopia of videogame awesomeness and I can't stop spazzing out about it.  I plan on riding this high all the way to next year's show.

Post E3 Apocalypse

Posted by garrett Wednesday June 23 2010 at 8:32AM
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So here we are a week after E3 and the gaming world has gone quiet again. E3 has gained back much of its former glory and truly become the game show that this industry needs to promote what is going on in the world. Since everyone is weighing in on what they saw and what they liked, I suppose I’ll do the same.
For me, games have to be fast, violent, and fun. After reading this blog long enough, I guess I am not hard to figure out as a player, Ultima and DAOC where my basis for MMOs and neither game was very forgiving when it came to PvP.  So here is what I think of what I saw.
Hats off to TERA, the game is fun. The demo was awesome and Justin Webb and I had a great time playing. Even though the art style is a bit off for me, I will play it. It was a great idea for the team to put 5 people together in a raid like demo with devs doing play by play…hint hint studios…this was fun!
Trion gets a thumbs up! The booth and games looked great, End of Nations is a cool twist on MMORTS and RIFT is looking better and better.
Warhammer 40,000 Dark Millenium Online had by far the coolest characters walkign around the THQ booth. I am all for booth babes…but I have to be honest the Khorne Berserker was pure awesome and quickly drew my attention away from the UFC girls. I guess spending hours and hours painting them over the last few months will do that.  My thing with 40k is that I wanted more, what we saw looked great and Joe and Mark were very cool as devs. I just wanted to play it…I want to know the faction system, I want to think about what race I am going to play. Hopefully at the next E3 those wishes will be granted.
Star Wars: The Old Republic had an amazing set up. A great demo, and then a room where players could do some quests, yet it was missing a little something. Don’t get me wrong the trailer is awesome and all, but EA needs to stop spending millions on Blur Studios trailers to promote their games…and just let players in to play. If Old Republic had let the press do the demo instead of its devs and had them work as a team with the classes to fight the droid bosses and truly engaged them in the experience then I think they would have had a home run for E3. That being said, I am actually getting into the immersiveness of Old Republic…which contradicts my statement from above, but still it is Star Wars.
Nexon is by far the coolest game company of all time and their Vindictus game should be an awesome step up for them in terms of MMO street credit. Sure Maple Story and Mabinogi are great, but Vindictus is really cool and the game play is fast and furious. Wolf Hat’s off to Min Kim for throwing one of the best MMO networking parties of the year….CCP finally has some competition.
Overall E3 was good. The next generation of games coming out all have promise. The show would be great if I got to take home the Khorne Berserker suit and stand it up in my living room…hahaha.

E3 Preview

Posted by garrett Monday June 14 2010 at 10:38AM
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Hi Everyone,

I am lucky enough to get the last Blog spot before E3. So I am just going to be blunt here....

This is our E3 Schedule. Please come along for the ride.


E3 Schedule 2010

Tuesday, June 15th    -

12:00 pm – THQ – Warhammer  40K MMO

12:00 pm – Trion - RIFT

1:00 pm – Star Wars: The Old Republic

2:00 pm – Nexon

3:00 pm – SOE

3:00 pm – Turbine / Warner Bros.

4:00 pm – Gazillion

4:30 pm – Final Fantasy XIV

Wednesday, June 16th   

10:00 am – TERA

11:00 am – Global Agenda

11:00 am – Perfect World

1:00 pm – All Points Bulliten

1:00 pm – Hunted – Bethesda

2:00 pm – 38 Studios

2:00 pm – Battlestar Galatica MMO

2:00 pm – Gamersfirst MMOs

3:00 pm – Gala-Net  

3:00 pm – Gamigo

4:00 pm – Need for Speed Online

4:30 pm – LEGO Universe


We will bring you the best coverage possible this week! You may see Guild Wars 2 and Cataclysm not on the list, unfortunately they are not showing at E3. Regardless we will bring you the best coverage possible.

Community Spotlight: New MMOs: What Do You Want?

Posted by MikeB Thursday June 10 2010 at 4:09PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “What would you want from new mmos that you’re not getting?” by Amathe. This is a bit of a hat-trick for Amathe, as this is his third time being in the spotlight! Amathe offers a few of his own ideas below:

“This is not directed to old mmos, current ones or even ones we know are coming. The idea is, if a game development company were reading this thread for ideas on something totally new, or at least something that needs total improvement, what advice would you give them?

I will chip in my own idea (not to say no one ever thought of it but me lol). But try to make the thread about your own wishes and not the merits of mine. *wink*

Personally, I would like my avatar to seem less like a clothes rack and feel more "alive." He or she should sustain wounds, be subject to illness, grow older over time, perhaps need a shave or a haircut, and so on. Items should have weight, as they used to, and weight should have an effect. The more activity I engage in, the stronger I should become, not simply as a +10 stat bonus from an item.  Armor should look more weather beaten over time and with use. My character may sustain a permanent scar that has a story behind it.

I'm not wedded to one particular mechanic. But the overall effect I am looking for is an avatar that feels like a living person who needs care and benefits from it (or who suffers from neglect).

Anyway that's mine. What is yours?”

Illius wants to see physics come to the forefront:

“I would like Physics to play a role in future games.  I'd like things to have weight, momentum and so on.  One of the ideas I was thinking of was the ability to lay in wait in a tree for ambush purposes.  Once my inteded victim got under it I'd be able to jump out of the tree and land on them causing them obvious bodily harm.

I just want the option to use unorthodox ways to accomplish my goals... whatever they may be.  This is one of the many things I'd like future games to have.  I'll see if I wanna add more in future posts.”

VooDoo_Papa might want to take a closer look at Guild Wars 2:

“Id like to see MMO's start to abandon pez-dispenser quest givers and linear quest paths.  I know its a lot easier for developers to design around linear progression, Its just becoming extremely redundant no matter what the genre or storyline is. 

I would also like to see developers go back to the MMO pioneering days when MMOs were thought of as being a role playing game on a grand scale in a world to be molded by a massive amount of players.  Lets bring back player cities and player/guild run shops. 

Aside from that, Id like to see more variety as far as game worlds go.  How about a Planescape/Rifts type game?  More sci-fi or a full blown steam punk mmo.   Until developers start thinking outside of their box that they constantly feel they need to fall into because its making another game developer money, we're gonna keep bouncing from game to game to find out its just more of the same.  Long live the MMO tourist!”

Arieste would like to see an episodic MMO:

“Immersion.  World interactivity.  Overall design based around creating an MMO, not a single-player game with multiplayer options - this means dynamic and player-created content and ever-changing world.  (And I don't mean the "solo" vs "group" thing, i mean a story that's designed to have a thousand heroes, not one hero - a story where EVERYONE helps save the world, not each person on their own).  

I'd love to see an episode-based MMO where the world you log into play today, is completely different from the world that someone logs into play 2 months from now.  A game built this would also be able to take focus of grinding / level-cap based gameplay if done right.

(Simple example:  in the first episode you're defending a (massive) city from a siege by orcs.  there are quests and storylines based on this.  the episode lasts two months, after two months, there is a major event, the city is destroyed and then episode two, you're either living under the city as "the resistance" or are out in the woods -rebuilding.  any new people that join the game, join one of these places.  the content that existed in episode 1 is gone forever.  what matters is what you do NOW.”

As for me, I guess if we’re shooting pie in the sky ideas, I’d have loved to see a game like Star Wars Galaxies with modernized combat gameplay and a huge focus on RvR both in ground and space. I’m hoping for all of the latter elements to be present in Star Wars: The Old Republic (maybe not space at launch) but I’d be kidding myself if I thought SW:TOR will offer me the sandbox elements I’m also looking for.

I’m also interested in tangible effects when it comes to PvP. For example, the sacking of a capital city in WAR resulted in tangible negative effects for the losing side, which stirred up enough whining to get those elements removed from the game. Why? What’s the purpose of sacking the city then? Why fear losing it? Why fight for it? Removing the fear of losing your capital to the enemy seemed silly to me. In short: I want a world that feels believable, that you can lose yourself in, and I want a strong PvP offering to give conflict a purpose.

What do you want from your next MMO that you aren’t getting? Let us know in the comments below!

Jumpgate Evolution is Alive and Well... So There!

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday June 9 2010 at 5:36PM
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Aside from this week's headlining announcement that LotRO is going free this fall, there was another bit of news that’s started to make some waves in the week prior to E3.  Long since believed to be a vaporware by the cynics, NetDevil’s Jumpgate Evolution is finally back and tracking on gamers’ radars as the title’s producer came out with a lengthy post this explaining the reason for the game’s long period of silence.  What the letter amounted to was that basically NetDevil had a lot of the game’s systems working but  that the result simply wasn’t what they wanted it to be… and so like any good developer would the Colorado lads and lasses went back to the drawing board.

A while back, as JGE was still in quiet-mode, I wrote an article about five things NetDevil needed to do in order to make the evolution of Jumpgate successful.  As it turned out, I wasn't at all far off from the developer's own line of thought.  Scott Brown and Lance Robertson both read the article and I received an e-mail and subsequent phone call from the former in order to clarify how ND was planning on making my prognostications come true.  Basically Scott said that the team behind JGE has exactly the same thoughts as me and that they're anxious to start showing the game again, but that they wouldn't be doing so until they were definitely ready.  Next week is that time.  And I have a feeling that those folks who have been calling the game vaporware for a while might be eating some hefty portions of crow.  

While they're understandably holding a lot of their cards close to the chest until next week, I was able to get Scott and Lance to tell me what we can expect from this year's E3 showing.  Aside from a major overhaul of most of the game's systems, a lot of what JGE was initially going to be was thrown out (as Lance stated here) and instead the team has focused most of its attention on bringing you the biggest and best representation of massive space battles the likes of which have so far only been seen on film.  At E3 we'll get to see if and how NetDevil has been able to seamlessly blend the PvE and PvP, or the AI with the player characters to create truly stunning and massive space battles.  Scott gave me an example that while there may be hundreds of players controlling smaller ships in a battle, the AI might be off controlling turrets on a space station.  Or that players might find themselves tasked with destroying a massive alien fleet controlled by AI only to have it result in a PvP battle for the resources the aliens were hoarding.

The entire quest system has been redesigned as well, and apparently it now focuses on objective-based questing with the result driving the factional warfare.  Of course I was assured there will be plenty of PvE as well, but that even the PvE content will be focused on the feud between the game's three factions.  It's sounding more and more like a hybrid of DAoC and Wing Commander, and I for one couldn't be more excited to see if NetDevil can pull it off. I'll let you know if they're on the right track next week after I get my grubby hands on the pilot controls.

Community Spotlight: Your Favorite MMO Character

Posted by MikeB Thursday June 3 2010 at 4:10PM
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This week’s Community Spotlight focuses on the thread “Your favorite character you ever rolled?” by Amathe. Simple enough, Amathe polls the community on their favorite MMO character creations and offers his own:

“Most folks have made lots of characters over the years.  Did one stand out as being your favorite?

Mine was a Trando TKA/Rifleman/Brawler back when SWG was new. I liked that the skill sets complimented one another, in that they made up for the other's weaknesses. Plus they both had a way to target the mind pool, so you could do mind attacks from a distance and then do more mind attacks up close. Most people had itty bitty mind pools so that was very effective.

It was a fun character to play. Plus he looked cool. :)

What was yours?”

Comnitus is a bit conflicted, offering a trio of characters:

“Believe it or not, Ironbreaker in WAR (near launch, when they were "kinda" OP). Warhammer Dwarves beat any other Dwarves hands-down, and the Ironbreaker was the best example of that.

In second place would come my Thane, Thorious Blitzkrieg (hey, I was young when I played DAoC. I know it's not creative). No matter what you say, hurling lightning bolts and smacking people with hammers (and Mjollnir itself!) is just plain fun.

Ehhhhh... I guess my Warden comes in third. I'm still leveling him up, but the gameplay is fun and LotRO has just the right level of mob difficulty/downtime ratio (in my opinion).”

InEccess offers his “Wookiee hairdresser” from SWG as his favorite character. You read that right:

“Favorite for "role-playing"? It would have to be my Wookie Hairdresser from SWG. It was fun because I think I was the only one. I miss that class.

My favorite character for actually doing combat and PVP stuff, my Minmatar tackler in Eve. 1 little ship (rifter) and so many things could kill me, but when it works, it works very well.

Favorite moment with that character was solo-ing and killing someone camping our station in a Jaguar while I had my tech 1 rifter (with tech 2 guns). I conceed he probably spent alot of that battle watching for people to come out and assist me, but I killed a 25million isk frigate, with my 250k isk frigate.”

Illius clearly had a great time on Dark Age of Camelot, offering four characters:

“In no particular order:

Shadowblade (DAoC):  I would hit people so hard I could literally hear them cry out in pain over the internet.

Berserker (DAoC):  If I were to rank them this one would stand out because I was part of an awesome guild of people on the Merlin server by the name of Dragons Blood.  I miss those people, and to this day still talk to a few of them.

Skald (DAoC):  Was the first character I rolled on the Galahad server and was part of another awesome guild by the name of Loki's Minions.  I had to stop playing that game due to school and lack of money and what not.  By the time I got back to it I couldn't find the people again because they split the guild up and changed names so I rolled on Merlin.

Warrior (DAoC):  Classic server, I think it was Ector but later they were amalgomated to just one big one.  Made him a good split between offense and defense and I stayed in the newbie starter guild the whole time helping people out and stuff.  Great time all the way up till I quit because I didn't like where the game was headed.

All the other characters in all the other games I've played never really clicked and are usually acompanied by some stupid drama that I'd rather forget.”

First, I’m going to admit I’m a geeky roleplayer, yes, yes have your fun at my expense. With that out of the way, I also cannot decide on just one character, but instead of four I offer two:

In Star Wars Galaxies, I had a character that took part in the amazing Mos Eisley RP community on the Europe-Chimaera server. These folks were some of the best role-players I’ve ever met, and all my best RP experiences were typically on MUDs. My character in this community was a bit of an experiment. I started him out at a very young age, perhaps mid-teens and he worked as an apprentice under a renowned Ubese bounty hunter who took him in. I grew the character slowly over the span of a year and it was one of the most interesting RP experiences I’ve had.

My second favorite character was on The Matrix Online, where he played a significant role in the in-game storylines and events orchestrated by the game’s amazing Live Events Team on the Syntax (formerly Linenoise) server. Yeah, sorry guys, I’m not going to be able to regale you with tales of my best accomplishments and kill streaks. I appreciate my RP experiences the most!

What was your favorite character, and why? Let us know in the comments below!

Is It Time To Try Darkfall?

Posted by BillMurphy Wednesday June 2 2010 at 4:29PM
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When Darkfall launched a while back now (it’s been almost a year in NA, over a year in EU) it was met with some pretty harsh criticism.  Eurogamer infamously awarded the title a 2/10, and we also gave the game a score of 6.0 on a scale of 10.  But in the months since its launch Darkfall has seen numerous patches and even free expansions to add in content that was unable to make the initial release.  And now Aventurine is doling out 14-day trials for their little MMO that could and I think it just might mean it’s time for me to give it a whirl.

My recent foray into the Craft of Gods beta has me itching for a modern sandbox game with a fantasy setting, and by and large that’s what I understand Darkfall to be.  Also I'm not quite ready to put down money for Cyberdemons' own indie MMO just yet.  But here’s the rub… will I really like the feeling of having my corpse looted upon death by other players?  Darkfall is an unapologetically hardcore PvP experience.  There’s even friendly-fire (as far as I know) for AOE spells which leads me to worry that I’ll be more of a burden to any group I join than a blessing.  Still… the lure of an entirely open and player-driven experience excites me.

I remember my time spent in Ultima Online back in its heyday fondly even if I didn’t then grasp the true purpose of that world until long after I’d moved onto today’s more prominent theme-park styled games.  There is also the “Good and Evil” alignment system which gives me hope that Darkfall’s players won’t all be just murdering virtual psychopaths.  But has the game evolved enough since launch to give a real go?  I guess that’s what the trial is for.

I didn’t get caught up in the prerelease hype of Darkfall, expecting that the long development and independent nature of the studio would lead to some early troubles and the lack of polish cited in our own review.  But by and large I see the game’s faithful claiming that a great deal has improved over these past 10 months.  After my successful return to Age of Conan after that game had such a troubled early life, I can’t help but wonder if Darkfall is deserving of my time these days.

Like so many of us, I long for a more “world-like” MMO experience.  Even if I’m not sure what exactly that entails.  I think I’ll be giving Aventurine’s little darling a try in the next couple weeks leading up to E3.

2010: Star Wars, Bioware and now Star Wars, SOE...

Posted by garrett Tuesday June 1 2010 at 1:15PM
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There is so much to Star Wars in video games that we can discuss. The modern myth of our generations over the last 30+ years lends itself to the new form of media, video games, quite well. Space ships, blasters, light sabers, Knights, Stormtroopers, it kind of never ends does it.
So now along with Star Wars: The Old Republic we will be getting the kids game of Star Wars: Clone Wars from SOE.
Ok MMORPG readers…here is your chance; SOE is making another Star Wars game…..go!!!
So now we will have Free Realms in space, at least according to SOE that is their goal. The younger audience will now have an online world to play in with all the Clone Wars characters. To be honest I have not watched the Clone Wars cartoons much, I saw one and I think it was okay. It was not memorable enough for me to continue though.
The real story here is that SOE and Lucas Arts are back designing another game. Is this some kind of plot by Lucas Arts to have young players long into Clone Wars only to grow older and graduate into the Old Republic? Hmmmm…..Cha Ching….
Will the credit cards of parents be charged endless small transactions to get different color ligh sabers?
I don’t even know where to start on this one. We will be seeing both games at E3. We give our objective opinion and we will let you decide.
I love our forums, I really do.