In my last article I mentioned how I was disappointed that my wife would never get to experience the super-fun that is MMO gaming. To quote myself, because I can do that, because I'm awesome, "She will never get to enjoy all the things that offering your free time to the MMO gods has to offer." That got me thinking, what are the bounties which can be sown from the pleasure fields of MMOs? Then I gave myself a high five for thinking of another column to write and not getting fired.
Let's talk about combat for starters. If you are bored by the combat in the MMO you’re playing, you probably shouldn't be playing it. Honestly what's the point if you’re bored of the fighting? Ninety percent (actual percentage from the Council of People Who Keep Track of That Crap) of your time in an MMO is spent in combat and it should be, doggone it. Why? Because combat is fun. Annihilating a mob with a critical hit or spell at that clutch moment has made me literally ruin a pair of pants. And no, I’m not saying literally for emphasis. I still have the dry-cleaner’s bill.
The feeling you get in combat when you know you’re dominating someone or something is like magic. I’ve gone back to zones and dungeons all grown up that gave me a hard time when my character was young just to go on an insane killing spree and generally terrorize the hell out of the place. As if all those NPCs would remember how they wronged me or could actually feel terror. They were just doing their jobs after all, right?
But you weren’t there man! You don’t know what they did to me! You don’t know how it feels to live in constant fear! Always having to look over your shoulder! They deserved every bit of what I did to them… Sorry. Went to my dark place for a second. Still, I maintain that wholesale slaughter of mobs weaker than you is absolutely one of my guilty pleasures
Another thing I’ve grown fond of is the variety of races, classes, and character customization. Personally, I am a big fan of any kind of mage or ranger class. What can I say? Killing something before it even gets a chance to attack me back warms the cockles of my nerdy heart. In every MMO I play, the ranged classes are usually my go-to, although I do enjoy rolling up the occasional rogue as well. I’ve never been a fan of playing healers or tanks, mostly because I suck terribly at playing them. Still, it’s nice to know that there is a whole sea of options to swim around in.
Additionally, the freedom to make your character look unique (in most games) is great because you’re going to be looking at that guy (or gal) non-stop. I’ve seen and heard people have a complete mental breakdown due to character remorse. It usually just happens randomly after the hatred has festered far too long. Someone screams a long string of profanity that for the most part is completely incoherent, followed by catching aggro from as many mobs as they can and laughing as they die in such an evil manner that you can actually feel a small part of your soul whimper and expire. Luckily support groups and guilds for ugly player characters have been founded to attempt to stop these tragic events from occurring. If your character is ugly, and you’re feeling a little close to the edge, seek these people out. It’s never too late. Or you know, just don’t screw up and make your character look good the first time.
Superhero MMOs are a prime example of how to make your toon look rad straight out of the gate and avoid the aforementioned character remorse. In games like CoH, Champions, and the forthcoming DCUO you can make your hero or villain look any way you want. There are likely over a million combinations, if someone took the time to count them all. Remember when CoH was getting sued by Marvel for being a copyright infringement machine? Marvel didn’t like the fact that in City of Heroes you could churn out a never ending supply of Wolverines, Deadpools, Spider-mans, Hulks and let’s not forget about more Wolverines (there were a lot of Wolverines running about for some reason). You could make them look like DC characters too, but I don’t remember hearing DC whine about it (RE: I don’t remember lots of things). Ultra-customization of your character’s appearance, while a fantastic thing to have, still isn’t something you want to be the main selling point of your game however. Just ask APB how that turned out.
Let’s assume that you don’t belong to the Super Ugly Character Club for this next bit, because I honestly can’t identify with that at all. Frankly, the whole concept of it seems a little far-fetched to me. Shame on you for bringing it up. So, you’re an awesome looking killing machine. Surely you shouldn’t hide your handsome visage and otherworldly murder skills from everyone. That would be a great disservice to the entire world. No you need to get out there and mingle!
That brings me to the next thing on my list: socialization. I realize I have stated previously that I like flying solo and I do. Yet, I love playing with my real life friends online all the same. It takes a lot of planning to do this sometimes, due to life’s busy pace, but it’s worth it. Random strangers for some reason get all ticked off at you if you decide that you’re going to only use dance as your primary weapon. Or say in the middle of a dungeon, you stop to emote that you’re dropping a deuce into a fallen mob’s mouth. They don’t think it’s funny at all.
Friends however, will get a big kick out of it. My buddies would probably turn it into a game of “Let’s see how badly we can desecrate the bodies of our fallen opponents.” It usually ends with some really awful “Visitor Q” type stuff but I’m almost positive it would make even Takashi Miike cringe. The challenge I run into when it comes to actually playing with real life friends is always lack of time (I bet you guessed that didn’t you? You’re such a clever reader.). Aside from the time issue you have your buddies leveling up on their own time way past the group. That’s why you have to lay down ground rules and have multiple groups of characters just in case someone can’t play at the designated time.
Did all of your real friends bail out on your scheduled play-time? You don’t need them to have a good time or even healthy conversation! You have general chat channels and your guild. General Chat is a wonderful magical land filled with insight and humor (RE: actual magical-ness may vary). You’re never far from a good time if you have general chat nearby. Got a question? Ask the kind and helpful folks of your general chat channel! Need some help with a quest? Give the nice people of the general chat channel a holler and someone will be more than happy to assist you! I’m sure you’ll get the answer or the help you’re looking for, but you may also get a barrage of insults, racial slurs, and random spam tossed at you as well. I probably should have warned you about that.
Most general chat channels do have helpful people for the most part but there will always be trolls. Still, I really do enjoy reading conversations over guild chat and general chat because they can be damn near pee-your-pants funny. I am also guilty of laughing at the trolls as they say the most evil and hurtful things to other people, but I don’t acknowledge it because you never ever want to feed said trolls.
Anyway, those were just a few of my favorite things in MMOs. Feel free to run riotous in the comments with your own. I’d love to hear them.