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Secretly Hyped

Isabelle Parsley Posted:
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Second, I'm looking forward to no classes and no levels. Sure, it's really more of a clever twist on existing mechanics (and TSW certainly isn't the first game to do it), but it's a refreshing twist. It's also one people will bitch and moan about – sorry, already are bitching and moaning about – but if you want to be a miserable git that's your choice. Don't play the game if the lack of set classes bothers you that much. As RIFT is currently proving, there are plenty of people who want the freedom to depart from the standard holy trinity setup, even if it's mostly a cosmetic thing. There's nothing wrong with cosmetics when they're artfully applied.

In my own case it appeals to both the altoholic and the (rather repressed, I'll admit) monochar in me. There are many advantages to being able to play only one character at a time, just as there are advantages to being able to have alts – but to be able to explore a variety of roles and gameplay options on a single character really intrigues me. Especially if it doesn't involve the horrendous grinds SWG profession-changes did.

Third, I welcome – with a fanfare of trumpets, if I had my way – the separation of appearance and actual gear. This should be standard in all new MMOs and I bitch frequently about its absence from my current game, WoW, because not all of us want to look like Dynasty refugees on acid, thank you very much. Actually these days my hunter looks like a Dynasty refugee on acid and on fire, but we won't go there. I do still wish we could have a new game that has things like item decay and an entirely player-created economy (ah, pre-NGE SWG, how I miss thee), but that's also something I want to cover in another column so we'll leave it for now. In any case, appearance items are the shiz and yes, it really is a selling-point for me. I'm not shallow, I'm just drawn that way.

Fourth, PvP. A few months back I was sort of ignoring that aspect of TSW, but that was before I rediscovered my frothing, yelling, smack-talking inner PvP child. It may be watered-down and somewhat meaningless in WoW, but it's still hella fun and I've been learning a whole new set of skills and sneakinesses. I'm hoping that the three-faction setup in TSW will overcome the issues we've seen with dual-faction world PvP, notably in Warhammer Online, which tried valiantly but in my opinion still falls short, partly because of the lack of a balancing third faction.

I'm also hoping that TSW's PvP will be something I can jump into when I want to, and ignore when I feel like it – though a small, quietly persistent part of me keeps whispering that I really should put my PvP money where my mouth is and roll on a PvP server – assuming they have such things at launch. Anyway, however it pans out, I'm actually looking forward to taking part in it. Many of my online and gaming friends, poor creatures, are sadly misguided and aren't in my faction (Dragon – what else?), and I can't wait to show them the pointy end of the stick. Well, katana.

Five, six and seven: story, story, story. Ragnar Tørnquist knows how to tell a corking story, that's for sure, and I can't wait to find out what's around every single corner in TSW, even if it takes me years. Maybe especially if it takes me years. I'm a little surprised at the current trend to claim that MMOs don't have stories – they may not have single-player RPG stories, but hey, they're not SRPGs. There are some really rather stringent inherent limitations when it comes to stories in MMOs, and the ones we have these days are pretty good, all things considered. Say what you like about Cataclysm, but it does endeavour to tell a whole bunch of good stories – it's not the designers' fault if nobody's actually listening because they're too busy admiring (or bitching about) their overly large new shoulder-pads. (Well okay, it's partly the designers' fault, but don't be hating on the quest-writing team – they've done a pretty good job in most games over the years, if we only bothered to actually read the damn things.)

So those are some of my rational reasons for being a frothing TSW fangirl. There's also the character models, which are human without being uncanny-valley and which are game-like enough without being stretched and wrapped in plastic (EQ2, I'm looking at you!). The monster models ain't bad either, and the landscapes, from what I can tell, will be just fine.

Now all I need is a spot in the upcoming beta. You'll have to excuse me, I have some barnyard fowl to sacrifice and strange ululations to emit. You never know, it might work.

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Isabelle Parsley