Beau is a writer, artist, PR/CM, game designer and pro moderator, and he's been blogging since 2002. He lives it up in Austin, Texas with his community manager wife. He's also the author of Anna the Powerful, a sci-fi book about the world's only superhero. Buy it here: https://store.bookbaby.com/book/anna-the-powerful
I have recently discovered that I really enjoy primitive-looking, voxel-based, sometimes-sidescroller-y survival games. It sounds a bit specific, so I mean games like Starbound, Minecraft, or Terraria. I love the way the graphics look simple (which means easy to run on older PCs) but feature realistic lighting or shading. I especially love the fact that these titles offer a wide variety of open-ended content and keep the barrier of entry low.
I was a huge fan of The Chronicles of Spellborn, an ill-fated (and ahead-of-its-time) MMORPG that semi-tragically disappeared a few years ago. I enjoyed its unique setting, art style and combat mechanics, but I also knew that it was never to be smooth sailing for the game. After all, it featured not only a grind and a challenge but could be hard to run on anything less than gaming machines (at the time) and characters had to hoof it from place to place.
I often wish I could enjoy realistic military shooters like World of Tanks. I have tried them before, and the closest I came to joy was when I was piloting an old aircraft over a massive battlefield... then I was shot down. Because these games are skill-based shooters, it’s often the case that when you die you just stay dead; there’s no room for error. The last time I played World of Tanks I grew so impatient I just logged out. I probably appeared to be the world’s most sore loser.
I’ve been playing some Wildstar lately and it’s been really nice. I have always absolutely loved its art style and get such a kick of its animations and character creation (although some of the female characters need way more options) that I find myself playing it just to look around or take screenshots. I was playing this weekend with my Gamer Hangout co-host Eboni, and she commented at one point that leveling “takes a long time.”
I think I have always been a happy MMO fan. I have even been accused of being sappy or of wearing rose-colored glasses when covering MMOs because I tend to, well, enjoy them. I will give it to those who make such a suggestion: playing an MMO primarily through its systems (meaning grinding) is one way to find happiness, but I didn’t think that my distaste for the grind should disqualify my particular joy.
Danish toy company LEGO recently announced that it will be releasing LEGO Worlds, an answer to the massively-popular Minecraft. Lego already sells Minecraft toy sets, so what was the thought process behind this decision? I am not so sure, and some people have cried “a little too little, too late” but I wonder about that assessment.
Native American culture is often imitated in MMORPGs. I can name several MMOs that feature races or cultures that are obviously inspired by Native cultures. Unfortunately, this often means that players are met only with tepees, totem poles and other classic Hollywood imagery inside these games, and never does any MMO get down to the realities of native life.
In preparation for an upcoming livestream with the developers of Wakfu, I logged into the game in the hopes of touching up on my skills. Wakfu can be challenging for casual players, with abilities and systems that often need to be played with a lot in order to understand them. One of the coolest aspects of the game – other than its original setting, artwork, systems and animations -- is its turn-based combat.
I was very excited to talk to you, my Not So MMO readers, about a game called Knights and Snails. It’s an interesting title with a few core mechanics like jousting, tower defense, Flappy Bird-style timing and the occasional snail. I am planning on featuring it in one of the upcoming articles, with an interview with the developer team who feature people from some of my favorite games like The Chronicles of Spellborn. Keep an eye out for that, coming soon.
The One Piece Online MMORPG is a perfect representation of the experience of watching an episode of One Piece. There are things on the screen, they make sounds and are animated. The sounds are loud, the jokes are meant for 6-year-olds and the characters would seem imaginative if they looked as though they all belonged to the same universe. One Piece Online and the series it is based on is like much of the anime I have experienced, meaning boring.
I have enjoyed Defiance since the very beginning, but it hasn’t always been a smooth road of development. Trion Worlds still shows the game love, but do they concentrate too much on content that segments players away from the rest of the open world?
Character models are possibly the most important aspect of a graphical MMO. After all, the avatars that we create and play through are us in many ways, so they need to look and feel like extensions of us, into the game world. For some players, that means the avatar should look heroic, or beautiful, or needs to offer a ton of customization. Whatever the particular player wants in an avatar, the good news is that there is probably an MMO out there that offers just for what they are looking.
Welcome back to another edition of Not So MMO, you’re one-stop shop for opinions, news and insight into the world of games that are almost MMO. Multiplayers, online games, MOBAs and other genres… you know, the ones that feature many of the things we like about MMOs, minus the thousands of players who are on at the same time.
I don’t want to rehash the same arguments about free-to-play that I have had since 2007, but it’s safe to say that even though most MMOs and many other games are now free at some level, players still feel a strange need to apologize for supporting gaming. I have worked in community as well, and the same attitude seems to apply to players who feel that developers are somehow the enemy or, at least, not to be trusted.
Last week I had a good time explaining my extreme dislike for esports. Granted, I do not dislike those who enjoy esports just like I do not dislike the guy up the street who worships – almost literally – at the church of football. But, the organization and big money that esports really is doesn’t toot my horn. With enough money and push you could make professional nose picking a sport and people would probably dig it, so I just don’t see the value.