Tag Archives: MMORPGs
…you better make sure you test well.
Aside from some textual bugs, and this one thing where I fell out of the sky for no apparent reasons, this game’s actually pretty enjoyable. Probably more so when many people are playing all at once.
There are a lot of ways to add incentives to playing video games. In addition to achievements, there’s also the lure of items you wouldn’t normally be able to see without some degree of work.
I’m lured into continuing WoW due to a number of things, and I’ve decided to write them up as goals for me to achieve as I continue playing the game.
Goal One: Reach level 90 on my Hunter and my Monk.
I really want to see most of the content for this expansion, and in expansion’s previous. As such, I want to take my old hunter, whom I moved off of an oceanic server onto Baelgun, out of retirement.
I also enjoy playing my monk, even if it has a wild sort of playstyle. Love martial arts.
Goal Two:Battle Pet Supremacy
I would like to take a pet battling team to the top of the leveling game, and make it a force to be reckoned with. Preferably one from each family.
Goal Three: Get some specialty mounts
There are three mounts I’m particularly interested in, and those are the Mekgineer’s Chopper from Wrath of the Lich King, the Raven Lord Anzu’s mount from Burning Crusade, and a camel from the Ramkahen faction in Cataclysm. None are flying mounts, but I already have my helicopter jet engineering mount, so I’m pleased there.
Goal Four: Have farm, will travel.
I would like to get a farming system set up on Pandaria. Hoping that particular aspect of the game expands into housing, but for now, I’m just interested in the awesomeness of it.
That’s what I have planned for WoW. Of course, there’s no telling what game might catch my fancy, but I’m hoping that, between WoW and TSW, I’ll be pleased during the majority of my playtime.
My friend @FoxSynergy posted that tweet I just linked, which essentially starts a comparison between GoLion and Voltron, two robots that are essentially the same, just edited for different audiences’ sensibilities.
This made me imagine the following scenario, in which new commenters bring up with what they think are better robots than the offering previous. After I thought about it, it seemed like an interesting parallel to MMO discussions.
Voltron < GoLion (the anime Voltron lions was based on) < Leopardon (Japanese live-action Spiderman) < Tauburn (Star Driver) < Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar < Every Mobile Suit Gundam known to man, save for the G-Gundam series because that was the black sheep of Gundam < G-Gundam, because G-Gundam was the BEST HOTBLOODED anime in its time period. < Doraemon + his noncanonical dramatic ending due to the death of the mangaka who made Doraemon (technically a Robot) < Aquarion < Aquarion Evol < Evangelion mecha < Every Super Sentai Robot known to man < Every Power Rangers Zord and Megazord known to man (which is essentially the Super Sentai Robots, but fewer due to less seasons and with different names ) < The Daleks < The Cylons < Peebo from Bioman (justified since people are starting to mention smaller bots) < CL4P-TP < nanobots < The Mighty Orbots < Someone rereads the discussion from the end to the beginning and realizes people have diverged severely, and posits SDF-1 Macross as a response < argument ensues over the definition of “robot” versus “transforming ship” < random passerby mentions Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh < CHOU TENGEN TOPPA GURREN LAGANN WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK WE ARE? < I come in and talk about how my mom beats all of them because she hugs me and supports me and tells me she loves me. < Everyone sheds a tear and leaves to hug their mom.
Syncaine made an observation recently that had me reflecting on my gaming history and what I wanted out of it. In his post, he talks about how the MMORPG has changed fundamentally in terms of its method of providing people with enjoyment.
Some MMOs seem exist in a sort of experiential vacuum, wherein a solo player can do a lot by himself, and fun can be had without the need for a group to run through content. The opposite type of MMO has a more collectivist bent, where the enjoyment of the game’s actors is derived from group experiences, whether it be against monsters or against other people.
Both attempts at providing entertainment for people are valid, but the nature of the player each game brings in is decidedly different.
What Syncaine’s post left me with was a sense of disappointment, partly in myself but also in my circumstances, because I cannot seem to commit to an MMO anymore.
In my case, my second MMO ever was World of Warcraft, and I played that for seven months straight when I first got it and was relatively unemployed after college. I didn’t worry about timezones, and I joined a cool-sounding server name and found a guild that I liked, called In Strict Confidence.
My strongest memories of playing MMOs were as a result of being in raids or in groups, because I learned from the people I was interacting with. Being with people, even virtually, helped me to grow as a person and part of my personality now, from my demeanor online to my diplomatic, thoughtful nature, is a direct result of learning to be with people online.
I now get the same rush of friendship and camaraderie from my friends on Twitter and from my friends in real life. The games I play don’t necessarily need to provide that high of friendship and camaraderie for me anymore, but it helps to hook me in.
Going back to Syncaine’s post, I wrote in a comment to him about how he made me think, and how in my reflection I realized I sort of feel left out because I do not have a long-term commitment to a game. It seems (to my mind, at least) I still miss the rush of growing as a person by interacting with people in a virtual world doing something epic.
Syncaine replied to me with the following:
I suspect that part of the issue is that you are judging the games just on the content as you experience it solo, which is going to yield less-than-steller (sic) results (MMOs are not great for that, even solo-focused ones like SW:TOR, compared to a real sRPG).
When you play with a set group, much of the ‘content’ is experiencing the stuff together, so even bugs or grind can become a source of amusement because you have 10 people in vent bitching about it and laughing rather than just you smashing your head into it solo.
Look at something like a fleet Op in EVE. Would anyone find that even remotely fun as content in an sRPG? Waiting around for hours, shooting structures, and going home? Of course not. But get 250 people into Mumble, and it can be a riot, regardless if a fight happens or not. And when a fight does happen, it’s better than anything a single player game could ever hope to create in terms of epic, memorable moments.
That’s why people (should) be playing MMOs; for those rare but awesome moments. Sadly a lot of today’s MMOs are incapable of providing such a moment due to poor design and an overemphasis on the solo at the expense of the group.
I agree with him, really. At the same time, it also made me fearful.
What he’s written also means that I cannot provide the same commitment or be in the same social circles that would allow for the fun of an MMO in a group setting. I not only live in a different time zone from most people who would play something like Darkfall: Unholy Wars, but I’m also going to start a job that requires a worthwhile time investment to be good at.
I value the opportunity I’m getting at this new job, but it also makes me sad that I can’t be an important part of that bright world where people are fighting a good fight of epic proportions against dragons and liches and Cthulhu-like monstrosities.
Then I have to remind myself to calm down.
Because I have to remember that as much as the online worlds beckon to me, I’ve already connected with hundreds of people and made tons of friends who’ve helped to shape my personality and make me better than I was six years ago.
And I will keep making friends online and in the physical world, and my interactions with them will improve the person that I am, and ultimately, allow me to also impact their lives meaningfully and (I hope) for the better.
Two pieces I wrote came up this week for people read on MMORPG.com. One was a discussion on progression via levels and skills for Devil’s Advocate, and the other was my explanation for why Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn might very well be a defining moment in MMO history.
On the one hand, commenters on my Devil’s Advocate Post mentioned Asheron’s Call as a game that sort of fulfills the melding of Levels and Skills, and due to my never having played it, I completely skipped it as a talking point.
I felt embarassed. At the same time, I was thankful. Someone had pointed out an issue with my article and it had given me an idea to sort of compare Asheron’s Call and Project Gorgon. It was a good angle to take, and one that I’ll explore for the next Devil’s Advocate.
On the other hand, I also received a comment on the FFXIV post that reads:
You sure did gush a lot for a non biased column.
How much does one of these columns cost a company?
For me, I can read this as trolling, but after the Eurogamer issue that occurred recently, it touched a nerve. As I’m also starting a job at Rappler, a social news site in the Philippines, on November 1, it made me anxious to have my ethics as a writer put into question. Basically, it really stung.
I responded thus,
Just so you know, this isn’t the Devil’s Advocate for this week, and as far as I can remember when I wrote it, I did not mention that I was unbiased.
I like the Final Fantasy brand. At the same time, I will admit that I was disappointed by FFXIII and FFXIV. The information given so far for the game gives me hope, and the potential of a game like this to be a defining moment in MMO history makes me pause, because it can cost tons of jobs and change lives if it fails.
I am enthusiastic for the game based on its potential, but at the same time, I’ve played enough games to know that the potential for something to be good does not make it good unless I try it and make that distinction for myself, based on my personal opinion and my understanding of the situation.
The idea that I am some sort of paid shill is a hurtful insinutation on your part, and while I would defend your ability to say it on this forum if push came to shove, I will not stand by and accept your accusation. Frankly, as a fellow person on this planet, I am hurt by your words, and I honestly hope that you would actually consider the gravity of what you’re saying to me or to anyone else in the future.
In any case, this is just sharing on my part. I take great pains to make sure my pieces are well-written and meaningful, but there are really a ton of variables I can’t account for. I know I should let it pass, but it really soured an otherwise happy day.
Yes,Victor, you games-meandering bastard.
You’re playing or trying TOO MANY freaking games.
You have Borderlands 2, Dark Souls PC, X-Com: Enemy Unknown, and Morrowind (using the Morrowind visual enhancer) to tide you over on the non-MMO front.
Then you have an active sub to LOTRO, which you don’t play actively, and WoW, which you’re having trouble connecting to reliably.
AND you got a year’s membership to Pirate101?!
WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!
Now you’re considering getting The Walking Dead and subbing to RIFT and getting the Storm Legion expansion? I mean, I understand wanting TWD, but you could never stick to RIFT!
And you want to go back just for the freaking housing?! What the bloody, bloody hell is churning around in your head?
For the love of all that is finger-licking good, like fried chicken, curb your purchases, at least till November.
Victor’s Meandering Mind.
Basically, the above title states my sentiment rather well. I’m enjoying the Pandaria expansion more than any expansion ever primarily because I skipped most of Cataclysm and am actually playing Cataclysm and Pandaria content at the same time. Everything, as a result, feels new!
Pandaren also don’t make me feel so bad, because they’re rotund, like I am. And they kick ass.
Of course, a Tauren flying kick is still a sight to behold, but a Pandaren Flying Kick is a really close second.
OH! And PET BATTLES ONLINE IS AWESOME. They need to tune some of the abilities for balance though (seeing some very overpowered PVP Pet Battle team-ups reused repeatedly)., but PVE wise it’s fun.
Some twitter friends of mine were discussing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn because of the recent trailer reveal, and my name was brought up.
In a nutshell, I suppose it’s time to info dump based on what sources I can remember and what I know about the 2.0 incarnation of FFXIV.
1. FFXIV 2.0 is an entirely new client built from scratch, with a graphics engine that can run on more machines. (More info here)
2. As far as I remember, Naoki Yoshida once mentioned that the focus of the game would be shifted to require less levequest grinding and focus on actual quests with stories. If the design intent remains the same, then 2.0 should have more quests, with leves as a secondary source of experience and items.
3. When FFXIV in its current incarnation “ends,” the data of characters from the old client will be transferred from the 1.0 game into the 2.0 game, though some of it will probably be tweaked for manageability. Character data will not be saved past November 1, 2012, and the FFXIV 1.0 servers will be shut off on November 11, 2012 so they can focus on testing 2.0. (Source)
4. Alpha testing will start off as being for Japanese players only mostly so response to any issues is quicker, but will eventually branch out into other countries. (Source)
5. Gameplay-wise, we don’t know much, though the gameplay has been changed in many ways since FFXIV launch compared to now. I’ve heard that Yoshida does want combat to flow better and be faster, so he’s making sure we start off with a full TP bar rather than an empty one. Also, there’s jumping now, as well as new classes and jobs (Arcanist/Summoner is 2.0 specific, but FFXIV does have jobs for the existing classes which will be ported over)
One of the things I enjoy about Sword Art Online is that so much is left to the imagination. The setting of Aincrad and the 100-floor realm with literal permadeath basically begs to be expanded upon in various ways, mostly in terms of world-building, character depth, and psychological analysis.
One of the major disappointments of Sword Art Online as a piece of media, both as a light novel series and as an anime adaptation based on the light novels, is that there’s not enough story to go around.
Not to spoil the series, but Sword Art Online is comprised on nine or ten light novels. Aincrad, which we are introduced to as the Sword Art Online VRMMORPG, is completed by the end of the first novel, which is less than 200 pages in length (light novels tend to not go over 120 pages). Additional background and sidestories were added in the second SAO light novel, but that means that the potential of the Sword Art Online arc feels like it’s watered down because the first novel is essentially a time-skip of two years (By a third of the novel, this is already the case), with gaps in story filled in by novel number two.
Does this diminish the enjoyment of Sword Art Online? Somewhat. But at the same time, because much is left to the imagination, much is also given in recompense to the reader with the overactive imagination.
The funny thing about SAO is that because I’m a MMO game hopper, the the idea that the SAO light novel series is about multiple VRMMORPGs doesn’t seem so far-fetched, and may actually be a good thing, depending on how the author crafts the story. I shall read the novels and watch the anime closely and enjoy each step as it happens.
I made mention of Sword Art Online on Twitter a few days ago, but it’s taken me a while to really formulate my thoughts regarding this topic. While my write-up will probably be incomplete, it’s good to at least start the process of discussing this rather intriguing light novel and anime series.
To discuss Sword Art Online as an anime or written work to a group of MMORPG players is difficult, mostly because I get the feeling that some people aren’t particularly interested in the intersection of what is virtual and real and because direct comparisons to other media that discuss MMORPGs will enter the fray. To discuss Sword Art Online to a group of literary critics is also difficult, because the Japanese light novel structure, publishing format, and demographic is vastly different from that of reading other works (I defer to the Wikipedia page on Light Novels for a description of the differences between novels and light novels).
That said, I think the only way I can really discuss Sword Art Online (henceforth termed SAO in this piece) is if I discuss its premise and how reading and watching SAO makes me feel.
The story of SAO begins at 1:00 p.m. of November 6, 2022, when the world’s first completely immersive virtual reality MMORPG goes live in Japan. Only 10,000 copies are available for this game, and in the morning of the game’s release, all 10,000 copies are purchased.
To create the immersive experience of SAO, Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of SAO, also developed a device known as NerveGear. The Nervegear is a VR helmet that works by rerouting signals from your brain into the game, such that you can perform actions in the world by thinking them, and your body would remain immobile because the NerveGear bypasses your ability to move.
At the story’s beginning, we are introduced to Kirito, who served as one of the 1000 beta testers in the game, and Cline, another player who befriends Kirito. Kirito teaches Cline the basics of SAO’s world, Aincrad. In SAO, aside from magical crystals that heal and teleport, there is no magic that can be cast in the game. Instead, players rely on weapon skills that are trained and leveled up in order to acquire new skills, in addition to allocating statistics that increase dexterity or strength. Aside from fighting skills, crafting and gathering skills also apparently exist in the game, such as smithing, item appraisal, and fishing.
Four hours and twenty five minutes after the launch of SAO, Cline attempts to log out to pick up a pizza, only to discover that the log out button has been greyed out and cannot be used.
At 5:30 p.m, all the players of the game are teleported back to the starting city. By 5:40 p.m. of November 6, 2012, all hell will have broken loose.
Between 5:30 and 5:40 p.m. the sunset-lit sky is tinged blood red, and blood drips from the sky. A faceless man, clad in dark robes, coalesces from the blood: an monolithic figure who simply says, “Attention players, welcome to my world.”
The faceless man is none other than Akihiko Kayaba, and he continues his speech by saying that the inability to log out of the game is not a bug, but a feature of SAO.
He continues, “You cannot log out of SAO yourselves, and no one on the outside can shut down or remove your NerveGear. Should this be attempted, the transmitter inside the NerveGear will act like a powerful microwave, destroying your brain, ending your life.”
To stress the futility of the attempt, he adds that several players’ friends and families have already attempted to remove the NerveGear from the heads of 213 players, resulting in their removal from the game as well as their deaths. The news media has already picked up on the story, and save for officials transferring players to hospitals by temporarily disconnecting the NerveGear from a power source and letting it run on its internal battery, it is expected that no further attempts to remove NerveGears will be made.
Furthermore, permadeath is instituted in SAO. If your HP drops to zero, the NerveGear will activate the microwave, killing players who fail to survive in the game.
To log out of the game, players must ascend the 100 levels of the floating realm Aincrad, defeating a floor boss on each level to gain entry into the next and ultimately defeat the final boss on the 100th floor. As a means of comparison, Kirito mentions earlier that beta testers spent two months attempting to reach the eighth floor.
As an added dagger to the back of every surviving player, Akihiko Kayaba presents each player with an in-game item, <<Mirror>>. Examination of the item forces every player remaining in the game to be represented by a scan of his real-life attributes, including height, weight, muscularity and facial features.
By 5:40 p.m., Kayaba’s speech ends, his robes and body revert to blood, fly back into the blood red sky, and disappear, revealing sunset once more.
These are the first 10 or so pages of the first book of Sword Art Online, and we’ll have more to talk about later on when I continue this post series. Till then, don’t die.