Friday, 18 September 2009

WoW vs (other)

One talked about MMORPG coming very soon is AION.

I spent some time last night researching this, not because I’m about to jump ship, but because I have found that games such as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online (both great games!) have offered me a really enjoyable short-break akin to picking up an X-Box game and playing it for a month.

Inevitably the WoW comparisons overtake discussions about new MMORPG releases. This could be constructive if it were a point-by-point comparison as to how game-play issues were addressed in different or similar ways. You know, things that really matter.

However more often what we get is comments like:

‘WoW gets pwned’

‘WoW sucks’

If you dislike World of Warcraft – fine. But if you really believe that WoW sucks, then you need to add a bit more substance to your argument. Because as a solution to the challenge of creating an interactive virtual fantasy world, WoW clearly doesn’t suck.

First off we need to define the contested territory. Beautiful graphics may be a big consideration for some. But your personal preference to look like an emo in Aion rather than a cartoon character in WoW is only going to get you so far. If you just like eating cake and have no literally no idea what ingredients actually make a good cake then keep your mouth shut.

Core issues, i.e. things that contribute to the quality of the gaming experience are more to do with actual play issues that are; economic and social, that consider player reward and playtime longevity, environment immersion, learning-curve, variety and choice.

Second, on both sides of the fence, enough about what is a WoW-Clone or who stole ideas from Everquest. Unless your tipple of choice is 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons, then it’s a moot point.

WoW has been embellished continually since its release. It has a lot of content and designers are responsive to the needs of the community, continually increasing the functions available to its subscribers. For this reason alone it will be extremely difficult to challenge by any new offering at point of release.

This isn’t to prove that’s it’s the best MMORPG possible, or even available already. I simply ask debaters to weigh up the ingredients that actually matter when exploring relative merits. I have to wonder if people who genuinely think that WoW is a poor offering will recognise a better one when it comes along… or know why it is better!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Plz boost me Hercules!

Help-beggars and their alts...

Do you have an alt? I do own a couple, largely built from the desire to have same level characters to play with levelling friends, or the rare moment of hunter fatigue. But these days my alts rarely see the light of day.

I don’t often feel inclined to play an alternative character for two reasons:

1. I am quite immersed in experiencing things through the eyes of my main.

2. Given that I exist outside of WoW as a family member, employee and student, it is hard to find extra time beyond keeping my main character up to date. Especially right now when Emblems of Triumph can be farmed every single day, so priority one is often getting that daily heroic done no matter what.

However, many others do enjoy alts and are able to split their attention better than I. If you play an alt then feel free to comment why, so I can grasp the appeal better.

However, there are a proportion of alt-players who expect their friends to do the work of levelling that alt for them, through frequent boosts and assists. This is approached with a sense of ‘entitlement’ that is often part of the psychological make-up of any anti-social person.

Our usually worthy Guild-Chat was bought low by one such help-beggar recently. I was this player's Guild Master once, suffering about a year of their lazy antics. This week, having failed to beg a boost, they exclaimed; ’20 guild members online and no one can help me?’

How does this translate into what is understood about the mythical journey of the hero? Certainly the classical hero had helpers on his or her journey, people who provided crucial advice, or even fought side by side for similar ends. However this help appeared because the hero was on the path and attracted cosmic assistance, or inspired others to their cause. Not because they begged and whined about it.

Jason and the Argonauts - Deleted Scene:

Jason: Can anyone boost me to get the Golden Fleece plz!!

Hercules: Sorry mate, I’m a bit busy doing my dailies at the moment.

Jason: When will you be finished?

Hercules: Not sure. Why not get a party, similar level, and challenge the quest the way it’s meant to be challenged? That way it will be more fun and you’ll get the learning.

Jason: I can’t be bothered. Plz boost me Hercules! Plzzzzzzzz!