It’s almost the Christmas holidays and I can’t wait. I love running my own business but geez, does it keep me busy. Although I take some holidays throughout the year (I still have 12 days vacation time remaining which says a lot though), the festive period is the one time of year when most non-retail businesses either slow down or shut up completely meaning I should have a pretty long, uninterrupted break from Christmas Eve to the start of January. Bring on the MMO gaming.
Archive for 2012
Perhaps having grown up playing the original Everquest, I’m spoilt with combat in MMOs these days. I mean, one of my most beloved character in Everquest, a Warrior, had only two buttons to press when fighting, Taunt and Kick. And Kick was useless. People aren’t joking when they say that combat used to be a case of pulling a mob, turning on auto-attack and then going to make yourself a cup of tea. I drank a lot of tea in my late teens.
Still, on reflection, to call combat in the MMORPG of the late nineties or early naughties (I hate that term) mindlessly simple is probably doing it a disservice. Grouping was mandatory, pulling was an art, managing aggro was important, crowd control was a skill, maintaining a rhythm in order to chain fights was essential and death was inconvenient enough to make it all matter. Plus, in the time between button pressing (which for a Warrior was quite a lot), there was plenty of opportunity to chat, discuss, gossip and roleplay.
I remember the first time I ever logged into a MMO. It was 1999, the game was EverQuest and I was on a 64kb dial-up modem connected via a, get this, pay-by-the-minute ISP (cue accidental £300 phone bill). What seems old hat now seemed incredible to me then and I still recall the first few moments of stepping into Norrath and the surge of excitement I felt at bumping into my first ever MMO player. I’ll never forget jumping up out of my seat and shouting over to brother that a completely random person, a fellow Erudite in the starting city of Erudin, had said ‘hi’ to me.
Word on the street is that Everquest Next is going to be a sandbox MMO, a huge one by all accounts. Colour me surprised. Just as I thought SOE were out of tricks, they go and play a blinder on us. I was honestly prepared for the next installment of my beloved EQ franchise to be yet another attempt at a themepark WoW clone. Good for SOE.
I’ve been playing a lot of World of Warcraft recently, probably more than I should have. All-in-all, I think it’s a testament to the strength of the new Mists of Pandaria expansion and between the new continent to explore, the hundreds of quests to complete, the new battlegrounds and the rather addictive side-games, there’s a lot to keep one occupied. Still, playing with my level 90 Warrior and low level Monk, one thing is starting to become clear: tanking has less of a place in the game than ever before.
Like a lot of people, I’ve been playing Mists of Pandaria pretty full on since Tuesday. Well, technically, Monday night since I was there for the in-game launch at 11pm British time but considering it took me 30 mins just to target the NPC (see above) and then the whole Jade Forest zone crashed before I finally gave up, I’m not going to count it. Nice to know that even the biggest MMOs still have launch woes even if everything has been running pretty smoothly since then.
Torchligh 2 is better than Diablo 3. There, I’ve said it. And yes, I know it’s not professional to compared games to each like that but considering I’m just a hobbyist blogger, I figured I can get away with it. So I’ll say this: Torchlight 2 is everything I hoped Diablo 3 was going to be.
This isn’t to say that D3 was a bad game ’cause it wasn’t. It was good, very good in fact, but ultimately, for me at least, it lacked something that Torchlight 2 has in spades – soul. It was like Diablo 3 was so polished, so perfectly inspected, considered, trimmed and balanced that in the process Blizzard forgot to give it any sort of personality or identity. They were so busy trying to force people down their singular vision of gameplay that the game ended up being slightly hollow as an ironic side effect. From its ridiculously easy nature and lack of character customisation to permanent online restriction and game-breaking Auction House, D3 was over-thought and over-worked. Torchlight 2, in comparison, is rough and ready, a by-product of a smaller team and a lower budget and, as a result, it’s a better game for it.