My brother, part time gamer and full time noob, is only 35 years of age but to hear him talk you’d think he’s approaching pension age fast. “Those young whipper snappers”, he mutters under his breath whilst shaking his head at the folks in their late twenties who idly wander through his middle class suburban habitat. I’ve never know anyone to skip straight form sulky teenager to lecherous old man before (although admittedly it does come with some rather wonderful family related benefits). I, on other hand, feel pretty great being 31. I feel in my prime, a proper adult with enough milage behind me to give me confidence and enough road ahead to give me hope. No sir, I don’t feel old at all… except when I play MMOs.
Archive for the ‘General MMORPG’ Category
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.
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.
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.
I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that it’s been quite a while since any new MMO has been released that’s been a major success. I don’t mean to the degree of being a WoW-killer or anything either, I just mean a recent MMO that’s done, y’know, well. RIFT’s probably the latest MMO that I can think of that’s actually proven to be commercially viable and even then I doubt it’s flaunting hundreds of thousands of subscribers. SW:TOR, The Secret World, Final Fantasy XIV, even DCU Online and Star Trek Online, all seem to just be limping by. What gives?
First up, apologies for the porn film style post title. Finding a suitable image wasn’t easy either.
Anyway, today I want to talk about difficulty in games as, although it’s not a MMO, I’m sure most of you have read that Diablo 3 has now been completed on Hardcore Inferno setting. This means that those guys played through D3 several times in a row to get to the hardest setting, a setting that Blizzard touted has being insanely difficult, all without dying a single time. Not once, not ever. Having played the game on Hardcore myself (I’m still on Act I), I have a little appreciation for just how difficult this feat is.