Posts Tagged ‘mmorpg’

MMORPGs and the Worst PC Game Launches, as told by 1UP

24 March 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

I don’t normally write about other news. I like to write my own stuff about my own thoughts and ideas. Any regulars here at MMOCrunch generally know that. That said, however, I just could not get over this recent article done by 1UP. Done in traditional list style, 1UP decided to create their own top 5 worst PC game launches. Nothing too special, a fun read but that’s really all, until you realize that 3 out of the 5 game launches are MMOs, or MMO-like.

MMORPGs aren’t known for their polish. In fact, it’s become common knowledge that the game you buy on day one probably won’t be the same game you are playing six months down the road. Theres a whole lot more programming, and a whole lot more testing that needs to go into an MMO as opposed to a single player game. So is it really fair to judge an MMORPG on the same standards as a normal game?

Let’s just get this out of the way before I continue writing anymore. The three games that made 1UP’s list are:

  • Hellgate: London
  • Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
  • World War II Online

Before I begin, allow me to go back to the question I proposed earlier: is it fair to judge an MMO off the same standards as a normal PC game? No it’s not. MMORPGs are vastly different from any other type of game. They aren’t really a separate genre so much as a completely different avenue of gameplay. Everything changes when you decide to make an MMO, everything. Each of these games had serious problems when they launched, especially Vanguard, but do they really belong on the same list with single player PC games? Absolutely.  Despite given certain laxes on standards there is no reason why each one of those games should have launched with the enormous amount of problems that they did. It’s hard making an MMO, but it’s not impossible.

Of course, those games were the occasional black marks on the MMO’s history. It’s sad to see a list like 1UP’s where the majority of the games are MMORPGs, but it’s even sadder to see an industry that continually does this kind of crap. I don’t really have much more to say on the matter. Feel free to take a gander at the original article. Like I said before, it’s a fun read.

Worst PC Game Launches

Where are the Occult MMORPGs?

21 March 2008 | 6 Comments » | LHStaff

There are a lot of different MMORPGs out there. Despite the industry being overwhelmed by fantasy MMOs, you can still get your fill of other types of games as well. There are plenty of Sci-fi MMORPGs, a Super Hero MMO (with 2 others in development), a couple Pirate themed MMOs. Hell, you even have some historical MMORPGs to choose from if you so desire (WWII Online, Roma Victor). Yep, this industry is finally starting to get some games that actually show some originality. So where are the occult games?

Back in 2006 when CCP (the creators of EVE Online) acquired White Wolf it was a forgone conclusion that we would finally see an MMORPG based in the world of Vampires and Werewolves. I mean, come on, how could somebody not assume that? CCP owns and operates one of the more successful MMORPGs today, it would only makes sense that they’d want to expand those profits into a new game based in a new setting. Unfortunately, we still have heard nothing on the matter. Nothing has been announced, and nothing has really been rumoured.

So where does that leave lovers of the occult? Well, certainly not in the MMO space. There used to be a 2d isometric MMO called Dark Eden that you could play, but I can’t even find that anymore. It was very simplistic, but for those that really wanted to play as a vampire it was the only choice. Nope, the MMORPG industry has yet to embrace this sector of off-fantasy, and it may be some time more before we really see a game based on it. Such a shame as I am a huge fan of these worlds…

Anybody want to watch Underworld?

First Look: Global Agenda Screenshot Blowout!

13 March 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

If you will take the time to remember, a few weeks ago I wrote a piece on a very ambitious MMO project dubbed Global Agenda. The developer, Hi-Rez Studios is claiming their game to be a spy-fi (spy/sci-fi, I know, I love it too), mission based MMORPG. Anyways, enough about that, if you have yet to read up on what exactly Global Agenda is you can check it all out HERE, or simply scroll down to read the official press release.

All caught up? Good, because now we get to the fun stuff, the screenshots. After contacting Hi-Rez Studios about the game I was able to nab some of the very first in-game screenshots, and now I am absolutely delighted that I can show them off to you guys. Check em out!

The game is being run off the Unreal 3 engine, so, much as the screenshots show, the game looks to have great graphics, as well as an engine that should be equally as great. We will be in continuing contact with Hi-Rez Studios over the development of the game so expect a lot more from us. Enjoy the screenshots, press release is below:

GLOBAL AGENDA is a fast-paced action MMO using Unreal® Engine 3 set in Earth’s near future, a spy-fi world of advanced technology and player-driven conflict. In the wake of severe global disaster, the political face of 22nd century earth has changed.  Player created factions scheme against each other for power while simultaneously opposing a totalitarian world government bent on domination.  Traditional full-scale wars a thing of the past, factions must rely on covert agencies, teams of elite special operatives able to seize and defend key facilities.  The future of humanity is their battleground, where knowledge is power, technology is a race, and everyone has an agenda. The players are truly in control of Global Agenda, forging alliances with their peers and executing lightning strikes against their enemies.  They determine which factions to aid and which to oppose, while the only thing that stands in their way is other agencies. 

  • Develop your agent – Create, extensively customize, and improve your agent character over the course of your career, complimenting your FPS skills with RPG-style progression and high-tech gear.
  • Advance your agency – Join a player-created agency, compete in technology races for advanced equipment, and capture critical locations to increase your influence in the world.
  • Compete in fast-paced PvP combat – Work with your allies to gather reconnaissance data, then raid or capture enemy controlled facilities during objective-based missions.  Equip yourself from a powerful array of weapons, armor, and strategic devices like triggered explosives, deployable turrets, stealth suits, holographic disguises, and remote control robots.
  • Experience a dynamic, player-driven world – Agency leaders navigate through a global conflict of other player-run groups, striving to reach their goals first.  Territory, resources, technology, and influence are all valuable commodities, with agencies engaging in politics, intrigue, and outright deception to control them.

About Hi-Rez Studios
Hi-Rez Studios, Inc. was established in 2005 to create exceptional online interactive entertainment and is located just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.   For more information, visit
www.hirezstudios.com.

Unreal is a registered trademark of Epic Games, Inc.

Why Do MMOs Limit Storage Space?

5 March 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

One of the main problems that all players have faced in basically every MMORPG to date is what items to store and when to get rid of them. Developers continue to restrict the amount of room players have in order to store items, which in turn has caused players to create “bank” characters to transfer their loot. Lets take a closer look.

Storage Space

There are many different levels of storage space and this varies from game to game, but basically there’s three levels.

Level 1 is personal storage that you carry around you at all times. Usually this is very limited and allows you to keep just enough items with maybe some room to store loot.

- This is the most important storage space for may reasons. One, it saves the player the most amount of time by having items they need at all times. There’s no need to run to a bank or chest to get the item/s you need, then run all the way back to where you just were. It also is for most people the primary way of making money. The more open space you have the more loot you can carry that you can in-turn sell to vendors.

Level 2 is personal storage that you do not carry around. This is often a bank or a person chest where you can store more loot that you might not need at all times. Most games allow you to purchase even more space if you need it.

- While important, I dislike using this space. It’s just too much of a hassle to have to go all the way to a bank or chest to get your stuff. If I want to go work on my profession (LOTRO), I first have to go to the bank to pick up my items, then I have to go to a working table and gain XP. Once I’m done, I have to go back to the bank and store my stuff there and pickup my other items. The same back and forth running is basically part of whenever you need an item from this storage area. Having a group of people waiting on you because you have to go all the way to your secondary storage space to pickup some item sucks. It sucks even more when you realize that you left one of your quest item in your bank and have to do the run to and fro just to finish a quest where you’re already there.

Level 3 is guild storage. Many games now allow guilds to purchase houses and other forms of guild space that offer even more storage for its members as well as an easy why to trade items.

- Guild storage can be at the same place as your secondary storage or it came be in a completely different area, but where ever it is it’s the most useless storage space out of the three. Any guild with any member base will completely fill the space within 5 mins. My guild in LOTRO is quite small and we’ve ran out of space on day 1. When I find an item I know someone might need, I’d like to put it in our guild storage, however it’s full, so I need to take something out, most likely something I don’t want or need which then takes up my space.

Bank Characters

In order to combat this restricted space players have been creating “bank” characters, characters that are strictly used for the extra storage space. Some people might have only 1 extra character while others might have 5-6 characters to hold all their high end loot. But it’s not just individuals that are creating extra characters for the additional space, guilds have started to create sub-guilds in order to get more room. Large guilds break up into sub-guilds that are based on levels. So for instance a sub guild can be level 1 – 25, 26 – 49 and 50, which would be the actual main guild. A large guild such as the one in this example might have 2 sub-guilds so that they can store items of that level in the sub-guild and not take room up in the main guild that would be reserved for guildies that have reached the max level.

So why do developers insist on limiting our space? Why do they force us to use these retarded methods of storing loot when they can just make everyone happy by increasing storage? The only reason I can think of is to keep the gaming economy in-check as well as to offer some realism since unlimited space is impossible. However how many people do you know that can carry 5 swords, full set of armor, 50 potions, scrolls, food, camp equipment and about 20 different quest items. So the realism argument gets thrown out in my opinion.

Give us more space!

I think developers need to get over the limited storage space, no one likes it. There should be 2 types of storage. Personal storage that I have at all times and guild storage. Personal storage should be large enough where not only can I carry everything that I can ever need, but also have plenty of room for loot. No need to ever waste my time running to a bank. Guild storage should nearly be unlimited, if you have a guild with 500 members, you obviously will need more that 100 slots of storage space.

Common devs, stop wasting our time making us constantly run back and forth for no reason.

MMOCrunch's Top Five Classes EVAR!

28 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Before I begin with my list allow me, if you will, to explain that I am basing this entirely off the “cool” factor of the class. Any actual functionality or usability isn’t really taken into account. Not that we wouldn’t want to judge them based on that, but really, with the amount of changes that occurs in any given MMORPG these days, the same class today probably won’t be the same class tomorrow, ya know? So. . . ya. Enjoy!

Coming in at number 5: The Necromancer! As seen in Everquest, Everquest 2, Guild Wars, Diablo 2, etc. The Necromancer has always been one of the coolest classes to be introduced to any game, let alone an MMORPG. The ability to raise the dead and command them to slaughter and maim your enemies has thrilled millions for at least a decade in what can only be dozens of MMORPGs. Given it’s indescribable cool-factor I think it’s safe to say that it deserves our number 5 spot.

Coming in at number 4: The Paladin! As seen in Everquest 1/2, World of Warcraft, etc. Despite being almost the exact opposite of what the Necromancer is, the Paladin still holds it’s weight in “cool”. Being a badass warrior of light has plenty of perks that one can only dream of. Despite all this though, if you take away the magic, the name, and the mystique, they still wear some of the coolest armor ever designed. Seriously. . . what is it about Paladin’s and awesome-ly designed protective wear?

Coming in at number 3: The Rogue/Assassin! As seen in almost every MMORPG out there. The Rogue/Assassin is probably one of the most under-represented classes across the board. Developers usually neglect giving their clothing any sort of “flair” due to them being mostly invisible. Nobody really wants to be seen as a Rogue/Assassin anyways right? Despite being accessory handicapped the Rogue/Assassin makes up for it by having some of the coolest skills in the game. One needs only look as far as the “Backstab” or “Assassinate” skill to know how devilishly cool this class is.

Coming in at number 2: The Druid! As seen in Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, World of Warcraft, etc. The Druid is, by far, one of the coolest classes. Not because of their inherent hippy-like nature (haha I’m punny!) either. The main reason why Druid’s are so f-ing cool is because, most of the time, they can shape-shift into some badass creatures for the sole purpose of mauling their enemies. Who wants to shapeshift into a Were-Bear? That’s right. . . everybody does. Aside from that their easy-on-the-eyes nature motif for clothing doesn’t hurt either.

NUMBER ONE: The Priest/Cleric! Seriously, this class doesn’t get major “cool” points for their style, or their skills. No, no, no. This class gets our number 1 spot for one reason. They keep us the hell alive, and anybody who helps keep me alive is not only my best friend ever, but also very cool. So the next time you are out wandering around the MMO of your choice and you see a random Priest/Cleric happen by remember to stop, and admire how cool that guy must be, afterall, if has hasn’t saved your own ass today he has probably saved somebody elses.

So that’s it. Those are our top 5 classes. Of course, we have not put in any classes for games that have not yet been released. As much as I wanted to add a couple Age of Conan or Warhammer Online classes I felt that it just wouldn’t be fair to the already released games. Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this! I’d love to hear what your favorite class is!

Why Champions Online?

26 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

I ask this question because it seems like nobody else in the industry is going to ask it. Why is Cryptic Studios making Champions Online? It baffles me that they would even think about persuing another game in this direction. Don’t get me wrong, I liked City of Heroes and all that, and I fully believe in Cryptic’s ability to make awesome MMORPGs based on superheroes, but it just seems so odd. Allow me to start from the beginning.

A few months ago, Cryptic and NCSoft agreed on a deal to transfer ownership of City of Heroes/Villains over to NCSoft. Before this, the game was published by NCSoft, and was owned by Cryptic. Cryptic then announced that they had been working on a new MMORPG, one that was not yet announced. Of course, everybody, at that time, knew that Cryptic had entered into a deal with Marvel and Microsoft to create a new super heroes MMO based off the Marvel comics entitled: Marvel Universe. It was naturally assumed that this was the “unnamed” project that Cryptic would be working on (MMOCrunch.com was no different). As it turns out, however, Marvel Universe got the axe by Microsoft and the title slipped into oblivion. Of course a few days after we all heard about the Marvel Universe news, we also heard about Champions Online.

Now back to my original question. Why Champions Online? Why would Cryptic, who already had a good relationship running a successful MMORPG for NCSoft suddenly sell their old property to them to begin work on a new IP based roughly around the same idea? City of Heroes was a success, and still is (130,000 subs and counting). Perhaps it was because NCSoft refused to allow Cryptic to make a City of Heroes sequel. Let’s face it, most of the time, MMORPGs do not need/warrant a sequel. They usually aren’t profitable and players from the first game don’t want to lose everything they achieved to begin work on a new one for the sequel. So, is that it? Was Champions Online birthed simply because of NCSoft’s refusal to support a sequel? Perhaps Champions Online was actually City of Heroes 2, but upon rejection of the idea late last year by NCSoft they decided to continue to persue it under a different name. We’ll probably never really know. . .

Of course, a lot of my article here is speculations and conjecture. I don’t know why exactly we have what we have today. However, it still seems a bit odd to me that Cryptic would want to sell City of Heroes and then go out and start a new MMORPG that would put itself in direct competition with their old IP. Something must have happened that caused the split between the two. But if not my theory then what else could have happened?

Is WoW Killing the Industry?

22 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

Over the years that WoW has had it’s mega-success very few people have stopped to look at the pieces that have been left in the games wake. It’s very easy to look at the numbers of subscribers and amount of profits they rake in each quarter and claim that the industry as a whole is growing and is very healthy, but is it really? In all of WoW’s success have they almost single handedly killed the industry?

Just to clear things up before I continue, I like WoW. To me, it is a very polished game that was loads of fun. While I don’t currently retain my subscription to it I did play for about 2 years. . . I even had a druid at level 70. Please refrain from calling me a WoW-hating fanboy of another game. All around I am a huge fan of Blizzard. I had to get that out of the way, sorry.

Anyways, back on topic, I am sure if you were to ask a number of developers the primary reason for their games floundering or not acheiving the same level of success as WoW they would blame it on the extraordinary success of the World of Warcraft. So, are these developers just bitter and envious of success, or do they actually hold some merit of truth? Look at it this way: Lord of the Rings Online is often touted as a very successful MMORPG. However, that said, if you look at the recently updated MMOGChart.com website you notice that LoTRO still only has around 300,000 subscribers. This is a far cry from the 10,000,000 that WoW boasts in it’s ever increasing fold. How is a game that is called a “break-out” hit in 2007 only account for 3% of what WoW has?

This, of course, isn’t to say that all industry flops are WoW’s fault. There have been plenty of stinkers released that failed on their own accord. Vanguard launched way to early and as such became known as one of the biggest flops in the history of MMORPGs. WoW had nothing to do with that. However, for games such as Tabula Rasa, and Pirates of the Burning Sea, both decent games that are inherently different from WoW, is the success of the World of Warcraft causing shortages of subscriptions for these games? Probably, both of these games were funded heavily, and launched with hopes to gain a sizable subscriber base to make the games profitable. Unfortunately, I doubt either one is profitable right now, and that only spells out one thing: less investor interest.

My entire point with this article is basically to look at the success of WoW, and the flops of almost every other MMORPG in comparison, with the eyes of an investor. If you had money to sink into an MMORPG property would you, honestly, be willing to take such a gamble? Afterall, the chances are extremely high at this point that the game will not achieve the same level of success as WoW, and as such will never gain the same amount of money. In fact, you probably will never see a return on that investment ever again. . . Is that something you really want to invest money into? Probably not, and I am sure this has turned away at least one investor prior to my writing of this. I guess the only thing we can truly hope for in the de-thronement of WoW into a more stabilized MMO economy by the likes of Warhammer Online and Age of Conan.  

Thanks for reading.

Battle of the Screenshots! EVE vs. PoTBS Edition

18 February 2008 | No Comments » | LHStaff

So I was sitting here, at my computer, looking through screenshots of some of my favorite games. Yes, that’s right, sometimes I like to look at screenshots as opposed to actually playing the game. I’m just cool like that. Anyways, I got to thinking which games have better graphics. Of course, at this point, I, in no way, was thinking specifically of Pirates of the Burning Sea and EVE Online, but it did eventually lead into that. The games are already compared to each other on so many levels why not graphics as well? Both are touted as having fantastic environment graphics, as well as ship graphics. Enjoy the screenies, and don’t forget to tell us which ones you prefer!

Here, we have two screenshots, each depicting beautiful backdrops and gorgeous effects. For EVE Online (left) the lighting is especially well-done. For Pirates of the Burning Sea (right) the water just leaps right out at you. Our verdict: Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Now these two shots are actually contrasting each other. We have EVE (left) featuring a very bright, orange screenshot with loads of detail and backdrops. The sun in the background makes the shot look particularly gorgeous. Pirates (roght), on the other hand, has a darker backdrop. While the darkness helps conceal some of the bland textures in the background, it also takes away some of the beauty of the water. Our verdict: EVE Online.

Finally, we have two screenshots that show a bit of action. EVE (left) has a lot of detail in the background as well as an aweomse picture of a ship firing at something. On the other hand we have a Pirates screenshot (right) showing off some of the battle sequences. The water, as always, looks spectacular. The real gem in this shot is the physics of the wood flying up after the initial explosion. Also if you look closely at the water you’ll notice some excellently rendered reflections in the water. Our verdict: Pirates of the Burning Sea.

So, this round, Pirates of the Burning Sea took the torch in a 2:1 victory. It’s not all that surprising, to be honest, despite receiving a graphics overhaul recently, EVE Online is still a few years older than Pirates of the Burning Sea. All of the screenshots were, obviously, looked at with an artist’s perspective in mind as I believe games are one of the highest forms of art out there today. A lot of work and care goes into giving each of these games gorgeous graphics.

So, which do you think are better?