10 April 2008
| | LHStaff
There are a whole lot of MMOs out there today. WoW, EQ2, EVE, Final Fantasy XI… the list goes on and on and on. Of course, an MMORPG is nothing without it’s players. Which begs the question: what do you do when you can’t find anybody on your server to play with?
This may not seem like a huge issue with some of the aforementioned MMOs but with many others it is a considerable cause for concern. Games like Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, Matrix Online, and even City of Heroes (some servers) can suffer from a severe lack of players. I don’t know about you, but when I can’t find anybody decent to play with on my current MMO of choice I usually abandon the cause. There is no reason to play, let alone pay to play, these games when you aren’t getting the most out of it (i.e. multiplayer). Never fear though, by following a few precautionary steps you can very easily avoid wasting money and time on games that have too little of a population.
- Do your research. If you read about any possible financial trouble for the company that usually doesn’t spell anything good about the population levels for the game.
- Starting near the beginning of a game’s life will usually ensure that a healthy population will be around for at least a little while. Case and point, City of Heroes had a much larger population back when it launched as opposed to today, as is typical of most MMOs these days.
- Friends help. Can’t find anybody to play with in-game? Drag some of your buddies in with you!
- Finally, the rule of thumb is that if an MMO is over five years of age chances are there won’t be a solid “newbie” population to play with. More than likely everybody will be at the higher levels at this point. There are servers on WoW that suffer from this.
So there you have it. I’m not trying to keep you guys from playing any specific MMORPGs out there. I am just attempting to help you avoid situations as such. If you are primarily a solo player then disregard this entirely. Just remember, if there is one thing that can ruin an MMORPG faster than buggy gameplay it is the community, and when there is no community there is no game.
Thanks for reading.
5 April 2008
| | LHStaff
Single player RPGs are few and far in between these days. Even those RPGs that do come out, most now have online game play, which it seems is where gamers want to be. So what’s an RPG do? Unfortunately there isn’t much that can be done. The online revolution is in full swing and has been for some time. Gamers not only want an immersive storyline, but they want to be able to interact with real people while playing and single player RPGs just can’t deliver.
Since Microsoft launched Xbox Live on its console, casual non PC gamers have had the opportunity for the first time to game online with friends and more importantly strangers. With its success Sony has followed with online play and even Nintendo is joining in.
Not only does it seem that gamers want real interaction, but there really isn’t much incentive for studios to make a single player RPG. RPG’s are massive undertakings to create, requiring years of work by huge teams, unlike FPS where you can just pump out a sequel ever year. No, RPGs need characters with voices, thousands of quests, a crafting system, training systems, as well has dozens of cities and towns that all must seem to be alive. With all the work to create an RPG, why NOT make it a MMORPG, where you can generate a stream of revenue for years to come? There are still some very succesful single player RPGs out there, but I wonder how long will it be before they too cross over to become MMORPGs.
4 April 2008
| | LHStaff
There is a lot to be said for user generated content these days. It has basically become the king of the internet, actually. People generally like to create their own stuff, and see their ideas come to life (as long as it’s not too hard to achieve). So why are MMOs still so reluctant to give us the same freedom that websites like MySpace or Facebook have, or games like Unreal Tournament and Oblivion allow?
One of the main ideas behind the MMORPG is to have a persistent world. A world where players can interact with other players and the world will generally react back to them as well, typically through quest lines. For example, if you kill x boss you will then restore y king back to power, or some such nonsense like that. The world will progress through you. An interesting concept, but one not without its own flaws. One of the flaws being that this does not allow for any sort of user generated content. My character can complete quests on behalf of NPCs, however he can’t make his own quest. He can live through the pre-set storyline, but he can’t forge his own story. An interesting problem…
Of course, that’s not to say nobody has tried. Today you can log onto Second Life and proceed to make all sorts of things (as illustrated by the castle above). However, Second Life also doesn’t really have a story line. You can make things but they really have no affect on the world because Second Life isn’t really a world, not in the same sense that WoW is. Another example is the Saga of Ryzom, while it doesn’t exist anymore, the game once provided a content update that allowed for users to create their own stories and scenarios. Unfortunately, I never took the time to test it out, but it is definitely something that sounded interesting.
MMORPGs are much like the internet was 10 years ago. The provide a function, and are generally liked by a good deal of people. However, they aren’t mainstream yet. The World of Warcraft is a huge game, but it could be bigger. As people slowly move toward more and more user generated content websites they are going to start looking for that same functionality within other parts of their lives, including MMORPGs. While it may sound like a challenge now, it’s gotta happen eventually. Nothing escapes consumer apathy. If you give people the tools to make their own toys, you’ll be much more popular because of it.
Bring on the user-generated MMORPGs.
2 April 2008
| | LHStaff
There is a little known MMORPG in the works over at Funcom. As I am sure everybody knows at this point, they are the same company who is currently developing the extremely hyped Age of Conan MMO, which in all fairness does look absolutely awesome. So what about their other project?
Announced last May, The Secret World is planned to be an action-packed MMO filled with mystery, intrigue, and horror. No telling yet what kind of horror, but one could assume, based off the concept art above, that it will be the same type of horror that can be found the famous Arkham Horror board game. That is to say: other worldly monsters, Cthulu, possibly vampires and lycan.
Unfortunately, there is no additional information on the game and any concept art is buried deep within a bunch of websites and puzzles. Not really worth the effort, if you ask me. I’ll be waiting for the real deal screenshots. However, for those who absolutely can’t wait to hear about more of this MMO, they do have a forum set up, which includes a post about some very interesting articles, such as:
- Mention of the “Illuminati”
- Has something to do with the Knights Templar
- Possibility this has something to do with the infamous year 2012
- London, New York, and Shanghai are all destroyed?
It’s all very fascinating stuff and it gives me hope that we will soon be enjoying an occult MMORPG. Of course, as there is still a lot of mystery shrouding this game anything could change. We will definitely be keeping an eye on this one.
Puzzle can be found HERE.
Concept art can be found HERE. (Don’t click if you want to solve the puzzles yourself)
Forum can be found HERE.
28 March 2008
| | LHStaff
Well its been quite some time since we’ve posted about our favorite Diablo 2 clone turn MMORPG, Mythos. Today I received a newsletter update covering the latest patch and there are some BIG changes, BIG! For one PvP is back! Players will be able to attack players anywhere, including towns, and have a Anarchy rating which determines how many items you drop if someone kills you. If you have a low rating and are killed, you drop 1 random item. However if you decide to be a dick and slaughter a bunch of low level players your rating goes up, meaning the next time your killed, you’ll drop more than 1 item. So be nice to the noobs. If you don’t have the stomach for PvP, dueling has been added so you can fight without the fear of losing any of your precious items.
Along with PvP a new race has been added along with a third zone with new quests, monsters and towns. Crafting has also been revamped with hundreds of recipes, harvestable ingredients, ingredient refinement, a full Crafting skill tree.
If you want to full details of the patch, check it out at the all new Mythos site.
I haven’t played Mythos in a few months as I had a hard drive failure and never reinstalled the game once I got a new drive, but I’m currently downloading it so tomorrow you can bet I’ll be hacking and slashing it up on the PvP server. For those of you who haven’t been able to get into the Beta you might be in luck soon.
“If Zone 3 goes well, we could be looking at an Open Beta release in the near future.”
26 March 2008
| | LHStaff
As if anybody was really surprised by these turn of events; Mythic came out today and officially announced that Warhammer Online will be delayed until the Fall. Those of you who are signed up to the newsletter will have actually recieved the official notice from the developers. It’s a sad, sad day in MMO-town. Or is it?
To be honest, I kind of expect every MMORPG to get delayed at least 3 times nowadays. Hell, if I saw an MMO not get a single delay I probably wouldn’t buy it at all. MMOs require lots of time and it’s become kind of customary to delay the game in order to polish it up a bit. After all, everybody knows what happens when a game releases without having the appropriate polish required; you need only look so far as Vanguard. Bottomline, all a delay signifies is that the development team wants to take a bit more time to make the game actually worth the $50 we are going to be paying for it. So, good for WAR I say. I look forward to being able to jump into the game this Fall! Let’s just hope Blizzard doesn’t decide to screw up Mythic’s plans by releasing their next expansion near or on the same release date…
[Source: WAR newsletter]
24 March 2008
| | 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
21 March 2008
| | 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?