In the earlier Barbarian post, I stated that I enjoyed fighters more than barbarians, stick with me and you’ll learn why.
When a player wants to start a fighter, almost any race is available and viable. For those min-maxers out there, the type of fighter you wish to make may sway the race selection. Going fr a ranged fighter with a bow? You’d be best off rolling, wait for it, an elf. Is two-handed face smashing more your forte? Then a half-orc is your best bet. There is one race that might favor the fighter a bit more and that is the human. Humans edge out other races thanks to an extra feat and the fighter gets an extra feat to select every 2 levels. Continue Reading
"All this drama is making me want to fart all over that Alextrasza hussy!"
Back when Trion Worlds unveiled their Rift pre-launch trailer a couple months ago, they took a mixture of cheers and criticism for using the tagline “We’re not in Azeroth anymore.” By drawing a comparison to the top-of-the-market MMO from the start, it seemed the game was inviting more of a comparison from gamers familiar to the world of Azeroth who would instead argue that Rift was a WoW clone, or that it had drawn ideas and parallels to WoW.
I’m not here to argue for or against that — I personally have not played Rift, so I’m not qualified to make that comparison. And while I do love WoW, I also wouldn’t call myself a fangirl. There’s many aspects of the game that I feel could be improved upon, and in fact I hope that strong competition continues to come forward so that Blizzard is forced to keep innovating and keeping Azeroth a fun place to be.
But I do think that Trion Worlds’ assertive stance against WoW in the trailer was a bold marketing move that has worked. It brought a buzz about Rift. Even those who were openly decrying the tagline were still talking about the game. And a lot of people who otherwise may have never looked into the game were exposed to news about it from WoW-centric blogs who covered the trailer because of that open comparison. Perhaps this is where trouble began to brew. Continue Reading
Massive Multiplayer Online Games require more time and effort to really get to know than their single-player counterparts. With more and more titles going free-to-play, it has become easier to try them out. But getting to the core of an MMOG takes a substantial investment on the behalf of players. So, deciding on what game you want to devote your money and attention to is an important choice we all have to make. And one that can cost an obtuse amount of time.
There are several titles on my list of MMOGs that I await with a mixture of excitement and cautious anticipation. In the end, I’ll still have to decide what game will become my main addiction, the one that will hopefully keep me entertained and hooked for a while. How do we select the right title and on what criteria do we base our decision on? The choice is, of course, a personal one, but here is a list of factors that make it or break it for me when deciding on an MMOG. Mind you, the topics are in no particular order.
Beginning your adventure in a fresh new world is a thrilling experience. This is why one of the first factors that can draw me in is the game world itself. Some settings have almost a universal appeal – *cough* fantasy *cough* – others are less popular but still attract a large-enough audience. This, however, doesn’t mean we should simply judge them at face value. Even within the realms of fantasy there are numerous differences in the presentation and mythos surrounding the world. These differences determine whether a game is successful in providing a stimulating context and meaning to our actions. In this way, the lore serves as an important medium through which you connect with the game world and believe in it. So, if the setting doesn’t hook me from the start, chances are, I won’t be even interested in giving the game a go.
In the last five or so years, combat has increasingly become more prominent as a game system that most people look at first for an upcoming title. While it is certainly an important deciding factor (as a general rule, I tend to gravitate towards titles that have some sort of PvP involved), we should not forget about other game mechanics that largely affect our MMOG experience. This includes the level of freedom provided within the game (is it too linear or not enough direction?), the role-playing system (is it something fresh, innovative; what is customization like?) and other less conclusive examples (the level of grind, mini-games, crafting and others). These game systems largely determine what type of gameplay and activities players will get to see and try out throughout their experience, so only the feeble-minded can doubt their importance. Continue Reading
By now the die-hard Final Fantasy fans are logging in to servers around the world for their first look at the release version of FFXIVOnline. In this final of our videos celebrating the release of Final Fantasy XIV Collectors Edition today, I finally get in some good gameplay. The video picks up at the opening cinematic for Gridania, then I play around with the UI and basic commands a bit before engaging in combat and seeing more pretty cut scenes. Lots of good stuff in this one. After the video, continue onward for my critiques of the game based on what I experienced in the Open Beta.
As promised, now I lay into the game itself. As I previously ranted, the Open Beta seemed to be very poorly organized. I had to jump through so, so many hoops just to get the client installed, patched and running properly that part of me was no longer even interested in playing the game. Another part thought, “After going through all that, this BETTER be good.”
And in some ways, it was. The character creation process itself is quite detailed and allows for some relatively in-depth customization. Of course, your character will still look like the race that you choose, but with many, many options for skin tone, facial expressions, voice, eyes and nose, hair, etc. That part was fun.
And I loved the transition of my character from the version I created in the first and second videos I posted to one appearing so vividly in-game. In the cut scenes, I was especially impressed with the graphics. Even during gameplay, the look of the characters and environments is gorgeous.
The class system also seems really interesting, although I didn’t progress very far, and the questing from what I played through seemed decent. I enjoyed the switch back and forth between gameplay and cut scenes, too, and think that overall I would be a fan of the storyline. But, for me, that wasn’t enough to suck me in. Continue Reading
We continue looking at games that, for one reason or another, were canned at various stages of development. Whether you actively played and enjoyed them or couldn’t care less about their collapse, every failed title meant fewer opportunities and choice for players, as well as a loss to the gaming industry in general. Refer to Part I, if you haven’t already done so, and follow along for more entries.
Another Richard Garriot game, albeit canned by a different publisher. Tabula Rasatook what was at the time a fresh concept of mixing elements of a third-person shooter with traditional MMORPG gameplay. Coupled with a comprehensive Sci-Fi setting and a flexible career system, it is easy to see why gamers talk about the loss of the title to this day.
Despite having all those exciting features, the game was just not polished enough at release. According to the developers and the fanbase, if Tabula Rasa was given enough time to shape up and roll out a few expansions, it could realize more of it’s potential and subscriber numbers would rapidly increase. This, however, was not enough for the publisher NCSoft, which claimed that the game was not profitable and worth keeping from a business point of view. Tabula Rasa was estimated to cost $106 million but only made just over $5 million and clearly, the executives were not pleased. On 28 February of 2009, the game got the axe after customers enjoyed some time with it free of charge.
The current atmosphere in the MMO industry is one of fierce competitiveness. Developers have slowly opened up to experiments with pricing models, new settings and gameplay mechanics just to make their game stand out from the slew of new entries on the market, as well as established franchises in the genre. In the midst of all the marketing blitz and new announcements, it is easy to forget titles that never made it to release or were abandoned shortly after. But, for the people who followed them with enthusiasm, the cancellation of these games felt like a real fiasco.
Today, we take a look at some of the MMOs that were canned at various stages of development and were never given the opportunity to prove themselves.
At first, there were only rumors circulating that Ensemble studios was making an MMO based on the Halo universe. Then, several art assets surfaced on the net, and the eager rumor machine shifted gears. The project codenamed ‘Titan’ had a projected $90 million budget and the support of an experienced development team. As one former Ensemble employee noted, the game was geared to be a real competitor to World of Warcraft. So what caused Microsoft to shut down a game that was based on one of the most popular IPs in gaming? Apparently, they looked at the success of Nintendo Wii and the money brought in by the casual market, and decided that appealing to this audience was a key priority for the company’s gaming direction. How was that related to Halo Online? Beats me.
There are so many possibilities and visions of what a Halo MMO could have been, but all is not lost. A while ago, Microsoft stated that they have several teams working on Halo related projects at any given time, so there is still a chance the title will be resurrected in one form or another. One can only hope.