Mar 30th 2012 12:06AM @Joaquin Crowe
Well, it's not so much fat as sumo-style muscle. At least, that how I saw the SWTOR model, so I never really thought they had a "fat" model, just bulky. I can't recall seeing it used by any other players.
However, their inclusion of a wide-shouldered amazon woman made me absolutely giddy during my time in the beta. It's always how I visualized my nelf warrior tank in WoW, and I had to imagine that visual in spite of the lithe, agile grace the model and animations forced on her.
Mar 29th 2012 10:54PM I think that saying it's the community that directs the industry is leaving out a very important aspect. A lot of the MMO veteran players are baffled by the samey stuff that's released, and blame it on their straw-man vision of casuals who want an easy level grind. A lot of casual players like some of the more interesting sandbox-y options like player housing and interesting crafting, and blame the samey raid-or-die stuff on their straw-man vision of hardcore players.
I don't think it's just one or the other, though. If every WoW clone, every carbon-copy browser-based MMORTS continues to succeed, it means a majority of the community still wants it, or at least still enjoys it enough to throw money at it. To claim that it's one side of the fence or the other is ignoring that it's a much larger part of the community that controls that sway. And I don't think that has anything to do with casual or hardcore preferences. I think it's a matter of time.
I'm not exactly a veteran, but I've played MMOs longer than what people might label a casual player. It stands to reason that I would be a little impatient with the industry for not trying new things. That doesn't change the fact, however, that MMOs only really exploded a few years after WoW launched in 2004. That means we've only really had a little more than half a decade to watch a community grow.
From tens of thousands of players in the early 2000s to tens of millions today, there are new players getting sucked into these virtual worlds every day. And these people have never seen an MMO before. There's nothing stagnant or frustrating about the gameplay; it's fresh and new to them. I feel that we have to come to terms with a slower pace of evolution in the industry, due to the sheer fact that there are thousands of newbies jumping in and enjoying old game mechanics and conventions for the first time. Until it stabilizes, which could take a while, making major changes to the formula is not only seen as a big risk, but highly unnecessary to the industry big-wigs.
So don't feel like the community needs to look at itself, and be concerned with where they're putting their money, where they're "voting with their wallet" as it were. There are still too many potential MMO gamers out there who haven't even been assimilated yet, so looking at the current community only views a fraction of where it will be within another year. We're getting closer to "capping out", you might call it, and there's going to probably be a breaking point when the community gets big enough. "MMO" will get split into communities beyond "casual" and "hardcore" (which is already happening), and then the industry can get a better handle on what people want, what features to add to which types of games. It'll be kind of like the console game industry, the way it eventually distilled the various playstyle genres based on what each specific playerbase wanted. They might miss the mark pretty often, but it's still easier to figure out what a great number of competitive FPS player would like in their game, versus what a great number of casual players would enjoy. The factions are just too big right now. There's probably a joke or an insightful comment in there about how tired two-faction PVP is, but I'm not creative enough to make it right now.
I guess all I'm saying is, keep voting with your dollars, but don't feel too terrible if you get drawn back into a samey WoW-clone out of a desire for nostalgia or comfort. Eventually, enough people will get tired of what's being offered, and the trends will shift and break down. It technically -could- happen overnight (anything's possible), but that's as likely as the claims of "WoW-killer" ringing true. Sure, it could happen, but a gradual shift is just more likely.
Mar 24th 2012 11:08PM @SnarlingWolf
And just to add, there's nothing wrong with lots of enemies having the chance to drop something really good, if it makes sense. Maybe you found that awesome dagger still stuck in this bear from the last adventurer they devoured; that's fair.
So long as there is another, more direct way to obtain the same rewards, frustration can be avoided. It's great to stumble across something awesome, but if it's something you really, actively want to obtain... well, you might as well be doing kill X rats quests. At least with quests, you know how many X is.
Mar 24th 2012 10:56PM @SnarlingWolf
If randomly getting the best weapon in the game off of a lowbie wolf in the forest is more fun to you than pushing through the simple quests to earn it (however easy it may be), that's just grand. Random loot, to me, is completely stupid. DarkWalker had it right, he just needed to affirm to you that there should be challenges worthy of the rewards. Digging through gimme quests (or worse, dailies; I'm so excited to kill ten rats every day for a month!) is just as bad as you say, but that wasn't really the point.
Look up the requirements for the old classic WoW weapons Benediction and Rhok'Delar, if you haven't seen 'em before; basically, they pitted a solo player face to face with an enemy or challenge that would normally require a holy trinity of multiple players. And it was made specifically solo (enemies despawned or quest status was "failure" if anyone helped). That feels a hell of a lot more worth it than happening to win the MOB pinata lottery (or the raid guild loot council lottery, which can be worse).
More challenges like that should be involved in MMOs, not slot machines shaped like violent animals. More gameplay that you can do any time (see: casually) but that really pushes your ability to play the game and your character. You don't have to be the straw-man "basement dweller hardcore" to obtain the items through an endless war of attrition with the random number generator, but you can't be the straw-man "Farmville-bred welfare-epics casual" and expect to get the best stuff cheap as free.
That's not to say that every game would benefit from this. Fun, flashy grind-fests the likes of which Korea tends to make certainly maintain a strong following and have their place, and some of the random-drop stuff can be interesting and fun, or at least ridiculous enough to be entertaining, if applied properly. It's just irksome when it proliferates out to every single MOB in a game, and every single worthwhile item is either thrown at you through mindless EZmode quests or hidden within a vortex of uncertainty. Both of these suck. Getting rewarded for doing well is awesome.
Mar 23rd 2012 5:10PM @BigAndShiny
And yet, often times, the most popular characters in stories tend to be -not- the main character. Side characters, one-offs even, often build massive fandom for having done something right, even if it wasn't "epic". MMOs drive everyone to be the exact same hero, doing the exact same quests, and if the writing goes that way making the exact same mistakes. To be fair, TOR gives you eight storyline options as opposed to the usual two (one per faction), but that doesn't change the fact that, if you want to be a light-side bounty hunter, you're going to be the same one as every other.
It's great to want to be the hero, but as Jef mentioned, standard video and PC games are just as good (better in a lot of ways) compared to MMOs. Playing a single player game or some cooperative games online without an entire playerbase mimicking everything you're doing around you (and vice versa) serves the heroism illusion much better.
And it's not as if competitive games like online shooters aren't races to be at the top of the leaderboard. People like that, like knowing where they rank and trying to move up.
Finally, that "Uncle Owen" joke in the article really doesn't hold up. Of course no one wants to be Owen. But what about Darth Maul? Dead in one movie, but really popular. What about numerous members of the jedi council? Boring, mundane characters aren't the only option for not getting to be THE hero. And saving a nub from aggroing everybears is often just as satisfying (and less stressful) as taking down that raid dragon that threatens all life in the nation... until next week, anyway.
Mar 17th 2012 5:27PM @BaneBergan
"...because everyone actually knows every person on their FaceBook? They actually have meaningful conversations with those people?
Sure. I've a bridge to sell you if you believe that. It is in the Sahara, and has some fantastic fishing!
And that's the reason "social media" is actually not-so-social."
Sounds like "Facebook and its users are antisocial" to me.
"MMOs are typically about actually interacting, grouping and doing things with other players, while Facebook is usually more about "social networking" that never involves having any meaningful communication with 99% of those on their network."
Sounds like "MMOs are more social, and therefore superior to Facebook" to me.
"I never said FaceBook was bad."
Sounds like backpedalling to me. If you open with how anti-social Facebook and its users are, you are expressing disdain for it. If you are lauding the social interaction of MMOs in the same post, you are expressing perceived superiority of one over the other. The attitude your getting harassed with isn't necessary, but if you want to cop an attitude and decide that you didn't say what you clearly said, maybe you should re-read your own post.
Mar 15th 2012 11:08PM He didn't know about Raph having nothing to do with later changes to SWG, and most of his post was a rant about Raph's name. I'm pretty sure this is just a troll. An unintentional troll, possibly, but he's being too belligerent for that to matter.
Mar 15th 2012 10:34PM @Marchosias Gaming projects take years. If you haven't done something major in five years that's not really a long time. And "new sequel every year" stuff from big publishers like EA and Activision isn't usually a lauded practice.
And lot's of big game industry people end up doing a lot of little things that they don't really receive a whole hell of a lot of credit for, such as being consultants or executive producers. Hell, Lineage II was only five years ago, but everyone rails on the Garriott punching bag at every opportunity for not being a part of anything in recent memory.
Mar 13th 2012 6:13PM Pre-set characters killed it for me, especially being gender-locked, as well as the "girls are always quick, weak acrobats" fighting game mentality applied. It's more stereotypical than DIKU classes.
This does look promising gameplay-wise, though. Might give it a trial run. I just don't see long-term commitment unless the characters are wildly customizable, both in playstyle and appearance.