Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Finding a MMO Diversion

I've been experimenting with several other games since my friends started signing into World of Warcraft less often. We've simply run out of content and as a result we probably log in about half as much as we did before the summer. We have the most nowadays by competing in the arenas. We like experimenting with different class combinations and trying to see which bracket we can score the highest in. We almost never get out of the 1600 rang so we know we mostly suck but its still a lot of fun. Doing the same old dungeons in an attempt to save up heroic badges just doesn't hold the appeal it used to.

Lord of the Rings - June to September 2007

This game has one of the best starting zones I've ever seen and it made me roll several hobbit characters. The leveling curve was nice and the amount of quests made World of Warcraft look like Everquest. I played several characters to the thirties before I ran into the dreaded "problem" with Lord of the Rings. For some reason the fun just seems to vanish in the game in the late thirties. Its a combination of several things and unfortunately it didn't look like Turbine could fix them quickly enough in patches.

-Started to be less and less quests you could solo
-Dearth of new Character abilities in the late levels
-Only 4 real dungeons though lots of quest instances
-Few zone options for leveling after 40.

I heard they've fixed a couple of these issues in the following patches but the lack of new character abilities still really hurts the game and seems to make it so that the classes have less depth to them then their World of Warcraft counterparts. I think this is a result of their option not to use magic in the game which really restricted the normal leeching from D&D that most fantasy MMO games do. I quit playing around September-October and starting leveling up a shaman in World of Warcraft, which was a new class for me.

Everquest 2: October - December 2007

I only played this game for the free month but I would recommend it over Lord of the Rings for the experienced MMO player. If you are new to the genre or you think World of Warcraft is hard then I wouldn't recommend Everquest 2. In general its a more complex game then either WoW or LOTR and includes a lot of stuff you just kind of got to figure out on your own. The user interface in particular pissed me off until I finally figured out how to put another hotbar on the screen. Its still a lot of fun with combat being very similar to the other games I've mentioned

I picked up Rise of Kunark to upgrade my trial account and I considered it well worth the money though I only played this game for about 2 months. The new starting zone for the Sarnaks was very nice and the quest rewards were much better then other starting areas. I enjoyed trying to figure out things on my own in the game and not having everything spoon fed to me. In particular I enjoyed completing Collection quests and learning the lower end Crafting skills. The only reason I didn't stick with this game longer was that I was unfortunately unable to convince any friends to go back to a SOE game. Some people still have Omens of War issues.

Tabula Rasa: January 2008

With it being a new year I figured it was time to try something besides a fantasy based MMO. While Pirates of the Burning Sea looked interesting I unfortunately was getting too much of a EVE Online vibe from the game. Tabula Rasa was generally agreed to be much improved since its last round of Beta testing despite the mediocre reviews it got when the NDA was lifted. So far I'm having a blast though I'm only level 7 and still forget that guns take bullets. In general its refreshing to learn different play mechanics then the classic ones I've used since Everquest.

Each gun in Tabula Rasa has a optimal range at which you get the best damage. In most fantasy MMO games you simply go for max range if your a caster or min range if your a melee. Tabula Rasa throws a curve ball since each type of gun has a different range. The logos system is a little weird but does give you something useful to collect as you move through each area. Basically as you gain advanced class abilities they require you to know certain logos symbols. There might be other benefits to collecting them also but I'm still a newbie to the game.

I do know that so far the game plays like Halo but with a huge collection of weapon and armor to choose from. I had a great laugh when I found an upgrade for my chest slot and noticed it gave me a +2 resist vs lasers. It seems it pays to collect the right type of resist gear and weapons since enemies are immune to some types of damage and can use devastating special attacks. You laugh but I kept getting one shot by some sort of flying giant squid because I had no ice resistance. Eventually I learn the squid only had melee attacks so kiting with a rifle worked just fine. This game requires quick thinking on your feet when leveling that seems to be missing in most modern games. I can't wait until I start getting missions that require squads.


Veneretio said...

It's worth checking out TheorySpot's TabulaRasa community.

The community is super-charged with WoW theorycrafters that will be taking a lot of theory developed for WoW and making quick strides to analyze the mathematics and formulas behind Tabula Rasa. (read: it's where you'll get the game's leading edge)