Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Off the Beaten Path - New MMOs for the Summer

There's a couple of new MMO's coming out over the summer and I'm glad to see that they are quite different from the standard fantasy fare. Last year I tried out Age of Conan and Warhammer Online when I got tired of World of Warcraft. The year before I dabbled in Lord of the Rings and the Rise of Kunark expansion for Everquest 2. While all four games had very different game mechanics, they still used the same type of background setting. It's been awhile since a decent MMO came out that wasn't a fantasy hack and slash adventure. Not that I'm totally repulsed by the genre anymore, I'm just looking for a breath of fresh air.

Luckily, it looks like next month's Jumpgate Evolution will satisify my desire to try something different. It's being advertised as an EVE Online that's actually fun to play. While I don't have the best reaction times in the world, I'm still looking forward to trying out a MMO based around real time spaceship combat. The only previous experience I've had with a twitch based MMO could be considered Tabula Rasa. However, that game's equipment system seemed a little too disposable and FPS-like for me to enjoy. As long as Jumpgate Evolution has a decent equipment and talent system then I'll probably stick with it for a couple months.

Even if Jumpgate Evolution is a free-trial month only game, there's still Champions Online right around the corner in July. I've been following the development of this one for awhile now and I'm very impressed with the graphics. I'm a fan of the "stylistic" graphics approach and the cell shaded look fits my preferences quite well. I'm afraid that some of the same design flaws from City of Heroes might also make it into Champions Online though. I'm hoping that Cryptic Studios stayed away from procedural generated content this time around and that leveling through missions isn't so repetitive. I'm also hoping for a better equipment system, since I always felt like the original enhancement one was too trivial for a MMO.

After the summer there a couple MMO's that are floating around release days in the fall, but haven't set them in stone yet. The major one is probably AION: Tower of Eternity which is being released by NCSoft. NCsoft isn't exactly a favorite on my list of MMO publishers at the moment. They seem a little too eager to abandon low performing MMOs and they've cut back their presence in the West a bit. Still a game where angels and dragons get to fight aerial battles does sound very cool. The reviews from Korea and China also seem favorable for the game though popularity doesn't always translate across the pacific. If the game is actually entertaining and avoids a lot of the pointless grinding associated with the Lineage brand then it might nice to try out.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't count on Aion being out that quickly. Here in Korea they were just recently hiring translators and editors to do localization work for that game.

Openedge1 said...

Yea. I agree, Aion looks like the only game to try this year for me...

But, I also heard Huxley may make a show, and that could TRULY be different that what we have played in the past, and I would love it..

Cheers

Relmstein said...

I'm interested in Huxley but I haven't heard as much about it as the Agency. After Tabula Rasa and Planetside doing so poorly I do wonder if its possible to combine the FPS and MMO genres properly. Still someone out there must think it's worth the effort since we keep getting new attempts.

As for Aion it might be better for it to release at the end of this year instead of earlier in the fall. The summer is a little crowded with new releases at the moment and it might be beneficial to let people get burned out on them first.