My first MMO was Star Wars Galaxies, and I played it at launch. I loved it insanely for about six weeks, then realized I wasn’t ‘doing it right,’ and got over it very, very quickly. I hung around until the New Game reboot bullshit, then quit. After that, I didn’t touch another MMO until Guild Wars, which isn’t at all a classic MMO. I’ve played that off and on for seven years. I then got sorta into Star Trek Online, and then went absolutely crazy for Star Wars: The Old Republic, which I still play regularly. Sprinkle in a little DDO lately, plus some eyeballing of LotRO, and that’s where we are today.
I have a theory. I think all the people that scream that all MMOs should be free to play don’t really play MMOs, or have never had one they loved. I think that free-to-play has its place in certain games, but I’m not a believer in ‘one size fits all’ for anything. To believe that there is only one way of doing anything marks you as an average user of forums, and beneath any kind of consideration when it comes to soliciting valid opinions. And I fucked your mom.
Consider ‘Star Trek Online.’ I was a launch member of the game, and still pay a sub today. The game used to get regular ‘episodes.’ Then, it went free-to-play and those stopped. Completely. No substantial new story content. Awesome.
This isn’t to say that the game hasn’t improved in nearly every single other area, because it has. It’s a really, really solid game, and worth playing. I just wish that they were still doing the episodes. Those were big hooks to keep me logging back in. Now, I’m contemplating knocking my account down to a free one. I just don’t log in enough to justify it anymore.
This is one of the reasons I don’t want SWTOR to go F2P. I love that it’s story-based, and I’m not convinced that story-based games can be free-to-play and still maintain constant releases of story content. I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong, but I’m content to pay for SWTOR until then.
I do think ‘free til 15’ is a good approach for SWTOR, by the way.
The most interesting approach, for my money, is the Guild Wars model.
I played quite a bit more of the Guild Wars 2 beta over the weekend, and I am unbelievably excited for this game [Editors Note: You ain’t the only one].
For those that don’t know, the original Guild Wars required purchase of the base game, plus any expansions you wanted, and there is no subscription fee. Granted, the original was not a typical MMO, in that the world outside of any towns was instanced, and the only other players in it were players that you explicitly brought with you. In the towns, it was a typical MMO. Personally, I loved that balance, and it was a good intro to MMOs for me (SWG aside).
It worked in story, which is the most important ingredient in a game for me, and it balanced stats with some good action. Oh, and the lore was awesome. It was also surprisingly nice at which to look when played on a decent rig. There was a somewhat-stiff $50 barrier to entry, plus each of the expansions, but it was money well-spent, especially when one factors in that zero sub fee, which Guild Wars 2 is also embracing.
Guild Wars 2, moreso than any other game I’ve ever played, directly addresses the biggest problem I have with most MMOs, which is boredom. There’s a shitload of live events going on all over the place, all the time, and they’re varied. Some are combat-based. Some require teamwork. Some require that you feed horses. Some require that you battles big fucking bad-ass golems.
All of these are happening on the periphery while you pursue your main quest. You don’t have to jump in, but I always find it irresistible.
And, holy shit, the writing is excellent. I rolled an Asura Engineer yesterday, and the intro actually had me laughing out loud. When playing in betas, I always roll characters that are the opposite of what I actually plan to roll, and EVERY TIME, I find a way of playing the game that I wouldn’t have even touched, otherwise. I hate playing small character, and I hate playing crafters, but this was awesome. The story was intriguing, the class was amazingly fun to play, and several of the ‘live events’ actually required that I stop a moment and think. It was great.
Last, the art is just beautiful. This game is one of those that, with one glance at the monitor, it demands that look a moment longer. It’s as if I can actually see the water-colo brush strokes all over the world. Then, when one sees someone else playing it on a laptop somewhere, in the same split-second glance, one immediately recognizes tha game.
8/28 is the launch day. I bought some uber-addition and have early access. I hope you join me in there. Once I’ve actually got my character created in the proper game, I’ll tell you his name, because it’s crazy brilliant. I can’t believe I got it past the language filters. [Editors Note: I knew you’d do something like this]
As a birthday present to myself, I picked up Dragon’s Dogma for PS3, and have really, really enjoyed it. I think this is going to be my ‘weekend’ game for a while. I’m still analyzing the hook, but the ‘Pawn’ system is fantastic. Basically, I can import your dude into my game, and have him assist my party. It’s very cool. It’s a really easy game to pick up, play, and completely lose track of time. I played past 5AM for the first time in maybe over a year. I had to fight myself to make myself stop. Great game.
Read up on an indie game called ‘Slender.’ You’ll thank me.
If you’ve been checking my other blogs and haven’t seen new content in ages, it’s because I’m teaching myself a new skillset. I hate to be a ‘pay attention to me, I have a secret’ kinda guy, but I really should not say more until it turns into something. When I can say more, this will be the perfect venue for it.
Thanks for reading!
The Filthy Writer: Self-Indulgence Manifested(personal blog)
Untitled Gaming (gaming blog)