Archive for September, 2007|Monthly archive page

A Little More About Quests In EQ2

I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting my readers 😦  I’ve recently been reading some excellent books that I quite honestly wanted to read more than I wanted to play EQ2, but I did get a little bit of time to play, and I checked out some of the quests.  I have to say that wasn’t terribly impressed.  I read through about 7 or 8 quests, and while they did provide a little more insight into what you were actually doing, it certainly didn’t change my outlook on the situation.  This leads me to wonder whether it’s the quests themselves that the writers are working with, so they don’t really have a whole lot of freedom when it comes to writing the story, or whether they just have to write so many of these generic quests that, due to time and creative constraints, it’s difficult for them to devote as much energy and enthusiasm to each and every quest as they should.  I just wanted to get this out to you now, but rest assured, more will come soon.  This might be a couple weeks in the making, as I plan on looking at 20 quests total and then making more assertions then, but I’ll be back into the swing of things shortly and writing about other MMO news.

~Kanthalos

P.S. The books I’ve been reading are:

Extremely Loud  &  Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safran Foer
The Road – Cormac McCarthy
Water For Elephants – Sara Gruen

I recommend you check them all out if you can, especially the first — It’s some of the best written fiction I’ve ever read, if not the best.

Metaplace

Well, the new Metaplace website is up and running, including an alpha test application, so you should all go check it out.  Here is a bit about what they’re trying to accomplish.

What is Metaplace? 

Our motto is: build anything, play everything, from anywhere. Until now, virtual worlds have all worked like the closed online services from before the internet took off. They had custom clients talking to custom servers, and users couldn’t do much of anything to change their experience. We’re out to change all of that.

Metaplace is a next-generation virtual worlds platform designed to work the way the Web does. Instead of giant custom clients and huge downloads, Metaplace lets you play the same game on any platform that reads our open client standard. We supply a suite of tools so you can make worlds, and we host servers for you so that anyone can connect and play. And the client could be anywhere on the Web.

We hope there will be millions of worlds made with Metaplace. It could get hard to find stuff if we’re right, so the portal lets you easily search, rate, review, and tag worlds and games of all sorts. You also get a user profile so you can find each other.

Definitely nothing earth-shattering, as we all know this is precisely what Raph has been talking about for the past few years.  I do think it’s cool that they already have a media kit to distribute to potential fan site creators.  Seems rather vague right now, but it definitely sounds like it has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to here more details when they arrive.

~Kanthalos

Sorry

Hey everyone,

I’m sorry I’ve been a little slow on the posting the last couple weeks. To be completely honest, I just haven’t really felt the urge to play anything lately and I’ve been busy staying on top of my schoolwork. I’m sure I’ll get back into the swing of things here within the next couple days, so don’t lose hope, there’s plenty more to come!

~Kanthalos

Revamping Old MMO’s

I don’t necessarily want this to be a rant, but I really am started to get frustrated with all of the people who keep asking Turbine to rebuild Asheron’s Call with new graphics. Do people really not see the problem with this, or rather the wide variety of problems with this? Let’s think here for a couple minutes.

Combat

For those of us who played Asheron’s Call, let’s reminisce about the mind-numbingly HORRIBLE melee combat the game implemented. For those who don’t know it consisted of a slider for speed vs. power, as well as an ability to hit high, medium, or low. That’s it. Flash forward to today where you have dozens of skills to choose from for each encounter. I tried AC’s system for a few weeks a couple months ago, and let tell you…it get’s old FAST. Granted the magic system was much more in-depth and intricate, but that’s not good enough. No one would want to play them. “Why does this even matter?” some might ask, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because when you change a concept this important to an MMO, it effectively changes the game, enough so to make it very difficult to call it simply a better-looking AC.

Leveling

Ahhh, let’s not forget about the wondrous time spent grinding innumerable tuskers and olthoi… hundreds of thousands if you make it to 126 and beyond. For those of you in a rush (myself included, as it took over two years for the first person to reach 126,) While you might have forged friendships in these dungeons, you can’t say it was a blast spending four hours every night camping the table room.

I’m sure you remember the xp chains, where you’d have to leave the guild you actually liked so that you would be forced to earn a certain amount of xp each day or get kicked. For some it was worth it, for some not. For others, they thought you sold out in a way if you joined one.

There are many other things missing from AC (such as auction houses, quest-based leveling, etc.) stuff that don’t make or break a game, but things that would fly in the face of the original. Granted, there are tons of things that AC did right, and as it’s my first MMO, and I spent four years playing it, I’ll never forget the awesome times I had playing it. That said, times have changed, and expectations are higher. People need to understand that it would be financially asenine to duplicate AC with nothing but a face-lift, and if they incorporated all the other innovations into the game, it would be pointless to even try to call it Asheron’s Call (aka Asheron’s Call 2 🙂 ). Let’s remember all the great times we had playing this game, and wait for something that will hopefully bring us the same level of enjoyment.

~Kanthalos

Questing Woes

I’ve really been thinking a lot about this issue the last couple days, and as I aspire to become a writer for an MMO in the near future, I think it’s time to get down and dirty and really look at what makes them good and what makes them bad. We, as players, want the best of both worlds. We want quests that are both interesting to read and interesting to do. This does pose some problems, though. Every MMO out there today is based on progression of some sort, and we tend to want to maximize our time spent in game, meaning that we tend to cut corners. For the vast majority, this includes looking at the quest objective and click, click, clicking away through all the dialogue the NPC gives you as it’s background. I’m beginning to wonder whether we’ve seen so many “Bob needs to make a stew, so gather 15 pieces of boar meat for him” that we simply expect these quests to be this dull so we skip the text, or whether these types of fetch quests have actually been improved with interesting dialogue. Obviously, these are just the tip of the iceberg, and they are the epitome for dull quests given their nature, but have we just gotten so used to expecting these monotonous quests that they have gotten better and we simply don’t pay attention to notice? Granted, there are usually well over a thousand quests in a full-scale MMO and not every one of them can be a gem, but players will only continue to do these generic, run-of-the-mill quests for so long before they’ve had enough.

I’ve already posted about the need for more variety and excitement for the quests themselves, and that’s something that we probably won’t really see until the next group of games at the earliest. That aside, though, I’m going to dig into EQ2 over the next week or so and really read through the quests and question whether we are doing ourselves a disservice by not reading through them and immersing ourselves into the game more, or whether they are doing us a disservice by half-assing these quests and expecting us to suck it up and deal with it. I’ll be back later with what I find.

~Kanthalos

My Ex-Girlfriend

I have a pretty strong feeling that someone has used this metaphor at some point, but as my brother pointed out to me over the weekend, this is exactly how I feel about World of Warcraft. When I think back to my times spent in WoW, I think back to all of the positive times I had and how much fun that was, really wanting to jump back into the game. Then I think about why I quit the first time, or the second, or third, or fourth time, and realize that I really don’t want what I’m expecting to get out of it (or remember how crazy, or jealous, or spiteful, or whatever else your ex-girlfriend was.)

I also realize that when I’m reminiscing about WoW, or a single image pops into my head, that it’s of a lower-level zone like Duskwood or STV. This of course means lower level characters and leveling them up again, which I simply cannot do. I’ve gotten six characters to level 25+, four to 40+, three to 60+, and one to 70. I just CANNOT level another character from scratch, plus I’ve played virtually all the classes, and I’m not interested in the rest. I’m sure that I would start it up, get them to about 18, and then think “this is why I broke up with her.” I’m not really attracted to raiding or PvP in WoW anymore, so this really leaves me with nothing, except a little trip down memory lane running through these old zones, which I don’t even think it’s been long enough to classify as such.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying myself in EQ2 and I’m not looking for a new game currently, but I’m sure most of you have felt this way at one point or another. Back to homework.

~Kanthalos

My Weekend

I must say I had a pretty decent weekend, although I didn’t game QUITE as much as I planned, since EQ2 was down most of Friday and Saturday I decided to go home and spend the day with my family.  Yesterday I did make it from 20 to 24, and learned that I could go to Butcherblock Mountains instead of Thundering Steppes, which for no particular reason, I can’t stand.  I did see Cord and Lars both on, and while we didn’t party, we did get to chat for a while.  Hopefully I’ll get to know both of them a little bit better as I spend more time on AB.  It’s also time to start looking for a guild I think, so if anyone has any suggestions or is willing to let me join your guild, please let me know.  Well, that’s all I’ve really got for now.  I realize posting has been a bit short lately, which is mainly due to getting back into the swing of school, but I’ll try to have something with a bit more substance shortly.  Have a great day.

~Kanthalos