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Top 3 (Upcoming) Revolutionary MMOs

July 21 2010


Top 3 (Upcoming) Revolutionary MMOs
by Spoonwolf

So as part of Blue Collar Gaming, I find myself asking what worlds I should bother spending my hard earned cash and my precious little time in.

We have three Triple A MMORPG titles coming out in the next 12 months that are definitely going to be revolutionizing the MMO market in some way and are worth delving into a bit. I’ll be hitting them from three different angles: Gimmick, Fandom, and Originality.

Star Wars The Old Republic

Star Wars: The Old Republic
When this was first announced, I was skeptical. When I saw the trailers, got into the community, followed the game more, and fell in love with the Trooper class, I became infatuated with the title. At this time however, I’m a little disenchanted with the whole concept. Maybe Bioware was the wrong company to make this game.

The gimmick here is the entire game is going to be this deep and immensely potent story telling experience with complete and all encompassing voice over work. For starters, I honestly don’t know why everybody seems to be jacking off over a fully voiced MMO. People in an MMO don’t necessarily want to sit and watch a cutscene play out and listen to some disembodies voice drone on for the better half of an hour about how many Twilek nipples you have to go collect. After the first run-through, we’ll all be doing what we did in Mass Effect 2 - skipping as much dialogue as possible.

The Fandom is pretty epic. There are few works of fiction in our day and age that have the sheer quantity (not quality mind you) of ravenous psychotic zealots willing to give their lives for the title. Star Wars fans are going to make the game break even easily, they’re going to keep the servers alive, and they’re going to make the game a success by itself. The rest of us that like Star Wars but don’t exactly bleed bacta at least have a possibly awesome game coming to the table.

There’s absolutely nothing original about this game mind you. Star Wars has been done. It’s been done in an MMO and it’s been done in countless single player games. The classes are all already deeply fleshed out in novels and movies and other media as well. What this game does bring to us might just be the biggest problem I have with it. Bioware does amazing single player experiences, and they’re doing that for SWTOR. It feels a lot from the extremely limited information we’ve gotten that the game is going to play almost exactly like Knights of the Old Republic, but you’ll have the free will factor of Mass Effect 2 (and the cover system in combat if you play a Smuggler class apparently) and you’ll spend more time on your ship, alone, surrounded by your NPC crew and NPC squad members (like Mass Effect 2) and learn their stories and see their cutscenes and their blah blah blah!

I just can’t shake this feeling that I’ll be able to play SWTOR completely offline in a single player format and get the exact same experience as if I was playing it online with lobbies and cantinas and battlefields full of other live players. The deal maker falls back on the developer. Bioware needs to start releasing some basic information. We know absolutely nothing of the story of the game.  What’s the premise? Why are we as characters in the game doing anything? Is there going to be an end game? They’ve boasted 400 hours of dialogue and content but that’s something players can and currently knock out in a month. Is there going to be a guild system? Raiding? Dungeons or instances? Is this going to be World of Warcraft in space with lightsabers? The art style sure seems to be pointing in that direction, isn’t it? I mean, come on guys - we’ve got this amazing backdrop, these planets and environments that are jaw dropping.. and then you see the downright shit character models and armor models and you think to yourself… there’s better out there.

Final verdict: I’m on the fence. I want to see a playable demo of the game.  I want Bioware to realize they live in a POST WARCRAFT MARKET and need to outdo Blizzard in terms of content release and information flow. I really don’t want to play another WoW clone in outer space that happens to have everything play out in instances with weeks of dialogue and cutscenes. I want to play my games not watch them.

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV
My first MMORPG ever was Final Fantasy XI: Online so it’s pretty safe to say that this coming spiritual sequel has a soft spot in my heart.

The gimmick is pretty simple, it’s fucking final fantasy. The graphics are stunning, it’s something you can play on a PC and still play alongside friends on a PS3, and it’s essentially borrowing a lot of aspects from other successful MMOs. The big seller in the way of game mechanics is the combat system and the class system. From what we know your character’s class is essentially decided by what weapon you weild. As well, professions that are traditional in these games (blacksmithing, alchemy, gathering professions) are classes in their own right. I can equip a pickaxe and suddenly I’m a miner, but I’m just that - a miner. I’m not a warrior that’s mining… no, just a miner. I hit monsters with my pickaxe, I throw ore at them I use smelting and refining chemicals and maybe even blasting powder and so forth in my arsenal of abilities. 5 minutes later if I want to equip a wand and start shooting laser beams out of my ass I can do that too.

The fandamonium is pretty staggering. For ever Star Wars fan out there, there’s two or three Final Fantasy maniacs. Hell, FFXI is still online, being played by a few hundred thousand people, and still receiving content updates and releases.  It’s still a supported game after 8 years old and going strong. To say that the fans will make sure FFXIV has a successful first quarter is an understatement.

Final Fantasy XIV

As far as originality, it’s a Final Fantasy game at heart. They always have some new original story and plot arc going on.The combat system is pretty unique in that you won’t be auto attacking like you do in every other MMO out there. You’re going to have to be present and consistently involved in the interface if you want to do anything in game, and that’s a nice change of pace from the set it and forget it, go AFK grabbing a sammich type of gameplay we experience in a lot of MMOs out there.

Final verdict: Also on the fence here. FFXI was a terrible, horrible grind with an almost unattainable end game that seemed to be put together with a lot of effort but made completely and utterly inaccessible to its player base. Also there was really, horribly bad forced grouping in the game and a sensation of min/maxing between group composition and class discrimination that frankly, if you didn’t play as XYZ class, you didn’t play the game. I’m worried about the time sink factor, as well as the money sink. When inflation is so bad within the first year of release that you have to save currency for a week to buy one item that’s mandatory for your class, something is wrong. 

TERA

TERA
This is possibly the only MMO coming out aside from Warcraft’s Cataclysm expansion that I’m 100% on. TERA is a completely new IP from a relatively brand new company. Bluehole Studios (based in Korea and I’d never heard of them prior to TERA) is doing the dev work and En Masse is publishing the game. En Masse is a new startup comprised of some guys from NCsoft, some guys from Microsoft, and a guy from Blizzard. With the pedigree alone, I’m damn impressed and very hyped for this game. Anyways here’s the gimmick.

TERA has the staple Korean MMO look, lots of tits, lots of ass, big muscle badass looking male characters, and crazy loli looking things too. This is the perverted anime gamer’s wet dream and more than likely will result in more Alternative Porn than any previous title before it. Where it really stands out, is the game is a completely open experience in that there are no “zones” via instances. You can run from point A to point B if you like without having to suffer a loading screen. Granted I imagine there will be something like that traveling between continents for the sake of time. It’s a sand boxed world and it’s freaking massive. Also it’s an action MMORPG so there is no dodge, you actively move your character out of the way. You swing and hit whatever you hit, you miss because you didn’t aim right. Think of playing a 3rd person action game like God of War. Now imagine you have real character progression, crafting, gear, levelling up, guilds, and item drops in that interface. It’s damn exciting.

TERA

Fandom is strange. Like Aion and other Eastern MMOs (and for the record Aion sucks), it has a following and within the gaming community it has a lot of promise. People are getting excited about it, word of mouth is spreading. But it has nowhere the amount of press that its competitors have. As I said it’s a brand new franchise with a lot of really big promises from the developers. I hope they deliver.

This game is original in that in the west we haven’t really been given anything like this as far back as I can remember. Watching a gameplay demo from E3 is enough to make you cry when you realize it’s not yet released. There is no taking turns, obnoxious class balance issues, or boring repetitive armchair commando gameplay. TERA supports and even suggests using a gamepad (XBOX360 controller plugged into your PC for example) as it will feel more natural to play like that. Ranged classes will have the advantage of being ranged, but will actually have to AIM like in a 3rd person shooter. Players and monsters alike will have REAL COLLISION PHYSICS. So if I am a tank and I stand in front of the healer, the healer cannot be hit by shit. Four tanks can literally line up and make a wall of meat that cannot be crossed by enemies and incoming attacks. Smaller characters like female player characters and such will have a smaller hit box making them harder to hit right, but taller bigger player characters have more reach than they do. There’s a lot on the plate that balances this game very nicely.

Final verdict? I’m going to buy this game and play it. I’m nervous as hell because it’s a Korean game at heart and thus that means without a doubt it’s going to have grindfest all over the fucking place. I hope to god that isn’t the case and this game breaks the mold but I was burnt before by similar promises. Item drops as well seem to be ready for drama in that they will hit the ground like in Diablo 2. In a group of players, when loot hits the ground and it’s first come first serve, the ranged players will always get nothing, the melee will be fighting each other for the fastest click.

TERA

So that about does it for these three games. We have an incredible Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 lineup in the MMO market and hopefully later this year we’ll be getting some actual DETAILS from the developers trying to sell their title as the next big thing.



Filed under: FeaturesBlue Collar GamerPCPS3MMO

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Comments


Buddha's avatar
Buddha 08:57am, 09/01/2010

I’ve said it many times… I am looking forward to fully voiced MMOs.

I believe the days of having to read quests should have gone way of the dodo.

In real life, you don’t get a hand-written note from someone that’s giving you a task.  They explain what they want.

Are games real life?  Of course not.  But in the same way that ArenaNet is trying to change questing to show events dynamically (you see the wave of centaurs attacking and if you don’t do anything, they’ll destroy the village), I think that questing in terms of the manner in which you get them, should change.

Now, I agree that some people don’t want to sit through voice acting.  So in such cases, you give them the option to skip it, and be presented with the quest journal (that’s sure to exist) and just read it.

That way both types of gamers are catered to.

Dhal 07:00pm, 09/03/2010

I just wonder how many people won’t optimise the fun out of their games to take the most efficient path…ie…not listening to voice acting.

Things like questhelper already completely eliminate the need for reading quests, and look how much people flocked to that addon. So much so that Blizzard actually included a form of it in the default game!

malagaj's avatar
malagaj 05:56am, 09/08/2010

I am sad panda that GW2 is not one of these games but one can understand. Now what I think about SW:tor is that it will have smaller group play than the normal mmo. I think the group will have 4 or so people and I think most things that is enough. But this is just the feeling I have gotten when I see the demos and what they talk about the game.

ff14 looks cool and has few cool features but when I played the game in beta it felt really slow paced and the combat felt kind of bad. I really didn’t like it at all and I really wanted the game to be good. It just had one problem after other and I think that the game don’t work well enough and the makers haven’t fix the problems that ff11 had. At least to my eyes.

Now about Tera. I still have to say that I don’t have enough info about it. It is still to me at least, in a shroud of mystery and there is plenty of things that can make it or break it. As we have talked about the lore here it can grow or die really soon after the game comes out. Still to me Tera is the game I AM most wanting to get my hands on.

I still know that we have to wait for any of these games, well not for ff14, but others. next year like this year is interesting year for games.

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