Monday, September 22, 2008

West Karana's Tales of WAR brings in a refugee

As we are aware, Tipa has been plying us with some valued information on the mechanics and inner workings of WAR.

Each piece is full of facts and figures, with some awesome excel charts and powerpoint presentations to shock and awe us who read her blog daily...

We ALL love Excel and Powerpoint.

Ok, I lied about the great data she presents. Also about that love...maybe that is just me.

Anyways, I just had to share a piece that came out of the blue in her comments for the piece.
Seems someone maybe is not as enamored of WAR, and really lays it on the line...

A commenter by the name of Fuan, who really needs a blog, had this to say...

"I know you meant this as satire, but I still think you’re giving WAR too much credit. Just mentioning public quests is sure to generate some sort of positive publicity. As much as I tried to avoid the hype surrounded WAR, and I thought I did a good job doing it, I’m still severely disappointed having purchased such a shallow, linear, tedious and contrived world. I was looking forward to it based on the few blog posts I couldn’t avoid that extolled the virtues of open groups, public quests, etc."


There is more, and I will leave it for you to read.
But, again, the much vaunted and highly publicized "Grouping" mechanics got another swing taken at it today.

Many people will not be happy with every game they play, but Fuan did sum it up pretty good also..

"Sorry if I sound bitter, but it’s hard to avoid the hype and not get excited when everyone is calling WAR a WoW killer. At best, it’s a feeble attempt to capitalize on a very, very small part of WoW’s success while adding in some theoretically great additions that end up being mediocre at best."

I do not think anyone really thought of it as a "WoW killer", but it does have some solid ground at least. But, as well, a many disgruntled player seems to be lurking out there for every fanboy salesman who has a blog and all they can discuss is WAR.

I stated this before on other comments, but it seems since Vanguard, all developers are giving up, and just trying to "compete".
And not with WoW it seems.

Everyone wants that #2 spot.

Steefel thinks they can get it with LOTRO, but I really think WAR will hold it for a while.

Until we see some innovation though...REAL innovation..all anyone can hope for, for to be #2.


Crimson Starfire said...

Until we see some innovation though...REAL innovation..all anyone can hope for, for to be #2.

So true.

Nice post.

Bildo said...

I honestly think that in the next 5 or so years the only think we'll see "beat" WoW is Blizzard's next MMOG if that even comes in that time frame. And certainly not because its innovative.

Openedge1 said...

I also wish to bet on Bioware as an alternative to Blizzard.

I am worried that Blizzard has been in this biz too long with stale content, that they may not know how to do it any different than they do now.
Bioware may make some changes that could innovate.
Or how about Bethesda and their efforts.
In so many words, we can hope there is more competition or else we will get the Nvidia/ATI of MMO's...i.e: Only 2 MMO's always competing for #1 (With Blizzard being Nvidia, and everyone else is far behind yet sometimes more innovative)

Bildo said...

I'm actually afraid that BioWare's will be too familiar.

No doubt, I'll play it for what you know will be a great story-driven aspect, but I'm afraid it'll end up much like every other MMOG with Star Wars themed content.

Not that that's a "bad" thing. I honestly don't think it is, so long as there are incremental improvements.

But I believe that the company to strike gold with something "new" or out of the ordinary will be much like CCP has done with EVE, and not a large developer with huge financial backing.

Openedge1 said...

I wonder about indie developers, and if there is one out there that has something cool under their sleeve.

Or what about the talent at 38 studios?

Can maybe a conglomerate of really awesome minds (Todd McFarlane and R. A. Salvatore) maybe also make a difference?

Most games are made by game developers, and not true "artists" or writers...ones who have made a name for themselves.

For example the next Halo is being discussed with Peter Jackson helming it. How will this affect the overall gameplay?
Can the change in production values and having real Directors, Writers, etc... also change the genre?

Otherwise, we can stop hoping.

Instead we can continue to accept all the clones we get now.

We can "settle" for #2.

Myself, I would prefer to continue hoping.

Bildo said...

Well, considering that Schilling is a big fan of WoW and EQ2, I actually doubt we'll get much more out of them than an evolution of the current trend.

Openedge1 said...

Now, based on your commentary, you give off the air that you accept the status quo.
So, you just are willing to accept that MMO's cannot change?
Or that baby steps are ok?

I understand who Curt is.

But, I also understand who Todd and Salvatore are as well.

Todd is a personal favorite of mine.

He changed the comic genre with the "Image" line of comics.
He is the creative force behind an awesome set of action figures that buck the norm.
Salvatore's writing has infused the stale D&D genre for quite some time.
So, my hopes are two "creative" minds outweigh the one "Player".

But, here is also the difference. Curt is not a "game developer", but a "player".
I can give Curt credit in the fact that he has been playing these games for a while, and I can only "hope" he is willing to not take baby steps.
Maybe he does not want the WoW mechanics anymore.

Who knows.

But, not holding hope for change is just a defeatist attitude.
I would prefer to continue on that "hope" line myself.

Is it me, or are we discussing politics now and not

("WE NEED A CHANGE")...hahaha

Bildo said...

I accept the status quo AND hope for change, for the simple fact that I like good games even when they're derivative (sp?).

I don't think Curt's aim is to make something new and risky in the genre. From what I've gathered from interviews, he wants a piece of the larger market pie, and as business trends show... that means more of the same.

Look at all the GTA Clones that came, and still come, after GTA III struck it big years ago.

I hope 38Studios does something bold and unique, but I think we'll see that more in their wholly owned and created IP rather than in the game's mechanics.

Oakstout said...

Why do we need change so badly? I think the current stable of successful MMO's are pretty good, Lotro, EVE, WOW, EQ2 and now WAR. So what if they use the same formula, they are still fun and I've enjoyed each one that I've played so far. I'm sorry that they didn't keep my interest, but most game don't. The only thing that keeps me in a game longer than the first month free sub is friends and good people to play with. If you have that, why worry about the rest?

People don't always have to look on the bad side, why not try looking at the bright side? Sure, Fanboys do tend to make games look bad, or put off people that might try the game because of they're crazed enthusiasm, but that doesn't mean the game truely isn't fun, does it?

Do you go see a movie because it might interest you or do you go or not go because of a review from some wanna be writer in People magazine?

Openedge1 said...

Now, based on that opinion...lets say you went to the movie SAW, and loved it.
Now, go see SAW (thats kinda funny...!!) 100 times. Will you continue to love it?
I think it will turn into like...then eventually hate.

This will be where we are in the MMO genre.

Now, lets go back to SAW.

You watched it for the 100th time.
But wait...a new movie is announced, it has a female lead instead of a male..
It is set in Germany and not the USA..
The weapons of death are based on blunt instruments instead of a blade.

Now you go see this movie called HAMMER.

"Wait, I saw this movie.
They changed the lead, added blunt instruments of death, but the movie plays out the same way."

Your next movie choice will probably be a little more selective..


Bildo said...

This argument doesn't really apply in that context to films as they're based around narratives. In my opinion, that's like comparing baseball to graphic novels.

However, I get the point you're trying to make.

What I think you might be missing is that each of the games in recent MMOG history HAVE strived to improve on the status quo. Even WoW which was largely based on the EQ forumula, changed a great deal of the genre for the better, especially in terms of accessibility.

Age of Conan, outside of combat is a very "samey" MMOG, but the combat was a valiant and arguably great evolution of a standard MMOG mechanic.

In WAR, anothe recent release, Mythic is evolving the RvR mechanic from DAoC.

LotRO... well that's a tough one. They instituted something very new that doesn't work that well in my book (Monster Play) but if I'm not mistaken it was a refinement of a feature from EQ1, added in to give context for the developers to put PvP in the game.

My point is that true innovation doesn't come along very often, and I'm not one to sit and wait while perfectly playable and fun games pass me by.

I get the feeling you are that way too, or else you wouldn't be playing AoC at all, no?

PS - Thank God, we're back to talking about games. Sad we ever deviated so far and glad it's behind us.

Openedge1 said...

I would remind you, we would have been talking about games all along if you had not come to my blog to attack me personally about comments made on another blog.

But, yes, this is what I would prefer. We are discussing the games themselves, and not stooping to personal attacks.

Now, you make an interesting comment though....

"This argument doesn't really apply in that context to films as they're based around narratives"

So, to you entering the world of any said MMO you could care less if a narrative carries you forward?
This sounds "sandbox" to me, and there really is no sandbox game.
EVERY single MMO has some form of narrative.
You have a reason to be playing, and this reason is propelled by a narrative, so I would beg to differ.

But, a lot of people are against a "heavy" narrative as well...i.e: Age of Conan.
The Destiny Quest is an awesome piece of this game...the first time.
After that, we are pretty much done (even though I am experimenting on how long it takes to get out of Tortage using no destiny and with destiny...should be interesting)
But, where AoC falls flat is the reward vs risk factor.
This is what most other MMO's have and is the reason they are played so religiously...i.e: WoW, WAR, play for the goodies.
You expect something in return for the time you put in.
Maybe this is what makes AoC fun lately to me is not looking at it as a "rewards" game, but a skills game instead.
I may be stuck killing 10x, but it is not based on my gear or how long I can sit at my computer hitting 1 or 2 while watching a movie.
I need to move, I need to stay on top of combo's and skills.
But, the jury is still out on that verdict, until I put more time in. I will see how it does based on how fast the wife gets bored...hehe.

So far when I look at my past game played time, the most time I have put into a game is Guild Wars.
Replayabilty was one factor, fun another.
GW also is not a heavy "rewards" game. You have set armor pieces (even though you must work for them) . There is no crafting.
Yet, myself and the wife have played it much more than WoW or EQ2, etc...

There are so many distinctive factors that have people play one game for quite a while, while others burn out.

This gets back to innovation also (in a long round about way).
GW is still different (yes commonalities exist, but still has some major differences) than most MMO's.
If someone could maybe can that and sell it we could see some change take place...

Maybe GW2?

Oakstout said...

I just don't know what the next step will be? Games have been using the same formula for years. GTA Vice city, isn't any different than GTA4. Doom isn't much different than Halo 3. You still have guns and you kill things. Any changes in between have been small steps. One feature is changed or improved upon, a graphical face lift is applied, etc.

MMO function the same way. Developers are going to play it safe and capitalize on what works for the games that are successful and either copy them out right or just change them enough so their game looks different.

WoW isn't revolutionary. It took what worked in EQ and dumbed it down so more non gamers could pick it up and play.

We aren't going to be seeing leaps and bounds when it comes to gaming. It might be 20 yrs from now before we see something completely different in the MMO world. I don't know what that wil be, but in the mean time, why not just enjoy a good game, no matter if its evolutionary or not as long as its fun.