Friday, January 7, 2011

Age of Conan vs. Rift: FIGHT!!

During a discussion on Twitter about the infamous Jef Reahard 1 hour gameplay session of Rift, I started to think on if that hour can really tell you anything.

The reason for this is the first 20 levels of Age of Conan.

Here is a game with a winning hour of gameplay that does not tell you the whole story. First, you are not given the requisite "Fetch me this" or "Kill 10 of this" type of quest. You basically are left standing on a beach and must discover your roots. You must figure out where to go. Of course they leave you pointing in a certain direction that leads you to a screaming woman who gives you a quest...but, you get the drift.

The story starts to lead you through, but it is an open and exhilarating hour that gets you to where you need to be. The battles become more intense, the journey through that jungle feels natural and how you should progress. Combat does not feel the same (unless you're a caster, but the casting mechanic is still a bit different than most MMO's). There are not even any of the infamous "?" over heads to lead you on.

Basically the first 20 levels of Conan has "buy" written all over it. Funcom knew this, and sold the game based on it's beta and those 20 levels.

Then reality hits. If you play an hour of Age of Conan, then you will be sold short. You will not know the true game until after several hours.

Now, of course, this is not to say that Rift's first hour is not boring. It kinda is. But, would holding out for more gameplay have helped a player like Jef know if there was more to the game? Even though his interests are clearly not geared toward this game, whose not to say that the next game may be his style...but, he gives up, as the first hour did not tell him the whole story.

Age of Conan is clearly the marker here for understanding that just one hour of gameplay is not enough.

Can you name another game which does not really tell the whole story in that first hour?



Anonymous said...

I would have said something along the lines of Everquest 2, but then I realized it was all the same for most of the game. Same with Vanguard and LOTRO. :(

I think Age of Conan is different in the way it baits you and then switches out the awesome for the suck. :(

Scopique said...

Not like AoC, no. I thought about EVE, but if you can stay awake through the first hour of EVE's tutorial, then you have a pretty good shot at staying awake for the rest of it.

A lot of games front-load their first hour with small examples of further gameplay, which expands as you move up in level. Then, at higher level, you get NEW gameplay modes (PvP, Raiding, etc) that you never saw in that first hour. So one could say that within the first hour you MIGHT get a taste, but you're not getting the full effect. That's certainly the case with Rift; you don't get the punch to the gut with the demo rift that you do when a full invasion is steamrolling down the road towards you.

Rowan said...

I couldn't even get that far into AoC, maybe level 15 or so? I played a few hours on several different occasions, but it just did not hold my interest.

I couldn't get into LOTRO at all. I think I maybe spent an hour at it. It was in an uncanny valley next to WoW. AoC was a little bit, too.

My experience with different games than most gamers, but the two that I have stuck with, WoW, and STO, had me hooked in minutes.

Longasc said...

Jeff R. did not make so much an anti-Rift statement, he pretty much said the entire DIKU MUD line of MMOs (99% ?) is not what he wants.

I think one can pretty much tell this after less than one hour.

One could say a pity, it is a DIKU, yes, but there is LOTS of stuff to love about Rift that you simply can't experience in the tutorial zone.

Rift's Tutorial is quite the opposite of Tortage: It is definitely not bad, but it is also not standing out or being very different than the rest of the game. In a way it is a lot more honest. :)

I think this is good, the backlash after people went beyond Tortage that AoC suffered was quite harsh!

Bhagpuss said...

Fallen Earth.

The first hour is a tutorial in which you start at maximum level with end-game skills and equipment. You spend an hour getting used to being very powerful and then the tutorial ends by stripping you of everything you had, all the drops and rewards you got, reducing you to Level 1 and kicking you out into a completely unfamiliar world.

Most MMO tutorials don't bear much resemblance to the game that follows, but that one is exceptionally misleading.

Anonymous said...

I don't play a game for long in hopes that it gets better later, *especially* a friggin' subscription game. I can forgive a game for getting boring far easier than I can forgive it for starting boring. I'm done with qualifying for the fun in games by grinding through the tedium. Life's too short for that kind of crap.

Sente said...

Global Agenda was kind of that for me. I kind of liked the initial tutorial and the story embedded in it, but felt less than excited when I got into the regular game play.

I have started and stopped playing MMOs with perhaps even less than one hour play time if they felt too much "this looks like it is going to be the same as N number of other MMOs with DIKU style, graphics that do not appeal to me and mindnumbingly boring kill ten whatever quests".

Anonymous said...

One could argue that all MMOs do it to a degree as the end game is often vastly different from the leveling came. Take WoW for instance - you spend 85 levels often soloing quests or doing easy dungeons and then suddenly you're thrown into the deep end of hard core heroic dungeons or raiding and absolutely no one is prepared. The game also shifts from being exp driven to being gear driven. It's a radically different mentality :P