Jan 21, 2010

To Boldly Go..

.. back to EQ2 it seems.

Been playing a good few hours of the beta, and I’ve already cancelled my pre order.

Now i’m not saying it’s an awful game, far from it, as MMO’s go, it’s solid, at times very fun and graphics aren’t bad, not in the same league as X3 though, but for an MMO, it’s nice.

Character creation is probably the best I’ve seen, not having played Cryptics other MMOs (City of Heroes/Villains or Champions Online) but the devs know how to make you feel like you have a very bespoke character, which is a very good thing (considering i come from EQ2, where everyone is currently wearing the same set armour, but thats another story..)

A custom race character.

You pick from a selection of skin types; lizardy scales, fishy skins, Boring Human Skin etc.  Then can adorn your character with racial markings, choose the type of skin (which is mostly to make it look aged) then colour it, and then you add the various bits like Vulcan ears, Bajoraan (spelling?) noses, weird skull horn things, etc

After all that you pick your characters name, write a small bio (optional) then pick 4 character traits from a lengthy list that includes ground and ship based abilities.

So far, all is good.

Next up you have the tutorial, shows you the basics of gameplay through a small quest involving a Borg attack, rather informative, shows you how to play, can’t ask much more than that.  After the tutorial, you’re left to your own devices, and thats when you do patrol missions, usually involving patroling a number of sectors, different tasks in each one, some are ship combat with a number of weaker vessels, some are against one more powerful vessel, others are beam down to a planet to stop some raiding party attacking a colony, others could be planet based stopping a strike by talking to npcs to solve their issues, all standard rpg fare.

Starship Combat

Problems arise when you have to do this repeatedly, for instance, ship combat usually involves circling your target, so both sets of phasers can attack at the same time, occasionally diverting power to the shields facing your enemy.  Ground combat also suffers from not having an auto attack function, forcing you to click constantly, maybe there should be support for gamepads?

The main issue i feel is that I’m already getting bored of it after little over a week, there is variation in what you need to do, but it seems more like a grind than eq2 ever seemed until the last 5 or 6 levels.  Another problem I find is that it doesn’t really feel that massively multiplayer, most of it is instanced, and when you do come in contact with lots of people, it’s in sector space (which is just a big map) or a starbase, it could have been done as a single player game to be honest, which never bodes well for a MMO.

I think the game could do with a serious amount of restructuring, take away most of the instancing and have more open space, I think most people were hoping for a Star Trek themed Star Wars Online before the NGE, but in it’s current state, it’s no more massively than Call of Duty with it’s persistant stats.

Anyways, I think the game will appeal to certain players, it’s supposed to be very good for duoing, and a lot of the content in the full game wasn’t included in the beta, but for now, it’s not for me.

3 Comments

  • I had 2 hours in this game and the insane amount of instancing completely killed it for me. Now, I dont mind instancing at all, but breaking a starbase up in 70+ instances with 40 people in each isnt my cup of tea…even each floorlevel in a starbase are instanced!

  • I am happy that you saved money on the pre-order cancellation but am un-happy with the way in which you decided to do it. This has been a topic brought up in many places across the internet and that is the use of beta to decide not to play. It is not the gamers fualt for this at all but the industry itself. They must rename or re-catagorize this form of plubisity for thier game. We know all to often that after a gamer logs out of said beta unhappy they start posting it randomly around how much game X is not worth the money etc. The company will responde that this is unfair that the game is still beta. Open beta generally means that it is used to, hopefully, sell thier game generating positive feedback. If it doesn't "IT'S IN BETA". This should be changed to allow for a clearly defined prosective when entering the game. Of note I am not playing the game in mention but just felt the need to post this little bit.

  • To me, it seems that most MMO devs use the open beta to drum up some hype and as a demo, unfortunately, most of the time open beta access is only gained through pre-ordering the game, which usually have some very tempting "Collectors Edition" with extra in game stuff, which as an MMO is usually quite useful, so you feel compelled to buy it as it will be used for a long time.

    If the game turns out to be pretty poor, you can always cancel, but it may take you some time to come to this conclusion, by which time it may be too late.

    I remember the Lineage 2 open beta, the game was unfinished, with vast areas of the land with absolutely nothing to do in them, not even monster spawns, just empty fields, and one day the beta ended, and the very next day the game was released.

    As far as i'm concerned, an open beta should be a time for developers to see how their game runs with normal players in it, seeing if things break when abused by the general public, a bit more fine tuning with higher numbers of players assaulting your scripted encounters etc. Not for pimping your game or as a feature for pre-orders.

    I can see your point about using the beta as a demo, but to me the game would not have had the level of polish required in the brief time between the end of beta and the release to make it more that just a diversion for a short time.

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