Sep 12, 2011

The journey is half the fun

Recently I’ve tried a number of newer MMO’s and I have been decidedly disappointed in the journey. I like to play a game that allows me to adventure, where I can decide the outcome of my game.

This is something that I feel Rift by Trion World didn’t truly allow me. For those who have never played Rift, let me elaborate.

The game is linear, oh so linear, in fact until you hit around level 40 there is only one route for each race, then you have a choice of two zones and then for the last 2 or 3 levels before you reach end game you’re back into the last zone.

Well gee… I wouldn’t really call it an adventure, being led by the hand through zone after zone of quite dull quests to reach an end game that requires you to grind rifts that appear randomly doesn’t really appeal to me, I’m not saying first encounter with huge watery tentacles coming out of a funnel are not exciting, it’s just when you’ve done the majority of them they become a little dull.

So what makes a really playable game? For me the world has to be sufficiently big enough so that you can get lost in it, I’m not talking Star Wars Galaxy lost where you can wander for 10 minutes without seeing a soul, let alone something to attack, but somewhere you can adventure and it’s a novelty to see another player go past on their own little adventure.

The game world has to have multiple areas for you to adventure at your current level. I’d prefer 3 or 4 zones that look good than one zone that looks great, dungeons! What is it with outdoor zones? Some of the best zones in games I’ve played have been indoors, I’m taking you right back to the original Everquest now, but some zones that I enjoyed and where indoor, Befallen, Solusek’s Eye. Step forward to Everquest 2, you had Ruins of Varsoon and everyones favourite Stormhold.

Sometimes when you play a game you can be a few weeks in and suddenly you reach the end. It can be quite disappointing, I know I felt disappointed when I reached the end of Rift, because I knew that all I had then was to return to the zones where I missed quests and achievements, end game, grind out equipment (that is pretty disappointing) and those oh so annoying world events. Oh and crafting (easy, even I maxed out crafting…).

Rift’s levelling is far too easy, in the early part of the game you can put on 2 or 3 levels per 4 hours game play and in the later levels 40-50 you should be able to must a level in a 4 hour game session.

Everquest, Everquest 2 and Vanguard where 3 MMO’s that I played/tried that required you to adventure, quest and grind your way through the levels. Vanguard was certainly one of the games that I found tough to level, mainly because it wasn’t quite finished and when reaching the higher levels quests dried up a little, but the game was fun and interesting with multiple routes to the end level, stunning graphics for the time and it was very shiny, this made the game fun and created re-playability.

For me Star Wars The Old Republic looks to have that unique quest element that I will enjoy, the world looks a might disappointing at the moment from gameplay I have seen, I just hope it will have the adventure that I have been looking for.

My only gripe is that it is Star Wars, I have yet to enjoy any game in the Star Wars Genre more than Star Wars Rebellion (Ok it’s not an MMO but hey, I can have other passions).

Star Wars Galaxy was initially fun but they spoiled it and the dynamic quest system annoyed me as well as the ease that could meet characters like Darth Vader, which turned it into quite a dull encounter.

Like I said I have high hopes for SWTOR and with that I hope that Sony Online Entertainment take note for when they put together Everquest Next (Everquest 3), I want to return to Norrath and see what is in store for me, lets hope they don’t dumb it down like many of the MMO developers are doing these days.

1 Comment

  • Yes, this. This so damn much. Rift is far to linear, and when you do get a choice in where to level, that's only until you finish those quests and have to move to the other choice you had to grind some more.

    You're right to mention EQ1 and Vanguard, both games were about leveling up and moving about the world, it's not all about "endgame." Unfortunately, EQ2 became a trundle to the endgame where, supposedly, the "game really begins." No it does not, good Sir, otherwise we'd all start at the level cap and can go grinding instances between waiting for raid zone lockouts to expire!

    On The Old Republic… hmmm… I agree that it's somewhat of an unknown quantity. I'm expecting Knights of The Old Republic with a chat channel, and that would please me no end, but I'm secretly hoping for a freeform world of exploration. I know that won't happen, and the space combat is on rails, but I like StarFox, so can't complain.

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