Archive for the MMORPGs Category

Age of Conan going stale? LOTRO Out of left field!

Posted in MMORPGs with tags , on August 26, 2008 by madcow17

Just over this past weekend I was playing Age of Conan. This would be my 2nd week playing it and I have to say I may have made a mistake putting it on my top 5. The first 20 levels are brilliant, and if the whole game played out at a tenth of that quality, I would be glued. Unfortunately every time I leave Tortage (where you spend the first 20 levels) the game takes a huge downward dip for me. I have made about 5 characters and have given it a fair chance, but I think this game is already going to get shelved until they do more with it. Am I mad I payed for it? Nope! When it does get good all I have to do is fire up my account.

I knew what I was getting into with the lack of endgame content, but my first impressions of the fighting system led me to believe I would be more than fine with mindless grinding, because fighting is fun. I’ve always loved the idea of more interactive fighting in MMORPGs but this game has me pressing combos of 3 keys just to execute one move. In later videos I’ve seen combos requiring 5 key presses to execute the move. To me, this got old really fast. While I never got tired of chopping someones head off or impaling them, I felt detached from the game, like I was playing a bad brawler fighting game rather than an MMO. Ohh and what’s with the drops? Will I ever get anything decent? There’s little incentive to enjoy combat if you only ever get a minute amount of money and some desecrated item that sells for less-than pocket change.

So in disgust, I sought out something else to try. I realized i had heard literally NOTHING about Lord of the Rings Online. I never bothered following anything on it because my computer had no chance in running it. After reading a few reviews I was pretty damn curious, and luckily they offer a 14 day free trial. One LONG 9gb download later, I started playing it. So far I really enjoy this game but the odd thing is that I can’t figure out WHY. The game feels really slow, and the UI reminds me of lesser free MMOs. I think it’s the story. I read a review on IGN and they said it best; You don’t go into instances to get awesome drops and exp (you do though.) instead, you go in to see what happens and how it progresses the story.

When I went and saw Fellowship of the Ring, I hadn’t read any of the books prior. After seeing it I refused to wait 2 additional years just to see what happens, so I bought and read the books. I think this game makes up for shortcomings by having a story many can get into. I created a hobbit burglar and during his intro sequence, you see events from the movie, like the Nazgul asking the hobbit where Baggins is, then running off. These events play out infront of you so the story unfolds as you go along. When i created an Elf Hunter, it started me in an elf city that was under seige by dwarves and goblins. In any other MMO i’d be like “Sweet!” *slash maim murder destroy* but in this one I actually cared, and wanted to know WHY they were attacking (turns out, this little bit is from a snippet of the story from before “The Hobbit,” so it was new to me.)

The graphics are amazing. Some terrains give Age of Conan a run for their money even. This isn’t a review on the game so I won’t go on much longer, but another thing i’ll mention is the arrow sounds. AWESOME. I don’t know about anyone else, but after seeing legolas do some of the shit he did, I wanted to go buy a bow! One of my FAVORITE things in this game so far is one of my attacks. In LOTR when they’re fighting off the orcs before Frodo and Sam escape on the boat, Legolas is up there owning people. There’s that one point where he takes an arrow, jabs an orc with it, nocks it, then fires it in a swift motion. They gave me that move at level 8! So cool.

Looks like I’ll have to make adjustments to my top 5 list. King Conan is about to be dethroned.

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Missing: UO:KR

Posted in MMORPGs with tags on August 25, 2008 by madcow17

I noticed something very odd this weekend. Since I’ve been talking
about previous MMO’s that I’ve played, interest has been rekindled in
certain series. I was very curious to find out what became of some of
the games I loved, most notably, Ultima Online. As of 2007, Ultima
Online: Kingdom Reborn should be out. Kingdom Reborn is mostly the same
Ultima Online that’s been around for years, only they’ve upped the
graphics tremendously (let’s not even count UO:3d, it was an atrocity.)
This is something I would probably try, since i like both old UO and
new UO. So what’s my problem? I can’t find this game for sale. This
game seems to quite literally have dropped out of existence. I’ve tried so many retailers online, and hardly any have a match at all for “Ultima,”
and if they do, it’s for the ‘8th age’ released in ’05. On UoHerald i
was able to find a 14 day free trial, but no links to actually move on
and purchase this game. I was starting to wonder if it was maybe a free
graphical overhaul that you just download, since I had no issue finding
various mirrors for the client, but I’ve seen pictures of the cover,
and i get results on google for buying it at Amazon only to arrive at
the site and have “no results.” I’ve also come across forum posts of people claiming they have it. Is this bizarre or has Ultima Online finally found the grave?

If anyone can find ANYTHING on purchasing this game, comment here and let me know what’s up. UO was so good that I would actually consider buying it assuming the trial made it seem worth it.

Age of Conan – More high-end content, Dungeon Changes, DX10, Expansion.

Posted in MMORPGs with tags on August 23, 2008 by madcow17

I saw a really cool article on MMORPG.com. I’m new to Age of Conan (about a week old actually) so this hasn’t hit me yet, but I’ve been in similar situations in other MMOs. I heard plenty about higher end content being somewhat lacking in AoC. This occurs supposedly after level 50, and I’m currently 25. I’m glad to see that it’s being worked on. It was a bit of a concern when paying for the game, but I knew what I was getting into. To be honest, I haven’t done a dungeon yet, so I can’t comment on that. What they say about traps and bosses with devout followers sacraficing themselves to heal the boss sounds really interesting though. If you really want to get into this, it’s explained way better this video of an interview with Erling Ellingson, the Product Manager for Funcom.

World Of Warcraft: WOTLK Intro cinematic unveiled.

Posted in MMORPGs with tags , on August 23, 2008 by madcow17

On MMORPG.com I read that Blizzard released the opening sequence for their upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. I think I might have pee’d a little… Well atleast I hope it’s pee. My sound cut out half way through, but damn! What an amazing intro. I hope that dragon is included in the game and looks even a tenth as cool as he does in this cinematic. November (the last known release date I’ve heard, this could change) could not come any sooner.

First post! A little about me and my love for MMORPGs.

Posted in MMORPGs with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2008 by madcow17

What I want to do with this first entry is explain why I have chosen to start a blog about MMOs, as well as go over my top 5 MMOs. The MMORPG is by far my preferred genre. I have been in love with MMORPGs since I played my first one in 1997. I remember the day that my mom, my brother, and myself went to Best Buy to get a new game to play, and my brother and I got a huge fight over which game to choose. I can’t remember what game I wanted, but he held in his hands, Ultima Online. I was PISSED. I did NOT want this game! I gave in, we got it, and I pouted in the car on the way home. We installed the game and got it running. It was SO terrible, easily the worst game I had ever played. I was stuck on a hill, I was too young to understand what “Fatigue” meant so I’m wondering why the HELL I can’t move. Over the next few days I played around with it a little more because I was eager to see what the game was all about. Now, I can’t say when it exactly happened, it just did. I suddenly was enthralled in this game. I picked up the tailoring skill and started mindlessly clicking through menus in the tailoring shop in Britain for hours straight. I was beyond hooked. This game became my life. From there on I started playing MMOs as they were released. I had another seemingly decade-long obsession with Everquest, then another with Dark Age of Camelot. I often think back and wonder how I even had enough time in my life to play these games as much as I did. This genre of game quickly became my forte, and I moved on to play many many more. Most were pay-to-play and some from independent developers who release their own created MMOs free of charge.

For a long time I was unable to afford a computer upgrade. Right about when DAoC released their Shrouded Isles expansion (which improved the graphics, putting it out of my computers reach), is when I mostly had to stop playing MMOs, or new ones I should say. Though I revisited UO (Ultima Online) more times than I want to recall, and played many low-end free MMOs, I dropped out of the MMO world for a while. Then one day, Introducing: the World of Warcraft beta. I installed it all prepared to be very disappointed knowing I couldn’t run it, but lo and behold! It ran playably decent! So I got into WoW for a very long time, and still play it to this day.

Within the last few months, my friend helped me put together a budget gaming PC. I instantly threw WoW on it and drooled over how silky smooth and pretty everything was, but I didn’t feel the cartooney graphics were really pushing my PC. So just this last Saturday, I went out and bought Age of Conan (Yes. I read about the endgame stuff, I know what I’m getting into) and so far? This game is mind blowing! I won’t get into that now, I’ll post a (late) review within the next few days, but that’s where I currently am and that’s where I was in the MMO world.

I’ve been around. I’ve played MANY MMORPGs over the past 11 years of my life. To better give an idea of my stance/tastes/whatever on MMOs, I’m going to name and briefly describe my top 5 favorites of all time in order from least to greatest. Here goes!

5) Age of Conan – I’m not sure if it’s fair that this one makes it on the list, since I’m only three days old to it. It made the list because of innovations I’ve seen right off the bat. The combat is incredibly fun! It’s one of the freshest feelings that I’ve gotten from an MMO in a VERY long time. They borrowed a lot of pages from WoW, which I feel was a GREAT move. I was able to make my character then just play. I knew how to do everything already (in terms of controls, and how to perform tasks.) This game instantly felt very user friendly and very accessible right off the bat. Now, let’s see if I still feel this way once I get off the newbie island.

4) Dark Age of Camelot – I think a lot of MMOs got ideas from DAoC’s foundation. I could be wrong but I believe DAoC started the auto-travel system (Horses, in this case) that you see now in WoW (flight paths.) I also believe DAoC was the first MMO to do instanced (meaning each player or group gets their own exclusive copy of the area upon entry) dungeons. It may have been the first to really do battleground-based PVP too, as well as siege weaponry to use on enemy keeps. One of my best guild experiences happened in this game too. I met some of the damned nicest people and it was by far the most fun I had in an MMO with other people. I miss those guys and gals!

3) Starwars Galaxies – This game sucked me straight out of DAoC. I actually got into SWG to stick with the guild I was just talking about in the DAoC spot above. This game blew me away with the sheer amount of stuff you could do. I think this might be the only MMO where I could be furiously addicted for a long period of time without ever needing to kill one monster. Name it and you can probably do it. Speeder bikes and cars? check. Go to a cantina and relax to heal wounds? check. Go to a cantina and dance or play music to heal other peoples wounds? check. You could even have various “factories” constantly mining minerals for you out in the wilderness. The crafting system was top-notch, and the player housing was awesome, and easy to customize. It was also refreshing to me because it borrowed more from Ultima Onlines advancement system, which is more skill-based than level-based. In UO you have no levels, you gain skills. 100.0% swordsmanship = you rock with a sword. This game had that system, only it tacked a number on you so you’d be able to compare yourself against monsters. Plus it had one of the best expansions ever, allowing space travel/combat in your own ship that you customize. Very cool.

2) World of Warcraft – Everything that even the great MMOs did wrong in the past, WoW did right. Blizzard took some damn notes, and it shows! I really don’t even know where to start with this game. Excellent pacing, you level very fast but not TOO fast. You ALWAYS have something to do. Whether it’s questing, crafting, PvPing, instancing, raiding, fishing, auctioning, whatever, it’s just hard to get bored in this game. It advances so well, and I don’t just mean leveling speed. You’re awarded new skills every 2 levels (even numbered levels, but you get skills every level from 60-70) so you nearly always have something to look forward to. They have a very convenient travel system with flight paths you can take, and zeppelins and train systems leading from continent to continent. They even took it a step further with mounts that players can ride, and later on with the expansion (Burning Crusades,) flying mounts that players can pilot. (For the record, I saw a video. Flight combat in the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion) The story is roughly about two factions fighting. I don’t want to get into the details now, but you choose a side, Horde or Alliance (though it’s a scientific fact that the Alliance are wuss-bags. =D) and either fight your rival faction, or join a guild for large scale monster encounters (40 people anyone?) Great game. Would be #1 for me if the REAL #1 game was never created….

1) Ultima Online – Goodbye early teen years. I wish I had gotten to know you. During those times I was probably deep in the caverns of Shame fighting Air Elementals, or maybe somewhere on Hythloth Island trying to dodge dragons. This game rules/ruled. How can it be both? Really there’s two types of UO to talk about. UO, like a lot of MMOs, changed drastically with an expansion. You’ll often hear “Pre UO:R” when people talk about UO. UO:R being Ultima Online: Renaissance. The time before UO:R was the golden age. The game was so perfect at this point. You could kill players and become a murderer (complete with a red name over your head that scares EVERYONE off and has you banned from any place with guard protection), you could do various trade skills and buy your own home. You could hide in front of peoples houses, wait for them, kill them, take their key, and loot EVERYTHING they ever had. Completely lootable players, you can kill a guy and take ANYTHING he had, even his damned sandals! There were no levels. You have many skills to build ANY type of character you want. I could make a fisherman with veterinary skill, as well as forensic pathology skill AND poisoning, if I really wanted to. You have 700 max skill points, and each skill can max out at 100. So you’d have 100.0 swordsmanship, 100.0 tactics, blah blah, 7 of them. Once UO:R came out, the game changed, some say for the worst, but I still found tons of enjoyment, and I won’t get into the changes. Really, I could go on for HOURS about this game. I’m cutting myself off right now because I literally have five things on the tip of my tongue that I could go on about. This game is my all time favorite MMORPG ever created, and it still thrives to this day, 11 years after release. (tip: If you’re interested in playing this game, googleUO Free Shards” and look for shard lists. Find a server on those lists that mention it being “Pre UO:R” and play that (assuming the population is good.) You can download the clients and do not need to make a purchase for this method, though the original game still has pay-to-play servers.)

So there you go. I have played more MMOs than I can count on my toes and fingers but these are the trutly amazing ones in my opinion. My posts won’t all be this long, and I do apologize for that. I wanted to provide insight as to what this blog will be about as well as my view on MMOs. This is all just getting off the ground, and it’s my first blog, so i’ll be figuring out the best way to do things as I go. I hope you all enjoy.