mmo

10 Years of WoW – People change

TZWL2FLJTDPF1293142525349

“Damn Thrall, have you been…working out or something?”

When I was eighteen, I started my study to become a history teacher. I dropped that a year later, but that’s another story. While learning about the fall of the Roman Empire during the day and making raid bosses fall down in the evening, I listened to a lot of Paramore. I really enjoyed their light, pop-punk sound and the charismatic and powerful presence of the lead singer, Hayley Williams. In the clip to their hit song “Misery Business“, Hayley struts her own punky style, while also demonstrating her impressive voice. Their album “Riot!” was playing non-stop on my iPod back then, and I thought I would listen to this band forever and ever.

The years went by, and I started to care less and less for Hayley and her band. The albums after “Riot!” were not terrible, but I started to notice a shift in the style of the band. The fanboy in me immediately linked that to the growing popularity of the band, blaming success for straying from the one, true Paramore sound. The rational, quiet and boring person in me, however, understood that artists change and want to try new stuff. I might not like that new stuff, but no one’s forcing me to keep Paramore in my playlist, right?

Also, I had changed since first listening to “Misery Business” and “Let The Flames Begin”. I think that’s something many people forget when they complain about how everything was better in the past: others are not the only one’s changing, but we, you…I change too. What we like and don’t like is not fixed in our DNA. We change as new impressions are picked up by our senses, adapting to the new input and adding it to our frame of reference. No one is born the grumpy old man, but change might turn you into the grumpy old man.

The same goes for World of Warcraft. Sure, Azeroth has changed throughout the years, but the people playing have as well. The majority of people I used to play with have left the game. Did they leave because the game got worse, boring or repetitive? From their perspective, it might have. However, these people also left because World of Warcraft did no longer fit into their life. Their priorities shifted, their ambitions seemed to lie elsewhere and they simply were no longer willing to incorporate a MMORPG into their daily life. I still hang with those people, and we still think about the fun we had raiding together. Would I love to see them return to the game? Oh, hell yeah, but I also understand that who they are now is no longer who they were when we all shared a raid group. People simply change, and that’s okay.

If you know someone who has not changed one bit in the past ten years, you know a really boring person. I love how I’ve changed, I love how my friends have changed, and I love how World of Warcraft has changed. I know there’s still a lot of change for me in store. Who knows what I’ll be like when I (ever) get married? How will my future children influence my personality? What impact will my career have on who I am? In ten years, will I still be a person who will log in to Azeroth at the end of a busy day, to have fun with guild members and slay dragons?

Well, Hayley has changed a lot, but she’s still in Paramore. I think I can change a lot and still enjoy World of Warcraft, and so can you. Understand that it’s not just the game…it’s also you.

LIAR!

LIAR!

How ArcheAge made me play Guild Wars 2 again

My mind works in strange ways. Yesterday, while waiting for the washing machine to finish and browsing my favorite gaming sites, I was reminded of the fact that Trion is bringing ArcheAge to the west. This makes my tingle with joy, especially knowing that the company is offering different “Founder packs” to get into the alpha. I’m all about getting into a game earlier than the unwashed masses, so I went and checked them out. Alpha access…the thought of that made me wild. Would I already be knees-deep in ArcheAge this weekend? Would I already see what all the fuss is about, sailing my own ship and tending my own farm?

I would…had I spent €140.

(more…)

Cookie cutters: why I love my MMO’s simple

why-buy-a-cookie-cutter-home-build-a-custom-homeComplexity is one of the most discussed topics in MMO country, and with good reason: in an age filled with simple, mass-pleasing click-games like Candy Crush Saga and Farmville (does anyone still play that?), we “true” gamers desire games that cannot be immediately understood by our grandmas and little brothers. We want titles that take time to ease in to, that have us browse the Internet in search of the perfect “build”, force us to take a crash course in Excel to make that spreadsheet and make us talk with abbreviations like “DPS”. We want to get lost in the numbers, we want to be made dizzy by the possibilities…we long for complexity.

We? Well, to be honest, I don’t.

(more…)

WildStar Beta Weekend – the same old with an enjoyable, new coat

Not sure if you know, but right now, WildStar’s very first Beta Weekend is happening! Of course you knew, unless you’ve been dodging MMO news for the last weeks. Being interested in the title myself, I pre-ordered to get access and have been exploring Nexus for the majority of the weekend. My opinion so far? Well, it’s much of the same stuff I’ve been doing for the past years in many other MMO’s, but in a shiny new coat!

I don’t want to drag this post too much, so here’s the deal: from these approximately ten hours of playing WildStar, I can gather that, at its core, it’s a schoolbook MMORPG. From the interface to the quest design to the two-faction divide, everything looks and feels like your run-of-the-mill online RPG. After I realized this about an hour in, I was disappointed, devastated even: had the forums and tweets of enthusiastic closed beta players lied to me? Was their opinion tainted by their blind fanaticism for this game? After recovering from this mild depression through a moment of self-reflection and the sudden realization that, quite frankly, this is just a game. What did I honestly expect?

Garren.140322.112515

That’s how it looked when my hopes about this being the perfect new MMO were shattered.

Okay, so there’s nothing special about WildStar then? Wrong! It’s true, at its heart, WildStar feels and plays like a dozen other titles, but what sets it apart from its rivals is one major thing: presentation. Everything WildStar has, it presents right. From the almost Disney-like cartoon graphics, the fantastic music to the presentation of actual gameplay mechanics, WildStar excels at making it look and feel good. Combat is not just tab-targeting, it’s fast-paced action-packed fireworks in the style of Guild Wars 2. Classes are not your typical wizards and rogues, but gun-toting Spellslingers and psychic Espers. Everything about it feels like people took some real effort and time to think about it, which can’t be said about every MMORPG. So yeah, WildStar takes the same old, and puts it into a very sexy and enjoyable coat.

I could go on and on, almost copying the Mistress of Faffing’s post, but let me wrap up it up here: WildStar is a heck of fun, but if you’re looking for something mold-breaking and genre-defying, hang on to your dollars. If, however, you’re like me and don’t mind seeing something familiar in a new suit, then why don’t you join me and others in the next Beta Weekend? Just…just don’t roll a Chua. They scare me…

chua grin

Turning the MMO daily grind into a daily adventure

“ZHPS- Daily Grind” by Meado

Ah, daily quests: the brave attempt of many MMO’s to hide an incentive to come back every day underneath a coat of in-game gold and distant rewards. Where some MMO’s (like Neverwinter and Warframe) just reward you for logging in every day, with growing rewards for consecutive days, many other online games find that a bit too simple. Those games beckon with series of daily tasks, waiting for your completion. Every day, the same people need your help with the same tasks, while your repetitive support makes them love you more, which they show by opening their collection of powerful items to you. Where game designers see an interesting scheme to call players back to their games every day, players often find boredom. A sad reality that should, and can be, alleviated.

(more…)

What happened to Digital Dragonslayers?

“Zinda the Dragonslayer” by eisu

On 1 November 2013, I started writing Digital Dragonslayers. As planned, I wanted to devote the month to writing a non-fictional piece about my life as a MMORPG gamer: how I started, why the genre plays an important role in my life and how it influences others. Within the first days, I was able to amass quite the word count. Without much ado, the lines and formulations just came to me, manifesting on the digital paper of my Google Drive. Then, however, something happened. Around the 15.000 words mark, I noticed something.

I was done.

At least, it felt like I had encapsulated everything I wanted to say about the life of a MMO gamer. I re-read my script, but in a way, I had covered everything I had set out to cover. Sure, I could have started cleaning it all up, adding a description here and there, but that would have never taken me to that 50k cap of NaNoWriMo. I was simply done…and that frustrated me so much I canned the thing.

Yesterday, I skimmed through it again, and noticed that I had given up too early. Sure, I had already covered a lot of what I wanted to say in those 15.000 words, but I’m not done yet. Re-reading what I wrote has given me ample ideas of what to do with what I already have, and how I’ll expand on it. Sure, I might have “lost” NaNoWriMo, got I won a treasure trove of blogging topics.

So yeah, I didn’t slay the dragon that is NaNoWriMo, but you will certainly hear of Digital Dragonslayers in the future…in one way or the other!