A look ahead, and why can’t I have the Sword of Leetness+5?

Playing EVE Online, EQ2, and Sword of the New World all at the same time gives you a very interesting view of where MMOs are today. Two of the games (EVE, EQ2) were released a few years back, but both had rough starts and are now finally hitting their stride, in very different ways. The third, SotNW, is a new game from Korea that is having its launch issues now, mainly translation and formatting issues. The three could not be any more different, with EVE having its massive scope, EQ2 having its deep and refined game systems, and SotNW being an ‘instant gratification’ type of game with plenty of flash.

If I was to make a prediction now, I would have to say I’ll be done with SotNW within a month, EQ2 within a year, and I’ll still be logging into EVE, although how often and for how long I can’t say. This all depends on the games coming out soon, particularly Warhammer. If Warhammer delivers on even half its hype, especially the PvP hype, I could easily see myself devoting a large amount of my gaming time to that. However, if it falls flat, or indeed proves to be WoW+1, then that free time will easily go towards EVE in large amounts.

The reason I can’t see myself playing EQ2 for a great amount of time is partly to blame on WoW. Having played that game to death, and with EQ2 being similar enough in many ways to it, it just feels like I’m going down a familiar path with EQ2 that I was on when I played WoW. Granted, EQ2 does enough things different to keep it interesting for now, and I could easily see it continue to do this as I continue to level, perhaps enough so to make it a great fallback game should WAR not work out, but that’s a big ‘if’.

Finally, I just don’t see SotNW holding my attention for very long. While it does a lot of things well, or at least different enough to be interesting, it’s overall gameplay feels dated. MMO’s have evolved from the ‘grind grind grind’ gameplay, where it is no longer entertaining to repeatedly kill mobs from level 1 to 100 with no purpose other than leveling itself. Even the multi-character system and the fast pace of combat can’t hold off the boredom of the grind for too long. The flash and style are great at first, but those only go so far as to make a good first impression, which SotNW certainly does. If it was a single player game, with an estimated time of say, 20 hours of gameplay, it would be a great game to pick up and play for a month or so, but as an MMO that hopes to keep players for months on end, I just don’t see how it’s going to succeed. It’s very shallow now, and I don’t think it has the underpinnings to expand the basic gameplay. Still curious to see how PvP works, but I’m guessing it comes down to who out grinds who for gear rather than any real PvP skills, but I could be way off base on that one.

I will say this, the enhancing system, putting a +1 on an item for a certain cost, and once you hit +4 anything beyond that has a chance to blow the item up, is brilliant. I know Lineage had this system, so SotNW is not breaking new ground, but props for having the system in the game. It’s a great money sink, as well as giving players the chance to create something of real value if they take a risk. Say you have a rare weapon that you intend to sell, but first you gamble and enhance it to +6. If you blow it up, you take a huge hit by losing a rare weapon along with any money you put in to getting it to +6. However, if the risk pays off, and you get it to +6, it could be worth a fortune on the auction house. This also makes money always relevant in the game, as at no point will you reach the ‘I have nothing to buy’ status you do in many other MMOs. It also makes getting the same drop not as useless as it is in other games. Let’s take WoW as an example, anyone who has done any raiding has killed Onyxia, and very likely you have killed her more than once. Onyxia has a fairly limited loot table, dropping all tier 2 helms along with a few rare weapons. Once you have your tier 2 helm, that drop is no longer interesting to you in WoW. Imagine if WoW had the enhancing system, and you could gamble with your tier 2 helm, pushing it to +5 or +6. If it blows up, it makes going after Onyxia the next week a little more interesting. If you succed in enhancing it, you gain a small advantage over other players wearing the same item with only +4 on it. Why more games don’t feature a system similar to this I don’t understand. Am I missing something here, am I not seeing some major downfall to the system?

9 Responses to A look ahead, and why can’t I have the Sword of Leetness+5?

  1. pvthudson says:

    The problem you will experience is that you will try all these other MMO’s and end up going back to WoW, just check out my blog in July and June I think. I was in the same boat. Nothing just settles on you quite like World of RepCraft. I hated to go back to the darkside but I just couldn’t find anything better

  2. syncaine says:

    Naw, I know I’m done with WoW. No matter what they add, the basic gameplay will remain the same, and I’m simply done with that. Plus, once you have been at the top, it’s tough to come back and just be ‘a face in the crowd’. The reasons most people go back to WoW are the same reasons I have no desire to, the basic game has no pull on me.

  3. Im not sure why a system like this isnt implemented in more western games. Its seems somewhat decent and worthwhile to implement.

    As to your current game woes, the only game we both are playing right now is EQ2. I’m only mid 20’s but find the lore and the world very interesting. I’m jumping around with some EQ veterans and its fun to hear them reminisce while adventuring. How long do I see myself being here? I honestly do not know, but as I plan on jumping aboard POTBS when it releases, the station pass is looking mighty tempting to keep my sword and board appetite satisfied.

  4. syncaine says:

    Yea I still don’t know about PotBS. It could be great, but I have a feeling its going to be this interesting little game that you check out, see what it does, and then say ‘ok now I want to play a REAL game’, whatever real means. Might be a decent hold-over till WAR, but I’m not sure if I want to put down $50 for a hold-over when so many other free options exist. Hopefully Vanguard releases a trial soon, I really want to try that.

  5. Ramileus says:

    I am guessing that EVE-Online will be around long after the other two mentioned games are footnotes in MMO history. EVE is as out-there a game as it gets…literally. Just keeps getting better.

  6. vajuras says:

    Weird I would not have thought of you as a WAR fan. I thought you didnt care for Levels, Classes, etc since you hail back to the UO days. I wonder what you see in WAR and why you think it wont be WoW 2.0?

    Good blog yeah I would like to see such a system I am unsure of the reprocussions. Most likely here in western hemisphere the Devs are too afraid that newbies will blow their stuff up and cancel their accounts versus a game like Lineage is more focused on player skill

  7. syncaine says:

    Hmmm I’m not really against levels, hell I enjoyed WoW for over two years, and DAoC before that.

    The only reason I think WAR has a chance of not being WoW 2.0 is if the RvR is executed well. If that part of the game disappoints, then yea we will have a WoW 2.0, or less.

  8. vajuras says:

    Interesting way to look at it DAoC must’ve been something truly awesome in its day the way people talk bout it

  9. syncaine says:

    If you enjoyed PvP, yes DAoC was WAY ahead of the curve back in the day. It had a cool 3 faction system as well, with a ton of races/classes, I believe more than any game out today.

    One of the major reasons people are so excited about Warhammer is that it basically adopts DAoC’s PvP system, just with move well known lore and improved graphics. Plus Mythic learned a lot about balance from working on DAoC, so that all points to WAR being at least decently polished when it’s released.

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