I miss leaving extremely witty one-liners, get me out of your spam bin.
I’m the type of person who, once I get into something, I devour it. That’s kinda where the title of this blog comes from, because even as I casually (by my standards) play MMOs, I still do so with a ‘hardcore’ edge. I’ve never been into things for the participation trophy, and likely never will.
So because the MMO genre continues to be utterly uninteresting, my attention has focused more and more towards Clash of Clans. In some ways it brings me back to the ‘good old days’ of leading my EVE Corp, of WoW raid, of realm warfare in DAoC, or of guild activities in UO; working with and leading people together against others and succeeding. The major difference is that in CoC, this can done without the massive time commitment leading a guild usually requires. It’s still more than the average, but at least it’s not full-time-job levels.
The other major motivator for me right now is the depth of CoC. You can play it casually and derp around, but the more serious you get about it, the more the game rewards you for that. And because ultimately it’s a PvP game, you won’t hit a mastery level where things become trivial; the better you get, the better you will compete with others at that level. This goes for individual play as well as for the overall average of a clan.
I state all of this because my clan, “Supreme Cream!”, has lost our last two clan wars by razor-thin margins, and that just doesn’t sit well with me. Now let me be very clear, the wars were very entertaining, and ultimately that’s why I play games, but I don’t like losing. Especially when room for improvement exists, starting on my end and going down. Which brings me to the new tab on this blog. It should help us improve, and seeing improvement is a large portion of the fun I have as a leader.
I’m very 50/50 on ArcheAge right now. Obviously my 30 minute review of it wasn’t glowing, but at the same time I’ve had multiple people tell me that once I get through the leveling garbage, the game is exactly what I would want in an MMO. That’s at least a little tempting. Plus it’s ‘free’ (post for another day) and other than playing FFXIV as a duo, I’m not exactly brimming with MMO options these days.
Easy prediction time though; the head start + housing situation is going to cause a lot of rage, as the prime spots will be picked up long before the first freeloader even gets a chance to create a character. I’m actually dying for this to happen, because there are few things funnier than hearing someone who hasn’t dropped a dime complaining about a service others pay for. The rage tears will be delicious.
Loving the ‘outrage’ some are experiencing over this whole Olive Garden promotion, because it reminds me so much of MMO players and the ‘outrage’ we display at times over an MMO. I mean you could literally replace “Olive Garden” with “World of Warcraft” in some instances and the rants people go on would still totally work. Funny stuff.
Slow days in blogging land of late, unless you are really into ‘debating’ definitions or pounding away at the corpse of a long-dead horse, so just a quick couple of notes for today.
First, if you own a blog that I occasionally comment on, check your spam filter. Seems I pop into spam filters now. Not entirely sure that’s in error…
Second, I’ve noticed that if a company outright sends me a copy/code for a game, I’m far more likely to at least give it a shot than if someone sends me one of those “would you be interested in…” emails. Just something about getting right to it and not pre-filtering it with a wink wink nudge about a positive review works for me. Still doesn’t guarantee you anything, but if you have a solid product, it removes one barrier I have to giving you a shot.
Finally, I like how Final Fantasy XIV handles subscription longevity rewards, in that you can see what you will get the longer you stay subscribed, and (I think) all of the rewards fall into the fluff category. It’s not THE reason to stay subscribed, but at the same time it is a nice bonus and does its part to justify the monthly cost. FFXIV maybe not have the one killer feature to make it amazing, but so far it seems that everything it does, it at least does well, and the sum of all those solid parts makes for a great MMO.
Quick little Clash of Clans update: We have less than ten spots remaining in the clan; Supreme Cream! (cap is 50). If you have plans to join up, do so before it’s too late.
As mentioned in the previous CoC post, we are not only winning every clan war, but now we are just straight up mauling people. Up 40+ stars before they even blink thanks to my genius new strat; the blitz.
It’s pretty simple; everyone tries to hit the hardest enemy base then can reliably 3 star right as the war starts, which usually puts us way ahead. When the enemy sees they are so far behind already, a lot of them won’t bother to attack, since attacks during a clan war that you end up losing don’t give worthwhile rewards. When victory is assured, we then use our second attack to hit the highest base we can get a single star off for maximum loot.
Win the war, get massively paid, progress faster, crush whoever is next. That’s what we do, and its a damn good time.
One of the lazier strawmen in MMO blogging land is to dismiss the success of an older MMO by stating that fewer people play it today. I’m sure you have read some version of “If UO did so many things right, why aren’t more people playing it today?” on one blog or another. The overall ‘why’ is a pretty complex topic that I won’t fully get into today, but what I do want to talk about is the fact that MMOs can get worse.
Time is one factor. As the months and years go by, a game ages. Visuals that at release looked great might not be so hot anymore. A feature that was special at release might be common in most games a few years later. You don’t have the newest, hottest feature. Etc, etc.
All of the above however doesn’t have to happen in an MMO. You can upgrade your visuals. You can patch in new features. You can introduce whatever the newest technology trend is (super servers for example). Just because WoW today looks like a game from 2005, or EQ2 looks like something from 1999, doesn’t mean that’s just how things go. EVE today looks like a game released in 2014, and its technical backend is still miles ahead of everyone else. UO did an engine update. So did DDO. Plenty of other examples exist. That’s a major selling point of the genre after all; you aren’t just buying a game as-is today, you are buying into a service that will evolve and improve as time goes on.
Yet while the intent of every update is to make an MMO better, not all do so. Of course famous examples like UO’s Trammel, SWG’s NGE, or DoAC’s ToA are well known and deservedly hated, but all MMOs have had some update that has driven someone away. Now most updates are positive, but even if a change brings or retains more people than it drives away, someone somewhere is going to hate that you did X instead of Y.
And sometimes an MMO does just get worse due to updates. How many half-decent MMOs have become complete dreck because of a F2P switch? Remember when LotRO was all about staying true to the lore, or when loading screens weren’t an opportunity to spam with you a cash-shop ad? When EVE forced you into the captains quarters? Etc, etc.
So yes, even if I did love what UO was in 97, that doesn’t mean that the 2014 version with elves, ninjas, and god knows what else is a game I want to play. Due to updates, the passing of time, and a multitude of other factors, in 2014 I’m not playing UO. That doesn’t change the fact that 1997 UO did a lot of things better than MMOs today, including 2014 UO, and that today’s devs could still learn a lot from it, or other once-successful MMOs.
And hopefully, they learn the right lessons, and make the right update, to actually make there MMO better with each update. Seems to be a rare thing these days.