Lately I’ve found a few amusing things around the various blogs/forums I read, and now seems like a good time to go over a few things.
The first is the general hope by so many that the secret MMO Blizzard is working on will be some major step in MMO design. The day Blizzard comes out with a totally new concept will be their first. They polish and ‘borrow’ ideas better than anyone in the industry, but when it comes to original concepts, I’ll point you to SC:Ghost and Warcraft Adventures. The reality of all this is that the people asking for something different don’t actually want it, otherwise they would actually be playing the different MMO offerings that are currently available. They want WoW with a new color palette, and that’s exactly what’s going to be delivered. The game will run on a toaster, have a difficulty level just slightly above tic-tac-toe, and will cater to the same non-MMO-gamer crowd currently making up the majority of the 11 million WoW players. The question is whether they will migrate over or just do their usual month-long visit. It will be interesting to see if Blizzard is able to keep its own fad going.
Speaking of WoW, I’m somewhat amazed that the FIRST content patch since the $40 Nax recycling project just came out. Its mid-April, Wrath of the Short Bus came out in November, and you are just now able to make any meaningful updates? And it’s been what, a year since Sunwell, the last new raid content? That’s laughably slow even by Blizzard standards, and by some accounts what’s being offered is not exactly grade A stuff. You need to make it last though, it’s going to be another 6+ months before Blizzard feeds you another scrap, and you better hope they don’t make Molten Core or BWL more ‘accessible’ by revamping it. The truly sad part is this shameful content release schedule is only encouraged by the 11 million or so subs patting Bliz on the head each month with their money.
The justification of this pace by some is also priceless; that your $15 a month is going towards future Blizzard projects you are also likely to enjoy. Are you fucking kidding me? You are accepting the fact you are being milked for cash to fund a future product you are going to spend $50+ for anyway (or $150 for all of Starcraft 2)? But hey, at least mounts can now enter water (brilliant Bliz first idea btw), and that kind of radical change does not come overnight. Enjoy the pony ride in Uld, just make sure to take baby steps.
Moving on from McWoW, this post by Keen made me chuckle. Who would have guessed being a serf in a giant alliance, one which is currently locked in a staring contest and forum pissing match with the other big zerg would lead to a boring experience? I can’t fathom how anyone could find being told which hamlet/city you can hold, being told when and who to attack, and grinding your hamster wheel for the blue team boring. Pro-tip: Stop being a number and actual go out and do something with your guild. Our guild can hardly make it over to a dungeon for some PvE without being pulled in three directions to deal with some threat. Most nights we don’t even need to head out to PvP, as plenty of targets wander into our area of control, and I’m not talking naked harvesters here. When we do head out, any direction we go will take us into hostile territory, and we don’t have to double check the guild name to know if we can kill them or not. The game, thankfully, is what you make of it, and rather than blaming the rules for not living up to your demands, why not do something about it and get your guild into a more entertaining and challenging situation? If you need to rely on the game rules to keep you safe and entertained, the sandbox is clearly not the right place for you.
Finally, just a quick note about WAR: how long are we going to wait for Mythic to announce a 3rd side? Is it really going to take a paid expansion for us to get it, because by that time even the most vigilant T4 combatants are going to grow tired, or simply move to a game that actually rewards that kind of dedication in a meaningful way. The themepark PvP model really can’t retain players in a two sided contest, because in order for that to work the game rules have to keep everything balanced, rather than the players. Order’s reward for sacking The Inevitable City every week is going to be an Order nerf and a Destro buff. The better you do the harsher the backlash, which in the end only rewards those that fail. And unlike PvE, where reward for failure gets you 11 million subs, in PvP I doubt it will have the same effect. Mythic has a solid core for an entertaining themepark PvP experience. It’s easy to jump into, entertaining once you are there, and it’s all wrapped in a solid IP with plenty of room for logical growth. But unless the players gain a little control and reward for performing well, it’s all going to be pointless sooner or later. Step up Mythic, continue moving away from the failed WoW-clone model, and get DAoC 2.0 where it needs to be. That said, I’m still finding WAR entertaining on a small dose scale, which would be larger if not for DarkFall, and I think the upcoming content will be very entertaining; it just won’t be the long-term solution WAR needs.