Boxed in

I bet you are wondering why I’m blogging less huh? Yea, I figured you were.

Darkfall NDA is mostly to blame.

MMO genre being a pile of crap is another factor.

I mean, not only is there not a title out right now that I bother to waste time on (other than playing EVE Offline), but nothing is happening in the genre worth blogging about, and those that are blogging are not posting anything I need a response post to. It’s that bad.

So I fill my gaming time with random titles. 10 hours of FTL, a few hours of Witcher 2, beating Xcom, playing Civ V multiplayer, playing some Endor while waiting for its graphically updated version, trolling Steam in desperation, and right now, playing Skyrim again with some DLC and mods.

Skyrim is blog-worthy, but I’ve already done that, and other than stating once again that the amount of content in that game makes something as ‘content rich’ as GW2 look like pong, I don’t have much.

As for the rest? A post at most really, and I personally don’t even find those all that interesting to write or read. Just not much debate to “hey, FTL is fun for 10 hours, spend the $3”.

So while racking my brain for something to blog about, I’ve realized that if a game is not blog-worthy, it’s also not that memorable or ‘important’ to me. Take Xcom. Great, great game. I would recommend it to everyone. But I’d trade in Xcom for Heroes 6 and all its horrible flaws 10 times out of 10. Why? Because Heroes 6 stuck with me longer, left more of an impression, and I walked away with more thoughts about it than Xcom. Xcom was what it was, and I moved on.

I don’t know if that means Heroes 6 is better. I know it’s not better if judged hour-per-hour (in a pound-for-pound kind of way), but I was done with Xcom far sooner than Heroes, and in ‘total enjoyment’, Heroes wins.

And if I apply that thinking to the MMO genre, it explains why flawed yet deep games like Darkfall last for me, while ‘perfected’ shortness like GW2 is ultimately disappointing and a waste. Because unlike FTL, I’m not looking just to waste 10 hours in an MMO. That’s not my expectation. And that shouldn’t be anyone’s expectation if you are playing an MMO ‘correctly’, with a guild and digging into the social aspects and caring about the world rather than just your own person experience. For all of that to happen, you need way more than 10 hours.

Of course that last part is basically impossible in so many ‘MMOs’ today. SW:TOR is the poster child, but GW2 has a personal story as well, and so many of its praised design decisions help turn everyone into a helpful yet silence NPC/bot. Awesome for 10 hours, entirely forgettable long-term. It’s the reason the ‘new hotness’ in the MMO genre is just selling you a box. That’s all you get. The content in the box. Play it, finish it, move on. Other silent drones will replace you. Or not. It doesn’t matter to anyone but you (and the soon-to-be-laid of devs).

So until the drought ends, or the NDA drops, I don’t know how much I’ll be posting here. Dark times indeed.

About SynCaine

Former hardcore raider turned casual gamer.
This entry was posted in beta, Civilization Series, Darkfall Online, EVE Online, Guild Wars, MMO design, Rant, SW:TOR, The Witcher. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Boxed in

  1. sid6.7 says:

    I’ll give you a topic.. what do you expect to get out of a beta? Do you play them to hunt for bugs, or get an early edge on other players, or to make suggestions to improve the game, or to make a decision about if you’ll play it live, or [insert other answer]?

    For myself, I only beta games I plan to play at release and I’m looking for that early edge that you get from knowing what to expect from having beta tested it. Been playing the UW beta and digging it enough — the one bug sucks but yeah.. NDA. :)

    • SynCaine says:

      I don’t play specifically to hunt bugs; just because I’m in beta does not mean they are PAYING me to beta test. I do send in the error logs and such when I can.

      The DF beta is different than a lot of others though, because of how competitive the game is and the importance of a good start. So a lot of our time has been figuring stuff out, getting to know new clan members, and the early stages of working as a team. Of course the current state… well NDA.

  2. Derrick says:

    Closed beta = awful, for me. I hate them. Mostly, because they’re lots of fun and have the best communities. People playing closed betas play differently than people playing live games, because it’s not “for keeps”. Generally a much more pleasant lot.

    However, gameplay is often irritated by bugs and such, too, so it wears on you a fair bit. What happens then – for me at least – is come live release… I just can’t really get into the game anymore. I’ve already had a good run with it, and with a much better community. Let the asshats in, and it’s just not fun anymore.

    Now, I have to go back to Mechwarrior Online to run amok in a huge stompy robot and kill people. I’m totally in love with this game :)

  3. Spence says:

    Why no bloodbowl in the waitingfordarkfall mix? I started that because of a blog post you wrote and have notched nearly 1k hours ingame.

    • SynCaine says:

      I considered it, but I don’t have the Chaos edition, and when I loaded up Legendary a month or so back it just did not grab me like last time.

  4. Atnor says:

    I agree, after years on years of steady MMO playing, there’s nothing out that’s really grabbing me. I may try a little TSW again soon… it was fun, but I hit a mental wall back around Thanksgiving… and I’ll be giving Darkfall at least a try. I dont see a lot on the horizon to generate much interest in 2013 otherwise though…

    Since then… it’s been hopping through multiple single-player Steam sale titles and waiting for something more interesting to pop up….

    Skyrim’s been on that list… still lots to do there, I ran through Xcom and /agree, I’m kinda played out with it. It is what it is…. I’ve also really (surprisingly!) been enjoying LA Noir and a Sherlock Holmes game I got cheap on steam. Guess I’ve been in that old-timey kinda mood lately.

    I will say…. Crusader Kings II is pretty dang fun, probably my current fav :) I’m looking forward to some more Paradox games in 2013.

  5. Okrane S. says:

    Have you looked at the Neverwinter upcoming MMO. As a fan of the original games it seems like something interesting to check out. However turning a single player into a MMO has a lot of dangers and risks major dissapointments.
    could you comment on that, if you get the time to check it out?

  6. Kyff says:

    What about dusting off you Mount & Blade saves. I’m still waiting for the second chapter of your PoP adventures (Not really).

    Also I find your post quite odd. Not blogging because an NDA is prohibiting it is one thing. But not bloggeng and complaining that there is nothing to play makes me think DF:UW is not keeping you hooked.

    • SynCaine says:

      I keep waiting for PoP 4.0, which I’m not even sure is happening anymore. That or Warband 3 (why has that not happened yet…)

      Because of the NDA I can’t say why DF:UW is not currently occupying my gaming time, but I don’t doubt that it will ‘soon’.

  7. SM says:

    The theme park genre seems to have evolved toward a dead end. But what about Sandboxes — do you think titles like Pathfinder and Greed Monger will reinvigorate the MMO scene?

  8. Korvus says:

    Would it be possible for a post about types of games that make “good” games or “bad” games? I enjoyed your post about your perfect MMO, and always enjoy another persons perspective of good and bad games.

    As another said, maybe debate over why so many theme park games have failed while a small “niche” of sandbox games have thrived; outside of being wowclones??

    • SynCaine says:

      That I could do. If nothing else, it might be a refresher of some of the things I’ve talked about over the years.

      • Korvus says:

        As a side thing about darkfall, how close or unrealistic is this list of things wrong with DF during beta so far?

        • sid6.7 says:

          That list is as more dramatic than reality IMO. It’s pretty much par for course on forumfall. The world is always ending.

          DF1 development was almost a perpetual beta after release anyways and I think it’s rational to think that DF:UW will be similar. If you are expecting a complete game at launch, then you haven’t been paying attention. :)

          That said, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that honestly. That’s what makes the costs and development of a more niche game like this possible.

  9. Colsey says:

    Have you quit playing LoL?

  10. John says:

    Since you mentioned Skyrim, what is your opinion about the Elder scrolls upcoming MMO?Are you optimistic about it? Elder scrolls have a huge and good lore to begin reminds me warcraft somehow when they released the vanilla version..a good lore that many people knew from strategies.

    Can they provide skyrim experience into an MMO? When I play skyrim I am lost into the virtual world..the immersion is top level, but what if next to me there is someone who /yell, another one sitting with his mount on the mailbox, someone asking me to give him some gold, would I still be immersed to the game? Can an MMO be immersive nowdays?

    And I say nowdays, because back in the old days of MMO there was the true gamers. Almost all people who played back then they somehow RP with their character without the label of RP server, e.t.c. I cannot describe it better but the old school gamers could create an immersive world instead of breaking it.

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