Jun 192012

If you’ve read any of my articles, I’ve probably made mention of being a big fan of the MMORPG genre. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, because when I look above my fandom and look at the genre without my rose tinted goggles, I see some very terrible things about them. For all logical reasons, they should give me reason to never want to play them. One could say they are all the same, grinding monsters and quests till you get to the end, and then just doing the same dungeons and what have you over and over to gear up for the next one. One could say that paying a monthly fee is silly for a game you’ve already bought. One could say that the players make up one of the worst fan communities in the nerd world. To the outsider these are probably very true, but for me, I dunno. I feel in my mind I can give counters to each of those statements and I wouldn’t feel bad doing so. It’s an interesting genre for sure, and I’ve played a lot of them, probably at least two thirds of the ones people have heard of. I’ve also played the ones that don’t get much press (Trickster Online anyone?) Well, here are five MMORPG’s that I feel were/are my all time favorites. (So far, I have yet to play the much-hyped Guild Wars 2).

5. Star Wars Galaxies (PRE NGE)

Yes, this game was pretty remarkable at the time. I think its original form could have continued to hold up today. It was very much a sandbox MMORPG. You could play and progress as several non-combat classes like Entertainers or Craftsmen. The progression wasn’t in levels (The Secret World eh?) but in the form of skill trees. You’d level up specific skills and then use that experience to obtain more weapon choices and abilities, and eventually with the right combination of skill trees climbed, unlock advanced classes. This also reminds me of Secret World for some reason. There were no Jedi either, not at first. In the beginning you could find holocrons, and they’d give you clues about how to unlock a force sensitive character slot. The problem is, sometimes these holocrons would lead you to a dead end and you’d have to find another. Some said these quests could take nine months or more to complete, so you can see how this would make player Jedi scarce. But it made sense because the time of the game was between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. So yeah, no hoards of Jedi running around. Another unique thing was that if you died a certain number of times due to other players, your character would permadie. This made it rough to be public about your Jedi. If you were in a guild, they’d probably protect you with in their city walls, and that was another great thing about SWG. Player Cities were an amazing concept. Let me quickly say that Player Bounties were also very much fun. SWG before the “New Game Enhancements” was great.

4. City of Heroes/Villains

This game is a prime example of doing the same thing a lot, but man it was fun. It’s probably still the best Super Hero MMO out there. Champions and DC both have some great things in them, but CoX is hard to beat. I played back before it was Free to Play. I remember staying up all night with Anthem, Nightwave, Red Sprite, and Red Typhoon doing task forces. Unlocking a new power was the key to the game’s appeal for me. Every time I’d earn one, I’d run out on the streets and find someone to use it on. They had a decent amount of power sets to choose from, so there was a lot of customization. Speaking of customizing, CoX has the best character creator hands down. Going free to play has helped the game spread to new fans, as well as give the old fans a cheap way to come back for a few days to relive memories of Paragon City. Adding new powers and still pumping out content, it’s still a fresh game after all these years.

3. Final Fantasy XI

It was the first MMORPG I played for a fair amount of time. Two years if I do recall. It was a unique experience that really felt like Final Fantasy. The game was just so different than other games in the genre. It was such a time consuming game that would devour large chunks of time without even trying. I can remember coming home from work and thinking about how long I’d get to play depending on when I started that night. There was a lot of waiting in the game, especially from some classes. I played a Dark Knight most of the time, and they had a bad rap. Basically bad players were making us look, well bad. I knew I played the class as intended, but until people grouped with me, they didn’t know. The game had some of the best music and wonderful locations. I will never forget it, sometimes I even get that itch to go back, but really it’s not a game I had time for.

2. World of Warcraft

You knew it would show up somewhere. I played for somewhere close to four years. I loved it and sometimes miss it. I think what I miss most are the friends I made in the game, many I still keep in touch with occasionally though I wish it were more. Grouping up with the guild was always fun. Despite people saying the game was Easy Mode, it was fun for me. I experienced challenges and I was rewarded. It’s a game that does a lot of things right, so much so it is often copied. Along with people copying it, there are always people bashing it. WoW gets attacked by so many mmo fans, but at the same time it has the most subscriptions, so it’s obviously doing something right. I have not played WoW since August of last year, and yeah sometimes I think about reinstalling it but usually I don’t. That ship has sailed…. But who knows, Mists of Pandera might be at least worth a try?

1. Star Wars: The Old Republic

Yeah, I said it, but to me, it’s the most fun I’ve had in an MMORPG. Bioware has me wrapped around their finger with this game. With the constant updates, 1.2 being huge and 1.3 around the corner with much requested group finder tool, It has a lot going for it. The future is going to only get better with the stuff they have planned. It’s one of those games, that when I play it, I lose track of time. I have so much I want to do in the game, so I’m always accomplishing something. The worst part of the game is that all the classes are fun in their own way. It’s definitely a game where Alt-itis applies.

There you have it, though it could change over time. There are still a few games coming out I am interested in looking into, so who knows?

Oct 202011

Thanks to our newest member of the team, Adam, I was lucky enough to play in one of Bioware’s Beta Weekends for Star Wars: The Old Republic. It was more than I expected to be honest, which is quite something since my expectations were already so high. I wish I could share more information with you about that time I had, but unfortunately there is an NDA. I can say that in my opinion, it lives up to the hype. There sure is a lot of that going around too. The hype is so huge, I am sure several fans are getting a bad feeling, which makes sense. We have all been burned by over-hyping, one personal experience being with Warhammer. To make matters worse, there is even more hype being tossed around coming straight out of an interview with the co-founders of Bioware at The Gaming Liberty. One such quote had me thinking:


“One of the most common things we’re already hearing is that people seem to find it hard to go back to other MMOs once they play The Old Republic; because there’s a real sense of purpose to everything.”



One of the several MMO's I've played

At first I scratched my head, but then I gave it a little more thought. Ever since that fateful weekend, I have felt a little different. I can remember a while back ago I was able to juggle a few MMOs at a time. City of Heroes, Final Fantasy XI, World of Warcraft, all three of which I would and could play any time I wanted. That’s three MMOs that I spent time on. It might sound like a lot of time, but really with the right management skills you can be active in a couple games and reap the rewards of any “hardcore” player. Even this year I was doubling up on some Rift and WoW but as SWTOR became closer I decided to quit those two games.

Oh Guild Wars 2, maybe some other time I shall get to sample you.

Looking to the future, I am always searching for another MMO to try out. It’s the way of the MMO Junkie, you see. Always looking for the next fix. I had seemingly planned out my next MMORPGs for the coming year. I’d start with Final Fantasy XIV, which turned out to be a train wreck. I would then try out Rift, which wasnt too bad, it was just missing something. Then I’d have Star Wars: The Old Republic. After that, while still playing SWTOR as my main MMO, I’d be trying out Guild Wars 2 as well as that Warhammer 40k MMO. Heck, I’d probably try out The Secret World too. That is, until I played the SWTOR beta. Ever since then I can’t even imagine playing another game. I know I sound absolutely bonkers, but the mere mention of those other games makes me frown that I will have to miss out on them. My sadness quickly fades as I tell myself “Don’t worry, we will have SWTOR, that’s all we need.” It’s so odd to think about JUST playing one MMO. It’s like Gene Simmons finally getting married.

He really got married.

Currently I sit waiting for December. I have two long months to wait until SWTOR comes out. There are plenty of options available for me to play to distract me until then. There are a ton of quality games that have recently gone free to play. You have the standard Lord of The Rings Online, Age of Conan, City of Heroes, and soon Star Trek Online will join them as free to play. As I give them the old college try, I am discouraged and log out. I know its just a temporary game, but it still doesn’t fill that void deep in my MMO soul. It’s a void that SWTOR created and only it can fill. I am not saying SWTOR will be for everyone or that it’s totally groundbreaking, because to be frank it’s not revolutionary or anything. It’s kind of like having a burger at Five Guys. You know there are other burgers out there but no one quite does it like Five Guys. I do know though, that from my experience it entertained the hell out of me and I can’t see myself in a world without it.

SWTOR is the Five Guys of MMOs, Delicious and Crispy Bacon!

Oct 142011

It’s been some time, but I remember a friend of mine and myself were raving about this new fighter that would be coming out called Thrill Kill. The key feature I remember was you could rip your opponents arm off and beat them to death with it and boasted four player action. It was not long after that when we found out the game was cancelled. Of course (thanks to the internet) you can download a leaked version of the game and play it all you want. It’s strange and almost unhealthy… the way you feel when you find out that a game you were so hyped for has been cancelled. Based on all the info you’ve been digging up, all the trailers you’ve watched over and over again, all the magazine clippings you have posted on your cork-board, and that sweet tattoo you planned on getting based on the game’s logo, you’ve put a lot of time and effort to be able to play that game. Now you look at your calender with the huge red arrows and circle around that fateful date and realize, “What now?!” You now have an entire day that at one time was scheduled for you to pick up that game and play it until you passed out on the couch in your underwear. Perhaps you should just shrug and go along with your day and get hyped for another game, but what if that title doesn’t see the light of day?!? You’ve been stung once and it sucked, but maybe it will happen again. Well, let’s all wear our best blacks and mourn five games that could have been great, had they been released.

5. Shenmue 3

yeah, I'm still waiting...

OK! OK! I know, it was never even in development as far as I know, so technically it doesn’t count. BUT since Yu Suzuki had the intention of making this huge episodic story, you’d think he’d finish. With two parts of the story already released and ending in a cliff hanger, HELL YES I EXPECTED THE THIRD TO BE RELEASED BY NOW. You’ve seen me rant and rave about this time and time again so I will cut it short and move along.

4. Mega Man Legends 3

The thing that pisses me off the most about this one is that when the 3DS was announced they gave a list of games that were going to be coming out for the handheld, one of which was in fact Mega Man Legends 3. When I read that, I was sold on the system no matter the price. Call me gullible, but I loved the Legends series so much. I got my Nintendo 3DS, which honestly I am glad I purchased, but my reasons would have been different. The word on the street was that once they released the internet browser, Capcom would allow players to download a prototype of the game and give Capcom tips on what the game needed to improve it. This made my day! I waited happily and patiently and that browser was released. I then heard that once the eShop was released we’d get in on the prototype deal. Again, I waited patiently. The eShop was released and waited for official word. Soon after that we got the terrible news. Mega Man Legends 3 was no more. Fans have tried to rally and resurrect it, but to no avail.

3. Star Wars Battlefront 3

The first Battlefront was alright and a great blueprint for a fun series. A multiplayer shooter in the same vein as the battlefield games. Massive Levels were filled with vehicles and class types for epic Star Wars battles. The sequel gave the series a bit more, adding space battles. The third one looked to be what everyone wanted. Seemless entering of a ship on the surface and flying into orbit to attack enemy ships in space. Even larger battlefields could be filled with even more players, complete with a shiny graphical overhaul. I’m not sure why this one was cancelled, but being a Star Wars fan it definitely caused a great disturbance in the force.

2. Starcraft: Ghost

“Nuclear Launch Detected” is a phrase feared by many StarCraft players. This usually means a Ghost is sneaking into your base and you’re about to get some balls on your chin. Starcraft is such a great realm for games too, but at one point we were going to stray away from that top down view we were so used to. Instead, we were going to be right there in the action. Third person style, you’d be taking control of one of Starcraft’s most notorious units. Going toe to toe with the likes of Zerg and Protoss sounded like such a great premise. Being a Ghost added the frosting to that cake, giving the game some great stealthy type gameplay options. Not sure why Blizzard canned this one, except maybe to focus on Starcraft 2, World of Warcraft, and Diablo 3.

1. True Fantasy Live Online

This might be slightly obscure to many of you, but for me it was the bee’s knees. Strangely before I had a computer capable of playing MMORPG’s I somehow was in love with this style of game. I had Final Fantasy XI on my Playstation 2 which was the only game that I played due to it being on the legendary HDD. My PS2 would not read discs, you see. ANYWAYS, I was so enamored by playing in a virtual world with several other people all doing their own thing or even working together that I’d make excuses to go to my friend’s house just to play Star Wars Galaxies. Of course it was Star Wars too, which made it all the better. We are talking WAY before the NGE too, when SWG was worth playing. I remember seeing an article some where about this MMORPG coming to Xbox. I was freaking out. I had finally broken down and got an Xbox, mainly to play Shenmue 2 and KOTOR but now I felt my purchase even more justified. True Fantasy Live Online looked incredible from the start. Level 5 was making it, which made me want it more. I remember watching videos of it online and it just looked amazing. Witches flying around on brooms, people riding horses and raptor-like creatures, and people cooking in the kitchen. It seemed to boast many things you’d want in a great MMO. The one feature I was a bit unsure of was the voice chat support. I can imagine being in a town getting some quests and then hearing a 12 year old run by on a horse saying revolting things about my mother. Still, I wanted this game bad, man. Like… you won’t even believe it. Back then, this game made me weep. I look back thinking I was silly, but I wanted an MMO fix, but didn’t have the computer to do it. I wanted something different than FFXI, and True Fantasy Live Online looked every bit the part. MMORPGs on the console are still iffy territory. I am curious as to how the new Dragon Quest will play, as for some reason it slightly reminds me of the fallen True Fantasy Live Online.

So there you have it. Though I’d like to show two other games. Thrill Kill (which I spoke of briefly) and Mega Man Universe. Mega Man Universe looked to be fun and addicting. A sort of cross between Mega Man and Little Big Planet. Unfortunately It was canned as well, and frankly I believe we won’t see another Mega Man title for some time. What are some games you remember being hyped up for but were cancelled?

Sep 142010

Many of you have figured out that I sort of have a thing for MMORPG’s. I like to try all the new ones, at least for the first free month, or score a beta pass. Final Fantasy XIV is a little different in that regard as it’s not just the next MMO. It’s far more special to me than that. The reason is that I spent between two and three years playing Final Fantasy XI on my Playstation 2, then to PC, then to Xbox 360. Final Fantasy XIV shares a similar approach to MMO’s as XI did, so I have been taking note and keeping my fingers crossed that I would get into the beta. Continue reading »