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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 6:47 pm   

The WoW, EQ2, and other MMORPG topic
 
By popular demand, here is the blog thread on MMORPGs. To be honest, I've been so busy with zApp that I haven't played WoW in about 2 weeks. I still have loads of fun with it when I have time to play and currently have a level 43 Human Paladin character.

I joined a guild with some friends in the local area and that has added even more fun. People who claim that WoW isn't for groups or guilds are totally wrong. Having a good guild to play with really opened up whole areas of the game that I hadn't experienced as a solo player. There are some really amazing "instance dungeons" for groups that I'd never survive solo.

I've probably only visited about half the world so far. It really is huge. One of these days I'll create a Horde character just to experience parts of the world that are hard to access as an Alliance character. I've still got my entire quest log full of quests, so the content has continued to be very rich, even at level 40. I've never felt the "level grind" at all, although sometimes I fight in easier areas just to collect money and items.

I've made it to Artisan Weaponsmith and am working on the weaponsmith quests. I'm still able to make stuff that is useful and that sells for a reasonable price in the auction house. The economy seems to have stablized and I find myself spending a fair amount of time in the auction house looking for good deals or better equipment.

I still don't find that WoW has the role-playing aspects of the best MUDs that I have played, and I'm playing on a role-playing server (Feathermoon). I couldn't stand the annoying general chat on the normal WoW servers, but the RP server is much better. But it's still not what I'd call "role playing". I have found that the quest design brings out more role-playing than the "fetch this, fetch that" quests in EQ2. But there must be something about typing text on a MUD that encourages more role playing.

So, while WoW is a lot of fun, I still find it very different from MUDding. But it certainly has put a dent into my console game playing. I haven't touched my XBox or PS2 in many months now. Of course, since I'm only playing for a few hours every two weeks or so, I'm a *very* casual player. Might be different for "hard core" players.
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Rorso
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Joined: 14 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 12:41 am   
 
I like the idea of MMRPGs and feel the need to write something. First of all I would like to comment on MUD vs MMRPG. I have read sometimes how people say "MMRPGs are good but roleplay, which is what I like, is better in MUDs". Still they play the MMRPG which is a great mystery.

Also some say that they play MMRPGs to "attack some" and then quit. They don't have to play as much as in a MUD. In my opinion this is not really the truth though. There is no reason levelling in MUDs should be slower than in MMRPGs. It all depends on how the particular MUD and its staff/players want it to work. There is also yet a bonus with MUDs. You can play them while you work so you can stay somewhat productive even during play. Compare this to a MMRPG which usually runs fullscreen and uses a lot of computing resources which makes multitasking less fun.

So why are MMRPGs so popular? First it is obvious they are advertised more than MUDs. Most text games are run for free by individuals in their spare time which cant afford advertising.

The second reason is probably graphical appeal. If graphics was unimportant we wouldn't have to constantly upgrade graphics cards to play the latest games.

There is one more reason which is something I have pondered on now and then, and that is comprehension. A lot of things can be represented as text. We could describe exact images as ones, and zeros but showing those numbers on screen doesn't tell us much what image we look at. I think a MMRPG might enable the player to grasp more information, and much quicker than in a MUD. This is something a MUD would have tough to compete with.

While I think MMRPGs are fun I also like MUDs. I often ponder on how MUDs could be "saved", and the only way I have found is for them not to compete with MMRPGs. As long as the games are seen as "either you play the MUD or the MMRPG" people will likely chose the MMRPG (well I play more MUD at times :P). If on the other hand you can consider to play both and see them as different kinds of games then I think both genres can stay popular.

Btw I find it very odd they call it "Worlds Of Warcraft". Wasn't Warcraft a strategy game? Sounds a bit like trademark abuse to increase hype :-).
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 5:26 am   
 
If you played WoW, you would understand the connection. It's the same world from the strategy series, the same races, locations from the strategy game, and a whole backstory for the world. And the graphical style is just amazing. Some people have called it "cartoony", but that's wrong. It just has an artistic style that is very much like what you'd imagine the Warcraft universe being like. Realistic, but in an exaggerated way. In many ways, WoW does the best job matching the game to the world they have created. Take as the opposite example "Star Wars Galaxies" which doesn't feel *anything* like playing in the Star Wars universe.

But back to your other points, I think you can make a valid comparison with Books vs Movies. Movies make a *lot* more money than books, just like MMORPGs make a lot more money than MUDs. But there are still plenty of people who enjoy books. I enjoy both books and movies...they serve different purposes, just like MUDs and MMORPGs serve different purposes.

In a way, the success of the huge blockbuster movie has moved the gaming industry towards the big epic graphical games and away from text games. The console game machines also move in that direction since for many young people it's the first game experience that they have. Older people like myself have fond memories of growing up with text adventures, like Zork and Adventure. Most new gamers have never played those and have been so spoiled by the technology and the "instant gratification" from video games and movies that they wouldn't even be able to sit still long enough to understand why those games were fun. Some of my most vivid mental images have come from those classic Infocom games.

The fact that fewer people will play a text game is similar, I think, to the fact that fewer people are reading than ever before. It's sad, but we all cause it to happen ourselves. I'm as guilty as anyone in that I enjoy playing console games and going to big epic movies.

I personally play console games, and play solo MMORPGs simply because I only have time to play 2-3 hours at a time. Back when I used to MUD, I would play for at least 6 hours in a sitting. It's like getting together a group in a MMORPG...it takes time to get people organized to go on whatever quest you are planning. I just don't have that kind of time anymore. That's one of the main reasons the game market is dominated by younger people. It's not that older people don't like video games...we just have a lot more constraints on our time. Back when I was in college, even with a heavy class load I had *much* more leisure time than I do now.

Finally, I do have to admit that sometimes I do really enjoy the graphics. The graphics in WoW are just amazing and it's the first game world that I really feel totally immersed in when I'm playing. They just get all of the little details right. It's a pleasure to just run around and see different places. Horizons had a bit of that aspect also, but there wasn't enough fun game play. The WoW quest system really encourages exploration like few games have before. But it's one of the few games of *any* type (console, PC, anything) where I have just stopped playing to look at the screen at certain points just to gawk at the incredible art. It's only been within the last 2-3 years that computer hardware was capable of achieving that kind of quality, and the artists creating the worlds have the necessary experience and skills to make it happen.

And I *totally* agree with you that the way for MUDs to be successful is to continue being *different* from MMORPGs. If they try to directly compete, they will get trashed. I hate MUDs that try to add graphics, for example. MUDs should be stretching the limits of story telling, role playing, skill-based systems, etc. They should be narrow and deep while MMORPGs are broad and shallow.
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theNerd
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Joined: 01 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:00 am   
 
I miss the old text adventures. I remember Zork, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galazy, Scott Adam's Adventures (like Voodoo Castle)... They were awesome.

I also miss the Apple II - built-in Basic (remember Integer Basic?) and Assembler/Disassembler.

Code:
] Call -151
* l 1000-1050


(*whipes a tear from his eye*)
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Zugg
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Joined: 25 Sep 2000
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:14 am   
 
I never had an Apple ][, but my best friend worked at Apple in the early days and had one. We had a blast on that...such a funky system. Never actually programmed on it though. Didn't really program until I started building my own Z80-based computer and writing my own operating system in assembler. Then eventually graduated to a CPM-based system where I ran Turbo Pascal from Borland for the very first time. 1981 I think it was.

And if we are reliving fond memories, I think the funniest game I have *ever* played was "Bureaucracy" by InfoCom which was written by Douglas Adams (of Hitchhikers Guide fame). There was a sequence dealing with standing in lines to get a ticket or something, and the other line always moved faster. And the way it was described had me rolling on the floor laughing. An obscure game that few people played, but I remember it to this day.

And I'm still a big fan of the text-based "Rogue" clones, such as Hack, Moria, and the classic Rogue. I burned a lot of my mainframe computer account hours in college on that.
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MattLofton
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:29 am   
 
Quote:

They should be narrow and deep while MMORPGs are broad and shallow.


Why? I mean, I can see why from a Zuggsoft perspective but why should MMOs not try to draw in the MUD crowd when technology finally allows them to cater to their needs? I do agree that some just prefer text, but most of the complaints I've seen tend to be more about lack of RP, lack of choice (ie, the graphics interfere with my imagination), stuff that really isn't immutably impossible in an MMO.
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theNerd
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:40 am   
 
Zugg, here's a good place to get all those old games: http://www.the-underdogs.org
They have tons of abandonware and if they can't legally allow you to download it you get a link to where you can get it.

I started playing Bureaucracy a long time ago but didn't get too far. It had nothing to do with the game. I started playing it and then life got too busy and then I never returned to it.

Not too long ago I was checking out Rogue clones on the Internet just to see if I could appreciate them still. I noticed that some are trying to implement primative graphics but I didn't find it added too much. After fiddling with them for a bit I felt that sometimes things are better left in the past. I have to admit I am spoiled with the graphics in Morrowind Very Happy
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theNerd
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 5:55 am   
 
Zugg wrote:
...writing my own operating system in assembler.

That sounds like fun. Hey, I have an idea! How about a zApp based operating system? Laughing

Oh, and I finally got my DSL setup late today. It's a lot faster than my dial-up but I'm still a little dissapointed by the speed. I thought it would be faster but I guess I can't complain. I'm lucky to have this where I live Very Happy
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Rorso
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Joined: 14 Oct 2000
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2005 11:12 am   
 
MattLofton wrote:
Quote:

They should be narrow and deep while MMORPGs are broad and shallow.


Why? I mean, I can see why from a Zuggsoft perspective but why should MMOs not try to draw in the MUD crowd when technology finally allows them to cater to their needs? I do agree that some just prefer text, but most of the complaints I've seen tend to be more about lack of RP, lack of choice (ie, the graphics interfere with my imagination), stuff that really isn't immutably impossible in an MMO.

I agree that amazing things are possible with graphical games today. There's more to look at though when talking about MMRPGs.

An odd benefit a MUD has is that it often has a smaller amount of players which enables you to do a lot more things that a MMRPG simply can't. Want to be a hero? Want to save a world? Well in an MMRPG a lot more people want that as well, but in a MUD it'll be possible to balance it easier (Consider a game with a large amount of players and a small amount of roles. That the distribution isn't even makes matters even worse as everyone could chose the hero slot and leave the other roles alone.).

Some time ago we had an event in the MUD I play which was pretty fun. We simply let a clan take over the main city and changed the descriptions accordingly. That is we let the players start shaping the MUD and its story.

You won't see much like that happen in a MMRPG. Not even in many MUDs because currently many MUDs don't take full advantage of their medium. Stuff can change fast in a MUD while in an MMRPG artists have to draw new things. It doesn't get much better there either as usually an "expansion pack" is released which cost money(and then limits you to which areas you may visit Mad. Imagine roleplaying there where your character can't go to some area because you haven't bought the expansion... How to express it in roleplay?). So it is very unlikely they would change a large part of the game world because a player does something. After all they would probably have to send out some huge patch and bandwidth isn't free.

This is part of the depth of MUDs. A single player can enter the game and change its future for both good and bad. In a MMRPG you are just one of many. While in a MUD you can often even chat with the developers to get some insight on how things work, or perhaps give suggestions on how they should.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 6:06 pm   
 
Rorso raises a good point. MUDs are the only place you'll see extensive contributions from *players*. One of the best MUD experiences I had was when our guild on a MUD got it's own headquarters area. We were able to design up to ten rooms I think, and the descriptions and objects we designed were added to the MUD.

Sure, some MMORPGs have tried housing. But regular players do not have the skills to design great graphics. But since almost everyone can write text, it's easier for players to customize a text game.

Your example of a guild changing a whole city is great. That would be a lot of fun. So yes, that's an element that MUDs should utilize more in order to distinguish themselves from the graphical games.
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Rainchild
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Joined: 10 Oct 2000
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Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 2:02 am   
 
We've actually just started a player-created town on our MUD, and I definately think that the player input makes them feel more involved etc... my idea of a perfect MMO is something akin to that... dump people in a new world and have them colonize it, build infrastructure, fight off local terrors, etc... would be super cool to have that in-depth ability to change the world in a world that looked as good as EQ2's or WoW's.

I still play EQ2 - mostly because I love the way combat/etc works. I play an illusionist as my main and mezzing is so much fun! My flatmate just cancelled his EQ2 account for WoW though, and I've been watching him play every now and then. The stylistic graphics really do grow on you... Thundering Steppes suddenly looks very plain compared to the richness of environment that WoW offers.

We in Australia are getting the short end of the EQ2 maintenance stick with daily reboots happening in the middle of our evening... it's almost driven me to cancel my account and go WoW as well, but I just can't bring myself to... I love my toons (funny that we call them that), plus there seems to be latency issues with WoW... at least my flatmate keeps getting regular drop-outs.

I'm keeping an eye on dark and light... it looks like a very interesting idea, complete with the ability to hang-glide where you like (rather than set griffin paths) so it could be quite a lot of fun from the exploring part.

One of the things that I think MMO's do better than MUD's is the combat system. I know from an observer standpoint it seems like 'button mashing', but I find the intricacy of combat really interesting. The tank has to keep his hate level up on the mob or it'll start whacking on the cleric, the cleric needs to use wards and heals to keep the tank alive, the mage needs to maintain DOTs as well as nuke, the enchanter stuns and debuffs the mob plus mezzes anything that walks in, the rogue has to move behind the mob and stab it being mindful that the mob will turn around and smack them if they do too much damage.... it's so much more interesting than 'north & kill cyclops & bash & bash & bash & bash' or 'assist tank & cast burning hands & cast burning hands & cast burning hands' heh... '1.dot, debuff, 1.nuke, 1.stun, start HO, 2.nuke, 2.dot, 1.nuke, 2.stun, 2.nuke' ... it's very cool.

I keep saying to myself 'I need to start upgrading the MUD from 1980's style to 2005 style'. Nobody want's to hear Phil Collins anymore, and nobody want's to spam burning hands anymore either, or play the same old tired classes. But finding the motivation to do such a massive change when I could just play EQ2 is a bit hard at times ;)
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Rorso
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:03 am   
 
Rainchild wrote:

I keep saying to myself 'I need to start upgrading the MUD from 1980's style to 2005 style'. Nobody want's to hear Phil Collins anymore, and nobody want's to spam burning hands anymore either, or play the same old tired classes. But finding the motivation to do such a massive change when I could just play EQ2 is a bit hard at times ;)

I think I know how you feel. For the last 3 years or so I have been planning to make a new kind of MUD. Yet not much has happened. Instead my annoyance towards the MUD community has grown as I continue to see pointless flames as fast as someone announces a new project to save the game type. Today I hope to be able to write down more in my design document so that I soon can start coding it.

There are limits to what a combat system can do in a text game. This is partly what I meant with your ability to comprehend more in a graphical world above. Also this is exactly what the entire MUD issue currently is about in my opinion. We can't make MUDs that tries to be World of Warcraft or Everquest. Their combat systems will likely not work well in text mode.

Instead I think that the amount of combat has to be decreased. Ask yourself if WoW/EQ would be worth playing alone as a single player game. Chances are you'll answer "no" after some pondering. A lot of these games seem to work just because of players interacting with eachothers. Even MUDs. If there's no other players online you'll have to do the leveling alone which atleast I find to be pretty boring after a while. Sometimes I ask myself if the entire purpose of the game is to increase levels instead of having fun.

Nowadays the MUD I play is sadly pretty empty but what I have noticed is that new players seldom stay for long. The players that used to play the game have mentioned that their reason not to play is "because no one else is online". My guess is that that means that the game doesn't work well as a singleplayer game. I even believe this to be the reason to the old reasoning that "you have to have players to get players".
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 7:59 am   
 
I actually love playing WoW as a single-player game. That's because of it's excellent quest system, and the fact that exploring is really fun. With getting a large amount of experience from doing quests, I never find myself "grinding for levels". The tricky part is making a fun quest system. I was disappointed by the quests in EQ2 because they were mostly "fetch me this" quests where you had to travel back and forth between the various zones. In WoW, there are large epic chained quests that cross zones, but there are plenty of quests within a single zone. Some are "kill x monsters", some are "collect x item drops", some are "fetch this". But they all have a nice story that goes with them, and the fact that many of them chain towards larger and more difficult quests make them feel more worthwhile.

So I think a good quest system would be a must in a MUD.

Another advantage that a MUD has over a MMORPG that MUDs should exploit more is the ability to have player-led or DM-led quests. Because there are so many people on a MMORPG, this just doesn't work well. But on a MUD with only 100 players or so, a DM-led quest can be a blast. I've only participated in a few of these, and they were some of the most fun I ever had on MUDs. So, designing a MUD system that would make this kind of event easier would be a great advantage.
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nexela
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:16 pm   
 
I guess the main reason that I don't play Games like EQ2/WoW has to do with paying to play. Not that I wish they were free, even though I do. But I just can't afford to play em.
After reading through this thread and seing the comparisons to MMORPGs and MUDs I couldn't help but list some reasons why I play www.legendmud.org sorry if this seems like plug but its so much like a fancy graphic MMORPG that I just had to do something.

1. Consistency in an ever changing world. No blinking text, No Mudschool, 100% completely unique areas, weekly updates. Player housing.
2. Quests Quests and more Quests. Hundreds of unique quests. Some that take a minute to complete, some a few hours or even days, and even a few that you need friends for. And most of the quests have a story tied to them.
3. Some Big Mobs that take a group strategy and thinking before hand to deal with. If you just wanna kil, bash, bash its prolly gonna be your corpse Im retrieving next.
4. Immortal Run Events and Games. Everything from Tinyplots (RP stories), Easter egg hunts, and scavenger hunts. And of course Mortals can choose to run events too.
5. Free Form Clan system.
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 6:58 pm   
 
Too bad their info on zMUD is out of date. Calls it "zMUD for Windows 95" and doesn't even mention the MCCP support.

Oh well, the features you mention sound good and are exactly the kinds of things MUDs should be concentrating on.
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Rorso
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2005 8:11 am   
 
nexela wrote:
I guess the main reason that I don't play Games like EQ2/WoW has to do with paying to play. Not that I wish they were free, even though I do. But I just can't afford to play em.
After reading through this thread and seing the comparisons to MMORPGs and MUDs I couldn't help but list some reasons why I play www.legendmud.org sorry if this seems like plug but its so much like a fancy graphic MMORPG that I just had to do something.

Check my signature Rolling Eyes.

Quote:

1. Consistency in an ever changing world. No blinking text, No Mudschool, 100% completely unique areas, weekly updates. Player housing.
2. Quests Quests and more Quests. Hundreds of unique quests. Some that take a minute to complete, some a few hours or even days, and even a few that you need friends for. And most of the quests have a story tied to them.
3. Some Big Mobs that take a group strategy and thinking before hand to deal with. If you just wanna kil, bash, bash its prolly gonna be your corpse Im retrieving next.
4. Immortal Run Events and Games. Everything from Tinyplots (RP stories), Easter egg hunts, and scavenger hunts. And of course Mortals can choose to run events too.
5. Free Form Clan system.

This sounds pretty amazing for a free MUD. It even sounds a bit similar to the MUD I have planned to create. You aren't making this up are you? Wink

This is great news as I have been in a bit of a bad mood when it comes to MUD. What seems like a constantly shrinking mud-counter at the mudconnector doesn't feel as bad now. The MUDs I have played so far have been pretty small. That's why they often get long periods where barely anyone plays them.

Something I would like to see as well in such a quality MUD are things like MXP. One thing I think mmrpgs and graphical games really have evolved is the graphical user interface. Often today you barely get any manual because the game is so easy to figure out anyway. It just makes sense which button to press and when (most of the time).
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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 5:50 am   
 
How interesting, the new Xbox 360 will be getting Final Fantasy 11 MMO ... seems a bit odd to release an old game onto the new machine, but maybe it'll have some graphical upgrades?

I think the PS3 won't get much MMO content due to it not having a hard drive to store patches.

Anyway, E3 news aside... Everquest 2 has been hurting me and the Australian communities by having scheduled downtime most nights for 1-2 hours starting 9pm... which means I'm about one more downtime away from cancelling my account and finding a new game.

I've got a WoW trial key off a friend so will be giving that a go over the next couple of weeks, but I was also rather interested in what Guild Wars had to offer... has anyone played Guild Wars yet? What do you think of it? Do they have a free trial program too, or do I have to buy the game to try it?
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Zugg
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 6:20 pm   
 
I was going to post about Guild Wars too. I got it and I like it quite a bit. It has a very different philosophy than normal MMORPGs. You reach the level cap quickly (all leveling is basically training). So everyone is the same level with the same hit points. But everyone has different skills. From your potential list of over a hundred skills, you can choose to use 8 at any given time.

So, it sometimes has a feel of Magic the Gathering where you are improving your "deck". PVP battles become a matter of *skill* with your skills, rather than all about who has been playing the longest and who is the highest level. You don't get level 60's ganking level 30's in this game.

The graphics are very good. I'd say they are on par with EQ2 in terms of what EQ2 looks like on most normal computer systems. And yet the system requirements for Guild Wars is quite low. I have had *no* lag at all. All areas are instanced, so you are alone in exploring the world, except in towns and outposts. I was initially very worried about this, but have found it to be just fine. Having everyone else in town makes it feel like a MMORPGs, but just having your own party in the wilderness prevents camping, kill stealing and all of those other problems. And there are enough NPCs to still make the world seem populated.

As a solo player, I love the feature where you can add computer-controlled henchman to create a party. This allows you to complete missions without other real players, and the computer AI is quite good. It's nice to have a healer along all the time so that I don't have to waste my own skill set on healing, for example. And the computer healer is probably quicker and more reliable than most human healers I have quested with.

There is no free trial. You can download the client from their site, and once you have the client you can even pay for a registration key online, so you don't really need to buy it in a store. However, there is no free trial. Apparently they had some free trial weekends during the beta test, but that's over now.

Of course, there are no monthly fees, which has attracted all of the expected types of players (good and bad) to this game.

I'm at level 12, so I haven't gotten to the level 20 cap yet, and haven't done much with PVP, so there is still a lot for me to learn. I probably still prefer WoW over Guild Wars, but since there are no monthly fees, Guild Wars has probably earned a semi-permanent spot on my hard disk for now.

Given the fact that WoW has not addressed many of it's problems after 6 months, and the PVP Honor system they added has ruined many of their servers for normal players, I'd probably actually recommend looking at Guild Wars first. At least the monetary investment is lower.
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Rainchild
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PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 12:48 am   
 
I have a 10 day free trial of WoW that a friend gave me, so the monetary investment is zero at this point.... here's my feelings after Day 1... I've got to level 6 as a mage.

1) I found the interface / controls a bit uncomfortable compared to the EQ2 ones, I think the biggest beef is the WSAD movement is 'avatar relative' eg if you spin the camera to face your character, then push 'W' instead of your avatar turning around and walking away from the camera, you keep walking straight into the camera... I found that really weird / annoying given how it works on most of the other games I've played. The interface itself wasn't as intuitive as EQ2's, it didn't have the "start" menu which could get you used to all the shortcuts etc... plus some of the nice things are missing (eg the quest window and the list of socials that you can perform, etc)

2) It didn't feel as polished as EQ2... for example:
* there weren't animations for over half of my socials and some of them used the same animation for multiple socials (when I actually found the list)
* I couldn't find in-game documentation / knowledge base but maybe I didn't look hard enough... it seemed that you had to launch a browser to find out the info you wanted.
* NPC's didn't have voice actors (I like my quests being read out to me, and it's odd.. because diablo / starcraft / wc3 all had voice actors for those quests, so seems a bit lazy that WoW didn't get any).
* skills came slowly and in bunches... like, I got no spell at level 3, and instead got create water and an ice spell at 4... why not give me water at 3, and ice at 4? Just seemed a bit tacky, I like the 1-or-more-spells-per-level concept that EQ2 uses. Also, I don't like having to find a trainer when I level up... but that's a mechanic I have lived with before, so I can deal... just think that gaining the skill at the time of levelling makes it feel more like you acomplished something cool, not 'grumble, now I have to go find a trainer'.

3) The patcher, frankly, sucked. I was faced with having to download 1.4.0 via their bit torrent thing which saturates your upload bandwidth therefore limiting your download bandwidth. It looked like it was going to take all day to download so I searched for the patch on the web and fortunately found a site that I could download it from in under 10 mins. Then it took ages to patch. Then I went in and it told me 'downloading patch 1.4.1' so I had to restart and take ages to patch 1.4.0 to 1.4.1. Then I went in, and it told me 'downloading patch 1.4.2' so I had to restart and take ages to patch 1.4.1 to 1.4.2. It won't be so bad now that I've got to the right patch, they should be less of a hassle, but a new person buying the game would be pretty annoyed, I think. Also it was tacky that the initial install was over 4 CD's instead of 1 DVD (but maybe that's an Aussie thing?).

4) My latency was worse than I'm used to, I usually have a 200ms ping to EQ2, but to WoW I had around 500ms ... it made looting corpses a little weird, that you would click the loot icons then wait a half second and receive the items, but I can live with that. I had one drop-out when I went into the auction house in ironforge. I hear it's a fairly common thing to get drop-outs in the auction houses due to overcrowding?

5) I had some real problems with lighting... when I was facing the sun my facial features went like an overexposed photo shot so you couldn't see the nose or mouth very well... turn away from the sun then the face was too shadowed and the problem kinda reversed itself, the nose blended with the shadow and looked noseless again... I tried adjusting gamma but it didn't help.

6) I had fun for the first time in over a week... though creating a newbie on EQ2 can be fun too, so it might just be 'newbie fun' that I'm experiencing... we'll see as my trial progresses. I found that I levelled slower as a newbie on WoW but I didn't really mind that... also, it was nice not having to do the same-old citizenship quest and class quest that has kinda reduced the replayability of EQ2.

7) I really liked the seamless world, it felt rude giving me a loading screen as I was accessing the tram to ironforge... you expect loading screens with EQ2 so it doesn't feel as bad as a loading screen inside an otherwise seamless world... how hard would it be to make that tram station connected to the world?

8) EQ2 went down for 2 hours during the time I was playing WoW... which isn't something that most people have to deal with, but it's a very important factor here in Aussie.

9) The graphics on WoW, while nowhere near the 'real life' quality or polygon count of EQ2 weren't that bad. I found some of the monsters a bit 'cutesy' for my current tastes, but I've played enough final fantasy in the past to not be annoyed about that kinda of thing... due to the lower polygon count more impressive things could be achieved too... like the canopy of the forest in the night elf land and the soaring ceilings of ironforge. You don't really see anything like that in EQ2 which is kinda a pity because it would look good. The downside is your avatar doesn't look quite as cool, but that hasn't bothered me too much.

10) There seems to be a TON more gear in WoW, so you can really look different... I hated that about EQ2, every mage is wearing the same old robe... well my mage in WoW is wearing a shirt and pants and it's really nice to not be in robes for a change.

11) I haven't done any grouping yet to see what grouped combat is like and how agro / taunting / etc works... but solo it seems OK... I killed a named spider 1 level higher than me using ice spells to slow it and kite it around... a named in EQ2 usually meant instant death unless you were in a group. I didn't get any loot from said named spider though.

So that's my WoW trial update... at this stage I'm not hooked on it, and probably will also give Guild Wars a go... but my first night of WoW didn't wow me enough to cancel my account on EQ2 and defect, obnoxious downtime or not...

------------------------------

On to Guild Wars... (will use alphas to number these questions and numerics on wow hehe)

A) My box is capable of running "Extreme Quality" in EQ2 in everywhere but the city zones, so how do you think the graphics compare at that level?

B) It looks like there's a lot of different armor in the game... is that right? Can you look unique?

C) I heard that you had to go on missions, that you couldn't just walk out of the city and wander the wilderness and walk up to another city or what not.. is that true? You can only adventure on predetermined missions? Does that mean a lack of content to explore?

D) Is the PvE combat fun, or is the game really designed around PvP?

.... that's all for now :)
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Kiasyn
Apprentice


Joined: 05 Dec 2004
Posts: 196
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 1:28 am   
 
Rainchild wrote:

3) The patcher, frankly, sucked. I was faced with having to download 1.4.0 via their bit torrent thing which saturates your upload bandwidth therefore limiting your download bandwidth. It looked like it was going to take all day to download so I searched for the patch on the web and fortunately found a site that I could download it from in under 10 mins. ...

:P from new zealand the patch thing downloaded a lot faster then I achieve normally... and I have a pretty decent connection.

Rainchild wrote:

4) My latency was worse than I'm used to, I usually have a 200ms ping to EQ2, but to WoW I had around 500ms ... it made looting corpses a little weird, that you would click the loot icons then wait a half second and receive the items, but I can live with that. I had one drop-out when I went into the auction house in ironforge. I hear it's a fairly common thing to get drop-outs in the auction houses due to overcrowding?

Latency hasn't really seemed to matter much in my playing... I rarely drop below 400ms and it doesn't make a difference. Most of the lag I experience during play is cuz my computer is a piece of crap. (and doesn't have enough ram).
_________________
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Owner of Legends of Drazon
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Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 1:49 am   
 
Quote:

:P from new zealand the patch thing downloaded a lot faster then I achieve normally... and I have a pretty decent connection.


I pulled down the patch at 350 kbytes/second from www.ausgamers.com ... much faster than the torrent which was giving me 20kbytes/second...

Quote:

Latency hasn't really seemed to matter much in my playing... I rarely drop below 400ms and it doesn't make a difference. Most of the lag I experience during play is cuz my computer is a piece of crap. (and doesn't have enough ram).


Usually latency doesn't matter that much, its just annoying... spells don't cast instantly, corpses are slow to loot, etc... as for framerate my PC is weapon enough to run max settings and not lag so maybe I have to get picky about the smaller things ;) Though it doesn't explain why I got dropped out in the auction house when my flatmate (on the same connection) was unaffected in a different part of ironforge (the same city)...
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 5:57 pm   
 
Great points!

1) You'll get used to the interface. I actually find the movement in EQ2 to be more clumsy than WoW, so it's mainly what you are used to I think. However, the WoW interface is *totally* customizeable. If you get into it, you'll find a ton of 3rd party plugins that you can add to customize your interface. I use a bunch to rearrange buttons, control my buffs, and generally add a bunch of stuff that the game should have already had. Yeah, it's bad that some stuff isn't built in, but it's really nice that they have a published interface for plugins and seem to support that. I use something called "Gypsy", "FlexBar", and "SelfCast".

2) Actually, for an online game, the voice in EQ2 is a very new and unique feature. That's why EQ2 ships on something like 9 CDs instead of the 2 or 3 of WoW. Voice takes a ton of space. And honestly, I found the voice acting in EQ2 really variable. And some quests still didn't have any voice. Sure, it might be nice to see, but since I find the quests in WoW a lot more interesting, I don't mind reading them.

Yeah, documentation is bad. No question about that. And yes, skills seem to come in bunches, which I also find annoying. I have a Druid character and I get a bunch of skills every 2 levels. Don't know why they couldn't have spread that out a bit.

3) Yes and Yes! The patcher is horrible and slow, even in the US on a fast connection. It's one of the things a lot of people complain about that they have never dealt with (and probably never will). Then again, it works better than the system that Asheron's Call used to use (which seemed to break every couple of months). Guild Wars seems to have a more seemless patching system that updates on the fly and in the background.

4) Lag and latency are the biggest problems in WoW. If you are on a PVP server, the lag in towns where the big raid battles occur make the game unplayable. But even on a non-PVP server, the lag during corpse or chest looting is really bad. They seem to have separate modules, so while you are lagged (for several minutes!!!) looting a corpse, another mob can spawn and kill you. I've died many times like this. When you get to the Auction House in Ironforge, it will get even worse. I've never seen lag like this that can last several minutes before. It's been like this since the beta and Blizzard just doesn't seem to be able to fix it. I think it must be a fundamental design flaw. It's probably the biggest thing that annoys me about WoW. I also get disconnected for no reason once every few days. Then you have to wait about a minute before you can log in again because it still thinks your character is already in the game.

Anyway, I wanted to emphasize that the lag/latency isn't like any other game. I *never* get lag moving around the world, and rarely when killing monsters. It's the lag that happens sometimes when you loot a corpse that is bad. Games should *never* get stuck for several minutes. And it's definitely a database issue since when it happens you can still chat, and you'll typically see a bunch of messages in the general chat asking if everyone else is lagged. It's so common in the auction house that people don't even chat about it anymore. So it really has nothing to do with what part of a zone you are in...it seems to be the database system that controls your inventory, or the overall item inventory for the game. Doesn't have anything to do with your network connection either. Nobody really understands it (including Blizzard), but when it happens, it's horrible and very frustrating.

5) Hmm, haven't noticed any lighting issues here. Might be a graphics card difference. I've got a ATI Radeon card and haven't changed any of the settings.

6) Yeah, this is exactly the point that keeps me coming back. It's actually fun. And it seems to stay that way for many many levels (still having fun at level 40). And each character class is completely different. When I got a bit bored of my Paladin, I created a Druid and it was like having fun all over again. The newbie areas are split by race, so if you pick a different race, you get a whole different starting area and completely different starting quests. A Night-Elf Druid starts on the opposite side of the world from a Human Paladin, so the content has been completely different. A couple of races share the same starting area, but I think there are at least 4 different areas.

7) You will get a short loading screen whenever you enter an "instance". And instance is a copy of a zone like they do in EQ2 to prevent overcrowding. Most instances are group-only dungeons, and I've never really understood why the Tram is an instance. It's one of the few exceptions to this that I have seen. But at least the loading screens are very quick, especially compared to EQ2. I really hated the loading time in EQ2.

8) Well, Wow goes down most all day every Tuesday, so it might not be any better. At least it doesn't seem to go down much during prime-time playing.

9) Yeah, I still love the graphics in WoW. I love exploring new areas just to see the new scenery. And I find the Avatar good enough for my tastes...there are a *lot* of ways to change the look of your Avatar.

10) Yeah, tons of gear is great. It's something they took from Diablo where there was always great loot to be found. I really like loot. I hated Star Wars Galaxies because you didn't get loot from corpses.

11) Lots of options for this kind of stuff in groups. There are skills dedicated to controlling agro and it can become really important in the big instance dungeons. The big instance dungeons are like a whole new game and need to be experienced to be appreciated. It's too bad they are just for groups, but it's worth getting a random group just to see some of the stuff they put into the instances. I'd say that the group controls are at least as good as EQ2, and never really understood why everyone always claimed that WoW was "solo only". The one thing they are missing is the combos that you could set up in EQ2.

Guild Wars:

A) The graphics won't be as good as EQ2, nor will they have the artistic quality of WoW. But the graphics are very exceptable. My only complaint so far is that after starting in the nice green world of the newbie area, you then spend a lot of time in the "wasteland" areas, which gets a bit boring. I'm told there is spectacular scenery later on in the game that I haven't gotten to yet.

B) Each class has unique armor. For example, my Ranger can only wear leather, and will always look completely different from a Mesmer or Warrior. However, I don't see much variety *within* a class. Most Rangers look about the same, for example. Definitely a weak point of the game so far, but at level 12 I haven't seen a lot yet. But I saw a web site showing the different armor you can buy in different towns, and it all seems to look the same. You *can* dye different parts of the armor, and that gives somewhat different looks. Still, nothing like WoW or EQ2.

C) You *can* just wander into the wilderness and walk to another town. In fact, you almost have to do this at least one to find each town. Once you find a town, then you can just teleport to it by double-clicking on the map. But if you like wandering around outside, you can certainly do this. However, the zones don't feel as wide-open as WoW. It's more like the zones of EQ2 (and yes, there are short loading screens between zones). Sometimes, especially in missions, you feel pretty constrained to a specific path. It's not like WoW where you can just jump off mountains, or swim in the ocean.

D) I haven't done any PVP at all yet. I find the PVE to be just as interesting as most games. Since I've just tried one class so far, and haven't gotten to level 20, I can't really compare, but there seem to be a *lot* of skills, and figuring out which skills to choose for your current 8 skills is tricky. I tried all of the different classes during the newbie area, and found them pretty similar. For the most part there are skills for healing, melee attack, ranged attack, spells, etc. The Ranger gets a pet, which I have found useful. And I really like adding the henchmen for PVE missions. They claim that there are a ton of PVE areas when you reach level 20 that keep the game interesting, but I haven't gotten there yet.
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Rainchild
Wizard


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 1551
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2005 11:40 pm   
 
Well, here's my final take....

WoW was fun, but it didn't encourage me to group which I found a weak point... then again EQ2 has gone the way of the soloist now too which is pretty lame.

EQ2 solo is crap. WoW solo is fun. EQ2 groups rule the roost... sadly, EQ2 in Australia sucks due to downtimes.

I bought Guild Wars... it's got some cute ideas and does feel rather diablo inspired. I have only gotten to level 7 so far... and am experimenting with other classes... I like how you can choose a second class to widen your skill set. I'm still deciding on which character I like best... I have a ranger, monk, elementalist and necromancer... and can't decide which one I like the best -- they are all funky.

I don't think replayability will be that good, since you start in the same spot each time... but then replayabilty wasn't good on EQ2 either. I think WoW had better potential for alt characters since each race had a really unique starting place which were pretty far apart. This also was a really bad thing, because I wanted to play human mage and my girl was playing elf druid I had to get all the way to elf land to group, and then there wasn't a mage trainer anywhere over there, which sucked.

So I guess the bottom line is no MMO rules the roost, each of them have their pitfalls...

As for me... I think I'll play Guild Wars and assorted other games (Children of the Nile, Driv3r, GTA San Andreas, etc) and spend more time with my MUD until EQ2 gets fixed, or D&D online gets released...
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Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 6:02 am   
 
Yep, you are exactly right...each one is a bit different and will appeal to different people.

I've actually gotten a bit bored with Guild Wars right now. Tired of fighting the same scorpians in missions over and over again. And I'm getting tired of the "Wasteland" world. I find myself going back to WoW just for the expansive gameworld and graphics.

If you find a guild in WoW that you like, the game really changes. I finally joined a guild of some local friends and we are having a blast doing the instance dungeons now. A lot better than just getting a random group together.

I *hope* Turbine does a good job with D&D online. I'm worried that they bit off more than they could handle with taking D&D *and* Middle Earth Online, while still trying to keep both AC1 and AC2 going (both with new expansion packs).
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Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2005 2:08 pm   
 
Reading so much about gaming here made me get an idea. Would any of you forum-posters want to play some Neverwinter Nights? Perhaps we could download some module from the vault to play through some day. It could be fun Mr. Green.
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