Wednesday 4 May 2011
Viable desirable MMOiable
Over the years of MMO gaming I've often found myself having to reconsider how I spend my gaming time and what game to stick with. Having a fairly normal adult life outside of gaming will always impact on what is both viable and desirable from your MMO, and with life's ups and downs those things can be subject to repeated change.
When I first started playing RIFT, my real life situation gave (or forced upon, depending on view) me a lot of time with not a lot else to do. So I hammered RIFT pretty hard and found it easy to achieve the type of gaming I enjoy. Whilst I lead a fairly casual guild in overall attitude and my personal gaming times can be erratic, when online I always play in a relatively hardcore style and expect to do well and have constant progression. In RIFT, like any PvE raid focussed game, this does require a lot of uninterrupted time spent doing instances. For a while that was working fine for me.
But things change and I now have a lot less spare gaming time, certainly I have a lot less "uninterrupted" gaming sessions. The reasons for this are all good and in no way is this meant to be sounding like a complaint or MMO geek withdrawal, it just means that what is viable and desirable has changed.
Whilst RIFT's PvP is not ticking my boxes, I am a player that likes a bit of a mix of PvE and PvP. I do really enjoy the dungeons in RIFT, but the problem is that this type of gaming is just not viable for me right now. Most times that I’m logged on I can’t be sure if I’ll be on for 10 minutes or 2 hours and whatever the time is there’s a good chance that I’ll have plenty of AFKs. Clearly that rules out doing instances or raids, other than the 1 night a week I’m on for solid amount of time. I had hoped that the dynamic rift and invasion roaming PvE would continue at level 50, providing drop in and out casual content, but unfortunately it doesn't because the invasions are not impact-full enough on the world and the rewards do not compare with dungeon and plaque (token) loot.
Actually that’s the biggest disappointment for me with RIFT, that the rifts and invasions that were so dramatic and dynamic whilst levelling become so utterly redundant in the endgame. If I was in charge of RIFT that’s the primary thing I would be sorting out, giving the games bloody name meaning for the endgame. Yet, I don’t want this to sound like I’m totally down on RIFT, because I’m really not. It is an exceptionally well made, very polished and enjoyable MMO, it just loses what for me is one of its brightest sparks at the climax and crucially, the time sink focus doesn’t fit my current lifestyle.
So my RIFT account remains active, but this obviously also means I have had to start considering what to play as my uber casual drop in and out game. Of course I could play single player games, but I like the social element of MMOs, as well as the long paths they give us to progress along. For me the things I desire most from an MMO right now are:
-Openworld PvP that isn’t just ganking crap.
-A sense of progression.
-Varied and intesting classes.
- Flexible, drop in and out gameplay.
One of the reasons I played WAR for so long was that it is an incredibly friendly game to anyone who's gaming time is broken up into random chunks. And of course WAR is the obvious choice today, with friends still playing it and its easily meeting most of the above desirables. As such I have resubbed for now and will take this opportunity to try out the recent gear balancing patch. I’ve only been on a couple of times so far and things certainly look promising gear gap wise; I was very pleased to discover my mid range renown rank Choppa is playable again. Potential there for sure, on a personal level anyway.
Many other things that people (probably justifiably) consider WAR’s big problems remain unaddressed. With what for all intents and purposes looks like a future of practically zero investment; the games long term prospects are dubious at best. The “good stuff” that was reported to be coming didn’t materialise at all (fixes don’t count, sorry) and it’s hard to remove that stagnant stench that surrounds WAR. I’ll be writing up thoughts about WAR’s future, dev discussions and things like the scenario tweaking in the coming weeks, but initially the big question for me is a simple one:
Will I have fun playing WAR again? Because after all is said and done, that is really all that matters.