Lost and Finding

That seems to be the common theme in all aspects of my life right now. For personal things… Kyo’s been gone for a week now with no word. I’d write more on that but it’s pretty obvious that this is a bad thing.

On something I can be more verbose about, Legion’s sorta stuck in this middle ground for MMOs, we’ve lost SWG and the only things that are keeping us there are alternate characters (which were mostly leveled via exploits, ugh) and doing loot runs on HK. As the want for loot items from the Central Volcano become less and less, I can’t really see what we’re going to do in SWG. With MxO, the Combat Revamp is upcoming, but I doubt that the game will ever rise above diversion for many of our members (myself included to be honest). All other current MMOs are flawed in one way or another (although I can’t help but feel that setting is the only thing keeping certain members from Lineage II, but more on that latter). Basically, we’re in a holding pattern.

Looking forward, the eminent release of Dungeons & Dragons: Online is basically looking like a non-event for the guild. While it is quite solid technically, and DM Text fucking rocks, it is heavily instanced, and with no economy, it looks rather beatable. Also, it’s lack of PvP is crippling. Dark and Light is looking rather weak in the eyes of many, it’s SoG preview appears to have done more harm then good for the game, as people don’t seem to get it isn’t meant to be complete. MMOs like Star Trek Online or Tabula Rasa are ethereal at best so they’re no use.

Going back to Lineage II, it does have it’s share of problems. First off, the high fantasy setting is not terribly popular among a lot of our guys. Second, for the guys coming off the FS grind, it does have a really long progression (although the “useless period” is very small). Thirdly, the way that they were introduced to the game didn’t really play to the game’s strengths and they were also sort of thrown into the game. I remember coming over to Tempest and they did the best they could to get people into the game running so as to overcome their prejudices. L2 was never really given a chance by many I feel, but it’s time has passed and it can’t exactly be re-introduced smoothly.

Looking forward I’m not exactly certain where we could possibly go. There would have to be a very solid effort on a few people’s parts to get the guild into Final Fantasy XI because of both prejudices and because the game requires coordination as a group, it isn’t solo-friendly to say the least. World of Warcraft… people are so prejudiced against it, that it’s honestly a little sad. To be honest, the game is really fun, but it does seem to leave you with a sort of hollow feeling at the end, much like MxO or SWG. It’s the kind of thing where it would be a move simply to have something new to do, nothing earth-shattering.

An earth-shattering MMO is what I feel would take to overcome the amount of inertia that SWG has going for it. It’s where we currently are, and people are having some amount of fun with it. I personally have this huge desire to move though, as I see the game as almost intellectually stifling. I enjoy it, simply because of the group I’m with. It’s a very similar analogy as to why I played Second Life at all; I played because Kyo was there, nothing more.

Talking with her at some length on that subject really brought into focus a couple of things. We wanted to be together, and she had found something fun for her (and a great engine to torment me with) and I hadn’t. I didn’t have anything against the game, but I didn’t have anything to good to say about it either. I personally was enamored with L2 again, and she didn’t like it (For the record, her complaints are similar to Kreamy’s in that the game feels like every other one she’s played. I fault that to the server they played on, but the complaints are valid nonetheless. It wasn’t new, it was just (in my eyes) the large-scale PvP/PK-centric game.) so the balance shifted to us hanging out in SL, but it did give me something to talk about at least (I am always at my most verbose when whining :P .)

I feel I can’t continue without going into a bit about MMOs as whole…

[A lot of the grouping is taken from MMOGChart.com's General Analysis section, but I layer game lineage (not the game, but as in ancestry) and archetype/niche into account while his focus is elsewhere and Age names are from MMOGChart, the generations seem to be industry consensus. Just a couple notes in case stuff starts sounding familiar.]

The First Generation of MMOs was EverQuest, Asheron’s Call and Ultima Online. This generation was based on non-cannibalistic growth, and only minor differentiation among games. For the sake of latter discussion, EQ was the Grand Story-centric game, UO the PvP/PK-centric game and AC the sort of the Social-centric game, it also boasted the least traditional character development of the three. MMOGChart refers to this as The Golden Age.

Then came Generation 1.5 (because One-point-fifth Generation looks retarded), The Age of Transition with Dark Age of Camelot, Anarchy Online and World War II: Online. This generation was based primarily on cannibalization (DAoC ripped AC a new one when it launched, EQ and UO were not immune either.) and DAoC became the Fantasy game. AO and WW2:O despite problematic launches created the Sci-Fi and Twitch niches, respectively.

Now, we come to the Second Generation, The Age of Competition. For the purpose of this discussion we’ll be looking at:

While the list is large, it’s divided into three primary groups (much like PCGamer redid their layout this month actually), the Children of EverQuest, of Asheron’s Call, and of Ultima Online.

I’m going to publish here since Bleach 61 just finished from Bleach Society and well yeah, this thing was getting pretty long anyway, so next post will be about the Second Generation.

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