Saturday, March 17, 2012

The future is bright for MMO enthusiasts...time for sunglasses?

At least among MMOs I follow, a lot of exciting stuff is coming down the pipe or has recently arrived. I am a bit sad that Everquest Online Adventures is closing down at the end of the month (I have a retrospective on it planned), it's where the namesake of this blog lived after all. However, given that I couldn't even log on the last time I tried, [Edit: I was able to get on for the last week, and the website has been fixed] he closing is not much of a loss to me personally. Apart from that, there has been a lot of good news. In no particular order, here are some of games I am currently following:

Everquest: EQ recently went free to play. Really long time readers (there must be at least none), might recall that I wasn't really a huge fan of EQ back in the day. EQ is not a game I'd ever consider subbing to. But would I log in for free to beat down some Kobolds in the Steamfront Mountains for old time's sake? Oh yeah, you bet. Although word on the street is that the newbie experience on Vox isn't quite ready for prime time yet, I do plan to stick my head in and see what's changed in EQ soon.

Lord of the Rings Online: a lot of neat new stuff has come to LoTRO as of the last patch. Monster play got some tweaks that I'm looking forward to trying out. Notably Weavers got some buffs. It's a class I've always been meaning to try. How many other MMOs let you play a giant spider? You can also now summon your skirmish soldiers nearly anywhere. It's a neat idea, but unless you happen to have spent enough time skirmishing to have a soldier near your level it's pretty useless (Syp has a great post about this issue).

However, far and away the biggest addition is the The Great River. It's a new adventuring area roughly the size of Mirkwood that all subscribers and lifers get for free. I have yet to set foot in it, but previews of it look fantastic. I intend to hit the level cap on my main there in the next few weeks.

Star Wars the Old Republic: I am still enjoying the heck out of it. I hit level 50 on a Bounty Hunter a couple of weeks ago. Without going into spoilers, his story ended on more of an "ok, cool I guess" than a bang (the real climax of the BH storyline comes roughly half way through, imo). But I've had a lot of fun finishing out the storylines of all of my companions since then.

As for the end game, I barely touched it. Instead I started over on a new server with a new class. Though the storyline isn't blowing my mind, the Sith Assassin is simply a joy to play. Stunning a NPC with lightning, to then step behind and backstab them with your double bladed lightsaber (often a deathblow) just doesn't get old. Being able to sneak around NPCs I don't feel like screwing with on the way to a quest objective is also awesome. Finally, the ability to switch between a tanking or DPS stance as the situation warrants is quite handy. It's rapidly closing on the LoTRO Hunter as one of the most fun classes I've played in a MMO.

Oh yeah, and 1.2 is coming in the next few weeks. There's a lot of stuff in there.

Guild Wars 2: with GW2, ArenaNet promises the sun, the moon, and the stars...and all some time this year. A full featured sub style MMO that has no sub fee! Also promised are innovations (compared to WoW/ LoTRO/ Rift/ SWToR) in almost every area from questing to character development. From all I have read, it looks to be a hopeful monster among modern MMOs. If the game delivers on only half of what ArenaNet plans, it will still be one of the best MMOs ever released. I can't wait to try it out.

Secret World: also coming out some time this year is Secret World. I know jack all about the gameplay, but holy cow that setting seems awesome. Hell, look at this video. That is one of the most boring presentations I've ever seen, and my big take home from it is still "Holy f-ing cow, I want to play that!" [Also "Holy f-ing cow, I want that cop to stop talking" at about five minutes in]. Funcom is known for craptastic launches. However, Funcom is also known for recovering well from crappy launches. My guess is that two or three months after it launches, Secret World will be one of the best MMOs on the market.

From where I stand, this is a great time to be a MMO enthusiast. I leave you with the obvious pop reference.*

*Geez, I really don't remember that video being so odd.

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