Saturday, October 2, 2021

Where to go next?

MMORPGs have a bit of a reputation as being a dead genre, and yet it never feels that way to me.  It always feels like there is more I want to do than I will ever get to.  Right now, trying to decide what to dive into next is a pretty typical case in point.

FFXIV wound down for me, and STO while original and entertaining, has never managed to really reel me in for more than a few hours a week.  Instead for the last month or so I have immersed myself in Location Based Games (two of which I am still playing every night) and a port of FFVIII to the Switch.  Nothing shows that you have moved along with the times like playing through a game first released 22 years ago . . .  Also, thanks to a recent post from Bhagpuss I realized I have a ton of free games from my Prime subscription, which in turn led to the discovery that I had a free copy of Star Wars: Squadrons sitting there unclaimed.  In fact, that is almost certainly what I will be playing this weekend.

As for what MMO to play next, there are so many good options I'm a bit paralyzed.

Probably my overall two favorite MMOs, at least judged by time played, are Lord of the Rings Online and Star Wars: the Old Republic.  LoTRO is getting the biggest expansion in years at the end of the month, along with the first new class since 2014.  As much as it annoys me that the UI looks terrible on a 4K monitor and that the game itself may or may not decide to run on any given modern PC you install it on, it remains a great game.  I had an absolute blast playing through Gondor the last time I was there.  SWTOR is also getting an expansion this Christmas.  So I could head back to familiar lands and have a lot of fun for the next few months.

There are also at least two members of the big five (and I guess with Amazon's New World we are up to a big six now) that I have never tried.  Guild Wars 2 especially looks really interesting.  I have been meaning to try it since before the game launched, and I know factually that I would get at least a solid month of enjoyment out of it.  For that matter, I have always wanted to play the original Guild Wars.  The "combat skills as collectibles" system sounds interesting, and it had very good art direction for its time.

And of course there is Amazon's New World. The first big budget MMORPG we have gotten in quite some time.  Hell I think the last one may have been ESO in 2014.  New World has an absolutely inescapable amount of hype right now, and looks set to hit player concurrencies of more than a million soon. The one real hesitation I have with it is the setting.  The promotional art for the game seems to glorify colonialism, and Spanish conquistadors in particular.* While the 15th and 16th century Spanish explorers did have an interesting fashion sense that has not really been mined for visuals in games very often, they were also murderous, amoral, genocidal bastards for the most part.  Christopher Columbus, for example, was an absolutely terrible person (warning: what you will read about him there is not pleasant).   

Putting that concern aside, word on the street is that the gameplay of New World draws most heavily from Elder Scroll Online, which is very encouraging to me.  I liked literally everything about the game but the combat.  Elder Scrolls, but with combat that's not terrible would absolutely be my cup of tea. 

So where to go next?  I don't know, there's too many good choices.  Maybe I'll go outside and shoot some zombies while I think about it.

*Thanks to Bhagpuss for pointing out the login message distancing the game from the historical New World, I was not aware of that when I wrote this.