Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ding! 100 - A MMOment of Zen Retrospective

If Blogger is to be believed, this appears to be my 100th post on MMOment of Zen. I started this a year and half ago, and I had no idea that I would continue with it this long. A lot has happened in game and with the blog over the course of that year and a half.

My first post coincided with my return to EverQuest II from a six month break from MMORPGs. I rejoined Explorers of Legend, which was the guild I had been with since EverQuest II lanched. Since then, the guild fell apart. A number of the officers decided they wanted to pursue other opportunities, mostly because of our inability to get a viable raiding force off the ground. I understand and respect their decisions; however, the way the entire group of officers left en masse caused a lot of bitter feelings among many of the players left behind, who felt like their leadership betrayed them.

Some EOL members ended up quitting EQ2 entirely because of it. I can sympathize with that: community is usually what binds us to a game, so having a guild you belong to fall apart can often become "the final straw" so to speak. My first MMO was Final Fantasy XI and I played that for months longer than I probably would have if I had not become attached to my in game "linkshell" (the FFXI equivalent of a guild.)

Since last July, I have tried nearly every major MMO to come out. I have a wanderlust with regards to MMORPGs. There's an explorer in me that is often more fascinated by the game play mechanics than the actual games. I like to see how all of these games are built. Sadly, there really isn't as much diversity in gameplay in the genre as there could be.

I tried Tabula Rasa during the beta and I thought it had an interesting cover mechanic. Aside from that, it felt like World of Warcraft with guns since I was being sent on quests to find caves and shoot 10 mobs and come back and being rewarded upgraded guns and whatever. So I went back to EverQuest II.

Then I tried Pirates of the Burning Sea. I loved the ship combat in this game, but the economy never seemed to work right. They only had a few markets that were active. They really needed to implement something like buy orders to draw merchants to the outlying areas. The missions were repeated too often, and avatar combat was terrible. I got a Freetrader up to level 30, and then the servers started merging, and my guild started losing half its members. So I threw in the towel and went back to EverQuest II.

Then Age of Conan came out. The advertising promised us: heads will roll! Truth in advertising would have promised us: eyes will roll! The game had a strong intro area for the first twenty levels. That was both its greatest strength and weakness. After killing Saddur with my fifth alt, I never wanted to play it again. The character I took past 20 found himself surrounded by lame World of Warcraft style quests without the World of Warcraft motivator: better loot. Itemization in the game was pointless. I suppose this was deliberate: they wanted PVP to be more based on skill than gear. But it meant the PVE game simply didn't work. And I didn't see any PVP going on. I'm not sure where it was, and didn't feel like looking for it, so I went back to EverQuest II.

Most recently, I tried Warhammer Online. Its not a bad game, but they tried to be too many games. The leveling mechanic makes sense for a World of Warcraft style PVE game, but it simply did not work in an RVR game. People were too spread out across tiers, you couldn't find anyone to play with, and quite frankly, when you did, it was only fun when you were at the tail end of your tier. Once you progressed to the next tier, you were suddenly a weakling again. That's very jarring: the leveling mechanic is supposed to measure your progress, but at each tier transition, it had the opposite effect. I gave up around level 27, shortly after the server merges started happening, and the PQs were still empty and half my scenarios were still being cancelled early due to imbalance. So, guess where I went next?

Yep, back to EverQuest II.

Right now, I have two subscriptions to EverQuest II, one to Warhammer Online, one to World of Wracraft, and I'm still on my first month of Eve Online. That's going to have to change soon.

Some random facts about my site:

This isn't one of the more popular destinations among MMO bloggers; I only tend to average about 30 visitors a day, but about 40% of them are return visitors, so I guess somebody out there actually thinks I have something worthwhile to say.

The first person to post a comment on my site was Kanthalos from MMOre Insight. I had been inspired by an article series on Voyages in Eternity about Damianov's dream settings for MMORPGs. My dream setting was the Doctor Who universe because having all of time and space at your fingertips would open up any kind of story imaginable. Also, I love the iconic enemies in the game like the Daleks and the Cybermen. Neither MMOre Insight nor Voyages in Eternity seem to have been updated in a while, which saddens me, since those were two of the sites I read daily back then, and the principal reason I started doing this.

My most popular article was a writeup on the Obelisk of Ahkzul. Many people had trouble figuring out Kierax when TSO launched.

The other article that receives the most visits from Google is one I did about two boxing software aids. If you have two computers next to each other (including laptops), Multiplicity from Stardock is an amazing tool.

One of my first articles, EverQuest II: A Review of the Races still receives a great deal of attention from Google. In that article, I basically explain the difference between the eighteen races that were in game at that point in time.

I suppose I should add an entry for the nineteenth race, so here it is:

Sarnak: Overgrown, fire breathing lizards with scoliosis. They are the result of the cross breeding between iksar and dragons. How do you get a dragon to make sweet love with an iksar? Well, you have to get them good and drunk. The Sarnak aren't evil in the sadistic sense that Neriak or Freeport citizens are known for. But they are considered to be evil because they have an inherent distrust of all other races. That's mostly because all the other races are always chuckling under their breath when a Sarnak comes wandering by. It's because of their parentage... how can you NOT laugh at that?

So, yeah, anyway, as I was saying:



Stargrace said...


I've been following your site a while, but I get it through google reader, so you may not be aware of it most of the time.

Looking forward to reading many more!

Tipa said...

Grats on the ding :)

Ysharros said...

Grats! I keep meaning to mark moments like that (100 posts, 10k visitors) but although I do mental "yay!" when I see em, I then forget to mention them.

I think I want a new brane for Christmas!

Largo said...

Woot! Grats on 100!!

I just realized you were not in my blogroll. Fixed.

Chris F said...

Congrats - have enjoyed reading your posts here =)

Jayedub said...

Gratz on the hundreth post!

Hechicera said...

Grats on 100! Here is your walker, hearing-aide and some teeth ...

I check in as much to see that you are alive as to read the game talk. I suspect I started suffering from MMOADD before you and am well into burnout stage now as evidenced that I refused to try even try Pirates, AoC or WAR. Can't even say what I'm looking for anymore, so I'm really curious how you end up solving your dilemma now!

My son (the one with multiple developmental issues) has "gold farmer" now as one of the careers he'd like to try. I think the nature of his disabilities and his attraction to that as a possible career speak volumes on gameplay these days. Ah well. Life goes on. And so does your blog!

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Kind Regards

Tesh said...

Congrats! Here's hoping you have fun with the next hundred. :D

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