Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Not much has happened lately. As of a month ago, I am now a father, so I haven't had much time for gaming. But even when I have had time, I haven't been too interested in MMORPGs. It's not just that single player games are more convenient (after all, you can't pause an MMORPG, though I wish you could), it's mainly that I've been more interested in story driven games. So I've been playing Fable 2, STALKER, and the recently released Fallout 3 DLC.

I finished Fable 2, which was fun. One of the most interesting parts of the game for me was when I came back to Bowerstone after adventuring for quite some time and found out my wife left me. That was powerful for me because in most RPGs, nothing happens that the player does not themselves initiate. Granted, I could have kept my wife if I had visited more frequently, but typically RPGs react to action more than inaction.

I think MMORPGs could learn a thing or two from Fable 2. While MMORPGs are necessarily static affairs, because of the shared world, they could at least introduce NPCs into the affair and our relationship with THEM could change over time. We should be able to make friends, make enemies, even an arch-nemesis. The very static quest lines we all have to follow wouldn't seem so bad if there were little bits here and there that were CUSTOMIZED for each character. I wouldn't mind doing a quest line multiple times if each time I did it I was fighting a different arch nemesis, who lived to thwart only that one character.

The Fallout 3 DLC was a mixed bag. It was fun to revisit the post apocalyptic world, but there was nothing in the DLC that really felt like Fallout. It was a purely shooter driven experience, with no opportunity for roleplay or alternate progression, and the shooting aspect of Fallout isn't really one of its strengths. Still, I think what they are trying to do is offer up little slices emphasizing different forms of gameplay, and the story was quite enjoyable, so I am not disappointed that I purchased it.

S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is a game I don't often have the urge to play. It's a first person shooter but its very clunky and bug ridden, with poor voice dialogue and scripting. The story is somewhat interesting: you are investigating an area outside Chernobyl that is infested with radiation and anomalies and right now I'm in an area where people have been turned into zombies because of some kind of radiowaves emitting from some place nearby. It's just the bugs and clunky game play are a huge turn off.

One of the things I like about the game is that you can fail missions. The problem is often these "protect the rebel camp" missions end up ending in failure before I even have a chance to run to the camp because the key NPC I'm supposed to protect dies immediately. Then I reload, get to the camp, and fight off the bandits but after the fight the bandits attacking keep respawning, perpetually, even though I've satisfied the victory condition. So then I reload again, and finally everything plays through correctly and the script executes fine. Talk about frustrating. I'm not sure why I even keep trying to play the game.

I did manage to get a few hours in EverQuest II. I worked it out so I could get one raid night a weekend. And I hate Venril Sathir so much now for making those nights a series of disappointments. Still, getting my mythical (even if it takes half a year of playing only one or two nights a week), before the next expansion pack comes out, is my goal now, at least for one character. If I don't burn out on the game first. With my time constraints, I haven't been able to grind for TSO shards, and I haven't had much interest in the solo quest arcs in Moors. So we'll see.

1 comment:

Tesh said...

Congrats on the kidling!

My wife and I have two little ones, and I find myself playing games on the DS or PS2 far more often than the MMO timesinks. Single player games, especially portable ones, just fit my life better.

Of course, I still pontificate about MMO design. I'm not sure why that is...