I've been having a bout of MMOADD and checking out various other games in between raiding. My guild is taking on Veeshan's Peak and it's a lot of fun, but I haven't had much will to play EverQuest II lately because I've been tired of the quest based grind to fill my AA.
So I checked out Dungeons and Dragons Online. I definitely will be resurrecting my old characters when this goes free to play. I love the new henchmen they introduced and the soloability in the low level zones. Of course, DDO is really a game that you want to group in, but the reason I quit the game when it first came out was because I spent a lot of time spamming LFG and not finding one. Hopefully all the players attracted by the free play will fix that. If not, at least I can now do SOME things without having to find friends first.
Still, it would be nice if the game had SOMETHING to do besides dungeon crawls. I mean, granted, it's Dungeons and Dragons, which is all about going on quests, in dungeons, with a group, but still, maybe they could add mini games or something??? While DDO has a lot of innovative game play in it, the running around, vacuuming in the quests from the NPCs with glowing whatever-it-is-that-isn't-an-exclamation-point-but-may-as-well-be over their heads, shouting LFG for half an hour, and then trying to find the stupid zone in point.
Do we really need to run around the overland city zones? Is that necessary for our immersion? Couldn't we have more fast travel options to get us straight to the dungeon? It's not like we're being attacked in the city. And I'm not asking for easy mode fast travel IN THE missions. Do we really have to suck in all the quests from random people around the zone? Can't we find another way to dole out the missions?
So I decide to go see what's new in Age of Conan. I earned my Tempest of Set two more levels but then got bored of it. I guess if I was more interested in the PVP side of things or the citybuilding aspect, I might like the game more. But as far as the PVE went, it just didn't seem to offer anything I wasn't already getting in EverQuest II. It's just your standard quest driven grind, once you get past the incremental innovations in the combat system. However, while I loved AOCs combat system, it simply isn't enough to get me to come back permanently.
The issue for me is content: while they've added a ton of content to AOC, there's just more of it in EQ2. And it doesn't seem as hard to find. Granted, I've been playing longer, so I know where most everything is, but quests in AOC would often force me to run to then the opposite side of the map from wherever you get the quest, assuming it's even in the same zone. EQ2 was like that at launch, but most quests nowadays are much more reasonable in terms of the mindless running around they force you to do.
I also tried out the Aion beta. I've probably tried every MMORPG beta since 2000. This is one of the smoothest and most polished. Probably because it's actually a released game. I'm not quite sure what they are really testing. I didn't end up doing too much testing... the game was yet another quest driven grind. Pretty unabashed about it too. Pretty much every quest was "you know, my farm is overrun by Random Smelly Monster". You look over at it, and sure enough, it's overrun alright. But mostly by "Random Stinky Monster"s which don't count. And you have to kill them because your mobs are ont he same respawn point, and apparently the farmer IS in fact actually OK with his farm being overrun by things digging it up if they have different adjectives over their head.
I think I might be at the end of my rope with this genre. The only game that really excites me now is Heroes of Telara because 1) you supposedly can play with everyone on the server [players of any level will have something to do], and 2) the world WILL change. Meaning you CAN be a hero. Meaning I'm actually doing something -- responding to a changing world -- and not simply vacuuming the same exclamation points up on all my alts and doing the same things over and over again. In theory -- we know little about the game at this point.
I'm also excited about Final Fantasy XIV, if only because I loved FFXI. While Final Fantasy XI was a grind as well, it was a very different kind of grind, and I actually think it was much, much more fun camping mobs and hunting named monsters with groups. Much more fun than it is nowadays where we are forced to hunt exclamation point after exclamation point by ourselves.