Summer is the usual season for exciting gaming announcements about upcoming release schedules, usually made at one of the big gaming conventions such as E3 or Gamescom. It is less usual for large MMO releases to take place over the summer, which is traditionally the low season (due to players being outside or on holiday). 2012 breaks with that schedule smartly, with The Secret World (TSW) in headstart for a release this week, and Arenanet announcing an end of August release for Guild Wars 2.
Bloggers have been very positive about TSW, finding it substantially different in pace, setting, and playing style to more DIKU based MMOs (yeah one day I’ll write something about MUD codebases and why DIKU tends to spawn different types of games than Godwars or Circle).
Windsoar writes about how a game’s setting affects the way he plays. He gives a good example of LOTRO as a slower paced game than WoW, where he is more inclined to run around the map than to mount up and use a horse. LOTRO is a slower paced game in many ways, and I personally always finds it takes a session or two to get myself back into that headset which doesn’t automatically get frustrated if a quest takes more than 10 mins from start to completion. Windsoar also ponders how his playing style in LOTRO might change if he decided that it was his main game and not just a casual ‘stepchild.’
“LoTRO is a stepchild in my gaming time. I pick it up and drop it off, much more like a console game than my main MMO. I’m not max level, I have yet to see all the content, and who knows if I’ll even be max level when the next expansion rolls around. I’m in a guild. They didn’t even kick me during my extended hiatus. I think they have some guild stuff they do when they feel like it, but that’s not my role. I show up, I hang out, and I grats people when they announce they leveled up their 3rd bard.”
I compare this with how people are playing TSW because I’m picking up a sense that it also is slower paced than other more familiar MMOs.
Xintia helps people to figure out, “Is The Secret World for you?”
Stabs finds it a fun game to dive into and just learn to play by playing. Which is an interesting perspective from someone who is usually way more hardcore a player than I am.
“… not having much idea about anything it’s quite soothing to be eased into a slower pace more exploratory frame of mind.”
Syp comments that he has a good feeling about the game, and lists out some of his favourite and least favourite features.
“I’ve spent maybe five hours in the game so far, and have come away charmed by a very different type of MMO experience. I think “different” is good in TSW’s case, because even if it relegates to a permanent niche status, at least it’s hard to label as a copycat of anything else. It’s just kind of its own beast, and it takes a large mental shift to get into the game’s desired groove.”
Pete at Dragonchasers has been enjoying the ambiance in TSW also.
What I’ve been reading
Entombed writes at Divinity’s Reach about whether you need to be in a guild to play GW2 and concludes that you probably don’t, at least not for any of the mechanical reasons players usually join guilds for. That has some implications for in game communities, and this could turn out to be one of the least sociable MMOs ever created if that is the case. For some players, that could be a big selling point.
I’ll reiterate the question, are guilds needed in Guild Wars 2? If you are in the majority of players that cares about seeing all of the content, having fun, but not necessarily being the best in the world. Then my answer is no, but they can help you create and form groups for specific content.
MMO Gamer Chick writes about how her MMO playing pattern has shifted from sticking to one game for a long run to “MMO hopping.”
I think while the MMO playerbase has grown, it has not grown anywhere near fast enough to keep up with the rate the new games are being pumped into the market. Obviously, we can’t play all these games at the same time. The result is a chunk of the population that goes from game to game, leaving a game once the new car smell has worn off to check out the next big thing.
Do games get hyped more these days? Tobold feels that blogging against the hype cycle attracts a lot of angry comments, even though people (or at least regular MMO blog readers) must know the cycle by now: There is an extremely predictable news cycle for every new MMORPG, with early hype always being followed by disappointment, and then the game not being mentioned at all any more.
Liore discusses the hype cycle too and why she’s trying to opt out of it by sticking to one game for a year.
… the hype cycle we have now.. despite my happily participating in it on many occasions, I’m not sure it’s healthy for the playerbase. It creates this culture of animosity, and always jumping around trying to find the greenest virtual grass.
Bree blogs about Hi-Rez Studios insistence (to the point of rudeness) of keeping Hindu deities in their mythological themed MOBA. Apparently including Jesus was considered too risque though. She wonders why Jesus or Moses couldn’t make it into the game. I’d have thought throwing in a few archangels and demons from Judeo/Christian mythology, rather than prophets, would fit quite well into a game called SMITE myself. Ultimately, mythological characters are generally out of copyright, and some genres like JRPGs tend to use world mythology as a grab bag (remember Shiva in Final Fantasy) without attracting much comment. It’s the rudeness of the response that is the more newsworthy item here.
Melmoth presents the 16 rules of altitis in MMOs.
Shintar, having expressed her concerns about SWTOR server transfer, made the leap and describes her first night on the new server.
Targeter discusses patch 1.3 in SWTOR with the new group finder, noting that this is a systems patch and doesn’t contain any new content. I’ll add some of my experiences later this week.
The Grumpy Elf presents a series of 5 posts discussing problems facing a new player in WoW. He sounds quite pessimistic, and I don’t think these experiences will be universal. But none of them will be surprising to a more experienced player. They are all things that COULD happen.
First time in a battleground, unless they pick up really fast it is going to take a new player some time to understand the concept of how the battle is done. If they do anything wrong, someone in this wonderful community will be so kind as to point out that they are a noob, a retard, a moron, and the worst player they have ever seen.
M at Killing ‘em Slowly discusses social games and how they seem to have a constant stream of new content.
I’m sure this is a completely unfair comparison. Apples to Snapples, if you will. Still, it was a thought I had as I was looking at my CastleVille quest log. I’ll exhaust the novelty of the gameplay long before I run out of quests. When was the last time that happened to me in an MMO? Ever? I can’t say that I rightly know.
Belghast explains why he’s back in WoW after a long break.
Syl links to many posts written by bloggers responding to her invitation to explain “How has WoW changed you?”
Boatorious explains why he’s done with Diablo 3.
Ryan Shwayder discusses Sandbox PvP MMOs and why there aren’t many around other than EVE.
To see why they haven’t generally worked out, let’s briefly examine what makes them so fun: Dominating other players, doing almost anything you want to do, exploiting, holding territory, griefing, taking things from other players… in short, the Wild West. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Well, it is fun as long as you’re one of the people doing those things to other people instead of having them done to you.