It may just be my imagination, but the press corps of The Old Republic are picking up the pace — in the past month, we’ve found out four new classes (!), a new planet, and other significant scraps of info. With the class list complete, TOR moves on into a new, unofficial stage of the pre-launch marketing.
Moon Over Endor has an excellent recap of a chunk of info on TOR that Total PC Gaming covered, and I’d like to pick out a few things to discuss.
We finally have some word on character customization — it seems as though every class will get to choose between one of two specialty paths at a certain point in the game. Smugglers become either Scoundrels or Gunslingers, Cousulars go either healing or mezzing, and Inquisitors go either lightsaber combat or controlling/lightning.
This is pretty cool — it turns 8 classes into 16, more or less, and how can you not love the idea of becoming a Gunslinger? Pshaw. I am so there. One of my biggest concerns of TOR was the role of healing in the game. Frankly, I’m at the point where a new MMO could be released without a dedicated healer, and I’d be ecstatic. No offense intended to healers and those who love to be healed, but it bottlenecks grouping (since everything’s balanced around having at least one healer in a group, you HAVE to have a healer) and makes players feel forced to take healing if they’re in a class that offers it as a specialty.
My “last hope” for this in TOR is that companion characters can function as healers in lou of a player character — and this article does address companions that are “unlocked” and stored at a central hub. They also mentioned that companions are unique (it seems) to certain classes, so a Knight and a Smuggler probably won’t be sharing the same companions.
- ITG re: WoW – “My question is this – why doesn’t Blizzard steal all the successful community crafted mods?”
- KIASA re: Healers – “Finally a pair of integrated loudspeakers rotate from their resting place, lock into position on the healer’s shoulders, and repeatedly squawk a distortingly loud siren alerting all the other players to the healer’s presence.”
- Victor re: Fallen Earth – “Now as you can guess, I’m in love with Fallen Earth.”
- Werit re: STO – “Who wouldn’t want want to fly around space in a cube?”
- Psychochild re: Hybrids – “In my experience, there is one multi-role class that was designed very well: LOTRO’s Captains.”
- Screaming Monkeys re: Elitism – “I think something in my brain tilted at that moment because I then brutally murdered the person sitting next to me.”
- KTR re: Macbeth – “When we did Midsummer Night’s Dream, There’s a line that talks about internets. You told me that was a type of duck too.”
- Slurms re: Achievements – “Hi, I’m Steve, and I used to hate achievement systems.”
- Ancient Gaming Noob re: STO – “Something within me sings with joy at the thought of a Star Trek MMO.”
- Kaldeem re: Deleting Characters – “I have a friend, and we both suffer from a case of deletealohlism.”
And on the previous episode of Mutant Reviewers:
I think this’ll be my last NaNoWriMo post for the time being. It was incredibly cathartic to type in “The End” to my tale, and just to know that it was done, I had crossed the finish line, and I could stop writing for now. Not that I didn’t love it, I did, but I was and still am wiped from the constant need to develop and write more story.
My wife’s still working hard on hers, approaching 60K words with no sign of stopping. As soon as she finishes and I go back through mine with a quick spell check and read-through for obvious errors, we’ll finally get to exchange works and enjoy the fruits of each other’s labor.
So what did I get out of this year’s NaNo? What did I learn?
- Out of all the friends, bloggers and other people who started NaNo with me, very few of them finished. This isn’t a black mark against them at all — NaNo is very gruelling, and there’s a good reason why less than 1 in 5 cross the 50K mark each year. In many cases it’s people underestimating the time and effort it takes, and they get snowballed with the wordcount by weeks two or three. Real life often intervenes as well.
- My wife is perhaps a much more creative storyteller than me, if what little snippets she told me are any indication.
- My book ended up being a highly fictionalized account of a personal return to college, a place that meant a lot to me and I miss deeply sometimes. At the end of my book, one of my characters says farewell in a way that helped me cut the last little cord as well.
- I genuinely cared about my characters. There’s a few moments — not tons, but a few — where they say something, or do something, or experience something that I considered to be great storytelling, and moved me in some way.
- Dialogue, for me, is tough, and I was dumb to have 11 main characters, who always had to keep chatting with each other for every little thing.
- An outline and notes helped A LOT. I kept revising the outline, mapping out future chapters, and when it came time to split up my core cast into branching stories, I was able to keep tabs on them and bring them back together without much difficulty.
- I had a lot of fun taking interesting and quirky experiences and places from college and revising them to be their own legend in the book.
A few days ago I handed out a homework assignment to any EverQuest 2 bloggers/players out there — I wanted to hear what features of the game they considered to be better done than WoW (or features that WoW simply doesn’t have). Not for bashing purposes, but just out of curiosity why these gamers had gravitated to EQ2 over Blizzard’s little boy.
So if you’re curious, like I was, check out the following posts:
- The Wizard of Duke Street
- We Fly Spitfires
- Stargrace (with video!)
- Suzita Starshadow
- The Ancient Gaming Noob
- MMOment of Zen
P.P.S. – And Hudson’s previous thoughts on the subject.
P.P.P.S. – A rebuttal.
Whew… I’m not really consistent with this feature, but from now on, I’ll try to post this at least once a month. The MMOmeter is a quick look at how I’m personally feeling toward existing and upcoming MMOs, ranging from hot to cold. So how’s the MMOmeter changed since this past June — and what’s stayed the same? Let’s take a look!
Note: The number in the parenthesis next to the MMO title represents if it has moved up or down the list. +1 means it moved up towards “hot”, -1 means it’s moved down toward “cold”, 0 means the same as last time, and N/A means that it wasn’t on the previous chart.
- Fallen Earth (N/A) – The new hotness, and a game that I’m looking forward to growing old with. Awesome setting, deep crafting, huge world.
- Star Wars: The Old Republic (0) – Even the let down of two more force-using classes can’t dampen my enthusiasm for BioWare, especially after Dragon Age!
- World of Warcraft (+1) – Whoa, why’s this bumped up? I’m not entirely sure… but I think WoW’s calling out to me once more. “Play meeee… play meeee…”
- Allods Online (0) – Hearing a LOT of good stuff about this free-to-play title, will definitely check it out when it launches next year.
- Guild Wars 2 (N/A) – Disappointed that we’re not going to see this in 2010, but I’m just glad it’s being made, period.
- The Secret World (N/A) – Cautious, because it’s Funcom and they’ve had some hard times lately, but I have faith in this MMO. Can’t wait!
- Star Trek Online (-1) – Hm… will probably try it, but I’m leery of the ultra-combat focus and Cryptic’s handling of Champions.
- DDO (-1) – Still a GREAT game, I’ve just lost interest in playing it, which is a shame.
- Champions Online (-2) – A title that’s a complete oxymoron to me: it’s a lot of fun, but I don’t feel like playing it at all. Very shallow, and there’s better options out there right now.
- LOTRO (-1) – Had a lot of fun with this game earlier in the year, but I’m pretty sure that I’ll never be visiting Middle-Earth again.
- EverQuest 2 (N/A) – On the list because I have become academically interested in this title as of late.
- Global Agenda (N/A) – A free to play option? Hm, might have to take a second look.
- Aion (-1) – Pfft. Way overhyped and overpraised for what it really is: a grindfest with an identity crisis.
- Warhammer Online (-1) – I think my last shred of hope for this title went with the last round of firings.
- Guild Wars (-1) – Fun, but failed to hook me when I gave it another go. Rather wait for GW2 instead.
- DC Universe Online (N/A) – I’m still waiting for this title to give me any reason whatsoever to be interested in it.
Homecoming: A Comedy of Errands, my novel, is now complete. 50,573 words!
I am elated, zonked and a bit sad. NaNo is a tremendous time of the year, and I’m terrifically happy that I did it once more.
My wife hasn’t finished her novel, but she’s over 52,000 words right now and still clicking. We honestly can’t wait to read each other’s works.
Here in the USA and perhaps in other countries — French Indochina? I don’t know — it’s Thanksgiving, which means that I participate in two of the three great traditions for this holiday: awesome, copious amounts of food, giving thanks for the blessings that God’s given me, and football. Between parades and football on TV, it’s like station programmers wanted to make a day where they’d be assured I’d never switch on the telly*.
So when it comes to MMORPGs, what do I have to be thankful for? Let’s eek out an easy article and compose a list:
- For the friends and guildies I’ve met over the years and have enjoying adventuring alongside
- For my fellow bloggers who have been gracious in including me with their community, and in many cases, have also become friends
- For a way to relieve stress at the end of a long day, particularly in a year when more responsibilities and pressures are on my shoulders
- For exciting worlds to explore, conquer and pillage
- For giving me an excuse to keep my writing skills sharp
- For Bio Break’s readers, who keep me writing and, more often than not, are better educated on any given subject and not afraid of saying so in the comments
So to all these things and many more, I raise a turkey drumstick of thanks today!
P.S. – Some of you have inquired as to the latest episode of the MMO Fo’ Show. To make a long story short, we did record it, but we had subsequent technical difficulties that mean you’ll never be able to hear it (and it WAS a great show). Because of time limitations, we might not be recording any more shows in the future either. Sorry!
* “Telly” means television, to my readers in the U.K.
Do you play EQ2? Are you a blogger? Could you do me a favor?
Since EQ2 is hitting its 5th year anniversary as well, one of the things I would love to read is an article about five features or aspects of EQ2 that are better than World of Warcraft. I’m not asking for a WoW-bashing post, just highlighting successful features you felt did WoW one better.
So… if this is you and you’re bored today, that’s the homework assignment from Prof. Syp*
(*It’s well-known that any blogger with the name “Prof. [name]” is to be obeyed right away.)
Steam’s running a short-time sale, offering (among other games) Fallen Earth for half off. They’ll even sweeten the deal with special in-game faction t-shirts. You can also pick up Champions Online for $20, which is a pretty good deal as well!