Silvertemplar posted a comment on this blog the other day that really resonated with me:
“Either way, I’ve realised due to the lack of levels and any clear “How far am I with my character?” ladder, I am actually playing this game like an ADVENTURE game and not like an MMO.”
And that clicked. Yup, that’s pretty much what TSW is turning out to be: an adventure game with RPG/combat elements that’s played online with others. And that’s so dang cool, I don’t know why Funcom didn’t market it as such. Adventure games skew more toward story, puzzle-solving, and gradual exploration, and aren’t as focused on numbers and leveling up. Maybe that’s the gift Funcom gave players; by removing the notion of overall levels, it’s helped us get over this mental rut where that’s all that matters. Yes, you still gain new skills, increase in power and abilities, but it certainly doesn’t feel as much as the primary focus.
Having played through Gabriel Knight 1 a month or so back, I’m definitely feeling the same contemporary/horror adventure game vibe. And it’s hard not to think of The Longest Journey when playing this Ragnar Tornquist title.
So I’m wondering how many people might be turned off coming into this expecting a traditional MMO but getting something different altogether. Something that marries the MMORPG with the adventure genre. That, I can get behind. It really changes how I play the game, since I’m in it more for the experience and story now instead of advancement. Plus, I don’t really want to out-pace the story and get to a point quickly where it’s done.
A few more updates from TSW. I’ve taken some good advice, done some reading up on the game, and made sure to balance out my attacks with two weapons instead of one. Apparently, if you’re just focusing on one weapon, you’re gimping yourself a bit (since you want two weapons for two powerful finishers). The synergy between the weapons/magics will take some getting used to, but I’m already seeing a lot of variety there.
You know how I said that TSW wasn’t really that creepy? Yeah, strike that. It’s not pure Amnesia: The Dark Descent-levels of scary, but it has its moments. The other day I died and was running back across a covered bridge I’d traveled many times. The only thing was that it looked far different in the spirit world:
What is that thing? WHAT IS THAT THING.
The tension and scare factor definitely goes up when the game separates me from everyone else in private instances. I keep panning the camera around trying to make sure nothing’s sneaking up on me. I’m probably doing a better job scaring myself than the game is, but that’s part of the fun. I guess.