What’s one thing that WildStar, The Secret World, and Marvel Heroes don’t have that I crave?
A complete traditional leveling experience.
Don’t get me wrong; each of these games are great fun in their own right. But from each, something is missing. In WildStar, it’s a shortage of additional high-level zones being added and an ease of dungeon running (dungeons are there, but they’re still anything but casual). The Secret World’s quest structure isn’t quite the same as the traditional questing MMO, which means that I sample more than binge on it, and I’m not fond of its dungeons as endgame content either. Marvel Heroes has options coming out of the wazoo, but it’s not as if you really move through a world, leveling up (even in the story mode).
No matter how many or which MMOs are in a current personal rotation of games, I find that I need — I desire — a very traditional, full-featured title as an anchor for my gaming life. Kind of like how malls have big-name outlets as anchors — your Nordstroms or Macys — I find myself installing those kind of titles. What kind of games am I talking about? For me, they have to have the following features:
- A traditional leveling system with a world through which you move through zones
- An endgame that’s accessible (LFG dungeons, dungeons for noobs, dailies)
- Regular tab-target combat (not action combat)
- A healthy population and a good outlook (content/expansions being added)
- A community (guild) that’s easy to plug into and makes me feel welcome
My mainstays with these have been limited to just a handful of titles that meet these qualifications. LOTRO, although I’ve never been super into the dungeon scene there (although there are more coming, so that’s a good sign). World of Warcraft, which is why it’s currently on my machine. Final Fantasy XIV, which meets these standards but has an aesthetic that’s a little hard for me to overcome. SWTOR, although these days the expansion — while fun — isn’t really about progressing through zones as it is doing the instanced story chapters. RIFT is the solid if forgettable candidate (why isn’t this game more sticky for me?).
Other possibilities include Guild Wars 2 (although that doesn’t quite scratch that main game anchor itch for a variety of reasons) and EverQuest 2 (which I’ve never been able to get into). But past that, it’s really those first five as potentials.
WildStar sates some of these desires, albeit with action combat, but when I hit that hard wall of “oops you’re out of zones and level 50 and have you thought about making raid attunement your lord and savior?” I start to look elsewhere for my entertainment. There’s still plenty to do in the game, to be sure, but it leaves a leveling void that isn’t being filled. Alts are an option, sure.
No matter how far I roam the field in search of entertainment, at the end of the day I keep finding myself coming back to the familiar, the comfortable, and the quite traditional. Maybe what I’m expressing is a desire to have a “home” of sorts. Right now I can’t claim any game as such, although WildStar still does get most of my regular time and attention. I’ve been flirting with most all of those five as of late (apart from FF14, and even that’s gotten some sidelong looks from me recently), going on dates with them and asking them tough questions about a potential long stay.
Do I return to LOTRO and work on getting my Captain through Gondor, perhaps jumping into the dungeon scene? Do I stick with World of Warcraft, since there’s an expansion on the way and I’ve got a long way to go in getting this Shaman up to the cap? Do I give FFXIV another try and see if I can’t access that stickiness that others have seem to found? Do I take RIFT out for more questing and instant adventures and dungeons? Or should SWTOR become my default fallback?
I don’t feel like I can really invest in a character’s career in any one of these for the long haul. I should probably make a decision soon. I just know that I need one of them to be my go-to in my gaming sessions. Does anyone else go through this?