You may know that I’m a player and fan of the City of Heroes/Villains franchise, yet I’ve always said if given the opportunity I’d try Champions online out.
One of the annoying elements about Planetside was that it had no rivals, the game didn’t have to fight it was the only one of it’s kind, it stagnated due to this and the players suffered. The idea of more SuperHero themed MMOs in the world is a very appealing one to me as it encourages enhancement development of each game and of the whole genre.
I grabbed an open beta key from Fileplanet, who appear to be the hottest place for open betas at the moment, yet they have the slowest download queues in the world. Grrr.
Happily I set my download off before bed and it was ready when I woke up on Saturday, My chance had arrived and here are my thoughts on the game.
# This post may contain spoilers, cease reading you are avoiding them #
# Please remember this is Open beta and the game could change before launch #
Ever since my early days of online gaming it has continuously been non-fantasy titles that have occupied my time and remained at the forefront of my gaming habits. Yet if you were to ask me what exactly about fantasy games that I dislike, I doubt I could muster a single item as a culprit.
Please do not confuse my lack of interest in fantasy games for a dislike of the genre, of all the titles I have played it is frequently the fantasy ones that are the most detailed. Combining very rich & informative lore, well thought out & balanced crafting systems which allows these games build up a loyal and dedicated fan base.
Every few months Guild Wars manages to draw me back , but no matter how good my intentions I can not seem to last more than 2 maybe 3 weeks at the most before the game loses nearly all appeal. This experience has been mimicked in my reactivation of LoTRO, this game amazed me yet again, and it still does, but quite soon I found myself logging on less and less, a good job I cancelled my subscription back in December as I have no urge to go near the game at all now.
I find it rather strange as I do enjoy the variety of quests (I read them too), I adore the lore and the crafting is one of the best I have encountered, yet even all these elements combined does not appear to be enough for my gaming needs and attention.
For some time I believed that my lack of interest in fantasy MMOs was driven purely by the need for Guns (more futuristic themed) and a move away from swords, but with the arrival of Tabula Rasa I realised that this was not the case and my months playing City of Heroes/Villains has enforced it even further.
Looking back it could have been the fact that Tabula Rasa aimed to be a futuristic Science fiction shooter yet it still felt like a fantasy game at heart, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, for want of a better comparison. Excluding the usual reasons I feel that the fantasy elements were a big factor in driving me away from the game.
I think the bottom line is that the game-play elements of the Sword, Shield and Spell MMOs don’t really appeal to me in anyway. I appear to crave things that these games, not matter how wonderful, just don’t deliver. In 2009 I look forward to the Jumpgate MMO and a few others due out soon that aren’t fantasy based MMO games. I truely hope that I can find a game that will fill the gaps that were promised in 2008 yet still remain.
I think the bottomline is that me and Fantasy MMOs don’t get along too well, then again perhaps I’m just too picky with my MMO needs.
I find it annoying that in this current age of online game development that “beta testing” is used as a tool by the marketing department, rather than a method to identify and fix problems with a game before release.
I remember being quite excited about being invited to the Tabula Rasa beta, a game that I was quite looking forward to at the time. It was clear that even a month before launch the game wasn’t going to answer my MMO prayers, but I thought that I’d submit feedback to see if things would improve before release.
Along with many others, I filed numerous bug reports, sadly none of the suggestions were acted on and as far as I’m aware the TR interface remains one of the most clunky and unappealing features of the game. This one element alone resulted in me playing for less than a month after release.
It’s sad that to improve “word of mouth” about a game beta testing is used to parade the games abilities to a potential audience. This has a negative effect if the player base is bug reporting various items in the game that need attention or alteration, and none of this information appears to be acted on, as the truth is the final version of the game is already installed on our machines.
A Beta testing phase should stay focused on the feedback it receieves, and deliver games that match or exceed our expectations.