The future is bright

GAI haven’t got my hopes up too much on the upcoming Sci-fi MMOs, yet despite the closure of Tabula Rasa this year and the “maybe/maybe not” status of Stargate worlds, there appears to be a strong selection of  games in the pipeline. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the greatest fan of Fantasy genre MMOs, I play them and enjoy them, but I still yearn for alternative genre games that take a step away from swords and spells.

So I’ve been keeping tabs on a few sci-fi MMOs and thought I’d start to cover them over a few weeks.

One of these games is Global Agenda which has been leading a courageous charge into the void that Tabula Rasa left in it’s wake, with it’s “No Elves” movement. This interesting game aims to mix PvE and PvP elements along side the persistence of a MMO, pitting two global agencies against each other. I like the idea of bringing PvP into the mix at an early level, rather than bolting in on like many MMOs have frequently done.

After having a browse around their website, news stories and FAQs, the game is certainly aiming to pack alot of features that they hope will draw players into the game, whether it’s the global Strategy or the  Shooter element that will attract gamers to this title, only time will tell.

I have a few reservations about GA that I hope won’t weight to heavily on it’s overall game-play and appeal as it keeps up the drive to bring people on-board with a proposed stunner of a game.

  • First up is the rather generic four classes, that could have been based on any number of FPS like Team Fortress 2, there are mentions of subclasses but the branded character classes are pretty straight forward. It appears that you progress and level a character effectively unlocking your path and group role.  Will mimicking the classes that have been the backbone of fantasy MMOs work for a futuristic game setting? Is it too restrictive? Will having dedicated healers just make them the main target during PvP matches no matter the match type?
  • My second issue was that the standard PVP matches sees groups up to 10 players (#faq). Really this game is gearing itself heavily for the console market with planned versions for the XBox,PS3 & Wii. The high level raids will have 60 Vs 60, which I think will really strain the limits of the current generation consoles having to display 120 characters all at once not including the landscape, gunfire and scenario.
  • Will we be able to have Console and PC gamers fighting alongside each other? If not will we be able to at least fight toward the same global target?
  • Currently descriptions of the game label it as a FPS or MMOFPS when in-fact the game-play will all be in third person perspective. This is saddening really as it seems to be a gimmick to attract FPS gamers into an MMO (#Ref)
  • In the alliance Vs alliance global struggle, how many will care, how will things be coordinated? Planetside suffered from “too many cooks” problem, where everyone had their opinion and wanted to go to different locations. This meant splitting the fight and numerous and we’d end up no-where and with nothing to show for it. I’ll be watching this one closely to see how Hi-Rez plan on keeping focus on the objects that are required.

Of course these elements aren’t set in stone and may already be changed or altered from the original blurbs and information supplied, so I shall observe the games progress, and I hope that I start to set elements that make me want to pick this game up as a possible long term investment and enjoyable game.


41EVX2MKR6L._SL500_AA240_On Thursday I was in work and ploughing through my work and enjoying some background noise of a batch of podcasts I had recently downloaded. One of these was Warp-drive active, which started with a rather fun “Boys are back in town” which made me chuckle.

Later that day on my bus journey home was listening to extended version of Anthrax’s Sound of white noise album which has a rather cool cover of Thin Lizzys Cowboy Song, two occurances

So during a late night game of Ryzom (that had just downloaded, more soon) I finally gave in and stuck on Dedication : The very best of Thin Lizzy, which suited the game rather well.

Sunday night Mr. Dok came around and with Guitar Hero: Greatest Hits and GH: Metallica both of which totally rocked. We rocked out to a awesome selection of different tunes, damn hard at times tho. Of course we finished the evening with a The boys are back in town again.

Continuing this list of linked occurrences I put the radio on while having a bath and happened upon Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds on radio 2. It wasn’t the original but a recently recorded version, but when I turned it on just happened to be at the section “Parson Nathaniel”, which in the original recording was performed by Phil Lynott.

I thought at the time, I should really get a re-mastered version of the musical. So I was well please when I tuned in to the Through the Aftermath podcast and heard a rather fantastic version of the War of the Worlds radio broadcast as performed by Jonathan.

Playing a game to death and back

Super_Mario_Kart_snes_I’ve not talked about my older console habits and after hearing the Listen Up (1Up) podcast talking fondly of their favourite old games I remembered the hours of fun that I had playing Super MarioKart on the SNES. There were few games on the console that where played as fanatically by my friends and I, this was the most extreme case.

You had the standard game modes that occupied your normal gaming time on the game, Cup races, head to head and the awesome PvP. Additional once you had exhausted all of that content you could turn your attention to the rather addictive time trails, where shaving a fraction of second off the top time was a highly sought after goal.

Remember that in the years without achievement systems and Gamer-Scores, this was boredom redefined and redirected into playing a game to death, then doing it all again. So what to do once you had exhausted all of the content? Well in our case we got plastered and invented new game modes.

Our overall favourite map was Ghost Valley 1 which was frequently the settings for our more bizarre game modes due to the ‘unique’ features.
I’m not sure which half-crazy scheme was more enjoyable, the first was invented by covering the bottom half of the screen and using the in-game minimap to guide your character around the track. Of course the chosen track doesn’t have any barriers so as you can imagine many drunken expletives were uttered and bellowed at the console.

Another event wasn’t as extreme just was equally as fun, attempting to complete the route in reverse using only the rear-view mirror  for guidance. While being easier than the mini-map game it was a right blast.

So is this Madness? Quite possibly, but also rather fun and certainly playing the title far beyond the limits it was originally destined for.

Hitting the Slots

cohThe City of Heroes purchasable add-ons appears to be doing well, a third Super Booster pack has been recently released and additional Architect slots are available to buy, for those Level designers among us.

Ask anyone that has played CoX and you’ll tend to get the same story, one of the most enjoyable parts of the game is tweaking and fiddling with your character at the tailors, or even just using the character creation screens. With Paragon studios embracing the use of RMTs in other areas, wouldn’t they want to add another potential revenue source by allowing player to purchase more costume slots? I certainly hope so.

The problem is that with each new release and booster pack, players get a stack of new costume parts, yet we are still limited to a maximum of five slots per character. I can buy (and have) new character slots that can be added to a server with relative ease, so why would adding more costume space be a bad thing?

Ideally new slots could purchased in packs like the Architect and character slot add-ons and each slot redeemed against a single character of your choosing, up to a maximum (10?) per character of course.

With Issue 16: Power Spectrum heading our way later this year the yearning for an increased number costume slot can only grow and hopefully us players that want a bigger wardrobe may get our wishes granted with the introduction of some form of slot increase.

Would you buy extra costume slots if they became available?

wow-killers killer

I know I’m not the only person that thinks labelling a game as a “WOW-killer” is anything but hype-mongering, but I’ve being wondering if these claims are having other effects.

Naturally game companies aren’t using the term, they can be found in articles that feel MMOs should all be judged in a similar way and what better method than comparing it against the market leader.

These questions have been floating around my head for a while now:

  • With the vast numbers playing Warcraft, who would really want their game to be measured against that yardstick?
  • Is a single unreleased game likely to poach a large number of players from World of Warcraft (permanently) at launch?
  • Is this branding poisoning the game it is labelled against, doing more harm than good for a game?

Back in my days playing SOE’s Planetside there was very little room for other games , I was a loyal player through and through. Every now and again a title would appear labelled “Planetside 2” or “Planetside-ish”, Huxley was one of these and I recall at the time rubbishing the game straight away, based on the blurbs on their site and the fact that my game was threatened.
You see by naming a game an equivalent or successor of “my” current favourite game instantly made me dislike it instantly, without even seeing any gameplay.

A similar thing is going around in my head regarding Champions Online (City of heroes 2 /all the things that were missing from CoH), comparing yourselves against a game I’ve invested over two years on isn’t the way to get me to leave one for the other.
I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there that will switch games when the game launches, but claims and statements such as these combined with the fact of the game being more action focused, don’t do much to promote the game to the prime demographic.

So then next time you see a big named MMO project labelled as a WOW-killer the likelihood of that becoming reality has possibly been hampered by that very term.