Tag Archives: world of warcraft

Running with ‘PUGs’ in your favorite mmorpgs

friday night daoc run

one of my friday night pug runs on DAoC

A friend and I were discussing the other night how one of the most interesting sociological experiments of playing mmos is dealing with playing with complete strangers, and how sets of PUGs can differ depending on what game you play, or what group you join. For weeks I tried to put together a “static group” in DDO, meaning a group that would adventure together at set times of the week. This exercise proved futile, the one time I did manage to get a few people to commit to a set time to play, i.e. a few times during the week, our schedules inevitably made it hard for one or all of us to maintain the commitment to play. More often than not, I used the “social” function of the game to LFG which were doing similar level quests. I am sure this is how most people approach playing DDO.

So I recently reverted to running with PUGs in both DDO and Wow. PUGs tend to be impatient, especially with newb players, but as anyone who has played wow can attest, inexperience, nOObishness, insufficient gear, or even virtual incompatibility will get you kicked from most groups, especially in raids, whereas PUGs can behave differently in other games. Point in case, I was running the massive Ragefire Chasm in wow, admittedly a low level dungeon to be sure, but since I  had not done so for quite some time, I was not really familiar with the map. Anyway, while I was running, I came to a fork or a split where you are supposed to jump and forgot to do so and fell. This delayed my rendezvous with the group. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get with your PUG group and getting lost, or getting separated from the party for whatever reason.

The DDO PUGs tend to be more forgiving. I had a similar experience running a dungeon in DDO, I got killed by deadly elite traps (instances can be played in various degrees of difficulty in DDO and I find that most people will try to do “elites” in a group, they tend to be more challenging and fun) and one of my party members had to retrieve my soulstone to try and revive me. I also fell off a cliff or some precipice, (I seem to fall a lot in maps I am not familiar with the terrain) and one of my party members was kind enough to come back for me and show me the way back to the treasure chest, long after the encounter had ended and everyone in the party had teleported out. I don’t really see that happening a lot with wow PUGs, which is one of the reasons I like playing DDO.  It is  highly unlikely that I will stop playing wow altogether solely based on my experiences with the wow PUGs, just recently my friend said he’d roll a toon and help me run dungeons, so I am waiting a few days for him to catch up to me.

I will be sure to report back on our progress and on my experiences in both games.

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Massive Online Gamer’s Jason Winter interview part 2

massive online gamer magazine

the new defunct Massive Online Gamer Magazine

As promised, today I bring you Part 2 of my interview with former Massive Online Gamer Editor in Chief Jason Winter. Enjoy!

KTG:  MOBAS like League of Legends have really come up this year. I noticed MOG was covering them more and more, even in this last issue you had an article detailing the Dominion map. Are you surprised at all, by the rise in popularity in these types of games? Do you think that they can coincide along the bigger titles like SWTOR and GW2??

JW: A: I think MOBAs are a natural evolutionary path of MMORPGs. And, in fact, we’ve probably all been playing something just like them for years but didn’t realize it. My classic “Rift is a pretty game to sit around waiting for dungeon queues to pop” line from a previous TWIMMO is a part of this
observation, but it applies to many MMORPGs. In my case, I’ve been playing The Lord of the Rings Online since April 2007. That’s 57 months. My main character has been at the level cap for 46 of those months. That’s about 80% of the time he’s existed. And what do you do at level cap? Mostly you form up groups for instances, raids, maybe PvP, etc. You don’t really run around the world doing quests like you did when you were leveling. Yes, you can do some socializing, and a little crafting and miscellaneous activities, but if you want to advance your character, the best way to do it, in most cases, is to form up a group and hit a dungeon.

What do you do in a MOBA? Queue up for “PvP instances,” basically. MOBAs are just PvP MMOs without the questing and (in some form) leveling. Take a look at Guild Wars, where you could make a max-level character just to do PvP right out of the gate. How’s that different from a MOBA? So many people rush to level cap these days to do endgame anyway, and there’s really no difference between doing that and just starting out in a MOBA. And that 46/57 months thing takes into account that I’m a notoriously slow leveler 🙂

Now, I’m hopeful that games like GW2 will, as ArenaNet claims, make the endgame the whole game, and that you’ll still be incentivised to run around the world and not just sit around cities queueing up for dungeons. As much as people say GW1 wasn’t a true MMORPG, it might be that most non-GW2 are more MOBA than MMORPG, which is kinda ironic.

KTG: What are you going to miss most, would you say, about working with the staff of Beckett’s Online Massive Gamer magazine??
JW: Ping pong. That is all.

KTG:  I was somewhat surprised to see that your editorial staff chose GW2 as the top mmo of 2012 and beyond, what gives GW2 an edge over other games in your opinion, considering that was a list which includes so many great games like “The Secret World” and “Everquest Next” just to name a few?

JW: We actually had a formula that took a few factors into consideration and GW2 had the best “numbers.” That’s the short answer. The somewhat-longer answer is like what I referred to earlier, that I think ArenaNet and GW2 “get” that people are looking for something different, and they’re not just going to deliver something different for the sake of being different – they’re doing it because it’s actually better, at least in theory. Funcom’s sort-of got that with The Secret World, too, doing away with leveling (which, as referred to above, is something you won’t be doing with your character 80% or more of the time anyway). Honestly, we just don’t know enough about EQNext to give it super-high marks, but the brand name itself was worth a few points.

KTG:  Since this blog (killthegoblinsavetheworld) is mostly about retro-mmo games, what mmo do you think fans would benefit from being resurrected or redone for a modern audience in your opinion and why?

JW: A: Retro games? You mean like Star Wars: Galaxies? 🙂
It’s only sorta retro, being just a few years old, but I thought Auto Assault was a great premise. As an old Car Wars fan, I loved the idea, but the problem was that NCSoft made it “too MMO-like.” Meaning that instead of making it a game about cars with guns, they made it an MMO, with DPS, healers, support, tanks, etc., but instead of people, you had cars. In other words, it was the same as anything else out there.

I’d like an MMO of vehicular combat that you could tweak and min/max to your heart’s content. Want more speed? You’ll have to shed some armor or weapons. Want bigger guns? OK, but you won’t be as fast. And so on. Come on, Steve Jackson, you know you want to do this!

KTG: Yea that would be great! I was a fan of the Car Wars pen and paper game too. OK so the big question on a lot of people’s minds, Wow: the king of them all, at least for now. What are your thought’s on Blizzard’s behemoth and its future and its impact in the mmo game industry? Do you think SWTOR can have lasting power to topple it from the mmo throne, or do you think it will fizzle out like many shiny new mmos before it?

JW: Something a lot of people have said, and that I agree with, is that “The only thing that will kill WoW is WoW.” A new game, whether it’s SWTOR or GW2 or TSW or EQN isn’t going to “kill” WoW, not directly at least. Like I said, gamers are looking for something more in their MMOs than… uh, well, “kill the goblins and save the world.” If newer games rewrite this paradigm and steal some players from WoW, that won’t be the real impact of their success. Rather, players will look at what those games are doing and think, “I like WoW, but why can’t it be more like this game?” If Blizzard can’t adjust its game to be more in line with these newer offerings, then who really “killed” WoW? Some other game for “stealing” WoW’s players or Blizzard for not changing WoW to meet the needs and wants of its players?

That’s it guys! I want to than Jason once again for taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak to me and hope to bring you more interviews from some of the big guns in the industry in the future. Pick up a copy of the Mar/April edition of Massive Online Magazine, it will be the last but it should still be out on stands now.

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More M.O.B.A.S. like League of Legends to come our way in 2012?

I read an interesting article of predictions for gaming in mmorpg.com the other day about M.O.B.A.S.  If you are an avid gamer (and if you are not, why exactly are you reading this post?) you know that the proliferation of these types of games has seemingly skyrocketed lately, due largely in part to the satisfying “quick fix” which LOL and M.O.B.A. type games like DOTA provide players.

I think Youtube personality Boogie 2988 said it best when he alluded to the fact that former World of  Warcraft players and mmo enthusiasts may tire of the waiting in those types of games. As Boogie put it, Wow is a good game, but there is a lot of waiting around in that game, players have to queue for entrance into instances, whereas games like L.O.L. provide a lot of the instant gratification which some players have accustomed themselves to these days.

Coming from the mmo gaming side of things, I was quick to jump into the fray in League of Legends, which was very similar to Warcraft 3 (which it should be given that DOTA was a mod of Blizzard’s old RTS game) and I found the game lacking at first glance. For one thing, I missed the open world feel of a mmorpg game like Everquest 2 or World of Warcraft. Yes, combat is a significant part of gaming in those games too, but it is not the sole focus of the game. In L.O.L., you pick a champion and you go out and level him or her up, while your summoner also levels behind the scene.

It’s a more visceral, satisfying form of combat in some player’s point of view, but for old time mmo gamers like me (Though not as old to remember dabbling in original E.Q. or even Ultima Online) the game felt as though it did not offer as much diversity or richness of play as wow did, where you can do more than battle creeps and opposing teams (like crafting, questing, and raiding to name a few examples.)

Yet, the mmorpg.com article predicted a rise not only in M.O.B.A style gameplay (which seems accurate given Blizzard’s announcement during  this year’s Blizzcon about Blizzard DOTA’s impending release) but also, even more interesting, a rise in a hybrid type genre of game: an mmo like game mixing in elements of M.O.B.A.S.  Isn’t that what I was bemoaning was lacking in L.O.L. and surely my way of thinking is exactly what game devs foresaw. Crafty little devils!

There are many reasons I can see this prediction coming true: The rise in popularity of e-sporting events like those made prevalent by StarCraft and now L.O.L., the aforementioned dislike for waiting to be queued into instances in other games, not to mention the copy cat way in which game companies have a tendency to churn out copies of more successful or more high profile versions of other products.

Consider this further evidence: The online gaming communities have catered to just about every type of game genre there is, with a recent replication of sites devoted to L.O.L. specifically and M.O.B.A.S. in general. The aforementioned MMORPG.com blog has expanded and now has sister/partner sites dedicated to RTS gaming (rtsguru.com) and FPS gaming (fpsguru.com) could DOTAguru sites be far behind???

Lastly, my favorite game magazine, Massive Online Gamer dedicated not one, but two articles about M.O.B.A.S. this past issue, one detailing the rise of the Dominion map in L.O.L. and Another entitled “3 simple rules for L.O.L. beginners,” penned by Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe. In addition to being a major NFL athlete, Kluwe is a confessed gaming aficionado and he has a quirky and fun writing style, and if you have never read any of his articles, you owe it to yourself to read some of his work. You will be glad you did if you are a gamer.

Anyhoo, you might play devil’s advocate and say, “Hybrid M.M.O, M.O.B.A.S., don’t we have that already in a game like World of Warcraft?” and in a sense you would be correct, given that wow has b.g.s that are as much fun as L.O.L. Yet, it depends on your gaming style, M.O.B.A.s usually are more focused on team oriented objectives, not just ganking, though there is a bit of that too. I personally am in favor  of mixing the visceral thrills of L.O.L. with the more open ended and massive feel of an mmorpg like wow or DAoC. Just please don’t make it so unfriendly to newbs!

Oh and while I am at it, I leave you with this tantalizing tasty morsel of news….

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Failed mmorpgs: It started with a game by EA

Motor City Online Game boxI was looking at the mmo timeline found in Bio Break again to see which classic mmorpgs I would like to try next, and also to learn more about the history of the genre of gaming that I love.  It occurred to me that with the new wave of mmorpgs that are coming our way, (Tera, SWTOR, GW2 etc) there is going to be more variety than we have ever had.

Yet, why do games fail? What is it about a specific concept that makes a game a success or a total failure? With something like SWG, it’s pretty obvious that there were factors that led to its demise, one prominent factor being the expiration of the gaming license and SOE’s failure to listen to the gaming community and rolling out the infamous NGE, angering a significant chunk of the player-base.

So in part one of this series of posts examining the failures of some significant mmorpgs, I started with the first “red” on Bio Break’s mmo time line: 2003’s Motor City Online.

MCO can be considered one of the first major failed mmos of the modern era, maybe even the first! (AOL’s Neverwinter Nights does not really count as a failure in my mind and neither did the games before it, as they were pioneering games and their closures had less to do with financial success or other factors and more with the changing landscape of the emerging world wide web)

Would I have played this game? A massively multiplayer online racing game? Probably not. I am more into sci-fi and fantasy based games and even though I tried games like Twisted Metal on the old Ps2, I was never really a huge fan of racing games, with the notable exception of Atari’s ancient Pole Position, but even that game I was not too heavily into.

Let me say that others have had this idea, and it’s amusing to read some of this author’s conclusions regarding the factors leading up to MCO’s demise. I had to chuckle at this: One of the main reasons given by the author for MCO’s failure was its pay to play format. Specifically EA’s $10 a month subscription coupled with a paid box game. Hindsight  proves that the author’s premise may be flawed because countless MMORPGS since have employed the boxed game coupled with a subscription fee, including Blizzard’s beastly “World of Warcraft.”

As we all know, this strategy continues to be employed with success by game developers, so it is highly plausible that the author’s other reasons for MCO’s failure were more on target, namely a lack of advertising and exposure by EA following launch.

What do you all think? Now it’s back to DAoC for me!

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