Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The escape pods are this way, sir..

Oh My!

A fortnight after NGE hit and the boards are still full of flames, snipers, trolls and the usual fanboi/hater slugfests.

Thing is, it's not just the official forums that are like this (despite some heavy policing off and on by the mods) but the games press review sites, Amazon product reviews, the MMO scene, geeks sites and blogs almost all have something to say. And sadly for SWG it rarely seems to be "Hey, these new changes are cool".

I think that, if you were a completely new player to the game, had managed to get into the game without looking at the official or any other boards and were able to approach it from a position that doens't bring with it any existing baggage in terms of expectations, then it's going to be a fairly average to good MMO with a few glitches, but hey, what online game doesn't have those....

On the other hand, if you were an established player and your favourite profession has gone, the skillsets that helped make "your adventure" really feel like it was YOURS and not the same one that that other guy in the same armour, with the same rifle and doing the same quest was having.

I've been reading JFreemans blog again and, frankly, I'm stunned that the guy who was such a big part of the Skara Brae Rangers, was so against the idea of WoW style level progression and who was so PRO a skill based system that gives breadth and depth to player characterisation should be so keen to be associated with the gang that have gone out of their way to throw so much of the game away 'because it'll make it simpler to code and manage'. Sheesh, on that basis, let's go back to playing Pong.

Likewise, he seems at times to be saying that Raph Koster was the best thing since sliced bread, that the enforced socialisation that Raph saw as being so important was part of what made SWG unique even though the implementation of the idea was flaky and then goes on to say that it's the removal of the Raph from the game that's making it 'fun' and (if I hear another dev use this, I'll scream) "Cool".

Sure, it was a PitA of epic proportions to have to go get a buff from a doc, then find an ent and get a mind buff and then have to wait for a shuttle to get up to Dath and go toe to toe with rancors or NS. But all that time was, if you had a slightly wider notion of 'fun' than just going clickyclickyfightfight, actually time well spent. it's when you got to find out about new content form other players, got tips from the old hands about how to do this task or that mission, got TALKING to folk and making friends.

And it's the friends that I'm missing now. My pals list seems to have dwindled down to having two folk online from 40-60 of a weekend evening. Most of the people I got to know thru the game have taken to the escape pods and are heading off elsewhere. The new players, well, they're maybe playing a different game to the one I know.

Still, I guess it's 'fast combat and fun and exciting' so that's cool, eh?

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