Monday, May 3, 2010

A Tale Of Two Dragon RPG's

Having spent more time in DDO, I'm finding that it's filling a role in my gaming schedule that I'd thought would be covered by Dragon Age - a good, no monthly fee change of pace from the more involved MMORPG's I spend most of my time with. The two games actually have some interesting structural similarities:
  • Both games use off-camera travel between points of interest - there is a broader world map, but players are just a loading screen away from skipping from one quest area to another.
  • Both games offer multiple difficulty settings and different character classes for replay value. Depending on how you've built your character, you might find very different solutions to problems. (Aside: Both games also suffer from the flaw of information overload for newbies trying to figure out what skills to take.)
  • Neither game has a mandatory monthly fee, but both offer paid downloads that offer additional content, gear, and features (storage is an option in both games).
  • Dragon Age offers NPC's for all your tanking, healing, DPS, and partially clothed sex scene needs. DDO uses content scaling and NPC hirelings to allow players better solo capacity, but players are required to find their own groups for cyborz.

So why have I barely touched Dragon Age? I can't really credit the multiplayer aspects of DDO (economy, optional grouping) since I don't really take advantage of either. (DDO's auction system is a mess, incidentally.)

I think part of the draw is that DDO is probably the most friendly game I've seen for short play sessions. If a quest is rated "long", even if I haven't done it before, I know that it'll be 30-40 minutes to complete. If I don't have that much time, I know to go do something else. Each quest ends with a reasonably good stopping point for a session, if you're looking for a place to call it a night. Dragon Age will let you save and quit just about anywhere, but the main quest arcs can run for six hours plus between spots where the narrative really pauses, so you're always left feeling like you paused something partway through.

The other thing is that I'm not always in the mood for the interactive movie approach to gaming. If I want to watch a movie, I can watch a movie. If I want to play a game, I'm not in a mood to sit through dialog that I can't skip for fear of ticking off party members, accidentally cutting off quests, etc. (Also, frankly, DDO's mechanics are deeper and more interesting than DA's limited choices, which are mostly about combat style preference.) It's relatively rare that I'm in the mood for precisely the mix of the two that Dragon Age provides.

Then again, maybe the real problem is that I just don't care enough about the animated nudity.

1 comment:

Yeebo said...

I'm right there with you. I have a ton of offline RPGs that never quite seem to make it to the top of my play que. Even when I do get in to one, I'm usually done long before I've seen everything. Before I became such an obsessed MMO gamer I was that guy that would spend a month and a half milking every scrap of content out of an offline RPG I liked.