Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Nomadic MMO Autumn

I've spent most of 2013 subscribed to one primary MMO and dabbling in maybe a single other non-subscription title at any given time.  For whatever reason, I ended up resolving to tackle some of the backlog and logging into seven different online games in the last week.  I dunno how folks routinely cover as many games as Syp or Chris from MMO Reporter manage this, because it's exhausting.  Anyway, what I've been up to:
  • FFXIV: This game has quietly been my go-to since mid-September.  It's a good mix of keeping enough of the new school - public quests, group finder, and solo-ability - but with some old school elements that are a welcome change of pace.  I don't mind that I was playing for over a month before I qualified for a mount or that I'm less than half-way to level cap after six weeks.  In some ways, this game caused my current "crisis" by pushing everything else off the plate. 
  • Guild Wars 2: This went on a one-day sale for $30, which is the price point at which I'm willing to snag a AAA buy-to-play game as an impulse buy.  I had a ton of trouble actually playing the game because their email authenticator would not work and it took seven CS tickets to get someone to read the ticket and agree to remove this feature.  (Aside: the only other MMO where I have ever needed an extended exchange of tickets due to new login restrictions that the provider added - Guild Wars 1.)  I spent an evening, gained a few levels, and it didn't leave much of an impression.  I definitely could have been looking in the wrong places, or this might just not be a title that I'm going to like (which was why I didn't buy it earlier).   Not going to rush this one, pinging some folks I trust for suggestions on where I should be looking before I spend more time heading in the wrong direction. 
  • LOTRO: Turbine has turned on double exp for an entire month in advance of their upcoming expansion.  I've been behind on solo content in LOTRO since a few months after the game's launch, but 2013 has been the year when I haven't even managed the token effort to finish the epic story and hit the level cap.  At this point, my favorite part of the leveling game are the non-combat quests where I wander around the towns of Rohan doing things that feel like the belong in Middle Earth, but that interactive story isn't quite enough to convince me to come back.  Also, possibly odd decision by Turbine to try and bring back inactive players just before a major class revamp that is drawing much concern from current players - it might actually have been easier to get the new system if I didn't just take a refresher on how things used to be. 
  • Hearthstone: I'm not playing this thing daily - maybe once or twice a week - and I'm still losing the overwhelming majority of my games, but I am at least starting to get a hang of which characters not to play or at least how to revamp their decks so that I might have a chance against the non-overpowered heroes.  Game imbalance may play a larger role in my mixed experience in this game than I initially realized.
  • Rift: Not sure this one counts, but I did log into four characters long enough to tell Trion not to recycle all my names.  I sympathize with the intent, but I feel these drives are misguided - you're still not going to get the name DeathKnight because A) your current characters are already named and B) someone else is going to beat you to it if it does get freed up, which means you're going to have to go back to either spelling it wrong or adding non-English characters that will make it harder for normal players to type your name in a day or two at most. 
  • Marvel Heroes: I forget why I popped back into this game - probably for the sole reason of continuing the "different game each day" trend that I had going.  Well, there was a bonus exp/loot weekend that kept me involved long enough to finish the story and explore all the improvements.  This game had a rocky launch week and I'm really impressed with how far they've come - both quality of service and quality of life are dramatically better for such a short time post-launch, and bode well for the team's ability to set and meet a schedule.  My biggest complaint now is that there are so many heroes in the queue that it's going to be months before the ones I really want get added to the game, and secondarily that you need to download a second 12 GB client to access the test server if you want to try before you buy.  That's not bad in the broader scheme of things.
  • SWTOR: I've been mostly out of game for a few months now, and thus have missed two content patches.  The new stuff is great as always, but it doesn't seem like it's going to last that long.  I've also got an unfinished Sith Warrior about to tackle Hoth followed by his final story chapter, after which I may move a character over to play with the Ootinicast folks. 
Have you found yourself wandering the halls of multiple MMO's, or is it just me?  


Stabs said...

Eve is utterly dominant for me these days because of the depth of its economy.

I find it frustrating to play a game where the economy is just a feature rather than the engine that drives the game. It feels like it's not worth making money.

I am playing a little EQ2, it's nice for a change of pace and possibly has the second deepest MMO economy.

Jason said...

It's probably not just you, though in my case I seem to be only playing SWTOR. Raiding a couple of days a week, and getting the PvP daily done, takes a fair bit of time. I'm actually feeling like I'd like to level another character or two! Something on the Republic side, as I'm actually missing Coruscant (the last time I did it, we didn't get Sprint until level 14, and no speeders until level 25... now, it should be far more streamlined).

I've dipped into LOTRO some, leveling an RK on Landroval. This is the fourth incarnation, as I was determined on getting the Undying title on him (as I had on my Minstrel on the same server). Undying just makes sense for Elves, right? Anyway, he's now around level 32, doing the Glassblowers camp quests on the way to Evendim. I was enjoying it well enough, though adding unavoidable double XP (at least unless one is willing to buy a disabler) in the leadup to Helm's Deep has stopped me cold. I don't want to outlevel the content, and as I'm currently free-to-play, I don't feel like I'm wasting a subscription by simply waiting until after the expansion launches and the double XP goes away. Also, as you mentioned, playing now with the impending class changes is more an exercise in preemptive nostalgia.

I'm not feeling the urge to try another game, though I may give Path of Exile a shot (I'd heard from Tim Dale on the How to Murder Time podcast that it's very Diablo 2-like, and worth trying on that basis alone).

Looking ahead, Wildstar leaves me cold (silly cartooniness isn't my thing). TESO certainly sounds interesting, though having only really got obsessively into Elder Scrolls in Oblivion, I'm really not invested enough in that IP for it to be a draw. My sense is that it'll be just another MMO, with some odd twists (their endgame plan is kind of baffling; seems very like GW2's realm-vs-realm setup). EQ Next has some novel ideas, banking heavily (it seems) on user-generated content--not a bad idea, though for me personally, their art style is kind of repellent.

Perhaps I'll also try more mobile games! I was genuinely surprised at how compelling Tiny Death Star was (though having to factory reset my Nexus 4 brought that to a very sudden halt). Though really when looking a new game, I find myself thinking I really should be building something rather than playing. :)

Bhagpuss said...

I wish I *was* playing multiple MMOs! My preference is to play one "main" MMO, which I'd play for at least one good (three-hourish) session pretty much every day, plus one or two secondary MMOs that get a couple of good-length sessions each week, and then on top of those I'd hope to pop in to any number of others for an hour or two here and there. That's what feels comfortable, and it gives me more to write about, which increasingly seems to be a motivation.

What I'm actually doing is playing GW2 just about all the time. It annoys me even as I do it but the new WvW League is highly compulsive, the new content, which currently happens to be the kind of thing I enjoy, is dropping faster than I can consume it and the game is just so damn comfortable and pleasant to play.

About all I've managed in addition is a few hours of EQ2 each week, working through the main storyline of the last expansion, which I got free on pre-ordering the next one.

My free month on FFXIV expired exactly as we went on holiday for a week and that effectively broke our connection to the game - neither of us has subscribed although we both intended to before we went away.

I want to make time for TSW, Vanguard and Everquest, where I have things I was in the middle of doing. I want to take a look at Villagers & Heroes and The Hammers End. I really need to break GW2's stranglehold - I've probably played 80% GW2 for over a year now. said...

There's a lack of stickiness to MMOS right now. I tend to stay around for the content, which by today's metric is fairly quickly consumed. If that's gone, then the people keep me around. But even those folks are in and out on a practically daily basis. So I hop around trying to find something to do. Wow was the baseline, the a sub to SWTOR and now FF14. I put a lot of time in Neverwinter (great), had the same feeling as you for GW2, leveled some in Rift, Marvel Heroes and a whack of F2P betas. Would be great to be able to settle down.

Unknown said...

Yes the wvw seasons has added a new level of competetiveness to that part of GW2. JQ owns the current matchup, but 2nd and 3rd place has changed hands several times since this matchup, which has been a driving force for me logging in every day. Also Anet keeps dangling the carrot of permanent home instance items for finishing the content they are introducing - makes it doubly tough to stay away!

Unknown said...

Yes the wvw seasons has added a new level of competetiveness to that part of GW2. JQ owns the current matchup, but 2nd and 3rd place has changed hands several times since this matchup, which has been a driving force for me logging in every day. Also Anet keeps dangling the carrot of permanent home instance items for finishing the content they are introducing - makes it doubly tough to stay away!

mindofyngwe said...

I am in much the same boat as you, although with less time to play and, as a result, fewer games to jump between. I have been focusing over the last few months on FFXIV and Marvel Heroes.

I came to the realization the other day that I might drop my FFXIV sub in favor of something that lacks a sub, such as GW2 or Neverwinter (yay, Ranger class). I'm not giving up on Marvel Heroes anytime soon, but every time I play, I feel like the money I spend on my FFXIV sub is being wasted.

armagon said...

Mostly WoW (raiding, just got 1/14 Heroic on 25) - and a little EVE (mostly training, a little mining, waiting for a free time slot for missions) and nothing else.

Still waiting for WildStar, but a little less enthusiastic meanwhile.

gamingsf said...

Still juggling away, I can't seem to settle on just one game anymore - it's one way of avoiding burnout I suppose.

WoW: back in to do the newer content patch and to give flex-mode raiding a try.

LOTRO: potentially my main game again as I'm enjoying leveling through Isenguard, I'll be interested in trying the mounted combat when I get there.

EQ2: this game should, on paper, be my favourite as I love a lot of the 'crunchy' RPG systems and the crafting. But I don't feel drawn back, whether it's the crazy high-magic world or the extreme focus on only grouping at end-game, I can't be sure.

GW2: we drop in to duo occasionally but honestly the living story hasn't drawn us back into Tyria since the Bazaar of the Four Winds (which was excellent).