Wednesday, March 16, 2005

(Taken from the General Forum)

An Experienced MMORPG gamer speaks on WoW.. | 3/16/2005 9:20:53 AM PST

First off, This isn't my main character. I have no idea why I can't use my Main Character to post, but his name is Nocros and he's a 54th Level Tauren Shaman on Garona. Ok... Now, moving on.

I'm not a fanboi by any means. I have never played a Blizzard game before WoW, other than Warcraft I way back in the day. I never played Diablo or Diablo II more than 5-10 minutes at the most. I just thought I'd give some insight into other games, and explain a few things.

We start back with the Grandfather of MMORPG games.. Ultima Online.

Ultima Online started out with the most horrible lag ever heard of in a game period. This alone drove many people away, but the unique concept of allowing people on interact on a huge map, battle each other in pvp, craft items & freedom in character development led many people to this game. This game is over seven years old and I've been playing six. Ultima Online still has server issues. They still have lots of problems, and their playerbase is around 200,000 players. Every expansion is a lesson in patience and virtue if you don't punch your monitor as other players rapidly get through the process and drop a prime real estate house that will allow them to become multi-millionaires by pure luck. I have stuck by UO from the beginning. I have purchased every expansion and I have several accounts there. Compared to ultima Online, WoW is far superior in Customer Support. They are far superior in server stability for a game this young. After UO expansions, you can almost expect Roll Back's that may roll back for several days. Dupe bugs periodically show up. (Although they've taken major steps to curb this now.) Speed Hackers run rampant and so do 3rd Party Hackers. It's a fact of life with that game, and although they take action, it's very hard for them to prove this. Ultima Online continously adds content to the game, although this is a new trend that started in the last year - year 1/2. Before that, they never added content except with expansions. There's still "Promised Content" from 5 expansions ago that haven't been added. Ultima Online focuses mainly on Solo Play v/s Group Play, and almost everything in the game can be accomplished with Solo Play. End Game Content IS the content, since building your character is the process you go through so you can PLAY the aspects of the game. I'd give Ultima Online about a 7 on a scale of 1-10, mainly for the progress they've made through the years, and the fact they've tried to make things better. Overall it's a good game, even with outdated graphics & a botched PvP system. UO controls 2% of the MMORPG market.

Next, We'll move to DAOC.

I loved DAOC when it first came out. I started out with a Berzerker and I played the hell out of that game. It was a great, awesome game. The server stability of DAOC was never a huge problem, although they did have long periods of time where they shut down when the game was new, so they could keep everything going and keep everything up to date. DAOC rarely adds content. The game is also incredibly tedious. It's hard to level up, when you die you lose experience points, and the game is not really a game you can play Solo after level 30. Finding a group in DAOC can be incredibly hard, even with a big guild. DAOC's end game content is very weak. You can PvP in Realm v/s Realm all you want, but it's a massive lag filled horror. There are items you can get at higher level in order to tweak your character, but getting those items is a test of patience and killing time. I'd rank DAOC about 5 out of 10. DAOC controls 3.1% of the MMORPG market.

Next up is Final Fantasy XI

I wish I could begin to describe the horrors of this game. Every aspect of it is flawed. To quote a few players, "Anything on FFXI that doesn't take 6 hours isn't worth doing". Finding a group is murder... Leveling Solo is possible, if you want to kill the same mob 800,000 times and compete with 100 other people for those slow spawning Mobs. I started out on FFXI with a White Mage. The "great" thing about FFXI is that you can't play multiple characters. You just constantly switch the skills of your one character. You're "Allowed" to play more than 1 character, but you have to pay an additional fee each month for it. You also have to use their POL brower to log in. (POL is like AOL for Japan). Server Stability on FFXI was pretty good, but that was only because they beta tested the game in Japan for a year before they released it here. (By beta test, I mean they released it there and all of the players from there were already max level with every possible uber item by the time it was released in the US.) Luckily, they did go ahead and make some American Servers, but you don't get to pick your server. Instead you are randomly picked a server, and placed there. Then you can buy tickets on that server to invite your friends. End game content? Who knows... I never made it that far. The game is so tedious and murderous that it's not worth playing to me. I know that when I was randomly chosen for a server where I was not able to communicate with any of the other players (Since they spoke Japanese), all the max level characters seem to have the exact same armor, so I'm guessing there's not much. Toss that on top of the fact that the game's economy is comletely obliterated by Ebay Farmers, and you have a game than ranks about 2 out of 10. Final Fantasy controls 6.7% of the MMORPG market.

Next is City of Heroes. Believe it or not, City of Heroes had one of the smoothest launches in history. The reason for that is because they launched with the lowest population in history :). CoH was a great game. The end game content wasn't incredibly great, but it's a new game. They're adding a new expansion called City of Villians which will introduce Hero Lairs, PvP, Arena Duels and quite a bit of other content. CoH did add content to the game, in the form of Hero Capes, Special Graphic Effects, Outdoor Missions, New Area's etc. CoH was very revolutionary with adding all of the new content on a regular basis. The game idea is very unique, so attracting a large portion of the MMORPG market is hard for them. I consider CoH one of those games you load up when you want to unwind and just laugh and the play. It's a great game, great launch and generally on top of things. CoH is an easily soloable game, up into the very high levels, and it's still doable, but easier to group up. The good point of CoH is that you can group with 1-2 others and do just fine. The only major drawback is that they have a scheduled downtime every morning that lasts 2-3 hours, so anyone who's playtime was in the morning would be drastically impacted. End Game Content is not great, but with the new stuff coming, it will get much better. I'd give CoH an 8 out of 10, but I could be biased on that, because some of my friends became frustrated with it and would probably rank it lower. City of Heroes controls 1.5% of the total MMORPG market.

There are other games out there, Lineage, Lineage II, Anarchy Online, EQ I & EQ II, but those are games I never tried. With Lineage, I never heard anything good about it, so I didn't bother. Anarchy Online would have been something I would have played, but the servers made it totally unplayable for the first 30-45 days. EQ & EQ II never interested me. The concepts behind it were just outside of my playstyle. I don't have 7 hours a day to get 1 piece of armor "Maybe" or spend years of my life trying to obtain certain items just so I can group. I have friends who did it, and they're all on WoW now... Lineage I & II together control over 50% of the MMORPG market, so I guess it must be a decent game at least. Maybe someone can write a review who has had first had experience. EQ controls 8.9% with their two releases.

Now we get to WoW... World of Warcraft. My current game. Are the servers stable? Nah, not really... But there's a reason for that... WoW has had the biggest launch in history. When you look at the current MMORPG market, and the recent launch of other games, even with Open Beta, there is NO way that WoW could have predicted they would control 15.3% of the MMORPG market within a couple months of launch. (For those keeping track, that's almost more than the population of EQ, EQ II, DAOC, UO and CoH COMBINED!! That's almost more than EQ I, EQ II & FFXI COMBINED.) This launch has been as much of a test & mind boggle for Blizzard as the Server Problems have been to us. They probably prepared, if we're lucky, they probably prepared to handle a few hundred thousand Players in the first month. Look how many servers they started out with! Look how long WoW was impossible to find in the stores. They sold out their stock & their warehouse in a matter of weeks. This game is doing it's best to get things going. We're living through history and we're living through a revolutionary experience in MMORPG history. Sure, people have complaints... It's only human. Is the end game content there... Well it's not absolute crap, and it shows improvement. Can you Solo in WoW? Yeah... You can Solo in WoW until level 60 if you choose. The only time you are forced into Grouping/Instances would be when you want the items they yield. WoW is also trying to implement things like the meeting stones to get everything going. The high level content is going to be a lot harder to deal with. The horde is horribly 10/1 outmanned for PvP. 40 man raid groups are not going to be easy to organize... But it's a young game. Let's give it a year? eh?

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