Blogging on Blogs
I’ve decided to give the novel concept of using my blog as a blog a go. I’ve never been much for writing blog style posts, always choosing to focus on more newsy or article style content instead. I guess in retrospect this probably comes from having worked on the college newspaper all those years ago. Regardless, since my news and article content has all moved to MMO-Central for the time being, I have this website just sitting here, so I may as well try putting something a bit more conversational with a bit less editing (sorry) out there. We’ll see how it goes.
I don’t have much of a background in space-sims, flying games, or anything like that. I played X-Wing vs Tie Fighter when I was a child, and did a little a bit of dogfighting using a mouse and keyboard in Star Wars: Galaxies‘ Jump to Lightspeed expansion, but other than that, I’ve been blissfully uninitiated into the genre. This has actually been pretty awesome, as it’s made it extremely easy for me to not give Star Citizen any of my money. Unfortunately, I no longer have the shield of ignorance standing watch o’er my wallet.
After some coaxing from a friend – who has yet to actually play with me, I would add (you know who you are) – I eventually gave in and picked up Elite: Dangerous. It wasn’t that expensive, and I had read that it handled really well even if you were playing using a mouse and keyboard instead of the HOTAS set-up I don’t have and didn’t want to buy. Unfortunately, the use of the past tense there was entirely deliberate.
Suffice it to say, I’m enjoying the hell out of the game, and the internet space ships have me now. Elite: Dangerous is far and away the most immersive game I’ve ever played, and everything from its immersive in-universe UI, to its beautiful vistas, to its ridiculous implementation of a 1:1 scale representation of the Milky Way galaxy complete with around 100 billion star systems makes me feel, more than anything else ever has, that I’m actually in space.That said, it is a pretty shallow game, and while its actual minute-to-minute gameplay is incredibly enjoyable, its actual game systems do need a lot of work. There’s no player driven economy (players can affect NPC supply and demand levels with trading, but that’s about it), so while it feels like a sandbox at first, it becomes very transparent early on that it really isn’t one. This leads to certain playstyles feeling really empty, as your goods never actually contribute to building anything, and are just a commodity to be sold to NPC stations. This is especially true of mining, which needs work on a lot of other fronts as well (though thankfully, a good chunk of that work is coming in the next update).
The multi-player systems seem pretty sparse, as well. You can group up and do the exact same things you would do solo, only with more people (and thus being able to overcome greater challenges, I suppose), but that’s really the extent of it. Even something like adding multiple person ships to the game would go a long way towards making teaming up with friends more compelling, as teaming up as a pilot / gunner combo is a lot more engaging than being in two separate ships.
When all is said and done, I fear that Elite: Dangerous in its current form is more of an advertisement for Star Citizen than anything else, as the folks over at Cloud Imperium are working on including everything I miss in Elite into their base game. And Star Citizen leads me to my next topic:
I Guess Pay-to-Win is OK Now?
There was was quite the firestorm of conversation on the topic of pay-to-win this week, kicked off by a terrific article on MassivelyOP.net that attempted to tackle the topic of pay-to-win in the current MMO market. I shared the post on twitter, which sparked a lot of angry tweets defending pay-to-win and a barrage of blog posts coming in on all sides of the issue.
I’m not going to weigh in too heavily on the issue here today, because I refuse to believe it’s actually necessary to spell out why pay-to-win is bad for the consumer, even if the success of the model as a form of monetization pretty much proves me wrong. The TL;DR? Any system where developers monetize their game by selling the ability to skip parts of it encourages designing the game to make you want to skip those parts. TESO wouldn’t sell many experience potions if their game wasn’t a massive experience grind, and ArcheAge players wouldn’t drop massive amounts of money on gearing up if crafting weren’t such a horrendous crapshoot of near insurmountable RNG. I’d rather play a game that isn’t designed to make me suffer until I insert my credit card and pay in ways that don’t encourage making the game less enjoyable for the consumer.
Guild Wars 2 is Still Boring
Just to echo what everyone else is saying, it sure would be nice if a certain company could get around to releasing some new content while we just sit here waiting on the expansion to come out. And no, ArenaNet, adding new cash shop cosmetics does not count as new content.
In case you missed it, in addition to a load of news posts, I’ve posted three feature-length articles to MMO-Central so far that would have found a home here in the past. If you missed them, check them out!
With the popularity of eSports soaring to new heights, this piece explores the barriers keeping MMORPGs from successfully joining the competition.
A discussion of the decline in traditional AAA MMO production and the emerging trend towards boutique/indie titles throughout the industry.
A speculative look at how trading could work out in Crowfall‘s Eternal Kingdoms.
#InternetSpaceShips #MMO #PaytoWin