First, an extremely good post about why Fixing MMOs is Hard, by Scott Jennings. I loved this bit:
9) Listen to, and engage with, players
The players are often WRONG.
Whats more, they will lie to you.
TO YOUR FACE.
No, really, their class is horribly underpowered, any fool would know that if they only played the game and that bug youre talking about is really a feature and anyway you shouldnt remove it because our entire side is underpopulated so its only fair.
The players are not the ones at financial risk if your game fails. They simply move on after consuming all you have to offer.
I’ve been lackadasically playing LotRO a bit, but it’s been…boring. Oh, sure, it’s a gorgeous world, and they really brought the IP to life. But it’s not as fun as a less polished game, Warhammer. Ardwulf’s Lair put it very well here: “The problem is that there are actually other games on the market. In comparison to at least a few of them, LotRO offers a more polished and full-featured experience. But what you have in LotRO today is pretty much what you will have next year, or the year after. Youll just have more of it. Stability appeals to some people, including myself. But I want to be surprised now and then, or even impressed, and I have a very strong feeling that any subsequent content release for LotRO will be good but not surprising or impressive.” For me, it’s polished, it’s lovely, but just not different enough to be fun. Another grind, another escort quest? Yawn.
It’s the same problem that I’ve been having with Runes of Magic. For a free to play game, it’s very well done. If I wasn’t playing a “proper” MMO, I’d quite like it. But free-to-play game experience is (of course) much different than a well-polished, multi-million dollar AAA title…as one would expect it to be. In the end, I think I’m that stereotypical WoW player who tries other games (and sorry, I can’t remember who originally said this): I want a WoW experience, with new content. Sad but true.
So, what I think I shall do is sign up for EVE as soon as my Warhammer subscription ends this month. I’ve already cancelled one of my WoW accounts, and consolidated some of the characters. EVE would be a totally new gaming experience, which would sidestep a lot of the MMO burnout that I’m currently feeling – I just need to stick with it for a while, without succumbing to the initial feeling of being overwhelmed that I normally feel when resubscribing to EVE.
And Lord of the Rings? I have the same feeling that I had when I first tried it…I really, really wanted to like it. But it just wasn’t different enough, fun enough, exciting enough. :(
“…3) If Im on a Quest, it better not be a Quest to cross the street or kill a zillion of some nearby mob which isnt bothering ANYONE. I do Quests for Holy Grails, or to Destroy the One Ring, or to Avenge my Family. Killing puppies in the North Downs isnt a quest. Its just sad.
4) Mobs shouldnt stand around looking stupid. They should see you before you see them, scatter for the trees, call their friends, instead of just standing there while you kill them. Ive read lots of times that devs feel giving mobs some actual AI would be too challenging for the average player.
5) If I am going to be in a battle, it better MEAN something. If I just killed one hundred hapless orcs, there better not ever be an orc within a league of me. They better be running screaming saying, OH NO! NOT HER! RUN!!! I should be being stalked by some sort of ORC GOD for killing so many of them. Yeah, maybe that orc god wouldnt be kind to me when he caught up with me and took out payment for killing a hundred of his followers, but dammit, there should be consequences for killing stuff.”
Amen, brothah! Hallelulia, sistah! :D
I wouldn’t actually call this an MMORPG. From what I can tell, aside from the town areas, you’re in instances, not in a persistent, shared world. You can make a party in a town and go out to quest, but it’s not really a MMO. Aside from that, it’s been fun in a lightweight, casual sense. PvP isn’t that important to me, although I used to do a lot of it on Kit, so that’s probably not an area that I’ll explore too much. Movement still pisses me off a bit, and there is a clunkiness to interacting with the environment – talking to NPCs, looting, etc. Nightfall is much better, with more of a storyline, than Factions.
Pros: It is fun, and it’s certainly pretty. A bit too pretty in regard to avatars…does every one have to be beautiful? If you just want to run around killing things for an hour or so, enjoying the scenery, this is a good game.
Cons: As above, but no major ones if you don’t think of it as an MMO. One thing, though – if I get a quest, and the area around me is unexplored, please give me a hint as to where I should go. I don’t need my hand held, but a simple “in the northwest” pointer would help loads. Is that too much to ask?
I’m actually starting to like this a lot, although I haven’t spent much time playing it as of yet. I started a hobbit, and their starting area is much better than the elves – it feels like the Shire, and you are immediately introduced to story in the conflicts that you stumble across – dark riders interrogating hobbits, etc. I think I might get more involved as I go on.
I am reminded by the quote that I read (and I cannot for the life of me remember who said it) about LOTRO being the methadone of WoW. You get invovled, but to a lesser extent, never really as addicted as you were to WoW. That’s probably a good thing. :)
Pros/Cons: Very pretty environments, but the avatars bother me. I don’t want exclusively pretty avatars, but I simply cannot find a face on any race that I like, and the hair really bothers me. Shallow? Yes, but the way that my avatar looks is important. It’s something that WoW does very well. I can’t make any judgments about gameplay yet, as I’ve only done a few of the starting quests sofar, but it definitely has possibilities.