Tobold's Blog
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Open Sunday Thread

Every Sunday I'm taking off a day from blogging, and leave this thread for my readers to contribute. It's kind of like a cheap way to replace the forums I don't have. :) So if you have anything to say, or to ask, this is the place to do it!
Okay - here is a question to ponder for you or your readers

I've quit playing MMO's 1.5 years ago - as I was moving to another part of the world, and didn't want to be distracted while I set up my new life.

I've now got a new job, and friends, but I miss the MMO world.

I've played Eve, WOW, EQ2, LOTRO, and attempted WAR upon release but the technical issues put me off - and I only got 1hr of play time during my 30 days.

With the state of MMOs now - which MMO is the best to get back into? Considering I'd be starting fresh as I don't have my old PC or my old game boxes.

Can you ever go back? Or should I just start a fresh with a new game (eg City of Heros/Villians, AoC, VSoH) - but how hard would it be to join an already existing large gaming comunity, and how much would I miss (I love'd the deadmines!)
Well, you wouldn't really have to start afresh. So long as you remember your original log-in details, you could just re-subscribe to any of your list, download the game (no problem with a decent broadband connection) and find all your characters exactly where they left them. I can't think of any sub-based MMO that deletes characters after you unsubscribe these days - they get most of their money from re-subs i would guess.

If you haven't played Vanguard I would strongly recommend it. It's no buggier now than the average MMO, it's beautiful, huge, fascinating and fun and has enough content to keep anyone occupied for six months before you start having to repeat yourself.

LotRO constantly has free weekends and even weeks where ex-subscribers get to drop in without having to pay up, so you might want to look out for one of those.

Or you could dip your toe in the water with one of the increasing number of high-quality "free" MMOs, like Runes of Magic, Chronicles of Spellborn, Free Realms or the one I'm playing and enjoying a lot at the moment, Wizard 101.

Never been a better time to get back into the water.
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14 day free trial is your friend.
Just dropping by to say 'thanks', I will read your blog every day, I don't care if the subject is game theory, WoW, real life events, or what have you, your excellent writing and consistent quality content - for free - is greatly appreciated and adds something special to each day.
I was wondering (after reading your playing for incentives post) what your thoughts are on the possibilities of an MMO without character/stats progression. No experience, no character levels, no skill levels, no repetitive required tasks, and a type of itemization which doesn't make you significantly more powerful (perhaps more versatile, or maybe even just for the looks).
It could have a large selection of talents/skills which you can customize, or just pick a template and get going. An MMO you could jump into and compete with everyone from day one. The possibility to log in, have a half an hour of fun, and log out again.
There would be room for other types of progression, just as long as they don't create a significant barrier between players. Maybe a simple status progression would be enough to keep people playing (play to become the most famous player/guild on the server or something like that).
"to keep people playing"

to keep people -that do want some form of character progression, or who want to show that they're ' hardcore' players- playing
I'd like to hear your thoughts on the new Bioware Star Wars MMO, Tobold. Specifically, on how you think the game (given the limited information we have) will cater to "casuals vs. hardcore" in that it has set out to be a storyline driven game more than anything. Also, related, do you think that WoW or other games have succeeded or failed at immersing the playerbase in a narrative?

Personally, I think WoW failed at finding an immersive narrative; I've played (until only recently) since release week on the same server, and I've never cared about the story being told even when I try to make myself (Storm Peaks was the most I've ever cared about a particular plot) simply due to the quest mechanics; I can never feel a part of the story because of the way the narrative is delivered.

Do you think there's a better way?
Of course there is a better way of immersing people in the story... It's called Lotro.

As for going back... I was pretty much forced to go back to Guild Wars and AoC and EvE seeing how Lotro doesn't work here in Singapore :( THE biggest disadvantage of moving down here.
I would like to point out that I believe SOE tried a different approach to the sequels with SWG. After seeing their player base for EQ split in half with the release of EQ2 (which was unexpected at the time), their solution was the "New Game Enhancements." Rather than release SWG2, the game was revamped into an entirely different game. The players were all informed they were now all subscribed to this new game and the old game didn't exist. In their view, they would effectively move every single player from the old game to the new game and not have to maintain two games. I'm glad it was the failure that it was, so future games won't try the same thing.
If you had to pick one aspect of an MMO you've played, be it some mechanical aspect or immersive element or whatever, that you would like to see in any MMO you will play in the future, what would it be?
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