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Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Whole New World: Part III

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Yes, it's time for Part the Third of my look at upcoming MMORPG's that caught my eye so here goes (remember I made one of these up).

Dark and Light: This is set in the usual high fantasy setting. What sets it apart is that there are no divided shards. All players will be in the same "world" and there are no zone loading screens. There is a PvP system which allows combat between members of the two alignments (Dark and Light if you haven't guessed). The game seems territorial in nature and capturing fortresses will give you control over a region. Experience is divided into two categories: combat and social. You know what combat xp is, but social xp is apparently gained from completing actions which help your alignment (or faction) and exploring. There is some hype about "shield boarding" which is like snow boarding if that interests you. This one doesn't really stand out to me as anything special and I just have a general bad feeling about how this company will execute.

Pro: They are putting an emphasis on exploration which I really like. In fact you can even make maps which you sell to other players. The world sounds like it is a very large one which is a nice feeling. Sometimes EQII feels really small (except when I am doing that long run to Nek Castle). Flying mounts such as dragons sound kind of cool.

Con: The battle system seems like more of the same old stuff as does the setting. The development news has been sporadic and I have my doubts about their ability to actually pull this off.

Tactica Online: The setting for Tactica is the Renaissance or as they put it, "da Vinci's world." What makes this game unique is the focus on tactical squad based combat. The combat system is turn-based as opposed to the usual real time fare. They are emphasizing the fact that there is no real level grind and a lot of action. Long time players will really only have an advantage over new players in that they are more skillful and used to the system. Depending on the reviews, I might pick this up as the kind of game you play once in a while.

Pro: I really like turn-based games, specifically Heroes of Might and Magic (which has apparently been resurrected
for a fifth installment). They actually liken this game more to the Fallout system, which wasn't bad either. I think it's pretty nice that tactical skill is truly the determining factor in the game.

Con: If you don't like turn-based combat, this obviously isn't for you. This will not really have that MMORPG feel. Also, the graphics look awful, at least to me. Yes, I'm a graphics diva. Sorry.

Tabula Rasa: Well, if you clicked that link, you'll see there's not really a whole lot going at the official site other than a message stating that the game is in the process of undergoing a complete overhaul. The setting is neither fantasy nor science fiction but what they term a "future fantasy war adventure." Okay. With the state of the game being in flux right now there's really not a lot I can say.

Pro: Richard Garriot, aka "Lord British," is involved with this one. Based on his history I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The universe it is set in seems somewhat interesting from what I could gather.

Con: Well, you saw the official site. Perhaps this overhaul is a good sign in that they're taking the time to really get it right. But the secrecy and lack of updates is rather troubling.

Mourning: Haha. Just kidding. I would never buy a game from a company that threatens to sue my favorite website. Not only that but they win the prize for most drama in an MMORPG development. Pitfalls has some good articles about the many disasters that Mourning seems to attract, here and here. You need to scroll down a bit for the second link. Actually don't because the whole article is funny.

MMORPG Designer the Game: Have you ever thought you could do better than all the game designers out there? In this game you compete with other players to make the most cash. Once you have a concept, milk it for all it's worth by selling out to IGE, grabbing money for in-game billboards, raising fees, cutting staff, and charging players for minor patches that you call "expansions!"

Pro: The housing system is very complex. You can make a wonderful mansion with all your profits complete with pools, a helicopter pad, and a staff of butlers and maids!

Con: You have to receive in-game e-mail and read message board whining from the players complaining about everything you do. If only there was some way to cut them out of the equation...

Well, that's all for now there are quite a few I missed. I may be back soon with some more previews and updates on the titles I've mentioned so far.

Until then, enjoy the world you're playing in now!


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