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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Let Freedom Ring

Some mild KoS spoilers herein.

I mentioned freedom of movement in my beta impressions for KoS and I thought it was time to touch on that subject in a little more detail.

For as long as I can recall, all PC and console games have frustrated me with that classic gaming cliché, the invisible wall. You know what I'm talking about. Take an old RPG like Shining Force, Phantasy Star, or Final Fantasy. There's always an invisible wall, and plenty of them. Your hero may be able to slay a hundred dragons but yet can't climb a steep hill or even push through a dense forest. Game designers use mountains, forests, water and the like to limit the player's freedom of movement. This is true of MMO's as well and even the base EQII zones. You can't really climb those mountains in Everfrost. You can't even scale the steep boulders in Nek.

But KoS removes those limitations with gusto. The obvious one is that you're free to jump off any island you wish. There are no restrictions there. But less obvious are the rocks and small mountains you can climb in the TT, for example. When I first saw those I never thought I'd be able to climb to the top. But I can. If you see something in KoS and wonder, "Hmm...could I jump to there or get there somehow?" the answer is that you probably can. The paths to zones or areas are seldom a straight line. There is also some of the climbing stuff (with climbing animation) from DoF that is used. But it's not overused. You really have to play the expansion to see what I mean. Movement is finally part of the actual game.

I've just never played any game where the movement feels so real and for an MMO that is a high compliment. It also brings about some cool mini-games. We all probably know of the one in TT where you make that awesome freefall to the Hidden Refuge. I've done it several times and I just find it exhilarating and fun.

But that's just a start. There's a giant chain in the Barren Sky which becomes sort of a jumping and movement puzzle as you try to scale it and make your way to the top to visit a quest npc. I died three times. But, wow, my heart has not pounded that hard playing EQII for a while. Now, I don't want to see EQII go crazy with the jumping puzzles. It isn't a platformer. But having one or two sure adds some nice variety. And even better, I think there are multiple solutions to this movement puzzle (cloud jumping anyone?). But I've died enough times so I'm not verifying that.

Here's another little mini-game I'm not sure can be won or not. Sometimes when you take a cloud in the TT (from Gazer Island I believe), you pass over a tiny floating island with no mobs or trees or anything. Let me stop here for a second to say that jumping off of clouds and griffons is fun and awesome. It just again makes travel and movement much more interesting. I do it all the time in Antonica on the PvP server, making a dramatic entrance into enemy territory with a watery splash to avoid ambushes. But okay, my question is: Can you jump off the cloud to that tiny island in the TT and survive? More importantly, can you stand there and mess with people? I died when I tried but maybe I'll try again. If anyone succeeds in this quest let me know, because that would just be great.

Even if you can't accomplish that minor feat, my premise is the same: The movement in KoS is far above anything I've ever experienced in an MMO and just makes the entire game more fun to play.

Edit: But speaking of movement, I hope that cloud bug is fixed soon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can jump onto that little island, and several others as well. You can run around until you get bored then are forced to evac. If you don't have evac, you're screwed.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder how many people are going to be on the boards complaining that "hit autorun and get a sandwich" doesn't work anymore.

I mean, I enjoyed the hell out of navigating the Shadow Shard (and this without vertical movement outside of Super Jump) but it continues to be a huge sticking point with the forums.

Gravity geysers FTW! Forget realism, I'm playing Super Mario 64 with infinite lives!


11:02 AM  
Blogger Quylein said...

heh, yeah I was wondering the same. But now that Anonymous said you could I'm gonna try and if I'm ever a wiz I woudl jump there and wait for passers by to nuke em down and piss em off lol.
If you could that is..

11:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would have been GREAT if they would have put a raid zone or something on one of those isles...

11:45 AM  
Blogger Anskiere said...

And there is an actual quest npc on one of those tiny islands you fly over in the Bonemire. Ya gotta jump off and land on it to talk to him! Wheee...

I've also jumped of a coloud flying over one of the islands (I the isle of the awakening) to land in the little lake there.. that was intense.. the cloud was REALLY high. (was trying to get back to a friend quickly)

11:45 AM  
Anonymous sleepwalker said...

I just wish they would implement the "jump-climb feature" in the T1 -T5 zones...
It's such a great feature that it's too bad new/low lvl players don't get the chance to fully enjoy it until their mid 50's.
SoE should have put some of this in the Island of Refuge revamp imo...

Well...hopefully they will...someday.... ;)

4:01 PM  
Blogger ninjaXcore said...

Theres a cool little pit you can jump into filled with water while you are flying around in Bonemire..forget which place to choose...but from the crash site..you fly to one of those zones and you go right over the "pool"...if you can manage to get in there...well...theres a nice big welcoming for you.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

AC1 had similarly awesome movement. Z axis was huge, there were ample jumping puzzles (though not too many), and if you saw a huge mountain in the distance? You could climb it. Players even found ways to break through the one supposedly unbreakable physical barrier - the water - and make their way to previously unexplored islands, which actually had content of sorts (a special castle where Asheron lived according to the lore).

AC1 is also renowned for having some of the best, most fluid avatar movement ever seen in a MMO as well.

Good to see more games are trying to live up to AC1's example.

4:11 PM  

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