Monday, October 5, 2009

Upcoming MMOs that I'm finding quite interesting

My mind has been turning more and more often to upcoming MMOs these days. I’m getting restless with WoW again, and frankly Cataclysm doesn’t impress me as much as BC and WotLK did. I just don’t have that feeling of anticipation for it like I had with the previous expansions. Don’t get me wrong, I still like WoW very much, but outside of raiding (2-3 times a week on the main, and what I can get into on an alt) and constant PVP there just isn’t much to do. And frankly I’m getting a bit bored.

A friend of mine is largely in the same frame of mind and has started playing EVE Online, while only logging back into WoW for raids. And I have a few other friends who are playing AION on non-raid nights as well. I’m not at all excited by AION and have already cancelled my account, and I’m only somewhat interested in EVE any more. Which leaves me longing for greener pastures. My problem is that the games I’m most interested in right now aren’t set to release until sometime next year.

Star Trek Online looks interesting, not only because I’m a Star Trek fan, but also because it offers huge iconic fleet battles with familiar ship classes. I’ve read reports of hands-on testing from PAX in September which mention being able to manage energy utilization during battles (transfer all available power to forward deflectors!) which should make any Star Trek fan happy. Especially because tactical considerations in battle matter. Larger ships will have a harder time with smaller attackers, meaning not only will you have to pay attention to how, and where you pilot but will also have to closely monitor and manage your tactical systems to ward off smaller, more agile attackers. It’s something I wished was in EVE Online. Take too much damage to dorsal shields, roll and keep your attacker on the opposite side while they regenerate or are strengthened.

Cryptic is giving each “Captain” a crew to manage as well. The crew are NPCs that you manage and can utilize semi-autonomously and who from what I’m reading, have a relatively high level of AI. That’s interesting because it’s a mechanic that isn’t often utilized in MMOs -- Guild Wars, The Old Republic (reportedly) for examples – and seemingly would allow a greater ability to solo play in a cooperative world. It’ll be interesting to see how Cryptic flushes this out as the release date comes closer.

I’m definitely interested in Star Trek Online, but ultimately whether I play this MMO or not will revolve around details that haven’t been discussed to any great degree as of yet. Star Trek Online will reportedly have PVP and PVE aspects, but I’m primarily interested in the PVP content. Unfortunately I know from experience that games that focus too much on one aspect, to the detriment of another do not fare well in the market. And once a population level falls below a certain level the game quickly grows stale and boring as you spend more and more time looking for something to do. Fighting NPCs often becomes tedious and offer little in the way of competition.

How will PVP affect the universe? Will PVE content be varied and difficult enough to offer true entertainment?

Star Wars: The Old Republic is another game that I am closely watching. And quite frankly, most interested in at this point. I’m finding more of my previous concerns have either been vaguely answered by Bioware, or are still being looked at. So I have great hope that SWToR will be a true MMO and will be immersive enough, with varied content and sandbox elements that it’ll have strong legs and staying power. Most frustrating for me is that I’m not really expecting this to be released until sometime late next year, so it could be a year from now before I can even play this.

Since no other current MMO really interests me, that leaves me still playing WoW with PVP as my primary daily activity. Unfortunately, as anyone who PVPs in WoW will know, it’s no where near balanced. I have 800 resilience, 31k health in Bear form, and can (and often do) get killed inside a single stun by Ret Pallies. Hunters and Ice Mages are a pain the butt, and many others depend on whether I get the jump first or have cool downs available. Would that I could just got to sleep tonight and wake up a year from now!