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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Are you discouraged?

I’m discouraged.

Well, that isn’t that unusual by and of itself.  I’ve vacillated between discouraged and disappointed most of my life.  I’ve been disappointed in myself, my ex wife, the other people around me, and many, many other things.  Oh, and I forgot disillusioned.  Yeah, I’ve been disillusioned too.  Quite often disillusioned.  Pretty sure I’m a disappointment to the family too.

What’s different this time is that I’m discouraged by what I see coming down the pike from many game developers.  Seems like the marketing department has taken over at a few places, and the purse strings seem to be managing the creative process at others.  You all know that I’m pretty excited about Vanguard.  I also recently got the opportunity to beta a different “MMO” that just had it’s NDA lifted (you can figure it out.)  I couldn’t get myself interested in it, in spite of numerous attempts.  

When it comes to single-player games, I’m pretty much a lamer.  I don’t have a problem with that, as long as I can enjoy the game, I don’t care if I’m exhilarated or if I’m just entertained.  I’ve tried some single player games in my travels, and when even I can finish them in a day, that pretty much tells you that they don’t have a lot of meat to them.

Branyanu and I have also tried myriad MMO’s looking for something entertaining.  Over the last couple of years, we’ve burned through SWG (had potential, but was and continues to be bungled badly,) L2 (would have been good, had they gotten the farming under control early on.  It’s beautiful to look at and challenging.  Was fun, but discouraging,)  City of Heroes (Fun for a little bit but lacks depth.  Lacks breadth too, now that I think of it,) City of Villains (CoH with different costumes,) and we even dabbled in the EQ2 beta (coma-inducing) and tried our hand with a couple lesser-known titles.  We have actually been playing WoW again lately.

Here’s where I don’t quite feel right.  None of those quite feel right.  What did feel like a great game? You guessed it, Everquest.  Still, we haven’t played EQ in over 2 years.  We tried to go back a while ago and the noob experience is a little, well, diluted.  The next closest thing is WoW, which while lacking depth, has wonderful breadth and an unbelievable sense of humor.  We are pretty much all-horde and play on a PVE server, one of the more popular and populated.  While the community there is non-existent, and the occasional jackass does pop up to just grief or spam the channels, overall it doesn’t deserve the reputation it has as a home for nothing but b-net kiddies.  That element is there, certainly, but as the higher level dungeons devolve into farms, the tactics of the groups and guilds there are finally becoming highly developed, much like they were in EQ.  It’s not a 5-year MMO, unless they get the depth issues worked out, but the content is handcrafted in a lot of cases, there are plenty of dungeons with different tactics, and the characters are interesting and fun to play.  

So what’s next?  Other than Vanguard, which there is a dearth of information on currently because of beta and NDA’s and a news blackout, What ARE the exciting prospects coming up?  Certainly none that I can imagine.  There are some promising single and multiplayer games on the horizon, but nothing that will hold my interest for long, and I’m guessing that if you are reading this you will feel the same.  

So I’m back to being disillusioned, disappointed, and discouraged.  I guess that is my own version of 3D.  Maybe one of these titles will snap me out of my funk, but unless Vanguard is all it can be, I guess I’ll be a WoW player for a while.  Heck, I almost have my shaman to max level (finally,) and he’s mastering his crafting and cooking skills, and with some luck and skill in the AH, he’s managed to put away a few gold, and fund the family’s needs.  Too many more Horizons or L2’s showing up on the gaming landscape and I’ll be thinking more and more about console gaming, and that can’t be a good thing.