Little stuff: Mission architects, what I’m playing

I’m behind on my blog reading, and on my blog writing. Spring has finally arrived, and I’m spending a ton of time outside with my kid, and then playing games late into the night, without taking time to write. Work’s crazy busy, so there’s no blog reading/writing time there.

Here’s a quick update on things knocking around my head, or being played on my computer.

I read Zubon’s post about the CoH Mission Architect system, and it made me wonder if anyone has tried it, and also tried the Ryzom Ring. Let me know if you have some experience with each system. I wonder which one is easier to use, has more depth, etc. I really liked Ryzom, but I didn’t get a chance to try out the Ring; I think their finances imploded before I got a chance to try it out, and now I’m distracted with other stuff. I remember thinking that Ryzom was totally on the right track with the mission editor, and I hope CoH has continued success.

I’ve been playing a ton of Team Fortress 2, and I’m thinking it’s one of the best video games I’ve ever played. Simple design, a small number of beautifully crafted maps, awesome diversity in classes while maintaining a really good rock-paper-scissors balance, and wicked awesome team play. I’m mostly playing on the Trashed Gamers servers (the Gamers With Jobs server is usually empty during the hours I’ve been playing), and I was surprised to find that I’m ranked in the low 200′s out of the 56,000 players who have happened to play on their servers. I think the rankings are based on points earned, and the major lesson learned by my stats is probably that anyone can appear successful if they play far too much TF2. Still, I’ll take it as an ego boost for a middle-aged gamer.

I renewed my Gametap subscription for another year. I’m locked into the $59.95 yearly subscription price, since I was a premium subscriber before they raised their prices, and it’s totally the best value in gaming. I don’t think I’ll ever run out of games to play over there. The switch from a client program interface to a browser-based interface has been very smooth for me; I had a small problem that required me to download a tiny executable and restart my computer, but after that, it’s been silky smooth.

The Everquest 2 announcement that players can write books in-game is an awesome addition to MMO’s. I probably made original EQ devs crazy with my constant suggestions about player diaries. I wanted there to be a journal feature, where you could write about your experiences, and other players could read it in your character bio. I love the EQ 2 ideas, but I’d still love to see a journal that would import major game events (where you leveled, who you leveled with, how much money you made, what you looted) alongside a WAR Tome of Knowledge achievement tracker model, as well as a place where the player can enter notes, fiction, etc.

It’s encouraging to see EQ2 taking the first steps toward that, and CoH enabling player mission creation. We’ve bandied about the term “second generation MMO” for a long time, without seeing anything that’s really second gen, but I think these ideas are the initial steps toward an evolution of the genre.

I’m re-subscribed to LoTRO, but playing really casually. I’m still feeling MMO burnout, at least with an achievement-based gameplay, so I’m refusing to get obsessed with levels, or money, or gear. It’s super-easy to solo in LoTRO, and that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m level 34, I have a house, I’m saving for a horse, and I’m having fun crafting. It’s such a drop-dead gorgeous game.

I realize now why it didn’t stick with me the first time I played, though. The classes don’t appeal to me that much; nothing stands out and makes me say “I want to play THAT class,” and the character animations seem awkward to me. I’m not a big fan of the character models, either, and I think that partially contributed to my lack of attachment my first time through the game. I’m still not a big fan, but I have a computer now that can run everything at high resolution, and damn, it’s a beautiful world.

I happen to be on the wrong server to play with Oz from KTR, or with the CoW LoTRO guild, and I’ve considered re-rolling, but I’m 34 levels in, and I just don’t think I have the motivation to start from scratch when I’m playing so casually. The last thing I want to do is make an MMO feel like work again.

Oh, and I’m in a beta. Yeah, that beta. Darren’s shame is my shame as well, but I’m man enough to deal with it, for the sake of my 9 year-old daughter . You’re a good dad, Darren, even if you are a fairy. Takes one to know one, I guess :)

4 Responses

  1. I played around a little bit with the Ryzom Ring when it was released. Mission Architect is much easier to get something working in place, but Ryzom Ring gave more control to the things that you were able to affect.

    The biggest problem with Mission Architect today is that the search/browse tool is not good enough for the vast amount of story arcs that has been created so far. With around 30000 story arcs published it is really not adequate to try to find interesting story arcs to play.

  2. I resubscribed to City of Heroes because of Mission Architect. I love it. I made a few missions. I played other people’s missions. But now I’ve cancelled my subscription. As much fun as it is, I still get bored very quickly by City of Heroes’ mission system. Every mission feels like searching a maze for random somethings and clicking or killing them. That’s a lot of fun, especially in a group, for a short time.

    As for “that beta”, didn’t Free Realms drop the NDA? I see a lot of people posting about it now.

  3. Lars, I’ll have to poke around the Free Realms forums. Like I said, I’m behind on my blog reading, you may be correct.

    Sente, I wonder if the CoH team was surprised to get that many missions created. I can see where it’d be frustrating trying to find good content. Is there a rating system, so you can search for highly rated games?

  4. There is a rating system where you can rate an arc with 0-5 stars. The problem here is that people rate the arcs for different reasons.

    You can have an arc with a great story, but perhaps not particularly challenging and not great xp. You can have another arc which will be very effctive from an xp perspective but really boring if you are interested in some story.

    And with som many arcs a lot of them are never rated and perhaps never played, because people cannot find them. Anything with only a few good votes may not necessarily mean much either, since it could be a few friends giving each other top ratings.

    Even if you are just looking for arcs with 5 stars, you will still get 1000s in the list. And there are many many arcs which have never been rated – they could be crap or they could be great – no way to know before trying them.

    For example I played an arc today which had a great story and nice to play through, better than many other arcs I have seen. It was published two weeks ago, but no-one had played it yet.

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