cma

See: Choose My Adventure

Choose My Adventure: Yes, Project Gorgon is a weird game

I want to start this column by saying the absolute meanest thing I have to say about Project Gorgon, and that one is probably pretty obvious. This is not a pretty game. I’m reluctant to say that it’s outright ugly because a lot of effort has obviously been put into making the game look as pretty as it possibly can, but there is a hard limit to how much you can do under the circumstances. The result? Even with graphics cranked up as high as they will go, this game is not a looker.

That’s the meanest thing I’ve got. In every other respect, it delivered on what I expected or actually provided me with a little bit more.

Character customization, at this point, is also pretty anemic and terrible, but I managed to make a character who looked at least halfway decent. Then my character got immediately fireballed in the face with several NPCs standing (or hovering) over her body, announcing sadly that her will wasn’t going to break, and so one of them would need to take her on specifically as a pet project. And then I woke up on an island.

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The Stream Team: Odessen is not the target in SWTOR’s KOTET

“Odessen is not the target,” were the cliffhanger words uttered by Scorpio at the end of the last SWTOR Choose My Alignment Adventure – all while Massively OP’s MJ & Larry were trapped in an old temple while stranded in the jungle on a romantic getaway on Dromund Kaas with Empress Acina. Romantic as in “fighting off assassins.” What threats are waiting the universe and our heroes? And how many more !vote flirts will you, the audience, get? Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to learn the answers to these incredibly important questions.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

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Choose My Adventure: Starting fresh in Project Gorgon

I’m really glad to be heading into Project Gorgon for the first CMA of the year. Not just because it’s a title which I have absolutely no experience with, although that helps. No, it’s also because Project Gorgon is another installment in the ongoing and non-absolute answer to the longest-running question in MMO history. Now that we have this neverending game with all of these moving pieces to play with, what are we actually here to do?

That sounds like a straightforward question, but I think it’s important to consider the reality that this has always existed and always been an issue. No matter how much you might enjoy an MMO, ultimately, you need a goal of some kind, and thus most of them have made a point of offering one. It’s important to note that “goal” is not a synonym here for “endpoint,” as most MMOs feature a goal of some sort but not a point when you are supposed to actually be entirely done forever.

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The Stream Team: A Dromund Kaas getaway in SWTOR’s KOTET

After having to watch Voss burn, Massively OP’s Larry and MJ were visited by an unexpected new “friend” when they finished up Chapter 1 in Knights of the Eternal Throne. Now, they are set to take a mini-vacation on Dromund Kaas as a new alliance with the Sith percolates. What could possibly go wrong allying with them? Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to make all those important decisions about MJ’s Chiss Agent’s alignment.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

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Choose My Adventure Year in Review: Elder Scrolls Online, LOTRO, WildStar, Black Desert, and Neverwinter

So I’ve been writing this column for a year now. A little more than a year, as it happens, but last year there was no point in doing a whole-column recap because… well, it would be one game long and it had just happened. So I’m doing that now, with a trip back through the last year of Choose My Adventure (plus one month because I would rather not leave out The Elder Scrolls Online). We all make compromises.

There’s a lot to be said about this particular set of games, but to be fair, a lot of it was already said in a series of weekly columns about the games because that’s… well, how the column works. Still, the benefit of hindsight does mean that some things I have seen since have produced a different picture for some of these titles. So as we move into the holidays and the new year, let’s hit some high marks, remember the past, and consider the future.

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Choose My Adventure: Secret World Legends in review

Earlier this year, when we had yet to actually get much information about Secret World Legends, I posted a piece in which I discussed at length how Funcom didn’t seem to quite know what it was doing with the whole reboot thing. On the one hand, the development team didn’t seem to know if SWL was actually a reboot of The Secret World or just a new structure for it; on the other hand, it was certainly positioned as a hard reboot, considering how it jettisoned more or less everything players had previously accomplished.

So the question, for me, was always whether or not the game could justify its reboot and still be fun in and of itself.

The answer to the former question, I’m sorry to say, is an unambiguous “no.” There’s a lot of reasons thrown around for why the game absolutely needed a reboot, but none of them actually succeeds at justifying a whole drop-and-rebuild. Partly because, well, the game didn’t rebuild anything. It patched in a few new systems and called it a day, and it did absolutely nothing to address the core problems that kept people from being turned off from the game in the first place.

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The Stream Team: Starting SWTOR’s Knights of the Eternal Throne

It finally happened! It took a year, but Massively OP’s MJ and Larry have gone from character creation in SWTOR all the way through KOTFE. Now, it’s time to begin the Knights of the Eternal Throne story arc. Word is, there are some hefty, outcome altering decisions to be made! And those decisions are made by you! So join us live at 2:00 p.m. as Choose My Alignment continues the adventure in…

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

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Choose My Adventure: Wrapping things up in Secret World Legends

One of the things that I promised way back when I started writing this series about Secret World Legends was to mention the way in which this game seems to tie into The X-Files. There’s an obvious superficial connection (both take place in the real world with added supernatural stuff, for example), but that’s not actually the connection that sticks out to me. It has more to do with the nature of the story both are telling.

While I’m not on board with the game’s character vignettes (which are much more “portrait of this person you don’t really interact with” than anything), there is an underlying story running through every part of the game. I clocked out midway through Egypt when I played the original The Secret World, and there were an assortment of reasons, but part of it was that connection I mentioned above. To wit: the game really likes having mysteries, but it doesn’t really like having answers for a lot of them.

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Choose My Adventure: Secret World Legends and the mystery of the level-based curse

Would you believe that I sort of forgot about levels altogether in Secret World Legends? It’s true! I remembered that they were a thing now (it’s hard to miss the explosions when you level up), but it wasn’t until I ran smack into a bit of the main storyline telling me “go level up” that I really was cognizant of them. “Oh, right, there are levels now! I need to work on those.”

My feelings on how this actually plays out are slightly mixed, and they wind up coming back a bunch to a combination of the issues with the original The Secret World and to the stuff the current rebranding does or doesn’t change. At face value, the inclusion of levels is probably not a terrible thing, because it provides a useful at-a-glance power metric and doesn’t really obviate the game’s main system of advancement. Any faults it has are more a result of underling issues the game already had just being thrown into sharper relief.

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Choose My Adventure: Challenging currency in Secret World Legends

Here’s the thing that I love to point to whenever I talk about this portion of Secret World Legends: New England is really kind of just like this.

The thing about Kingsmouth is that you can’t really appreciate Kingsmouth unless you’ve actually been to places that feel pretty much like Kingsmouth with a lick of paint. Change the street layouts and call it Vineyard Haven, and I wouldn’t really notice the difference. There’s a degree of verisimilitude there you don’t get with games, which are usually either concerned with the bustle of cities or fanciful lands drawn from cultural theme parks.

Not so on Solomon Island. Yes, it’s in Maine rather than my personal stomping grounds of southern New England, but there’s a real sense that you’re actually dealing with a real place, modeled after real New England seaside communities, complete with a large number of people who don’t seem to be taking it as all that much of a deviation from the norm. When I tell people that this is pretty much true to reality, most of them think I’m joking; I am not.

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The Stream Team: SWTOR KOTFE Chapter XV, take 2

Down with the Eternal Empire, and up with… internet connection! Massively OP’s Larry couldn’t slay the connection beast last week, so he and MJ may have to start part of SWTOR’s Chapter XV over again. This time they are determined to take over that ship and sit their own GEMINI in the captain’s chair. Join us live at 2:00 p.m. to decide the Chiss Agent’s actions in the continuing Choose My Alignment adventures of Rebels With a Cause.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

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Choose My Adventure: It’s all the same in Secret World Legends

I was a bit disappointed to see that last week’s poll for Secret World Legends went to the Illuminati. I played the Illuminati my first time through, you see, and while I quite like the Illuminati, it does rather give me a dearth of new experiences, yes? But then, the point was that this was all supposed to be new experiences, so I shrugged it off. We’re back to the organization that treats secret lore like corporate data points, spectacular.

That may sound a bit dismissive, but it’s not really meant to be. And hey, this will provide a useful point of comparison when contrasted against my original experiences. So I start up, click through the character creator, and find myself thinking that it used to be a fair bit more flexible. Maybe not leaps and bounds, but at least somewhat, right? There used to be more options for hair color and facial features, yes? Or am I deluding myself?

Then I log in, and it’s the same damn game as it used to be.

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The Stream Team: New chapter on a new server in SWTOR’s Knights of the Fallen Empire

With the Star Fortress destroyed, Massively OP’s Larry and MJ can return to the main storyline in SWTOR’s KOTFE expansion. They are even getting close to finishing! But they will be doing it all on a newly merged server. Farewell, Ebon Hawk; you will be missed. Tune in live at 2:00 p.m. to decide the fate of MJ’s Chiss Agent in Chapter XV, the next episode of Choose My Alignment.

What: Star Wars: The Old Republic
Who: Larry Everett & MJ Guthrie
When: 2:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

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