Hunter’s Insight is a long-time fan and player of Guild Wars 2, but recently he had some pretty harsh words to say regarding the development team’s approach to the game, which he called “consistently inconsistent.”
“ArenaNet is consistent in its inconsistency,” he wrote. “That is to say that they repeatedly and frustratingly introduce things and then never touch them again, never adjust them, never support them, never standardize how to acquire an item or worst of all they only briefly make them available and they’re never seen again. They set the groundwork for something, make a show of it, and then don’t follow through. It’s a combination of neglect and lack of foresight.”
His essay on the state of the game is only the tip of the iceberg of great MMO community blog posts this week. Keep on reading for Elder Scrolls Online first impressions, how MMO silliness is hurting the industry, and the great hotbar shrinkage of 2015.
By comparing three popular storytelling MMOs — SWTOR, FFXIV, and The Secret World — Telwyn looks at several methods of dealing with how player characters interact with the story (talky, noddy, and quietly, respectively).
“In The Secret World your character is always a mute-observer of what’s happening in the cut-scenes,” Telwyn said. “This is consistent throughout, sometimes characters will rail at your character for not responding (beyond a minimalist facial expression or shrug), othertimes a joke is made about your silence. It can work well, although having now played through to Issue 10’s content (the penultimate release), I’m starting to feel like it was just a cop out.”
Have you noticed how more and more MMOs are eschewing the old design of multiple large hotbars for a single one limited in space? ChaosConstant has, and he says it’s actually a smart move on the part of the industry.
“At first I disliked this change and viewed it as a dumbing down of my favorite genre. Now I recognize it as a design choice which, while occasionally frustrating, is actually preferable in the long run.”
I’m a big fan of MMOs letting down their hair and being goofy from time to time, although there is a limit to the amount of silliness I can take before it becomes too distracting. Fredelas thinks it’s a bigger problem than that, and has some harsh words to say about the “gimmick” of getting too silly.
“Over the past few years, I’ve noticed what I believe is a change in direction for some MMOs that started out as serious places with serious stories,” he wrotes. “A few games I play seem to have embraced these absurdities to such an extent that their worlds really have begun to resemble the garish theme parks to which they’re so often compared.”
“I’ve been playing Elder Scrolls Online for about a week now and so far I am incredibly impressed with the game. It not only is visually beautiful to play but the gameplay itself is really fluid, intuitive and the questing experience flows so well.”
Thus begins a first impression piece on ESO from a brand-new player. As always, I love a fresh set of eyes on a game that’s been out for a while, and Zeirah has a lot of positive things to say about ESO, down to the little details.
Wolfy has a few words of advice for MMO studio writers who are wrangling up yet another big baddie for players to face. The key point? Give the villain that something extra so that he or she is not just another brute thug. Also, he brings the TV cartoon Tale Spin into the discussion.
“I think, honestly, charisma is the best avenue,” Wolfy said. “My favorite bad guys weren’t only just threatening or scary, but they also had a touch of entertaining madness to them. They were scheming, arrogant, just a bit insane and were often running jokes that you enjoyed booing at instead of getting enraged at.”
Pete shares an important life lesson about eschewing min-maxing and expected play styles to simply enjoy an MMO the way that you want. I 100% agree.
“All of which is a long-winded way of me reminding myself, and maybe you, that we shouldn’t let other players dictate how we play a game. If trying to keep up with, or match the accomplishments of, friends makes the game less fun, just let them go and do their thing. If you want to get better then yes, certainly work at it, but give yourself time to build skills and don’t push yourself to where you’re starting to hate a game that you used to enjoy.”