Wednesday, 4 January 2012

[Gaming] Happy New MMO!

It's been a while since I've posted on here...opppss...
Truth of the matter is I've been busy working on (whilst battling the hordes of customers in my actual full time position, of which I got a promotion..ahem..).

However, in the spirit of new years and all that, I thought I'd try to start posting on here as regularly as I can (although I'm pretty sure I said that last year, I mean it this year however...I promise).

So gaming-wise, what have I been up too?

Once upon a time I was a massive, and I do mean massive, fan of World of Warcraft. Their was just something about that game, perhaps it was just the mix of interaction, fantasy environment, simple-yet-complicated gameplay mechanics. Eventually, even though I did dip my toes back in a couple of times (mainly for the expansions) I have now retired from Azeroth.

Alongside a number of friends I decided to take the plunge and enter the newest MMO, that is of course Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's very nice isn't it?

What struck me straight away was its focused class storyline. Having chosen to play as a Jedi Consular I very quickly found myself getting knee deep in galactic trouble with cutscenes and dialogue that made me feel like I was playing a single player game. It's very impressive how Bioware early on decided a fully voiced cast of NPCs was the way forward, and mixed with the dialogue wheel found in other Bioware games it does truly feel like your playing Mass Effect. Certain classes can sometimes only enter certain places which commonly start a conversation.

Obviously however, this isn't a single player game, it's an MMO. Even though Bioware have tried to make it seem like your playing a single player game with lots of other people running around your world too the way in which they have included other players feels just right.

If your hanging out with a Jedi Knight for example, and he heads into a zone that only he can enter to carry on a quest you'd think you'd have to stay outside right? Wrong! You can go in too! long as he allows you too, and you do have to be in a group with him. You all then get to take part in his conversation, and even get to have a say at what you think should be said in that situation. Very classy.

I can't really say more as I'm still relatively new to the game, which leads me to a problem with The Old Republic, and one I doubt I'm alone with.

The trouble with MMOs is they don't end. They go on and on, throwing new stuff at you to keep you playing. Even if you get bored with one character it'll give you a multitude of other characters to try your hand at. Bored of being a good guy? Why not try being a bad guy.

Back when I was younger playing Warcraft was great. Even though I had a full time job, my younger years allowed me to sleep as little as possible so that I could cram in more time in Azeroth. Socialising wasn't an issue ether, as most of my friends at the time we're in the same world I was running around in.

Nowadays though, I just don't have the time to sink into an MMO like I used to. Again, I still have a full time job, but then I also have a girlfriend, visits to the pub/general socialising, family, writing, podcasting and of course playing other games. Although I've got friends playing The Old Republic with me, due to other commitments every ones off at their own level doing their own thing, so no-one can really play the same bit due to differences in levels.

I'm not saying it isn't possible to enjoy this new Star Wars experience. It's fantastic without being a million miles away from what made World of Warcraft great. What Bioware have added works, and they've successfully integrated the single player experience we love about their previous work into a world populated by millions of other players.

However, for me, I can't seem to enjoy it as much as I feel I should...and because of this I'm not sure how much more of it I'll get to play. I've got games from last year that I really want to finish, and lets not forget new releases due from February onwards such as the newest Final Fantasy and the final part to the Mass Effect trilogy.

Kudos to Bioware/EA for a fantastic MMO, and I only wish I could spend more time playing it. Don't fret however, I won't be cancelling my subscription just yet.

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