TGMT2010- Everquest 2 Review

I am going to try to set a standard format for the TGMT reviews so that people can look through them and they all are similar. These are not meant to be full blown reviews. They are reviews based on one week of casual playing

Time played: 16 hours

Levels: 0 – 14

Class: Berserker

What I enjoyed the most: The world

EQ2 has a wonderfull world full of character and lore. The world looks absolutely spectacular and the zones are humugous compared to the zones in games released in the last 2 years. I spend at least an hour just trying to get to Greater Faydark and it was a lot of fun.

What I disliked the most: Questing

I know the name of the game is EverQUEST but I am so sick of questing to advance. I don’t know what would be better but I am tired of going to a contact, getting a quest, running back and killing 10 rats or delivering a letter to a hobbit and running back for my reward. I think it would be much better if they eliminated the running part and just had the quests end when you finished it instead of having to run back.

EQ2 is absolutely full of bad quests with a lot of running around and it just kills my mood. I am a casual player and when the longest part of the quest is running back to the quest giver it is a little much.

Will I give it a longer trial? No

EQ2 is a great game and has a lot to offer the gamer that has the time and patients to go through all the quests and all of the running. Right now that is not what I am looking for.

Star Trek Online Review: Tier 1

I have finally made it to level 11 or Lt. Commander if you want to use the proper terminology and as I said I would write a review when I reached that level. So here it is!

Let’s just start this review by stating some facts to keep it nice and clear. I have played the game for a total of 16 hours in release and about 10 hours in open beta. This is not even close to enough time to do a full review of the game. I believe for a mmo that it requires at least 6 months to truly understand the game and to give it a real review. But I do think that 16 hours is enough time to tell if you like the game and it is enough time to write a first impressions kind of review which is what this will be. I only played one class and did not play a Kligion or any PVP.

Character Creation and Tutorial

I picked a human engineer as my first character. The character creator is fantastic just like all other Cryptic games. The tutorial is good the first time and is really bad the second time. It is way to linear and there should be a way to skip it the second time. I find this with most games that choose to instance the first few levels to let you get used to your character, for alts it sucks.

The game does a good job of teaching you the basic controls but does a terrible job of telling you what each skill does and how it affects your character.

Questing

The mission structure is again fun the first two or three times you do them. The patrol missions follow a very similar pattern and get very repetitive. You must go to 5 systems and then kill/scan/save/salvage 5 things around/on that planet. Each thing will be protected by 3 normal ships or 1 bigger ship. Rinse and Repeat.

The story missions are much better and are really fun to do but there are not enough of them to get you all the way up. They are like mini episodes of a show. They are very well done and I have even run into some characters from the series or offspring of the characters. It is really cool if you watched any of the Star Trek show. They are pretty long but if you get interrupted it will allow you to continue where you left off.

There are also these fleet actions also known as Public Quests. I only did one of these but I did it a few times and while it was fun the reward was terrible. I barely got any skill points and the loot was worthless. They need a lot of work to make them worth doing for me.

Combat

Space combat is very well done and feels very strategic. You have various systems to manage and choices to make when you are fighting; it is a very engaging and rewarding system. I have spent a lot of time fine tuning my tactics to kill as quickly as possible and it has been a lot of fun. There is so much that you can do and learn to make you more effective like picking your officers and training up your skills. It is one of those systems that is easy to learn but takes a life time to master. It is some of the best combat I have experienced in an MMO in a long time.

Ground combat is completely different than space combat and uses a different set of skill. Ground combat is more like your traditional MMO combat except you have 4 pets with you that you can train and level up. I find ground combat to be a lot of fun, sometimes it is a little long and gets frustrating but I believe that is because I put all of my training points into space combat so I am gimped on the ground. The ground combat does feel kind of added on and could use some polish.

Graphics

Well it is beautiful and runs very well on my mid range system.

Immersion

This is where the game falls apart. The game is very instanced and you have to zone 3 times just to go from a base to another system. It kills the massive feel of space and turns it into little areas to kill things in. There is no sense of exploration or of the vastness that is space.

Then we have sector space, probably the worse implementation of travel EVER. It is a big blue grid that is broken up into sector blocks (more zones) and it is supposed to represent warp travel. It looks nothing like space and just totally kills any immersions you may have had. It is just terrible.

Conclusion

The game is the best Star Trek game available and many will enjoy it a lot. But if you are a mmo tourist like me it is not a very long stop on your trip to find the perfect mmo. It is missing the depth to last very long for some one that is not seriously interested in the lore. Like most Cryptic games it does one or two things very well and totally fails at the other things.

I give it a totally random score of

90/118

Buy Star Trek Online

Fallen Earth and Darkfall SUCK! Deal with it.

Just to get you all caught up MMORPG.com posted a review of Fallen Earth (can’t find a cache of it) and then the FE fans nerd raged and now they retracted.  This reminds me of the time that Darkfall was given a bad review and they nerd raged over that for a week or so.

Darkfall and Fallen Earth are SHIT games. They are made for a niche player base and lack the polish and looks of the more mainstream games. I have played them both and it took a tremendous amount of effort not to just log out of Darkfall. That game is almost unplayable. Fallen Earth is 100 times better than Darkfall but it is still full of bugs and lacks polish or direction.

I am glad that some people like these games but to expect a good review when games like Aion, WoW, and WAR exist is just; just….. stupid.  Can’t you step back  and look at the game without your emotion. If you are just there to rate this game and compare it with what else is out there these games don’t stand a chance. They are complete crap and if they were not MMOs they would be in the clearance rack a week after release if they managed to get released.

I understand a lot of you are looking for something different and these games offer that if you can get past the bugs, shitty performance, unbearable graphics, and immature community, you can get a real gaming experience out of it. But it will not get a good review score from a independent review, especially if that reviewer has played ANY other MMO.

You will be a lot happier if you can see the flaws in your game and recognize that your game does not appeal to everyone.

Aion first impressions

Well I have been absent from posting because my wife delivered our second son and it is a little time consuming.  But I am back!

Now, on to the first post.

Something strange happened over the week. Aion, a game that I really did not have any interest in playing caught my attention. I think it was due to the fact that Champions Online has really disappointed me since launch. There is not enough to do. If I run out of quest at all for any reason in the first 20 levels there is something really wrong with the game and it is a game breaker for me.

So I preordered Aion to get into the headstart.  I knew nothing about this game besides the fact that you could get wings. I really did not care to play a game where one of the main selling points was you could fly. But I read something on massively about how the pvp was kind of like DAoC and I was bored enough that I decided to try it.

I am glad that I did. I have not experience this much polish in a just released game in a long time. It is nothing different from what I have experience before but it is very well done.  It has done to WoW what WoW did to EQ, taken some of the best features polished them and tweaked them to make them better.  It has been out in Korea for a year so they have had time to smooth it up.

I have only gotten to level 8 but it has been a fun experience. They have returned to a few of the things I like about older games.  It is not instanced and so far it has been a zone free world,  I like to explore, and this is nice. While the quests do guide you from area to area you don’t feel like you are being guided and it lets you think you are doing the driving.

It is possible to grind mobs to get items and exp. This is a nice change. I like to grind sometimes it is nice mindless play that I enjoy.  The mobs are very tough and sometimes an equal level mob will kill you. While on paper this would seem like a bad design, it gives you a sense of accomplishment for killing something and really works well.

The servers have been very stable and the frame rates are great.  The game looks absolutely stunning.

Those are my preliminary thoughts on Aion. If you have been on the fence about it I would not hesitate to try it.

Champions Online Open Beta Review.

Today Champions Online early start opens for those that have a key. I participated in the Champions Online open and closed betas. I did not play much just enough to make sure that I felt preordering was a good idea. But I did play enough to have thoughts on the game.  This will be a first impressions post. I will follow up throughout my time in the game.

Champions online is not like other mmos. It is faster and more action oriented, it is like a console game. I think that is the best way to sum up the game. It is a console MMO. For some this is good for others it is a reason not to play it.

You start the game in a nice little tutorial zone that gets you acquainted with the basic mechanics of the game.  It is pretty short and generic, but it does what it is designed to do. After you save the tutorial zone from utter destruction you get to select from two zones that also need you to save them.

In these zones you will get to select you travel powers and some other powers. You get a few missions that will introduce you crafting and various other things and lead you to saving this zone also. It is very similar to all other tutorial zones in games, the zones are very well done and give you a sense of being important.

The controls for this game are a little different than your average mmo and require a little getting used to. I would suggest grabbing an Xbox controller and using it.  The gamepad just fits the game and makes it very enjoyable to play. Once I did this I did not even try to use the keyboard and mouse again.

The graphics are very nice and ran very well on my machine which I would rate as a mid range machine.  They are supposed to look like a comic book and they pull it off pretty well.  There are a bunch of options to tune it to your machine.

Character customization is absolutely awesome. I probably spent more time trying out new character costumes than I did playing the game.  I wish they had a little more intuitive way of sorting the costume pieces to speed this process up. But if you can imagine it you can do it.

Combat is fast and fun. It is a lot like a console superhero game so if you like those you will like this.  It is simple and you feel powerful.  Questing is a mix of open world quests and instances for the bosses.  Most of them are the go here and kill this type of quests. The single player instances that I did do were very well done and were a lot of fun.

The only real problem I see for this game is its staying power. I did not play that much so I may of missed something. It really does not bring very many innovations that make it stand out from the crowd. The superhero theme and fast combat may be enough but for the mmo player it may just be a passing thought as they move to the next one.  When this releases for the xbox it will be a hit. It is an mmo that will be able to bring console gamers to the genre.

Warhammer Online One year Review!

I just canceled my Warhammer account.  I am about to move and am going to play champions online for awhile. I will probably be back. I took the exit interview and it got me wondering what I like and dislike about Warhammer. So I decided to write a one year review.

My history with WAR

I started playing WAR on release and did not stop for an entire year. There are only 3 other games that have kept me for over a year, Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and World of Warcraft. I decided to play WAR because I loved DAoC and hoped that it would DAoC2. Unfortunately it was not DAoC2 I believe it would of done much better had it been.

I played the entire year and got my Bright Wizard to level 40 it took most of the year, I am a slow player.  I enjoyed the trip it did not seem terribly tedious and I had fun most of the time. I started a few alts but only got them into the 20s. I got into a good guild and I ran a few of the early instances. I am not much of an instance runner.  I don’t like taking the time and I HATE voice chat, which seems to be required for most instances now.

What I don’t like about WAR

PVE that is disguised as RVR.

This is my number one complaint and if they fix it I would re-subscribe on that day. All of the RVR is focused around avoiding any resistance. We try to avoid keeps and objectives that are defended.  What RVR boils down to is running around killing Mobs and waiting, lots and lots of waiting.  It is the single biggest waste of time I have experienced in a game.

The fort and city sieges are a joke. You basically do PVE raids and the zones are population capped so if you are not quick you CAN’T PLAY. Who ever thought it was a good idea not to let people play parts of the game?

The RVR should be done to win rewards for the realm not for gear. Gear should be randomly dropped from defenders.

The zones are to intertwined and boring

Almost every zone is half one realm and half the other. No matter what side you choose you are leveling in the same zones.  This kills replay ability. In DAoC each realm had entirely different land mass. It was awesome. You get tired of one realm you go to another for an entirely different experience.

The zones very bland and boring, there is no reason to explore them. I don’t even have an urge to explore them.  There is no excitement that you might get into a place that is way over your level because everything is so linear.

Why did they put zoning in the game? They did not have zones in DAoC. Zones ruin the feeling of a living world and make the world feel small. Zoning should not exist in modern games.

Soloing at max level

The game is very solo friendly until you reach 40 then you have to group to make any progress. I don’t like grouping.  I HATE it. I want everything to be available by soloing. I want epic solo experiences.  I want to be able to solo PVE content at level 40.  I spent the last 40 levels solo why do the designers think I will turn in to a raider?

I think the only required grouping should be in RVR. That is it!  If I want to do a raid by myself, let me.  I pay to play the game and if I get to 40 and the only thing I can do solo is start an alt and level through the same content I just leveled through, I am going to quit. I have a pregnant wife and a kid I CANT raid.

The PQs are a step in the right direction with open grouping and pqs it is possible to experience epic content without taking a lot of time.

Character customization

There is none! All bright wizards look the same. I know this is done to make them easy to see on the battle field and to follow the table top game. But at least make my clothing look nice. It looks like orange shit. I could be biased on this because I play the most hideous looking class but still I want a different color besides orange.

What I do like about WAR

PVP

This is WAR’s bread and butter. It is by far the best pvp out there even flawed as it is. The scenarios are well done. The keep sieges are fun when there is one. Battles having hundreds of participants is great!

They need to focus on this and make it happen more. If the entire game was just PVP I believe it would be very popular.  When PVP is happening I love the game.

Public Quests

The public quest system is excellent. It is fun, engaging, and easy to get into.  This is one of the most innovative systems that WAR brought to the market and I believe that all major games will copy it.

The problem with them is that you need people to do them and I think that by having so many of them they have hurt the system. They should have 1 per zone to keep the population together. It is still a great feature and when you have the people to do them it can lead to lots of fun and some good drops.

Everything else

There is really no other single feature that I can point out, but the rest of the game is great. It is a very well made game and it is very fun until you reach max level then the problems really start to show up because you hit them all the time. The developers are listening to the users and that is always a good thing.

I believe that this game will grow with time and become one of the longer lasting games on the market. You add a few expansions and some endgame content and this game will be a real contender.

Here is my totally arbitrary review score:

89/102

Welcome Back Weekend LOTRO

I played Lord of The Rings online when it was first released. I liked it but did not stick with it. So now with the welcome back weekend I decided to give it another go. I must say it has changed and the changes have been good.

There are a few things that I really like about this game. The environment is just spectacular.  It runs smooth and looks great. It is great to be able to see all of these places that you dreamed of as you read the books.  Turbine has done a tremendous job of bringing middle earth to life. I can spend hours just sight seeing, this is a welcome change for me after WAR, it is  really very boring.

The servers are full of people. This is probably my number one problem with WAR right now, there is no one to do the great PQs with.  The region chat is very active and the world just feels like it has a lot of people in it. It makes getting groups and questing a breeze.  I do not know if it is because of the welcome back promotion or if this game is really that active.

The story line, I like to have a story line to follow.  The epic quest line is a great story that lets you follow your heroes through the game.  I have not experienced this with WAR it would be a very nice touch. There is so much lore to build on it is a shame that WAR has not used it.

Now the things I did not like. PVP stinks! It is pretty much crap compared to WAR.  WAR’s pvp is far superior to it, and almost all other games I have played and is the sole reason that I will continue to play WAR. Nothing compares to to hunting other humans.

The quest system, it is fairly clunky and really does not show you where the quest objectives are. I do not like running around looking for the objective. I want it to point me to it.  I have a very limited amount of time to play and I do not want to spend that time trying to find a spotted bear in a forest that has a rotted toe nail.

I will play this game a bit more and see where it takes me.  I plan on continueing with WAR but some times you need a little change.