Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Belated Birthday to AC

Yup on November 2, 2007 Asheron's Call, the game that started my MMORPG addiction, celebrated it's 8th birthday.

Asheron's Call has a rich story and large world in which players explore and adventure in. The largest highlight of AC is its character generation and advancement system. AC is a hybrid skill/level based system. The graphic are outdated but the content and character development are still one of the best out there.

Congratulations to all the folks at Turbine and all those players that make the world of AC their home.

MMORPG Series: Part I – "The Story"

This component of MMORPG gaming is often overlooked and underdeveloped by the MMO developers and most of the current MMO games have little to no story. Many players view this as more of a role-playing aspect of the game and don’t participate or get involved with it much.

The story of a MMORPG world and how the player characters interact with the story is an important part of any MMORPG. The key to any story is to intertwine the player characters story with that of the world. This feat is difficult to accomplish without appearing too cookie cutter in its presentation. Really how many of the player character’s brothers, sisters, mother, father or some other significant relation died during the “Great War” or were killed by some “Nefarious Entity”?

So for a MMORPG story to work it, needs to be general with respect to the player history. But it needs to draw the player in and cause him to care about the story and what happens to those involved.

Above all else, a players actions need to help drive the story. Does this mean that the players make the story? Perhaps, but the story should have its own outline and direction. A player’s status with major NPC's should be driven by the player’s actions. If a player runs around slaughtering innocent people, good NPC’s should become hostile to that player and the evil NPC’s should view the player more favorably. The NPC’s have an agenda of their own and as long as the player is going along with that agenda, they will assist the player character in any way they can.

In any good story you must have sides. Whether overtly good and evil or more shades of gray, the story often involves conflict between two or more parties, each with conflicting agendas. To me this is what drives the story.

Even the greatest story can be totally ignored by a large portion of the player population. The trick is to forcing the players to participate without them realizing it. The biggest way to make this possible is to make player choices in game mean something. Gaining access to goods, services or areas is a good way to reward players for the choices they have made in game.

In the end any MMORPG with a good story that involves the player characters is on its way to becoming a good game.

Coming soon: MMORPG Series

Over the next few months I plan on coming out with a series of posts that cover the various aspects of MMO gaming. The topics will include; Story, PvE, PvP, Crafting, Housing, Accumulation of Wealth and Status, Group vs. Solo, Skill Based vs. Level Based and World Exploration. A few may be added or removed from the list, but I hope to cover the main parts of the game.

While I hope to provide a broad overview of each of these, I hope to complete the series with a “Near Perfect MMO” post that outlines what I feel would make a game that I would find enjoyable. I do understand that others may not share my vision and thoughts on my Near Perfect MMO.

Have a happy Thanksgiving Holiday everyone.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Initial Thoughts on EQII: Rise of Kunark

Well the Rise of Kunark expansion for EQII came out last Tuesday and with 3 days of vacation time and a bunch of hours of playtime, here's my initial review.

The zones are huge! The creatures in the zones start around level 67/68. In the initial zone there is over 70 quests that can be solo'd by most if not all classes. The second and third zones are equally large and also have large numbers of quests.

The equipment and cash given by these quests are pretty nice, that is if you are not equipped in KoS or EoF fabled. For a non raiding player these zones are full of nice equipment. The cash given from these quests are nice also. This coupled with the No Trade equipment sales to the merchant and you can easily come out with 3-5 plat a night (4-6 hours).

Along with the equipment and cash you will find that the EXP and AA points will flow like it never has before. Now this can be because of the long dry spell since the last level raise. Either way you will have little to no problems leveling and gaining AA. Just be sure to do every quest that you can get your hands on.

To date I find this to be the best expansion released for EQII. I have yet to experience much of the Heroic and Raid content, I hope to be able to update this mid next month.

This expansion is definately worth it. You get every expansion and adventure pack, and at $40US it's a bargain.

See you in game. :D

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Everquest II: Rise Of Kunark

Only a few more days before the much anticipated expansion to Everquest II comes out. Due out on Tuesday, November 13th. This expansion named Rise of Kunark adds another 10 character levels and 20 guild levels to the game. Along with a new player race named The Sarnak. This race is a dragonl-like race.

New zones are also included in this pack. A new area for leveling from 1-20 and newer high end content is available.

I look forward to exploring these new lands and have taken 3 days off to do so.

This expansion includes all 4 expansions and the 3 adventure packs. So if you are just starting out in EQ2 you will have all that is available in game.

See everyone in game.