In listening to discussions on MMOs over the past several months, I began to notice that when I hear a certain game being discussed, I tend to always have similar reactions to that title, whether they be positive or negative. Considering this, I figured that I must have a ranking in my head of my favorite and least favorite MMO’s, and it might be interesting to try and list those rankings out and decipher why they fall where they do on the list. Of course, thanks to personal taste, you may or may not agree with my rankings or the reasons for those rankings. It’s a fairly diverse list, and now that I’ve ordered them it has become pretty clear what elements I look for in an MMO.
It seems like the subscription vs Free-to-Play debate has been discussed ad nauseam on gaming blogs and press sites across the Internet. In many cases, serious and longtime gamers prefer the subscription MMO in order to bypass annoying in-game promotions and sales, as well as to set some kind of minimal barrier to entry in order to cut down on in-game harassment. Free-to-Play games open the floodgates to allow players of all means to experience the game on their own terms but tend to bombard the player with up-sale opportunities in order to create revenue so that the game can continue to exist.
Here are my impressions of the Elder Scrolls Online after logging in last night for the first time and spending the evening exploring whatever part of Tamriel I was dropped into.
I should probably start by saying that I’m not en Elder Scrolls devotee. I’ve played Skyrim up to about level eleven, and that’s pretty much my experience with ES. There was a lot to love about that game, but there was also a lot of tedium that I just didn’t have time to mess with, not least of which was sifting through my quest log trying to figure out what to do next – before getting distracted by another NPC who wanted to send me to the other side of the map. I also wasn’t crazy about how mashy the combat system felt. It was cool at first, but there’s only so much you can do with left mouse/right mouse. I should probably also say that (as a consumer, anyway) I am still not a fan of the subscription-only business model. I understand the reasons for it, and that it can lead to better and more frequently updated games, but I just can’t get over the old rent vs buy conversation from economics 101. Renting never, ever benefits the consumer. It will always cost you more in the long run. If you have the means to own something, do it.
By my posts and community involvement, you might think that the only game that I play is Lord of the Rings Online. While that’s almost true, I do venture outside of Middle-Earth occasionally to see what else the gaming world has to offer. For one, I’m interested in how other games approach certain things and what systems/strategies work better or worse than what I’m familiar with in LOTRO. Second, although I currently have no plans to stop playing LOTRO, I know that games don’t last forever, and I’d like to understand the landscape in case things start to go south. Lastly, the distinct possibility exists that there may indeed be a game out there that succeeds in replacing my current “number one” due to it’s sheer awesomeness, approach, or general “fun factor”. After all, LOTRO is a six year old game, surely somebody has seen fit to improve upon the concepts of gameplay that I know fairly well….