Like Lots of Classes in Your MMO? I Do.

Camelot Unchained Class Reveals

Camelot Unchained offered up one of their more interesting reveals last week: There will be “a wee bit” (read: a lot) more classes than originally planned. The reasons cited ranged from symmetrical class design being too restrictive all the way to being easier to balance asymmetrical classes.

Classes in CU won’t all have the same number of skill trees, and if I’m reading this all correctly it sounds like we won’t necessarily see mirrors across the realms. Lots of classes that aren’t the same? Less homogenization? Those are all the things I like to hear.

Dark Age of Camelot took a very similar approach. All realms had archers, speed classes, tanks, etc., but they weren’t all identical. Granted, they did all have (if I remember correctly) the same number of paths. However, they all played entirely unique. The Hunter was very different from the Scout.

Being able to say that essentially make any changes to any classes does make balancing easier on a per-class basis, but introducing more classes can quickly become difficult to balance if all of the classes are given enough diversity. Having 3 realms and maybe 10 classes per realm could mean having almost 30 different classes with the ability to all be very different. This is a breeding ground for flavors of the month.

The risk is worth the reward here, though, and I look forward to a return of more classes in a MMO with differing playstyles and themes. I credit the number of classes and replayability as the biggest reason I stuck with DAoC for as long as I did. Lots of classes and lots of diversity are now a requirement for me to play an MMO, and I’m glad to see CSE stepping it up in CU.

Heads up, backers like myself can vote for which class reveals we want to see.

Part 1: Making some WoW videos. Part 2: Let’s talk MMOs for a second.

Late night weekend update for the blog but I want to squeeze this in before I get too busy. I made a video last night while playing WoW that I wanted to share. I’ve started to notice a theme from some of you surrounding a line of questioning: Do you still play MMOs? Yes, I do. I play World of Warcraft very, very casually.

Since I enjoy making videos about the games I’m playing, I decided to include WoW and start a series showcasing why and how I am having fun back in the MMO I thought I quit a dozen times.

Now let’s chat about part 2 of this little question here. What’s with the state of the MMO industry? If you’re currently playing a handful of MMOs and you’re one of those people who can enjoy GW2 and SWTOR and ArcheAge and WildStar and you never quite understood why the population in those games was dismally low and the servers were merged then this isn’t going to be an answer you’ll comprehend. The MMO industry sucks in 2015, the talent is drying up worse than the reservoirs in California, and most simply aren’t worth the digital space they’re taking up on those MMO news sites desperate for page views.

I certainly do not enjoy them, so I don’t play them. There are a couple… maybe as many as 3… MMOs on the distant horizon worth even thinking about, but I have trouble getting excited right now. I think Camelot Unchained has the most potential for anything related to PvP. They just announced like a bazillion classes would be in the game, and I’ll write something on that soon.  Crowfall … let’s just say I have my “I told you so” post already written. Yeah, that sums it up.

If you use the term correctly, then yes I am jaded. I am tired, bored, and lacking enthusiasm. If you’re using the term incorrectly, you’re probably going to reply with something like, “Well you’re just jaded, Keen!” As if I’m wrong for feeling this way. I refer you to the correct definition. Some people like to call other people jaded as though there is something wrong with those people and the way they see something is inaccurate. I’m being pretty darn upfront here and stating that I’m bored outa my mind with MMOs and can’t find more than a shred of hope for them to improve. If you can give me a reason, I’ll be more than happy to hype it up and show some enthusiasm.

I’d much rather play a ton of fun games out there that aren’t MMOs than sit around and hate “gaming” because MMOs are currently awful. I’m having an awesome time gaming in 2015, and it’s because I got tired of waiting and moved on. Does that mean I won’t play MMOs anymore? Heck no. MMOs are my favorite games. I’m just waiting until they deserve it again, and by waiting I mean playing lots of awesome games.

So Many Games. So Little Time.

I hope you all had a great [Labor Day] Weekend whether you spent it gaming up a storm or spending time with family. I managed to do a little bit of both. My wife and I did the family BBQ thing on Saturday, then went to Disneyland yesterday and managed to get into the park an hour early during their “Magic Hour” that is supposed to be reserved for Disneyland Hotel guests. A sweet elderly cast member let us in saying, “They usually don’t let us do this, but come on in.” We went on 5 rides before the gates opened and the apocalypse was upon us.

In terms of games, I haven’t been in this good of a spot in years. I have this anxious happiness about me now that was previously filled with this “ugh” feeling. The days of having nothing to do are like a distant memory. I now have a massive onset of games that I am trying to wade my way through.

SoraKingdom Hearts -> I’m playing through for my very first time. I probably won’t get to any formal writeup on this, unless enough people express interest, so this is where I’ll deposit some thoughts. KH is hard. Not necessarily in the fighting mechanics or beating bosses — though those can be a challenge — but in the ‘figuring things out’ kind of way. Just finding our where the game wants me to go next requires exploring guessing.

My wife and I are playing through this together, and as huge Disney fans its doesn’t get much better than this for gaming. The story is complex, nonsensical at parts, but slowly coming together. If you like Disney, Square, and a good RPG/adventure game of sorts then give the series a try. Warning: It starts slow.

Some other games I’m playing:

  • Diablo 3 – Currently able to solo T9 GRifts in Season 4 with absolute ease. T10 is doable, but a challenge. I have all of the items I need for my build, and now I’m just trying to get lucky and find better versions of them.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0 – Lots of write-ups coming your way for this one, and a few videos too. I’m even doing some Let’s Plays.
  • Rare Replay – So many games…. so little time.
  • World of Warcraft – I’m level 98 and leveling faster than I would like. I’m still in the 3rd zone and will be 100 long, long before I come even close to being done with quests. Mobs I’m currently fighting at 4-5 levels below me. Having a great time with the story.
  • Mario Maker – Not yet playing but will be in 3 days. Make almost any Mario level, play levels other people make? Oh yeah.

Reviews Coming Soon

  • Disney Infinity 3.0
  • Mario Maker

This might be the first time I have ever had games going on this many consoles and the PC at the same time. #FirstWorldProblems

Lots to come on my experiences. I just have to find time to take a breath and come up for air every once in a while.

Another Kickstarted Game (Pathfinder Online) Fails

Pathfinder Online Kickstarter Fails

Looks like we can add another to the ‘saw that coming a mile away’ pile. Pathfinder Online joins the growing club of failed crowd-funded games. Members include similar games such as Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen. Pathfinder had to lay off all but three (read: all) employees because “funding didn’t come through,” and a bunch of other stuff that simply isn’t important to the average person like you and me. Truth: The game was never going to succeed. Looking at their business model and their game, this was coming.

Right now I have money in one Kickstarter, and I’m pretty sure that one will at least deliver something, but in general I have lost all faith in crowdfunding the development of a product — especially a video game. There’s way too much consumer risk, and I see the idea as a violation of the basic principle that we give something in value in exchange for something of value in return. Giving a developer money this early gives them less to fight for, less to push for, and all the reason to sit back and lay everyone off and say, “We just couldn’t make it work but thanks for the support.”

I’ve sworn off giving a lump sum of money for a product; However, a model I still have a little bit of faith in is the “pay as you go” funding model we see on places like Patreon. I think supporting people who deliver daily, weekly, monthly, etc., content is a nice option. It works great for musicians, comics, youtubers in general, etc. I see this as the same model Twitch uses for subscribers. You like it so you support it, but it’s monthly and you can cancel any time. Fail to see continued value? Then stop paying. ::whispers:: Kinda like MMO subscriptions. SHhhhh.

Crowdfunding a game in 2015 is a poor financial decision for players. Developers can have my money when they bring a game of value to market and show me they now deserve value in return. Not before.

Avoiding the Metagame Creates a Micro-journey in WoW

Coming in late to the Warlords of Draenor expansion has further validated a belief I have held since the early days of EverQuest and Dark Age of Camelot: I have always been about the journey in MMORPGs. Instead of having a year+ of content ahead of me, I might have a matter of months. In that short period of time, I don’t have any desire to try and get the best gear or obtain all of the achievements, or even race to max out my Garrison. I can’t — I don’t have the time before Legion. My goal? See the content. That single goal has radically flipped this game upside down. Why? Because now I don’t care about the gear grind. What do I need to do to see the content? That’s all I care about.


That’s right Gul’dan, no hamster wheel for me this time!

Suddenly instead of worrying about min/maxing my daily quest completion rate, my gear score, or my Garrison companion gears and levels, all I need to do is work on participating in the activities I enjoy because that’s essentially enough to get me to the point where I can see all of the dungeons and complete all of the raids. I can have fun and progress at my own rate and easily enjoy the content. ::gasp:: WoW feels like a game and not a job.

When it comes to a game like WoW at the launch of an expansion or in the thick of things, that journey is almost nonexistent and at times I feel like I have to make the most out of what I’m playing in order to rub away some of what masks that adventure. Coming in late has afforded me that opportunity in a way that feels psychologically easier to swallow. Granted, this same way of playing is completely open and available to me at the start of an expansion as well…. it’s just harder for me to win that internal battle.

Imagine if this is how WoW was inherently designed. Technically, the argument could be made that WoW IS designed this way, and they’ve just placed a bunch of activities between you and “seeing the content,” but I guess to me the activities placed between me and the content take center stage and the “game” fails to be about “seeing the content” and becomes about “getting the highest iLvL possible” or in general focusing on the metagame.

TLDR: When focusing on the actual ‘game’ part of World of Warcraft, it’s quite enjoyable. Coming in late to the expansion has made that psychologically easier for me to (1) Identify, and (2) Stay focused on. I wish WoW would emphasize the ‘game’ over the ‘metagame’ from the top down in their design.