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ESO PvP (AvA) First Impressions

I finally made it into Cyradiil!  After playing in the beta since November and having the best intentions every time to participate in PvP I can finally share my thoughts on what is being lauded as the closest thing to DAoC PvP we’ve seen in over a decade.

Cyradiil-ESO

The Map

The very first thing I realized was that Cyradiil is really big.  DAoC’s frontiers are still ginormous by comparison, but Cyradiil is already feels 4x the size of GW2’s WvW zone. Cyradiil can hold 2,000 people and from what I am told is optimized for 200 people on the screen at a time.  I’ll vouch for what I experienced so far, which is probably only ~75 people, but it was 100% smooth.

Cyradiil is full of cities (mostly abandoned) with NPCs (both good and bad) and daily quests to complete.  Graev and I spent what felt like 5 minutes running from one town to the next and didn’t come even remotely close to seeing another player or even a keep or objective to claim.

Teleporting around is a feature.  You can portal between major objectives if you control a path connecting them.  This introduces strategy associated with breaking the enemy’s ability to reinforce quickly.  From only a few hours of play I can already tell you this is going to play a major role like it did in DAoC.  [Read more…]

My Mixed ESO Emotions

I must confess I am having mixed feelings about The Elder Scrolls Online.  I recently wrote my opinion on the 1-20 experience during beta.  I was pretty bored with most of it — lots of boring quests, being guided by the nose, etc. — but I never tried the PvP.  A while back I wrote how the PvP looked awful on paper.  One big server, campaigns, etc.

I don’t know how I feel now.  I’ve watched the PvP streams and the combat looks fun.  Siege weapons look great — those trebs and catapults are pretty cool.  I admit to wishing I was playing in the PvP right now.  Unfortunately, I am stuck without a gaming computer while our leaking roof dries.

My PvP concerns:

  • Zerg PvP is both boring and frustrating.  I see quite a bit of it going on.
  • Door Wars.  Bashing on doors all day.
  • AoE and Ranged being the only way to truly participate.

Anyone care to share a personal experience that will alleviate any of my concerns?

I like the recent announcement that the starter islands will be optional.  Then there’s this whole idea floating around out there that the PvE game opens up and becomes less themepark questing and more traditional Elder Scrolls.  Is there any truth to that?  If so, I can push past 20 levels of crap for 30 levels of fun.   My spidey-sense tells me something is amiss and that I should be cautious.

That’s where I’m at.  I’m trying to work through all of these contradicting feelings and opinions.  I’m currently hovering around the middle ground between ‘stay the heck away’ and ‘give it a shot’ … but slightly toward staying away.   Your thoughts are most definitely welcome.

[Exclusive] Camelot Unchained Q/A

Camelot Unchained

I can’t believe we’re coming up on nine months since Camelot Unchained was funded via Kickstarter.  The CSE team has been hard at work pushing out lots of background information in the form of lore and stories to really set the premise for what’s going on in the world.  So it’s only natural that I would bug Mark Jacobs to subject himself to our barrage of question.

We decided it was time to really start getting to the nitty-gritty details of Camelot Unchained, and we wanted you (our readers) to begin the discussion.  We asked you to come up with the questions you want answered most, and then we just threw them at CSE in a nice big unorganized pile. I think you’ll enjoy what they sent back.

K&G: What is the combat system like? Twitch based, Action-rpg or traditional mmo hotkey based?

CSE: To date, we have said that we are going for an old-school approach to certain aspects of our game, and this would certainly be one of them. What I’m willing to say for now is that we don’t want a lot of bunny-hopping players dodging incoming attacks. There are enough games that already do this, some quite well, and we don’t need to add another to that list. Also, that style of gameplay doesn’t fit what our Founders have told us they are looking for in Camelot Unchained. [Read more…]

Isn’t that what you do in every MMO?

I was playing in an unnamed MMO this afternoon and asked a particularly loaded question: “Is the goal of the game pretty much to get to the end and raid for better loot?”  Whew!  The responses I received.

My favorite response was, “Huh? Isn’t that what you do in every MMO?”  There was a legitimate innocence to this individual’s confusion as though he truly was confused by my question.

I used to be the type to want to save this person’s soul. I used to think it was my duty to educate this person about the other side, the other options, the experiences he or she may have never even known exist.  I have since learned it’s impossible to do such things in MMO chat channels, and prefer to do so here on my blog.  But the more I think about it, maybe he’s right.

Let’s assume someone started playing MMOs when WoW came out, and this person probably only plays the most popular or new MMOs and rides the same wave we all do.  I guess there really aren’t any examples of non-raiding end-game.  The same can be said about quest-driven leveling, capture the flag pvp, instanced dungeons, etc.  There aren’t any modern examples to contradict or oppose the themepark model — at least none you can seriously bring up in a conversation with the masses.

Millions and millions of people have only ever known one way of playing MMOs.  To them, this is what an MMO is all about.  This really is what you do in every MMO.  Since that’s all they know, that’s all they want.  And since that’s all they want, that’s all MMO devs deliver.  Since that’s all devs deliver, we get the same recycled/cloned game year after year.

MMOs weren’t always about combat.  Combat was just one of many ways to ‘play’.  MMOs weren’t always about getting loot to progress.  We used to spend years learning new skills and leveling up.  In some games we never even had levels!   I could decorate my house in some MMOs and never worry about being judged as “casual;” having a nice house used to mean people looked up to you.  Having a good reputation used to be more valuable than all the gold in the world because people traded in social currency and cared what other people thought of them.

That sounds nothing like the MMOs we play today.  It’s no wonder the people get all confused when someone questions the status quo.  If only they knew that’s how we got to where we’re at today.

How to bring more Final Fantasy into FFXIV Content

FFXIV dungeons and content in general are very mechanic based.  Move out of fire, avoid cone attacks, remove a debuff, and DPS before insta-kill move triggers are prevalent.  Although very much a themepark MMO, one of the attributes blatantly missing from FFXIV dungeons is the use of the Final Fantasy theme.

There are tons of great Final Fantasy themed events and dungeons I have rolling around in my head.  Instead of just being about killing trash monsters to get to the next boss, the ‘dungeon’ could be an ‘experience’ to play through. Heck, who’s to say they even have to be like dungeons at all?

FF1 iOSTurn-based Combat
A dungeon, a boss, or simply an event could be played out entirely in turn-based combat just like the traditional Final Fantasy style.  The enemies would be on the left and your party could be staggered on the right.  Each player would take a turn to using abilities.

Random Encounters
Another throwback idea is randomly being jumped by a group of monsters as you make your way through a dungeon.  Maybe mix in the overworld monsters making contact to start battles.  This mechanic can be implemented somehow to be a lot of fun in a upcoming dungeon.

FF TacticsFinal Fantasy Tactics
Tactics uses a movement grid.  Characters take turns moving on the grid and receive bonuses based on where they are positioned (terrain, position, etc).  It’s like traditional FF combat with movement on a grid.

Active Time Battle System
In a ATB system everyone has a gauge and once the gauge fills up.  Once full, it’s your turn.  This could take into affect skill speed and let players strategically have to use their bar. This adds a depth to the turn-based system and could also be a lot of fun.

ff7 chocobo raceChocobo Battle Race
Not every dungeon has to be about traditional combat.  Here’s an idea going outside of the box a bit more.  What if the entire ‘dungeon’ was a race on the back of chocobos.  Players could obtain powerups to fire off at each other and simply have a lot of fun racing at high speeds.  I see it being really similar to Mario Kart.  The winner could get some tokens or something.

Arena Fight
In Final Fantasy 7’s Golden Saucer there’s an arena that players can enter to battle monsters..  Square could always add specific mechanics to the fights like “don’t do X” or “only do Y” to spice things up and make the battles not just normal combat in a confined space. Introduce new mobs every week or month and adding different battle mechanics is a great way to keep simple content like this interesting.  Playing through the different arena battles could give all sorts of prizes ranging for vanity items to tomes.  We know they’re working on adding the Golden Saucer anyway so this is a perfect opportunity.

This is the type of content I would add to FFXIV if I was in charge. Out of the box ideas meant to excite and get players eager to do more than run through dungeons repeatedly.  More ‘Final Fantasy’ and less ‘MMO mechanics’.  Thoughts? Ideas of your own you think would make for great content in FFXIV?