Adventure Log: EQ, Spider-Man, and more

Keen: EverQuest

This week’s adventure log is all about the oldschool for me.  I spent the week writing about immersion in MMORPG’s.  Modern games can’t immerse me like the previous generation can.  They can still be fun adventures, but I don’t feel like I’m participating in a giant world free of the scripted and expected limitations of today’s more linear worlds.

I spent many hours over the past few days recapturing what it felt like to play the original EverQuest back in the Kunark era. I bounced around a few characters but landed on a Halfling Druid as my main.  I’m playing with a friend of mine who has a high-level necro and mid-level druid.  He made a new warrior, and together we’ve been killing critters in Misty Thicket.  Last night we came across two very well-off players (probably level 60, full planes gear, etc.) who took pity on me as a noob and gave us both lots of items and some plat.  The community is so kind and willing to help kindred spirits.

I’m also reminded of how amazing it is to actually do a REAL quest.  I want a Testament of Vanear (+10 wisdom book).  A ToV can be obtained by completing a quest.  The quest starts in Erudin, an island off the west coast of Antonica. My friend and I made the trip to Erudin to talk to a guy, then to Qeynos, then Highpass.  Now we’re bound in Highpass Keep periodically checking an 8 hour spawn that I have to kill in order to complete the quest.  These day-long (or more) adventures are the very definition of quest,”A long or arduous search for something.”

We’re now level 6 and preparing to adventure off into a different area.  We’re thinking Common Lands, but we might do Crushbone.  There are so many options!  Wherever we decide to go, it’s a commitment because of travel time.  It could easily take 40 minutes just to travel to Crushbone from where we’re at right now.

EQ may be old, clunky, at times ugly, and a far cry from today’s standards, but it still nails community, 100% open-world, accomplishment, commitment, danger, and freedom to be yourself better than most contemporary MMO’s.


Graev: Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, The Walking Dead, and The Amazing Spider-Man

I bounced around a lot again this week.  I earned all achievements in Lego Batman 2. (100% Xbox 360).  I liked it a lot, as did Keen, but we both like Lego Star Wars 3 more.  It felt like with a big open city they had so much they could do with it, but there’s not as much as I hoped.  It’s still one of the top Lego games, though, and it makes me excited for what they’re going to do with LEGO City: Undercover (our Game of Show from E3).

I downloaded The Walking Dead Ep. 1 but never got around to playing it until this week.  I’m a huge adventure game fan.  I like the replayability with all the choices affecting the outcome of the story throughout the season.  I’m really excited to see how those actions play out in the recently released Ep. 2.

The Amazing Spider-Man is really good.  It’s nice to have a free-roaming spider-man game again since the last two were more traditional level-based games.  My biggest complaint with the game is the swing mechanic is really easy and forgiving.  There’s nothing to it — you hold the swing button down and automatically throw webbing.  No skill is involved.  In this game you can know for a fact that nothing is around or above you, but somehow your webs magically attach to something…. something invisible.  People who play Spider-Man games call it “Cloud swinging” because you are swinging from clouds.  I really dislike cloud swinging because it breaks the experience.  However, with a skill-based system (like in Spider-Man 2) if you’re not really competent your swinging can be broken up easily and traveling doesn’t feel smooth.  I understand why they went for a cloud-swinging system to make it more accessible, even if I don’t prefer it.

A feature I really like is web-rush mode.  Time is slowed and you can pick different points in the city to swing to and Spider-Man will do awesome moves to get to those locations.  You see a ghost image of where he’ll end up and you can keep web rushing across the whole city, performing neat Spider-Man acrobatics that no human could have the reflexes to pull off via a control.  Perhaps it’s a fair tradeoff for the lack of skilled-based swinging. The exhilarating camera angle, web-rush, and guaranteed webbing do make swinging around Manhattan awesome.

  • I have some pretty intensely mixed feelings about the quest bit that you described. On the one hand, I agree with you in principle. So many of the quests in today’s games are nothing but busywork with no real sense of effort or achievement.

    That said, I absolutely hated the mechanics that you describe in EQ. It might work OK nowadays when I imagine server populations are relatively low, but back when EQ was new it was incredibly frustrating trying to complete those sorts of quests. It was bad enough to find a group, clear through a dungeon to a rare spawn location and then have to sit there and wait and wait for it to spawn. It was even worse when you clear to the location only to find another group already camping the spot. Once people started timing the spawns, it became relatively hopeless for a regular player to finish such quests.

    Maybe it’s more tolerable when you have a great community that will give you free equipment and cash, but I remember an EQ where most folks charged for buffs like SoW. Without the freebies, having to deal with camping becomes more more onerous.

    Anyway, I’d love to brainstorm some good solutions to this problem. I 100% want quests to be more, well, quest-like. But I don’t think the frustration of forced spawn camping is the answer either. Any ideas?

  • Well okay, the waiting on a spawn sucks. I meant more of the whole quest being a process. And keep in mind, the camp for the mob is painful, but the item will last me easily until level 50.

  • One of the best things I liked about Ultima online was that there was no general chat.
    You have to near someone for them to see the floating text above your character.

    Whats the big deal you might ask.
    Well… You run into people and feel the need to communicate.

    Who knows he might show his nice house… where he got some nice dyes and fabrics to make you some clothing. Invite you to his guild.

    Just the idea that you run into people or a guild and then set off to do whatever you want with the people present is so much more immersing then just seeing a list and shout OI who of you gits is comin with us. (hmm yeah I been playing warhammer dawn of war lately)

    I actually went out to visit the houses of friends I made in game in the hope they where online to do things together. Bringing some booze along of course ^^

    Off topic: I did a discovery on the ghost recon online forums yesterday that European players currently see 3 times as high ingame currency prices on weapons.
    I was like… huh what why.. It made no sense at all to me.
    So yeah I made post in their forums.

  • I’ve been enjoying my time in Project 1999 this past week. I’ve leveled 6 characters to between levels 5-9 and haven’t completely decided which class to play yet. It’s definitely filled with the kind of players that make MMOs fun to me. Every single person I have met so far has been eager to help anyone, with some people helping me level for 30+ minutes. Something like that is unheard of in “modern” MMOs, where it’s essentially a me-first environment and a race to the finish.

    Also, I traveled with a friend from Cabilis to Greater Faydark as level 5 Iksars. I haven’t been that terrified in a game in years, but we made it and it was awesome.

  • Old PS1 game Spider-man 2: Enter Electro had cloud swinging too. But it was not so much free roaming game, it had levels with a certain amount of free roaming. But this game was released 11 years ago. (Jeez I am getting old)

  • Back on P1999 as well. I’ve got a level 9 monk and paladin, but decided on my druid who is 7 now. I just love killing orcs in Crushbone for some reason.

    Not sure if I will have enough time for it too much once GW2 is out, but I really wish a new game could capture those same immersion and exploration elements I get even today from EQ.

  • Neverwinter Nights ruined me for all MMO’s. The thing I would like to see for online gaming is ability to create your own rulesets and worlds with dozens of like minded individuals. The current crop of mmo’s all cater to the lowest common denominator and really please noone in the end. By allowing players to create all aspects of the game it allows for much more diversity.