I kind of fell out with MMOs for a bit. Back in December I had a million new single player games from the Steam Sale taking up my leisure time. In January I just kind of lost the urge to play games, and instead I spent most of my hobby time trying to cook the perfect chili. (FYI: No beans, lots of home-roasted chili peppers.) I think that happens often in long-term hobbies though, and I figured the urge to play games would return when it was ready.
Boy, was I ever right. I now find myself involved to some degree with three different MMOs at the same time!
Before Christmas I hit 60, the new level cap, in RIFT, and I was sort of feeling directionless. Fortunately around then I also joined the RIFT chapter of AIE, and those good folks recently started organizing retro raids of “Chocolate RIFT” content that most of us had never seen in its prime. My love of group content is no secret, but even I was surprised by how revitalizing it was to spend two hours running around killing dudes with 19 other pleasant people on Ventrilo. The bosses weren’t hard, but doing something that vaguely resembled raiding put a spring in my virtual step.
I’ve logged on RIFT regularly since then, my interest in character development renewed. I’m also looking for more large group event opportunities, as clearly that’s where my heart lies in a “main MMO”.
But as I wrote about earlier this week, not every day is right for engaging content. Sometimes you just wanna run around and kill some junk, and for those times there’s World of Warcraft. Liore (the original Liore!) is up to level 87, and currently.. defending turnips from evil rabbits, as far as I can tell. The quests in Pandaria are occasionally less than epic in scope.
I enjoyed the Jade Forest plotline, in the first expansion zone, although I think it highlighted one of the problems with standard MMO questing which is that we’re really just helpless bystanders in the story. I knew right away that creating armies of monkey dudes and fish people to fight each other would cause nothing but problems, but no one asked me! There also seem to be more cut scenes so far in Pandaria questing than in previous expansions, and again I feel like it’s just wresting control of my own character from me for the most part. (It ain’t no Wrathgate.)
My loose WoW plans are to “12433” my way to level 90 whenever I get the fancy to play. I have no idea what will happen then, but I’m not worrying about it either.
MMO producers and business people, if you’ve ever wondered about the true power of social ties when it comes to getting people to play your game, ponder this: I, Liore, renowned hater of catgirls in tiny skirts, downloaded and occasionally play TERA entirely because an awesome friend is enthusiastic about it and I want to hang out with them. The power of peers, ladies and gentlemen! The game went free-to-play a couple of days ago, so in my defense at least I’m not paying for it.
TERA, if you’re not already familiar with it, was likely based on the stolen codebase of Lineage 3, which means it’s strong in the tradition of grindy Asian MMOs. It is also ludicrously obsessed with sexualizing the female figure. My goat-lady started out in a skirt with NO BACK. Look design people, if I wanted to stare at lady ass every moment of my gaming I would put a mirror on my chair.
The mildly concerning “little girl” race aside, truth be told the male gaze in TERA’s design is so over the top that I find it hard to take seriously or offensively. I mean look, even their fountains are suggestive! It’s pretty hysterical, if eye-rolling.
The gameplay thus far (at my advanced age of level 5) is.. grindy! I have a Sorcerer (mage) who shoots things with spells. The much vaunted “action combat” is essentially circle-strafing although it certainly requires more movement than the average “hotbar” driven MMO.
But hey, as I said before the player company is great, and that is what counts in any MMO.