Planet of the fools

Massively Time Consuming

Wednesday, December 1, 2004 | 02:42 PM | by
I've been noticing a trend in many of the emails I've been receiving lately, most likely due to the recent release of two major MMORPG's. The similar vein of these letters is along the lines of "What do you think of 'insert MMORPG here'", or "How come you haven't reviewed or talked about 'game X'", or my personal favorite, "Game X is the best game ever. How come you haven't done a comic about it?". Hopefully I can stem the flow of these emails in one fell swoop with today's newspost.

Everquest 2: I was in the beta for Everquest 2. It sucked. I absolutely fucking hated the shit out of that game, and I removed it's essence from my hard drive as fast as I could. It had some interesting ideas, but anything I found acceptable about the game was far, far outweighed by the stuff that annoyed the hell out of me.

The game was visually ugly. In their attempt at acheiving "next generation, CGI quality graphics", they gave everything that "plastic look", with horrible textures, and then wrapped it all around some of the clunkiest, most unnatural animations I've seen. And then they threw in a horrible polygon draw system for good measure.

The quest system may be wonderful, there may be top notch trade skills, but I'm not going to spend hundreds of hours staring at an ugly piece of junk just to experience it.

I loved Everquest, despite its flaws and addictive qualities. Everquest 2 is not the next best thing.

Q: Have you played it?
A: Yes, I was in the beta test

Q: Do you play it, and what's your character name?
A: I do not play EQ2, and I will never play EQ2

Q: How come you don't do [more] comics about it?
A: Because I think the game sucks, and not in a funny "hey, it's so bad let's make jokes about it" way.

City of Heroes: I was in the beta test for City of Heroes, and as many of you will remember, I fell in love with it instantly. I played it at release for a short while, and even maxed out two Super Groups worth of CAD readers. After a while, work (putting together Volume One) got the better of my free time, and I stopped playing. I've recently taken up playing again, and love the game every bit as much as I remembered.

I won't go into detail about why I thought the game was spiffy, but if you want to know, I refer you to the rant I wrote up when the game first came out.

I can admit that my interest in the game wavers at times, mainly due to the fact that the gameplay doesn't change very much from level one to fifty. It's all pretty much combat. There are no items to strive/labor/trade for, and there are no tradeskills to timesink with. There is virtually no player economy. As of right now, when a player hits L50, all they do is make a new character and start over. There isn't much for high level characters to do. No "dragon raids" or uber quests for uber items.

I do have hopes for City of Villains, however. It's a really cool concept, and I think the ability to PvP will add a new dynamic to CoH and breath a bit more replayability into the game.

Q: Have you played it?
A: Yes, I played in the beta, and recently got back into it.

Q: Do you play it, and what's your character name?
A: I do play an empathy/radiation defender on the Freedom server. I don't give out this character's name so that I can maintain some privacy while playing.

Q: How come you don't do [more] comics about it?
A: I do a City of Heroes comic strip for NCSoft every month, in the back of the City of Heroes comic book. The comic book is free to subscribers of CoH, or you could probably order it via your local comic shop.

World of Warcraft: This is the one I get asked about the most, mainly from newer readers who don't remember all the raving I did about it while I was in the beta.

World of Warcraft is my favorite of the newer MMORPG's. It has absolutely gorgeous stylized graphics and textures, and an excellent gameplay backbone. The trade skills are rich and diverse, and have actual uses in the player community.

There are things to strive for at higher levels (mounts, high level items), the quests are mostly interesting and the rewards for quests actually make the time worthwhile. If I had to name one MMORPG the most well-rounded, I would say it was World of Warcraft. I loved every minute of the beta.

However, I do not play World of Warcraft. I have absolutely no interest in starting a game like that right after release. Everyone is starting out at the same level, everyone is crowded into the same areas, fighting for the same spawns. Everyone is selling the same junk lowbie loot, and 90% of the people don't know what they're doing yet. And on top of that (I've said it before, and I'll say it again), a very large portion, perhaps even the majority of the MMORPG "community" are raving, ignorant fuck-sponges.

Disagree all you like, but I have years and years, and countless hours of MMORPG experience, I'm in nearly every beta test, and unless I'm playing with friends or CAD readers (I've noticed that 99% of the CAD community are very cool people to game with, at least when I'm around), I run into more absolute jerks per square foot than any other games except maybe Counter-Strike.

So I opt to wait a few months before getting involved with WoW. I'll let the level ranges spread out a bit, let the player economy get up and moving, let some of the d00ds get bored and move into something else, etc, before I jump into Azeroth. Though it's definitely something I'd like to do at some point.

Q: Have you played it?
A: Yep, I beta tested it for about four months

Q: Do you play it, and what's your character name?
A: I own it, if that counts. The box is sitting on my desk. I won't be installing it and setting up an account for some time, however.

Q: How come you don't do [more] comics about it?
A: I touched on the few issues I had wanted to comment on in earlier comics, and until I find something that is truly worth making a WoW comic about, I'm in no particular rush.

The Matrix Online: I'm not even sure if this game is out yet. It didn't just fall off the radar for me, it was thrown off with extreme prejudice, and then buried half-alive in a box full of scorpions. It sucked, let's put it that way. I'd rather play Everquest 2, ok?

Q: Have you played it?
A: They invited me to beta test, apparently as some sort of study in human torture endurance

Q: Do you play it, and what's your character name?
A: Not if you were hanging me from the Brooklyn bridge by my genitals.

Q: How come you don't do [more] comics about it?
A: I did one, and the game just isn't worth my time to do another one.

There are other, smaller MMORPG's, just as Ryzom and whatnot. None of them really captured my interest for more than twenty minutes or so.

Missed a couple

Wednesday, December 1, 2004 | 05:16 PM | by
I've been informed that I have missed a couple of MMORPG's, and they happen to be ones I can express an opinion about.

Star Wars Galaxies: I was in the beta for SWG thanks to the generosity of a fan with an extra account. I very much enjoyed the game, aside from the fact that the beta test was very laggy. I experienced frequent disconnects, and poor latency conditions, which as you might imagine, made really sitting down and getting involved with the game rather difficult. It's hard to immerse yourself when you're being booted every ten minutes.

The beta experience turned me off of the game's launch initially, but earlier this year I did go pick it up and start playing, giving the game a second chance since it had had some time to mature. I did enjoy it for a short while, but eventually my interest waned.

I was (and still am) impressed with the amount of roleplay potential they give you with the game, via all of the many emotes, and things as simple as being able to sit in chairs, change clothing styles, own houses, decorate said houses, etc. When I was playing SWG, I was roleplaying (on the unofficial RP server) and I was in-character 80% of the time. Unfortunately, all of the roleplay potential in the world is worth squat when there is no one to roleplay with, and I found the game, in most instances, fairly devoid of fellow player occupancy.

I haven't and probably never will play Jump to Lightspeed, but from what I've heard, it's a step in the right direction, but ultimately more monotany.

Q: Have you played it?
A: Yes, played it quite a bit on multiple occasions.

Q: Do you play it, and what's your character name?
A: Nah, there are bigger and better things out. Even the Star Wars name isn't enough to hold me to this one.

Q: How come you don't do [more] comics about it?
A: I did a series of comics about it when the game was new and hot. It's a bit stale now. There is plenty of other material to use.

Guild Wars: I first experienced Guild Wars during the E3 for Everyone event early this year, the short weekend trial period they gave us to play a very early build of the game. I did a couple of comics on the game, and was approached by the creators of the game who very much enjoyed my comments and comics on GW. They offered me a slot in the Alpha test early summer, which I jumped on.

During the time that I played in the Alpha test, the game was still very much under construction, and while there was some gameplay to be had, most of when we were doing was actual testing, as they added new content to the game. Most (90%) of people clamor over beta tests because they think it's a chance to try out a game before everyone else. They don't even bother actually assisting with the beta testing process. With an alpha test, you don't have any other choice than to test, retest, bug report, bug duplicate, etc, because the gameplay in the alpha stage is fragile at best. That's why the general public aren't usually allowed into Alpha tests.

I found Guild Wars to be a nice change of pace from the normal MMORPG. They had really cool objective based missions, some fun solo quests, and really pretty, glowy graphics. And I'm absolutely positive that the absence of a monthly fee is going to be a draw for a lot of people.

Q: Have you played it?
A: Not since the early Alpha builds. I'm sure the game has advanced a whole lot since I played, enough so that I think it's safe to say that I have no actually played Guild Wars.

Q: Do you play it, and what's your character name?
A: The game isn't even scheduled for release until next year, but I'm sure I'll give it a play at some point after release.

Q: How come you don't do [more] comics about it?
A: It probably won't happen until the game is out in stores, and even then only if inspiration strikes.

Win a free, signed T-Shirt

Thursday, December 2, 2004 | 12:40 AM | by
Contest is over, see below. Thanks for entering everyone!

So remember that Ngage game I was testing, Pocket Kingdom? Well, I have come into possession of a whole box full of t-shirts courtesy of Sega. They are black, Hanes 100% cotton tees, with "I <3 PK" in big letters on the front, and "Own" on the sleeve, as shown in the picture below.

I certainly don't need twenty of these shirts. I have enough t-shirts as is from my designs alone. So I figured I'd sign them and give them away to you guys.

Here's what you have to do:

I have written down in front of me a race and class combination from World of Warcraft. The first twenty people to email me with the correct race/class combo in the subject line will receive a free signed "I <3 PK" shirt.

Send the email here. Any contest entries sent to my personal email address will be disqualified.

Write the race/class combination in the subject line, and leave the body of the message blank. The only valid entries will be the ones with your contest submission in the subject line, so I can scroll down the list and choose the winners easily.

Remember, the first 20 correct submissions win the shirt. You can enter more than once if you wish, but not more than once per email. I will reply to the winning emails asking for size preference and shipping address.

The t-shirts come in Medium, Large and X Large. Size preferences will be given on a first come, first served basis.

The contest is over!

Thursday, December 2, 2004 | 11:50 AM | by
Holy crap that was fast. I'm glad I used an alternate email address, because I woke up to over 2000 contest entries this morning. 2000 emails in the short 6 hours while I was sleeping. Sheesh. I was surprised how many people actually sat down and submitted every one of the 40 race/class combinations.

I have chosen the first twenty emails to correctly guess the answer, and will be responding to them this afternoon to inform the winners and get size preferences and shipping addresses. Remember, size preferences are first come first served, no guarantees. So respond to the email as soon as possible.

This contest thing was interesting, and I think people had fun with it, so I'm going to start running some more. I'll give away some CAD books, tee-shirts, and even some original artwork. So keep an eye on the news, 'cause you never know when I'll give away free stuff.

The correct race/class combination, by the way, was Dwarf Priest.