I was a big player of the original Maple Story, so when I learned that Maple Story 2 was coming to our shores, I thought I would take a break in my excellent Wolfenstein playthrough to take a look at this sequel long in the making. My verdict is that it’s a fine game released at the wrong time in my life. I don’t have the countless hours to sink into a MMO like this one, even if it seems real good for the time I’ve spent with it! I would ultimately like to spend more time with Maple Story 2 because it hits all the beats of a f2p game while having new ideas.
Battle for Azeroth is a weird WoW expansion that continues the game’s spiral into conflicting design decisions; As with the previous two expansions, the content you had experienced before becomes quickly obsolete instead of being built upon and new mechanics are trusted at you whether you had time to experiment with previous systems or not. I’m not saying that I dislike the new setting and ideas they brought into BfA but at the same time they went really hard on making the previous systems that made Legion cool obsolete. I got to the end game of this expansion - something I usually don’t do - and found the content there to be fun, but ultimately too grindy and reliant on cooldown timers for my tastes.
TESO:TU is a poor MMORPG experience, while it could've worked as a single-player Elder Scrolls product, the attempt to make it catch on the MMO craze brought a bag of problems with it and its also the reason why I've played it for the strict minimum I could and probably won't play it ever again. Its core systems are confusing and poorly implemented, the game's balance is terrible and there is tedium every step of the way, while interesting stories are told in what seems like an afterthought, especially for a product in the specific genre of grinding, looting monsters and participating in multiplayer adventures.
The last time I had played World of Warcraft was when the last expansion came out. I found that the systems it added to the game (garrisons, more tough enemies in the world for you to get special resources and loot from, more story-driven quest lines) was a step in an interesting direction. With this new edition of yet another grinding session, WoW tried to keep piling up more of the same on top of a core game that was filleted down to the thinnest it can get before becoming more of a button mashing contest than a proper MMORPG.
Tree of Savior reminds me in many way of Ragnarok Online, some of the mechanics are updated from Korean MMOs of old, some of the control options are brought to today's standards - while still keeping some weirdness - but most systems feel a bit dated. Obtuse skill systems, stat systems that shouldn't be, grinding baked in my aspects of the game and some bugs impacted my experience, but overall I think this is a nice MMORPG that should satisfy anyone with a craving for these old-school experiences.
SkyForge did not grab my attention at all. It might have been a neat free MMO, but I really don't enjoy the combat system - and what else is there, really? You might be able to change jobs at-will and some of the systems might be neat but if I don't enjoy killing things, there is not much left for me to do.
TERA is another free to play MMORPG like many others. There isn't much separating it from the rest of them and it feels a bit bland and boring in many ways. I've spent some time with it and didn't completely hate my time, but I also wasn't chomping at the proverbial bits to play more of it and switched to another game when the opportunity presented itself.
When I was in high school, Ragnarok Online was one of the games I almost played religiously. All MMOs of that time were typically weird, in the pre-world of warcraft days, mostly coming from non-english speaking countries and featuring endless grinds, obtuse mechanics, sometimes harsh death penalties, a low potential for custom characters and the level of interaction you needed to have with other players was more or less random depending on the game. RO was fine for it's time, since I didn't know anything better. Seeing as it was on Steam, I decided to give it another shot. This is a situation where I grew up and the game didn't.
I'm not too sure if it's accurate to say that WoW is videogame crack, or maybe the analogy would be better made with junk food, it's cheap, filling, tastes okay, but after a while you get bored of it. I'm not saying that WoW is empty calories - and even if it were, I'm not saying that's a bad thing - and since I've spent 60 days playing it three hours+ per day I can't say that it's devoid of interest, but WoW is a treadmill that I feel broke down for me in the recent expansions. It's also a bit too dense in some ways - maybe ways that only affect me - but here, let me tell you the story of my characters.
Royal Quest makes me nostalgic for another age, when I was in high school, when MMOs were a bit different than what they are now, when microtransactions didn't really exist - but then again, at that age, I didn't have much money to pay monthly bills for MMOs. In any case, RQ makes me nostalgic for Ragnarok Online in particular, it's not a huge coincidence since it's a complete rip-off of the old game. Even the main capital looks the same, player shops littering the way to enter town and all.
WildStar was very disappointing because I felt that it improved very little over World of Warcraft-era gameplay and systems. Yes, it did add a few things, but nothing that prevented me from being either overwhelmed by content spread across huge maps, stuck with no quests left to do or confused by some design decisions and apparently simple oversights that were had over a few systems across the game.
I hadn't played FF14 when it came out originally, but trying it out after the whole remake thing was quite a good experience. I was impressed overall by some clever mechanics here and there that - I thought - would make me want to play the game past its free month. That being said, some disappointments here and there had me change my mind a few days before my trial was over. This article might be more a series of points than my usual ones because there is much to say about this game.
The Secret World is a MMORPG that does somethings differently from the usual model and while overall I feel like it's intriguing and I want to see more of what there is to see in there, some basic parts of the content are frustrating, too difficult, badly designed and seem purposeless. Avoiding these parts of the game is possible, but the overall experience remains diminished.
Defiance is weird, on one hand, it could be a Borderlands MMO easily if you changed a few things here and there and nobody would notice, on the other hand, this game based on some SyFy channel show needs to rethink it's priorities if it wants to be a little better, and also clean up some clunkiness in the interface and how some systems work. That being said, comparing it to a Borderlands MMO is high praise, since I really like Borderlands, and I really enjoyed Defiance.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world, you play an artifact hunter equipped with a computer device that relays you messages from an AI lady and various characters you might or might not care about. You go around, fighting bandits and mutants, weird ant-like aliens, dudes with shields, aliens and big raid bosses. You're outfitted with a trusty shield (with a capacity, recharge speed and recharge delay), grenades with various effects and an array of different gun types with rarities from grey to purple. Gear can also have elements attached to it, like fire or corrosion. You complete missions and Arkfalls (Like the rifts in Rift), drive around to find challenges and side-quests to gain experience and unlock new passive skills to complement the one active skill you chose at the beginning. If this sounds a bit like Borderlands, it's because it does. Maybe a bit too much? Ark hunters, really? The same stats on the shields? Bandits and ant creatures? They could have changed it up a little.
The shooting feels good. You have an array of various gun types and they all behave slightly differently. You can level gun types as you use them, giving your character more proficiency with these weapons and I guess it's tough to focus on one gun when you always pick up new ones all the time, this solves itself when you've tried most of everything. Besides bonus effects on rarer guns, there's not much of a grind in Defiance, if you pick up a neat pistol at the beginning of the game, it might last you a while. Guns have trade-offs, maybe one shotgun is stronger but less accurate and you need to reload each bullet separately, maybe this machine gun fires in 3-shot bursts, this BMG might not heal yourself as much, this grenade launcher might fire shots you need to remotely detonate... There's plenty of variety in guns, there's a healing/damaging beam gun that recharges its ammo, there's a gun that shoots headcrabs at enemies, homing rockets, snipers (with very precise scopes) explosive shotguns... And you have a bunch of elements too, my favorite one is Syphon, as it deals massive damage and heals your shields/life.
You can upgrade your weapons by attaching things to them and if they don't have slots you can always add slots by using the salvage matrix and this costs some resources, takes some time, and you won't know what slot gets added because it's random (there are four slots, stock, barrel, sight and magazine). It gets a bit boring when you want to break down items for resources because you need to click about 4 times just to destroy one item, let me check all the items I want to destroy then click 'salvage all' or something.
Grenades and skills are on cooldowns and there are a bunch of shields and grenades depending on what you want. I mostly go for the incendiary grenades and the shields with high capacity and low recharge rate (because I recharge them myself with the healing gun)
And here's my biggest annoyance with Defiance; The loadout system. Basically, you can have 5 different 'sets' of weapons, grenades, shields, vehicles and skills. This could be useful if you have multiple weapons you want to use but usually I'll stick to the same two, same thing for shields, grenades and skills, I have one set that I like and I'm not going to carry 5 different grenades for no reasons, but if you have empty slots in a loadout, it's going to be filled by new things you pick up, if you change your gear in your main loadout, it's not going to change the others, and you can't sell/breakdown to resources/upgrade anything equipped, so you need to go to each loadout and manually equip the same thing everywhere before you can do anything. This is really annoying and breaks the action a little, I wish you could just disable them and only have a primary set of gear. Heavens forbid you switch to another loadout to change your equipment and forget to switch back because you won't have any skill equipped and that's also pretty annoying.
After a little tutorial where all skills are more-or-less explained, you have to pick up between automatically reloading your gun and dealing more damage, creating a decoy, moving faster or shielding yourself with invisibility. Then when you get EGO points you can spend them to unlock or improve skills around the ones you have, this gets a bit confusing because you won't know what the skills nearby do before you read all of them, so I took the reload + bonus gun damage skill and the skills around are focused on reloading faster, getting more ammo and bonuses to explosive damage. Maybe I would've took something else if I'd knew beforehand. You can get pretty much anywhere you want, but it'll take a bit of time. The skills change the way you play your character in significant ways, my stowed gun reloads automatically over time, I have more life, I get more gear when I kill enemies with explosions, etc. Unlike other skills, this one makes me go close and personal to enemies and reload automatically to keep killing them.
Whenever you go down, you have a self-revive (on a cooldown) or you can pay some money to be resurrected someplace nearby, I would like for the enemies to show in some way if they're too tough for just my character to handle, so I wouldn't run head-on with killer aliens that I can't really do much against. You can also be revived by other players.
Most of the time, on your map, you'll see Arkfall icons, meaning that you have to take your vehicle (you get one doing the main missions and you can buy better ones over time) and boost your way over there for some random encounter with a bunch of other players against predetermined enemies. Vehicles handle well, you can boost (like in Borderlands) to get to places fast, and they level up the more you use them. Vehicles are very fragile and it's a bit weird, you can kill enemies by running them over but it takes a huge chunk of your (immediately respawnable) car's life, that's weird.
When you get to the Arkfall, there's usually a huge crystal, sometimes you have to destroy it, sometimes it's waves after waves of raiders, mutants, bugs, aliens or what not. It gets challenging and pretty insane with all players running around and shooting things, but there are no 'roles' in Defiance, everyone is a DPS, even if you wield the healing guns. After you've won you get some keys (to open chests full of rare loot), a bunch of experience and you can see how you fared in the leaderboards. Driving around, you'll see a couple of challenge types, having you kill enemies using specific weapons in a specific time period to score points, netting you more stuff if you beat a certain score, they're okay.
There's also a huge list of goals to accomplish and they unlock codex entries and give you more EGO rating, reminds me a bit of badass ranks in Borderlands 2...
My second biggest issue with Defiance is how bland 75% of the content is. You get cutscenes and dialogue for the main questlines but everything else re-uses the same two or three lines of text. I'm pretty bummed to hear 'We need to stockpile the materials' five times in a row when I'm on a fetch quest to gather five things. Or 'The hellbugs have found us!!!' on a protect mission. There are a bunch of non-story specific quests in Defiance and they have no flavor at all, you're not even sure if you already went to the spot in question to do a similar quest beforehand, while story missions bring you in different environments, the most common ones will have you drive 200m, kill five guys, loot a thing, then come back, at least if it had some specific lines of dialogue for what you were doing, it would be more bearable. Even the quest givers always say the same thing, the military dude will talk about how this quest is outside the earth republic's jurisdiction and comment on how ark hunters are ballsy and stupid when you complete them. Mix it up a little, make him tell me how this farm is important because of the wheat it produces, I don't know, don't cheap out on the content that pads most of this game.
I liked Defiance, I still like it! I might play a bunch more of it to see if there's anything resembling an endgame and try weirder, unconventional weapons. I like the one that shoots headcrabs, the damage is pretty unreliable but they run around and hit enemies.
When RIFT came out, it was an MMO like World of Warcraft; You bought a box for 60$, you paid 15$ a month to play and everything was open to you without the need to spend more money. The game was fairly grind-heavy but had a few good things going for it compared to WoW. Fast-forward three years, the game is free-to-play and the things that were good and special back in the days are afterthoughts now.
Marvel Heroes is a weird mix between archaic action RPG systems and MMORPG sensibilities that blend from mission to mission until you're funneled in a straight line to daily repetitive quests that aren't very fun and might even require you to pay money to play them.
I really love Neverwinter, I've had the most fun with it than with any other MMO in the last four years. After my /played is over fifty hours, I really want to play it some more instead of writing this, that can't be a bad thing. The game isn't perfect of course, and some of the F2P systems are quite annoying me, but it's got neat mechanics and plenty of stuff to do, so I'm going to write this and then go play it some more. I'm also trying a new format for my ideas that I will be spreading here and there in bold instead of making separate paragraphs about them. Tell me what you think!
I've heard stories about EVE Online, stories about crazy schemes and wars and how you could do anything, be anything, as long as you invested the time (and sometimes money) in it. This is all very interesting, of course, but trying the game myself was something I needed to do and I understand some of it after a weekend of playing it, but it's not for me, it's quite boring, to be frank, full of seemingly useless systems and confusing progression. Is EVE an MMO? Probably, but not a World of Warcraft style MMO. I'd rather play one of these, they have less freedom in them, but everything you might be able to do is easily understood.
I'm not going to be too hard on Maple Story, its roots date from 2006 or something that old and the game truly evolved through the years. Everything about it got better over time, from how classes started out - at first you had to roll randomly your stats and then fight for 10 levels with a really weak and boring character, while now you just need your core stats and you can skip the tutorial - to the distribution of quests by levels, to the 'balance' of skills to the amount of bugs and random stuff broken here and there. It's not really a good game even tho the concept of MMO platformer is pretty unique but I've spent way much time that I would've with this game during many years.
Guild Wars 2 is not quite an MMO, there is no monthly fee and you don't exactly go around questing for people with exclamation marks over their heads, but it is still a fully-featured, deep and complex online experience where you can explore an insteresting world and feel like there's always something else to do while progressing with crafting, building your character and finding loot.