Tag star wars the old republic

What It All Comes Down To Is That Everything’s Gonna Be Fine Fine Fine

Lalafell

La-la-la-lalafell! Hugs!

I think I’m on a roll on this whole positive outlook-thing. Despite my last post about MMO companies and their relationship to betas (it was not only directed at Square Enix), the MMO genre is still a source of happiness and pleasure. I’m doing great in Star Wars Galaxies, I’m giving Final Fantasy XIV a try and I recently resubbed to Lord of the Rings Online to be ready when the F2P version goes live in a matter of weeks.

It became a bit more obvious to me today, when I read Rankvile’s blog entry about Final Fantasy XIV. Don’t get me wrong, he’s got a lot of things right. The UI is horrible, the menus convoluted, the patcher a nightmare, the quest system non-intuitive at best. I’ll repeat what Pete said about it – Final Fantasy XIV won’t be for everyone. But when Rankvile writes that it’s an “advancement of sorts for it’s own predecessor, Final Fantasy XI” (compared to an advancement of the MMO genre in general), I feel happy. Because that’s exactly what I want from it. Final Fantasy XI fascinated me, but I burned out on forced grouping. I mostly solo in MMOs, and would love a FF-MMO where I didn’t have to group up only because I want to level.

That’s not to say that I’m sure I will play Final Fantasy XIV for a very long time after launch, the game does have its issues. But I am not cancelling my preorder yet.

Ewok Love Familar

Seriously, I want one on my ship in SW:TOR. They are cuddly!

The second time it struck me today was when I read Heartless’ post about the latest Star Wars: The Old Republic-video released by Bioware. Heartless (man, he’s grumpy these days) thinks the combat looks terrible in TOR, with a traditional “trash pull”-mechanic. It has looked that way for a long time, there doesn’t seem to be anything truly innovative about combat in TOR. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much innovation in the game at all. The “epic storyline” and the fully voiced cast might be cool, but in general it’s looking to be a classic MMO. Levels, trash pulls, dungeons, etc. And you know what? You probably guessed it – that’s exactly what I want from it.

I want to play a MMO set in one of the coolest time periods of the Star Wars mythology. I don’t care about innovative combat mechanics or the storyline. I just want to play a MMO where I can team up with my friends and go explore the world of the Old Republic. I don’t even care about the fact that TOR’s space missions are on rails anymore. That minor disappointment eroded as soon as I remembered that I have the space-system I need in SWG anyway.

It’ll be alright. Because I got one hand in my pocket, and the other one is swinging a lightsaber. And I look good doing it.

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Honestly – about that Star Wars MMO…

My old smuggler with her speeder.

My old smuggler with her speeder.

No, not Star Wars: The Old Republic. Too many question marks up in the air about that game and I’m not ready to herald it as the second coming of MMOs or the “World of Warcraft-killer” that some people will happily call it long before we even have a closed beta to poke around in. I’m talking about that other Star Wars MMO, the one that people seem to love to hate.

Yes, Star Wars: Galaxies. I’m going there. I might live to regret it.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but this post was ultimately spawned by Dub’s comment on Werit’s post about Death Troopers (be sure to check out the trailer, it’s awesome). Dub states that he looks “forward to SWG finally dieing [sic] out once ToR releases”. I’ve heard it said before, the hate against SW:G never seems to die out – the pure hatred that some people feel towards SOE’s controversial NGE-initiative is as alive and kicking today as it was when it rolled out in 2005.

But let’s be honest here. Is Star Wars: Galaxies such a bad game? This month the NGE happened four years ago, the game has had all that time to improve, there’s been a ton of updates and despite the server-merger there will still be a ton of servers to play on. Obviously the game is still alive, be that from subscriptions or Station Access.

I’ve played the game twice, never going past trial – not so much because I didn’t like it as I had tons of other games to play. I never tried it before the NGE, so I don’t have that to base my experience on. To me, SW:G felt like a solid MMO with lots of mission and sandbox options, with advanced player owned housing and cities and with a really good Star Wars-feel to it.

Isn’t it time to forget and forgive, perhaps take a look at it with a fresh pair of eyes? My current trial is running out, but I’m considering turning it into a full account and give it a proper go. If I can find the time between EVE, Fallen Earth, Ryzom and Dragon Age…

(I realise that this post might get no comments at all, or spawn a whole lot of flames. Please, keep it civil and don’t drag up old grudges. Try to stay as nice as possible.)

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And then there was E3

I have this love/hate-relationship with E3. First of all, I’ve never been to the expo myself – as a European game journalist you’re at the mercy of whatever budget the publication you work for has. This year we decided to send three people, which included a camera man, and since I was number four on the list I got to stay home and try to cover it from here. Only because you’re not on location you don’t get to slack, so we’ve been working a lot to give our Swedish readers the best E3-coverage we could. And, I must say, we certainly delivered (link in Swedish, of course).

ffxiv

The really big MMO-announcements were lacking from E3 this year, but that’s probably because the major movers have their own events later this year. Who knows if SOE got something big to show at Fan Faire (hopefully Tipa’s “Free Realms-based” EQ3 or something completely different) and Blizzard probably saves the next expansion for World of Warcraft until Blizzcon. Instead, we did get Heroes of Telara, which looks pretty neat. And, of course, Final Fantasy XIV. OK, so that was a pretty major announcement. Shut it, E3 always makes my brain melt a bit. The whole concept of a new FF-MMO, playing on the PS3, sounds freaking awesome to me, so I guess I will have to get back to that in a later post.

Bioware did give us a incredible cinematic trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, and even though a cinematic trailer for any game is just that – cinematic – it’s still the best Star Wars-related film produced since, well, 1983. I am almost looking forward to the next trailer as much as the actual game. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure I’m looking forward to the game that much, at least not as a MMO. Currently it seems like they could just have done KOTOR3 instead of what they are doing now. If you want to tell a story that bad, go single player instead.

I also know that my RSS-reader is filled with MMO-related posts right now that I haven’t had time to read over the last couple of days (394 posts and counting). I guess I got myself to blame, since I have a tendency to add any MMO-blog I come across to it. So I’m going to get cracking on reading those between Aion beta game sessions. I’ll get back to Aion as well, the beta event they got going right now will only last through the weekend. But first impressions? I love, love the art. The world and the design is what currently make it compelling, since up until now it’s a pretty standard MMO. We’ll see how it develops, hopefully we’ll get to try some nice PvP in the near future.

One thing is for sure – it was really hard to jump from Aion to Vanguard. I’m still enjoying Vanguard, finished the Isle of Dawn-questline with a nice group yesterday, but when it comes to graphics and character design it is certainly lacking. It’s a problem most of SOE’s games suffer from, perhaps with the exception of Star Wars Galaxies where I think the characters do a pretty nice job. Vanguard still got that whole “enormous epic world”-thing going for it and I’ve decided to trek to Tanvu instead of just taking the riftway from Lotus Hold. If the world is there, and you want to experience it, teleporting just doesn’t cut it. I’ll see if I have time for it this week when the Aion server closes.

And I want to level my high elf in Sacred 2 on the 360, finish inFamous, try out Valkyria Chronicles, finish Assassin’s Creed (since AC2 looks great)…and get all the writing I have to do done. It’s official, my life completely revolves around games. This weekend I found a Sega Master System in my wardrobe I forgot I even had. I would sigh at myself if it wasn’t for the fact that I love it. With the personal problems I mentioned a few posts ago slowly getting better, let’s see what we can do with this gaming life of mine. Toodles for now, though!

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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