Monday, February 23, 2009

Age of Conan… the little MMO that should.

AoC is probably one of the coolest games that I quit. I’m just going to come out and say it; I LOVED AoC for the first 40 levels. It was fun, different, and the graphics were clean. I love everything that Funcom created in that game. The Free for all PvP was interesting, if not frustrating. The classes were straight forward and fun and the combat system was different and engaging.

It’s odd that I would give it a beaming review and in the same paragraph say that I quit the game. The problem with AoC is easily summed up. Age of Conan was premature. The only issue with it being premature is the misconception that if we had left the game in the developer’s hands that it would have eventually matured, I think this is probably a fallacy… though we will never know.

I believe the developers at Funcom envisioned and laid out one of the most interesting games created. AoC is a sociologists dream with the ability for players to create their own factions through guild alliances and declare war on anyone. If someone in your group is a moron, you can kick them in the middle of the dungeon and kill them. The down fall of AoC always was the same people who made it great though. I am not pointing fingers at a single designer, programmer, or tester. I’m pointing all of my fingers at Funcom in general.

The game had serious issues. From memory leaks to female characters melee speed being slower than males… which I always found ironically funny. Now these issues could have been overcome if not for the customer support Funcom had. AoC was in unique position, the customers were there. They didn’t even need to go get them; they just had to hold onto them.

For the 2 ½ months of AoC I played every patch I experienced seemed to cause more issues than it fixed. Mind you I never even made it to the end game, which I heard nothing good about. Every time I petitioned a GM about an in game issue that prevented me from playing, I was told to relog. When I posted on the forums asking a question I sometimes had them deleted and received a warning. Funcom was covering up their mistakes rather than fixing them.

This is why I believe that there is not enough time in the rest of existence for the original staff of Funcom to have finished AoC to a standard that could be even mistaken for quality service. It’s sad really, because unless Funcom is willing to give me 3 months free I’m not willing to even try it again. This isn’t really a compliant, it’s more of a sympathetic cry to what could have been.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dawn of War 2 BETA

Let me start by saying I love the Warhammer 40K universe. It is one of the best, if not best, Sci-Fi worlds ever created. I also never had the chance to play Dawn of War 1, though I heard many good things about it.

On to the review!.. yes I know reviewing a Beta seems odd but you can learn a lot about how a game will be simply based on it’s beta.

The Good.

It really feels like the Table Top game. You focus on controlling small squads of 3-6 units in each squad. The squads can take cover behind object, give cover fire, and with some of the artillery you can set up sectors of fire. Very cool if you are into in Military style maneuvering game.

It feels balanced. You get 4 races to pick from and 3 heroes per race. All 4 races seem fairly balanced so far. Some are obviously designed around early game, offensive, defense, or swarm tactics but they all feel viable. The different heroes for each races makes it feel as though you can play any race in 3 different styles of game play, from support to offense.

The graphics are good, but not great. Granted it’s a RTS but I was still hoping for a little more. The units are so small in some situations that you really can’t see the fine details. Over all it works because it doesn’t take away from the game, but it doesn’t really add anything.

The Bad

Really nothing bad that THQ/Relic did. The negative would simply be from GFWL and Steam running at the same time. You often get a NAT error which crashes you to the start menu. I also got an error last night that said Steam wasn’t running and got a CTD. Steam was in fact running, so I was confused. Obvious bugs from trying to integrate two systems.

Friends lists. I have Steam friends, and GFWL friends however they are not all the same. If they could master some way to invite friends via GFWL OR Steam it would be a nice step in convience. Also when inviting friends to a public game it would be nice if we could have a place holder rather than just an Open spot some random always seem to fill.

Over all DoW2 is a good game. I’m not sure if I’m going to buy it yet, but I am considering it. I don’t want to have to buy it to find out if they fixed the bugs but if the bugs are fixed it should be a great game.

The Beginning of the End

22 Years ago I came across an Atari 2600. I don’t entirely know where it came from and frankly being only 5 years old at the time I didn’t care. It was a video game and I knew it was fun. Since then I have prided myself on attempting to be a video game renaissant, as such I like to try any game genres or innovate technology.

That has also molded me into having a very strong and distinct opinion on what makes a good video game and how developers should interact with their community, the consumer. As someone who considers their opinion to be right, as I’m sure we all do, I often find myself in a debate with those on the opposite end of the spectrum from me. I will gladly take up the good fight, not because I believe I will change their opinion. I know that if most people are so strong in their beliefs that they will engage in a debate, then they are often beyond the point of changing their mind. I argue and debate for the bystander; someone who happens to read my thoughts and views and is currently undecided on his or her views on the given topic.

Like I said I consider myself a video gamer renaissant, someone who was there from the early days. I have battled video game addiction, with drawls, and the never ending flow of horrible content that we face every quarter. I try to beta test every game I come across and in fact with a little luck I got my name on the credits of one rather popular video game.

All of this because I came across an Atari 2600 when I was younger.