MMORPG Madness

It’s been awhile since I’ve created a gaming thread, mainly because it’s been awhile since I’ve played many games (that and I have the speaking capabilities of a senile old man, although eccentrics can be interesting on rainy days), but:

Everyone always points to the bigger titles in online gaming—Everquest, DAoC, Anarchy Online, etc., but I’ve found that some of the best fun I’ve had have been in the smaller games. Anarchy Online was fun, but you’d never get away with playing it on 56k, nor is it worth putting any effort into if you can’t devote half of your waking hours to it. I dislike fantasy-based games, so that throws out almost an entire slew of games.

But at the first mention of Starpeace here, I tried it. It was a rather fun little game. SimCity online, nowhere near as complex, with much more of a variety of control and building types. The mayoral features are a little annoying—having your entire residential block zoned because the mayor wants to put his own block there is something I loathe—but I guess it’s no different than the newbie-killing power-gamer that targets you at the newbie-zone exit-gates.

Shattered Galaxy, like Starpeace, involves a lot of interworked team-playing. Starpeace’s interaction is a little more on the unplanned side, you inadvertantly end up working with others, while SGalaxy’s is extremely well implemented. While I believe some people’s gripes are correct—you have to wait for someone to assist you with artillery if you’re anti-air, etc.—I found that you rarely have to wait to find help. Not only that, but if you find even a remotely decent clan with a remotely decent population base, you’re much more successful at your battle-runs, and they’re much more fun. Who cares if you lose the battle if your blood is pumping while you’re fighting for it? No other online-only game offers that kind of interworked team-based gameplay that’s as fast-paced.

I might sound a little like a fan-boy here, but I really have had much more fun playing these smaller titles than I have anything big. Neocron was a bust, SWG looks like it’s going to be a bust, DAoC imploded, E&B imploded, Sims Online is a chat-house, and even the big ones that are successful are really only for die-hard MMORPG fans. Only Diablo has anything resembling real-time gameplay—everything else is simply Progress Quest with you controlling where you go, how you get there, what you buy, and what weapons you use. I just find games where you don’t do anything to be boring.

Rant aside, does anyone have any smaller titles, or possibly big-name titles, that are much more action and team-oriented than your run-of-the-mill online game? Or even throwing aside the action, are there are other games out there like Starpeace? Not a SimCity online type thing, but in the gameplay—a non-combat game that still has engaging gameplay with a decent playerbase to keep it interesting?

you shoot people in the face in Shadowbane.

That’s not all I’m about. There’s much more to my life than reciting the line “…or I’ll shoot you in the face!” or any variation there-of. I’m really caring and sensitive, and used to play on the Fluffy Lovey Bunny mud for years. I’d play The Sims Online, but it’s not cute enough.

Watership Down had bunnies that killed each other, it’s like a massive crossover of fun and cute!

I’ve been playing a lot of Jumpgate. It’s skill based (i.e. you need to actually FLY your ship, rather than point and click), has a great squad/rp system, and has been sucking up my life for two years.

Try Shadowbane.

I don’t know if you’ve ever actually played Anarchy Online (sounds like many people here enjoy citing it as a problematic game even though they don’t actually know anything about it), but it works just fine over a dialup, and has for years. Also, at launch, it had a mission system (and still does) that lets you do group or solo missions. Solo missions take 30 minutes to an hour.

I played for the first 3 months and I can honestly say that the game was cool, but at that time it was seriously messed up. The solo missions didn’t work 99% of the time and I couldn’t enter cities.

It improved in the months following that. It can still sometimes get a bit laggy over dialup, like every other MMO in existence, but most stuff now works like the developers intended it to. Solo missions have been working for well over a year; I seem to remember doing OK with solo missions even at launch, but whatever the case, they’re now 100% reliable. These days, that’s practically the only playtime I get, so I’ll just take an even con solo mission which I can solve in about 30-45 min. You get a bunch of XP, loot, a mission token, and usually gain a level, too.

Ballerium just entered closed Beta One, Face of Mankind looks like it may be good, I havent played Purge Online yet, but it looks like they are trying. There’s quite a few more little one hit wonders running around.

I “tried” the download version of DarkSpace but it eluded me. I lost patience really quick.

Div

What do you mean by saying DAoC imploded? I don’t play it anymore, but I DID enjoy that game while I played it.

One of the problems with smaller MMORPGs is that they lose one of the M’s (massive). Because of this they are risky. They might fold because not enough people are playing (what is the minimum to keep up the servers and admins?). Also, you might not have many people to interact with, which can make the worlds empty, especially if they were designed to hold more people. Finally, if the company isn’t making much money, they might not be able to afford to add content and keep the game new and fresh.

Several games have folded or been scaled back as the result of such problems. That doesn’t make them bad games. If you can find one that will survive and you like it, that’s great. I would think the community that IS there would be stronger and less volatile in many ways (also friendlier on average). They are just risky, IMO.

I actually just picked this up for 3 bucks - still worth trying out I guess?

Team missions now work as well as well. However, you don’t automatically get a token anymore in solo missions. That was changed eons ago. Also, I read in one of the preview interviews that when Shadowlands goes live, FC is dumping the mission consoles entirely in favor of static dungeons. I believe that will be a game-wide change; i.e. it’s not just for the new Jovian realm.

I actually just picked this up for 3 bucks - still worth trying out I guess?[/quote]
Yeah, they just released Episode 2: Attack of the Conflux, a free upgrade that adds player owned stations, a new conflux galaxy, new ships, new weapons, and more. I absolutely love it. If you need any tips or anything, don’t hesitate to ask. :)

When I tried Jumpgate before, combat was extremely difficult, nigh until impossible at low levels. Did they improve that any?

I think you can actually download it for free ( hah hah sucker =) or at least you could when I did half a year ago. It seemed like it would be great once you got past level eight and could grab a decent ship and actually fight instead of doing long painful delivery missions but I just never got past the hump. I don’t think there’s that many players but I’v heard they have a really small overhead and don’t plan too pull the plug anytime soon.

Heh, $3 is worth the pretty box. You also don’t get 30 days for free, no?

Great on Episode 2 - I knew they were behind schedule on its release, but I hadn’t kept out. Brian, I may definitely take you up on your offer for help.

When I tried Jumpgate before, combat was extremely difficult, nigh until impossible at low levels. Did they improve that any?

Combat isn’t really meant to be undertaken until about level nine, when you can get the light fighter. However, they did introduce a new low-level species of conflux, the jellyfish, specifically to help newbies get a handle on combat. They also have a conflux sim where you can try your hand at combat risk-free. Also, combat is much easier with a good joystick. :)

I think you can actually download it for free

You still can.

It seemed like it would be great once you got past level eight and could grab a decent ship and actually fight instead of doing long painful delivery missions but I just never got past the hump. I don’t think there’s that many players but I’v heard they have a really small overhead and don’t plan too pull the plug anytime soon.

Again, lower level pilots are discouraged from combat, rather they’re encouraged to engage in mining and transport missions. These help the new pilot get used to the interface, interstellar travel, docking, etc etc. Around level nine you can get the first decent combat vessel, the light fighter. Also, with the release of EP2, we’ve been getting almost 200 pilots a night. With its good net code, the overhead is indeed very low.

Heh, $3 is worth the pretty box. You also don’t get 30 days for free, no?

Edit: Actually, from here:

If you have an official retail boxed version of Jumpgate, you can use the CD Key to enable a 30 day free trial. This is a 12 digit number found inside the box, usually on the CD jewel case. A CD Key may be used only once, and is non-transferable.

Great on Episode 2 - I knew they were behind schedule on its release, but I hadn’t kept out. Brian, I may definitely take you up on your offer for help.

Yeah, they just released EP2 last month, and while it still has a few bugs (which MMORPG doesn’t?), it’s a much better experience, IMHO. I’d be happy to help you out, give you some newbie pointers, etc etc. The community of the game itself is also pretty helpful. :)

I hope than covers everything.

Brian “Resident Jumpgate Whore” Rubin, signing off. ;)