Why I'm not playing DAOC anymore

I’ve been thinking about why DAOC seems to be so fun/not fun simultaneously. My conclusion is that, basically, it’s a chat client hooked to an extremely simple game. I don’t like chatting with random people (even though grouping can be fun), so the game has to carry the entire load of entertainment.

The problem is that the game itself just isn’t that interesting. For each class, there’s a few ways to build the character by varying the specializations, but that’s it. There’s little or no strategic/tactical possibilites in combat; you’re defined entirely by the character you built. Interactions between various character templates in groups is a bit more fun, but it’s fundamentally the same problem. The different classes don’t vary all that much either, in terms of gameplay possibilites.

Now the reason this isn’t instantly obvious is that they hide it by extremely lengthening the amount of time it takes to try out character templates. It took me, Mr. Played Some MUDs In College, something like 100 hours to get to level 20. Sure, I could have leveled faster if I hadn’t fooled around on quests so much, but that’s still a lot of hours. I feel pretty confident in saying I’ve figured out everything there is to know about Eldritches by level 12, and that took, what, 30 hours? Yes, you can change your character design at levels 20 and 40, but that’s just a stopgap.

The game’s odd pathology for refusing to give you information just exacerbates this. Sure, its not as bad as the rest of them, but good luck figuring out how many power points you have unless you write down the amount you gain each level, or figuring out the function for mana regen rate (beyond that it’s some form of exponential), or figuring out what the real effect of some of the more unexplained RVR powers are. Want to figure out if serenity 2 is better than taking another skill? Hope you have a couple hundred hours free!

RVR is pretty good, but to play it effectively you have to drop god knows how many hours into building a character. The battles are chaotic nonsense - good luck figuring out what opposing character classes are without memorizing every possible loadout of a given race. If you die, you have something like a 5 minute downtime before the game will let you back into the thick of things, too.

I enjoyed it for a while, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back. There’s no “there” there. I finally understand why some people play them so much, though: if you like IRC, it’s like IRC with a timewasting game attached, which could be big fun.

Edit: Oh, I forgot to mention: I can’t believe how seriously I considered paying $20 for this directx overlay utility that sniffs packets and draws a map of your surrounding area with mobs, players, etc. The information anarchy is that bad.

Isn’t this the way with all MMOG’s ? I can’t see any future for these types of games except for the obsessive compulsive type of person.

That’s what turned my wife and I off of DAOC. We just got bored of the same old thing, over and over and over. They do it better than EQ, but it’s not really different from EQ, just better.

We actually decided to try UO again… not sure on the conclusion here… I can be anything I want, but it sure does take a LOT of time to get any good at anything. Or macroing… bleah.

-wzrd

Not that this is any sense related to DAOC, but I always thought Ultima Online was the closest game to getting it right. I liked the open non-level sort of thing where you don’t just get experience points from cracking open an imp’s skull, but rather you get better at swinging your skull-splitter of choice at the time you’re doing it. It was just oddly more fulfilling to grow gradually than at once when you hit 35,345,983 exp. points.

Then, sadly, or not depending, I enjoyed those craft skills quite a bit. I thought it a nice touch that whenever your favorite haunt of choice was a bit crowded you could just run out into the woods and chop trees or kill animals to make the product of your choice. Or even hop onto your little boat, sail into the ocean, and do some deep-sea diving and talk with your tillerman (Now reaching Crazytown).

Sure it had all your other bumps like the other places: the big places to mine, chop wood, kill things were always busy, but it never seemed SO bad that you couldn’t find some spot to comfortably do your business, and this was on one of the older, more populated servers as well. There were the jerk-off other players, but what person that hasn’t been on the Internet for over five minutes doesn’t expect other people to be gigantic fruitloops? If you played the game like you were wandering around in a bad part of New York (Don’t carry too many valuables, watch out for people standing too close to you at the bank, and basically don’t trust ANYBODY you don’t know) then you’ll at least minimize how much crap you go through. Though personally I thought it was part of the fun since, you know, it’s a GAME and I didn’t take it to be my LIFE and felt like somebody was personally out to get me just because they killed me.

Then there’s the big one, it takes forever to raise your skills (well-used to until the whole Power Hour thing). Honestly I still don’t know why people STILL complain about that in EVERY new online RPG that comes out. What do you expect? Do you think the people that make these games want you to get to the highest skill amount/levels in a week so you can tool around for a little bit, grow bored, and then quit before you’re even done with your free month? Oh yeah, they’re in it to make a little money from their game, not to always bring you the best piece of “interactive artwork”.

On a sidenote to my sidenote: Another thing I never understood people complaining about is the monthly fees. People get so self-righteous over spending ten to fifteen dollars a month for a game. It’s a game! Who cares if somebody likes a game that wants a little something per month? What do you care? WHY should we care if YOU don’t like it and feel like you’re too damn smart for those sneaky game developers that are obviously just trying to rip you off? The whole videogame market is a form of ENTERTAINMENT. It’s like thinking you’re genetically superior to people who pay for HBO or a magazine subscription (“I mean, D’UH! You can go to a library and read those for FREE!”)

Blah blah blah, I’m starting to stray from my point anyways, sorry. I guess I’ll just end it with the fact that I get all rosy on UO simply because it’s the closest realization to what I’ve wanted from an RPG for a long time, an open-ended WORLD I could just explore in, kill things, make things, and maybe build a house and own a shop. Which, I realize, isn’t going to make for a very profitable game when most people would rather just have a tightly scripted plot with some choices, and then a whole lot of killing things in between (and don’t get me wrong, I love that too, I’m an RPG guy through and through).

Before you offer lovely suggestions, yes I’ve got Ultima 7 (Love those Exult people!), yes I have Daggerfall (and I loved the aspect of just exploring a huge world where I can do as I wish at anytime to get past everything being so repetitive and the game being supremely buggy), yes I have Morrowind, and I do plan on getting Europa 1400 someday so I can have some of that hot shop-owning RPG action!

I do hope the nice guy that made Ancient Domains of Mystery does a good job on his sequel of sorts, JADE. It actually sounds like it has absolutely EVERYTHING I could ever want. Too bad It’ll be ten years from now by the time I see anything playable, if anything at all. The fact that I’m excited over some future roguelike should speak volumes about how deeply troubled I am.

Er, uh, sorry. I shouldn’t have rambled like a complete loon. I pray for death, swift and merciful death.

Yup. And I’m enough of one to know to give those games a wide berth. I’ll I needed were a couple experiences to learn that:

  • Was with a group of guys who wanted to go to a movie. We had agreed to meet the last guy at his house before hitting the theater. We get there and the guy is living in his parents’ attic, has no job, and is playing Everquest in his underwear in the late afternoon. Had been for weeks. And he decides to skip the movie after we get there because he’s too into the game. Mental help needed.

  • Talked with a comic book artist once; asked him what another comic book artist, a friend of his, had been doing lately as I hadn’t seen his work around. The artist told me that the guy had lost his publishing deal for a creater-owned, successful comic book he was making, 'cause he’d gotten addicted to Everquest and lost interest in drawing.

Yikes.

Then there’s the big one, it takes forever to raise your skills (well-used to until the whole Power Hour thing). Honestly I still don’t know why people STILL complain about that in EVERY new online RPG that comes out. What do you expect? Do you think the people that make these games want you to get to the highest skill amount/levels in a week so you can tool around for a little bit, grow bored, and then quit before you’re even done with your free month? Oh yeah, they’re in it to make a little money from their game, not to always bring you the best piece of “interactive artwork”.

Like, hypothetically, they could put some fuckin’ gameplay in there if they’re so worried about keeping customers. MMORPGs aren’t to get any bigger in their current form.

My complaint isn’t that it takes so long to raise your skills. It’s that the long periods it takes to improve your character disguise the fundamental pointlessness of the endeavor; the actual game itself stinks, but they kind of hide it by making it take so long. You get fooled into thinking there’s something under the hood.

But what’s the point of any game? What’s the point of Counter-Strike? NWN? Madden 2002? Playing Hearts online?

With the MMORPGs you set the goals rather than the game. Maybe your goal is to reach level 50. Maybe it’s to play a necromancer until you have all the basic spells. Maybe your goal is to explore each zone.

Maybe it’s to score with the elf chick with the staff.

Oops, wrong online RPG.

Hitting level 50 gives a bit of feeling of accomplishment, but you’ve, what, played 1000 hours of boring and tedious gameplay to get there? There’s other stuff that’s fun, like exploring zones, or tormenting people, but those get old real quick. The fallback, the combat gameplay itself, just isn’t interesting enough to be fun.

Tradeskills are the equivalent of whittling, too.

"But what’s the point of any game? What’s the point of Counter-Strike? NWN? Madden 2002? Playing Hearts online? "

Ummm having fun playing the game? Thats the point with a game isn’t it? I think thats what some people think(I’m one of them) eventually starts to seperate most games from a MM game like EQ. It just seems for allot they get so fixated on acheving something like getting that badass uber sword from the demi-god. They will camp a spot for 5, 10, 15 even 20 hours to do it. Or camp a spot to kill the same mobs over and over for hours on end in the most efficient way possible to level up. In a game like CS its just having fun actually playing it, the same with Madden. Its the fun of the actual game, not playing for god knows how many hundreds to thousands of hours to get to lvl XX, and aquire the most uber loot around. Now you can say you can enjoy the game without doing that, but then the boring simplicity of it comes through.

Its the neverending “carrot on the stick” method of design. There’s always something better if you just get that next level, or maybe stay to kill just one more round of mobs…

Carrot on a stick is fine; I just want the process of grabbing for the carrot to be fun. Might and Magic is a “carrot/stick” game, but the gameplay was actually fun.

Hitting level 50 gives a bit of feeling of accomplishment, but you’ve, what, played 1000 hours of boring and tedious gameplay to get there? There’s other stuff that’s fun, like exploring zones, or tormenting people, but those get old real quick. The fallback, the combat gameplay itself, just isn’t interesting enough to be fun.

Tradeskills are the equivalent of whittling, too.[/quote]

Ok, but what’s the point of a single player game? My contention is that all games are pointless, unless you consider finishing a game the point. In most ways, getting to level 50 in DAoC is no more pointless than finishing the single player game of NWN.

When you sit down to watch TV, what’s the point? We don’t usually ask ourselves that because we have a ready answer – to be entertained. That’s really the only valid point to playing most games, historical wargames and flight sims excepted in some ways.

Of course games are pointless - we play them to have fun.

But DAOC isn’t fun, for me at least, and in general it’s not fun at all if you don’t like chatting. I don’t think tradeskills are fun. I don’t think the chatting part is fun. The miscellaneous stuff (exploring, whatever) is fun, but there isn’t much of it to do. That leaves the combat, which while fun for a while, gets boring real quick.

It’s not like leveling treadmill combat has to be that boring; Diablo 2, although it suffers a tad bit from the same problem, is pretty fun.

Speaking of, I wish they’d hurry the fuck up with the 1.10 patch.

I don’t agree. MMORPG’s require massive investments of time to achieve the goals of the game. Even spending 60-100 hours completing Baldurs Gate II cannot be compared to games like Everquest or DAOC.

As Ted pointed out above MMORPG’s seem to have a greater power over a person and the capacity to ruin ones lifestyle.

I am a complete and utter combat flight simulation nut and I probably spend more than 6-10 hours a week flying IL2 Sturmovik. And yet I still spend time with my wife, am successful at my job, and can engage in intelligent conversation with friends socially.

There is also the fact that the dollar clock is ticking when you play a MMORPG. This encourages you to spend even greater amounts of time playing it. And to what end ? Reaching that mystical Level 100 or that rare item that the publisher will be continually dangling in front of you but never deliver ?

Most games are finite. You simply can’t compare the average computer game to a MMORPG which seems to repeat itself ad infinitum.

I’d argue that playing a good flight sim like IL2 or a great wargame like Combat Mission is a far better investment of time than jumping on the MMORPG treadmill lining EA shareholders pockets with money.

Check out this “all time ten best Diablo bugs”. Pretty funny.

I’m with you, Jason. As we mentioned in that other thread, take away the “massively multiplayer” part and you’d have some of the lamest solo RPGs ever. The novelty of playing online was enough to make these games interesting for a while, but I’d like to see something more under the hood now, to borrow your analogy.

I find it almost painful to play anything that requires a monthly fee. I’m just a skinflint, I guess.

Jason’s just mad cause DAoC’s gameplay doesnt translate well into endless spread sheets to study and learn.

I hate acronyms. I have no idea wtf this guy is saying due to all the game related acronyms he’s throwing around. I’d love to laugh at it if I could decipher what is so funny.

Personally, I always felt that DAOC had a lot less to offer than EQ, since the character classes were so limited, and because a lot of them were so similar across different realms. In EverQuest, some character classes (mostly specialists like warriors and rogues) are boring, but some of the hybrid classes and spell casters have lots of spells and some interesting abilities. In a lot of ways, DAOC just seemed like a stripped-down EQ for me. I think DAOC handled downtime a bit better, and the team-based PVP is OK if you’re level 50 or very close to it (because if you try to go into PVP in your 30’s or so, you’ll get wiped off the face of the earth by a group of 50’s in an eyeblink) but I wouldn’t say that it’s a better game overall. I think it has a lot less to offer, and it’s more restrictive–the 3 realms thing sounds interesting in theory, but in practice, if you want to play with your friends, you have to play on the same server and play the same realm, and if you get tired of your current character and want to try a different realm, you have to go onto another server and start off cold from level 1…while all your friends are still back on your old server.

I heard they recently opened a free-travel server in DAOC where players from all 3 realms can talk and adventure together (basically like EQ)? Be interested to hear how that’s working out, if anyone’s tried it.