I spent Labor Day switching between EVE Online (I bought a frickin badger!), listening to Wilhelm, Darren, Potshot, and Adele along with others on the Shut Up. We’re Talking podcasts. I mention the podcast (2nd time in two days) because the conversations circled around a number of issues I find central to my gaming experience–in fact, these are essential questions I must answer in order to enjoy a gaming title.
- How linear is the experience/leveling system? After reading various articles around the MMO community about what I term “non-traditional” leveling systems, I realized my gaming behavior is somewhat addictive. I find a game and a character and I tend to focus exclusively on that ‘toon until either I become bored or I max out the leveling ladder. I always need to advance. Once a toon is maxed out, I may raid for a while, but I always have an alt that seems to be the new focus of my gameplay. This may be why I am still terribly uncertain about my EVE subscription. If it doesn’t stay fun–for instance, in 30 days I have to train skills for weeks to advance, I will probably be done with space. For raid toons, I can stand to play them the couple times I week I have time to sit and raid, but the alt always gets my attention once I reach this stage.
- This may seem paradoxical, considering the above statement, but I also ask what is the relative level of complexity in the game? If it is a simplistic point, click, kill, move on then it lacks entertainment value for me. Without devolving my from my point, I think this is one of the real misconceptions about World of Warcraft. Despite the seemingly stylistic and simplistic graphics, UI, etc., successful players need to utilize all the resources available to them–from crafting, enchants, spec trees, etc. With the addition of group content, the game multiplies in complexity just as more “hardcore titles” do. I must admit, the increasing complexity of EQ2 since launch, coupled with the polishing of the title, has made this a good fit for me.
- How easy can I two-box this sucker? This is a more recent question. I am a committed two-box player now, with the exception of EVE (but it’s still early in space for Gaff). WoW failed in this aspect–the speed of encounters precluded the use of two accounts for anything more than spot healing and buffs. The inability to really manuever and hold aggro as a tank class also eliminated the lifespan of any real two-box productivity. Compared with a title like Everquest II, where I could two-box through most content including many (though not all) raid situations, and my playtime’s productivity is doubled, in my opinion. This also allows me to answer the first question at twice the rate I once gamed.
- Who do I know playing this game already? I must admit, I have been a follower for much of my gaming career. A couple bright spots are the exception, for instance I found MUDs on my own in the early 90s and led a small band of EQ2/EQ1 veterans to WoW several years ago. I really don’t go into a new title looking to meet people. This is not to say I don’t enjoy the “Massive” part of the MMO equation, but I just am not out to make new friends. The guild I share in EQ2 is made up of people I played with since the 90s, along with a couple newbies, having only known them for a little over 3 years. However, an online world full of people I don’t know is perferable to one that is empty.
Ironically, as I was drafting this post, the Shut Up people mentioned their belief that the journey to the endgame is more important than the payoff–loot, masters, purples, etc. It sums up my approach, and what I’m looking for in a title today. After feeling somewhat let down by LotrO, I am a bit gunshy about purchasing anything new–hence my foray into space and EVE Online. EVE also fits one last criteria, Can I play this game and still focus on the game I really like?