Friday, April 20, 2007

Gods in the City that I've purged my thoughts on current world events, I can now move on.

A very interesting interview regarding Gods and Heroes over at MMOG Nation, and once again, a flag has gone up in my head...albeit, not a red one. This flag is sort of an off-yellow-ish with a hint of pink in it.

I'm going to highlight two questions that I found interesting. Alone, they say something for sure, but taken together, they remind me of something we've seen before.

MMOG Nation: We’ve heard elsewhere that the goal is to make leveling “slower than in other games,” while avoiding the feel of a grind. Can you give us an impression of how long you’re hoping people will take to work through the game’s initial content? What elements are being worked into the game to ensure that a slower leveling curve doesn’t feel grindy?

Travis George: We don’t have a goal at all of making leveling slower than in other games. We do have a goal of making leveling happen as almost a side result of playing a really fun game, exploring a cool world, and fulfilling really interesting quests. We think it’s much more important for players to be wrapped up in what’s happening in the world rather than staring at the level bar. With all of the amazing loot and rewards to earn—individual feats, gear, minions, minion gear, individual minion feats—there will always be something at every point along the way that players will be excited to discover.

First of all, amen. When a game keeps me focused on the adventure and fun that I'm having instead of my level progress bar, then that is a huge accomplishment. In a lot of games, that level bar is the main focus of the player and it seems that everything else they're doing is kind of a side show. Vanguard is one of those games...same with WoW (obviously). Personally, the most recent games where I'm not looking at the level bar would be CoH, LoTR and EQ2...but that's just me.

OK, second interesting question and answer...and this is the final thing that raised my odd colored flag:

MMOG Nation: You’re shipping a very stripped down Massive game at launch; no PvP, no crafting, no housing. PvE Questing and great-looking squad-based combat seems to be the focus. Do you think this puts you at a disadvantage, given the large number of Massively Multiplayer games shipping this year?

Chris Launius: We think we will have a pretty solid offering when we launch. We are shipping a different MMO than other games that have come out so far. Our game offers features that aren’t being offered in any other MMO out there—squad building and squad combat, visceral action combat, and the deep minion system. In addition to player feats we also have a separate string of special moves and abilities called God Powers that allows you to command the powers of your selected Deity to help inflict massive damage on your foes and protect you from a crushing defeat in a glorious and spectacular fashion.

There actually is a form of player housing in the game, which we call player camps. Each player gets their very own camp where your minions are stored and upgraded; it’s also where you find your personal bank and postal service. These camps should be bigger and more elaborate than most player housing available in other MMOs.

We do recognize the importance of crafting, and want to take the time to make sure we have a crafting system that fits in with our gameplay mechanics and systems. We have chosen to focus on the core game mechanics and work on adding the crafting experience post launch.

When Gods & Heroes ships, we feel that it will be a fantastic product that will definitely have a major place in the market.

So, at first release Gods and Heroes will be centered mostly around combat and crafting will come in later. OK, so we have a game here that (a) does not make you look at the level progression bar because it's a lot of fun, and (b) will be about combat at launch. Does this sound familiar to anyone. Anyone...? Bueller?...Bueller? Yup....City of Heroes.

Now, this is not a bad thing. City of Heroes is a great game but it unfortunately is all about combat and it offers nothing else for players to really do besides that. Of course, Issue 9 is coming out very soon and will introduce a crafting system to the game. I remember reading the CoH forums at the time and some players asking about crafting, and the devs said almost the exact same thing as the folks at Perpetual did. Now, 3 years after release, crafting is being introduced, which, may be a tad on the late side.

If Perpetual is going to go the route of City of Heroes, then we're going to see a very popular first. If they don't introduce other aspects of game play within the first year, then we're going to start running into problems. Sure, it may have great animations, visceral combat and an innovative minion system...but a game purely based on combat and questing will only carry you so far.

I'm sure that they'll roll out something quickly and I'm far from shrugging off this title because, hey, I love the Roman period....but damnit, I'd better be able to wear a my crafted off-yellow and pink toga too.

D out.


Bildo said...

I applaud them for focusing on the combat and minion and story more than anything else for launch. With time and funding being such issues these days, they're smart to focus on what's most important to them for their game and get it right for launch.

Instead, that is, of rushing to get other features in the game, and risk making them absolute shite. I will not argue that CoH's crafting system is coming too late, but it's very well done, even so. Unlike my current favorite game LotRO. That poor system is going to see so many changes and re-toolings in the 1st few months, that it'll likely end up as useless as WoW's is. Which is sad.

Anyway, the reason I'm really posting is to inform you that you've been tagged on my blog for one of those kooky 5-reasons chain blogs.

I'm sorry... but I had to... *runs off crying*

Anonymous said...

wait what. WoW is a grind compared to CoH????!! this game just dropped off my list forever