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MMORPG Foraging Report: Jan '08

My search went poorly. The list of games at mmorpg.com has no shortage of selection, but I can tell just by looking that most are crap. The very games I mentioned on the last Blog entry made up the bulk of the highest rated.

I ended up looking in the direction of the Korean invasion. My experience with Korean online games are that they're engineered to be cheap enough to be sold in plastic gumball machines. I'm not saying Koreans suck as making games, but rarely can one savor cyber-cafe fare.

I gave them a chance and tried 9Dragons, which had higher-than-usual production values. However, it still lacked the deep gameplay I was hoping for, unashamedly touting that damnable auto-attack combat. 9Dragons is essentially Lineage 2 set in ancient China with the players as wandering martial artists. Considering the production values, it is well worth the price: free, with micro-payments.

Cabal Online looks like it might be good. If not very deep, then it at least make it quick, and Cabal Online's gameplay videos appear to deliver one or the other - maybe both. The closed beta for the North American version begins in a few days but they're only inviting in 5000 players (most of which, I suspect, will turn out to be minors).

Cabal Online looks as awesome as a massively multiplayer Devil May Cry, but will the gameplay hold up?

Off the subject of Korean games, Starquest Online looked unusually innovative. There, you play as a single member of a Star Trek-like race, complete with being able to crew spaceships. It's an already-released, very ambitious game held back only by indy-game production values. I didn't try it, the cheap graphics suggest the gameplay is just as cheap, but perhaps that's an unjustified assumption.

In the future, Age of Conan promises innovative (and gory) combat, which would give it a barbaric advantage over the competition if they succeed. However, I could speculate for hours about future games (many of which may turn out to suck once played) so I'd best cut myself off here.

For the time being, I've reactivated my City of Heroes account - I've even upgraded to the 3 month plan. I guess Cryptic has spoiled me, at least as far as deeper gameplay in a MMORPG is concerned.

Comments

Grimwell said…
One day you are just going to admit that you like supers and it's not the industry or the other games, it's you. :)
Heh, I do indeed like the supers. It's not all setting, though, I also like how City of Heroes is balanced and built. Highly customizable chargen, genuinely powerful abilities given to the players, and so on.

I cringe just a bit in not giving EQ2 an honorable mention - it's the most advanced fantasy MMORPG in many ways (whether or not the WoW masses would agree) and the lone feather worth bragging about in SOE's MMORPG hat these days. I'd probably be playing it except I think the balance is a bit too easy and the expansions added so much virtual territory added onto it that I don't know where I should be playing half the time.

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