Skip to main content

Cracking Down and Putting Hyboria On Probation

Yesterday morning and afternoon was graced with a welcome break as I finally got around to playing a bit of the year-old XBox 360 game, Crackdown. Compared to Grant Theft Auto 4, Crackdown's rooftop-to-rooftop leaping gun play against deserving targets is a lot more fun. However, GTA4 has a lot more soul to it, the Shenmue-like realism that made the characters and goings-on within the game something one can relate to, and significant.

In what time I had left after Crackdown, I returned to the very well-received Age of Conan.

The first thing I did after Crackdown yesterday was get my Necromancer in Age of Conan up to level 16. I'm getting the hang of him, he's not too shabby once you get a knack for firing off damage quickly and recognizing when it's time to throw the AOE fear spell. While the Necromancer may be vulnerable, he has the tools to deal with it. I like it when a MMORPG gives me genuinely useful tools.

However, one thing a Necromancer can't do is play Age of Conan's unique melee minigame. The shifting and exploitation of enemy directional shielding is more fun than just nuking away. So I gave a Dark Templar a spin. Things on the "much harder to kill but not quite as damaging side" aren't bad, I enjoy the shifting shield minigame in Age of Conan.

I can't help but think that the Herald of Xolti is the only character I can really enjoy about Age of Conan, and so having to abandon one at level 50 may have killed the game for me. Then again, the game sabotaged itself pretty effectively well outside of domineering friend shenanigans.

By Crom, Enough is Enough

At the top of each class on the official forum there's a consolidated issues list. If the problems outlined with the classes were a few minor bug fixes, I wouldn't be so bothered. However, these lists point out major problems, such as stat points currently do nothing and higher leveled combo/spells often cost more for the same result. I don't know who Funcom has working on their game balance, but haven't they ever heard of a spreadsheet?

These issues were the last straw. It was damning enough of the game to have a "low detail" mode that made the game perform worse. I've now grokked the nuts and bolts of the RPG mechanic behind Age of Conan and found it fundamentally lacking in forethought. All my inner armchair game developer sentiment went into outright rejection mode.

This morning, I decided to put my foot down and put Age of Conan "on probation," so to speak. It's now canceled, but I'll continue to play it. If the situation improves enough by the 26th of June (when it expires) then I'll renew it. While the continuity of my Herald of Xolti being broken contributed to this decision, there clearly were deeper problems afoot.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonant Induction Really Grinds My Gears... In A Good Way

From about 2pm yesterday until 8pm today, I've been dabbling with my latest custom mod mix for Minecraft 1.6.4, which is this time very much Universal Electricity focused.
Aside from the usual GUI enhancers and Somnia, the primary contenders in this mix were:
Calclavia Core - Of course: this is the base of the Universal Electricity system.Resonant Induction - This seems to be largely focused on increasingly more advanced methods of refining ores divided across 4 ages of technological progression.  It also includes some really cool things such as assembly lines.  I'll primarily be talking about just a few blocks out of this mod today.Atomic Science - A mod dedicated to generating more of those lovely universal electricity volts via the power of splitting the atom.  Build your own nuclear reactor!  Deal with nuclear meltdowns!  You maniac!ICBM - A mod dedicated to generating more destruction using those lovely universal electricity volts (and more than a little gunpowder), it cer…

Empyrion Vrs Space Engineers: A Different Kind Of Space Race

In my quest for more compelling virtual worlds, I have been watching Empyrion: Galactic Survival a lot this bizarro weekend, mostly via the Angry Joe Show twitch stream.  What I have concluded from my observations is Empyrion is following in Space Engineers' shadow, but it is nevertheless threatening the elder game due to a greater feature set (the modding scene notwithstanding).

Empyrion is made in Unity, whereas Space Engineers is built on a custom engine.  While this does put Empyrion at a disadvantage when it comes to conceptual flexibility, its developers nevertheless have a substantial advantage when it comes to adding features due to a savings of time spent that would have gone into developing their own engine.  Examples include:
Planets.  Empyrion already has planets and space to explore between them, whereas in Space Engineers planets are in the works but still awhile away (so you just have asteroid fields to scavenge).Enemies.  Space Engineers' survival mode boasts onl…

Greasing The Grind: Adding Lasting Appeal To Virtual World Sandboxes

Game design, being about entertainment, is not as much science as art.  We're coming up with interesting things that the human mind likes to chew on that "taste" good to it.  Different people find different things, "Fun," and a game designer is tasked with coming up with fun, appealing things.  As pertains to virtual world sandboxes, I identified three of them.

Challenge Appeal.

Dwarf Fortress and Fortresscraft Evolved have the same end game appeal preservation mechanic: wealth equals threat.  The more money your Dwarf Fortress is worth, the bigger the baddies who will come for you, including a bunch of snobby useless nobles who do nothing but push dwarves around and eat.  The more energy you make in Fortresscraft Evolved, the more and bigger bugs come to shut down your base.  Rimworld does something a little different based off of which AI Storyteller you choose, but it generally adds time to your wealth accumulation when deciding what kind of threats to throw a…