Let me begin by saying that my experience with Guild Wars 2 is limited to the beta weekend that took place between April 27, 2012 and April 29, 2012. Since it was a beta weekend, and the game has no official release date, I was obviously only able to experience a work in progress. The final game may be significantly different than the game I saw. The only class, or “profession” as the game refers to it, that I played was the Necromancer and I only reached level 15 before the beta weekend finished. My background in massive multiplayer online (MMO) games comes from playing World of Warcraft since July 2008. I never played the original Guild Wars game. With that in mind, let me tell you what I thought.
World of Warcraft wasn’t the first MMO, nor is it the longest running, but it’s certainly the most popular, boasting an impressive 11 million subscribers. Thus it should come as no surprise that when a new MMO comes on to the market it has to compete with Blizzard’s behemoth. Developers of these MMOs know this, and so their best strategy is to try and get a cut of the action. Their plan involves taking the basics of World of Warcraft and dressing it up with some new gimmick. This is a fallacy. Nobody wants more WoW. If I want to play WoW then I’m going to log into WoW and play WoW. I’m not going to buy a whole new game and learn its quirks and try to integrate myself with its community only to find out that I’m playing a re-skin of WoW. On the other hand, The Exiled Realm of Arborea, or TERA for short, claims to break the mold that Blizzard made popular. Is it successful?
Action real-time strategy (ARTS) games are a dime a dozen these days. It’s quite easy—and valid—to say that all ARTS games are the same. Pick one of a gazillion heroes to play as. Escort your bots along lanes toward the enemy base. Push through the enemy bots and destroy their turrets. March into their base and destroy their core. If you’ve played one ARTS game, then you’ve pretty much played them all.
When you think of an ARTS game, what do you think of? I think of boring grind fests and sitting in one of the bot lanes for the entirety of the game. I think of an ongoing balancing nightmare by the developer in an attempt to add new content to appease the voracious appetite of the player base. I do not think of a game that is easy to pick up and play, nor a game that is fun to watch.
And then there’s Awesomenauts by Ronimo Games.
In Monday Night Combat, I often played Tank and Assassin.1 I was pretty good. Not the best player, but I was definitely above average. MNC was a lot of fun because it was fast-paced and action was spread across the entire map—which in turn meant I used the entirety of the map when I played.
Then I started playing Super MNC in November, and I found it to be lacking. It was slow, action was always too far away, and very little of the map matters. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that SMNC is the worst game ever. It’s certainly worse than MNC.
I’ve been playing Skyrim for a total of 6 hours. What follows are my initial impressions, and there are going to be some spoilers for the start of the game.
My character is currently level 8. I decided early on that I was going to play a sneaky character, one who uses bows and daggers. An assassin or a thief, basically. This is the same character I played in Oblivion, which I loved, but the primary reason for my intended character build is simple: I saw a really cool assassination animation in some of the Behind-the-Scenes footage. I want to go do that one cool thing to as many NPCs as possible. That’s all.
REMINDER: There are going to be spoilers beyond this.