Importance of Polish

With playing Final Fantasy 14 at the moment  I’ve got to wondering whether innovation is something we truly want, or even need in mmo’s. By all accounts it’s a wow clone, and while a polished one with a lot of mechanics from elsewhere it really offers nothing of its own to the equation. By all accounts it shouldn’t be succeeding where many others have fallen; Wildstar and ESO just before it that both added nothing as well and paid the price for that yet Final Fantasy has continued to grow, grow to 4 million accounts lately which means box purchases… that’s reasonably impressive in this age.

Yet in spite of that, and with playing another mmo that is but an iteration on the same formulae I’ve become rather enamoured with it. Usually I get bored with these types of experiences quite quickly but I’ve been grinding out the levels and quests for my kitty zerker for a few days now. Playing for many hours at a time. Completing all the dungeons as I go multiple times and having a good time with it. I’m even excited about what’s to come even before I’ve gotten to the cap. I’ve been actively researching and looking at class and tanking guides too: ways to gear up, raid and dungeon videos.. all that boring stuff I haven’t bothered with since rift.

It’s silly but rather exciting to be wrapped up in that mmo goodness again. And it’s not that thirsty in the desert kind of feeling either, well, it was at first but now that I’ve settled in I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would and I think the main reason for this is just polish.

Yes it’s polished in the usual kind of ways now. Graphical purrty as all heck. Ability lag is a thing of the past and rivals that of blizzard making gameplay and combat feel smooth. And just the content and game run smoothly throughout play. It is a game that has gotten the attention it needs to fill itself out and run well… sadly a lot of games can’t say the same lately.

Anyway, it is more than that as well and by polish I also mean they have actually taken the time to figure out what it is they want to do. It is a game that actually seems to have planned itself out in regards to the pace of combat, the styles available, the types and methods of acquiring shinies. Just the way the whole game, each of its components fits together.

Mostly I get the feeling the engaged in a little introspection regarding mmo’s in general. They didn’t just blindly copy what the current zeitgeist is, the populist mechanics and they also didn’t fall prey to throwing out the perfectly functioning components just to appear “edgy”, and “innovative”. They seem to have actually sat down and thought about the usual mechanics of mmos: what works, what doesn’t and figure out why then mold these towards their own vision. There is a level of understanding there in how they’ve designed the components so that it becomes greater than the whole. Greater than the usual.

MMO’s don’t really need to strive to be different, it’s mostly just a marketing buzzword anyway and rarely keeps people around after they’ve grown tired of the same bull shit reskinned with the same mistakes. Innovation can be good too, dynamic events are something I think enriches the genre and were a huge departure from the standard but so many games use this now without really dissecting it mechanically and then integrating it within their game to be cohesive.

I just feel that mmo’s need more thought put into them first and that it seems doing so is far more important than aiming for some kind of new shiny appeal.

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Blizzard Designs and Gender Beliefs

*It was pointed out in the comments that I was rather wrong in my judgement here… So terrible Iz I. See the total number of female characters is actually 6, yes they pulled a Samus switch on me.. Awesome blue robot suit is awesome. Anyway, with that it brings the female design total to 3 femme fatales and 3 that differ.. A decent balance really. OH WELL… rant diminished I guess although that study I linked is still pretty cool. Maybe just take out the blizzard name and add in any other stupid company you dislike atm*

I’m sure nearly everyone has seen the video by now but it’s worth showing off the new character for Blizzards FPS project Overwatch again. Most media sites and people have been going a little crazy over it with titles like “blizzard is really listening”, implying that the recent movement towards better female characters and Blizzards own troubled history with them might be changing. I however am a little less enthused.

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Going Back to GW2

So I’ve been exploring Guild wars 2 again and yep, it was news of the expansion that brought me back which makes me wonder even more about why they didn’t do it sooner. The living story just wasn’t for me and it was never something that was viewed in the same way as an expansion from the media either. No hype. No interest. Just an overwhelming feeling of MEHHH.

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The FtP Demographics Debate

So the abominable Tobold speaks again. The mmo blogging equivalent of Seinfeld’s Uncle Leo, a person who occasionally has brief moments of insight but that are largely wrapped in a layer of antiquated crazy…. Not me, that’s a modern kind of crazy.

Ok so just let me exude a large sigh and we’ll continue with the actual reply.
….

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Purpose Within Permadeath

I have no idea why Permadeath holds such a fascination with me but it is always something that keeps me playing and engaged with a game. Recently I’ve been playing quite a few games with permadeath features or permadeath as their core mechanic and it is because of this that I’ve played them so much.

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Darkwood Preview

Another Preview vid and written report that varies a lot haha. I just find it easier when talking about these games, and giving a report to mostly just make it up as I go. To discuss the interesting points that I’m thinking about rather than reading an already written report. Feels more natural too.

Ok continue ON

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Listmas 2014: 5 Dumbass Decisions in Mmo’s

While the year has seen some huge release within the mmo industry
Games many were looking forward to and expecting to see greater success but unfortunately disappointed for a number of reasons. Now these mmo’s could have been great but unfortunately they’re subject to some of the worst decisions in design and management possible.

So yeh, I’m calling it now. 2014: the year of Dumbass Decisions

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Experiments in Azeroth: Map Design

My newbie character Erifana is making levels quite nicely now. The Feral line of Druid is surprisingly easy to play with only a few buttons and a basic resource building system, puts out decent dps too which is nice so the quests get completed a bit quicker. I’m guessing I’m doing the right thing with my stats right now by going dex and stamina but who knows, just going on what I  kind of know a dps class should be. I’m just a cute but dangerous kitty…

rawr

I ended up in the second zone now, forgot the name but the one after Orgrimmar that’s like a logging camp plus an ocean area and while I am still surprised by how dated the zones feels. You can really see in these maps just how old the game is as the ground, objects, background and monsters are. rather washed out colours and textures but that really is to be expected.

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Archeage and Pay to Win

I have an admission to make about Archeage. One that pains me to say but after a lot of thought is something I can’t ignore. Archeage is Pay to Win. Now I don’t mean that in some kind of esoteric “Every FtP game is Pay to Win” kind of way but that Archeage falls trap to the issue of buying power that gives a distinct advantage over others.

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PvP and Peace Times in Archeage

The PvP was a big part of my interest when getting I to archeage but it’s bad to say that I really haven’t been involved too much with it so far. The most I seemed to have had is being ganked (quite a few times) on, near or going to my housing plot down in the Hellswamp by higher level players and that’s not really pvp more… quick travel.

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