H1Z1 – You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

So. H1Z1. Another zombie game.

That’s already enough to make me not care about it.

Zombies were old when The Secret World came out. (Yes, TSW is already an MMO with zombies.) Zombies are now so old that you can’t help but roll your eyes whenever you see another zombie game. “But wait, in this one the zombies can breakdance! See how relevant we are!” No. Zombies are dead. Pun intended. They are like elves in a fantasy MMO. Except there are no other races to distract you from the elves.

Zombies are so over that vampires would be a refreshing change. In a World War 2 setting.

Oh, H1Z1 is coming from SOE? Oh that changes everything. Now I’m thinking that if I play it, not only will I be bored to death from yet another zombie-themed survival game, but I will also be annoyed by pop-up ads or screwed out of a lot of money!

Yeah, Landmark has tarnished my opinion of SOE a bit, which was never really that high in the first place. Man was that a stupid impulse buy. (Landmark would be a fun game, if they could actually put a frickin’ game in there somewhere.)

Oh, I know how they could make it new and fresh. They could make it a cartoon zombie game, where the zombies are funny!

No, wait. That’s old too. (See World of Warcraft.)

But hey, it’ll be free-to-play, so it won’t cost anything to make fun of it.

P.S. Dear games industry: Please stop doing zombie games. Please? Zombies are quite repulsive to look at, you know. Not pretty at all.

P.P.S. I have to acknowledge that there is a small possibility that H1Z1 might be fun. It’s just that at this point, it needs to be the absolute most awesome gameplay ever to climb up above the mediocrity of the zombie genre.

Some days later…

P.P.P.S. I watched some of the H1Z1 livestream. Let’s just say that I won’t be buying into any alphas or betas for this one unless they can show something a lot more interesting.

GW2 – Dreading Logging In

I was interested in checking out the new GW2 Feature Pack until I read Zubon's warning. Apparently you have to re-do and re-learn all your characters after you login.

I suppose I should have expected it, given the complete restructuring of the trait-lines. But facing the cold, hard reality of having to re-learn your class from the ground up is pretty daunting. Especially when you haven’t thought about GW2 traits in ages.

For most of the past year, I have only logged in, gone to a place, and done a thing. Not once have I changed my gear or traits in that time. I couldn’t even tell you which trait lines my necromancer used. (Not that it matters now because they’re gone. But I can’t even approximate what it used to be.) Now I have to sit down and read all the tool tips and try to puzzle out what sounds good and what doesn’t. Usually that’s a process that you do gradually over the course of leveling your character from 1 to 80. Now I’ve got to do it all at once.

It almost feels like a character wipe. In the span of one blog post, I’ve gone from looking forward to seeing the changes to totally dreading logging in again.

Rift occasionally reset your soul points when they made significant class changes. That was a pain, too. I recall that when I first logged in after they released the Storm Legion souls, it took me a long time to figure out how to re-spend those points. It’s possible I still have some builds that are devoid of points to this day.

Blah. What a bummer. Maybe I’ll try this weekend. Or maybe I’ll uninstall the game and be done with it.

FFXIV – Two Point What Now?

I never got a chance to write my impressions of Final Fantasy XIV’s 2.2 patch, so I will do so now. I only had about one day to look at it before ESO came out, so there are some gaps in my knowledge.

Like, for example, how I didn’t look at any of the new dungeons or trials.

I did get a chance to sort-of look into Glamours, but it appears that you need Tailor, Leatherworker, and/or Armorer classes to create those glamour crystals, and of course I do not have those beyond level 15.

I also looked into Retainer Ventures, which sounded awesome and I was pretty excited about. Unfortunately the implementation of it is considerably less exciting. It takes a lot of micro-management to level up your Retainers to the point where they can get anything useful for you, so I can’t see myself doing much of that. Still, if they could refine that process a little, it could be a great way to get those annoying crafting ingredients that only drop from certain mobs.

And then ESO came out, and I haven’t played FFXIV since. Not that there’s anything wrong with FFXIV. I would call it the best MMO of 2013, personally. But it’s on the back burner for now.

ESO – When Zones Look The Same

The technical difficulties seem to have fixed themselves. Shrug.

I have one more criticism about ESO, although it’s not exactly a “criticism” so much as it is merely an “observation of the way ESO does things.”

Most of the zones look the same.

Stonefalls, near the beginning of the Ebonheart Pact.

Stonefalls, near the beginning of the Ebonheart Pact starting point.

Not exactly the same. Some of them have jungle trees and some of them have deciduous trees. Some of them are more rocky and some of them are more grassy. Some of them have oceans and some of them have swamps.

But as far as the basic color palette goes, in the Ebonheart Pact zones, each looks basically identical. There is some green and some brown and some gray in various mixtures.

The second zone: Deshaan, just outside of Mournhold.

The second Ebonheart zone: Deshaan, just outside of Mournhold.

Previously I have said that I prefer “realistic” looking MMOs, and it’s certainly more realistic to have each zone look similar, because that’s how the real world is. You have to travel quite far to see a change in the basic geography of your surroundings.

But.

When you finally finish a zone and travel excitedly on to the next zone, it’s a bit of a let-down to see that it looks pretty much the same as the last zone.

Ebonheart Zone 3: The swamp.

Ebonheart Zone 3: The swamp, Shadowfen.

It’s quite a contrast with games like WoW and Rift, where changing zones means a totally different color palette and a totally different biome. I can still recall going from Gloamwood (a gloomy old forest) to Scarlet Gorge (a wide open desert river gorge) in Rift for the first time. And every time you change zones in WoW it feels like you get a whole new way of mixing up random colors for a sky, ground, and trees. It’s like a feast for the eyes. There’s that moment where you feel like you’re truly entering a new phase of the game, stepping across a threshold into unexplored territory.

Gloomy Gloamwood

Gloomy Gloamwood.

And the vast Scarlet Gorge, 30 seconds later.

And the vast Scarlet Gorge, 30 seconds later.

But in ESO, your first reaction is something like, “Oh, this is a new zone but wait, it kind of looks like more of the same. That sense of completion I had in the last zone was a lie, because now I see that there is a whole new zone here I need to work through that looks like an extension of the last zone, rather than a whole new zone.” Okay, you probably don’t really think that until you’ve analyzed your feelings for a while.

A lesser person would rage quit the game and write scathing forum posts about it. But I seem to counter that initial new-zone disappointment by taking a break from my main and playing some alts for a while before coming back to the new zone.

(My “main” alts are a Breton Sorceror, an Argonian pure healing Templar, and an Orc Dragon Knight.)

After a break, you realize that what really makes the new ESO zone different is the NPCs and the story more than the visuals and the environment. Each zone has a big over-arching plot that must be solved. (Well, can be solved – you don’t have to do them I suppose.)