The Gamerillaz Guide To MMOs | Gamerillaz

The Gamerillaz Guide To MMOs

The Gamerillaz Guide To MMOs
 

 

In a recent study, which is completely fictitious and exists only in my head, it is suggested that MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Games) are now more popular than oxygen, but with so many on the market it can be a daunting task when selecting which fantastical world is right for you. Luckily, we here at Gamerillaz spend far too much time looking into these sorts of issues and have come up with the low-down on the biggest and the best of these all consuming games. So, whether you’re looking for something that lets you smash goblins over the head with an oversized club or fancy yourself as an intergalactic drugs smuggler, we’ve got you covered as we take you on a guided tour of the MMOs landscape.

 


Age of Conan

Developed by: Funcom
Released: May 2008
Genre: Fantasy

What’s The Cost?: Free to Play or Premium Subscription (offering more content and features) and Micro Transactions.

Upon release back in 2008 players dumped this title as quickly as they had picked it up due to excessive bugs, broken instances and encounters, as well as a lack of end game content. Thankfully however, all of this has been addressed by the developers after a swathe of community feedback. Set during the mythical Hyborian Age of the Robert E. Howard tales and taking place in the timeline 30 years after the events of The Hour of The Dragon, Age of Conan is a dark pseudo-fantasy MMO which offers players a more mature setting (including boobs) and a different approach to combat. With some very pleasing graphics and one of the most interesting starting scenarios of any MMO, this is a must for Conan fans and those yet to experience the adventures and the world of our Barbarian of choice.

The Pros: Solid graphics; interesting story arc; refreshing combat system; new “hardcore” PVP (Player Vs Player) servers for Premium subscribers; and the cheap thrill of virtual boobs.

The Cons: Movement can feel a little “floaty”; some may find the combat a little laboured if they are used to the styles of other MMOs; and the boobs on offer are only virtual.

The Latest: The continuation of the storyline introduced in the expansion Rise of the Godslayer including a new level 80 solo dungeon.

 


Aion

Developed by: NCsoft
Released: 2008/2009
Genre: Fantasy

What’s The Cost?: Around $15 per month or various in game time purchased via game cards.

This in-house development for NCsoft still divides MMO’ers into two definite camps, the lovers and the haters. Yes Aion may very well be the gaming equivalent of Cheese Whiz. One thing that almost all of us can agree on is that this is one seriously good looking game – Anna Lynne McCord good looking, in both gameplay and environmental design. Your character is one of the Deava – a bewinged race of angel people, which offers a different slant on travel in the game as you put those wings to good use, although many non-flight zones do detract from the feeling of freedom when travelling. With combat similar to that of many other titles on the market and despite a streamlining of certain area’s Aion is still heavy on the grind and low on story with NPCs (Non-player Characters) acting as little more than notice boards from which to obtain your next quest. Despite these shortcomings, Aion continues to build upon its success of being the biggest selling title on PC in 2009, with a strong following in the Far East and with those in the West who enjoy Eastern graphic design.

The Pros: Stunningly polished graphics; enjoyable early levels; a different take on world travel.

The Cons: Still on the heavy side of grinding; heavy lag spikes during PVP even on good rigs; lacking in storyline; terrible soundtrack.

The Latest: Major patch to include arena endurance battles, with players taking on waves of mobs that increase in difficulty.

 


Champions Online

Developed by: Cryptic Studios
Released: September 2009
Genre: Superheroes

What’s The Cost?: Free to Play, Micro Transactions or Gold Membership (includes all in game features) for $14.99 per month.

After developing the first superhero MMO, City of Heroes, Cryptic Studies had hooked up with Marvel to create Marvel Universe Online a game which would have covered over 60 years worth of characters and events from the comics. However, after various problems, the comic book giant put the project into hiatus in 2008, with the publisher Microsoft stating that the title had “an inability to compete” with other online games already in the marketplace. By the later part of February that same year Cryptic had announced it would further the development, this time taking it into the Champions universe, a pen and paper (P&P) roleplaying game which had been around since 1981. When Champions Online was first released in the September of the following year many fans of Cryptic’s pervious MMO (City of Heroes) looked forward to getting their capes on and seeing what would be different in this superhero romp. What they found was a more or less City of Heroes 2. The graphics were quite something, offering players the look and feel of a living comic book or graphic novel, with vivid colours and cartoon effects. However the combat style was somewhat different, with the Devs choosing to take the route of “Live Action” rather than traditional click and wait approach. For those familiar with the Champions P&P books, all of the famous characters such Defender and Witchcraft make appearances, as well as the villains such as Dr. Destroyer and Foxbat, although this is not just for the P&P fans as you’ll find plenty of entertainment from the engaging combat system and the character development alone which has an almost infinite number of possibilities for design of both powers and style.

The Pros: Great graphics; the largest and most diverse character creation options in almost any game; easy level progression for solo players; the ability to produce your own personal in-game Nemesis.

The Cons: For those who prefer a more traditional combat style, the live action approach can feel nothing more than button bashing; level cap of level 40; a lack of engaging storylines; both instances and open world encounters become repetitive very quickly; and simply not enough varied content particularly at end game.

The Latest: The most recent major update included a new Archetype (character power set), The Tempest, as well as a reworking of the Electric powers.

 


City of Heroes

Developed by: Cryptic Studios now NCsoft
Released: April 2004
Genre: Superheroes

What’s The Cost?: Free to Play with Micro Transactions, Premium Accounts for passed subscribers and VIP Accounts (includes all features) at $14.99 per month.

The first MMO to break from the fantasy genre and offer players a different world to explore was once a Cryptic Studios game but the rights were acquired by NCsoft in 2007. And although now 7 years old, City of Heroes continues to flourish, boasting one of the most loyal fan bases of any online game. With the addition of the spin-off/bolt-on City of Villains, players were able to play as the saviours of Paragon City, or as a devilish rapscallion to cause havoc in the streets of the urban jungle. The game itself has a high level of character creation, with various powers being able to be combined producing interesting gameplay styles and outcomes, but City of Heroes really succeeds where other superhero games fall short with its various quest types. Although at first glance what merely seems to be one mob smashing instance after another, this can develop into the Task Force missions which can take a group of players anywhere from a couple of hour to complete to over a week, offering more depth of play and story than seen in many releases in the spectrum of cape-wearing online games. Last year the game saw the addition of the Going Rouge expansion which allowed both hero and villain characters to explore the grey area between good and evil, letting players move between the various alignments and explore both Paragon and Rogue Island, which adds a fluidity rarely seen in MMOs.

The Pros: The largest superhero MMO in terms of active players; wide range of possibilities for character creation; engaging world with a wide range of environments; a variety of different enemies; and the Task Force missions which offer a longer group gaming experience.

The Cons: Starting to look a little graphically tired; although the ideas behind the various storylines and quest arcs are interesting they lack somewhat in depth; gameplay can become a little repetitive after a while.

The Latest: The latest Update, Issue 22, has brought an overhaul to the Dark Astoria Zone including new story-archs, visuals and badges as well as the additional power-sets for Controllers and Dominators.

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