Monday, 17 January 2011

Battle of the MMOs! DCUO, SWTOR, GW2!

I fear very much that I will be torn this summer. My MMO allegiances and fantasies will be stretched thin across a number of platforms. There are three seperate MMOs for 2011 which are vying for my attention, and I'm not sure whether I'll be able to satiate them all, I'm just not that manly! Firstly, there is DC Universe Online, then Star Wars: The Old Republic and finally Guild Wars 2.

DC Universe Online is a game which actually came to my attention through the adverts before YouTube videos on Machinima. The idea of a superhero MMO appeals to me (although I've never tried City of Heroes, DCUO's closest comparitor), and I can imagine the modern backdrop would provide a nice break from the ordinary fare of medieval style hack and slash. I've watched a fair number of videos over the past couple of days, including the pre release teasers and now some of the "Let's Play" style ones on Machinima and other YouTube directors, and from what I can see there are some things which draw me to the game, and some which sort of put me off.
Firstly, I love the character creation and design, you seem to have a huge amount of freedom when it comes to character creation and I can imagine spending a good couple of hours creating my hero to look just right.

 In addition, the world in which the game plays out seems pretty expansive - the videos often show characters clambering to the top of buildings and looking out across the city. Similarly, using their various powers (acrobatics, flight, super speed) characters have a nice amount of freedom of movement, scaling buildings and rocketing across the ground.

However, my Guild Wars background has made me automatically wary of P2P games - I worry that I'll spend the money and then have no time to get the full use of it - this is exactly what happened with Aion (well, that and Aion was terrible after about 2 months). I have other concerns, I read an article by Aitch at CNN where he says:
It’s a straight forward button masher and if this is what you like, then this is for you.
I kinda don't like button mashers - I want my game to feel immersive and intricate. I suppose thats why I've always leaned towards the skill-based MMOs such as GW. DCUO is on the fringe of my mind and I might buy it and try the first couple of months to see how I feel.

Secondly, we have Star Wars: The Old Republic. Now, just to add to my geek-cred, I am a huge Star Wars fan. Having grown up with the first three movies (the first three, he adds with a knowing eye), it is a universe which holds a lot of nostalgia for me, but its not an area into which I've explored my gaming passion (short of buying the first Force Unleashed game on PS2, and a demo of one of the X-Wing piloting games I got from a Playstation magazine when I was a kid).
From what I've seen of ToR, it looks pretty varied. There are a number of different classes, on the light side of the force we have Troopers, Smugglers, Jedi Knights and Jedi Consulars and on the dark side there are Bounty Hunters, Sith Warriors, Imperial Agents and Sith Inquisitors. If you have a sharp MMO mind you can fairly quickly divide them up into the holy trinity which come hand in hand with MMOs. I don't know nearly as much about this game as I do the other two addressed in this post - but that adds to the mystery of it.
Watching the videos for this game it just feels more rich and immersive than DCUonline, it will definately be a contender for my final game...

Guild Wars 2. Now, lets not beat around the bush - this will probably be my 2011, 2012, 2013 and if they do a good enough job 2014, 15, 16 and 17. I've already gave a good summary of what I think of this game - but, comparing it to the other releases of this year (particularly The Old Republic) I think its going to have to compete for my affection.

She can have my affection anyday -
 As I've said before, the art in GW2 is quite astounding and I fully expect the finished product to be a truly beautiful game, I just hope they pull off the combat in a real-time non instanced world to the highest quality. Out of the 5 races - Human, Charr, Norn, Sylvari and Asura - I am totally flummoxed about who to choose. I'm waiting on a bit more information before I make my final choice, but I am so excited about this game I squee a little whenever the slightest bit of information is released. There is supposed to be a new class reveal early this year and the whole community is holding its breath - myself, I am waiting to see which class can dual wield pistols.

Ultimately, each of the other two will have to truly astonish me to beat GW2 into my heart - I'm a true GW enthusiast through and through. DCUO looks a bit flimsy for me atm, and SWTOR needs to give me a bit more info on the "day to day" play which the game will involve before I'll invest my time in it.

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