Picking at the bloated carcass of geek culture...occasionally!!!

A WoW by any other name…

In Video Games on April 5, 2010 at 5:00 pm

As I have written recently, in the last few months I have been very busy with a bunch of different games. I went through a very rich round of rewarding games like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Assassin’s Creed 2, Dragon Age: Origins, and Mass Effect 2. Finishing all those experiences, I was kind of at a loss on what to do next. I went back to Fallout 3, played some multiplayer on Modern Warfare 2, and worked on the brief Mass Effect 2 DLC and even the Dragon Age expansion, which took some time. Yet, the next great, all-consuming game had not appeared on my radar. So, what should I do?

I went back to the old standby when I find myself in these situations. I go back to the MMORPG. I told myself I wasn’t going to dabble in this crack-like hobby until Star Wars: Old Republic comes out, but I also tell myself I’m going to exercise when I get home, that I’m going to eat better, or that I’m going to try to work on my long-abandoned creative projects. I am a compulsive liar to myself, so I decided to play an MMO.
I considered going back to WoW but decided against it. I mean, I know I’m going back to WoW someday. Everyone knows this. All ex-WoW people eventually return and Blizzard, knowing it, waits patiently until all her escaped victims slowly return to the fold. But I knew where that road leads and I wanted a different experience. I wanted to slow progression, fully personal character development, and enormous world that MMO’s provide, but I wanted to go a little out of my usual comfort zone for this time around.

After a brief return to Age of Conan’s free trial, I bought a new MMORPG. It was Champions Online, the new superhero game from Cryptic, the makers of the old superhero game, City of Heroes. It was on sale for $20 and with the first month free, it seemed like a low risk investment. So, I shelled out some cash, installed the game, and away I went.

What can I say? I was able to design pretty much whatever superhero I wanted. Tons of specific costume choices, amazing superpower variety, and the ability to mix-and-match abilities in a cool, non-class-based character system. What’s not to like? I spent hours carefully crafting the appearance and abilities of various first level characters, making sure the costume or the body type of each was just right. It was an incredibly satisfying experience, especially compared to the usual first level MMO experience of bring your burlap sack-clothed, rags for shoes-wearing, broken bottle as a starting weapon having character enter the MMO world. This was a great first impression.

And for a short time, that excitement remained. Here I was, playing in a nice, cell-shaded, four-color, superhero world. I could fly or superjump or teleport at will, picking up cars and fighting crime as an actual superhero. It was exactly what anyone would want. So, what’s the problem?

Could this guy be any grosser?

Maybe. Yes, this is what my superheroes look like.

Well, after a unique start, it quickly falls into the usual MMO pattern. How many gang members do I need to beat up? How many incriminating documents do I need to collect? Why are only 1 out of 25 of these guys wearing the shirt or jackets I need for the quest? How often do you need to find guys with exclamation points over their heads before you feel like you’ve done it all before? Why do I need to worry about loot drops or crafting skills in a superhero game? Why is everything EXACTLY like World of Warcraft?

The one experience I wanted to avoid this time around seems to be the only MMO experience in town. When can the genre branch beyond this? Do I have to play the spreadsheet-requiring, noob-crushing EVE: Online to play something different? Maybe I do. Or maybe I need to wait for Star Wars: Old Republic like I was going to anyway. Or maybe I should go back to WoW again. I mean, I might as well play the original if I’m going to play the game at all. I’ll keep you posted.


    i’m so glad I don’t have a PC….i’d probably never draw again…

  2. I miss Neil and Martin. Sigh. Why can’t they come back?

  3. why not actually go back to “.. I’m going to try to work on my long-abandoned creative projects” ?
    still would love to see that horror western finished you started oh so many years ago. 🙂

    • I would like to, no doubt, but I am easily distracted and fickle in my creative passion. I have the ideas but I often lack the discipline to do the heavy lifting; the actual work of creating new things. I hope getting consistent with the blog can get me on the right track. I need to start writing everyday and the blog is a nice way to get into that habit. We shall see.

  4. yeah i hear ya. i think also having a place or people to share it with usually allows that to flow easier, like before. but yes, fair enough. we shall see.

    • Makes we wonder if we should get some kind of Workshop going again, even if only via the internet. Have a place to display works in progress and a forum for discussion would be useful. I was never more productive than that time and, while in-person sit-downs are trickier to schedule, a website might be worthwhile.

  5. i would be into workshop 2.0. via an interweb blorg….i’ve got lots of new comics pages I would love you all to tear to pieces!

  6. i agree. a blog like workshop 2.0 thingy would be quite nice. i would definately love to see what you guys are up to

  7. I used to play City of Heroes a while back and I got pretty into it. One of the interesting things that they did just before I stopped playing was introduce a system to create your own missions and then share them with anyone. (you could choose how many jackets to collect). COH also had a pretty nifty super base creator. If Champions is successful, I’m guessing similar things might be added.

  8. when it comes to video games, i enjoy playing those that have very nice graphics and story like Plantz and Zombies ””

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