I do not have another series lined up. Right now the plan is to return to Stolen Pixels. No date is set on that just yet.
This is actually a pretty meager time for MMO games. Consider:
DC Universe Online
DC Universe is the diet cola of the online world right now. Nothing offensive about it, but it’s thin and insubstantial. To its credit, the writing is up to normal comic book standards. Which is to say, a bit dumb, but not brain-meltingly idiotic.
Champions Online went free-to-play, but the transition was executed in true Cryptic fashion: With much fanfare and little skill, showing almost no understanding of how to hook people and entice them to pay. I returned to the game to discover that I couldn’t log in with any of my old characters. Because they had custom power sets, they were “gold” characters. I had to downgrade them to silver before I could use them. This downgrade is done before login. It just lists the archetypes and you have to pick one without knowing how they work, what energy builder you’ll be using, what block power, what travel power, etc. I had no sense of what sort of changes I was in for. These characters were all made with specific themes and concepts in mind, and there was no point in downgrading them if it was just going to ruin them. Fine, I thought, I’ll roll a new character and get to know these power sets before trying the downgrade. Except, the game only gives you two character slots, and I had eight characters. I would need to delete seven of my characters before I could even open the builder, just to play around and see how it worked.
I realize the point of a game going F2P is not to give the game away for free, but to simply get revenue in a different way. But this was absurd. I couldn’t even get past the login screen. The goal is to get people hooked, and then tempt them with baubles. If you’re asking for money at the front door, then you didn’t make the game free to play. You just made it a pain in the ass to pay for. I never even got in to play the game.
“Oh, they just rolled it out. There’s bound to be some bumps in the system.”
That’s the Cryptic way. Make a messy, ill-conceived system, fix half of it, and then drive it into the ground. You could give Cryptic a shipment of gold bars, and their first thought would be to make doorstops out of them. Only, they would make them too light to actually hold open a door. And they would paint the outside with ugly latex paint. And the website to order the doorstops would be horrible and confusing to use. And when nobody wanted their solid gold mafunctioning ugly doorstops, they would blame the bad economy.
I suppose I could just create a brand new account so I could experiment with the builder, but I think I already endured more hassle than the game is worth.
Star Trek Online
City of Heroes
This game is still $15 a month, while lot of games are coming in at $10 a month. The fact that this seven-year old game is still charging premium prices while the one year old Champions is free-to-play says a lot about the relative quality of these titles.
I loved this game. But I just don’t think the game has a lot of potential of a Let’s Play. Or at least, I’m not feeling it. If I signed up, it would be to play for the sake of playing. Not a bad reason to re-sub, but I should probably be focusing my time elsewhere. I have a lot on my plate right now, and taking on an MMO just to have fun would be… irresponsible.
The Old Republic, Tera, Guild Wars 2. Lots of cool titles coming up. It will be interesting to see where things go this year.
In Defense of Crunch
Crunch-mode game development isn't good, but sometimes it happens for good reasons.
A Lack of Vision and Leadership
People fault EA for being greedy, but their real sin is just how terrible they are at it.
Steam Summer Blues
This mess of dross, confusion, and terrible UI design is the storefront the big publishers couldn't beat? Amazing.
Deus Ex and The Treachery of Labels
Deus Ex Mankind Divided was a clumsy, tone-deaf allegory that thought it was clever, and it managed to annoy people of all political stripes.
The Best of 2017
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2017.