One of the annoyances of being an MMO blogger is the ever-present buzz-o-meter in which you are immersed. While you can blog about MMOs without reading other MMO blogs, and I’m sure some people do, I would not be comfortable with that. The buzz at the moment is basically about two things: WAR’s near-total collapse and the great epic awesomeness that is Wrath of the Lich King.
On the first… well, much as I hate to say it, I’m forced to agree with the first. In recent weeks we’ve found out that ‘contribution’ for the purposes of loot rolls in keep battles is nothing but two random rolls. Some commentators are saying they feel ‘betrayed’ by this revelation, and while I think that maybe these people are taking things just a little too seriously, I have to admit that this is crap game design. That, plus the fact that the game is being deserted by players at a simply astonishing rate. Our own Averheim server, for example, once a comparative hotbed of action (in which, I note, it was still mostly impossible to find anything actually going on,) is now a wasteland, which Mythic is encouraging people to transfer off of before they merge it with some other unpopulated servers.
In contrast, World of Warcraft is a game much less dependent on ideal population balance, which even at its recent nadir (during the massive pulse of phoney WAR buzz) was suffering no lack of players, is surging again with the launch of its new expansion, which by all accounts is excellent.
I’m not going back on my decision to never return to WoW, but I’m amending it to say that I’ve also decided not to return to WAR, either. The game is fun when it’s working, but it mostly isn’t, and as time goes on it certainly seems like those occasions of working will become fewer and farther between. These are both tough decisions, but in WoW’s case it’s harder, because WoW is a game that, despite all the issues with it, is actually functional. The overhyped fiasco of WAR has no future. Age of Conan is the better game.
This makes me glad, though – along with the recent removal of all NCSoft titles from my ‘worth playing’ list, removing WAR gets that down to just three games – EVE, EQ2 and Vanguard, with EQ and DDO on the list as games I will occasionally dabble in.