Filling The Void

I would start with a picture, but I did one thing a little too hastily, uninstalled. So the picture I would be starting with is from another game, one which I’m currently playing…

I guess that’s a bad way to start a post, screws with the chronology. Here, let me start again.

I started playing Allods Online Champions Online in the wake of all of the Sony-related down-time. Wait, that still doesn’t sound right. Let me try once more.

Oh, fuck it. Long story short: Nothing was holding my attention, then Allods came along and was cool at first but quickly became a grind-fest although they seemingly got rid of any of the “game-breaking” stuff I heard bitched about before, so I uninstalled the game and thusly deleted the picture I would have started this post with, and then I decided to give Champions Online a whirl, and have so far enjoyed it far more than the aforementioned Allods Online.

Hmm… that was a bit of a run-on sentence. I never can win. But still the short version. Long version to follow:

Allods Online sounded promising when I started reading about the “official” launch of the game (even though it was in a perpetual beta state for the last year, I think of it as having been launched already) and how some of the “game-breaking” cash shop issues had been addressed. Upon initial inspection, it’s a sharp-looking game. The interface is reminiscent of WoW. Controls too. The character selection was a major draw, quite a few of the classes and races held a unique appeal. Combat has some redeeming qualities as well. But the major downfall of the game is that it becomes a major grind fest, and rather early in the game. I played on the Empire side, and I tried out a few of the classes but settled on the Xadaganian Paladin (Avenger). I found the way the barriers worked (delay of incoming damage, in combination with other skills can eliminate damage altogether) added a layer of depth to the combat, not to mention the lack of any auto-attack. This way all attacks take energy to make, so an auto-attack isn’t always the most effective source of damage. Needless to say, combat is a little more active than in most MMOs that I have played. Unfortunately there wasn’t a saving grace when it came to the extremely low xp gain. On the Empire side, you’re almost immediately thrust into your starting city, and I spent hours on end running around doing quests, and I never exited the city. I realize that League players would point out that they don’t start in the city (I did at least that much research), and I realize that EQ1 players would point out that new MMO players whine too much about xp curves these days. But I need some form of gratification in a game, either let me have the accomplishment of moving on to a new area, or give me a few levels while I’m there. Otherwise I get bored, and on I go. These things weren’t done in a timely manner, and I don’t find the constant grind fun. And the idea of spending real life money to help me level faster simply isn’t going to happen.

I went here and there chasing stories and rumors. I read reviews, I watched videos. I even thought about playing an older game, and went as far as installing one and then finding out it didn’t run too well on this laptop. I really couldn’t find anything to keep my attention for more than a couple of hours at best. Then I read a review on Champions Online. I remember hearing about the game and reading a thing or two about it, but I never really tried out a super hero MMO before, or even had the desire. Something about CO grabbed my attention though, and finding it free to play now made it that much easier to give it a try. So far I am having fun with it. But I am still at the “initial glow” stage with it, which is similar to when you first meet a girl and begin a courtship, it’s all great. But after the glow wears off, there are always flaws. Allods’ flaws were too severe, and with nothing really invested in it, it was easy to walk away from. Champions will be the same after a time if I don’t end up investing in it. At this point the only thing that interests me is some of the other archetypes. But I have a feeling that no matter what I’m playing when SOE comes back up, I’ll be right back to life as I know it in Everquest II.

Apparently I’m only good at coming up with fantasy themed MMO names. I named my first hero after my Brigand from EQ2, “Izlain”. Not really a hero’s name, but it will do for now. After having seen many, many examples while playing the game, I think my 2nd character will sound a little more “super”. 

Izlain is a Solider type hero, which makes him more like the Punisher than say, the Human Torch. His abilities include pretty much anything to do with guns and blowing shit up. But because some of the other options aren’t available to the F2P crowd, this was one of the cooler sounding classes. The combat system is honed to be a little more arcade like, but still enough like an MMO to not make me feel put off by it. For instance, blocking is done by holding down shift (or alternately, click-holding on the icon on your hotbar), and most abilities can be click-held or hot-keyed to get their maximum effect. The game isn’t nearly a grind-fest either, I did the same amount of levels on CO as I did on AO in one night, whereas in AO it took me about a week of on-again off-again play. So for now, this is the game I’ll be playing. I’m sure that will change by my next post.