In our last community blog round-up of the year, we've collected some fine pieces of discussion, debate, and introspection -- not to mention a first impression or two to tide you over until 2015. We've also got an essay about the joy of healing, what it's like to play an MMO as a bear, going back to the Isle of Refuge, and more!
Alt:ernative's lengthy rant against the tyranny of damage meters and how they limit player choice and suck the fun out of dungeon runs is one that has many in the blogging community standing up to cheer. The blind adherence to big numbers and optimal specs has caused a major rift in the game, this article argues.
"The one stat Blizzard can never affect is preference," Alt:ernative writes. "It doesn't matter in the end what order you stick specs in, you'll always find someone who'll buck the trend, whose ability is good enough to transcend the restrictions numbers put upon them."
2. The Mystical Mesmer: Level spam can die in a ditch
Let's keep the attack on established MMO game mechanics going, shall we? The debate over why and whether MMOs need levels in this day and age and whether they're beneficial to such games is at the centerpiece of this post. What's interesting to me is that she obviously likes the leveling process but sees it as blown out of proportion in most games.
I'll let the Mesmer sum up her conundrum: "Now, I'm not saying that MMOs have to get rid of levels because I don't want them to become a catalyst for the potential resurgence of my full-blown addiction to personal power progression or a drain on my wallet as I end up purchasing powered-up characters. I'm saying that I'd prefer that the MMOs that I play have fewer, more meaningful levels."
I'm not always a healer in MMOs, but when I have gone down that road, I've always enjoyed it. Maybe it's being a hero from the back line whose sole job is to save lives rather than take them. Maybe I like green bars and sparkly lights.
For ChaosConstant, it's many factors but mostly the feeling of being desired in a group: "It's also nice to feel needed. I've never been immediately kicked out of a pickup group as a healer [...] Healers, however, are something of a rare commodity. They're usually willing to at least give you a shot before kicking you out (one wipe and you're probably out the door, but that's different)."
4. Gaming Conversations: LotRO Beorning class first impressions
The new Beorning shapeshifting class in Lord of the Rings Online was one of the biggest additions to the game in 2014, and Braxwolf has a lot to say about test driving a bear through Middle-earth. All in all, it really sounds as though he likes it, even though he has a few reservations.
"I think overall, the launch of the Beorning has been a bit of a boon for LotRO," he said. "I see renewed interest within YouTube and among the community that I haven't noticed since prior to the Helm's Deep expansion."
What's it like when an MMO turns a beloved intro zone into player housing? A heaping of nostalgia, that's what. Maybe you can't go back again, but Arwyn discovers that in EverQuest II, you can at least visit it in a new way.
"I had the place memorized," she writes, "and was surprised how much about it, the encounters and quests, I still do remember. I rarely left that island without making sure I had the two gathering quests completed! Oh, what a pain!"
6. Superior Realities: Skyforge: I want to believe
I've noticed that Skyforge has managed to attract the attention of several forward-looking players and has been generating some interest. Tyler is cautiously optimistic about what he's seen so far concerning this sci-fi title -- the key word there being "cautiously."
"Another tidbit that has popped up in my research for this post is that content will supposedly scale up to your character's level, much as in Guild Wars 2, which is also welcome news," Tyler said. "So taken altogether, that's very nearly my MMO wishlist summed up in a single title, minus only a strong commitment to story."
7. Harbinger Zero: The failure of HEX
I don't know much of what's going on with this MMOTCG, but Harbinger Zero seems to, and he's none too happy with the state of HEX's development as of late. His main issue is that so many of the game's MMO mechanics simply aren't there.
"A year after backers got their first taste of alpha, and now well into the game's open beta, not a single one of these advertised features is available," he writes. "The end result is that we have no idea when -- or at this point if -- any of the promises that were made to backers, many of whom dropped significant amounts of money on this game, will become reality."
Awesome MMO blog opinions abound all over the internet -- and Justin "Syp" Olivetti reads them all (or skims really, really fast)! Global Chat seeks to round up the most interesting and zany posts from the MMORPG blogosphere. Who knows? You might discover a new favorite blog this week!