I think we will look back on 2019 as the Year of the Rise of the Player.
- There were several things that happened in the world of video games this year. In no particular order, and without links since they are easy to google:
- The Failed announcement of Diablo: Immortals as a mobile game at Blizzcon. The jeerz from the crowd was loud and emphatic.
- The failure of the Anthem release and the player outcry that followed.
- The continuing slip of World of Warcraft from the top of the stack of games folks want to play.
- The announcement of ArcheAge Unchained as a separate but equal pay once to play release in response to the overwhelming panning of ArcheAge as “Pay to Win”.
- The universal dislike for Loot Boxes, both by the players and by governments around the world who have called these out for what they are, gambling which is made available to minors. While some countries do not classify these as technically “Gambling” due to a technicality in the wording of the laws, most folks see the hidden, and very small odds, real monetary costs, and designed in addictive nature of these schemes as predatory on the players who have large amounts to purchase the games or pay subscriptions for the games.
Youtube, Twitch, Reddit, Twitter and other venues are full of reactions by commentator / players who voice their repeated loud analysis of these and other issues in the gaming industry.
I think modern MMOs are missing an interesting opportunity, and the ones trying it are getting it wrong. We should be able to build teams / parties from the other characters in our own account.
Guild Wars May Have Invented This
Guild Wars 1 or just Guild Wars added a feature near the end of it’s popular life called Mercenary Heroes. See my previous post here. The idea was to allow other characters from your account to play along side you as party members. This was incredibly useful. You needed a party to play at all times since GW is an instance based game. And it was a money making opportunity too since you needed to purchase Mercenary Slots. There was a trick too that you could play. There are two kinds of characters in GW – PVE and PVP. And PVP characters are always level 20 – max level. So the trick is to buy your Merc Slots, then create a PVP character, assign it to a Merc, then Delete the Character. Your Merc remains. Then Rinse & Repeat to build a whole squad of characters of the classes you wanted. Necros and Ritualists are especially useful in your Merc list since there are some powerful Necro skills and Ritualists do powerful heals as well as damage. The Elite Necro Skill Discord does powerful damage and of course the Necro raises every mob you kill into another member of your army. Ritualists cause conditions, which empowers Discord. Anyway, you get the idea.
Why is this interesting?
Let’s take a couple of examples: ArcheAge and Final Fantasy XIV.
I recently looked back at a game I spent a little time with a long time ago – ArcheAge. A long time ago I tried it out, created a character, spent a few hours and dropped it. I don’t remember why I dumped it so quickly. I didn’t even have enough interest at that time to review it here on this blog, so I can’t find out when I did this. But things have changed and I’m spending more time there now.
If you are looking for an “old school” but beautiful MMO with some modern features and good graphics, a wonderful open world to explore and some interesting challenges, ArcheAge may be interesting.