Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Current state of the multiplayer/MMO F2P market

Fair bit of warning: this will be somewhat of a long blog post, bare with me.

Let's start with MechWarrior OnLine (MWO) since the NDA was lifted and the information out there just got a bit numerous.
What's the state of it? well, the game is still in closed BETA, but the open BETA stage is closely drawing nearer. As I mentioned in the previous blog post, the developers are ironing out the last bugs server side and touching the client where it needs some "love".
Who will MWO appeal to? if you are a MechWarrior series fan, this is for you, also if you are a BattleTech enthusiast. The game is hard on the new comers and frankly Piranha has done nothing to ease the pain of the soon to be open BETA testers. The game badly needs some very well done tutorials, mostly on the mech fitting.
1st there are the trial mechs, basically they are pre-build mechs that have some not thought thru build, they will bet the job done, but playing them is a pain. The job being gathering enough C-Bills to buy you 1st real mech chassis.

After gathering enough credits, you will buy you 1st mech, but you get hit with a big dilemma keep the setup intact or tune it? If you decide to tune it to your gameplay style, and I strongly suggest you do customize it, you get hit with a MechLab that is unfriendly environment. If you do not know what to look for you will either end up making thread on the forums, ask friends or just simply quit the game.
Just look at it:

The weapons are not grouped by type or range, they're just thrown in. If you do not know that pulse lasers have shorter effective range than their regular counterpart you will find it the hard way, during battle. Or that LRMs (log range missiles) will need at least 180m before they can arm, thus detonate on impact.
The MechLab tells you none of that, and it's bad. I had to look on the forums on some dude post who bothered to gather the data and make it understandable to players, Piranha didn't do that ... shame!

Don't get me started on weapon grouping and chain firing. I had to ask on the forums how to enable chain firing. In the end someone told me there is a key that enables that, backspace, but this key is not even mentioned in the noob notes you get when entering BETA and not even in the key mapping list .. the fuck!

Oh, and by the way .. if you go crazy with the mech customization and decide to revert to original factory defaults, good fucking luck with that! There is not way to revert back!, the only option is to sell your mech and buy it back .. the fuck!

Gamplay wise, MWO falls in the category of the tactical shooter/FPS. Did I mention you are stuck in the 1st persom mode?! now you know ...
Untill new modes are developed and released, the current game is 8vs8 with each side having a "base" that needs to be defended/captured, similar to WoT. But because the number of mechs in the game is a lot lower than you get used to WoT gameplay, the loss of a single mech can be disastrous to the outcome of the match. Losing a light can be overlooked, but when you lose the assault mech(s), that will weight heavy on the team.

Even if the game is in CBT, I did saw a fair number of AFK farmers ... fuck the skies! I can't escape them even in MWO, god dammit! Seeing how an founder Atlas AFKs in the base while the rest of the team tries to do something, just makes you wanna climb on the walls.
DO NOT think that MWO will be free of imbeciles and other similar types of non-players. Although the game is pretty strict on the player-base requirements, the usual suspects will try and infect MWO too.

Oh, forgot something, currently there is no server for EU, so you will have to connect to the US one, thus expect 140-160ms ping and sometimes more. Good luck aiming that gauss and hitting what you aimed at. This is why I try to stay away from ballistic type weapons and build my mechs laser boat or missile boat.

The are a lot of things to talk about, but hopefully Piranha comes to their senses and release a patch next week that will fix the current issues and readies the game for the real open BETA, this time ... hopefully.

Now let's jump to World of Warplanes (WoWp)...
One word: junk! I'm sorry for the people at WG working on this project, but I wasn't so much bored by a flying combat game since the Spectrum days, no joke!

Due to the NDA I cannot say much about anything but, the game is in a sorry state. I've been testing the game for almost one year now, since the APHA stage and I'm sorry to say that WG moves very very slowly developing this game.
There are some gameplay videos on YouTube that are approved by WG and clearly show the poor state of the game. The engine is badly written, not optimized, and barely keeps a decent above 30 framerate. For and action type of game, it's bad.
A jet to barely crawl in the sky, sorry, but that's not a jet, it's turtle with a rabbit strapped on to make it go faster. Bad joke.
The controls are horrible, the joystick has input lag. Playing with a mouse and keyboard, although an option, is out of the question.
Even overlord himself admitted they took a peek on the competition, namely Gaijin's WarThunder.

And this brings us to the next one: WarThunder: World of Planes (WT or WT: WoP)
Gaijin, the developer, is a pure russian based team and comes to no surprise they do things similar to WarGaming, lack of communication in particular. As I mentioned in the previous blog post, trying to communicate with them on regarding an issue is like talking to a dead horse.

The game ... trying to no break the NDA here and posting as much as there is public info about it.
The game is currently in closed BETA and features, for the moment, only the part of aerial combat called World of Planes. More to come once the games enters open BETA, when that is? your guess is as good as mine, since you know .. communication, there lack of.

The engine is beautifully created and can sustain a hi framerate even on high settings. At least Gaijin developed their engine in house and did not spent 45mil USD on the company that made it (Wargaming .. anyone!?).
Just look at it, and this is actual gameplay, no CGI overdone effects and stuff like that (WG WoWp trailers .. anyone!?)

No amount of words can be placeholders for actually experiencing the game for yourself. I't just beautiful.

The game has large maps and tries to not concentrate the cobat in one spot, so far it does it's intended purpose.
Differently from WoT, buying a new unit, in this case a plane, won't mean you get rid of the old one. There is a repair system in place that works on crew experience and allows you to not spend credits on repairing the plane, you leave it to the ground crew and they will repair it in a set time frame based on their skill level. What this also do, is allow you to chose another plane in it's place and jump back into combat.

There are a lot of things to say about WarThunder, but I really want this game to enter open BETA and gather some much needed attention from players.

The game already includes 5 tech trees with 2 more on their way (WG is working on the 3rd for WoWp with 4th only after the game is released ... I'm still laughing).
It will also feature naval warfare and tank combat, and when this game will hit the market, WarGaming will get hit in the guts so hard ...

This was it for now, hope I didn't bore anyone to tears.

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