Friday, May 20, 2005


E3 Letdown

I saw the EQ2 expansion, but not at SOE's booth. It was in a "Games for Windows" section, and one of the animators (a very nice guy) was demoing it. By demoing it, I mean running around the new city and using a flying carpet (which those 0.01% of players who will ever have one must love...). I didn't get to see any Ogres climbing walls, arena combat, or anything beyond what's already in the normal game, really. They were showing that stuff in the depths of the SOE booth, but only to people with media badges.

Game developers get completely screwed over when it comes to doing interesting stuff. We don't get invites to industry parties--that's for the people who don't actually make games, like vice presidents and external producers and marketing types. And the ever-pimply gaming media. We don't get to see cool stuff at E3 (except our own) behind closed doors. We don't get to have social lives or overtime pay. It's still not as bad as being a tester, though.

Anyway, SOE may pay lip service to blog-type sites such as this one, but the reality is that they won't waste their time if it's not going to get them a 2-page spread in some magazine or a glowing (or at least, vaguely positive) preview on a major gaming site.

I did see a fairly long trailer that SOE put together. It didn't really show any actual gameplay, just a long PvPish sequence with gnomes and trolls and dragons and such. These kinds of cut-scenes would be great for spicing up quests and other dynamic events in the game; having them as trailers doesn't add anything to the game itself. Seems like a no-brainer to add this kind of cinematic to the game, but I'm not the expert.

Vanguard looked like the same boring crap. Why do these games keep putting crafting in? It's not fun. Get rid of it and replace it with something that serves the same purpose but is fun. It's not that hard. It also has "a kobold warrior". Why is the "a" necessary? Can't you just label it "kobold warrior" and add the proper article (a, an, the) in the game text as necessary? It's not a big deal, but it is indicative of the disturbing unwillingness of MMO developers to re-think accepted MMO conventions (like crafting!).

There was a game from a company called Webzen. I didn't look at it, but I heard someone narrating gameplay as follows: "See what I'm doing? I'm drinking a health potion. That's something you don't see in a typical massively multiplayer game. This is an action game!" KOREAN MMO GO GO!!!!

Hold me.

There was another game in the same area that had its own theme song, which a Britney clone and her blonde friends came on stage and sang. I remembered its name thanks to the catchy chorus (the red bra and the bounciness therein may have helped a little). Conquer Online. Please note before you download it and max out your character that I know nothing at all about this game.

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