The list of games I ended up with that night grew as I waited for downloads to finish and visited some of my favorite hot spots. In total I had downloaded and patched Darkfall, Final Fantasy XIV, Forsaken World, Spiral Knights and Aion. To be honest I didn’t give most of them a solid run, and for any MMO a “solid run” would take several weeks. Though if I’m not captivated by the first moments of a game (be it minutes or hours), then it usually is not going to keep my interest. A reviewer for Eurogamer actually got a lot of shit for this but I’ll be up front, I’m a first impression kind of gamer. Beautiful women are approached and hit on all the time by men; so much so that they have to make their mind up in the first few moments when they meet someone. It saves them time, and while they don’t really give each guy a fair shot, their instincts save them a bit of time. In the same way, that’s how I treat video games at this point. Some of them don’t even bother me with a pick up line and occasionally a douche bag of a game gets in and I don’t realize it until one of us gets hurt. Since video games don’t have feelings, it’s usually me. Although GLaDOS did seem genuinely hurt. I jest, Portal and Portal 2 are beyond reproach. Just brilliant games.
I ended up spending the most time with Darkfall, three hours tops, and the game held out fairly well overall. It was pretty much the same game I remember from before but the nagging feeling that I could never catch up to the veteran players kind of threw me off. The community was also dead in my timezone (currently GMT+9) so it was a single player experience for me. I rolled a Dwarf and went in swinging a two handed sword at Kobolds until I got bored. The thrill of watching my skill points raise every couple swings was enough to keep me going but after a while it just felt like MMO. A few days past and I just uninstalled it. It’s a great concept but I think it’s just has been implemented in better ways already.
Aion lasted about an hour. Having played so many mmorpgs in the past, it just felt dull and unoriginal. It’s the same stuff I see in so many other games and nothing seemed to enthrall me here. I reached level 6 and got tired of navigating the obtuse “quest helper” and boring quests. Maybe I’m being a bit too cynical here but I couldn’t even stay entertained enough to make it to level 10 and pick up flying.
Final Fantasy XIV didn’t even last as long as Aion. I had previously played the game for a few months, receiving my pre-ordered Collectors Edition in the mail a few days after release. I was a part of the Real Life Comics Linkshell “Vera Vitae” and heavily involved within the Australian part of the community (time zones and all). Within a few moments it’s pretty obvious the community is dead. The forum was full of spammers and no one was online. The controls were always a bit funky on the keyboard but after recalling the trouble I went through before to get the game working on my controller I tried to push through. I killed a few monsters, and started to make the walk back to town. About 10 minutes after logging on, I logged back off and uninstalled the game. Why? It’s so slow. Back breaking slow. When the game first came out I was excited and I knew it was going to be slow. I had played FFXI heavily and I knew what I was in store for. However I have a hard time falling in love with the Armory System in the same way I did the Job and Subjob system from FFXI. Jobs and Subjobs are Final Fantasy at it’s finest. When I’m going to spend multiple days grinding from level 23 to level 24 I want it to be as a Red Mage, a Summoner, or even a Dragoon. Yet all I get is Gladiator or a Lancer who after weeks worth of play time are wearing mid level gear that still looks like he’s running around with rags for clothes and wooden weapons. I want to feel epic, and I want it to feel like FFXIV. The ten minutes I spent in game was just a sour reminder of the past.
Forsaken World? Don’t even bother. It’s a cheaply made MMO created by the fast food chain of the gaming market, Perfect World. With almost a dozen titles under their belt in the last 4 years, I feel like ever game they produce steals a bit of my soul.
I want to end this on a positive note, I’ve been very negative. About a month ago I stumbled onto Terraria, a game that is being called 2-D Minecraft. That is an incredibly accurate statement but Terraria also stands on it’s own. If you can find a good server to play on, something invite only without the griefers, then it’s an experience to behold. Go try it. The game is currently $10 on Steam so you don’t have much to lose.