Why I'm Liking Console MMOs

Steve Anderson : End Game
Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
| The video game industry has gone from a mole hill to a mountain in no time flat, Chris DiMarco is your Sherpa as you endeavor to scale Mount “Everquest”

Why I'm Liking Console MMOs

So for the second weekend in a row, I lost more than a little time to Neverwinter, the new massively multiplayer experience to hit the Xbox One. I've also been losing a couple hours on the weekdays to it as well, a somewhat disturbing notion. And while I'm not exactly a newcomer to the field, having played more than a little WoW way back when, I admit that I was concerned about the new flock, but as I discovered the differences, it became clear that the new school of MMO is shaping up a lot differently than ever.

World of Warcraft may be where a lot of people started out in MMO, but things are different these days. While playing Neverwinter, it didn't take me long to notice that there was a lot more of a story than I ever remember seeing from WoW. Maybe things have changed since then, or maybe it was just a different time, but with Neverwinter, I don't have that feeling of "this is like a job I don't get paid for", even though in many ways it's a lot of go here / kill that / come back / repeat. Of course, it's also not much of a go here / get this / come back / repeat concept, so that does sort of change things a bit.

I noticed that also with things like Destiny, and even Defiance; the games were just feeling different. I felt a lot more connected to the story than I ever did with the Warcraft lineup. Maybe I just didn't get far enough into it; I was hitting level 40 in an environment with a level 60 cap. But I also know it took me a couple months to get to 40 while it took me maybe two weekend afternoons and a night or two to hit 30 in Neverwinter. I also recall fairly quick level gains in Destiny and Defiance, so that could also have something to do with it.

But what I do know is this; console MMOs are turning out to be a pretty exciting lot of games. I love having this much to do; when I was playing Neverwinter, it felt like a big version of Diablo, and that was a welcome comparison as I'm quite fond of Diablo. Destiny felt like a Fallout title with a lot less detail but some really exciting environments. These developments are encouraging, and certainly have me looking forward to the large-scale releases yet to come this year like Elder Scrolls Online. I've been deeply excited about the upcoming release of The Division since I first heard about it last year, and that's definitely a plus.

I do have problems with some of this, though; Neverwinter is giving me particular fits with its Tyrannical Lockbox system and its constant string of bizarre currency exchanges. I've got better than 70 Tyrannical Lockboxes in my inventory, and I can't open a one of them until I get the necessary coin together to buy keys. Naturally, it's an easy matter if you're willing to pay, but for those who don't, it's a whole different matter. Still, the game as presented is a fine one, so I'm certainly willing to see some enhanced functionality for those willing to drop coin on the experience.

Honestly, I hadn't thought much of console MMOs when they first started emerging. In fact, when I first started hearing about them I thought it'd be a crashing failure, especially given how many controls there were in WoW. How could that translate to a console game? I wondered. But now, knowing what I know today, it worked out just fine. Given what we already know about the idea, it's entirely possible that techniques like those being used here could become a major part of the operation as we know it. Granted, just about anything could change in the time between here and there, but for now, we may well start to see more games like this come around. That's a development that's downright welcome.

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