I can’t seem to be able to download the European version of WoW onto my new laptop due to me being in Australia, and at such a huge file size you do not want to get to the end of the download only to be told it isn’t applicable or something equally horrifying. So my return to see how rogues are doing has been once again delayed until my Italian computer turns up from across the seas. But I do want to get into a game. I’ve been playing Civ V again as I have it on steam so easy to get back into, but you know a game is unrewarding when you’d rather randomly surf the internet than play it.
I was going to put a post up here asking my readership which game they’d like me to dip a toe into, but I considered that this was both lazy on my part and fraught with the peril that they might ask me to play something like FFXIV, which would probably induce me to start sawing off my own limbs. So I’ve spent the morning doing some searching around for a sandbox MMO to have a crack at, (I also spent the morning purchasing tickets to see Herbie Hancock at the Perth Concert Hall in May, yeah baby!) I’ve been looking at sandbox MMO’s from Darkfall to Craft of Gods and I have an observation to make; why do all game developers automatically assume that a sandbox equates to PvP content? Sure PvP is great, and one of the reasons that I play games, but usually all it entails is setting your flag to combat so that you can kill anyone around you. A sandbox world should be much more than that; it should be about making moral choices with consequences. Age of Conan went sour for me right about the time I was running down a beach on one of the islands off Tortage when two players ran past me from the other direction, stopped, killed me, and then proceeded in their original direction. At least if this happened in WoW then there would be some justification for this; ie Horde vs Alliance, but in AoC there isn’t even that. Random killings without meaning are worse than unfair – they are boring.

There has been a hell of a lot of complaining going on in the MMO blogging world of late, of which I have been at the forefront. The problems identified include, but are not limited to the following:

1: The loss of player community and the absence of responsibility for ones actions and behaviour;
2: The realisation that cutscenes might work the first time you go through them but that they quickly sour on repeated viewings;
3: That story works wonderfully in a single player game, but is anathema in a multi-player game on a virtual world;
4: That by relying on story developers doom themselves to continually having to come up with new content.

I think that a sandbox MMO that gave players the freedom to create their own patch of the world, whether on their own or in conjunction with others, would go a long way towards resolving these problems. But what developers seem to spend putting most of their time into revolves around trying to constantly balance classes for PvP. I not only think this a waste of time, I think it is wrong. A high level mage should be able to take out most other character classes of a similar level, as long as it is both harder to reach such a level on that class in the first place and if there is a player driven law-enforcement entity which makes such behavior fraught with unwelcome consequences.

Anyway, so I’m casting around for an MMO and I’m not interested in a WoW-clone, ie Rift. Any ideas or any games that you’d like to me to check out for you?