Thursday, September 6, 2012

that doesn't mean that it's okay, that doesn't mean I'm ready

[Help] Dr Pulsar: smartphones and app games are doing their part in killing PC gaming.
[Help] Boomtown Titan: LOL! Yes, phone games killed the MMO...

This is a complaint heard often, but to be fair, they have a point. Big, sprawling games like most MMOs are now take a lot of time investment. Most of us? We don't have that much time to spend.

Just to take it personal, for a moment, I have an iPod. When I have a few minutes, I play Triple Town, sometimes a letter game called That Word. Could I spend those moments in an MMO? Sure. But the iPod's portable--I can carry it around, I can flip the case open if I can't sleep and play a few rounds of whatever without getting up--and with insomnia, not getting up can be as much a success as actually sleeping.

[Help] Rita Ramjet: character creation looks really plasticy in thinking to pass on it
[Help] Kasima: only cause DCO sucks more
[Help] Kasima: at least from what i played of it
[Help] Kasima: maybe they tightened up the game
[Help] Kasima: but the beta of DCO was terrible

Pictures help with this. This was something taken two days ago in City of Heroes:

(from the City of Heroes album)

That's my main character, Literal Lass, with the horns, standing next to Melissa Bianco, who--when she's not pulling up avatars more-or-less matched to herself in City, plays one of the signature heroes, War Witch.

(from the Champions album)

Versus...Annika. The game of Champions, overall, looks more like a cartoon than a virtual world, but to be fair, Annika's a rather dark character--and I mean that literally: most of her colors are muted variations on a theme, and she's got dead black skin.

(from the Champions album)

So let's talk Niamh, pulled up on a whim as more of a healer (though in Champions, healing/support characters are about as useful as wheels on a fish until around level 10 or 15). I'd say the difference is startlingly obvious, but again, I have a closer view.

(from the Champions album)

This is Niamh close up. With very, very few exceptions, all female characters look like this in Champions Online--aggressively carved lips, thin faces, hipslung dancer bodies, and--until I tracked down the individual slider controls--HUGE oven-mitts of doom for hands.

There is a setting, once in the official game, where the cel-shading can be turned off, which helps the game look better by about 7.5%. In other words, it's not a huge gain, but seriously, every little bit helps.

The problem? This is our alternative. DCUO interests me not at all. Marvel (either the kid-safe versions they have now, or the upcoming Marvel MMO) doesn't pique even random curiosity. Secret World I might be interested in, save that I'd be the only one in the house playing it. No sale.

No, unfortunately, it's City of Heroes, or Champions. And City of Heroes leaves in November, and just a terrible, ugly, abortively crippled game. But that's my lot.

Things aren't looking good from here, frankly.

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