Why break my gaming topic trend? Considering WoW has already been done I’ll be covering the lattest mmo to be released. It won’t be anything to top WoW but it is something new to take a look at by Mythic, creators of a solid mmo Dark Age of Camelot(though EA has a hand in the cookie jar now but we won’t get into that).
Attention: Of course this game as a whole takes alot from WoW as it has taken from mmos in the past as everyone has since. However, what you get when you start this particular mmo is very chaotic. The newbie area for most races is very much an active war zone of one sort or another whether you are starting a green skin and pushing stunties off a keep in a barrel or chaos and raiding a nearby town as you start a campaign south. This can be seen in two ways, one that it adds to the concept of Warhammer and the other that it is very hard to concentrate for new players. This is ok for gamers that play mmos frequently but a completely green player would have a harder time concentrating on the visual cues at hand. However, once you get over the varying degree of shell shock it is very straight forward. The sit a npc directly in front of you with some green symbol so of course you go out and click on him and they start the learning process from there.
Perception: As with most mmos there is a tendency towards a cluttered interface the further along you play. This requires reading of the tool tips for most icons and can be intimidating. However, they do have a very interesting feature called a tome of knowledge that stores all the information you come across for future use. It is quite nice as these types of games are broken up into many play sessions and items can be forgotten frequently.
Memory: As mentioned before the tome is a significant help in recalling all of the information and most of the ground you have covered. It caters to more casual users in that you do not have to recall the information but you can easily look it up. This can be said for the skills as well as the general landscape of the games areas. Your skills each have detailed information as to how they will function any time you need to look it up. In the same fashion there are very detailed maps that can get you around easily. However, while you can simply look up this information recall is still very important, it is always going to divide players that are experienced users because their reaction times will be quicker and they will be able to use have more advantageous uses of the terrain than those that have to look up the information.
Learning: The one thing that mmos are quite good at is introducing completely new players to a world and having the time to teach them. Most early quests are exercises in simple game functions and often explicitly do just one thing to show that this is how it will operate. For instance interactable quest objects such as mud have a certainly pulsing glow to them and you can then use the quest item, mud, you just picked up to throw at a dwarven statue and rile up the natives. This will continue pretty much throughout the life of the game at each step adding a layer of complexity to the base until you are participating in the siege of the opposing factions lands and eventually their capitol cities.
Problem Solving: At this point the game is only a few days out of release so it will take time for more pressing issues to come to light and see how they are addressed. However, it can be hoped that the interface will be modded in every color of the rainbow so that users have the options to play in a style they prefer. Beyond that most bugs are on the developer’s side and users will not be able to fix them, things such as stuttering, long queue times or conversley empty servers, and of course more content. The greatest thing about these types of games is that they are made with a flaw of sorts meaning they will always require fresh content for the masses to devour. It is what keeps them coming back and is both fiendish and clever, no wonder the genre has done as well as it has.