Testing the waters: Trying out several MMOs

Trying out several MMOs

As most people that know me are aware, I was an avid player of FFXI for nearly a decade. However, after that much time, I got bored of it, and I actually ended up going with FFXIV (once they made improvements to its original disastrous launch). One of the things I always liked about these two games is that quests and missions were available, but basically ran alongside the game and were entirely optional en route to end-game. Leveling up was done usually in groups while killing enemies and gaining experience that way. It made more sense to me for your character to grow in strength (and other stats) this way (enemy grinding) than via quest grinding like WoW (which I’d also tried).

However, with FFXIV now down until its relaunch, and I’ve been using this time to try out other MMOs that I’ve missed out on. So far, I’ve tried The Secret World, Aion, and Rift. They’re all free-to-play PC MMOs (except Rift, sort of — more on that in a moment).

 

The Secret World

The Secret World

The Secret World is sort of unique in that it’s based on realistic environments, as opposed to fantasy ones. It’s more of a sci-fi comic book style of storytelling and gameplay as well. Since the game doesn’t actually rely on a class system, I simply loaded my character up with dual pistols and joined the Templars (over the Illuminati or the Dragons). It was fun, but I just couldn’t get into it as much as I had hoped.

 

Aion

Aion

I thought maybe I missed that fantasy environment, so I fired up Aion next. I’d played this game in Beta and I enjoyed it a lot, too. I dig that the characters can sprout wings and fly, with aerial combat a pretty unique aspect as well. Me being me, I of course chose the “light” side of the two available races (ie factions) and went for Warrior, specializing in Gladiator (over Templar, the sword-and-shield tank), which wields Polearms (Dragoon ftw!). It’s been fun, but the majority of the game has been quest spamming (“Go kill 10 bears and bring me their ballsacks” kind of stuff). That gets boring after a while, and it’s also one of the reasons that I wasn’t too into WoW, either. However, they do have a “fast-track server,” which is a shared server that characters from all servers can hop into where exp rates are doubled. I haven’t actually used it that much, as I’m not sure if doing so would mean I’d miss out on any story along the way. Also, once you pick your class and specialization, you are locked into it for the rest of that character’s existence. You buy skills as you level up, so basically every Gladiator will be the same at max level. Kind of eh to me. I know that might be the same to say about any specific class in FFXI, but at least with merits, you could sort of specialize some stuff (not to mention outright switch classes).

 

Rift

Rift

So when I tried Rift, I was pleased to know that, even though you’re again locked into a specific “calling” (Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, or Mage), you can actually select from a half-dozen “classes” within that designation, all of which have their own customizable abilities in a skill tree (sort of like WoW, if I recall correctly). This gives a lot of customization, and you can change between any of those classes (though still locked into the “calling”) or reset your abilities to spend your skill points elsewhere or otherwise. I was a Warrior, and at first I was a Champion (they wield Polearms like my Dragoon!), but I actually ended up resetting and choosing Paragon as my class (they focus on single enemies, whereas the Champions are for groups of them, hence the wide-range swing of a Polearm). It’s so interesting learning the way the classes between these different MMOs all function in relation to each other and compared to the FF MMOs of which I am so familiar. The game has six races (3 good, 3 “bad”), of which I chose the Mathosian.

However, Rift is also very quest-spammy like Aion is, but one awesome thing about it is that the title refers to dimensional rifts and every now and then in the game, there will be some kind of interworld invasion. I figure I’d learn more about this as the story of the game progresses, but that’s the basics of it as I understand it for now. Anyway, when this happens, you can accept an invitation to automatically be grouped with four other groups of nearby people to take down these invaders. This rewards experience and builds around teamwork and actually fighting stuff for more than just a fetch quest. I enjoyed it a lot and, when it would end, I’d be sad to go back to the quests. There’s also an “instant adventure” button you can click to be grouped with some others nearby randomly to share quests, which is much better than just playing solo through the game, but in the end it’s still just more quests for the sake of experience. Also, this game is not completely free-to-play yet. You can play it free up to Level 20, but then you’ll need to obtain a subscription to continue. I’m kind of hoping it ends up free-to-play in the future, however, and will likely just wait that out since there are so many other free-to-play options available.

 

TERA

TERA

Speaking of which — tomorrow, a game I’ve had my eye on for a while goes free-to-play. It’s called TERA, and I’ve been trying to consume as much knowledge of it as I can in preparation for giving it a go tomorrow. From what I’ve gathered, there are 8 classes and 7 races. I made sure that I’ll have “Founder’s Status” when I start, meaning that I’ll have eight character slots. I aim to have one of each class for those slots, and also one of each race (with one obviously being doubled up). Presently, I’m trying to actually decide which race to assign for each class. Of course, I was drawn to the Lancer class, but what’s interesting as I read about it is that it is basically the tank of the game. Yes, somehow it wields a lance (ie polearm?) but also has a shield. Anyway, since I have to pick one class to actually play first, I might give this a try. I’ve never really done tanking before, so I’m not sure how I’ll be at it, but it’ll be something different. And, if I don’t like it, I can just try another class on a different character and race — I just need to decide which race will be each class! I’m told that race doesn’t much matter overall, they just have some racial abilities, but I still want to pick the best I can for each. I’ve even got a text file where I’ve been taking notes for my options of which I need to decide. I’ve got about twelve hours to do so!

Even so, the quest-spam-centric gameplay of all of these MMOs are not really my cup of tea. In the end, the idea of the unique gameplay of the FF MMOs has thus far been unmatched in any other available MMOs I’ve yet to try.

Anyway, that’s mostly what I’ve been up to since my Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary goal— which I successfully completed, by the way. I still need to bring my blogs/reviews of those games (8 through 13) up to date, but I’ve moved on to trying some non-Final Fantasy games for a bit before hopping back on to some of them (such as the two sequels I skipped, Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy XIII-2).  And, of course, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn!


As most people that know me are aware, I was an avid player of FFXI for nearly a decade. However, after that much time, I got bored of it, and I actually ended up going with FFXIV (once they made improvements to its original disastrous launch). One of the things I always liked about these two games is that quests and missions were available, but basically ran alongside the game and were entirely optional en route to end-game. Leveling up was done usually in groups while killing enemies and gaining experience that way. It made more sense to me for your character to grow in strength (and other stats) this way (enemy grinding) than via quest grinding like WoW (which I’d also tried).

However, with FFXIV now down until its relaunch, and I’ve been using this time to try out other MMOs that I’ve missed out on. So far, I’ve tried The Secret World, Aion, and Rift. They’re all free-to-play PC MMOs (except Rift, sort of — more on that in a moment).

 

The Secret World

The Secret World

The Secret World is sort of unique in that it’s based on realistic environments, as opposed to fantasy ones. It’s more of a sci-fi comic book style of storytelling and gameplay as well. Since the game doesn’t actually rely on a class system, I simply loaded my character up with dual pistols and joined the Templars (over the Illuminati or the Dragons). It was fun, but I just couldn’t get into it as much as I had hoped.

 

Aion

Aion

I thought maybe I missed that fantasy environment, so I fired up Aion next. I’d played this game in Beta and I enjoyed it a lot, too. I dig that the characters can sprout wings and fly, with aerial combat a pretty unique aspect as well. Me being me, I of course chose the “light” side of the two available races (ie factions) and went for Warrior, specializing in Gladiator (over Templar, the sword-and-shield tank), which wields Polearms (Dragoon ftw!). It’s been fun, but the majority of the game has been quest spamming (“Go kill 10 bears and bring me their ballsacks” kind of stuff). That gets boring after a while, and it’s also one of the reasons that I wasn’t too into WoW, either. However, they do have a “fast-track server,” which is a shared server that characters from all servers can hop into where exp rates are doubled. I haven’t actually used it that much, as I’m not sure if doing so would mean I’d miss out on any story along the way. Also, once you pick your class and specialization, you are locked into it for the rest of that character’s existence. You buy skills as you level up, so basically every Gladiator will be the same at max level. Kind of eh to me. I know that might be the same to say about any specific class in FFXI, but at least with merits, you could sort of specialize some stuff (not to mention outright switch classes).

 

Rift

Rift

So when I tried Rift, I was pleased to know that, even though you’re again locked into a specific “calling” (Warrior, Cleric, Rogue, or Mage), you can actually select from a half-dozen “classes” within that designation, all of which have their own customizable abilities in a skill tree (sort of like WoW, if I recall correctly). This gives a lot of customization, and you can change between any of those classes (though still locked into the “calling”) or reset your abilities to spend your skill points elsewhere or otherwise. I was a Warrior, and at first I was a Champion (they wield Polearms like my Dragoon!), but I actually ended up resetting and choosing Paragon as my class (they focus on single enemies, whereas the Champions are for groups of them, hence the wide-range swing of a Polearm). It’s so interesting learning the way the classes between these different MMOs all function in relation to each other and compared to the FF MMOs of which I am so familiar. The game has six races (3 good, 3 “bad”), of which I chose the Mathosian.

However, Rift is also very quest-spammy like Aion is, but one awesome thing about it is that the title refers to dimensional rifts and every now and then in the game, there will be some kind of interworld invasion. I figure I’d learn more about this as the story of the game progresses, but that’s the basics of it as I understand it for now. Anyway, when this happens, you can accept an invitation to automatically be grouped with four other groups of nearby people to take down these invaders. This rewards experience and builds around teamwork and actually fighting stuff for more than just a fetch quest. I enjoyed it a lot and, when it would end, I’d be sad to go back to the quests. There’s also an “instant adventure” button you can click to be grouped with some others nearby randomly to share quests, which is much better than just playing solo through the game, but in the end it’s still just more quests for the sake of experience. Also, this game is not completely free-to-play yet. You can play it free up to Level 20, but then you’ll need to obtain a subscription to continue. I’m kind of hoping it ends up free-to-play in the future, however, and will likely just wait that out since there are so many other free-to-play options available.

 

TERA

TERA

Speaking of which — tomorrow, a game I’ve had my eye on for a while goes free-to-play. It’s called TERA, and I’ve been trying to consume as much knowledge of it as I can in preparation for giving it a go tomorrow. From what I’ve gathered, there are 8 classes and 7 races. I made sure that I’ll have “Founder’s Status” when I start, meaning that I’ll have eight character slots. I aim to have one of each class for those slots, and also one of each race (with one obviously being doubled up). Presently, I’m trying to actually decide which race to assign for each class. Of course, I was drawn to the Lancer class, but what’s interesting as I read about it is that it is basically the tank of the game. Yes, somehow it wields a lance (ie polearm?) but also has a shield. Anyway, since I have to pick one class to actually play first, I might give this a try. I’ve never really done tanking before, so I’m not sure how I’ll be at it, but it’ll be something different. And, if I don’t like it, I can just try another class on a different character and race — I just need to decide which race will be each class! I’m told that race doesn’t much matter overall, they just have some racial abilities, but I still want to pick the best I can for each. I’ve even got a text file where I’ve been taking notes for my options of which I need to decide. I’ve got about twelve hours to do so!

Even so, the quest-spam-centric gameplay of all of these MMOs are not really my cup of tea. In the end, the idea of the unique gameplay of the FF MMOs has thus far been unmatched in any other available MMOs I’ve yet to try.

Anyway, that’s mostly what I’ve been up to since my Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary goal— which I successfully completed, by the way. I still need to bring my blogs/reviews of those games (8 through 13) up to date, but I’ve moved on to trying some non-Final Fantasy games for a bit before hopping back on to some of them (such as the two sequels I skipped, Final Fantasy X-2 and Final Fantasy XIII-2).  And, of course, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn!


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Jason L. Hubsch

Jason L. Hubsch

I love music, video games, comic books, pro wrestling, politics, and God -- and not necessarily in that order! If you like any of these, chances are we'll get along.

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