For those of you that are just not that into gaming, an MMORPG is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. This is just jargon for an online game that a bunch of people are playing at the same time, as well as being able to interact with one another directly in the game. Some examples that come to mind are Everquest and World of Warcraft. Now, don’t be so hasty to leave! Not all MMORPGs are made equally. That, my friends, is the whole point of this post. No, no; don’t worry. I am not going to list all the games I can think of and give you a run down of them.. though you may wish I had by the end of it.
No, I am going to give you one game and then tell you why I love it and why I hate it. Why? Because this is “Chelsea’s space o’ writing” and I have a pet peeve to add to the list. Ahem.
The game that Hubby and I are currently playing is called DC Universe Online (I say currently because we like to hop around different MMORPG games). It is an MMORPG based off of the superhero/villain worlds of the DC world.. hence the name. It has a good hook to it: you can be any hero or villain you want to be, in many customizable forms. The forms include not only costumes but also different types of powers and different storylines. It is absolutely replayable, meaning that you don’t just go through it once and you are done. Nope, you can create another character and fire up a whole new story line. Granted, there are only about 6 storylines to choose from, but that means you can play it at least 6 times and still have fun.
Also to be noted is that there really is no “all the way through” or ending to this style of game. The storylines continue with new quests and arcs added every so many months. It does a good job of keeping people interested in the characters and what they are doing. When you add the massively multiplayer aspect to this, it magnifies. Now, I can share quests and play through story arcs with other people.. in real time! This adds even more flavor and depth to the game and increases the replayability part.
On the other hand, there are some real issues with this game.. and that’s why I wrote this post. You see, in the comic world, women and men are objectified even more. Well no duh, right? It’s a make-believe world with make-believe people. Eh, that only goes so far. I get fed up with seeing characters who have massive tits, shoulders, butts, etc.. and tiny waists. I can understand the relevance: super-humans must be super-sexy and super-strong. Only, not so much. I want a character I can relate to. Making it even worse is the costumes.
The costumes are skin tight and shiny, something that just enhances the overall objectivity. After a while, it gets old.. Ok, maybe not after so long a while. It gets old fast, dangit! It’s to the point where the costumes I choose for my male or female characters are based on how loose and textured the costume fits. This limits my choices and cranks down that whole replayability bit. I know, I know, it’s a fantasy world. But with this type of thing becoming more mainstream due to movies like Batman, Superman, Thor, The Avengers, etc.. etc.., you would think they would have gotten the hint by now: We like a little realism in our fantasy. Don’t show me a Batman/woman in a skin tight or bulked up outfit with only a small utility belt. Get real. Strap some utilities to those costumes! Add some textures! Make it believable, people! And by “people” I also mean other players. There are some albeit limited costume choices that aren’t so overly-sexualized, but people seem to gravitate towards the ones that are. Seeing skin tight, half naked, muscled up people fly and run around is a turn off for me.
Aside from that, the whole “Free” thing doesn’t really come across that way. For those of you who have played Facebook or Android/iPhone games, you know what I mean. Download for free, play a little for free.. but if you really want to excel at the game, you have to pay. Yup, you have to pay to access all features of the game. So it’s not really free, it’s free to a point. Basically, the game is advertising for itself by hooking you with the free part and then saying, “Nope, you can’t do anymore unless you give us your credit card number or Paypal account.” It’s like going to school and being told that only the rich kids will get access to the other half of the textbook. Say what? I want it all and I want it free! Okay, that might be a little to ask for. I honestly don’t mind paying for a good game. I don’t mind paying a modest amount, that is. I am not going to pay $40 for a game unless it is absolutely superb (think Skyrim). However, I also don’t mind paying small amounts here or there for extra access as long as it does not hinder the storyline.
If I choose not to pay and it hinders the storyline or game, I have an issue. I would totally pay for extra perks like awesome looking gear, an advanced characteristic to my character, or even to get extra in game cash. However, DCUO has taken this to extremes. For example, you cannot sell/trade within the game unless you have paid for something in the game. This means that if you get a cool item and want to share it with someone (free or for in game cash) you cannot, unless you pay real money first. I don’t mind them charging a small percentage of in-game cash for something like this (like in the auction houses), because they obviously have to use servers.. etc. etc. and having to pay the percentage fee makes it less likely people will post a butt-ton of crap. However, this can truly inhibit the in game marketplace and a player’s desire to continue playing. If I have to hunt down this rare item each time, with each character.. that would get old fast. I’d rather be able to stumble upon said item twice with one character, and then send it to another one.
This does not include “farming” where the player will run around and collect said rare items all day long. I have played games where other players dominance on a rare item due to farming seriously screwed up the in-game supply and demand of the marketplace. Prohibiting players from selling/trading unless they pay does not stop this, because the pay-to-play players do it anyways and set the prices. Instead, a better alternative would be to put a cap on how many times any given player can sell/trade within a certain time frame. For example, free players can sell/trade five times a week. Pay-to-play players can sell/trade more often in a week given which tier they are paying for. See? Easy peasy.
I think I may have ranted a little there, but that’s alright. To recap, great game.. getting tired of a few things.. had to vent. Thanks for listening!
Oh by the way, if you are interested in checking this game out, hop on over to DC Universe Online’s website. There is a download and all that computer spec crap, so read first 🙂