Apparently I Like Innovative Games

Those who know me know I’m an MMO junkie. My love for online gaming goes back to the first 2-d online RPGs like Sierra’s “The Realm” and the far better-known Ultima Online. I had a small amount of experience in MUDs as well, but as a child of the Nintendo generation I found pure text to be boring and tedious.

The 2 MMOs I’m currently playing most actively (Eve and Vindictus) got voted #1 and #2 in the “most innovative” category of the 2010 www.mmorpg.com awards. I found this rather validating since I’ve spent quite a lot of time recruiting people into both of these worlds.

“When it came to looking at the game that made the most strides forward in 2010 in terms of pushing the envelope and doing something new, there was actually quite a bit to talk about. Surprisingly, each of these nominees included their changes via an expansion.”

The voting for Most Innovative MMO broke down as such:

EVE Online 32.7%

Vindictus 24.1%

World of Warcraft 18.8%

Global Agenda 13.2%

Pocket Legends 11.1%

What’s so innovative about each of these games?

Starting with the bottom, Pocket Legends, this is the only game on the list I have not played.

Next is Global Agenda, famous for the “No More Elves” videos (if you haven’t seen this – you really should click the link right now). They really created a workable and fun FPS / MMO hybrid. I think World of Tanks is somewhat similar in terms of being an action MMO, but it really doesn’t have the character development of Global Agenda.

Though I am not currently subscribed to WoW, I have to admit that the changes Blizzard has made to the game in the Wrath expansion were pretty immense and innovative as well.

Who could have imagined a duengon where the first boss fight involved riding motorcycles, catapults and steam-punk style bulldozer tanks. That’s quite a change from the days of Molten Core and Black Rock Depths. Ulduar was the most memorable raid in any MMO I have ever played. The duengon finder tool was also a game-changer for casual players and I have to imagine Eve’s “Fleet Finder” was directly inspired by this tool.

Vindictus uses a combat system reminiscent of God of War and combines that with a traditional MMO character development system. You gain skill points passively (Eve style) and through grinding (running missions, which are infinately repeatable and change based on certain conditions). There are also dozens of special “achievements” for each mission and ways to enhance the difficulty (hard mode and heroic mode).

Vindictus allows you to improve your character in lots of ways beyond merely leveling. For example, completing achievements gives you new titles and the titles you posses give you passive bonuses (whether or not you display them).

Vindictus is brilliant for one reason above all other. Instead of taking the standard MMORPG template and making one HUGE change to try to appear unique, there are 100+ SMALL innovations that collectively give it a feeling of being a true next-gen MMO. For example, the in-game friends monitoring system is far ahead of any other game out there.

Additionally, I have never played another game (including Eve) where a lvl 1 character can actively be useful in a battle along-side a max-lvl character like they can in Vindictus. High level characters get a “daily” bonus to 1 dungeon per “area” (there are currently 4 groups of dungeons, with each group containing around a dozen dungeons, and each group is connected to a different story-line).

Because there are 4 areas (separated by level) the highest lvl players are encouraged to join missions with low levels to help them out from time to time. In these missions the low-levels (if smart) can be used to keep the smaller monsters off the back of the high-level while they blitz through to bosses and clear the stage in record time.

Finally, Eve. There’s a sandbox you see… and uh… people form big alliances of alliances and kill each other’s spaceships and then post about it on forums.

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3 Responses to “Apparently I Like Innovative Games”

  1. Wanted to give Vindictus a shot, being ranked 2nd and all.

    Downloaded, installed, and then major failure:
    All Non-US and Canadian IPs are being blocked 😦

    After investigating further it’s homepage says, “Coming soon to Europe”.
    http://vindictus.nexoneu.com/

    • Ah too bad, I guess it’s “coming soon” at least.

      Vind is a very fun game. Not necessarily DEEP like Eve where there are politics and complicated mechanics to learn, but it is extremely polished, entertaining and surprisingly innovative.

  2. I blog quite often and I seriously appreciate your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed too.|

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