From Korea with Love

Monday, May 12, 2014 | 33



Yo, Korea is killin' it right now with MMO's.

I'm just as shocked as everyone else is. From what I'm seeing, ArcheAge is eating Everquest Next's lunch right now, and Black Desert just ran off with WildStar's girlfriend (boyfriend?). Don't believe me?


How long has it been since any MMORPG had any construct for non-violent crime? You'd likely have to look all the way back to the 90s and Ultima Online to find one. Sure, Mortal Online had stealing, but the 150 dollar ArcheAge alpha has a larger playerbase, even at that ludicrous price-tag.

It's been a long time since I've seen a MMORPG with the type of unscripted shenanigans capability of ArcheAge, which spans from open sea piracy, to land/sea trade routes, to running a absurdly large green-bean plantation. If one game isn't enough, check out Black Desert...


For those of you who like a MMO with beautiful visuals, Black Desert also comes with a huge feature list that focuses, again, on free-form sandbox loveliness such as housing, fishing, hunting, and being a weird huge-dude. Did I mention the game is freakin' gorgeous? The only fear is that their engine is in-house, so compared to ArcheAge (CRYEngine), they're years behind on testing... Not that it is a bad thing that they want to control their whole environment.


Seriously, it's not even close.

WildStar has recently started an extremely aggressive Twitch campaign where they have made the following claim:

"This is the best housing in any MMO. Ever." -Dumb Carbine Streamer
Well this is fucking wrong. Ultima Online had more meaningful and satisfying housing than WildStar, but both of these upcoming Korean titles put it to shame. Instanced housing is hardly anything to write home about, especially when it's just a largely single-player novelty. Come on guys.

This type of subjective nonsense is exactly why Putin laughs at US sanctions. It can't be backed up because it's clearly coming from a position of fear and desperation. Copying World of Warcraft doesn't work if you don't have 10 years of content streamlining. The words "best MMO ever" have been thrown around by the arrogant stream-team, and while I understand that they're trying to market this thing, I think the ship may have sailed on goofy quest-hub theme-park MMORPGs.

While EverQuest Next re-redesigns their game, their focus on parkour and Minecraftean terrain deformation simply isn't going to be enough. Creating a MMORPG takes years, and outside of Star Citizen, no projects on the horizon are even attempting to be competitive with the emerging Korean sandbox market.


I was wrong, and I love it...

In 2011, I harped on Korean MMORPGs, and at the time I couldn't see them ever breaking the mold of Dragon Nest style free to play garbage. Mabinogi aside, which was really quite creative and interesting (to think about, not to play), they have made tangible strides in the industry. It's about fucking time someone did.

33 comments :

  1. Wildstar housing is good for RP'ers and girls. That's about it.

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  2. I played the russian Archeage Open Beta, and I was pretty dissapointed. I played it for about 8 hours and pretty much everything I did was going from quest hub to quest hub. It seems absolutely trivial to lock the "good" content under hours of quest grinding, it reminded me why I don´t usually play MMOs.


    I´m only looking forward to Elite: Dangerous and to a lesser extent Star Citizen, EQ Next and Black Desert(if it ever gets released in the west).

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  3. Yeah, I think they've westernized it a bit to allow for more free-form stuff earlier. The only problem with the tutorial section (what you're talking about) is that people don't really realize there is more to the game unless they venture out. Around level 20 the whole things explodes.


    All the games you mentioned talk a good game, but the track records are either non-existent or bleak. Star Citizen could be the greatest game in history, or it could be a giant scam to steal money from diabetic nerds.

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  4. Finally! A game in which I can steal trees!


    Seriously though, I'm excited about sandbox MMOs.

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  5. I could drone about all the other stuff (piracy, trade routes, building), but stealing trees sums up nicely how wildly different ArcheAge is.

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  6. People are paying 150 dollars to play an alpha. This blows my mind. No wonder mmo's today suck so badly when you have idiot gamers willing to do this. 150 dollars to play Archage alpha WTF man.

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  7. They suck because people are willing to pay for a $150 founders pack? I really don't see how that's a bad thing, per se. Do you also hate kickstarter and Early Access games on Steam?

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  8. I think the fact people are willing to spend that is evidence that MMO's are -so- bad that people would pay anything

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  9. I think the free-to-play shit just needs to stop (or at least not be so damn abundant). F2P as a business can work well, IF YOU DON'T ALLOW PAY-TO-WIN. I say this too much, but the ONLY, the ONLY F2P games I have seen so far that actually use the F2P model in a GOOD way are the MOBA games. And the only reason they do it right is because LoL did/does it right, and they all pretty much copy LoL in every aspect (except for Dota2).


    So why do I think it needs to stop? Because nobody else seems to want to use the business model CORRECTLY... they all just want it for, straight-up, 100%, their own insatiable, natural, putrid, digusting greed... -___-

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  10. These games look pretty good, I'm wondering though. Do either of them
    utilize quest tracker/helper bullshit? That's been a big killer for me
    as far as immersion and challenge. The retardation of these sort of
    systems is beyond belief. Why bother having quests at all if you're
    just going to tell me how to do them? "Here's a puzzle, the answer is
    xyz - wow you figured it out! Here's a cookie!"

    Also, how's grouping? I feel the need to ask this question now since ESO.

    Great site btw, it's nice to see I'm not alone. We share many of the same viewpoints.

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  11. Yes, and no. There is tons of easy-mode tracking, but the majority of the game that I'm interested in has nothing to do with quests. Some of them (such as transporting cargo across the sea) probably needs tracking more than kill x rat style quests.


    Either way, nothing is perfect, but ArcheAge is at least attempting to offer something different. I'm curious if any AAA developers outside of Korea will match their bravery.

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  12. Cool.


    I'm not a huge fan of quests, but they can be supplementary. Oddly, my favourite type of quests are kill quests. Like, bounties especially... on the other hand, I'm sick of MMOs that are just about "killing stuff". Time and time again I ask, "why can't we just have a UO with better graphics". I want to spend all day mining.

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  13. Ya, you can do all that in AA, or farm, lumberjack, build houses and boats, fish, and be a pirate... Piracy is a tradeskill right?

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  14. I'm starting to hate kickstarter. I've been let down a couple of times.

    Here's a thought. Maybe one day, just maybe, we'll get back to the idea of MAKING something first, THEN selling it. I'm not going to help fund anymore projects, ever.

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  15. Sounds like my fucking dream game.

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  16. Kickstarter is NOT a market for video games. It wasn't advertised as one and it shouldn't ever be viewed as one. You are FUNDING a game, not buying a game, they are making promises that when it is finished you get a product, but it is an investment.


    Same goes for Early Access on Steam. If you want a finished product, why don't you wait until it's on the shelf instead of bashing a system you don't understand?

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  17. Skilling up larceny is a bitch though, you're inevitably going to become a pirate which makes everything else in the game more difficult (trade runs, fishing, crafting).

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  18. There's nothing to understand. I'm bashing it because it's a bullshit system that hasn't produced anything meaningful. Additionally, I don't want the community to have a say in anything because they're mostly retarded. WTB developers with integrity and vision, not pandering salesmen.

    Steam Early Access is also bullshit.

    Make a game, sell it, done.

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  19. I'm not sure I agree with your sentiment. Kickstarter is a way for developers to acquire funding without having to partner with publishers (the devil). The devil wants you to make games that have been made before. Kickstarter allows a studio the ability to petition the common man for the type of product he wants to see.


    Many games, like Shadowrun Returns, are proof that this concept is functional, but I definitely don't think you should ever give any money to a project unless you're okay throwing money down a well. You have no real guarantee that a game will be released. I guess in the next few years, we'll see if the REAL pipe-dream projects (Star Citizen) are going to change the landscape.

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  20. Well, I come from an era when the best games in history were made in a basement by a few guys, or a small dedicated studio not looking for handouts. I believe in game design as an art form, and it doesn't require a million plus dollars to make a good game. Anyone can write an engine for free or use open source engines and compilers with $0 cost (like they used to do) but people simply don't have that kind of dedication anymore, and that's where it all comes apart, because the industry is what killed game design.


    Remember when coders and game designers were artists? I do. When games reflected their principles. When games broke new ground. When is the last time that happened in the industry?


    Crowd funding is worse to me because of the pandering for handouts. That's why I say WTB developers with vision and integrity. If you're not good enough to make a game, don't. Additionally, the cart before the horse thing bugs me as it does in any venture. Why do we have million dollar studios that have only but a promise to make a good game? Come now. Balls to the wall, get shit done. What can I say, I'm old fashioned.

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  21. When coders were artists, art was terrible, but I see what you're saying. Like all art, classic games weren't appreciated in their time. It's just a reality that producing a game takes a lot more man-hours than it used to because the standard has increased with hardware.


    Then again, without crowd-funding we may see 20 more years of World of Warcraft clones because businessmen are making the decisions about what games are made instead of gamers.

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  22. What about The Repopulation? These Korean titles are kind of shallow in the sandbox aspect when you think about player-driven economies and content (a la EVE, SWG Pre-CU, and UO). TR excels at that, and is where I will be going to get my sandbox MMO fix.

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  23. That's yet to be seen, but I'm open to it.

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  24. Archeage looks great at the moment. However if you spend a cursory 3 minutes looking up "patch 1.0" you're going to see a lot of people who formerly professed to love the game bitchfucking it to death behind a dumpster because it "sold out its sandbox principles" and went "themepark for money". I'd love it if a game came along I could actually get into again...its been TOO long, too many dailies, too much moronic global chat, too may shitty guilds, too much borked worthless crafting and far far too much boring repeat same-fucking-dungeon-i thought-we-killed-this-fat-fuck-on-tuesday style raiding.

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  25. Yeah, I'm still taking the wait-and-see approach. Hopefully they won't molest it too much, but even if they cut half the features, it still has more features than most MMORPGs.

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  26. Thats what I'm hoping. I just commited Tera suicide when the "purple headache inducing Loli" patch landed and the only new content aprt from more Lolis was magic RNG underpants. I like having an MMO to play..but I can't stomach more cash shop Ken and Barbie dress up. I WANNA BE A HERO NOT A FRICKING CHILDLIKE SUPERMODEL!!!! Either that or I want to save up enough money through making pine dressing room furniture that I can have you assasinated without leaving my living room...

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  27. Double post but meh... For me, what kills every single MMO is "gear dependance". All the best fantasy novels involved a "journey". Whether it was carrying a shitty ring halfway round the world to discover you had courage or hiking up a mountain to go and sit under a waterfall and train with the head mage, or having to kill all of your tutors to advance in the thieves guild....whatever. Why is it that ALL MMOs are basically dependant on what pants you are wearing? If all it took in life to succeed as a businessman was repeating the same journey to work every day until someone died and gave you the "magical seventh level business pants of money making" we'd all be rich. Make us go do some special shit if we want special powers...and make it hard work. You know...like life. I kill the head dragon at the top of "dragon rock" or some shit I am NOT wanting to kill that fuck again next week when my cooldown wears off...and damn it would be nice if those cats in town remembered what I did last Tuesday.
    Thats where the original cut of Archeage does sound good. Go steal for your loot, you're an outlaw...go to jail, get cut off from polite society. Wanna make cupboards? Hey cool..if theyre good cupboads, great. Build a house....you need to pay taxes and if you dont, hey fuck you...no house when you come back from the tavern.

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  28. The type of MMO you're proposing would be impossible to make because players consume content faster than it can be made. The sandbox approach makes more sense because players make and consume content simultaneously.

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  29. Yeah true. But even so, it would be theoretically possible for a game where you develop your character and not your gear. Like, a magical axe that does flamestrikes or so on would do more damage when used by a hardened, experienced warrior than when used by someone who spent all his time levelling by baking cakes. GW2 was a class example of this...you could gain 10 levels by mastering tailoring at one point. And I think I hate levels anyway. It would be very cool if pvp wasnt about levels and gear, you could decide to attack someone walking through your town who is wearing rags and find out he spent the last 3 months mastering all ten schools of swordfighting or some shit (yeah I'm real creative :) ) and all of a sudden you are flat on your ass because...you didnt. Not just...we are the same level and have all the same moves but he has a better sword than I do, so he wins.

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  30. shadowbane omg i miss shadowbane imagine the same attachment you had to your character but then add a whole city you spent years on

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  31. nice points love it. anyway i believe a big flaw in mmos is endgame making an encounter to make it memorable is pretty hard on my opinion.that is why guild wars decided to put expansions and eliminate gear to make it unique in a way although not perfect. games like wow fail on this part like a person once said(a reviewer a recomendable one from gamefaqs) it ends up being a chore. and pvp is crazy unbalanced healing classes have too much advantage although you do need melee for pvp tanking(in 3v3 at least)even if the ranged class got a boost, range classes in a mmo are supposed to be squishy(except in tor though but, reason is cuz some abilities require good managing). in swtor a range class can actually tank(vanguard) that is so weird :_

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  32. I used to play mmorpgs but hen I realized something. unless I spend months grinding for loot and levels and optimize my entire character solely around a PvP build then I'm going to get wiped no matter what game I'm in during PvP combat. Oh you played this game for a whole month and grinder for half of that? Well my lvl 80 wizard is just going to one shot your entire party with a Aoe spell.

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