Monday, 27 February 2012

Taking The Loong View

What a lot of MMOs there are. I downloaded yet another one yesterday. Kaozz's fault. She mentioned that she was playing something called Loong Online. "Smooth as butter and polished", she said. I'd never heard of it, which was provocation enough without the praise on top.

I googled and found it on the Gamigo portal where I had a choice: sign up for Loong alone or make a Gamigo account to play any of their games. They host a lot of MMOs including a few I'd heard of. Fiesta, which certainly gets a lot of advertising, none of which has ever made me consider trying it, King of Kings, which I did once play for about half an hour and Black Prophecy, which crops up on Massively now and again largely to my complete lack of interest. They have several more and others in development. They even have a Golf MMO, and they're welcome to it. Obviously no real point starting a Gamigo account, then.

Quit hogging the camera, cat!
Having made my Gamigo account, when I came to add Loong to my list of games I planned to play on it I noticed a familiar name: Otherland. Otherland is the MMO based on Tad Williams' sprawling, disturbing cyberpunk/fantasy noir. It's an MMO I've had in the back of my mind for a long time, looking forward to giving it a run whenever it appears. Haven't heard much about it for a while, although there was a video recently. I had no idea Gamigo were involved but now I'm signed up. Pre-ordered, I suppose you could say, if you can pre-order a game you don't have to order in the first place. Ah, sweet serendipity.

Gamigo is a German F2P gaming network.  Seems to be the week for those, what with the PSS1 thing and all. There's an awful lot of MMO activity in Germany, now I come to think of it. Bigpoint are another. They host Drakensang and Nadirim, both of which I've tried, and Battlestar Galactica, which I haven't, it being a shooter. Germany is a big, rich country and one where MMOs seem to be very firmly established. Once you factor out the "sold like chattels" part of the PSS1/Sony deal the whole thing begins to look a little less disturbing. If they can get the IP block sorted out and restore freedom of choice, who knows? Maybe something good could come out of the wreckage.

Slot in top of head is not for litter
Leaving that aside for now, pending the supposed SoE/Allaplaya statements due later today, what is Loong like? Well, I only played for an hour or so but it was a good hour. It certainly looks fine. The world is lush and detailed, the views are stunning, the creatures are quirky and that's just in the starting areas.The interface is a bit too gritty for my taste and I can't say I'm keen on the fonts but the functionality is all there. Compared to, say, Eden Eternal, a game I like a lot, Loong appears to be several notches higher in quality. Gameplay, at the starter level, is identical.

Will I play it much? Ah, that's the question, isn't it? There are just so many MMOs. It's all very well downloading them and trying them out, but how often do I get much further than the starting area? Is looking great and playing smoothly enough? Well, no it's not. Even really top-notch gameplay doesn't set the hook deep enough. Zentia, for example, is a first-class game in just about every respect. Gameplay there is as good as any MMO I've played. Mrs Bhagpuss and I were on it all weekend when we first found it and we played sporadically for a fair while after that, but in the end we drifted away.

I told you once. Shoo!.
I think, for me at least, it comes down mostly to character. In Loong I can be a good-looking young man or a good-looking young woman and that seems to be about it. It's not like being a giant tiger in NeoSteam, is it? Or even a mouse in Eden Eternal. I just don't find playing good-looking young people very involving. If I can't be an animal, at least let me be a dwarf or a gnome, something with a big, bushy beard. Zentia let me play a fat old man, which may be why I lasted a few weeks there rather than a few hours.

Do my feet even touch the ground?
It's not just how the characters look, either. It's also how they move. My Loong character travels in sudden, fluid leaps and bounds, so slick and fast that he's sometimes on the far side of where I want him to be before I can make him stop. Rift has a very dull selection of races but movement there is stolid, steady, firm. I can feel every footfall and that really does matter. The more solid the character feels, the better I am able to associate.

I'll plug on with Loong for a bit. On and off. Here and there. Now and again. The world very much looks worth exploring. I'll be surprised if I become more than an occasional visitor, but that's fine. There are so many MMOs after all.

6 comments:

  1. The information about German MMOs is interesting. I'm German, and I never heard of them. I never played DSA either, which, I think was basically a different kind of DnD.

    I might check them out though, just to see whether there's a quality seal to be attached to German MMOs like "German Board Games". I'm not holding my breath, though.

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  2. Not sure if many of the MMOs are being created in Germany. Most look like conversions. Drakensang is definitely homegrown though.

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  3. Glad to hear you popped in and gave it a shot. I am not sure how long I will play it but I think it is a great game for free. I'm actually going to keep this one on my computer as some of them seem to get stale or start showing their true (bland) colors after a few levels, and this one seems to get a bit better combat, free bag slot enlarger and so on).

    Zentia I liked a lot too, just wrote about that with today's post. I suppose I like the fluff and silly feel about the game. I don't think I could play it as my main game but great for fun on the side.

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  4. Damn you I was just reading Kaozz's post and trying to remind myself not to be tempted by another f2p >.>

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  5. And that king of kings game, what a joke. a

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  6. I don't think they're made in germany either. Just the publisher is german.

    Wish there was an edit button, its early (for me) and I'm sorry for multi-post.

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