Y'know, this is one of the reasons I like Guild Wars 2. It's not good vs. evil, and pretty vs. ugly, and all of those saturday morning tropes that we're far too used to. It's people fighting for survival against creatures that are forces of nature, that don't desire anything in particular, but are simply apex predators who consider the world as theirs. We are the mice, in Guild Wars 2, and the dragons are the cats. ArenaNet has stressed a number of times that their dragons aren't necessarily evil in any sense we'd attach to them, but they're there, and they want to survive.
Unfortunately their drive for survival is making that world inhospitable for everyone else. And then you have the charr, who were supposedly the bad guys in Guild Wars 1, but with all the lore revealed it now shows that Ascalon were as guilty of heinous acts in Guild Wars 1 as the charr, if not more so. And that makes the whole thing more three-dimensional, because you can't just point at someone and say that they're the shiny good guys, or they're the dirt-stained bad guys.
All of the races have had their moments of shining brilliance and unethical darkness. This is recognised by the fact that every race has a faction which is against their unification philosophies, which is against peace between the races.
It's still not perfect, but it's a step up over most the stuff out there. And it's why I still hold out hope for Guild Wars 2 over most other MMORPGs, because it's more mature than most other MMORPGs. It greys the lines. Champions Online does this too, if I'm honest, like that one mission I talked about in a comment a while back. Where a bunch of VIPER are literally holding back a guy who's trying to jump off a roof.
The mission is called 'A Mission of Gravity' and once you defeat the VIPER (who're supposed to be a rather nasty paramilitary organisation), the guy says "Thanks, I really don't know why they were holding me back.", walks to the edge of the roof, and disappears.
I just aided in a suicide that VIPER were trying to stop.
There's a lot of that in CO, actually. There are times when you feel like you're little more than super-police, and people run up to you and yell at you for your police brutality. This is a thing that happens. It's not a perfect reality, your halo is tarnished. And amidst all the cheesy Adam West humour of Champpions Online, this somehow makes it all the more disturbing, dark, and alien. There's this shiny, colourful world here, but most the time we're not allowed to feel very good about what we do.
And half of the time in CO you can tell your contacts are self-interested, egomaniacal pricks who're not particularly invested in helping anyone other than themselves. And then you read the info of the people they're sending you up against, and that makes the people you're supposed to see as villains sympathetic and worthy of empathy.
I first noticed this in CO with the Dogz, because I wanted to read their info. Now there are two factions, and one of them are Black Fang's Dogz. Black Fang is just a guy who wants to look out for his growing pack, and the Dogz are just a bunch of misfits and outcasts who had nowhere else to go. Then from Caliburn (Mr. Self-Interested Jerk) you get a mission to beat the shit out of a bunch of them. And it just makes you sit back and think... what's really going on, there?
After that, I started paying attention to more NPC dialogue and mission text, and... well, I found that this is a strong undercurrent throughout the game. Once you see it, you can't unsee it, and it was completely intentional. This is one of the things that's kept me playing Champions Online.
Versus that, in The Secret World, you have: These are the bad people, they're monsters with claws, angs and stuff. Beat them up. You're freeing the world above, you pretty, perfect people, you.
And The Old Republic? Well, that's typical Star Wars, isn't it? I can't blame it for that. You have your Jedi and you have your Sith. Obsidian managed to blur the lines with some of the characters in Knights of the Old Republic II, and some of the books have gone even further than that, but Star Wars is supposed to be an iconic good vs. evil battle for the young ones, so I can't begrudge it that.
TOR is just not something I'm going to play due to that. Same with TSW. They both embody things I don't want: WoW style play and a Saturday morning cartoon attitude to the world's politics.
Well, they apparently managed to do away with all of the doubts that KOTOR2 raised about the sanctity of the Jedi, and the evilness of the sith. And now, with star wars coming out in 3D, I think we've lost all chances for anything good in the star wars universe. The books have all been written, the series have all shown they sortof drizzle after a while. Its over. Star Wars is finally over.
Now lets please concentrate on other SciFi Fantasy things, that have more potential.
Truly. Though I fear that if you water that experience down, you end up with nothing at all.
Well I found it fun after a while... I was appaled by the quality of the graphics and the similarities to... certain other games at first and largely irritated through the first 10 or-so levels, but I pushed through... got to like Level20 and the story picks up a lot in that time and leaves it open to the top, you also get a ship and companions etc. If I might've had "enough time" in the Beta (like I did with WoW, LOTRO, Age of Conan, RIFT and so on...) I might not even care and leave it aside as another game cause I'm "bored" by it or experienced most of what there was to experience.
I'm also long done with waiting on another "Ultima Online" though (the only game I played for years, and one of the few among of which there also was Anarchy Online and Asheron's Call I actually subscribed to) and I figure I've paid more money for worse/less.
If it's not worth it after exploring the stories for Light and Dark side like in most SP RPGs I'll just cancel the sub and treat it as such, but compared to other MMOs and for people that liked KOTOR/KOTOR2 or Mass Effect there is actually something to look forward to in and keep playing the game other than "Endgame" and "PvP".
I find the plot and dialogue to be uninspired. Nothing in the world looks like it has any texture except hair. The environments are destitute and boring. I'm with Wulf on this one -- wait for GW2.
I too tried the beta weekend and found it very disappointing.
The very first thing I experienced in the game was character creation and it left me baffled. What were they thinking with those body types?
- Emaciated teenager
- Skinny college grad with a big head
- 7 foot giant with a 1 foot deep chest
- Peter Griffin
Only options 2 and 3 are really viable but if you choose #2 then the #3 NPCs will tower over you and make your badass (don't ban me bro) savior-of-the-universe look like the captain of the chess team. If you pick #3 you tower above all the #2 NPCs and look like a shaved Wookie and expect to hear grunting whenever you character opens his mouth.