Thursday, October 22, 2009

Current Gaming Trends

I'm actually really optimistic about current gaming trends. Developers are slowly learning that they need to do more than they have been. The old formula of "make the graphics and sound great and everyone will buy it" is starting to fade and developers are focusing more on the "heart and soul" of the game instead. There will always be junk games and niche games produced on the side but the great freight train of the mainstream of the industry is rolling forward and not backward. You can only improve the graphics for so long and eventually that ceases to be an option to wow people anyways. Then you have to work on more important things, like AI, story, character development, humor, and adventure.

Some things I don't personally like much is that every one of my favorite companies is starting to release games with nudity in them. I feel that porn denigrates women. It reduces our ability to appreciate them in appropriate times and places by making things that should be kept for bonding in marriage commonplace. It also exposes kids and teenagers to feelings that they have trouble dealing with and no defenses built up against. It weakens marital satisfaction by creating unrealistic expectations of spouses. Therefore I am saddened by some of my favorite game IP's going into the Nudie land, such as Dungeon Siege, Bioware's Dragon Age Origins (derived from Baldur's Gate, one of my favorite games) and of course certain MMOs (Age of Porn anyone?). I currently refuse to buy anything that has nudity or an M/R/NC17/X rating, (I haven't yet, honest, believe it or not) and I encourage you to do the same. "All it takes for evil to take over the world is for enough good people to do nothing" as the old saying goes. If enough consumers did this it'd send a stark message to the industry and Hollywood. Fortunately some companies like Turbine haven't gone this route yet but if they do I'll boycott them too.

That said I like where a lot of games are going. I'm happy about experiments in phasing (like WoW), scalability and accessibility (like Lotro's skirmishes), and other fun things going on. I like the new Sandbox games coming out and skill based games becoming more prevalent. There's a lot to look forward to soon. All of it hinges on the games being actually fun rather than having some zingy new feature, but all in all I'm optimistic.

In the MMO world I am currently interested in all of the new ones that launched, but I've mostly just been reading about them on your blogs instead of playing due to my limited time and money. I upgraded my subscription to Lotro to take advantage of the deal going on, cuz I want that goat darn it! And I have been doing lots of other random things. I played DnDOnline on Saturday with my wife's sorceress and got her to lvl 2. Levels are hard to come by in that game. The dungeons are very hard even on solo for a caster, but easy even on hard mode, for a melee fighter with lots of armor. Thanks to MBP for pointing out crowd control is possible with mesmerize type spells. I shall invest in those.

In Lotro I've been trying to get my jeweller some Galadhrim rep so he can churn out Lothlorien rep items for the kinship and friends. I also got my first radiance gear with Rumples and am still working on getting 2.5.5 group together and getting the rest of the dungeons' radiance gear. (I enjoyed my runs through Fil Gashan and Forges but got no gear, just exp and quests done)

In other news a lot of MMO's came out in September and some (Champions Online, Fallen Earth, Dawntide) I really wanted to play badly but have no time and even less money, thanks to paying 20 dollars to upgrade each of my Lotro lifetime subscriptions for the expansion. Still I look forward to learning more about them all, and Champions is on my list still if it survives that long. (Prolly in January now) Tonight I shall play with Anton in Neverwinter Nights on his world and this weekend who knows....(Prolly chore time :P)


Chappo said...

Great post. I agree with you with your point about nudity/sex in video games. In my view the excessive violence and sex in some games is never about making the game more 'mature' rather it is just designed to appeal to the young male masses. People have yet to grasp, it appears, the idea that you can have a mature story without confronting the player blatantly with offensive material. It adds nothing to the game and it will always have a detrimental effect on many players and gaming in general.

DA:O from what I have seen of it so far is a massive disappointment to me personally. BG1 and 2 had such a deep, dark and thoroughly enthralling story and had great adventures, and this new game seems to strip that all away to some flashy 'bleh'-ness

Anton said...

Yes, I agree with all you said, too!

Tesh said...

Very nice.

I've long stated that the ESRB actively hurts the industry and players by completely misusing the term "Mature". An obsession with nudity and violence are a mark of immaturity, and ultimately actively undermine true maturation, as you rightly note. When the ESRB presents these things as "mature", they suddenly become desirable, and carry a sort of unspoken approval, if not outright recommendation for anyone who seeks to truly "grow up". It's a terribly irresponsible bit of Orwellian marketspeak.

Nudity, porn and violence damage their patrons. Garbage in, garbage out.

Thallian said...

You just made me look up Orwellian! ;) Thanks for your good insights Tesh. I agree. I don't know what to do about it other than boycott their 'finer gems' and encourage others to do the same, but I agree.