Microcosms - Nobody's Fool

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Free-to-Play Games

of Mar 28 - Apr 3, 2010

1. Dungeons
and Dragons
Online: Eberron Unlimited

of Magic

href="http://everquest2.station.sony.com/"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://allods.gpotato.com/" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">3.  href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1303"
target="_blank">Atlantica Online

4.  href="http://atlantica.ndoorsgames.com/center/default.asp"
target="_blank"> href="http://www.freerealms.com/" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/856"
Chronicles of Spellborn

5.  target="_blank">FreeRealms

6.  target="_blank"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/856"
target="_top"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/771"
target="_top"> href="http://allods.gpotato.com/" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/769"
target="_blank">Requiem: Bloodmayne

 7.  href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/581"
target="_top"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/856"
target="_top"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/581"
target="_blank"> href="http://heroesofgaia.gpotato.com/" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

8.  target="_top"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/2433"

9.  target="_top"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/771"
target="_top"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/1841"
target="_blank"> href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/856"

10. target="_blank">Sword of the New Wworld href="http://www.gamersfirst.com/swordofthenewworld/"

style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://www.freerealms.com/" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://atlantica.ndoorsgames.com/center/default.asp"
target="_blank"> href="http://allods.gpotato.com/" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://us.runesofmagic.com/us/index.html"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> style="text-decoration: underline;"> href="http://allods.gpotato.com/" target="_blank"> style="text-decoration: underline;">

Well we survived another National
Amateur Hour, a.k.a April
Fools Day, the day that everyone gets to wax sophomoric and escape the
that would follow such buffoonery on any other day. While I generally
enjoy the
planned out pranks and “announcements” done by major sites and
especially in the MMOG world, I tend to sigh with disdain at the litany
of false
pregnancy claims on social media sites and the typical gquits by random
of my guild. Maybe it’s just a side effect to getting on in years, a
neo-geriatric response mechanism akin to “GET OFF MY LAWN!”, but with
shouting and waving of my walker, that has me so bothered by what used
to be
such a fun day for me. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I really don’t
like to
be deceived in general.  

Over the past few weeks here in
Microcosms the tone has been
one of a mostly positive nature; we are here to spotlight the best of
free-to-play gaming, after all. In last week’s feature we looked at
some of the
misconceptions surrounding microtransaction games, busted some myths,
dispelled some of the stereotypes associated with free-to-plays. Sadly,
most stereotypes are rooted in some form of fact and those pertaining
free-to-plays are no different. There are bad games out there folks.
Even with
the new trend toward making top notch games with a subscriptionless
there are games that fall on the low side of the quality equation for
reason or another. This week we will take a look at several of those
games in
an effort to help steer you clear of games that may be a waste of your
time in
Microcosms – Nobody’s Fool. 

Few people like to be tricked. Even so, most of us will
likely get fooled at least one more time when it comes to choosing a
game. While you, gentle reader, could feign ignorance for your
potentially poor selections, we here at Ten Ton Hammer have been
charged with trying these various games and falling on the virtual
sword so that you don’t have to. With that in mind it’s time to look at
some of the games that reinforce the negative stereotypes and
contribute, at least in some small way, to the bad name that has dogged
free-to-play games since their inception.

I feel I must give a preemptive statement about the games that we will
be discussing this week, however, as not all of them are completely bad
(although, if we’re honest with ourselves, few games are 100% awful.)
So while none of these games are complete garbage, each has at least
one glaring flaw that makes it less worthy of your valuable playtime.

Gates of Andaron

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At first glance it’s hard to find fault with style="font-style: italic;"> Gates of Andaron;
it’s a fairly stable game with clean graphics and a solid feel, so why
would it end up on what is essentially a worst of list? The answer is a
short and simple one; two words in fact–WoW clone.

I know that there must have been a class I missed at the fine
University of California school that I attended with the title of “How
to design a successful MMOG”  and with the course description
of “learn how to copy WoW.” There must have been such courses at many
institutions because it seems damn near every devco is doing it. I have
a news flash for these folks, there is already a game out there just
like WoW--it’s called World
of Warcraft
, and its eleventy billion players are pretty
happy with it. If you want to try and capture that player base, best of
luck, but you’d be better off throwing half your development money out
the window of a moving car and putting the other half in the bank; at
least then it wouldn’t be a total loss. I suppose I could state that style="font-style: italic;">Gates of Andaron is
a copy of any popular faction-based MMOG just as easily as I can
compare it with the 800 lb gorilla of massively multiplayer gaming, but
you get the idea.

Gates does have a couple interesting classes and a ton of pre-level-cap
content, but overall it falls short due to being a bland imitator with
PvP ganking and cash shop issues thrown in to boot, (most noticeably
the 15 dollar a month charge if you want a mount!) Overall this game is
definitely on my Do Not Like list and I believe you can find much
better alternatives to fit any playstyle and interests.

Shaiya Online

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Shaiya Online is
something of a paradox, an intriguing game with some very big upsides
but one glaring issue that is ultimately its death knell. style="font-style: italic;">Shaiya is a
PvP-oriented game with some surprisingly deep PvE content. It features
the standard fair as classes go but has some more advanced features,
such as flying mounts and epic quests. Even though the game has the
typical trappings of a South Korean MMOG, with its anime styled avatars
and customary level grinds, it still manages to hold up fairly well
through the leveling process with numerous dungeons and events.

I was introduced to the game by a co-worker who swore to me that it
would be the best free-to-play I had ever tried.  I am by and
large immune to such hyperboles and I approached style="font-style: italic;">Shaiya as I would
any other game--with my plus 10 jaded armor strapped on and polished to
a shine. I was at first pleasantly surprised and then the other boot
dropped; I reached level cap and found out why style="font-style: italic;">Shaiya would
forever be near the top of the games I like the least-- If you want to
succeed at end game, which is heavily PvP-centric, you needed to spend
money in the item shop. Lots and lots of money. Nothing will kill a
good game faster than forcing cash shop dependency and I was forced to
reequip my too often used jaded armor and hasten my retreat.

If you can somehow manage to keep yourself from the PvP scene, which is
nearly impossible if you’re any kind of MMO gamer, then style="font-style: italic;">Shaiya may just be
one of the best free-to-plays on the market. Having to wall yourself
off from such an integral part of the game or be forced to take out a
second mortgage should be a huge red flag, however, and for that reason
I have to advise you to pass on this one.

While these two are far from the only bad games out there in the
segment (see our review of Magic
World Online
from last year for another great example)
they highlight two of the very worst qualities found in
free-to-plays–lack of originality and item shop dependence. With so
many new gamers coming to check out this segment of MMOGs it is
important that we continue to expose the poorly designed games as well
as focusing on the best of the bunch.

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Shayia Online

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off the Press!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Shaiya Game Page.

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