Lifetap #4 - Clash of the Titans
Even though were still locked in a cosmic dance with December, its quickly becoming apparent that developers and publishers are catching Spring Fever a bit early. All this and much more in this special Travel Plague edition of Lifetap!
Welcome to the 4th Edition of Lifetap
4 Billion Fried Bug Meat burgers served and counting
Disclaimer: Todays edition of Lifetap may prove to be somewhat nonsensical due to the dastardly travel plague that Ive been battling for the better part of this week. Weve been duking it out like estranged lovers who unexpectedly bump into one another during a pie factory tour. You know that kind of thing totally happens all the time.
Having choices or options is always a good thing. Thats often one of the things MMO gamers tend to crave the most. We like our virtual worlds persistent, but that doesnt necessarily mean we want them to remain static. We also like to have meaningful choices in terms of which worlds we inhabit to begin with.
Whether by coincidence or design (Im eyeballing the latter as the culprit, here) gamers are going to have to make some interesting choices next spring now that we have a lock on the Elder Scrolls Online launch date. It seems that someone at Zenimax Online decided to take a page out of the Blizzard marketing playbook and chose a date that falls within a week of the much anticipated closed beta for EverQuest Next Landmark.
To make things even more interesting, we confirmed with Carbine last week that theyre still on track for a spring launch for WildStar. Given the major differences in gameplay between WildStar and Landmark, they didnt seem to be terribly concerned about launching within such close proximity. However, that was before the launch info came thundering out of the ESO camp.
Shooter fans have already come to expect this type of situation as part of the annual Coke versus Pepsi showdown between the Call of Duty and Battlefield franchises. Interestingly enough, this has proven to work in the favor of both, as gamers tend to rally behind their house favorite. Even amongst my MMO compatriots the CoD vs. BF debate has become somewhat of an annual tradition.
It looks like next years debates will be hitting much closer to home, as two monolithic IPs duke it out for dominance. While the games are quite different, this epic battle evokes distinct memories of the fall of 2004 when SOE and Blizzard went head-to-head in an MMO launch battle for the history books.
Here we are nearly ten years later, with SOE squaring off against yet another major contender. The Elder Scrolls franchise is even more massive than Warcraft was back in the day, but my gut tells me things will go quite differently this time around.
The fact of the matter is, ESO is essentially attempting to cash in on the promise of a worthwhile multiplayer Elder Scrolls experience wrapped in more traditional MMO pageantry. Meanwhile, Landmark is boldly pushing into new frontiers and appeals to a vastly different part of our gamer brains. Its destruction versus creationism at its finest.
The wildcard in all of this is of course WildStar. To be quite honest, that game is going to be the first that has a distinct chance of properly appealing to a disenfranchised post-WoW MMO gamer. One that isnt necessarily looking for a radical change, but still a significant enough departure from the trappings of Azeroth to be worthy of their entertainment dollars or time investment.
Stay tuned for a much deeper analysis of what all of this means once the travel plague thats swept over me this week has subsided a bit. In the meantime, be on the lookout for my latest hands-on impressions and an exclusive WildStar interview in which we unravel the mysteries behind Fried Bug Meat.
That wraps things up for todays spine-tingling episode of Lifetap! Drop a comment below if you feel so inclined, or you can also do the whole social thing and follow my babble on Twitter and Facebook. I promise I wont bite. Hard.
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