I love when online versions of offline games are announced. I'll get into my reasons from a gamer's perspective in a moment, but I must admit the combative, editorialist side of me gets especially gratified by this. Why? Because there's always some ignorant jackass that starts whining about story. The best part is...like none of them have ever played an MMORPG, and if they did, they most definitely sucked too bad to even see very much of the story.
This kind of crap makes me laugh endlessly. In past times, I've just sat back and smiled at the show, but now I feel it's high time to get in there and take some people down a notch. I realize that no matter how bad I own these newbies, they'll not realize what's just happened and go about their merry way not listening to reason, but eh, I wouldn't feel right if I didn't at least demonstrate the other side of the *ahem* story. Here I come, bitches.
To set this up, allow me to introduce what particular instance led to this topic being addressed. The Grandia series will see an online incarnation in the near future. Verily, Grandia Online was just recently announced at the Tokyo Game Show. The online world of this game is going to change with time just like a real one and carry the style of the first Grandia game.
Like I said, my gamer's perspective comes later, but right now, Heath has trash to kick. Namely, a group of forumers made my brain hurt with stupidity last night. Let's quote some of the best ones and then tear them apart, shall we?
Idiot 1 - One clown said, "Arc The Lad had a crappy sequel because of online gaming as well."
Wow, what a colossally uninformed tool. No, kid, Arc the Lad: End of Darkness was a crappy sequel because absolutely nothing went right. It was not an MMORPG to begin with, so the comparison is already shot to hell. Arc: EoD didn't have anything going on for it, and its online play was just deathmatches and simple missions; they didn't center the whole game around it. It was just a bonus.
Idiot 2 - This one is probably my favorite. Listen to this cat, "I hate MMO's because they have no stories, they all suck. I work I'm not some weiner who can take 800hours to get to level 20. **** that gimme a traditional rpg anyday over this ****."
They have no stories? Holy crap, that's news to me. I must have been simply imagining things when my jaw hit the floor for FFXI's opening story-driven FMV, or during the spine-tingling scenarios I faced in the Catacombs of Dark Age of Camelot, and when Shadowbane opened a new server dedicated purely to delving deeper in the game's--you guessed it--frickin' awesome story.
I'll keep going with this retard. Let's take a look at the wonderful generalization, "they all suck." Really? Even ones that haven't come out yet, that you know literally nothing about? A prophet thou art, indeed! And you can be 100% sure that someone with a non-general comments like "they all suck" is going to make sure he knows about the game before making a call.
I also love the comment about MMO players being wieners. That gives him class and credibility.
Furthermore: 800 hours for level 20? I sure hope that's an exaggeration, because you can get to level 60 in like 20 hours in certain MMORPGs, World of Warcraft to name one. Not sure here, but I've heard from some others that City of Heroes is another that comes to mind. You work? Wow, what an accomplishment. I work 30-40 hours a week, take 15 credits at Utah Valley State College, and still have plenty of time to have fun in both offline and online games...then write this column about it, to boot. You aren't special.
Idiot 3 - I love this guy: "THE Grandia Series has one of the best turn-based systems known to RPGS, and NOW they throw it away for a MMO. We have ENOUGH MMOs already. Try something new for a change."
Okay, here's a question, smart guy: how is having an online game, developed only by GameArts and Gungho Online, going to ruin the series? If you meant that it's going to "distract" GameArts too awful much, it certainly won't, because GHO will be handling the bulk of production and all of the distribution. If you don't want to play the game, fine, don't. What harm did it do you then? "Try something new for a change?" This game is going to take place in the Grandia world, and it will evolve and change right along with the population, even displaying seasons and such. Plus, the creators said the fighting will still fell like a Grandia game, but online. That sounds pretty freaking innovative, and it's only the first bits of news. What was the "something new" you had in mind? An offline RPG that flows and plays like 97% of most other RPGs? Yeah...that's...original....
Idiot 4 - "Work on bringing over Grandia III to the US first!"
Newsflash: The Square Enix English localization team is not the same group of people as the Gungho Online Development team. Nice try though.
Idiot 5 - "youre...joking right? these games never get good ratings."
The Objective Defense
Yeah...You're...Totally...Right...Dude. They...Never...Do.... Oh, and in those links, I made sure to include original games as well as online RPGs that were spawned from popular offline series (for reference, that's WoW, FFXI, PSO, and UO).
First, allow me to point out that I am not claiming online RPGs are superior to offline ones here. I am merely making an objective defense for them. Now, haters, try for a second to understand where online gaming fans are coming from and open your minds for a second.
An online installment to an offline series should certainly not be viewed as a great sin. It gives fans another way to explore the series' universe, for one thing. For example, with Grandia Online, players are going to get to see a living world, much of which will be familiar to them through playing the original offline title. Then, they'll get the bonus of being able to see it change with the time, like a real city. That's something MMOs drive from: making the role playing as rich as possible. You can participate in the story at your own pace, and all the while a real world is changing around you. Offline titles occasionally put stuff similar to this into practice, but never to the extent of an MMO. They just can't.
Second, the prospect of experiencing a half-new, half-sentimentally valuable Grandia world is highly appealing to someone like me, and I know I'm not alone. Plus, I'll get to share it with friends. I'll be able to create a character in this world, log on, and play the game with my brother who lives back in New York, or my homies representing PA, or anyone who has the game. If this does not sound fun to you, that's fine--it doesn't have to--but don't sit there folding your arms and crying about it when the MMO audience is found to be worthy of getting some new games.