So, I'm behind the times. I read today that City of Heroes is going away. At first I felt saddened by the news and then began examining why I hadn't logged in in ages, even though they went free to play some time ago. I bought the game to play with my friends and it initially had seized my imagination.
What I think eventually turned me away from the game were a few factors. First, they attempted to build group roles into characters rather than let people explore completely new sets of abilities and finding a way to work together. I think this is one of the more recent flaws with other games like World of Warcraft. Early games like Everquest didn't so much set out with the goals of having a character be a tank or healer or whichever. The characters were designed around an idea. Some point of imagination and the roles sprung up around those ideas. Part of the fun and enjoyment of those early MMOs was discovering the characters, getting caught up in their uniqueness and flaws and then making them work. Sure, the games could be horrifically unbalanced at times, but it wasn't about balance. It was about having our imaginations run wild. To have possibilities and to sometimes abuse them a little.
I have played a little Guild Wars 2 lately. Very little, since I'm spending nearly all of my "free" time working on the sequel to Tritium Gambit. Still, a guy has to play a little, right? Unfortunately, the game might be pretty, but it runs far too slow on my laptop to be enjoyable. The only reason I haven't uninstalled it is because even if eight-frames-per-second is agonizing, at least I get to spend time talking to a friend on Skype. Should I get a new computer? Probably. First, I need to sell a whole crap load more books.
Related to Guild Wars 2 being a complete turd on my machine, a friend of mine pointed out how much fun Torchlight II has been for him. He and I had spent quite a few hours playing Diablo III and that was enough to get me to install the game. I haven't had time to play it yet, but the first hour or so that I experimented with it were excellent. I'd highly recommend to folks to at least download the free demo from Steam. The game was built on the Ogre rendering engine, which I think is a fantastic accomplishment. Runic has said they will release a Mac version of the game eventually and I'll be first in line to purchase it.
I still play World of Warcraft weekly with my dad and two sons. My boys are loving the Pandarians. I think this really breathes new life into the game for them. Personally, it didn't really stir enough emotion in me to want to commit any extra time to the game, but I do appreciate that it gives my kids new material to explore and enjoy. From what I can tell, the starting quests aren't as painful as the ones for the Worgen or Death Knights. Yes, yes. You did the starting quests for both the Worgen and the Death Knights in less than two hours. However, you aren't six-years-old, like my youngest, and you didn't need to have your (very patient) dad read all of the quests forty-billion times whenever you decided to delete your character and start over. Why would anybody delete their character and start over? Apparently, because that's what you do when you are six-years-old.