When I play games I often rank them by tempo rather than genre. Hypertempo games, like Team Fortress 2 or Left 4 Dead, require a lot of energy and give a lot of excitement in return. Slower games such as Civilization 4 or a tower defense give me a slow, entertaining beat. MMOs have their own rhythm as well, and last night I filled a much needed missing tempo in my MMO library.
Lord of the Rings Online in itself has multiple tempos, at which I can play. There is the calm steady beat of solo questing, the more demanding march of group instances, and even crafting affects the whole symphony with a coda of rest. Still, Lord of the Rings Online is missing many tempos that are crucial to my well-rounded gameplay. The combat is sometimes too rhythmic, even in group instances. The game can feel like an If/Then line dance, where agro, healing, placement, and killing are all just part of any veteran’s action equation. I felt this lack deep in my soul last night after playing for countless hours over the weekend.
I still wanted to play an MMO, but I needed a more aggressive rhythm. One filled with staccato notes and out of control riffs rather than a steady Bolero. I found Dungeons and Dragons Online.
Not for the first time, though. I had played Dungeons and Dragons Online long ago when they first started offering trials, and I was in the recent re-launch beta. We just never seemed to meet at the right place and time. Last night, it was the game I needed. It brought a slightly faster tempo to the MMO genre than the vanilla skill cycling without going to a frenetic pace, like some of my FPS games. The game itself is pretty good, and I hope to give more than a Eurogamer’s passing review later on. But, it is most important that I think my stable of MMOs feels complete for any tempo my mind requires. The best part is that I don’t have to subscribe to any of them.
The weirdest revelation, though, was the feeling of going from one Turbine game to another. They were two MMOs cut from the same cloth but becoming two wholly different pieces of clothing. It felt comfortable because I knew Turbine, but different enough to feel like I was breaking new ground. I have to say, I am pretty impressed that I am playing two games from the same company at the same time. And, at different mental tempos.
cha cha now ya’ll