Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Matrix Online

Yesterday I finally did it. I was thinking about it for some time now, about buying and playing a MMORPG (or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), but there were some cons that made me delay the decision.

First I tell you what they are (just in case you don't know), and then I'll tell you the disadvantages, in my humble opinion. MMORPGs are computer role-playing games (like Diablo or Neverwinter Nights) but played exclusively online. I've never been a great fan of computer RPGs (I'm a more traditionally sort of role-player, I need paper, dice and above all friends to play); but the online version of the computer RPGs supplies the missing friends to the equation. In pure theory, I've never really played one, you keep accomplishing missions or quests while you're character keeps growing and developing, while you (the real you) makes some (virtual) friends and enemies.

As we've seen, it adds a human component to computer RPGs; and it adds a persistence value to online games (which games like Counter Strike, for example, lack); another form of telling stories.

There are a lot of MMORPGs: Star Wars Galaxies (with a new expansion for starships just out), The Sims Online (with its added scandal), Everquest, Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, etc.

The reasons why I've never played before? Several: first and foremost, because in this damn country of ours, as usual, we just don't get it. None of the aforementioned games are published in Spain. None. And I just don't understand it, because both The Sims and Warcraft, have sold plenty in Spain. Not to talk about anything sporting the Star Wars trademarks. But it seems that in this country of ours we feel satisfied having FIFAs and Pro Evolution Soccers.

The second but of these games is the price: logically, this games need an enormous hardware infrastructure, and they charge you for it. Besides paying the average price for a recently released game (around $60), 99% of them charge you a monthly cuota for playing.

The third but is time: the more you play, the more powerful your character becomes. People (like me) who has to work eight hours a day (that being lucky), not to take into account the three aditional commuting hours (again, being lucky); it all results in not having enough time to play and reach the power levels easily reached by other not-so-burdened people. And that's kinda frustrating.

The fourth but is the addiction factor: if besides having little free time left I spend it on this kind of games, I'm lost. I know this games are quite addictive: to the usual addiction factor of any (good) game you have to add the playing community, plus the competition factor. Way too much.

Pros? In my case, curiosity: I'm just dying to try one, what the heck.

Just for finishing, 'cause this is taking too damn long: taking into careful consideration all thos buts and the quite feeble excuse of a pro I have in mind, I drawed the Visa (damn thing) and I got a pre-order of The Matrix Online, a MMORPG on which, of course, I'll be able to emule Neo, Trinity and company being just the coolest killer with my virtual sunglasses and my virtual trenchcoat. The game is not yet published and EA keeps promising it's going to be published in Spain, but I'm not gonna wait and see if they're right: I've pre-ordered it and it'll arrive at home when it is published. I'll tell you about it, promised.

As we've seen, curiosity killed the cat and mauled the Visa. Let's see if satisfaction brings the cat back.

PS.- And it's a proven thing we won't play a decent MMORPG in this country until we do it ourselves: let's hope my arrogant upstairs neighbours, Pyro Studios, just get to it. God, what a country.