Why Arcane legends will always be just another casual MMO

Yes, I’ve spent a fair amount of time playing MMORPG’s and up until now all of this has been on the PC. So since purchasing a Nexus 10, I’ve extended my gaming to Android. Mainly because the tablet is the controller, and because of its portability it can at times be comfortable to play when on the go, or when you otherwise do not want to power up your laptop / computer.

Now I didn’t just randomly pick up Arcane Legends. Prior to finding this title I had become somewhat frustrated at the casual nature of Android gaming and was looking for something deeper. Something perhaps that did not require rigorous button mashing, and involved more thought,  a game adapted to the limitations of a touch interface. I would originally out to find a game like Eve.

Sadly Arcane Legends is not that game, but it did come up in my search for “Deepest Android game”. And this says a lot because Arcane Legends although deeper than the myriads of casual games out there, is really nothing more than a casual MMORPG.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do like the game, and I play it. I want to get my teeth into it so bad, I want to get lost in the game, but there are a few things which make this impossible.

  1.  Ok let’s get this out of the way – It’s a mini MMORPG trying very hard to be a real MMORPG, but it simply doesn’t have the maturity. It has a lot of resemblance to the real deal, such as the ability for players to join a guild, team, do instances, upgrade weapons and armour, upgrade skills etc. Unfortunately though the implementation of these mechanisms is going to need a lot of work to sort this title out.
    1. Take for example the drop rates. Uncommon and rare seem to drop more than common
    2. Regardless of quality, the item price is by level, and only ever fetching a few gold coins. What this boils down to is, keep the legendary items and sell them at the auction, the rest, and I mean all of the rest sells for pocket money.
    3. The guild functionality is “guild lite” the type of thing you would expect to find in a casual game. The guild vault has not been implemented for example.
  2. Mobile games are still casual, and I’ve noticed that players tend to treat this game as casual. Gaming on Android tends to be younger too. So along with that don’t expect very many dedicated players like you would find in WoW for example.
  3. Poorly implemented boss fights, and players have learnt to adapt. Here is my pet hate with this game, the bosses are so impossible to beat that 9/10 all your team drops off just prior to the boss fight. Now a part of this is that when gaming on a mobile, I can imagine people are doing this for example while catching a tram, while sitting on the toilet, while passing 5 minutes, and a boss fight simply takes too long. Another reason is that the game around mid way puts you up against nearly impossible bosses, which means that by end game players are already trained just not to attempt boss fights. They’re simply levelling up. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is because when you need to pass a level, and you know you could beat the boss if everyone pulls their weight, you need an incredible amount of luck to actually get the team assembled because 9/10 players just refuse to participate in a boss fight. If there was ever a reason for a rage quit, it would be this.
  4. MMO’s in general become great when you play with others and form friendships, etc. Now it stands to reason that communication is key. Typing on a keyboard = absolute bliss. Trying to communicate on an awkward touch screen means that for me anyways – I only communicate when it is absolutely bloody essential, and even then I despise it. A lot of people think this way too, hence communication in this game sucks. Don’t expect any elaborate chats with Guild mates.
  5. The business model. If you look at a traditional MMORPG, its subscription based, and for this reason all items in the game are fair to all. In Arcane Legends which is FTP (Free to play), you are able to purchase platinum, which will get you ridiculously good gear and pets. The problem is this platinum is also ridiculously priced. It’s insanely priced for currency in a casual game.
  6. Point 5 means a completely unstable and unrealistic economy.
  7. But another reason I’m on the verge of rage quitting this title is because of the lag. Are mobile devices really up for real time gaming? Possibly some are. But the server side code for this game has some major flaws, there is nothing more frustrating than executing an attack and it just doesn’t fire because of LAG. Sure your mana goes down if you’ve cast the spell, but it hits nothing. This happens A LOT. Enough to be a noticeable annoyance. Likewise when you heal, the action seems to fire, but nothing happens.

All in all I think the developers have tried their best with this title, and it is already a good game in its own right, but the practicalities of it, a lot of which is out of the developers control might mean this game will never achieve true greatness.

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Windows 8.1 another try and another strike

Windows 8.1 hasn’t technically been released yet, but I think I can afford a few predictions.

This will be strike 2 for the big guy. I was spot on the money with what I said about Windows 8.0. At the time a lot of Microsoft fan boys spoke out against my views. I had a reality check, and thought “Well either I am wrong or Windows 8 is going to be the most epic failure since Millenium”. Time has certainly ticked and Windows 8 has just about become that failure.

So to really put this in basic terms. Microsoft had Windows 7 and people were loving it. Prior to 7, Vista was another epic failure, and 7 restored all the bad blood. Most of us were thinking ok finally they’re on the right track and the news of 8 got us all super excited because surely you can’t fuck this one up right?

Microsoft however released a tablet / mobile OS. Desktop users recoiled and explained exactly why they were unhappy, and explained exactly what they wanted.

Microsoft took that feedback, and basically were not willing to back peddle completely. Instead they’re now pushing 8.1 – which is again a compromise on what their users really want, but it is again an attempt at pushing their mobile offering.

This could end up with Windows 9 being the hero of the day, Infact I wouldn’t be surprised if the code name for nine was something like “Windows roots” or “Codename : Tree” And essentially provide that real desktop experience once again.

Failing that Microsoft, since the departure of Balmer could start showing us all a new face, providing a full open source implementation of Windows, OR at least completely rethinking the GUI, and having the GUI completely replaceable. While the core of Windows steadily improves the tablet OS stuff has to go for it to remain seated in corporate life or taken seriously as a workhorse OS.

It could also be that soon we see entire workgroups being replaced with Linux desktops, and only servers running critical Windows functions. Exchange for example, with Outlook not being the client of choice for emails.

It could also be that shell replacements become the norm.