Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Picking it up again... I hope

No, Middleforest isn't completely dead yet. It just smells funny.
After all my failed attempts at doing some techy stuff (first the scripting, then creating custom content) I simply had to take a long break and do other things. There's real life for one, and for the lonely evenings some other games to try out. After all my Singleplayer adventures like Skyrim etc. I needed my roleplay/interaction fix again and tried both other NWN2 PWs and some commercial MMOs just to get an idea where I'm going and what my aim is. After a long time I came to the conclusion that my goals haven't changed and my basic ideas for a PW are still good ideas.

There's no alternative to Neverwinter Nights multiplayer if you're looking for immersive roleplay in a multiplayer game. No MMO can even get close, and nothing will come in the near future. While some MMOs have an interesting concept ( TSW ), they're still MMOs and you will never find the same quest qualities and roleplay quality as in a NWN world made by and played by people who are looking for the same thing. I actually liked some MMO ideas, Age of Conan wasn't half as bad as I expected, but still you have the same boring and meaningless hack&slay, dull quests and, sorry, stupid players. Rift, a game that got nice reviews a while ago, was on a Steam sale and I grabbed it for like 7 Euros. I couldn't even make it past the first noob quests, the dialogues and endless respawns are mind-numbing.

So no, MMOs are not what I'm looking for. I always wanted to have Middleforest lots of things that make it feel like a singleplayer game at times. A very good example is Dasaria, another NWN2 world. I haven't played long enough to go into detail about the setting, world design and combat stuff, but their initial quests for new players are perfectly done. Cutscenes with emotes, great dialogues, quests that are actually fun to play (Vampires!). A huge thumbs up for that, Dasaria guys! The only nitpick I have is that the quests are repeatable after every reset, but well...

As for area design, that's where I aim for more, and from all the worlds I tried Vulpina still makes the nicest areas. I wish more modules would go into so much detail and love for atmosphere. Couple this with Dasaria's quest/writing quality and you're already close to perfection. One world that I tried early on that had also some very nice areas was Legacy - Dark Age of Britain. One big problem I want to avoid in Middleforest though is that you notice that there are different builders with different styles. Other than that, it also has something I like: A unique level system with roleplay focus. However, I don't like permadeath servers, so there you go, Legacy, have fun without me.

Anyway, all this only makes me want to pick up building again. Of course I will run into the very same problems as before, mostly tech hurdles and the lack of a scripter. Also, as hard as it is, I will have to rebuild Rungholt. I never build for lowend systems, especially nowadays anyone with a mild interest in games will have a setup that works for NWN2 at a good quality. But hell, Rungholt makes my own comp melt, and I don't want to know how it feels with many players around too. So, it looks like areas have to be split up, smaller quarters etc. Which is actually quite nice for the atmosphere. But yeah, lots of work. Fortunately, at least area design is fun.