I was not expecting AoC [ Amazon ] to live up to the hype, but it did.
I was not expecting it to be so gorgeous, and not just because you can see boobies. The youtube clips don’t do this game justice.
I was expecting it to be buggy and to have that “new game” feel, but the content I have seen so far is kicking butt. I have not yet gotten stuck, had a buggy quest, or had the game crash.
I was not expecting AoC to run as smoothly as it did, considering I am playing it on a Mac using Bootcamp, but the only thing limiting it is the steaming load that is Windows XP. I have 8 cores and 16gb of ram running on a 64 bit bus, most of which just sits there unused. I went with a slower processor and dumped the savings into upgrading the machine, but I have never used more than 35% of the CPU. The 8800GT is doing all the work, and all I can say is WOW (no, not WoW, not anything like WoW).
The fighting mechanics are still growing on me. I was one of those rare people that will admit to liking Oblivion, especially compared to the click on target mash buttons lameness that most classes in WoW utilize (sure, in raids they are now forcing you to move around to avoid hot lava, but the only reason this is hard is because many people don’t have the skills to actually watch their cast bar AND the screen). So far I have only played a barbarian, and the casting time for longer combo moves seems a bit off. Many times I think I initiated a combo, but my toon is just standing there getting beat on. Finally, the combo will pop up, and like some tard at the fair playing whack-a-mole, I excitedly mash the buttons in the order shown. Sure, I could have gone with the dance dance revolution comparison, but that would give away my winning idea of using a dance mat for controlling my toon!
Things I am not digging as part of the Early Access include the craptacular server maintenance schedules and lack of voice acting for the quests past the starting area, but maybe those will be fixed with the official launch. Of course, they are european, and expecting even half-assed customer support would be purely naive. Don’t believe me? Go try to find their phone support number…. nope, they don’t have one. Hopefully they can make up for it with adequate online GM support.
Should Blizzard be worried? Yes, they should. Not because everyone will be leaving WoW to play AoC,though some will, just for something new to do. Personally, I am not yet to the point where I am hooked, and I fully expect to go back to WoW some time before the next expansion. AoC may just delay my return for a few months. The real reason Bizzard should be worried though is that a bunch of weird Norwegians showed that WoW did not set the bar too high, and they are no longer the only real option for people wanting to get their MMO on. Two days ago I was still resigned to WoW being the best option for the foreseeable future, but now I can see that providing them competition is not only possible, but likely. This is good for gaming in general, and I look forward to seeing how the competition drives the genre in the future.