Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Comparison of Everquest and DDO: Old School and New School Tabletop RPG Analogy

I've not been blogging or posting here as much lately, due partly to the holidays, real life stuff, in-person gaming, and most recently my total addiction to DDO (Dungeons and Dragons Online). By way of background, I first played an MMORPG back in the Meridian 59 days. Then I got hooked on Everquest in 1998-1999. Since then, I haven't played any MMORPG-- nope, not even WoW. Until now.

Having missed every MMORPG and all other Fantasy-ish types of video games from 1990 to the present (other than a brief stint with TOEE), I can't believe the differences between game styles. I think an old school v. new school analogy can be drawn between the two games:

Everquest:

Dying sux. You needed to go get your corpse somehow, and you had no gear to do it with, so unles you could get somene to do it for you, you likely died several more times trying to get your stuff back. You lost hard-earned XP every time you died.

If you killed it you looted it. If a guy shot an arrow at me, he must have had a bow. I kill him, take the bow, run back to city and sell it.

Sandboxey--You could go wherever you wanted in the world at any time and do anything. Sometimes you ran through a high level zone and got slaughered. And as I said, dying sux.

Related to sandboxey---there was a huge world with a lot of travel involved.

Fewer restrictions on gear---you could twink out a low level guy with high level gear.

Less quest oriented. The quests didn't drive the game.

No magic stores.

XP given per kill.


DDO:

Dying is not a big deal. You appear in an Inn fully geared up. (My idea of heaven---dying and ending up in a bar with all your money to buy beer and bar food.) You just pay some money to fix the damaged gear. Sometimes you can even die and then go back into the same quest again before it expires and finish it up.

No looting of the corpses. Rewards are given out per the quests.

Not sandboxey, not a lot of travel involved. You go on quests, that sometimes link to other quests. There is no true world that you are in---just a setting with a bunch of quest givers and places to buy and sell stuff.

Most gear has level restrictions.

You can buy stuff at magic vendors.

XP given per quest completion, except in rare situations with Slayer Quests.


In the sense that the old school approach to tabletop RPG's is one of the players making their own destinies, with less restrictions, so Everquest fits the old school gaming mode moreso than DDO. DDO takes the more modern adventure path approach, just making them smaller and more frequent. XP is given out not per kill, but per quest, so it is less a combat driven at times, depending on he quest.

I am not surprised at the approach DDO took since it is based on 3.5. Thankfully the computer takes care of all the game mechanics and math, which is my main complaint with 3.x/Pathfinder. Because of that, the game is very enjoyable to me. The 3.x based game could be fun as hell if I were a Vulcan and could do the math in my head in milliseconds. Unfortunately, for someone who doesn't want to learn all the rules minutiae to gain system mastery, I'll never play the 3.x game on the tabletop and have as much fun as I do online.

I never got to the high levels in EQ---I think I made 30 or so. I never did the big guild raid stuff. In DDO I am at level 5 (3 Ranger, 2 Rogue). There are probably other distinctions that can be drawn, or other examples to back up the analogy at the higher levels. I look forward to finding out.

I also find it funny that the whole black market that sprung up with EQ, where you could buy game money or game gear with real money, has been taken over by DDO in this case. They sell stuff to you, and tie it to your account so you can't give it away to twink.

I actually kind of like these restrictions though, because I remember how much I hated seeing a 1st level guy walking around with the Armor and Sword of the Gods in EQ.

BTW, my character is on the Khyber world, named "Tapdatbooty". Say hi if you're around.