?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Help from computer gamers... - John [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
John

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Help from computer gamers... [Nov. 30th, 2004|02:32 pm]
John
So...

I've been playing Diablo II online with my beloved kightp, and I've decided something.

Diablo II sucks as an online game. There's just too much lag. I think it's inescapable, as well... really, there are too many random elements that need to be sent to all the machines that are playing. Either that, or maybe one or the other of us just has a lousy internet connection for computer gaming.

It works okay over a LAN, but over the internet, we've never really had a satisfactory experience.

Does anyone have any suggestions for an online game that

1) plays well over the internet
1.5) (Preferably, does *NOT* require you to connect to play - I don't hold out much hope of this.)
2) doesn't require huge gobs of time (maybe it *tends* to take up huge gobs of time, but it shouldn't *require* it)
3) plays well with 1-2 players (maybe there are things that it's *best* to play with 3-5 people, but 1-2 work just fine)
4) if it's a subscription service, has either very low monthly fees, or has a "by the hour" option

I have a clear prejudice for fantasy role playing, but if there was something that had the same kind of fun factor, but wasn't specifically fantasy RPGing, I wouldn't mind.

I also prefer a game like Diablo II where it's as much a single player game as it is a multiplayer game.

Oh, yeah... and it should be a game that runs really nicely on, say, an 800mhz PIII or Athlon with a decent 3D card. Neither of us are using a machine that's that weak, but I like to be far over the minimum requirements.
linkReply

Comments:
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: ms_interpret
2004-12-01 12:55 am (UTC)
I'm interested in City of Heroes, but don't know much about it yet. Can you give me an overview?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: twfarlan
2004-12-01 02:17 am (UTC)
I can probably give a short summary. I'll just have to be careful and keep it short; I could go on about CoH for hours. :)

In City of Heroes, you play a superhero in the metropolis of Paragon City, Rhode Island. Along with hundreds of other supers, you are all that stands between the citizens of Paragon and the hordes (and I mean HORDES) of evildoers and naer'dowells who are out to conquer or destroy the city and its people.

Now, here's how it works. CoH is very simple in terms of gameplay. You don't worry about keeping up with statistics; it's all hidden. What you worry about are your choices of powers and your costume. The powers are broken up into five starting Archetypes: Blasters, your ranged damage dealers; Scrappers, your up-close melee hitters; Tankers, the immovable wall on the front line; Defenders, who support everyone else with ranged attacks and more importantly with increases to allies and decreases to foes; and finally Controllers, who arguably have the most dangerous powers of all, the Control sets, which allow Controllers to turn most foes into useless, immobile targets for their teammates to wail on. There are many flavors of each Archetype, usually revolving around what kind of special effect you prefer, such as fire or ice, energy or earth, and so on.

From there, you move on to customizing your costume. The costume generator can manage something like several BILLION different combinations, so you can probably manage to make whatever costume you can imagine. Certain costume elements are held back as rewards for achievements in-game; for instance, you can't wear a cape until you've reached the 20th level of experience. Still, it's very flexible.

After that, things are fairly straightforward. The tutorial mission teaches you all the most common commands; by the end of it, you'll have reached the first level-up and should know how your powers are going to work. You take missions from contacts scattered around the city and, as you increase in power, the jobs they'll ask you do complete for them become more dangerous and complex. Unlike a lot of Massively Multiplayer games, you aren't going to start by going out and killing simple vermin that have an even chance to kill you. You feel like a hero right away and it only gets better.

Finding a group to play with has been made as easy as possible; the search tools available are fairly easy to use and most people want to group up as much as possible to cover the inherent weaknesses of their own archetypes by finding other archetypes who compliment their own abilities. It helps if you know people who are already players, of course, but it isn't hard to find a pick-up group, either.

Unfortunately, there's no option to play on a trial basis right now. However, if you do purchase the game, the first month is included as part of the purchase price. It's about $15 per month.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ms_interpret
2004-12-01 06:29 am (UTC)
Wow! Sounds like a blast. Thanks for the info. :)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: twfarlan
2004-12-01 11:17 am (UTC)
If you decide to play, might I recommend Champion server? Of all the servers I've played on (about five out of the dozen or so), it seems to have the smallest jerk-to-okay person ratio. :) Plus, you'll know at least two players. (grin)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: ms_interpret
2004-12-01 05:25 pm (UTC)
Ok. Thanks again.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-07 06:28 pm (UTC)
Yes... I'm beginning to think that the hope of getting an hourly subscription fee is a lost cause. They have one for Ragnarok Online, but it's been the only one I've seen.

I suppose I'm not too ticked off if it's never set to auto-renew, and you just have to remember each month to renew before you can play again... but I despise the notion of "we keep charging you $10-20 a month until you remember to specifically say "no, no more!"

But, dang it all... if I'm going to have to pay to play, I want the game to be dirt cheap, or include, in the price, a lot of play time.

Arg. I'm grouchy over the entire situation, I suppose. (I hope it is obvious that I'm speaking about my own personal feelings on the matter, and don't think you're part of an evil empire, or letting yourself be ripped off, or whatever... yes? I won't even have a cell phone contract; I do a pay-as-you-go for that, as well. I know it's me who is weird....)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: twfarlan
2004-12-01 02:03 am (UTC)
As Ali said, Neverwinter Nights is a good choice, especially if you don't mind dealing with a very close-to-the-book version of the latest Dungeons and Dragons RPG rules.

If you'd prefer something with less number crunching and fewer options, such as the simplicity of Diablo's "increase some stats then choose a new power" setup, then Dungeon Siege might be your answer. In Dungeon Siege, you can connect either through MS's ZoneMatch system, by a LAN, or by a direct link-up, so there are plenty of options. The character system is very simple: your attributes and skills go up directly through how much you use them. If you use a bow in combat, your Archery skill increases as does your Dexterity attribute. If you use a sword, your Strength will increase as will your Melee skill. Very simple, very quick. Only issue might be the performance on your machine, but I think it'll do fine. Check out the system specs for it.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-07 06:51 pm (UTC)
Yes, Dungeon Siege seems like an okay idea, and Neverwinter Nights might work as well. I played the Dungeon Siege demo, and it never really impressed me, but I was still a Diablo II addict, so I never really played it enough to get into it.

Neverwinter Nights was, well, okay, but it's just that Diablo II was better, as far as I was concerned. I loved playing a game that reminded me of the old times with D&D, but I also loved the bigger, flashier spells of Diablo II.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: arsmith
2004-12-01 03:39 am (UTC)
Jedi Knight III, Jedi Academy.

Plays well over the internet, local computers host the games (which means nothing like the central server for COH or battle.net) AND you can set a password on the games to keep out the random foobs. Siege mode allows you to cooperate against the other team in something besides a capture the flag game.

I recommend the double ended lightsaber, myself.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-07 06:57 pm (UTC)
I'll have to look for that one. Does it have a plotline the way Diablo and similar games do, where a small party of adventurers can work their way through the plot and have fun? Or will I be looking for scenarios/etc. for it?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: arsmith
2004-12-08 06:02 am (UTC)
I found it at best buy the other day.

It has a plotline similarly to the way diablo does, in that there is a series of missions with objectives, but these plots are one-player only. good for skill but not for interaction.

Fortunately there is a large library of player generated maps and scenarios available for the game, most all of which are open to multiplayer. Unfortunately multiplayer jedi anything is pretty much designed for a bunch of gamer geeks beating up each other, and not the computer.

You know what might be good for that is some of the real time strategy games, I'm thinking specifically of warcraft II and III
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: barbarakitten_t
2004-12-01 04:19 am (UTC)
tc says "tell 'em to come to paragon city. they'll never look back."

(triumph server will let you play with tc, cheron, sean....)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: twfarlan
2004-12-01 11:18 am (UTC)
Whereas all Champion server can boast is Ali and myself. (grin) There are several CoH communities here on LJ. Guess if there's enough interest, someone ought to start a CoH Callahanians community. (chuckle) Why do I think that if Jake were much of a computer fan, he'd be loving CoH?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-07 07:03 pm (UTC)
Hah; I'd love to, and if I was rich, I might... but I'm struggling right now, though primarily because Chris is planning to move back to Ohio and I don't know how long my job here will last.

Maybe someday (by which time the Next Big Thing might have come around, and I might be behind the curve again....)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: eleri
2004-12-01 05:17 am (UTC)
I'd suggest Uru, but it doesn't meet a couple of your requirements. The online portion is only $6 ever, though.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-07 07:00 pm (UTC)
At least the pricing model is one I can deal with... but, right now, my appetite is whetted for heroic fantasy.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: king_tirian
2004-12-01 05:52 am (UTC)
I have a friend who took to playing Ragnarok Online when I started D2-ing three or four months ago. The interesting wrinkle there, as I gather, is that there are privately-owned servers. I presume this means that one can find a relatively low population occupied by mature people to avoid lag and all of the other perils of MMORPG life.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-01 06:35 pm (UTC)
Ragnarok online is looking like the overall winner; a cheap hourly rate, and a good-looking network setup. Do you know if it allows a private chat between two people, or two player games (i.e.: no more than two players, or password protected, or whatever, akin to Diablo II)? I'd hate to have our occasionally flirtatious (and sometimes R-rated!) comments broadcast throughout the gameworld.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
From: king_tirian
2004-12-01 11:37 pm (UTC)
I'll recon with my friend and direct her here. I don't think that there are private games, although I think there is "whispering". Then again, all the cool boys and girls are using Teamspeak.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: garoo
2004-12-02 03:29 am (UTC)
I'm the said friend, and yes, you can privately talk to one person at a time, all the people in your party at once, your guild at once, or everyone else around you.
There are lots of private servers out there, but I've personally never played on one. If you can get friends to play with you, RO gets a lot easier and a lot more fun, since you can set up parties and share exp and the like with your friends, and go hunting together. It's not necessary, though. I know people who perfer to solo and fight. You can fight other players if you go to "PVP" mode, and if you belong to a guild you can participate in the "War of Emperium," where guilds battle eachother for control of castles and the like.
Granted, like with most games, you'll run into idiots and bots. However, most people are pretty nice. And of course, if you play on a private server and know who else plays on it, you shouldn't have that problem at all.
I'm not good with computer stats and the like, but I *think* RO would run alright on your computer. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-07 07:02 pm (UTC)
Okay, and thanks. I think my biggest problem right now might be that my internet connection stinks :-(. I keep having problems with lag and such. I know it's not the game; I'm well ahead of the specs.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: epi_lj
2004-12-01 02:25 pm (UTC)
clawfoot and I play Neverwinter Nights together online, with voice chat provided by Skype, which we successfully run in the background and leave open when launching the game. I'd say that the only thing it would run afoul of in your requirements is that there's probably a minimum play time of about an hour. In an hour you can have fun. Less than that and you spend most of the time connecting, doing character maintenance, trying to remember what you were doing, etc. Perhaps you're less scatterbrained than I am, though, so that might be less of a factor. :)

There are two major expansion sets for NWN available as well, and you can buy them as a boxed set for cheap these days. The third module (the second official expansion) is not officially multiplayer-compatible, and there are hoops to be jumped through to play it multiplayer, but clawfoot and I pulled it off and had fun doing so. If you decide to try it and you run into problems, I can give you tips for multiplaying that adventure.

It plays very well for us over the internet. We *have* run into lag issues, but not that often, and usually only when I was on wireless and was having connection issues.

In total, the game requires huge gobs of time to complete -- there's a specific story arc you're moving through -- but as mentioned I think you can get by with a session of about an hour.

It plays well with pretty much any number of players. We found that with the two of us, we could wander through it without hiring any help at all. I haven't tried with more than two actual players. It's also very fun single-player and can be played without connnecting to the net at all when you want to. clawfoot and I also made multiple characters and downloaded modules for free from online so we could play on our own if the other party wasn't available. We've also both played through all the modules on our own as well as multiplayer, mostly to try out playing different character classes.

There's no subscription at all, and you can direct-connect to the person's IP if you don't want to use their game setup services.

I have no idea what the PC requirements are, but clawfoot's machine is over two years old at best and handles it like butter. I play it on a Mac. The system requirements are here. It looks like your description is their "recommended" system.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-07 07:05 pm (UTC)
Neverwinter Nights might be a good option, especially if we *can* still hire help in the default scenario. It'd be nice to be able to play whatever character we wanted, and higher the thief or cleric or whatever we needed to fill in the gap.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: kightp
2004-12-01 04:50 pm (UTC)
One thing that johnpalmer may not have made clear is that we're kinda looking for a game that will let us set up games for just the two of us, as Diablo does, rather than playing with others - and still enjoy a good game. If it has a chat function, all the better. (We sometimes spend as much time bantering as we do whacking monsters...)
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2004-12-07 07:08 pm (UTC)
Well, I think the world is going the way of MMORPGs, right now... they don't tend to let you set up individual games, but they do tend to have ways for two folks to go off by themselves.

It's the "pay to play" bit that annoys me about that, because it's a monthly fee (like a cell phone) whether you play at all or not (like a cell phone), and I suspect that they prefer (or insist on) auto-renew (like a cell phone) and it might be forever before there's a "pay as you go" system (like cell phones).

Herm. You might guess, correctly, that I've never liked the cell phone model of business, yes? :-)
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)