These days, there are so many lackluster MMOs which completely pass us by, simply due to one, a few or even a complete plethora of issues holding them back. Luckily for us gamers though, there are plenty of MMOs that get the formula right, and go to show just what makes a great MMO.
Drakensang Online is one of these MMOs. So today, I will be taking a look at Drakensang Online and discussing the various elements that it has managed to do well, and, ultimately, what other MMOs could learn from Drakensang Online.
It a browser-based game! This means that even those of you sitting at home on terrible, terrible internet (I’m looking at you fellow Australians) can log in and play. There no leaving the PC on for days waiting as the annoyingly bulky client download takes place. Being someone who has had to deal with pitiful internet quality before, I can tell you it incredibly painful waiting for a giant download to finish and discovering it has frozen at an absurdly low percentage, resulting in it all needing to be downloaded again.
Sadly, there are many games that I have simply had to skip over due to this problem, and I’m sure other people out there feel my pain.
There nothing like typing in the URL of the game you want to play, from virtually any computer with internet, and jumping right in. And when the game looks as good as Drakensang Online, well, you really can’t go wrong.
The key to gathering players in an MMO, first and foremost, is simplicity. Complimenting accessibility, the simplicity of the game interface, as well as the website itself, are extremely important in first grabbing a potential players attention and then subsequently holding that attention.
There is a reason they call it being ‘user-friendly’. Too often have I stumbled upon a free-to-play MMO that looked worth my time and patience only to find that it compleletly sapped both my time and my patience simply trying to figure out the user interface.
‘Where are my potions? How do I equip my new weapon? Cool, let party up… uh, give me a second here…’
In a lot of MMOs there are menus within menus within menus ad nauseum, which are completely unnapealing and, basically, scare new players off.
Hell, even the Drakensang Online site is easy to navigate and boasts an impressively easy sign-up form, something a lot of MMOs sadly lack. I’ll admit, I am guilty of scoping out a new game, finding the sign-up button and instantly thinking ‘Wow. This is really too much effort,’ before simply closing the page and moving on to another, much simpler game.
Now, this point applies more specifically to other browser-based MMOs but can still be applied to virtually any MMO out there.
Call me superficial, but I find a game much easier to play when my screen isn’t cluttered with useless menu bars and ugly, rough textures.
Drakensang Online is a perfect example of how to make your game look, for lack of better words, beautiful. There is a simple bloom effect and no try-hard visuals clogging the screen. The menus are laid out simply and do not obstruct your view of gameplay.
Too many MMOs these days either don’t make much of an effort in the graphics department (often a telltale sign of a company pumping out a game either on a rough deadline, or pushing the game whenever they can with cash signs in their eyes) or alternatively, trying too hard with the graphics resulting in a cluttered mess.
Yes, it quite simple but that what makes it so brilliant. There is no attempt at a ridiculous new art style; it stays true to a timeless, basic 3D style.
All these elements interweave and combine to make for one great game. Think about games you’ve ditched in the past. You might not have realised it at the time, but chances are it was due to one of the above elements falling short. Were the graphics great, but the game overly complicated? Perhaps the game was quite simple yet looked ugly.
Whatever the case, Drakensang Online manages to find just the right amount of each element and make it work, making it a game worth your time. Being a fairly new game means that it can only really improve from here on out. Oh, and it free. So what have you got to lose?
Related: Browser, Drakensang Online, MMORPG, Preview