Archive for July, 2005



EUO vs World or Warcraft, part 1

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

Warning: nerdy MORPG dissection inside. Reader discretion advised!

As a short intro, for those of you who don’t know, I wrote this silly ORPG called EUO. Starting this endeavour 5 or 6 years ago , I wanted to make a small multiplayer game for bashing dungeons with friends. The idea was to make a roguelike (ie ASCII gfx with keyboard controls) where you slaughtered loads of mobs and hoarded loot within random dungeons. But why not just play Diablo? Well, since I’m an INTP and a programmer, the journey is generally more interesting than the destination.

So six weeks ago roughly I bought WoW, after holding out for however long it has been since its release. I generally don’t last with MORPGS: AO got me for 2 days, DAoC for about 3 days, AC2 for 1 day, and even EQ for about an hour. The RPG I’ve played the most however is UO: clocking in maybe around 2 weeks total since buying it in 1999 or thereabouts. I find these games generally pretty boring. I also find the pretense of paying 10-15$ a month to grind insulting.

However, I’ve managed to play WoW on and off now for the entire 6 weeks; in fact, I think I’ve actually clocked up around 50-60 hours total playtime. I’ve got a lvl 21 tauren hunter (about 24 hrs), a lvl 19 troll rogue (20 hrs) + another half dozen sub lvl 10’s. The idea was to make a whole bunch of chars, using different races and classes, to try everything out and subsequently borrow as many ideas for EUO as possible. Well why not? WoW stole all their ideas from EQ and every other MORPG before them.

The sad thing is, I don’t even have 5 lines worth of notes of ideas to borrow: mostly just stuff to do with tidying up EUO’s quest & party systems. Everything else in EUO seems fine as it is.

So the point of this entry then is to compare a bunch of subsystems in EUO and WoW, without any particular goal other than that of ‘because I feel like it’. I’ll probably compare combat systems, magic, items & loot, quests, partying and whatever else comes to mind.

Combat

WoW : generally right click monster and, every 5-10 seconds or so, press a number from 1 to 0 to execute some special attack, cast some offensive spell, heal self with spell or potion, etc. Fights per mob take about 30 seconds each. When solo, usualy fighting more than one mob at a time will get you killed. Mobs have levels, and it is clear cut as to whether you can beat something or not: a mob 2 lvls higher will probably put the hose on you, and anything your level or below you can right click and go back to reading forums. There is no point fighting relatively easy mobs as you won’t get any xp, and there is no point fighting relatively hard mobs since the xp they give isn’t worth the effort.

EUO : hold down CTRL and furiously mash arrow keys, sometimes pressing 1 to 0 to use some bound item (eg pot) or hitting f1-f8 to cast some bound spell. If you suck at keys, or have bad lag, you’ll probably die. Depending on the mob, a fight can take anywhere between 5 seconds and 60 seconds. Groups of different mobs can have interesting effects together, whereas individually, they may be a complete pushover. EUO has it’s combat roots in Diablo: the idea is to fight hoards of mobs at a time, rather than slowly chew on individuals, which seems to be the way modern MORPG’s work. Mobs don’t have levels, so it isn’t clear cut as to what you should be fighting at any particular character level.

Summary : WoW’s combat bores me to tears, but I feel that EUO’s is clumsy and antiquated. At least EUO’s is fast and furious; however, WoW’s can get fast and furious when partying and tackling a few mobs at a time. But then again, that can get a bit tedious too.

Items/Loot

WoW : has a massive list of discrete items (ie even crappy items have special names, like ‘Crappy Axe of chopping’, and then ‘Slightly Better axe of Chopping’). Allakhazam has a list of all of WoW’s axes here, among everything else. Every item has a rarity (indicated by colour), and most items are found as loot on dead mobs, tho some are bought and some are crafted (whereby instead, the recipes for the crafted items are found as loot, ironically - and guess what: the recipes have rarities, indicated by colour, too). Most mobs drop useless body parts that you can loot and sell if you can be bothered, and have the backpack space for.

EUO : for starters, EUO weapon/armour system borrowed directly from DnD: vanilla items (eg ’short sword’, ‘long sword’) with enchants (eg +1 to make ’short sword +1′). I then expanded enchants to other effects (eg ’short sword of leeching’), as well as added material types (eg ‘vampyric short sword of leeching’). This adds up for an extreme shitload of items, at the expense of the items having uninteresting names. The current Alpha version of EUO expands on this with artifacts, which is basically a discrete set of WoW style items on top of the oldschool ‘formulaic’ items. ‘Good’ (read: magic) weapons and wearables drop from ‘bosses’; again, an idea from Diablo. In EUO the bosses used to even glow and have names, but that was removed since players, being the natural cheesers that they are, simply end up ‘Boss hunting’ to get items.

Summary : I’ve never particularly liked EUO’s item system, but you gotta give it one thing: it’s simple and it’s always worked. The artifact list is a nice expansion, so currently I’m getting the best of both worlds. I like WoW’s lists of discrete items but there is no way I could come up with a few thousand items like that. It’s been enough work coming up with a few hundered generic items: but combined with a dozen materials and 9 or so effects, there’s a lot of permutations. Again the drawback is boring naming: but artifacts add a little of flavour here.

More to come!

  • notes about WoW’s classes, and how they all seem pretty much the same to me
  • crafting
  • magic
  • merchants & economy
  • travel
  • quests - both WoW’s best and worst feature at the same time!
  • partying - WoW’s saving grace (a bit harsh?)