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Reader Comments (19)

Posted: Apr 15th 2009 9:26PM Enk said

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I'm a 22 y/o guy and am currently playing WAR and LotRO and just got into the FreeRealms beta. I have to say it's pretty fun, but it's much different than a normal MMO. I think it's cool for free but they make you pay for a ton. An hour into the game and you already come across quests that you can't do unless you're a paying subscriber (4.99 a month). And most of the decent items in the game seem to require a membership, and half of the classes can only be played by members. Also, lots of gear requires microtransactions with StationCash. It's not much of a FreeRealm. But the minigames and world are pretty fun. I think it will be great for younger players and casual gamers. I know my girlfriend will probably love playing it, and it will be fun playing this with her. She's never been interested in the MMOs I play, but maybe this will be a stepping stone for her to get interested in the deeper games.

Posted: Apr 15th 2009 9:36PM Enk said

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I should have probably go into some of the negatives too. The combat is terribly boring, so far I have 2 abilities and the combat feels very disconnected. You just go in slamming both keys and kill things. It's way too simple and boring. Also, all combat is instanced. There aren't any mobs wandering around the world that can attack you. Instead you'll see like a crab in the woods, you walk up to it, and click on it. Then it loads an instance with a bunch of crabs that you can attack. It's very weird and doesn't work very well. But they wanted it that way so people didn't have to fight at all to play the game. And people don't need to worry about aggroing any mobs or dying. The quests are pretty generic and most just require you to run around. There are only 2 different character models you can use, and one of them is a pixie.

Most people who play MMOs won't be very interested in this game. I think people will have fun, it just doesn't have the staying power of other MMOs. It's very shallow and doesn't feel epic at all.

The game runs great though, the world looks really colorful and great. I think they have a great base to build off of, but they have a lot of work to do. I think making combat a bit more involved is a huge thing they need to fix. They should cater to the casuals more with the other jobs, but combat should be more geared towards the usually MMO players I believe. We'll see though, but I wouldn't get too excited if you're playing WoW, WAR, LotRO, or any of the other involved MMOs and are enjoying them.

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 12:00AM SgtBaker said

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I'm very much looking forward not having to explain to my kids why we're killing the innocent crabs in the forest (because they won't buy the "well they're just random cannon fodder exp mobs" explanation). :-)

I understand the combat mechanic might be a bit of a turn off for an adult and especially experienced MMO-gamer, but I'm planning to play this game with my family and especially with my kids - who are both under school age.

They don't quite grasp the "killing stuff" yet, they don't know what a "mob" in a MMO is and I'm hoping they don't have to for a while, so I'm counting the instanced combat as a very big plus.

Also for that audience, immersion comes on a totally different level, getting a quest that involves running to some random NPC somewhere can be just as (and perhaps even more so) epic as a successful Keep siege is for us adult males.

Your points are very valid, but I'm thinking the game isn't really designed for the 20-30 male demographic (kinda the point of the article as well) and as such I don't think they're going to "fix the combat" :-)
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Posted: Apr 16th 2009 2:29AM Slob Zombie said

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SgtBaker, I like your perspective and it makes me glad that a game like this is coming out.

But having played the beta a bit, I do think the combat could use some work to just make a little more... satisfying (hmm, I'm changing the subject a bit, sorry). I'm not sure if this is the case for everyone but I've noticed that my character does an actual swinging motion for about one out of every three moves that I perform. By that I mean I push the button, the mob's health is reduced, but my character doesn't perform an attacking animation. It's just... well really lame. I think it's pivotal for any MMO that involves combat to really nail the almost tactile feeling of "I'm swinging at you!" and "ARGH! you hit me!". Take Vanguard for example. I'm so drawn to the gigantic world and sinking my teeth into some real exploration. Then I install the game and the animations are so piss poor that I lose all interest. Or Warhammer with their terrible projectile animations. This stuff matters, to me anyway.

So my point is that I can see what you like about FR's combat, but it could still use some work. It's the reason why I've barely touched combat and instead focused on the fun minigames.
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Posted: Apr 16th 2009 1:42PM SgtBaker said

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Aha, gotcha - animations are nice and yes, there should probably be some combat related animations :-)

Thanks for the clarification, I'm actually not in the beta (why?! everyone else seems to be!), so all I have are the official screenshots.

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Posted: Apr 16th 2009 2:28AM (Unverified) said

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I have been playing the Free Realms beta and there is definitely a refreshing element to it - it's very different from any other MMO, in fact it's almost a different type of game completely. Playing the various mini-games are a lot of fun, though like the other commenter, I have been put off by the constant demand for you to upgrade your subscription or pay real money to do a lot of things - I guess this is going to go with the territory but I wish they would at least not be so in your face with it.

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 2:46AM (Unverified) said

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Great to see some feedback emerging, and I can't wait until I get my invite as well.

It's a little off-putting to hear about the combat animation and 'incentives' to subscribe, but I guess that's what a Beta's for.

My question thus far is:
Does this 'in your face' effort to subscribe appear a lot? Specifically, I'm imagining a child playing the game and getting bombarded with these messages.. which isn't cool in my books.
Unless of course that's the ploy; to have the child nagging at the parent to pay-up because they are constantly unable to do things in-game?

Hmm.. sounds a little dodgy to me if this is the case. I really thought SOE were being the good guys with this title - if they're using kid's happiness (via showing them a big pile of icecream but placing a glass subscription wall between them and it) as a revenue tactic then it seems a little 'off' to me, if it crops up at every turn.

Can anyone elaborate based on what they've seen in-game pls?

~A~
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Posted: Apr 16th 2009 3:34AM (Unverified) said

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Er ... You guys DO know you're breaking the NDA by talking so much about your experiences in game, right?

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 12:36PM Slob Zombie said

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Ah crap... I should've checked on that. If it's true, can you remove my commment, Massively admins?
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Posted: Apr 16th 2009 1:46PM Evy said

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I was just about the say the same thing. In fact, you're not even supposed to tell people you're even in the beta. I think that's a bit harsh, but the wording is in the agreement, so... *shrug*
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Posted: Apr 16th 2009 7:39AM koehler83 said

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I still feel that FreeRealms will never reach it's target demographic. It's on the wrong systems to do it. Releasing on PC first will exacerbate the issue since kids, in my experience, are much more apt to pick up a controller.

The game will launch on PC and it will be populated by typical MMORPG players, teenagers to thirty-somethings, mostly male (whether they stick around long is irrelevant). That population will likely taint the whimsical environment with profanity and leet-speak. By the time kids are aware of it, it's not going to be a kid-friendly MMO any longer..... Unless they're going to require Friend Codes to party. (lol)

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 7:45AM Atnor said

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Nice article, I agree with the general direction that SOE is pushing FreeRealms and it looks like their research and implementation are fairly solid. FreeRealms should be a big hit for them in this preteen/kid market.

I am a bit disturbed by this overall shift in their paradigm, cause it IS like turning a huge ship. As a 34 yr old male, I find it a shame that SOE doesnt really seem to want to chase after my demographic, cause I feel I, as a group, have a lot more disposable income to toss around than the average 10yr old has from begging his parents.

Their new offerings coming down the pike arent really geared towards us older, experienced "core" gamers (as Brad M used to call us). I look ahead a year and SOE doesnt really have a lot for me that I'm interested in. Which is a shame, because I've been a steady customer of thiers for going on 10 years now.

It just seems to me that this new market they are gearing up to chase is a lot more fickle than the old EQ/EQ2/SWG/VG players. With the whole "grab their attention in 30sec bites" design theme, this group is apt to follow the newest, quickest, shiny out there. I don't see them building much brand loyalty, and i'm not sure I have the same level of faith in their ability to keep these kids as customer, and chasing THEIR shines, as they do in themselves.

Guess we'll see then, huh, could be totally off-base. :)

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 12:06PM Cendres said

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I think there's a lot of bias in your post. They are not going after the new shiny or ignoring their older demographic. They are providing their older demographic a game we can play with our children. So in a sense they are still catering to the same crowd and realize this crowd has grown up in 10 years and lots of things has changed, like now you have little ones who want a piece of your EQ2 account but it's not always a kid friendly environment and can put parents in a dilemma.

Enters Free Realms. :0)
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Posted: Apr 16th 2009 9:30AM (Unverified) said

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Freerealms, is a decent idea, executed a little off. It's going to be great for what it's worth a MMORPG version of Pogo that is trying to appeal to young kids. The mini games, while fun, are just that mini games. I'm more shocked they didn't release this for the PS3 instead of "Home".

Atnor: I think Sony realizes that more, how do i say this? Dedicated or adult oriented people play EQ/2/VG etc.. then WoW. This is leading them to try and steal back or start even a few new people in there "Station". It's eaiser for Mom and Dad who play EQ or a sony online game to just stick with in the sony launch world.

Overall.. Im going to say it again FR feels like a glorified pogo/second life for kids.

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 11:35AM Thac0 said

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FR looks like its geared for for 9-13 year old kids. As a 30 year old male with no kids I cant find a single reason why i would play free realms, its not stimulating or engaging in the least.

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 12:22PM (Unverified) said

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AnythingbutfreeRealms is decent. I've been in the beta for about a week now and I think the concepts are strong but the appeal to play it just isn't there. What kind of game makes mage and range members only?

Honestly, I've spent most of my time gathering vegetables (which is a puzzle style minigame). AnythingbutfreeRealms feels like it's more of a 3d environment connecting yahoo games instead of a fully featured MMO...maybe because the fully featured part costs money? We'll see.....

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 12:43PM Slob Zombie said

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I know "free" is in the title of the game, but does anyone think they should get some credit for only charging $4.99/month to subscribe? It seems like you never see pay games diverge from the standard $14.99 plan, so it's nice to see a game at 1/3 of that price. That's if they can provide the same content. 1/3 of the game at the 1/3 of the price negates my point.

Posted: Apr 16th 2009 1:22PM GreenArmadillo said

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1/3 of the game at 1/3 of the price is absolutely fine. These days, it seems like no one game is able to produce enough content to keep players occupied indefinitely, and geting 1 + 1/3 game for 1 + 1/3 of the price works out better for the player than paying for 2 games and only having time to play 1 + 1/3.

Now, if it's 1/6 of the game for 1/3 of the price, with incessant nagging to spend another 3/3 of the price on "micro"-transactions, that's a different creature.
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Posted: Apr 21st 2009 1:53PM (Unverified) said

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does anyone else feel like it's totally insulting that they are reorienting their target audience to women and children as a category? reading that article it looks like they are focused on children period. frankly it's insulting that women are considered to have similar gaming interests and abilities as children...

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