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Reader Comments (44)

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 8:31AM (Unverified) said

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The only game that I have problems with in terms of graphics is FFXI. Not because they look bad, but because of the complete inability to make the game play smoother. SE decided to lock the framerate/latency to where 56k users can still keep up with their broadband compatriots. But now that broadband market penetration is at an all time high, the drawback is that the game plays so slow compared to even its competition back in the day, with little chance for a graphical update, thanks to "PS2 limitations" and the impending releasing of FFXIV.

Using a third-party program like Windower improves the situation somewhat by adding anti-aliasing and increasing draw distance, but still, it's just a bandage.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 9:59AM RogueJedi86 said

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For what it's worth, I still think FFXI's graphics have aged better than a lot of other MMOs. The focus on drawn lines and a "not quite cel shaded" look make it look a hell of a lot better looking than other MMOs of and before that time. EverQuest for example looks blocky as sin. At the worst FFXI looks a bit blurry, and jaggedy when you zoom in close to players/npcs, but that's it. SWG came out in 2003, and it still look like everything is made of plastic. FFXI just does good with player textures or something.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 11:30AM mmark said

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Many of the jagged edges can also be removed by setting the graphics resolution higher using registry key settings. Its one of the few games that allows you to modify the graphics resolution separate from the UI resolution.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 11:55AM Eamil said

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Yeah, you can do a lot of registry fiddling to improve FFXI's graphics and the results turn out really good. Also the 360 version has a lot of those same improvements by default.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 9:38AM wufiavelli said

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EQII handled well when i check it out. So did ryzom.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 4:34PM Joshua Przygocki said

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Agreed, I love EQ2 and it still looks absolutely gorgeous.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 11:07PM wjowski said

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...You're kidding right? The player models looks like deformed mannequins.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 9:52AM pcgneurotic said

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People often say, whilst tugging their beards and gazing wisely into the distance, that WoW needs a graphical upgrade, particularly the models they say, solemnly. But I've always thought WoW's look was timeless myself, and now I can't imagine it being any different.

Still a boring game though (he said, rummaging through a thick grey beard of +4 Knowingness).

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 11:22AM Gaugamela said

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Sorry, but WoW graphics aren't aging that well. If you stoped playing it and looking at screenshots from it for 2/3 years you would really see that the graphics look tremendously outdated compared with more recent MMOs. And i am talking about MMOs that take a similar approach: less realistic graphics and a more cartoony approach.
When i watched my cousin play the other i was shocked by considering the graphics to be so outdated. It felt like Warcraft 3 for me. And not in the good sense, but in how outdated it felt.

I know that most of the WoW playerbase plays a lot of WoW and barely touches other MMOs and sometimes even other games since WoW is so complete and engaging. But try to play 2 or 3 semi recent single player PC games and one or two recent MMOs and try to go back to WoW and you will see that it is aged (allthough only showing signs of age now is a great thing)

They should upgrade the game engine and graphics when Cataclysm releases since that is the best opportunity they will have. Also with the piles of money Blizzard has, that shouldn't prove too difficult if they wish to do so.
Hell, even some free to play games are looking better than WoW now.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 12:03PM Eamil said

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I think you're kind of missing the point of WoW's graphic style (not just to be "cartoony" but also to make things look as good as possible with as few system resources as possible), but yes, there is a noticable difference between the oldest stuff in the game and the things added in the expansions. Just looking at the Draenei and Blood Elves compared to the older races proves that, but the recent druid model upgrades actually provide a pretty good example.

http://wow.danomatic.com/thedailydruid/wp-content/uploads/image/tdd-ne-cat-form-new-models.jpg

The problem isn't with their graphics ENGINE (which they've updated several times), but with the graphics themselves. Updating the graphics engine doesn't magically make the old crappy models look cooler, and they haven't gotten around to doing that yet.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 2:43PM DevilSei said

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Eh, while WoW's graphics tend to age decently, the coding behind the game isn't.

You got about 4+ years of code in that game, and at any random time, one little alteration to a raid boss suddenly ripples off and devastates something several hundred lines up or down. That's actually bloody common nowadays. Hell, I've been hit by Mimiron's ranged only rocket attack while I was right next to him. I've seen Snowbolds thrown by Gormok not land on players, but next to them, then run around and stun everyone. Hell, the biggest example would be the T10 bug for elemental shamans, where a key ability gains a 7-day cooldown.

The current coding engine of the game can't be nice towards any new programmer either I bet, as well as all the coding that exists. Hopefully the Cataclysm remake of Azeroth will also remake all that coding, tidy it up a little bit and the like.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 10:01AM (Unverified) said

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WOW lives on stronger than ever

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 1:48PM (Unverified) said

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To Pedro: WoW is my main MMO but I've also, over the last year, played LoTRO, AoC, WAR, Aion and Guild Wars. And you know what? I still prefer the graphics in WoW. LoTRO and AoC have some great scenery but they seem to think dull, earthy tones are all people are interested in. They aren't. Give me a nice colourful game like WoW (realism? Who gives a damn about realism?) any day. WAR and Guild Wars' graphics seem kinda bland, too. Aion's are certainly nice, but at the end of the day I don't play the game any more because it's a boring grind. The easy on the eye graphics aren't enough to keep me playing a game that I don't enjoy.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2010 10:23AM (Unverified) said

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I still play FFXI. I have actually returned the game twice after long stints of playing other MMOs, namely WoW. I think the major draw for me is the gameplay mechanics and the combat system. FFXI is an incredibly deep game and sometimes daunting. However, to say that the game is on life support is, I feel, misleading. As I understand it, some servers have seen a major exodus over the past few years, whereas others are still thriving. The server I play on, Odin, has been closed for over a year to new players or transfers. The economy is still strong, but the rarity of high level items still keeps end game events breathing.

Graphically speaking, FFXI can't compete with many newer MMOs, but has still aged pretty well. FFXI has an endearing art style that still shines today.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 10:29AM Vladimyr said

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WoW may have a timeless look, but that doesn't mean it couldn't use a facelift.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 10:43AM (Unverified) said

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Guild Wars still impresses me every time I load it up.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 11:03AM (Unverified) said

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EVE Online has gotten staggering graphics updates as of lately. Trinity, Apocrypha and Dominion have boosted the game to incredible (graphical) heights. Sure, the textures might be a bit low-res and the shininess of things is a bit ridiculous at times, but overall it looks great and the game doesn't stop impressing me. It's just so darn beautiful, and I have used [Prt Sc] more in EVE than in any other game, with the exception of Guild Wars.

Ah yes, Guild Wars. Amazing graphics, and amazingly low system specs. Though the graphics are starting to age slightly, the game is four years old, and they are still impressive. But what has always amazed me at Guild Wars is how it is truly different from other MMO's - you'll always recognise a screenshot taken in Guild Wars. The game simply has a look and feel you don't find in any other MMO. And judging by the teaser trailers of Guild Wars 2, the sequel will have a similar look, only slightly more Victorian steampunk, probably due to GW2 taking place about 250 years after the events of Guild Wars.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 11:08AM (Unverified) said

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Ultima Online is still looking nice for a 2D game. ( I'm not talking about this new Kingdom "reburn"). I think this kind of design still have his place in our MMO.

Maybe I will resub with my old UO cheasapeake char...

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 11:14AM Seffrid said

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I was surprised how acceptable EQ1 looked when I checked it out recently, nothing special but perfectly playable. The modern zones are pretty fair, and the blandness of the original zones was offset by the nostalgia I felt running through them!

AC on the other hand is a game I couldn't go back to simply because of the graphics, although to be fair I didn't think a great deal of the game originally and didn't play it for too long.

DAoC looked awful last time I checked it out.

EQ2, LoTRO and DDO all look fine, within their artistic design, as does WoW if you like the cartoony look - I can accept most of it but not the elven ears!

WAR looks very good these days and runs very well on my top of the range machine, but frankly nothing comes within a mile of AoC for graphics quality assuming max settings. That game will look awesome for years to come, and hopefully more players will come to appreciate it as they upgrade and can see the game at its best - assuming it continues to improve in other areas of course.

I always liked the graphics in GW, and I don't imagine it looks any different now although I haven't played it in a while. Last time I did it looked just as good although standards elswhere had undoubtedly advanced so it was no longer the best which it may have been at one time. I doubt they need to do GW2 very differently.

Posted: Jan 18th 2010 11:15AM (Unverified) said

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It's not the age of the engine that counts, but whether or not it can be extended easily to add new features. Engines like what runs EQ2 cannot be extended for many reasons, but mainly ones do to with how the architecture was implemented, which is why the armor sets are very limited (along with many other types of artwork, like shaders).

All in all, a good engine can be updated forever, all it takes is simple code extension either as interfaces or as polymorphism (via class inheritance).

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