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Reader Comments (14)

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 1:22PM mdisloki said

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I really enjoyed testing the game, but chose to cancel my pre-order. I think the biggest plus LU has is it's potential. There are thousands of different things they can do to expand the game and the story. Unfortunately at this point there just isn't enough. I found I was able to run through all of the content (twice) in a little over a month. It is probably much better suited for someone in the target demographic, but for an older player who was looking for an extended experience it falls short. I also thought that the building in your property aspect should be improved. It simply wasn't intuitive enough. They need a tutorial that can be consulted at any time. Just about anything can be constructed but the way it functioned last time I tried, it would take a massive amount of patience to complete anything amazing.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 4:01PM Krystalle Voecks said

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Yeah, that's why I said it all comes down to your playstyle. I tend to play very aggressively in long stretches, so for me it's not a good fit as a primary MMO. One of my friends has kids and plays for an hour or two, 2-3 nights a week, which is perfect for her. That said, I'll be keeping it as a secondary, provided Netdevil publishes additional worlds for us to explore.

Also, I agree with you on a building tutorial in-game -- or at least a behavior one. Sure, the interface is plug-and-play, but it still assumes a level of familiarity as gamers that not all people picking up LEGO Universe may have.
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Posted: Oct 21st 2010 1:26PM JustPlainJim said

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Good intro and review! I'm really enjoying the game so far, though I may be biased because I'm still a big kid, as they say.
I was slightly miffed that my customization options seemed limited, but they certainly have a good amount of 'clothing' options for your character. My only problem with that is once you join a faction, putting on anything other than the faction set will remove your set bonus. I'll admit there are times where I honestly don't care, though, and just have a darn good time carving up evil malestorm pirates with a katana while sporting my 3-wolf-moon shirt ("wolves shirt" in game).

I'm a pack-rat, too, and the sheer number of achievement rewards I've had to sell so I could get one more bit of bag space really makes me sad. Having a bank somewhere (at your home base? Back at Nimbus Station?) would make things so much better.

The one thing that blows me away a little is the free build areas. Sure, they'll hand you specific models you can use (which can be smashed down to their base bricks, thankfully), but it looks like they've included almost every brick past and present in the free build. I've found pieces I haven't seen since the 80s, so now I'm just pondering the color scheme of my cyber-scifi-knight-castle... and my defenses. Must protect my castle, no?

I'm just glad they didn't go the full MMO route and make certain parts super-rare. I'd hate to have to join a 40-man raid and hope for the 3% drop of the "1x2 brick with axel hole".

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 3:20PM Krystalle Voecks said

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Yeah, I definitely like that they didn't make LEGO bricks epic rare drops either. Aside from the ones you pick up when smashing items (or as you said, breaking up model chunks) there's also the vendors scattered around the world.

Overall, I think they did a great job on the free-building areas, personally. Although I can see where a video tutorial in-game to walk people through the behaviors could be of benefit.
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Posted: Oct 21st 2010 3:38PM JustPlainJim said

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I do like that there are different parts at different vendors, as well. So, if I want to have minifigs in my little world, I need to head over to the secret pirate area.

I love free building and I'm glad the brick-by-brick building controls match the Lego factory controls almost perfectly. But you're right about the behaviors. They're funky and need some tutorials. I get the jist of them, having dinked around with Mindstorms kits before, but there's a good amount of trial and error in there. And things don't always work...
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Posted: Oct 21st 2010 1:35PM Rilgon said

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I think the one thing that I would've liked to have seen was a note about the lack of any sort of grouping system. It hinders the ability for parents and children (or hell, in my case, couples!) to play together without impeding each other when trying to quest or what have you.

I will note, however, that racing is an extremely lucrative source of Faction Tokens if you get good at it - a first place victory will score you six for under three minutes of work (at least on the Nimbus Station track).

But overall, a great review, and thank you for it!

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 2:49PM cic said

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Great in depth first impressions article! Thanks

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 6:21PM JoeH42 said

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Great article, but a ? or two I'm curious about: 1) is there any sort of aucton house, trading, or other player economy in the game? 2) How much (in your opinion) improvement can we expect to see in the next month or two? Does it look like the game's developers are listening to players and will improve things like inventory space soon? Oh, and a little more information on how the combat works would be cool. But still a good article :-)

Posted: Oct 22nd 2010 12:29AM JustPlainJim said

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I didn't write it, but I can answer a couple questions. From what I've seen (up to and including the Gnarled Forest), there's no auction houses in the game. Items can be traded if they're not linked to your character. Most items you get are linked to you or will be the first time you equip them. Bricks usually aren't linked and models usually aren't unless they're part of something else (your ship you make in the tutorial level, your car, etc). So, no real AH, but you can always trade to other players. I believe I saw people on the LU forums starting up brick trading circles.

Combat is almost identical to the Traveler's Tales games (Lego Star Wars, Lego Batman, etc). The only real difference is that you can eventually earn more health and stronger weapons, and certain items give you abilities (shields absorb damage, potions replenish health/armor/imagination).

Once you join a faction, your armor sets will usually give bonus abilities. Sentinel knights can give a defense buff to everyone in the party, summoners and engineers can spawn adds that fight for them for a little while, etc.

As for expanding and the company listening to the fans... I haven't a clue, but they've set it up so that they could easily keep expanding on this game. Every area in the game is on a rock that started off as a chunk of a planet... and there are still "countless" other planet fragments, according to the intro cinematic. Here's hoping they keep building on the world!
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Posted: Oct 21st 2010 6:25PM (Unverified) said

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Heh. The sad thing is, it sounds like that they launched the place in the exact same state it was in when I dropped out of beta back in September. Kind of a shame Starbase 3001 is locked off--it looked nice, but I guess they didn't think it was finished enough for prime-time. As for the stuff still not working...they *still* don't have key-binding, or the Lego Club stuff working? *facepalm*. I bet they didn't fix the problem with the Maelstrom Dragons, either (to wit--a fight designed for group fighting in a game that has *no* useful grouping mechanics and otherwise points to solo play, in a mission that's in the *middle* of a mission chain, not at the end where a boss fight would belong). Did they at least find a way to make the faction gear actually be useful compared to the stronger drops in the Valley?

I agree with some of the other negatives as well, presuming they haven't added much since I dropped--the world is pretty tiny, and unless you go grinding for all the top-level achievements and the level-3 Faction gear, it's easy enough to blow through every mission in the game within a matter or days of *average* playing (average being maybe 3-4 hours of play a night), which means that you can hit 'grind level' on all of your characters before you run the initial 30-day sub out.

The pricing scheme is *awful* as well--the article mentions the $10/mo subscription cost...which by itself isn't that bad, it forgets to also mention the $40 initial cost...which for what you get is rather ridiculous--personally, I'd say the client should be $10 (maybe with a CE package for the minifig bonus and such), with the subscription fee after that. That $40 cost has always worried me--it keeps making me thing that NetDevil plans to pull another Auto Assault, and aren't expecting people to *stay* past the first 30 days...

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 9:38PM (Unverified) said

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My seven year old and I were really looking forward to playing this together, but a few things stopped us:

1 - He got bored in the beta pretty quickly. He was expecting something along the lines of the Lego games we play together on the PS3.
2 - As mentioned by others, the lack of grouping. We had no way to play as a team.
3 - Price. There's no family pricing plan for either the box or the monthly fee. $80.00 for the boxes and $20.00/monthly is just too much for a game without much content.

This game screams familytime, Netdevil and Lego did nothing to reach out to that market.

Posted: Oct 21st 2010 11:48PM (Unverified) said

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Wow, I read this with interest since my son and I also lost interest in the Beta testing phase.

I wish I could put my finger on it, beside the early game-ending bugs, there just wasn't enough..."specialness" about it beside it being from LEGO, especially coming from the LEGO Batman, LEGO Star Wars console games.

Maybe our expectations were too high, but when pricing details were released - $40 for the game ON TOP OF a $10 monthly EACH(!) the game would have had to have been pure, unadulterated awesomeness to have made me pony up that amount of cash.

The vast majority of MMO's targeted for the younger set (Club Penguin, ToonTown, Wizard101) have a free-to-play component. Even the recently announced Marvel Super Hero Squad is going to be free to play with the option of micro transactions or memberships which is the route LEGO should have gone.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2010 12:24AM (Unverified) said

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I totally agree with all the points made int the article and all the other comments.
Bag space is insufficient. Pricing for a "family" game is a bit too high although it does fit with LEGO toy prices. Overall, I'm impressed with the game but there are glaring problems.

Posted: Oct 22nd 2010 10:00AM Snichy said

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A lack of grouping and charging a monthly fee for it seems like a massive design and business mistake. If they want families to play it, of course you are going to want to group up together and its highly unlikely you will want to spend $240 per year on it so what on earth were they thinking, especially as we all know about kids attention spans?! Just seems like another exmaple of corporate over-ruling the gameplaying developers to me!

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