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Reader Comments (70)

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 5:41PM Fakeassname said

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I know you said "not in beta" but R2 has got some really great visuals.

uhm .... heh, I can't think of anything else; I think I'm just trying to hard.

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 5:43PM DoctorSmart said

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Yeah, seems a damn shame to not include AoC or LOTRO, unless of course your system can't handle them at max settings. Character models in LOTRO are blah, but the landscapes are breathtaking.

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 5:45PM Beau Hindman said

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@DoctorSmart It would only be a shame if I felt as though they were better looking than the ones on my list and left them off for some reason. The point is, I don't think they are better looking than the ones I listed.

Beau
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Posted: Aug 10th 2011 5:53PM Seffrid said

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@Beau Hindman

Out of interest, have you played AoC and LoTRO on maximum settings with DX10 enabled? Seen the wavering shadows on the ground under a tree with DX10 enabled?

I apologise for my forgetfulness over the timing of F2P in AoC earlier, silly me of course it's already F2P! Thanks to those who corrected me.

EQ2 gets a lot of stick for its artwork, and assuredly the open landscape graphics are awfully bland, but the architectural artwork in Qeynos takes some beating in my view. It too is F2P now of course.
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Posted: Aug 10th 2011 5:56PM Silverangel said

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@Beau Hindman Looking at the above screens, this exceeds credibility.
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Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:04PM Beau Hindman said

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@Seffrid I played both on max, and thought they were both very pretty. I still think they are, if not some of the best looking games out there. In fact, I would say that most people would say that the "art" in those games is "better" than the art in the games I have mentioned.

Again, though, I can't explain it. Trust me...I used to be a hardcore Vanguard graphics lover, and used to play LotRO a ton. But, my tastes have changed. Not sure why they have gone more cartoony as I got older, instead of maybe more realistic. Maybe it's my issue with not wanting to spend another dime on upgrades? lol

Thanks for the comments so far, guys and gals!

Beau
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Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:11PM Fakeassname said

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@Seffrid

the issue is less of quality, and more of content.

good GFX do not necessarily make for pleasant visuals, to this day I value Morrowind higher than Oblivion because for all that the latter's GFX were shinier, more complex, and generally better "quality", I never got an ounce of atmospheric immersion from it.

while I was constantly finding new and interesting things around every ash caked corner in Morrowind, all I ever found in Oblivion was high quality blandness.
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Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:23PM Lenn said

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@Fakeassname My thoughts exactly. Morrowind has amazing visuals. Every zone has a different feel to it. They are all oozing atmosphere. Oblivion, while undoubtedly very beautiful, feels very monotonous when it comes to zone design. "Oh look, another gorgeous field with some woods and hills."
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Posted: Aug 10th 2011 7:22PM Bartas said

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@Beau Hindman Lotro or AoC not better than the ones you listed ?? Really ?? Having Runescape on your list... Dunno huh. But yea, some people can't w8 to play as that half naked 6 years old girls or pedobears in TERA, saying this are best looking races ever... immersion guaranteed. I can't understand how any normal, serious red blooded male could enjoy that kind of "look", but hey, ppl vary...
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Posted: Aug 10th 2011 5:51PM Carolina said

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My personal 5 in no particular order would be:

LOTRO
Allods
Forsaken World
Eden Eternal
Vindictus

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:15PM Ghostspeaker said

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I'm actually mostly with Beau on this one. I prefer games where the art design emphasis is on the "art" end of things. Games that try for realism tend to fall flat for me because there always seems to be something a little off, whereas more stylized games embrace the imperfection of the technology and turn it into something aesthetically pleasing instead of fighting a losing battle. Stylization also frees artists to create truly fantastic, even slightly surreal landscapes that would just look weird in a game that strove for photorealism. From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I'd take Zangarmarsh over Tortage any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

That said, here's my additions to your list, since I agree with all your choices:
LOTRO (the only "realistic" F2P game that ever really grabbed me graphically)
Forsaken World

I also really love the art style of Rusty Hearts (there just aren't enough victorian gothic styled games out there *sigh*) but that's still in closed beta so it doesn't count.

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:19PM GrumpyGnome said

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I don't usually roll with the F2P crew, (I can count the F2P tiles I've played on one hand), but I absolutely love Allods graphics. I am not a huge fan of the higher level character gear/styling, (typical silly huge spikes, ect), but the environments are amazing. Great cities, towns, outposts. Great vistas, and dungeons, and the music...whoa!

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:21PM Pingles said

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I'm sure Beau had his own motivations for this list but personally I'd exclude any big-budget former P2P titles.

There's something about these F2P accomplishing these visuals without major studios backing them or the guaranteed revenues of a fixed monthly fee to get back investor money.

Allods and Eden Eternal blew me away. Zentia is amazingly designed but a very dated graphics engine.

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:34PM Fakeassname said

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the thing that most people disregard about Anime/manga is that it's visual elements are intentional and have been constantly refined for close to 50 years.

the point of it is not artistic excellence, it's emotional impact.

for all their excellence, how many classical paintings of kings, emperors, and gods have got half the expression and liveliness of your general, run of the mill Anime chick?

the key thing about the Japanese carton style that makes it's so engaging is that they have cut down artistic representation to the point that nothing remains except for the parts the depict emotional expression: eyes, mouth, hands, posture, and hair. and then they have refined them to the point that all that is required is a general outline of the human form for these characters to take life within the viewers mind.

in certain generas "quality" takes precedence over emotional impact (most notably with action games because the only emotion people care about is "excitement") but in others where emotional connection with the gameplay is a focal point, artistic quality takes a backseat.

stepping away from the MMO world for parity; think about how people hardly even remember that their was a twelfth final fantasy game and actively hate thirteen, yet even to this day praise titles like FF7 and the Secret of Mana ... in that regard the Anime art style and MMOs are kind of a natural fit because the players emotional connection to the game is one of the central elements that make a game flourish.

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:35PM Beau Hindman said

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@NeverDeath First of all, calm down.

We're having a decent discussion about *opinions*. You can argue with anyone all you want about what qualifies as quality, but "quality" art is based on an opinion. You cannot define it for everyone. Accept that your ideas do not match up to mine.

If you want to continue to try and define quality for us, fine, but let's keep it civil, cool?

Beau

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:42PM Lenn said

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@NeverDeath You DO realize you are arguing about taste, don't you? Which kinda sorta makes YOU look like the fool.

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:47PM Resurge said

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@NeverDeath ok, mr. angsty. See here'swwhere you went wrong: "The simple fact is that from a technical standpoint" ..this is an article talking about an artistic standpoint, not a technical one. Stop posting walls of text with big words to try to sound cool. We get it, your a rebel with a big ole brain, and we're all stupid mouthbreathers and neckbeards. Got it.

Here's an idea ..contribute to the conversation in a civil manner, or skip the post and read one you like. Many of us read this site to avoid angsty angry internet bullies and people who, like yourself, just don't get it.

ps: nice mullet pic +1 for you

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 6:52PM Gaugamela said

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I would say the purpose of this opinion piece isn't to classify the games with best graphics but the ones that Beau thought have the most interesting visuals on the free-to-play market.

And he did make some interesting choices!

Nevertheless I think that Allods belongs to a list like this, and the Gibberlings are cooler critters than that Zuni. :)

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 7:05PM Pingles said

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@NeverDeath

NeverDeath is the worst kind of troll: A boring one.

Posted: Aug 10th 2011 7:06PM Germaximus said

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Allods, Vindictus, Dragon Nest, Rusty Hearts

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