Some more comments on the MMO:
- Things are still a little slow and clunky. I plan to take some of the advice on tailoring your machine for better performance, just as soon as they let me into the forums.
- I've gotten so that I just hit the '1' key repeatedly if I want a quest but don't want to have an entire conversation with a quest giver. They need a key to let you do this quickly, especially if you've got an alt and have been through this whole thing 20 times already. New newbie areas, please!
- Shadows Over Tartuga - At one point, everyone and everything's shadows became detached from their bodies. It was tres freaky, let me tell you. All of these shadows walking around by themselves!
- Grouping - we had quite a bit of trouble staying grouped. At one point, I still had my group window up but whatever I typed wouldn't show up. Turned out I'd been bounced out of the group while Matt was still in it. It had happened before, but to Matt and I still got his messages.
- Interface - I have a horrible time finding how to do simple things in this interface. There is no "system" button, a la WoW, that lets you quit, fiddle with settings, etc. Finally figured out it was the ESC button (or F1, hard to tell as sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't). Figuring out how to generate a group chat window was a pain too, and typing '/' to get the cursor into the chat window didn't work - I had to click on it. I expect a lot of interface improvements over the coming weeks, but for now the delta between this game and WoW will slow me down on a regular basis.
One thing that I'm finding to be disconcerting is the whole day/night paradigm. If you want to do solo quests in your own instance of the city, you tell the bartender and off you go. If you want to play multi-player, same thing. You can't do both sets of quests at once. Fortunately, the night quests seem to be class-specific, so you're less likely to want to group for them. I guess that once you get out of the initial area the diurnal cycle is set to game time rather than the player's request, and I'm not sure that's going to be a good thing. Imagine going to a new area planning to do quests there, logging out for the day, and coming back later and finding out that you can't do those quests. Maybe I have this wrong, but it strikes me as a bit dunderheaded out of the gate. Especially as right now I have a single night quest that's a little high for me right now, so I need the daytime quests just to play.
One good thing about the various problems is that I'm not itching to play for eight hour stretches, but rather for two to four hours at a time (probably around two in the future) until things stabilize. I hear that you can solo all the way up to around 40 without any problem, too, although I'm concerned that there will be a lot of friend's characters that arrive at that point at a wide variety of times, making it hard to group. Time will tell, as the single newb area is definitely going to limit the number of characters I generate if all I do is run them through the same freakin' zone again and again. Hopefully Funcom will have additional starting areas as the game matures.
One last thing - I'm having trouble figuring out when I'm in an instance and when I'm not. Matt and I couldn't find each other for about five minutes until we figured out that the city itself had several instances. We could still communicate, and it was easy to get to the new instance (assuming you don't mind respawning outside the city). Just more confusion, I guess.
I don't mean to sound like I'm down on the game, I'm just used to WoW and it's extremely mature and stable world. Finding the delta between the two games will be an interesting experience, and will give me a strong sense of whether or not I want to be involved in an immature MMO in the future. So far I haven't minded too much, and I'm much more into this game than I was with either CoH or GW. Regardless, my WoW account isn't going to go cold in the meantime - I'm still enjoying it quite a bit, although Leo is getting bored with the daily quests and has 23 group/dungeon quests that he needs people to play with to finish.