I Want to be a Fanboy!

I have the curse of the cynic.

In my life I have sat through pep rallies, sporting events, concerts, company team-building exercises, prayer meetings, and multi-level marketing seminars with groups of people who have been shouting, cheering, and immersed to the point of being practically overcome by what has been going on.

And there I am, somewhere in the middle, mildly detached from things, wondering in the back of my mind if whatever I am attending is going to end on time, what traffic is going to be like on the way home, and if I should finish off the rest of that pizza in the fridge before I go to bed or if I should save it for tomorrow.

That’s just me.

It isn’t that I despise this passion I see in others. I am quite envious of it.

And isn’t that I have not had passion for things in life myself. That passion just doesn’t come easily, it certainly does not come on command, and it definitely does not show up for anything that requires me to recruit friends and family into a sales network.

Still, I have hope.

I have something of a passion for online gaming, but no real passion right now for any particular game. I want to find a game that sparks my interest and imagination, one that will make me proudly wear the fanboy badge.

But where will I find this game?

I thought Star Trek Online might be it, but that seems to have fallen flat now. Plus I started off annoyed and opposed to some of the general directions the game was taking, and things just got worse from there.

Lord of the Rings Online had a chance. I love the books and two out of the three movies, but as much as I enjoyed the virtual tour of Middle-earth, I found the game itself tepid, something of interest but not passion.

So I found myself wondering last night about which future games might spark some passion in me?

Well, there are the usual suspects.

Age of ConanRobert E. Howard‘s works always left me a bit flat and the whole “M for Mature” thing is lost on me, seeming to be more of a bit of titillation intended to bring in younger gamers rather than keep them away. In the end, I could never really identify with Conan, and now the actor primarily associated with him is the governor of my state, further muddying the mental waters for me.

Warhammer Online – I didn’t like the table top game and, frankly, I dismissed World of Warcraft at first because it looked too much like Warhammer, so I start with a bias against on this game. Besides which, Warhammer seems to be camped by the PvP fanboys, all holding out hope for a mainstream PvP success. While I have wished for a true, immersive PvP experience, Warhammer does not look like it will break the PvP curse of “victory to those with the most free time.”

The Agency – Maybe… but maybe not. I am more of a John Le Carre or Len Deighton fan when it comes to the genre. I enjoyed “Sandbaggers” more than most Bond films. And couldn’t SOE have come up with a better name than “United Nations Intelligence and Tactical Experts?” While the game could be a lot of fun, the whole RMT thing might upset the tea cart.

Huxley – Somehow I do not see Webzen Games as a source of gaming passion.

Stargate Worlds – I do not really know the IP, but it is science fiction, and my moaning about the problems facing a science fiction MMO were drawn from my desire to play a good one. Maybe this one?

There are some possibilities, but no shoe-in candidates.

What else is out there? What else is coming? What might ignite some gaming passion?

12 thoughts on “I Want to be a Fanboy!

  1. LadyPao

    Hey Wilhelm, I feel very similarly as you do in this post, especially the part about being ‘reserved’ in my outward expressions of passion- but really wanting to be a ‘fangurl’ of *something*. I thought it was going to be PoTBS, but that totally did not meet my game needs for exploration and education as I thought it was going to (and I’m not reading good things generally, if you can even find a person blogging about it). I was reading Syncaine’s review of the Witcher and got real excited by the gameplay and consequences of your actions, but then it has a mature theme of rascism and sleeping with whores, which he finds ‘natural’ and as a female, I find stupid, not my version of fantasy. So I was again disappointed.
    Stargate Worlds…I’ve been occasionally dropping in on TV episodes of SG Atlantis, with some interest..so maybe SGW would be good. Playing Tabula Rasa now, and have hit a bit of a boredom wall at 28…thinking of going back to WoW, maybe try the horde side of things….but yah, just drifting, with no real gaming passion. Maybe that’s a good thing- I might do something else with my life! :)

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  2. Oakstout

    I understand completely. It kind of reminds me of Golden Coral. I all looks and smells good, but once you start eating, its all kind of bland and way more expensive than it should be.

    We don’t need the next game to be a wow killer, we just need it to be good, entertaining and different. I use to be a fanboy of comic book characters so I tried, CoH. That experience was fun for a while, but it dropped off considerable. Wow is fun, but once you hit the top, where is there to go. I do have to say that compared to some games, the middle content of WoW is pretty engaging, even now with the added Xp you get.

    Lotro looked good as well, but once you get into the meat of it, its just the same old grind. I felt like there was a traffic cop saying, “Nothing to see here, move along” When the whole time I felt there was something exciting to see, but I just wasn’t seeing it.

    Stargate, if done right, can be an awesome IP. There are tons of worlds to visit, different creatures to encounter and since the lore is pretty deep, I don’t see how they couldn’t find something to keep us hooked till the end. And yes, I am a fanboy of the series, so I too would love to see it work.

    If the game play and graphics are great, the only thing that would hurt it would be if Star Trek gets back on track. But as things look now, thats doubtful.

    I like PVP, but a whole world of it, seems a bit much for me, so I may peek in on Warhammer, but I don’t think I would stay.

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  3. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Of course, after writing this (and it was a complete spur of the moment post) I have been humming the Blotto song, “I want to be a lifeguard” and trying to rewrite it in my head as “I want to be a fanboy.”

    The lyrics are here (and include a link to an MP3 of the song) if you want to give it a try.

    I think I first heard this song (and probably last heard this song) on MTV back in 1982 or so, back when they used to, you know, actually play music. A lasting impression in any case.

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  4. syncaine

    Not to derail this post, but just to defend my review of The Witcher, I meant to say that the mature theme does not make sleeping around or the dark sides of humanity seem out of place in that world. Although it might be a bit too much for a female gamer, as the target audience is certainly male. You make it seem like I find whores and racism natural, and I just wanted to clarify that Lady Pao. We can discuse the game more at my site if you would like though, I don’t want to derail this post any more than I have already.

    Oh, and about being a fanboi, part of the ‘key’ is that you have to have a little blind faith, like I do for WAR. I worry about the unknown about that game (the PvP could totally suck for all I know), but being a fanboi means hoping for the best and riding the known good stuff into the sunset. Hence the general foolishness of being a fanboi in the first place :)

    Oh, and you are a total lego games fanboi, so you have that going for you! Did you see the new Batman lego game coming out soon? Saw a preview in the last issue of PCGamer.

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  5. bluelinebasher

    I feel even more dispondant than that, which is sad considering how much time I’ve vested in the past into DAoC and Eve. Most of my friends have cut their MMO ties and moved onto console so I’m down to EVE and picked up a 360. It fits time constraints better and I have to admit the punishment for not being online 24×7 on a Halo game isn’t nearly as severe as going against a RR12 opponent in DAoC when you’re lower than RR5 with causal play. I’m looking forward to some MMOs on console: APB, possibly Huxley. Also I believe there is some sort of MMORTS from Kingdom Under Fire in the works, and possibly a Marvel offering but I don’t know if that was scrapped. Just hope for no more monthly fees.

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  6. krones

    The outlook is bleak for the cynics. Each game is derivative, if you aren’t a fan of PvP or typical linear based gameplay in a fantasy setting I can’t suggest anything unless you really want to scrape around and try some web based MMOGs. What about creating your own game when MetaPlace comes out? What kind of MMOG are you looking to play?

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  7. kanthalos

    All I know is that I’m currently pretty happy playing WoW, but it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the way I felt about Asheron’s Call for the four years I played it… I know perfectly well that a recreation of the older style of game isn’t going to happen, nor would it be successful if it did, nor would it reignite that flame. That said, that feeling is something I don’t think I’ll find in any of the games on the horizon… who knows, there could be a surprise hit on the way. Here’s to hoping :)

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  8. p@tsh@t

    “Stereotypical fanboys are attributed with a sycophantic devotion to the creators and principles behind a work with which they are currently enthralled. Fanboys are noted for a very emotional attachment to their chosen subject, often taking negative remarks about it as a personal attack. They will readily engage in debates, but will fall back on emotional responses when challenged on facts.”

    You, my friend, will never be a fanboy. Sycophant? Blind emotional attachment? Not in the DNA.

    No, what you want are the never ending (or at least extended) “salad days” in a game when you are enthralled, immersed and swept away. Each new adventure, achievement or goal attained makes you giggle like a school girl– a seemingly never ending horizon of opportunities for fun.

    Endless, boundless, unbridled optimism based on nothing more than having fun pretty much all the time. Simply a game that makes you want to play all the time.

    Sad to say, I haven’t experienced that New MMO Smell(tm) in far too long. Even where it did exist, it dissipated as soon as you opened the windows a bit…

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  9. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @p@tsh@t

    “You, my friend, will never be a fanboy. Sycophant? Blind emotional attachment? Not in the DNA.”

    Heh, and you know that better than most… every time we sail past West End.

    But the fact that I probably can’t get there, the way I could never buy into that multi-level marketing scheme which a so-called friend tried to drag me into, doesn’t mean I don’t occasinally envy the people who can get there. Greener grass and all that, no doubt.

    @Krones

    Man, if I knew what I MMORPG I really wanted, I could close down the blog, stop listening to podcasts, and just be happy!

    This was mostly a silly way of my saying the stuff coming up this year doesn’t grab me. I haven’t even bought the POTBS box yet and I am not sure there is another MMORPG box I will buy in 2008, aside from Lich King.

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  10. Marchosias

    I think “I wanna be a Cowboy” rhymes better with fanboy, LOL. Dunno that I’ve ever felt passionate about a game before, maybe DAoC when I was first into’d to it. But nothing since then. Been in a lot of MMO’s since then and nothing really hit me above lukewarm after the first few levels.

    AC2 probably had the biggest “OMG” factor to it, but the let-down after the honeymoon was terrible. Never even got to honeymoon stage with WoW, just kind of a long dating period, hehe. Kind of where I’m at with EVE and LotRO now, and holding out for WAR. We’ll see.

    Two things I’d really like to see – or three.. A really good Sci-Fi game like EVE done right or a remake of AO. Some other mythos besides DnD; like Roman, Egyptian, Babylonian, or something with at least a different setting. An MMO with user generated content, not so much like Second-Life, more like NWN Mods/adventures… Popular or well crafted material would persist, and crummy stuff would disappear or get ravaged by mobs. Anything to keep the universe dynamic – possibly only allowing submissions up on the “test” server and then migrating to “the real world” after passing muster, or something if their concerned about pr0n or what-have-you. (Like many web-sites that have user-upload areas where stuff is quarantined until judged fit-for-prime-time…)

    -M-

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  11. Rodin's Thinker

    I too have have become burnt out by WoW and various titles ” 3″. I’ve tried out TorilMUD a few months ago based on your comments (whilst exploring the history of MMOs).

    I’ve discovered two games that might spark an interest, based on surfing of open source games (which could ultimately become the main competitors to MMOs in the future).

    Try: Linley’s Dungeon Crawl and OpenTTD.

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  12. Chewy27

    I am down to what BluelineBasher is at as well. I still play EVE and then I have a 360 for that “quick fix” game. I have a group of friends that tend to travel around from game to game as a group, but I tend to the the person who get everyone onto the new games. We did CoH for a long while. It was a lot of fun with a bunch of people grouped up together but didn’t have the depth I was looking for. We gave WoW a passing try, but it really didn’t interest us much at all. We moved to EVE, but the others interest is starting to wane, I am still playing but most of them have left me. So I did a patrol around for a new game a month or so back and came to the same unfortunate conclusion that you did, there simply isn’t anything amazing out there right now. Conan is the only one that I think might have a glimmer of hope, but I am not holding my breath.

    Chewy27

    ps- I really enjoy reading your blog on a regular basis, keep up the great work.

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