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Old 08-08-2003, 11:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Neocron MMORPG

Ive been playing Neocron for 6 months now. I really enjoy the shooter style combat (I personally find gunfire in auto-combat games like AO to be unsatisfying, I like to take cover and such) and the cyber-punk setting is fun if you like that sort of thing. The game really strikes me as a thinly disguised Deus Ex Online, which is fine with me. Here is a rather hastily written review:

Neocron is a MMORPG set on a typical dystopian future Earth where humans huddle in sealed cities and the wasteland is home to hideous mutated creatures. Players take on the role of soldiers, explorers, and equipment manufacturers (calling someone who makes energy weapons a “crafter” just sounds wrong). All characters theoretically have access to all skills, but the base class a player picks (tank, spy, private eye, psi-monk) sets the practical maximums that a character can achieve.

There are a few points about the game that are either good or bad depending on your perspective.

-The game is a RPG that uses a shooter engine so there is no auto-combat; the player has to manually target enemies and there is a lot of movement and taking cover when you fight.

-The graphics are a bit dated (slightly above Counter Strike level) and the game only requires a P2 or better. Though I would recommend a slightly faster machine for decent frame rates during team battles.

-The end game is all player vs. player (PvP) combat both in the parts of the city and in battles over outposts in the wasteland.

-The game is not popular, to put it mildly, and servers are only sparsely filled; on the other hand players can find areas to hunt and explore without a lot of competition (except in the usual popular spots that develop in a game).

-The game doesn’t restrict public chat line language or character names, at least when it comes to vulgar or sexual content (I’ve seen a character named “clitoris” and others with the word “*****” as part of their name, but no names making racial slurs) and Neocron offers nude and semi-clothed female dancers in the sleazy clubs (the US version of the game requires a patch to see pixilated naughty bits but the trial version is apparently based on the European client).

-The cities are complex and take time to learn (when I wander Neocron city I am reminded of Hong Kong in Deus Ex), this is not the game for the kind of player that wants a straight road with a town at one end and the dungeon at the other. Getting lost in Neocron is easy to do and even experienced payers have to bring up a map to set them on the right course again every now and then.

The game play is oriented towards Player vs Player combat. Characters are don’t take as long to cap in level as most other games. The essential “rare” items in the game are also nearly as hard to come by as in other games. The general goal of most player is to achieve high enough level to be competitive in PvP and therefore be able to assist their Clan/Faction in defending or taking Outposts. Or to simply pounce on the first unsuspecting helpless soul they find and kill them for the fun of it.

The Player vs Player orientation of the game doesn’t stop player who don’t like that sort of thing from enjoying themselves though. The constant battle between clans and faction mean that equipment is constantly lost or worn out. Players have the option of becoming Researchers, Constructors, Implanters, Repairers, Hackers, and Barterers. All services essential to the pure combat oriented players. These trade skill player are well respected in the community.

Other then fighting or providing a trade skill to other players the game follows the basic “run around and kill stuff” model, as well as offering missions that include FedEx delivery type tasks, craft skill assignments and monster killing assignments. There are also large Epic missions that a player can do that can take several days to complete and offer a unique item reward.

The Outpost wars are and ever present par of the game. Outposts are much like castles in DAoC. Each gives the owning clan a steady profit and useful features such as weapon construction and development bonuses as well as the ovious braging rights. An outpost war begins with the nutralization of any turret defences that might have been set by the defending clan. After which a hacker must enter the Outpost and hack into it mainframe. All this takes some time giving the defending clan and opportunity to organize a defense and strike back. Outpost change hands many times but only the strongest clans can hold them.

Neocron city is a tangled urban web connected by tunnels, overhead bridges, and narrow streets. The look ranges from affluent high-tech to grungy slums, to garish downtown pleasure zones, and finally to abandoned ruins on the edge of the wasteland. Outside the city is a great wilderness of the wasteland inhabited by all sorts of deadly creatures to hunt and be hunted by the players. All the Outposts are located in the wasteland and this is where clans and factions fight for dominance.

The skill system is a bit complex and it is easy to spend points on what turns out to be the wrong thing, but the game has a handy store bought method of changing skill settings and the only penalty is a bit of down time. This system strikes a balance between a skill-use system (like UO) and a experience-points-spent-for-any-skills system (as in AO). There are five base skills: Intelligence, Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, and Psi. Each of those has a group of sub-skills, a character gains experience for a specific base skill and the points can be spent on any sub-skill. Characters also gain experience for using skills to make, repair, or research an item (apparently the world has lost the ability to store re-usable blueprints, you have to make a fresh one for each attempt to make something).

Factions are an important part of the game. There are governmental, commercial, criminal, and revolutionary factions that form a web of alliances, enmities, and neutralities. Killing members of your own or an allied faction can eventually lead to the copbots opening fire on you on sight.

The community is small (most servers never have more than 400 players at a time) and mostly pleasant. A few players gave me a total of 30,000 credits on my first day. Another liked the tip I gave him for making a rifle and ended up giving me more weapons, armour, and implants for free. There are players who dedicate themselves to helping new players get into the game. The Help chat channel is a good place to go when you have questions. The only sour smell comes from the accumulation of 12 year olds that think that playing a PvP game makes them tough guys, but that is common to all online PvP games.

Anyways I hope I have given some insight into this game. If you have any question I would be glad to answer them.

Free trial download: http://dome-of-york.com/download

Their main site is: http://www.neocron.com

Cheers
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Old 08-08-2003, 11:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
The Northern Ward
 
Location: Columbus, Ohio
I beta tested that game. I always liked it, even then.
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Old 08-09-2003, 12:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Tulsa, OK
The beta test was fun, and I consider neocron to be better than most of the MMORPG's out there now, with the exception of Asheron's Call and Final Fantasy XI (oh, how I love thee)
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Old 08-09-2003, 12:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
Yo dawg, I herd u like...
 
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Location: memes.
Quote:
Fantasy XI (oh, how I love thee)

If only to beta test....
I would buy that game in a second.


Dark Knight all the way.
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Old 08-09-2003, 12:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Tulsa, OK
Heh, I didn't get accepted into beta. I'm forced to pay 3 dollars an hour to play it, some local LAN place has a deal with squareenix, they get some beta accounts and pay square some money or something. Anyway, it's worth 3 dollars an hour, but I dont' know how much longer I'll be able to afford paying that much money for a game that's really supposed to be free at the moment.

The day the game comes out, I will be playing it though. 10 dollars a month is well worth it, or even if it's more than that like 15 dollars a month, or even 20. I doubt it will ever be 20 though.
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Old 08-09-2003, 12:41 AM   #6 (permalink)
Yo dawg, I herd u like...
 
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Location: memes.
I would easily pay 15$ a month to play that.
If it was more,I'd cancel Everquest ...again =p
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