Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mouselook and World of Warcraft

Are you considering playing World of Warcraft but aren't sure if it uses mouselook? The good news is that it doesn't. There is a button you can hold to turn mouselook on and there are third party mods to improve on it (aka lock it), but the default is a nice third person perspective.

As a side note, the camera is so flexible I've been able to take every picture in this blog myself. Including pictures:

From Behind:From the Front:
Even From the Side:

My Mouselook-in-Hellgate-London Experience:
I'm one of those unfortunate people who gets sick after playing games with Mouselook. I would blame a bad habit of whipping my mouse around too fast but even when I reign that in, it's still a problem. Too bad for me, First Person Shooters (FPS) thrive on it. I might still be dabbling with the likes of Star Wars Battlefront if it weren't for that problem.

Being in the market for a new MMO, I decided to give Hellgate London a try. Many of the Diablo group founded the company so that was promising. My research showed that they wanted to mix FPS and MMO into one game and they offered both first and third person perspectives. So I placed my pre-order on Amazon and signed up for Hellgate's Beta.

Long story short - I canceled my order. Unfortunately you can't get around the mouselook (there's no option to turn it off) and the third person perspective was simply the ability to zoom out and see your character from behind.

The cynic in me mused that they thought adding "vanity cam" (a button that allowed you to see yourself from the front) was what they thought MMO players wanted. That was the only thing besides WASD that felt familiar. I also notice they don't advertise the third person perspective as a choice anymore.

Lest I speak too poorly of the game, I should say how thankful I am for the opportunity to have tried it in Beta before having to commit to the purchase. That worked out well. For those considering it now, you can buy the game and play it without a a monthly fee, then later decide whether or not to participate in the subscription-based content (read more in this Hellgate London Q&A).

Appreciating WoW More:
Also, trying one more MMO made me appreciate yet again how easy WoW is to learn from scratch (apart from say someone who is unfamiliar with a mouse). And those cartoony looking avatars that almost stopped us from switching to World of Warcraft three years ago are now my "norm." I have to really look past that when I am so smartly picking up a game to judge it by its cover (or youtube gameplay footage).

Future Game Purchases:
Lucky for me, Tobold experiences the same mouselook issues and has even found a little background to explain it in his post: Mouselook and video game motion sickness.

He also mentions this type of interface in his reviews so that should be helpful to those of us who must now be wary of it in MMO games. In his early Tabula Rasa Review, for example, he mentions the forced mouselook interface. Interestingly, since then the Tabula Rasa folks have added a patch to allow for a more traditional MMO perspective. I hope that trend develops.

Now if I could just find an MMORPG comparison table like this that also shows the mouselook-perspective (and the Economy) I'd be set.

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