My computer saved me from re-subscribing to WoW, however, by simply refusing to download the bastard. I tried for two days while visiting my girlfriend (Because, see, that meant I was off the computer, busy being a devoted boyfriend.) which is atop the week I spent at home trying first; it sounds like I’m describing efforts to conceive. However, after the second time it failed to function, I despaired. I had Perfect World, of course, and Perfect World’s not bad…but I can honestly say that if Perfect World has a story, I haven’t found it yet. Every time some apothecary tells me, completely seriously, that a giant dog had the wherewithal and drive to steal a crucial recipe…I just shake my head. Some of the quests are entertaining, though; I loved the guy who had nightmares of being killed by ambulatory cacti, despite the specific breed existing on the coast of a continent while he was standing inside a plant-free city at its center. I killed the cacti for him. I killed the turtles for some other dude, covering my roommate (Who is a tortoise, natch)’s eyes as I did so. I ground and ground and picked up iterative power increases and new abilities.
But ultimately, Perfect World is linear in a way I struggle to accept. It’s not even the linearity of the questing, the endless grind. It’s the fact that I have yet to find any uniqueness in character progression whatsoever. My Barbarian, for instance, can use all manner of polearms, one- and two-handed axes and hammers, and even paired hammers. Some of these weapons swing faster than others; for the uninitiated, this has an effect on your DPS (Damage Per Second). If one weapon deals 68-118 damage and has a swing speed of 1.9 seconds, and another deals 60-100 damage but has a swing speed of .8 seconds, the latter weapon provides better DPS. In other games, WoW for instance, swing speed really does matter. Certain classes and builds favor the quickest, nastiest weapons they can wield, because they’re dependent on abilities triggered off of critical hits (Basically, a really good result on the random number generation that determines if your attack is a success) or upon things that they apply, like poisons, with every hit. Other classes and builds prefer big, nasty, slow weapons with tremendous base and maximum damage; usually they’re going to employ a number of special abilities which ignore swing speed and inflict their damage based on the damage capacity of the weapon, such that what matters is how much damage your weapon is capable of.
In PW, though, none of that seemed to matter. If a weapon did more total DPS, you upgraded to it. It didn’t matter what the swing speed was, because the Barbarian really doesn’t care. The class is built off of a mana (and chi) energy pool, which runs out so quickly that you’re either spamming potions or just hitting stuff. Barbs also have a tiger form with totally different abilities, higher armor and speed but lower damage. In this form, though, your weapon swing speed seems to be utterly normalized, so your weapon again doesn’t matter. Even the existence of this tiger form provides few to no decisions. Are you tanking? Tiger form. Are you running somewhere? Tiger form. Do you want things to die faster? Manbeast form. It also think it’s a shame, a true shame, that every Barbarian turns into a white tiger…as you can’t actually make your character a white tiger-headed man. If I’m running around as a lion man, I want to turn into a lion; same for wolf and, for pantssake, Pandas.
PW has some amazing qualities, and it’s visually exceptional. Being able to totally recustomize your character’s appearance before each login was impressive as well.
But once I managed to log into DDO, I knew I wouldn’t be going back any time soon.