Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mortal DicKslap

As I mentioned recently, I've been wasting a lot of time in Paragon. It's a blatant Smite copycat, and Smite's big gimmick was giving the AoS concept a close up third person look. Both of them owe much to the RTS / FPS hybrid Savage 2, but where Savage 2 was a true FPS / RTS hybrid which featured large 20 vs. 20 player teams, actual resource control, building placement, commanders giving players orders and other RTS staples in addition to its FPS gameplay, these are just ... eeeugh... "MOBAs" - the idiotically oversimplified version of the Aeon of Strife concept popularized by Defense of the Ancients and League of Legends. AoS maps started in Starcraft, and were based around controlling a single unit within a larger two-sided strategy conflict. They should never have devolved to moronic slapfests, but that's what DotA was and every commercially marketed AoS game since then has rebranded itself an "arena" instead of a warzone, copycatting DotA's simplicity.

Smite sinks a level lower, removing even much of DotA/LoL's remaining player choice, planning and tactical thinking in favor of degrading the genre to a 5v5 version of Mortal Kombat or other console fighting games. Paragon copycats Smite and is deliberately aimed at console gamers, but despite lacking entertaining mythical figures it improved a bit on some of Smite's combat basics. Now, that patch I linked is supposed to be their big December popularity push. Coming out on Dec. 6, I'm guessing it prefaces some kind of advertising blitz for the holiday season. Don't give a crap. It's what's inside that counts, and what's inside is... less.

5v5, 3 lanes, no control over strategic elements, no dependence on resource control, idiotic player advancement based on individual kill count dick-measurement instead of actual teamwork. That's the MOBA formula, a moronic shadow of the complete strategy games the AoS concept should have birthed. You'd think they couldn't dumb it down even more. So guess what the new patch advertises. Small map. Shorter cooldowns. Faster movement. Slappier slapfest. Like every game, Paragon will only get more dumbed down, more simplified as it goes along, but I would've though they'd at least wait until they officially declare themselves out of "beta" before shrinking their product, catering only to inbred rednecks mashing buttons on their eksbawkses. Investing time in moving to a particular lane and having to wait until you use your abilities were some of the last traces of actual frontal lobe activity in the whole "MOBA" denigration of team strategy games. Aaaaand now they're gone.

Don't even THINK about increasing team and map size. 7v7 complexity would break your drooling troglodytic customers' brains.

There were only two games I can remember which took the AoS concept in the correct direction.
The Warcraft 3 map Eve of the Apocalypse.
Demigod, a 2009 game developed by (of all companies) Gas Powered Games before their otherwise well-deserved bankruptcy.

I can't dig up my old Warcraft 3 copy (nor do I want to) but I really need to see if I can't snatch myself some screenshots of Demigod and start putting them up. Every time I've seen a new AoS degenerate come out I've bought into it in the hopes of something better. Every time I've told myself they couldn't possibly degrade the team RTS concept any further. Every time I've somehow been surprised that they have, and Paragon's only the latest in a long chain. With every company tripping over themselves to cater to drooling cretins, we really should remember that the genre could be (and was, for brief times) taken in the opposite direction, that of increasing complexity, planning and teamwork.

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