Yeah, that is a good read. Read it before and read it again. That read is really spot on with CE.
*Sorry for the long post…I type really fast and it may help others who are on the fence or just cannot put their finger on it.
Old school gamer here and self funded game developer. Bioware’s Baldur’s Gate series and Neverwinter Nights 1 & 2 (Obsidian’s mod/change) are legendary RP games that had toolsets to build and layout adventures in. NWN was very well developed but took two additional expansions to make it damn near a perfect game. Skyrim, everyone knows how buggy it was and can be, but is also a legend once the community stepped up and modded the heck out of it. And it is still going strong still.
I have lots of hours in ARK (630) and have run my own ‘Adventure Hub Hotel’ island server which was excellent for RP Adventures and Server Events. ARK was a buggy beast that needed a number of mods (steam and my own custom) to fix a lot of things that Wildcard just did not want to fix…like ever. They had new shinies to add and their own new ideas and just would not go back and fix these things. And their ‘Optimizations’ statement at every patch was simply something they wrote down to keep us in tune with ‘checking/testing’ if there were actually any.
ARK had dinos…and that was damn awesome. Then they went from a really weird Tribal/Primal dino world to being able to craft high tech gear. The balance was soooooo off I simply disabled it all on the server but still allowed the first pistol and the longneck rifle as the most techy as an option to ARK’s excellent bow animations and combat. ARK does not belong in the ‘Legendary’ game category in my opinion. Close but just not there.
ARK’s animal AI was good enough…the dinos did what we would expect them to do. They were simple and either aggressive or passive. The aggressive ones charged and you had to be on your toes or these ‘monsters’ would chew you to bits…even in the metal combat/plate armour. It was great enjoyment to know you could be ambushed by them at any time. The island is also beautiful.
ARK’s NPC models were simply ridiculous and people would make some really F’d up looking characters. And even though they looked F’d up all the males looked similar and females as well. Small differences that only mattered in clothing colors from all the cloning. ARK’s animations were gawd awful as well. And don’t even get me started on the synthetic voice sounds. Come on! Really? How HARD is it to make some male and female generics to fill in those spots! Really? That is simply Lazy!
CE is lovely. It is very immersive and has much better animations. Visually it is different than ARK and Funcom really nailed the look and feel to be some strange alien asteroid/ship crash in the Hyborian Age that is made to be some crazy alien arena slave experiment. I like it. The NPCs also look great and everything is adult and edgy. Well done from the Art standpoint. CE in my opinion is a better game and has the ‘Potential’ to be a legend.
CE though is a design flawed game. For those with UE4 and Game Design knowledge simply open up the CE Tool Kit and have a look. It really shows inexperience with UE4 but also it shows ‘Can We Do This?’ experimentation in how things are done in a modern engine like Epic’s UE4. UE4 is a tool…Wildcard used it for ARK as well…and the developer really needs to use the tool how Epic uses it (unlike Unity which is more of and empty shell). So CE has a flawed foundation which exacerbates our current game status.
CE’s NPC AI is simply mind boggling horrible…but not all Funcom’s fault. In the end Funcom will need to get a handle on this with some really good UE4 AI consultants and code that stuff from scratch. Perhaps still use the current animations with modifications then marry Skyrim’s combat with CE…that would be pretty awesome for CE. Also the difficulty has been cranked waaaaaaay down from the early days when the ‘Ostrich’ was arguably our most deadly animal…those things were crazed!
Everything was a blood fest early on…and now I can pretty much fight everything nude, which is cool, because of how easy it is. I have to force myself to make RP mistakes and Not use healing in combat just to keep things interesting. Hunting with bows now is just head desk banging why? Bows worked Perfectly in Pre-Release with exception of the Arrow Stuck In Hand issue that can only be removed by removing bracelet. Why change the bow mechanics…just Fix the Arrow in Hand issue…which is tied to the flawed design…but it IS fixable…in fact the solution is already there! And we had Detailed Steam Forum posts on HOW Funcom can fix it.
In my opinion Patch 32 was the best CE had to offer. It was very stable but had some really strange physics and floating to the sky animals issues…but all in all…it seemed most everything worked. What did not work we made mods for to solve. That patch was a long duration patch as well. Then there is this ‘New Release’ and ‘New Shinies’ mentality after full release trending. Simply rule 101…just do not piss off your game player foundation. We can all argue over PvE or PvP being the ‘Base Foundation’ but the simple fact is Funcom pissed both sides off. Just calling a Cherry and Cherry here…‘Shooting Straight’.
CE has some extras going on in it that can pop it into ‘Lengendary’ if Funcom would just stop twisting their fingers in the game and doing damage to it without first solidifying the base game play 100% bug free. And yes it IS possible…I know…I have a custom mod that fixes (or work arounds) these system issues to make a really bug free play. Some things we have no control over but Funcom does…and it is their game.
And I think that is where people are banging their heads on the desk and becoming very vocal on Funcom’s forum. Most of us see how Legendary this game could be if these Quality Issues were simply taken care of for good. We can live with things like lack of dungeon spawns since an Admin can set up adventures in real time for groups…dynamic challenges. We can set up our own Purges that 100% work since we are spawning them in. We can live with that. Just FIX the poorly thought out Hit Box Colliders and Predictable AI and make damn sure the building pieces ALL work! From there…we can Live With That.
Lastly, if not resolved, it will stay in the uninstalled library with no future DLC purchases (which I am a sucker for ). Does not matter if my conscience is telling me to install it again and put it into hardcore modded mode and survive to 60. I will come back to this in 6 months to see…