Monday, August 27, 2007

Hattrick: Great Massively Multiplayer Online Fun

I thought I had avoided the whole massively multiplayer online experience... well, at least ever since I stopped playing Discworld MUD. I didn't partake of World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, City of Heroes or Everquest, even though they all seemed like they were interesting, because I know that I have an addictive personality when it comes to those kinds of games, while at the same time knowing that I could never be as good as the best players in those games.

And then I recently realized that the Football/Soccer manager game I play, Hattrick is indeed a Massively Multiplayer Online Game too. After all, it fits all the other criteria:

1. There are almost a million active players
2. At any one time, there are usually between 5000 and 10000 players on at one time.
3. It is a single persistent world.
4. There are leagues in 118 different countries.
5. I am sort of addicted to it.

Now, I got into this game after a recommendation from my brother-in-law at Christmas, and now I am in my third season as a manager, and I am doing decent at it. Not great, not bad, just OK, and I can accept that. I don't have to be the best, and I don't have to devote my entire life to playing the game because it is free, so no matter how much or how little I play, I am getting my money's worth.

Basically, when you sign up for the game, you are put into a league with 7 other teams at the bottom of your country's league pyramid, and the goal is to try to bring success to your team and eventually after many seasons rise to the Premier League of your nation. As the majority of the teams you are playing are also controlled by other people with the same goal, you can see how it can become very competitive.

And as I've said, it is a pyramid system as well, so there are a lot more teams the closer you are to the bottom. Depending on the number of players in the system, the pyramid can be very short(like the 3 divisional levels that countries like Cambodia, Iraq and Mongolia) or exceedingly tall (Germany, Spain and Italy immediately come to mind with their 10-11 divisional levels), though the majority of players seem to be playing in systems that are 5-7 levels(including myself), so reaching the top takes a long time and some dedication.

Each season is 16 weeks long with 14 league games as well as various friendly games you set up yourself and in the time between matches, you have a lot of other things you can do, like checking out the transfer market, improving your stadium and putting together a youth squad, so it does provide a rather full experience once you get into it.

I run a little club called Huxley United in Canada's league V.35, and if any of you want to join the game, I can help you get started and avoid some of the common beginner mistakes. And if you play the game already, perhaps we can play a friendly sometime. It could be fun after all.

I've already suggested the game to fellow pop culture traveller SamuraiFrog, and he seems to be enjoying it.


SamuraiFrog said...

I am enjoying it, even though I'm getting my ass kicked and my supporters are furious. What I'm especially enjoying is building up the skills of individual players, setting match orders, etc. I'm not sure why, but I find that to be the most fun aspect of it. I'm losing now, but the players will get better and I'll figure out how to play better. I'm glad you got me involved in it. Thanks.

MC said...

Trust me... my team was SO bad when I started... you just need to pick up a player or two and you should be highly competitive in your division.

Brandon said...

I have got to try this. Thanks for the link.

MC said...

Just tell me when you get your team and I'll give you some pointers etc.