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Football, also known as American Football outside North America, is certainly one of the longest running Massive Multiplayer Offline Role Playing Games (MMORPG). While still boasting a significant subscriber base, MMO forum communities have increasingly called for new features in the game. Given that many of the complaints stem from the fact that current on and offline RPGs have evolved significantly since Football was released, we thought it was time for a re-review – an examination of Football in comparison to modern MMORPG titles.
A brief summary of the game for those who have not played Football: The game is heavily oriented around guild (called simply team) PvP play and involves many Real Time Strategy elements. The guilds compete for points in PvP matches with typically 11 players per side (though players can swap out during the course of a match).
A guild scores points by getting the ball into the other guild’s ‘end zone.’ This is usually accomplished by advancing it through melee combat or by throwing the ball to a ‘runner.’ Points can also be scored by kicking the ball through ‘goal posts.’
There is a guild ladder on each of the three servers (high school, college, and pro) that is reset each season. Guilds compete in a series of games leading up to ‘playoffs,’ which are the annual highlight of the MMO.
Browsing Football forums on the official and unofficial sites, several areas are repeatedly address in player suggestion sections.
Lack of Character Customization
Many players complain about the lack of virtually any character customization. Unlike many recently released titles, in Football you literally roll your character without being able to specify, height, face, weight, skin color, gender, etc. And get this – there are no rerolls and you only get one server slot. The only thing you can customize is hair.
Similarly, there is little option to customize armor. Each guild is required to wear the same armor. This of course, serves a needed purpose of opposing player identification with 22 player face paced PvP matches. Many forum entries simply ask for an option to hide the helmet of the player. Developers say that have not been able to figure out how to safely accomplish this yet.
Only Two Playable Races
In Football, there are only two playable races, players and cheerleaders. Many players have suggested other playable races, which are currently AI controlled, including waterboys, coaches, and doctors. Some forum members even have elaborate suggestions on how these could be buffer, tactician, and healer classes. One of the most heated issues repeatedly found on forums is that the guild gets to pick which race you play and females are rarely allowed to play other than cheerleaders.
The available playable classes of the player race are the center, linemen, guards, tackles, quarterback, running backs, halfbacks, tailbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, punters, and kickers.
However, aside from the centers, quarterbacks, punters, and kickers, that have specific roles and some vague distinction between those who focus on melee and those who focus on running, few players have any idea what the differences are between the classes. Even worse, in the cheerleader race, there are only two classes, cheerleader and head cheerleader.
Hacks and Cheats
Every game has its share of these, but Football has been plagued with cheating scandals. The most frequent has been the use of ‘steroids,’ which are buffs that increase a player’s strength. There are also frequent claims of hacks to ‘referee’ AI (NPCs that make decisions about points & penalties).
Lack of PvE Content
Football is primarily a PvP game, but did introduce limited PvE content. However, some players think this was a mistake. PvE content is limited to ‘practice’ camps where players battle monsters that look basically like foam covered dummies or run through tires on a timer.
Developers have been relatively silent on a future expansions or content updates. Many posts indicate that more recently released titles are causing Football’s player base to dwindle. Some fans are excited about rumors of a new ‘Fantasy Football,’ game. No details are available yet, but most assume from the title that new archetypes such as elves, dwarves, and wizards will bring new life into the Football IP.
"Never met a pack of humans that were any different. Look at the idiots that get elected every couple of years. You really consider those guys more mature than us? The only difference between us and them is, when they gank some noobs and take their stuff, the noobs actually die." - Madimorga