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The B-Log

Not as good as the A-Log, admittedly, but it's Blaise's weekly thoughts on MMOs, and why he is or isn't playing one at the moment. A General Thought blog by someone who is studying at Uni, awaiting his moment to start working... in quality assurance.

Author: Blazz

Room for Expansion, the Money Tree

Posted by Blazz Sunday November 15 2009 at 6:34AM
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With Blizzard's announcement of Cataclysm, and various crazy new things that are going to happen to Azeroth, and now introducing faction change, which I think is huge, I think it's safe to say that Blizzard has made a pretty damn good product with World of Warcraft - especially so in the sense of expansion.

We all expand, in our own little ways. Gamers become better gamers, play more games. Civilisations filled with people, grow more people, grow more crops to feed more people - we grow our supplies, consume our growth and multiply, following in this pattern, and Expansion packs, or just additional content for games, are much the same.

EvE online has managed to make a game where it almost needs expansion in order to make your current time investment worth it - otherwise you're just gaining status on the forums. With sovereignty allowing for system control implemented (although from what I hear, implemented somewhat clunkily at the moment) the game has a rich world based on the players, which can only die if the players die.

A game that doesn't really have much room for expansion, or at least useful, intriguing expansion, is WAR. Warhammer Online is based around their RvR combat - you can level up to the maximum level just by doing Scnerios - instanced team based pvp. Alternatively, you can capture keeps and kill players in open world based pvp. Well, that's all good... doing all of this, however, eventually builds up to the ultimate clash between the Order and Destruction sides in city seiges. These battles are huge zergs of players fighting against other players, with NPCs too involved in the carnage.

These battles could be very cool, in fact, they could be the best thing ever... but where does WAR go from here? There isn't anywhere to go from capturing the enemy's city, is there? I certainly can't think of what could be more tremendous than capturing and destroying your sworn enemy's main city - I suppose they could add in the Dwarf/Orc cities, and the High Elf/Dark Elf cities, but those were things meant to be included in the release. Players probably won't take too kindly to paying money for things they were suppised to get a year ago.

Seriously, where would WAR go? I think they have caved themselves in, trapped in their awesome City Seiges for as long as the game remains profitable.

 

Now, I hate to play favourites or promote Blizzard's World of Warcraft, but there are so many areas in which Blizzard could keep on improving and adding to WoW, in such that they seriously could be around in five to ten years, still.

New player races, for example. Harpies, Centaurs, Knolls, Pandaren, Furbolgs, Ogres, Naga, Dragonkin, Troggs, Kobolds - if you really wanted to get into it, they could make player-based elementals, silithids, daemons (imps, felguards, void walkers).

New instances - the ever increasing lore that gets dug up from time to time that creates new raid content. New places to explore - they're still only just about to enter the maelstrom area.

New factions - Dark age of Camelot was hailed as a fantastic game with its 3-way PvP - adding in a third or even a fourth faction in WoW could add to their content considerably, perhaps making as vast a world as Star Wars Galaxies apparently was back in the day. The Cenarion Circle could be a faction of its own - there are already furbolgs that work with them. The Steamwheedle Cartel and various other profiteering groups could be an opposing faction.

There are simply heaps of possibilities, room for expansion, for World of Warcraft, and is shows us how versatile Blizzard has made their game - especially from a business perspective, as it could still be around for a while.

I mean, hell, they have the money and manpower to completely makeover the graphics, were they so inclined, and I think that alone would pull whatever players left to Aion.

 

In closing here on this pro-WoW-anti-WAR blog post, which was entirely incidental by the way, should anyone be planning an MMO, think about the next five years. Plan for success, and don't waste too much of your resources into your backup.

A man riding a motorbike over a large jump doesn't spend his run-up with a parachute strapped to their back - it will slow down their initial jump, and it's almost planning for failure.

Think about it.

Bah, Uni, new games, and a return to the Matrix

Posted by Blazz Thursday November 12 2009 at 1:53AM
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Hello all... 200 of you, perhaps!

I'm back!

I am going to try to be a little more consistent, in an effort to apply myself over the next few months (University Holidays).

So I finished a year of University, and I find it lacking... I suppose, they've shown us some skills, but there are far too many exams and not enough assignments. In the real world, people don't sit you down, give you a sheet of paper, and test you on it. They get you to do things - and generally, they don't care how you do things.

Were I to learn C++ quite well, and started work with a team that used the Unreal engine and I hadn't researched the Unreal engine much, then I would bloody research the thing, and get things programmed (and well documented) somehow. I doodle with actionscript when I can, and there are scripts and whole chunks of code that do various wierd and wonderful things out there with very little editing required - that's not mentioning the help documentation on the Adobe website.

Bah...

I recently got Borderlands, which is, I like to call it, Diablo II (loot/progression) meets Fallout 3 ("post-apocalyptic" cleverly disguised as "future, on another planet") meets Halo (FPS shooter style, V to "melee" very similarly, and a shield that regenerates after a short while... oh, and very high jumps with low gravity)

As fun as the game has been, I am sort of neglecting it due to... *sigh*... my reinsertion to the World of Warcraft Matrix that controls us, and uses us to charge Blizzard's money-powered mobile Gold mountain fortress. They've added experience in PvP, and I am really looking forwards to the Maelstrom finally being a playable area, along with the new races and the ability to change from Horde to Alliance etc. etc.

So, I want to kill Arthas and play with some of my level 80 friends - which means grinding up a new character on their server (damn ~$20 server-changing money-grabbin...) - Cosbybebop, the Orc Warrior of the Horde on Dath'Remar server.

(For those of you who don't know about Cowboy Bebop, first, watch www.youtube.com/watch, that is the Cowboy Bebop opening, no, I am not rick-rolling you. Second, watch cosbybebop.ytmnd.com. It is a fantastic tribute to Cowboy Bebop, using Bill Cosby's various lines from various cartoons.)

I'm level 26, and only just added QuestHelper again... I gotta say, I feel like I'm running on a treadmill. I wish I could attach my account to a friend's just mid-game, or, perhaps, if I added this friend 3 years ago (which I did) I could attach my account to his now... oh well, just the normal, accelerated amount of experience for me, I suppose.

 

As far as Slashyell.com's coming along, jeez, I haven't heard from the graphic design artist chick in a while... I should probably chase that up.

Oh, and I'm probably going to start some development (whether it be small, stupid flash games, good flash games, or flash animations.... or hell, I might just play around in Maya again)

Stay tuned on that one!

Coming Next time I remember I have a Blog, the B-log: Room for Expansion, the Money Tree

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