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Controversial Imagination Conversation or CIC (prenounced sick) for short

Dig deep into the basis of MMOs, controversial or not it needs to be discussed. Let the heads roll and the children cry its time to get CIC.

Author: FlyingSquid

Power Hunger Capitalist and You!

Posted by FlyingSquid Wednesday July 9 2008 at 7:34PM
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This will be my last and final post in this blog and I didn't even have motivation to do a last entry until today.  Today I got call from a respected member of MMORPG.com about the problem with the new mod staff or the regulations in which posts are deemed bannable.  If your wondering why the member called me, it is because I some ties into the news media industry.  I have to say I was shocked as he forward the emails to me in which posts they deemed bannable and banned this member's account.  I can best describe it as a child that wants to take his toy away, the member did not attack anyone yet his post was titled in retalation for having an open discussion.  i kept scratching my head, why this would happen.

We have a serious issue with this onslaught of post deleting and banning just because the mods don't agree with it.  Locking threads for no reason and shifting people into warnings to steer them from the thread and hope they don't return again.  It isn't just one member either this is a global issue around this site.  Sure the posters that cuss every other word, attack other people, etc should be banned or warned, but the posters who are having a discussion disagree and agreeing on certain points as the mods step in and crunch their posts.

We may be seeing a piece on this internet restriction of freedom of speech on the news network, I will make some decision and dig some info to see if it is worthy.  This is becoming a huge problem and needs to stop.  I would like the respective members of MMORPG.com to step in and share with me and problems they have foreseen as well as regards to the moderation of these forums or else on the web.  There isn't an open law on what can and can't be said on the internet and as the internet becomes more and more of a communication tool we will be seeing changes and a law should be in place to protect the member's reputation.

At any rate, let me hear your thoughts and your own problems.  I'm listening and so is the media, so let it all out.

 

   

 

Beating Down the Gold Sellers

Posted by FlyingSquid Friday April 11 2008 at 6:35PM
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Hey folks, I figured since I’ve been slacking it is time to deal with another issue.  This issue has been on my mind for quite some time and just recently I finally had an argument for it.  The problem in all MMOs is gold sellers known as gsers in MMO lingo.  The solution has always been there just never done right.

When you log into an MMO you expect a community of some sort chatting about something in game, be it looking for groups, getting a pickup party for quests, or just general chatter.  These days if you login you are going to get hit with gold seller advertisements flooding the channel.  Seems like something simple the developers could stop right?  Well it’s not and they have yet to perfect the anti-gold seller campaign and will never do it unless the industry turns to one important aspect.

That’s right folks the answer has always been there just avoided.  The solution you ask?  Simple, make the MMO fun to play!  If there is no grinding and players actually enjoy playing the game then there is no reason for gold sellers.  It really is that simple, we need to get out of this idea that MMOs need to be level based or a huge grind to keep the player subscribing.  The key point here is you don’t need all that fluff to keep a player base you just need to make your game enjoyable and new content to flow out in a reasonable amount of time.

Would this model completely wipe out the gold sellers?  The answer is no, there would still be some out there trying to run on what little they can.  Would it decrease the amount of gold sellers?  Absolutely, with little demand only the big companies will be able to survive on the little demand they have and eventually if not worth it will leave that MMO for something they can better exploit.

Developers are still going about it the wrong way and blinded to the right path.  I remember when Rappelz was in beta, they came up with a new system that they said would stop gold sellers.  Far from it, it just pissed players off.  What they did was place things on the ground around mobs everywhere, if these things were hit long enough it would send the player to the pit where you couldn’t get out and stuck like a prison.   The problem with this was, it was hard to get around without clicking on these damn things, thanks to the point and click model.   In the end it didn’t do anything, bots and gold sellers quickly designed a client that would avoid the objects.  In many other MMOs they just use chat filters by getting rid of the www. and .com tags but quickly are exploited using other symbols.  These little things are not going to stop anyone and will always be a way around these systems.

I’d say Blizzard has done the best to target these companies.  There is a reason for this though.  WoW has the most subscribers, most traffic, and most problems with this type of crowd.  Blizzard is basically obligated to enforce something while other developers can ignore it or say they are working on the problem since their MMO isn’t on a global scale

What you think?  Give me your 2 cents on the issue.  Have a good weekend folks.

Let the heads roll and the children cry.

The illusive fanboi and the haters.

Posted by FlyingSquid Monday April 7 2008 at 3:57AM
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Hey folks, I haven't posted a blog entry in a while and I have good reason for it.  I was disgusted with this site, I needed a break from this insane asylum before I screamed bloody murder.  We have problem here, as the community as a whole there is too much fluff of speculation, hatred, or just darn right ignorance to titles soon to be released and it is clearly the same topic over and over sometimes not even worded differently just a new thread for the same crap already discussed.

Seriously why?  I've summed up some theories as to why this is happening at such a great pace.  It all started with WoW being famous and for the ones that played at launch and got sick of it all you see is comments like.  "Go back to WoW noob" etc.  I have also done some research on the different types of users that browse this site constantly.  They have their reasons for the right or wrong and truly the community suffers from it. 

The clear hatred for another title just because the user doesn't like the idea, lore, development studio is just crazy.  It is their life goal to make sure users get the idea of the title as a bad name and lost promises.  Proof or not they will get it out there, it makes them happy, maybe even feel important or attention they get off on.

Anyway before I get to far into a huge rant as it is not meant to be one, I will go on and describe each position and the effects.  I hope you enjoy this little segment and use it for your awareness. 


The type of fan bois/grls


The Jump Starter

Description:

First one in the pool, with very little knowledge of the title at all they post the succession of something that didn't even promise anything yet.   The reason they post are; they like the lore, setting, or development company behind the project.  You will normally not hear or see large amounts of official information on this title, yet just a leak as to it might be in development.

Effect:

This type of fanboi creates haters at a much faster rate.  With no information or very little to back up their claims other users either to it to offense or have some personal vendetta to take the title down.  It slowly destroys the title's name or attention it would have if the official news would be set ground first.


The My-Game-Is-Better-Than-Yours

Description:

Will only defend for their game that they enjoy everything else either sucks or has no promise even though they haven't played the other titles and use speculation of other players' rants and complaints.  This could clearly tip to both tips of the iceberg and be a hater type as well, but clearly I see more fanboism(not a word but sure as hell should be by now) around this waters then haters.

Effect:

They drag people away from ever trying their favorite game.  The complete ignorance for other open waters and not willing to try other titles or just explain everything else sucks brings the community to a rant of multiple forums posted both ways.  You will see new threads popup for both the haters and the fanboi quickly and it won't stop till one gets tired.


My Taste is Your Taste

Description:

Feels the need to tell everyone why they like the title and why everyone should.  Seems to forget everyone has their own taste to what each user thinks is their prefect title.  Shows lack of disrespect when told other wise and ignorance to problems that occur within game that they some how block out and are oblivious to nature of that feature/bug or otherwise.

Effect:

We see number of posts coming through fast mostly titled "x-number of reasons why you should like this title", "why this game roxzors", or "this game pwns" etc.  It causes a minor stir that normally dies down after a couple passing days of  the same type of treads over and over and over again until you see users start posting "this was already said in x-thread already".


The Achiever

Description:

Is vastly full of knowledge in the title, right or wrongs posters on their interpretation of a subject.  Gains the most respect from fanbois and the most hatred from haters.

Effect:

We see a lot of information twisted or skewed a bit to sugar coat their fondness for the title.  Creates a stir with the haters in which you will quickly see thread posts like, "this game sucks", "this game will fail", "stay away from this game" etc.  This stir normally lasts for weeks and sometimes depending on the title the whole development/launch cycle.


The type of Haters


The Class Clown

Description:

Will post threads about anything on a particular title shinning it in a bad light without mentioning the lighter side of things to get an effect from the community.  Wishes to gain large amounts of hatred from the fanbois and attention from the community as a whole.  The greater the amount of posts they get the more they get off on the power they can create.

Effect:

Users normally get bad impressions quickly and told the wrong information.  A central hatred is created for this title and and periodically depending on how big of an IP it is, you will see threads posted in this way.


The Hate Monger

Description:

This is by far one of the worse type of haters you can have and it is created on a personal note that the title's development team/csr/help desk didn't abide to them.  Usually you will see these type of posts on patch day or on an issue of the company doing players wrong, such as a ban.  Normally development companies themselves are targeted instead of the title or IP.

Effect:

Users get the wrong interpretation of the point to the patch or the reason why the ban was enforced.  It is always skewed to make the poster look right and the development/csr/help desk look bad, even if it is the poster's fault or the patch was to clear up an exploit or breaking issue.


The WoW Hater

Description:

This one is huge problem, as WoW gets old we see more and more users guilty of this pleasure.  If the title has anything at all the resembles graphics, ui, a type of gameplay close to WoW they will post about it.  You see things like, "this is a rip-off of WoW" or "if you like this game go back to WoW".

Effect:

Creates impulse stirs that create random threads of how the game doesn't resemble WoW and the evidence to support it.  The lack of information on the haters side is sometimes startling normally the only proof they have is a screenshot and not much else.


The Poller

Description:

Creates threads to create a stir of hatred by using polls.  Most the time the whole post is a sentence or two long sometimes the title is all you get and bam a poll is in your face.  They do not wish to collect information just create a stir.  By using this polling tool they accomplish their goal.

Effect:

Quickly masses up the haters and the fanbois to one interest, the thread is illrelivent and used for attention.  Creates response polls that are done over to death.  Creates a pile of garbage on the forums that you have to sort through to find any information worth while.


 

That about does it, the main types of each.  It's quite the problem and the reason is there isn't anything out there for them so they create hype or hatred.  If there was a game out there successful to a mass audience right now we wouldn't be seeing these types of posts.

As always I open it up to my readers, discuss away I'll be back to answer your questions and comments shortly.  Thanks for reading.  And always... Let the heads roll and the child cry.  Night folks.

 

 

Opps we launched?!?!

Posted by FlyingSquid Monday March 17 2008 at 4:17AM
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Welcome folks to another CIC blog entry, tonight I'll be talking about a touchy subject that seems to becoming more and more of a popular occurance.  It's the classic "Opps we launched to soon!" debacle.  One quick point I want to throw in here before I go on is that it isn't always the developers fault that an MMO or any game is launched too soon.  Most the time it is publisher pushing them to release it quicker or the investors that want their money made.  So my first question for this evening is...  Which part do you think has the most effect for an too early launch?  The publisher, developer, or investors?  Is there a mix of blame?  Do you blame them all as having a part of responsibility?

Having said this we are looking at an age were it is acceptable to release an (what feels like Alpha staged MMO) and improve on it.  The error of these ways do not go un-punished, MMOs are now crumbling to the ground when this happens, the MMO community as a whole is no longer saying "Well I'll keep paying maybe they will improve it."  And why you ask?  Well it's because we have a library of MMOs now, if we don't like one or feel we are getting ripped of or the state of the game is so bad we stand to play it, we leave for another.  Rightly so, back when the age of MMOs was born there wasn't much to choose from and you stayed where you were, but one can argue MMOs back then were in a much solid launching state then what we get today.

I feel in my research and knowledge in the field of the MMO industry, if the MMO is a f2p MMO we let things slide much more, cause hey we aren't paying for it, but in a p2p MMO  we demand perfection, cause well hey we are paying for it!  I'm not saying this is the wrong type of thinking, we should always expect quality for p2p games.  F2p is an animal all itself, it can have no future updates or very little and survive on a cash shop alone because there always someone who gets emotionally attached with it and feels they need to be the best or grind faster with player bought items/enhancements.

During a beta test developers should be keying in more and more on game breaking issues and I'm not meaning coding errors, though those should be cleaned up as well but they should be more open to the player base that is testing the product.  If a large majority of the testers let's say 80% say this certain system isn't going to fly, well then they better be on that to change it up to make it a feature the players enjoy.  Forcing crap that the testers and player base is booing over at launch is just adding another devil to your collection of demons.  It will back fire and you will feel it when your player base sinks.

Couple things I want you readers to answer for me, if you would.  Do you see this broken/flawed launching breaking the mold ever?  Do you think developers will launch more solid products down the road?  Does the future of MMOs look bright or dark and cold?  Will we just see more of the same excuses and mistakes we have seen for years now, from broken gameplay, to mix and mash elements, to complete changes in systems?

My personal opinion is we will see a change and very soon, we are getting a lot of indy developers doing their own thing once again, believe it or not it takes indy developers to change the tide over from the current trend.  There is more sandbox style MMOs coming into the broad horizon and I see hope in the industry yet.  I see blizzards next MMO no matter what it will be, another blockbuster, Blizzard is already known for a stable game, with very little bugs and hardcore dev team that cares for the community and this reputation is going to win customers over every time.  I see bioware's Star Wars MMO being a hit as well, it's not going to kill WoW, nothing will except WoW2 if that ever happens.  A see a bright future of console companies getting involved more in MMO technology, I see PS3 as the console king of future designed MMOs.  The changes are coming and we will welcome them.  We will slowly die off of the fantasy genre and move on to original IPs futuristic, urban and war-torn settings.

What do you see?

See you all next week, let the heads roll and the children cry.

Developer Ignorance: MMO Plague

Posted by FlyingSquid Tuesday March 11 2008 at 1:41AM
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Hiya folks, squid here again to bring you the next installment of CIC, thus being number 5 in the series.  Today I'm going to touch on a very serious issue that plagues the MMO industry.  Developer Ignorance.  The shear lack of disrespect for testers and potential player base is becoming all to common in the corporate world of MMO development. 

There is a saying, "If you can't beat them, join them."  Many companies have tried to spawn WoW out of their current game to try to get more attention to the average casual gamer.  All these companies have failed, one exception being LotRO they have a steady player base and are doing pretty good.  The first sign of ignorance was that clearly because WoW had record breaking subscriptions that this was the only model to go with instead of using their original vision.  Now don't get me wrong I'm sure the Lead Designer had his ideas to keep it unique but that Lead Designer doesn't pay the bills, investers do and they call the shots if you want their money.  Which in turn will change the games direction all together.

Now going off the topic of WoW modeled MMOs here, I want to talk about the ignorance of the development management.  A beta test is hosted for a reason to test out the game make sure it is in a working or near working state, nothing game breaking so that they can launch commercially.  Well the problem here is the developers for the most part on major issues don't listen to their testers.  Then when it comes to launch and it fails, who comes to blame...you shoulda listened fellas.

This ignorance of their way of only being correct is as I've described in the title a plague.  It is becoming more and more common to shove shit down the customers throat and tell them to eat it.  I fear for the future of MMOs that are coming out soon.  Though AoC is moving along nicely and push backs are giving devs more time finish things up, I fear they are not listening to their testers and this may end up being another backfire, I see WAR the same way.

If this mindset does not change, we may forever be in a cycle of dos and dont's and failed to just barely making it.  Tabula Rasa and PotBS are good examples of just barely breaking the seam and once again it's because they did not listen to their testers, PotBS should have been still in development they pushed it too soon, if avatar combat would have been polished we would be seeing a much higher anticipation to play the game.  Tabula Rasa screwed up when they increased all monsters to be killed a bit slower, it no longer had that "rush" of an fps feel for it and truely lost it's touch and vision to a slow paced semi-fps kinda like a terrible lag issue in todays fast past console games, at least that's how it felt.

Last but not least the best decision I've seen in an MMO development company is Gods & Heroes axed.  Instead of selling crap to their customers they gave it the plug, it was a choice many take for granted and applaud them.  See the problem was the combat did not work as envisioned when they developed it when it came to holding a bunch of people on the server it was clunky and the animation was not fitting.  Worst came to worst when funding was cut and nothing else shined upon Gods & Heroes and thus the plug was pulled.  From my sources (I'm no longer in the MMO industry  so my sources are not as great as they used to be, but valid non-the-less) the coding structure of Gods & Heroes was ill written and would not function fast enough when it came to stress testing a bunch of players at one time, therefore there was always lag.  Anyway the point is more companies need to act as they have done, if it isn't fitting for the players don't shove it down their throat.

 

So as always, I open it up to my readers.  What do you think about this issue?  Do you foresee a bright future for the next generation MMOs or a plummet forever doomed in a mix of what's right and what's not?   Any personal issues or experience you came across with a developer that just wouldn't listen?  Let me hear it all. 

Let the heads roll and the children cry, see you guys next week!

Hype killed my MMO!

Posted by FlyingSquid Saturday March 8 2008 at 3:41PM
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Time for the next exciting chronicle of CIC, this being the 4th installment.  Last week I talked about how people use the rating systems to kill hype on indy developers, well this week I look at the other side of the spectrum.  Hype can be very very bad, so what can be done about this?  Well first let us examine the problem at hand. 

The developers give out details of their upcoming MMO before hand, throughout development to get a fan base of that game.  This is done for two reasons, 1) they can estimate how many servers they made need at launch, 2) they can estimate the amount of profit that they will recieve and if it will be worth it to continue development.

Now these features annouced are viewed as promises the worst thing any developer can do is start cutting features it originally said it would have.  These features, gameplay, and the innovation of the MMO creates hype.  The problem really isn't the hype itself but the developers cutting features before launch because they ran out of time or money in the development cycle.  The developers create this hype though, through their revealing of information and too much information that is not quite confirmed is bad jojo.

So what's on your mind, do you think developers should keep their mouth shut?  Release less game info?  Can the hype be avoidable?

We seen many MMOs fall down this line; Vanguard, Gods and Heroes and arguably Tabula Rasa & Pirates of the Burning Sea.

Let me your hear your thoughts, let the heads roll and the children cry.

See ya next week.

 

When did we become critics?

Posted by FlyingSquid Monday February 25 2008 at 3:45AM
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Hey folks, figured it's time for the 3rd issue of CIC.  This issue pretty much keeps the indy MMO industry as a whole afloat or sinking like a rock.

To often I see random people posting about how this game is going to suck just from a screenshot or some type of news without seeing a video of the actual gameplay or know how the game will work.  Hype of a lot of inde companies get killed from these type of people that just spam the hell out of the voting features on various sites till they are satisfied with the score they have given it.

When the hell did we become critics?  What gives us the right to judge people's often life-time work as total crap just by these factors?  I wasn't aware that we all graduated from "how to design/program an MMO" class. 

I've seen enough, heard enough of this, when will people have respect for other people's work.  I know society as a whole went down the shit tube, but my god people have some respect.

So tell me, what gives you the right to put down an MMO based on its; Title, Screenshots, Graphics, Tidbit of news that barely describes how the game will play out, Team, IP, Publisher.

My personal favorite here at MMORPG is "Graphics suck, won't play"  well that's awesome, let's not give it a shot cause it has outdated graphics and because it has outdated graphics the gameplay must suck and the innovation must not be there because we need an AAA title for that!   Unless you can make 3d models in the same condition, you can just shut your mouth, go open up paint and draw your stick figures because that's all you will ever amount to.   It kills me inside to see these people just crush someones work, modeling takes extermely long hours, sometimes week to get one object perfected be it a weapon, monster, whatever.  I have so much respect for 3d modelers, I went through the course thought I'd like to do it but defiantly was not my cup of tea.  So for all you 3d modelers out there I bow to you.

Anyway drop me a line and tell me what you think and as always, let the heads roll and the children cry, see ya next week.

- FlyingSquid out

Nerf This!

Posted by FlyingSquid Thursday February 7 2008 at 8:57PM
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Well from the collection of comments from my last entry 9 out of 1 believe that a community can make or break an MMO.  So today I'll be talking about another touchy subject... the nerf.

To those of you who never heard of a nerf it's bascially making a certain function of the game inactive or dumbed down, the term nerf of coarse came popular from the SOE activity, starting with the original Everquest.  To many it's a sign of bad things to come, for some it's a good thing because it gives them an advantage of something else.

Though we all know MMOs need balance to opperate probably there are dos and donts when it comes to nerfs and normally it's always the "OMG NO YOU DID NOT JUST DO THAT!" type of nerf.  Now of coarse there is two..no three sides to this. 

First a player who is content with their class,profession,job w/e you wanna call it they could care less what happens to the other classes, cause of coarse it isn't going to affect them one way or another.  Possibly may make them stronger or some type of advantage that wasn't there before.  Secondly a player who invests their time in enjoying all the classes won't care as much about it because they can always play the others.  Lastly the player who is directly effected by this is the one that causes the uproar, hate and normally finds the cancel button pretty fast.

We all hate the term nerf or worse yet, when one is planned and coming we just waiting for it to hit the live servers *gulp*, but are they all necessary to keep the game balance?  Do you think it's just a developers way of cutting corners, throwing out half finished content or future upgrades they don't want to face?

The big question out of all of this, are nerfs the most common threat of canceling subscriptions other then lack of content or unintelligent game play?  That's a big question in its self as always I'm ready to share my opinion on the current issue at hand.

From my experience as a long time MMO player of various genres and game play tactics, nerfs are the most common reason why they leave the game for good or for a long period of time.  The biggest impact for me and yes I know how much this is beating a dead horse because it was well known as the most horrific change in an MMO in the history of time.  But yes the NGE in SWG was the reason why I quit and never returned to SWG no matter how much I still have a little love for the game.  Another good one was WoW when it came to end game and all that was left was raiding, I had enough I seen no point in continuing on, some people my like to endlessly raid the same dungeon over and over again but thats not my style, it was more like a part-time job and I didn't need it, it was ment to be played to get away from my job not the other way around.

Anyone as always, I ask you to post away on your thoughts, experiences, hatred, and concerns to the issue at hand.  Hope you enjoy the second edition of CIC.

Let the heads roll and the children cry.

 

 

 

Does the community of an MMO make or break the game?

Posted by FlyingSquid Tuesday February 5 2008 at 10:13PM
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Here we go for the first edition of CIC dealing and talking with the issue of a community, does it and can it make or break your decision on playing an MMO.  Can the childish screams of children spouting out noob, l337 or sexual references like theres no tomorrow, send you running for that logout button.  Can the meaningless babel of young male kids make a woman or in some cases a man cry for dear god as they obssessively follow and harass their "hot" female toon.  Can the actions of an adult who use these same childish schemes have the same effect?  Is an adult any better than a kid in the community if uses the same language and insults that are deemed as childish and out right rude?  Will we ever find that perfect haven when all players of an MMO community get along with each other?

Some rather tough questions to be answered here, and even if answered do we really know?  Are we really that one step closer to the truth of an MMO community?  Is what is good for one community of an MMO going to work for another?  I'll stop the questions at this point, think about these exact questions as you read through the rest of the first edition of CIC. 

One player to me personally can not ruin my chances of leaving an MMO, but a community has and will continue to do so.  If one player constantly follow me around, /tell You're a faggot, /tell You're a noob, /tell I'm uber 1337!!!111111, it doesn't change a thing for me.  This guy can say whatever he wants under the sun soon enough he will realize I'm not going to answer or give in to his childish games.

On the flip side a community can make me run like all hell to the nearest exit.  When you ask a question on global chat and instead of getting an answer you get a handful of people calling you a noob, fag, or the many other slander that is available to these fine specimen of humanity, it just gives you a sour taste to who you have to deal with down the long run of the game.

A great example to this theory is the game Dream of Mirrior Online or known as Domo.  Open Beta had one of the most sex craved and rudest bunch I've seen in any MMO.  I'd be enjoying the game the game for what it was a new fresh of breath air with an inventive twist on a somewhat FFXI job system, meanwhile these "children" (yep us adults that were acting this way fall under here as well, you know who you are) where spouting on about their best sex position which obviously many didn't know what the hell they were talking about or their best lay.  Does any find this appropriate in an MMO?  Sure it's differen't if you are talking to a group of friends about it, but to globally display this is just out right gave me a sour taste.  The worst of it was the devs did nothing to stop it, not a thing I awaiting many days after reporting this nonsense behavior and not one finger was laid to silence the bunch.  Well that was it for me even though I enjoyed the game I quickly logged out uninstalled and will never return.

I'm sure most of had many occurances with the same questions in the air.  Tell me your experiences with this issue, is it just me?  Am I the only one offended by this activity in an MMO?  The only one sane left in our society?  I leave you with the issue at hand, weather you flame, support or wish to answer all my questions go for it, I'd love to here from the community of MMORPG what they think.  Weekly I will be coming up with issues that I will break down, lay out and bash the hell out of the issue and then let you guys have at it.  Hope you enjoy the first edition of CIC may there be more.

Let the heads roll and the children cry.