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The Broken R0m

The testimony,angry rantings, and randomness of a hardcore gamer, geek, nerd, and dork. And taking over the world, too.

Author: JKnight1

The Missing MMO Part 1

Posted by JKnight1 Monday January 19 2009 at 12:48PM
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This will be an ongoing series of untouched IP's/Themes with amazing MMO potential.

Lately i've been thinking about a few relatively popular IP's that would make amazing, engaging, and fun MMO's. But there was one that REALLY stuck out for me, and i'm utterly surprised, with what all the products, media, and paraphenalia in existance for this IP, there has been one form of media that has been untouched by it.

What am I talking about? Pokemon.

Yes, Pokemon. Sure i'm 22 years old. Sure the IP in question is aimed more for kids. And sure the style is a bit kidified and simplistic. But this game was literally my entry into the gaming world. On my 13th birthday I got a Gameboy Color with Pokemon Yellow. I beat that game in two days, then played the others. I even played the TCG, it being my entry into the Card Game hobby.

Pokemon has boardgames, card games, hand held games, even console games. But it's missing something that I think EVERYONE would play without shame. And one that would make them so much money, i'm shocked that they havn't done anything yet.

The IP has everything an MMO needs:

  1. Massive World
  2. Loads of Content
  3. A Unique Gamestyle
  4. Massive Community
  5. Strong IP
  6. Something for Everyone

Pokemon as an MMO would have amazing, limitless potential. There's what? 500 some odd Pokemon to catch? An enormous amount of zones, cities, and wilderness to explore, travel, and visit. Loads of content in the way of items such as potions, boosters, pokeballs, tools, and travel gear such as backpacks, bicycles and such. Amazing potential for character customization with clothing shops, apartments, homes, and furniture and the like. Player interaction in the way of player run Gyms, contests, battle tournaments, pokemon shows, fashion shows and the like.

It's just mind boggling the potential they have, and they utter lack of taking advantage of it. I mean they sorta went that way with Pokemon Stadium and Pokemon Coliseum, but they could go even further! An MMO that encompasses all that is Pokemon.

Multiple factions, enemies, and NPC's. You have Team Rocket, Team Aqua, and Team Magma as rivals. You have an amazing diversity in what one could be, such as a Pokemon Photographer like Bill, a Pokemon Professor like Oak, Elm, and Birch, Pokemon Ranger, Gym Leader, Pokemon Scientist, Pokemon Master, Pokemon Breeder, etc. And no end to the number of other rival Pokemon owners and masters out there.

Plenty of starting areas with a plethora of starting Pokemon to choose from, such as the original three Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle to newer ones such as Turtwig, Chimchar, and Piplup. There's enough diversity there at the beginning, and then it just grows as the players travel and catch pokemon, gathering badges, trophies, etc.

This can do away with player levels, and utilize the leveling of Pokemon like in the Gameboy games. This would remove some of the aspect of the endless grind, as you would find more Pokemon, and your six you travel with ever changing.

This would also open the door to what I alluded to above, with Gyms. Players could become Gym Leaders, running their own Gym's with other players, creating the Gym, their badge, theme, and the like. This would allow for major player diversity, player interaction, and a dynamic to the world. Player run tournements, competitions, and such. Organized by the players.

This could even grow to a form of guilds, we could call Pokemon Clubs and Leagues. Have traveling parties much like the show with Ash, May/Misty, and Brock and the like. Allowing for more player interaction and interesting battle options such as Team Battles. Pokemon Leagues could build a set of Gyms, a small Town/City, Stadiums, etc. complete with Pokemarts, Pokecenters and such. All player run.

Players could customize their characters to no end, with a plethora of hairstyles, facial features, body types. And with clothing and accessories being so numerous, no one player would look alike. Using pokedollars they gain from winning battles, competitions, or what have you and purchasing items ranging from potions and pokeballs to clothing, accessories, bicycles and upgrades, to even furniture for your room/home/apartment.

Trading Pokemon and items would be another amazing form of player interaction. Allowing for players to trade pokemon they couldn't catch, want, or need for others, registering them in their Pokedex, and making friends and the like. It's amazing the potential there would be for player interaction.

This IP screams of player interaction and community. It screams of limitless possibilities. It screams of a major untapped market that I guarantee EVERY player here would try. Many knock Pokemon for being for kids, but I bet almost none here can say they never played one form of the Pokemon world. I know I have. I've played every single hand held game, almost all of the console games, and used to play the TCG.

Nintendo needs to take note, and use this IP for an MMO. It would be a major success as long as it's done right, and would be their first major entry into the MMO world, and honestly? This could possibly knock WoW off it's throne, bringing forth a new age into the MMO world.

So, what do you all think?

The Debacle that is End game

Posted by JKnight1 Saturday January 17 2009 at 3:51AM
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What in the hell is "End" Game?

Supposedly it is the "End" content of an MMO that a player proceeds to grind/complete as they have reached max level/progression in the game. Usually instituted by endless raiding for low percentage rare drops, endless faction/rep grinding, and where many players say the "Fun" is at.

Why the hell does an MMO have "End" Game?

Good question! Why does an MMO have an "End" Game? If an MMO is a perpertual, persistant, never ending world....then how can it have "End" Game content...? Isn't that considered an oxymoron of sorts? I mean...how can something that shouldn't end have anything to end with?

So? What's the big deal?

The big deal is it breaks the immersion, the feel of the game. The big deal is that 90% of the MMO playerbase bases their opinion of MMO's on what is at the "End". They say that is where the "Fun" is at. So if that is where the "Fun" is at, why not just skip to the "End" and get right to the fun? Instead of wasting precious time grinding for days, weeks, and months on end with mindless, boring, and monotonous tasks to get there? I mean...doesn't that boggle your mind?

An MMO shouldn't be judged solely on it's "End". Hell, an MMO shouldn't have an "End". An MMO should be judged on the fun one has at the beginning, the middle, and the "End" of the game. It should be judged on the fun you had using the game's mechanics, it's content DURING the game, not just at it's end. An MMO should be judged on it's presentation, it's stability, it's community, and it's customer support. "End" Game should be not be the end all be all of if the game will be good or not.

The game is all about the journey, not the destination. If that were true, all games should just skip to the end and be done with it. Would save the developers money and save us time for more important things, like feeding out pet rocks. Single player games have an end. They should, obviously. As it is the telling of a story, much like a book, but instead of reading it, you are in it. An MMO should not have an end, as they are considered persistant, perpetual worlds that provide a dynamic setting and story for players to interact with while interacting with one another.

Now I understand SOME of the reasoning for it, but really, the fault for needing "End" Game is with the character progression system. Level based progression is the number one culprit of this side effect. Due to there being a "Level Cap" until the next expansion, we need to give those players hit it something to do till we add more "High Level" content. With skill progression, this side effect only appears if their is a relative lack in skill options and diversity. With skill progression, the developers have the added weight of making sure that the players have more options than they need, with enough diversity and utility that all are useful. This way it hampers and slows the player's progression until uiltmately learning every skill. Which should be nigh to impossible.

The best system, in my opinion, to avoid this debacle called "End" Game is a skill based progression system interspersed with tanks. What do I mean? Well, similar to EVE, they have TONS of skills for every situation, role, and utility, and each one has 5 levels to train in, with each new level making that skill stronger/better. This effectively makes the skill system seem larger, with longer prgression the higher level of each skill you train.

So say I'm just starting, and I get to choose five skills from the Apprentice Skill Pool to start.

I choose the following:

Long Sword Profeciency - 1

Light Armor Profeciency - 1

Herbalism - 1

Survival - 1

Intimidate - 1

And the Aprentice Skill Pool has somewhere around 200 skills to choose from. Sure it sounds daunting, but it's diverse and numerous enough that progression will not be so quick. Then, as I use these skills, I slowly gain Skill Points until they go to Rank 2. With each progressive rank requireing more and more Skill Points to Rank up.

Now, I know this is the basis of "Sandbox" type MMO's, but really, sanbox is open to interpretation and opinion. I look at such a system more true to the last three letters of our hobby, in which I discussed in my last blog post, Roleplaying Game. It's a Roleplaying System, where the player gets to make his choices without restriction.

This would effectively end the debacle known as "End" Game, at least for a long time, until one runs out of skills to add to the game.

Bringing Back the RPG in MMORPG

Posted by JKnight1 Saturday January 17 2009 at 1:06AM
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I'm gonna take some time, and discuss these three letters in our favorite hobby's acronym/abbreviation. First, some questions and answers to help build a background on this particular discussion. I am using Wikipedia as a source, with my own interjections and additions in italics.

1: What is an RPG?

A role-playing game (RPG; often roleplaying game) is a game in which the participants assume the roles of fictional characters] Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, players have the freedom to improvise; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the game.

As the definition states, it is the freedom to improvise and make choices that ultimately affect the game. As an example an elf warrior and his human rogue companion are tasked with confronting a menace of some remote village or town. They should be presented with multiple paths. Not all obvious, to complete this. They could run the menace off, kill it, join forces with it, or ignore it, or whatever other ideas they can come up with. The consequences should reflect the path and actions taken to do this. Say they slay the menace, and it turns out to be an innocent caught in an unfortunate circumstance? Now they are stuck with the guilt and perhaps the admonition of said innocent's family. Say they just run it off, and later down the road, it's plaguing some new village, and they must face it again? Roleplaying games should provide such paths, choices, and consequences.

2: What is Roleplaying?

In roleplaying, participants adopt and act out the role of characters, or parts, that may have personalities, motivations, and backgrounds different from their own. Roleplaying, also known as RP to some, is like being in an improvisational drama or free-form theater, in which the participants are the actors who are playing parts, and the audience.

Most roleplaying games only do this halfway. Sure they give you a few choices of roles to take on, usually prerendered and pre built with a certain set of skills and abilities they can learn at the cost of others. This is both limiting and simple. Simplicity is fine so long as it doesn't make the user feel dumb. Some allow for a wider range of choices, such as allowing the player to branch from their beginning path and learn new abilities atop their old ones, much like multi-classing or dual-classing, or they toss the class system out the window and allow for complete character customization.

Roleplaying should allow for as many choices as possible, providing the player with near limitless combinations and possibilities. This allows for the player to truly be what he wants. Instead of being another of the 5,678 Warrior Brutes or Wandering Priests of the Same Faith, they can be what they trully want. Perhaps a bounty hunter with a code of ethics, a cook who dreams learning magic, a priest breaking from his faith to start his own, or what have you.

3: How Does One Roleplay?

The simplest way is to begin by thinking of a role you would desire to act out. This role can be anything from cook, maid, stable boy, to knight, king, knave, or duke, to whatever else you can think of. Then begin to think of their background that fits in with the lore of whatever setting you plan to roleplay in. Perhaps you chose to be a knave who has lived in the slums of a totalitarian city? Is he streetwise? Sneaky? Brutish? Intimidating? How did he come about such a personality? How will this contribute to his skills and abilities? How will this affect the reactions of those he may come into contact with? All these should be taken into account. This is the basis of your character.

One common mistake is to over develop them. Writing down their entire family history, their childhood, teenage years, etc. You don' want to develop the character so much before even playing him that you can't improvise, grow, or develop him as you play. Develop him to the point that he has a steady, but evolving background, a small yet growing set of skills and abilities, and a small yet sturdy set of personality quirks.

Developing the personality should be another key thing in the creation of a roleplay character. Is your knave smart? Is he perceptive? What does he like? What is he afraid of? What are his desires? How is his approach towards men? Women? Authority? Is he sane and level headed? Or is at his wits end? Does he take risks? Does he have a self preservastion mind set? All these are important. Obviously there is far more than i've listed, but you get the idea. Develop it to a point. But allow for it to change and grow.

The most important thing to remember in roleplaying a character is that he will change. That is the nature of all roleplaying. Change is key to roleplay, or else it would be static, stagnant, linear, and pointless. How you play him, the reactions of other players towards him, the events and situations he gets involved in will affect and change him, causing him to evolve not only in skills but in personality, ethics, and outlook.

Once you have developed your character to a point of playability, introduce him to the world. Interact with other players using the basic setup you gave him. Try not to deviate too much from it, at least in the beginning. This will allow for you to get a feel of your character, and develop him on a path close to what you wish. But don't stick so strictly to it he becomes boring and predictable. The knave may have a change of heart one day, renounce his shady activities, and become a pious monk of some distant monastic order. Who knoes? It's all on how you wish to play him, and how you have him respond to the events and situations he gets involved in.

4: Now that we have that covered, why did I bring this up?

Because since the dawn of World of Warcraft, roleplaying has fallen into the backwater locations of the niche market, which in turn has caused it to become both stagnant and unable to evolve. I am by no means bashing WoW or niche markets. Both have their place in the MMORPG genre, but WoW has taken the RPG in MMORPG and turned it into a Lite form. Hand feeding you roles, paths, and choices, only allowing you to make minor decisions or choices in how your character develops or how he affects the world in which he exists.

Niche markets are a haven for roleplayers, but the community so small that the chance for them to branch out, grow, and evolve is small. The main problem is that the MMORPG in question is of no interest to the mainstream gamers or too complicated for the younger players or those with only limited play time. Take EVE Online for example. It's roleplaying community is large in the game, deep, and it affects the game in ways other games don't. The player can be what he wants, how he wants, and when. But the game has a steep learning curve and requires a minimum of dedication to the development of your character and playtime.

So what do I count as true to the RPG in MMORPG? Well, that is really subject to the opinion of the player, but I will attempt to give some examples that I hope a majority of the MMORPG fanbase can agree on. All these games I have played in some form or another to at least half way through the story of the MMO in question. What I will list are a few current and old MMO's and their classification as follows.

Hardcore RP - This game allows for unlimited possibilities. There is no holding hands. The choices you make are the choices you wish, no matter what. You can be what you want, how you want, when you want, allowing for complete uniqueness. Your choices affect the game in a dynamic way and progress the story in a dynamic and evolving way. This game provides tools, content, and areas solely dedicated to roleplay, allowing the player to feel as though a part of the world.

Mediocre RP - This game holds your hand at the beginning, but still allows for the player to make most of the choices pertaining to their character, the story, and the game. It may restrict some choices such as who can use what abilities or how much a choice affects the game, but overall, the players choices are still important, with a semi-semblance of player diversity and uniqueness. This game provides some minor tools and content to help facilitate roleplay, but is not the focus of the entirety of the game.

Lite RP - This game holds your hand through out the entire game. You are given pre-rendered generic and limited options that overall will be no different from another player, almost cookie cutter in respect to one another. The story is handfed, with the player making only minor choices that may or may not affect the game as a whole or just for him. The player's character is unimportant in the lore, being a mere tool in the story, with the ending or consequences already decided, rendering the journey and choices linear and closed. This form requires the player to make up their own stories completely, serperate of te gameplay and storyline, and without much in the way of offering tools or content in it's aide.

~The List~

EVE Online - Hardcore RP to Mediocre RP. Currently the tools and content is limited, but is on the way in the form of Ambulation. But the player can make choices for their character without restriction. Factions can mingle and mix, skills can be learned by all, the player can play any role they desire, and their choices and actions as a whole affect the progression of the game and it's storyline.

World of Warcraft - Lite RP.  Almost no tools or content to facilitate roleplaying. The story is static and linear, with the players choices meaning naught. The player is stuck to pre-rendered, generic roles with very little choice as to how they advance in the way of skills, abilities, powers, and use of equipment. The appearance of servers labeled with RP is just that, an appearance. There is no enforcement and overall lack of care for the roleplay community.

Anarchy Online - Hardcore RP to Mediocre RP. A fair amount of tools and content is dedicated to roleplay int he form of social clothing and items, housing, and territory control. The story is somewhat static, but with the ability to take territory in a dynamic environment allows for the players choices to have some meaning. Roles and classes are present, with some set skilles and restrictions, but open ended enough to allow the player to make choices that make their character semi-unique.

Lord of the Rings Online - Lite to Medicore RP. With some tools and content to facilitate roleplay, but limited in many circumstances. The story is obviously static, as it is taking place during an already established story told for many years now, and the player is mostly along for the ride. Player choices for their characters are similar to WoW, but item customization, skills, and crafting are much more open ended that it's predecessor, allowing for semi-unique characters.

Runescape - Lite RP to Hardcore RP. The tools are only now being implemented to facilitate roleplay, whereas the content was already diverse and extensive. The crafting system, although not entirely meaningful, still has some use and point in the game and roleplay, as well as the economy. Character choices are completely open, with very little restriction, allowing the player to advance and develop his character as he desires. The story itself being rather minor to the overall game, the choices made by the player are not overall meaningful, but with the implementation of player vs. player games, has allowed roleplay guilds to make their own choices.

City of Heroes/Villains - Lite RP to Mediocre RP (Perhaps soon Hardcore RP.) The tools only now or soon to implmented, and the content being provided in the form of limitless costume and base customization, it's shaping to become a more roleplay friendly game. The character is still limited to restricted sets of classes but with a more open ended choice for powers and abilities, as well as probably the best character customization in the MMORPG genre to date. And with the soon to be implemented architect, players will be able to make their own missions and their own stories for Group and Coalition interactions and development. The overall storyline is rather linear and set, with player choices meaning very little. Has a rather dedicated roleplay base and unofficial roleplay server complete with it's own player run and edited wikiepedia style superhero database known as the Virtueverse.

Second Life - Lite RP to Hardcore. Not an MMORPG per se, but it fits the criteria for MMORPG's game listing, and thus, will be included here. The tools and content are completely provided by the players themselves. Everything from weapons, armor, roleplay tools, to combat systems and environments to roleplay inare provided entirely by it's playerbase. With a wide variety of settings, genres, styles, and systems, the choices are limitless. The player must rely more on roleplay than the actual content provided, but the player's choices are wat make the story progress. There is hardly any static or linear story, as quests are rare or non-existant and the storyline(s) are controlled entirely by the players. uniquenss is paramount here, and so prolific and diverse it is impossible to find any two players alike. Classes and skills are just aides to roleplay, instead of the roleplay being base of them, allowing the player to develop how they wish.

These are the games I have played extensively and attempted to or did  or still do roleplay in. With City of Heroes/Villains being my current flavor, and shaping to be a rather nice meal with it's upcoming Issue, it is shaping to be a real haven for roleplayers on the more mainstream market, and Second Life being my longest lasting flavor, both as a hardcore sci-fi roleplay in the SWRP community and a business owner making weapomns and armor for roleplay. I tried to give a bit of diversity in the games and their roleplayability as best I could, with hwta I played, what content I came into contact with, and their overall size and seriousness of their roleplay community.

As you can see, the leading game of the genre, World of Warcraft has very little in the way of facilitating and providing content for the player to make choices and roleplay as open as he desires. And unfortunately, many games are following the mainstream and successful model. Sandbox MMO's being a rather niche market, even though it was a sandbox MMO that started our beloved hobby. But with the hopefuly immenent release of the much anticipated, much maligned MMORPG known as Darkfall, roleplay could come to the forefront if the game succeeds in all it promised.

Developers and players alike need to take heed and realise that the games they are making are based on classics created by innovators and creators of a hugely popular past time and hobby. From Gary Gygax and his creation of Dungeons and Drgaons to Sir Richard "Lord British" Garriot and his creation of Ultima Online, our genre of game was born on the idea of player choices and interaction with consequences and reward beyond the shiny new weapon or bland cutscene. These worlds are ultimately our worlds. You provide us with a setting, some lore, and a way to play, and we are to do the rest, adding the flavor, the adventure, the excitement.

Developers and players both need to take a look back at what started this growing hobby of ours, and perhaps take a tiny step back to it's roots and bring it back so my generation, the old generation, and the new generations can enjoy it. The proginators will enjoy what they had as kids, my generation will be able to enjoy what has grown into a massive hobby, and the new generation will get to experiance and learn what it truly means to roleplay.

It's time that we bring back the RPG in MMORPG.

 

Something Bugging me, and it's not the Radroaches

Posted by JKnight1 Wednesday December 31 2008 at 9:47PM
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Yeah yeah, posted a blog entry already today, oh well. I already warned you all!!

Anyway, i've noticed something today and it's REALLY beginning to bug me. I don't mind people being a critic, giving critiques on works of art and the like. Not at all, it's what helps us writers and artists do better work in the future. But what I DO mind is people knocking something down without giving reason, or saying degrading things that in no way helps.

What am I talking about? Well, besides my opinion on the fact that MMORPG.com had limited forsight when they allow it's users to bump/bury things, but those people who bury without saying why. Especially when it's a piece of work that someone spent hours on. Case in point, I recently uploaded some pictures of weaponry I have worked on in Second Life. To me they are works of art, as it takes creativity, patience, time, and an idea to get it done. I've spent a few hours on each item, i've spent time and patience and frustrations one ach carefully crafted creation, but people don't seem to take this into account.

If you are going to bump it, say why. If you are going to bury it, you are obligated to say why it deserved a bury. Why is that, you ask? Well, one it gives me an idea as to why you disliked it, where I need work, and the opinions of others. If you just bury without saying why, to me, you are just being an immature moron that has no taste. Now I know a LOT of people on here dislike Second Life for whatever multitude of reasons there are out there, and I can pretty much gaurantee 90% of them have never tried it, think it's filled with sick sex addicts and freaks, and a waste of time.

But to those who HAVE tried it, and enjoy it, know that most of the people in Second Life are creative, well mannered, mature folk who are just there to have fun and use Second Life as an outlet for their creativity. I felt I would share my cretaivity with those on this site, to show them that not everyone who plays Second Life are just degenerate sex fiends with no life. To show them it ha spotential, it has it's use, and it CAN be fun.

So, to ALL of those who buried my uploaded pictures or have made degrading comments without giving either a damn good reason or some semblance of civility, stop. But I won't limit it to just my stuff, but others too. Stop burying things people upload because you "Just don't like it or whatever game it's a part of." That's not why we uploaded the pictures. We wanted to share with you our finds, creations, and joys. And get some good opinions on the side.

And to whoever is in charge of MMORPG.com, I implore you to remove the Bump/Bury option on EVERYTHING. It does not help creative growth. It only hinders creativity and makes others feel bad. It's unneccessary, as we all know, 90% of the internet is filled with immature dolts who are only out there to make others miserable.

MMO's I'd Like to See

Posted by JKnight1 Wednesday December 31 2008 at 7:48PM
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Heya guys! Been a long ass time sicne i've posted here. Been ultra busy with finding a job, working in Second Life, and running around the wastelands of DC. But now that my video card is shot and I have to wait a few weeks to get one, you are gonna see a lot more of me in the next couple weeks, so get used to it!

So, with my return, I have decided to bring to the table some new ideas I have for MMO's. These are by no means my ideas alone, but some stuff i'd LOVE to see as an MMO. Most may be a niche market, but as proved by EVE Online, niche markets can thrive. So without further wait, here is my top five list.

 

5: Zombie Apocalypse

   I'd love to see an MMO in the veign of Left 4 Dead, Resident Evil, 28 Days/Weeks Later, I Am Legend and others. Classes could vary greatly, from Cvilian, Doctor/Nurse, Police Officer/SWAT, Fireman, Military, Scientist, Technician, and many others. Skills would deal with thier realms of expertise that can be applied to a world after the zombies rise. Zombies could be applided to humans, animals, hell, even plants if it's explained right. Setitngs could be all over, from the Americas, Europe, Asia, even Africa. Weapons could vary from common everyday objects such as axes and hammers to personal firearms to military grade, even using scavenged parts to make your own.

4: Time Travel

 An MMO utilizing time travel would be a challenge, but if done right, could be awesome. Placed in a post-modern Earth setting, with technology beyond ours, we could see a few rather prominant factions. A corporation that controls the time traveling tech, using it to go into time and changing history to better serve their ends. A remnant of the ancient Templar fighting against te corporation, feeling that only God should be allowed to tamper with time. And a third uncaring faction, that is trying to eck out a living as best they can. Time Travel could be explained with the discovery of a new form of clean burning, edible, and replinishble energy found out in space near blackholes. Classes could vary from soldier, scientist, tech, mercenary, chrononaught, and the like, and could even have subraces of human, such as Clone, Chronophage (Failed genetic experiment combinging the DNA of a human with the new energy), and Chronophile (Humans addicted to the new form of energy due to consumption). I am actually working on such an idea for a Roleplaying Sim in Second Life, if anyone wants to check out my indepth info there.

3: Roman/Egyptian/Greek Mythology

 Gods and Heroes was to be this, but since we all know what happened with that, we still have a vacancy for such a genre. Players could choose classes ranging from Centurion, Warrior, Soldier, Mystic, Priest, Hunter, and many others, choosing from a large plethora of Gods to follow, granting our character bonuses and abilities such as Zeus, Ra, Hera, and others. The setting could be Egypt, the Mediteranean, and Rome.

2: Firefly/Serenity

 Need I say more?

1: Wild West/Civil War

 This is the one I wish to see the most. Cowboys, soldiers, outlaws, indians. All of it. Bank robberies, casinos, gambling, settling, war, gold rushes, it's ripe for the pickings. Bounty Hunters hunting down outlaws, sherrifs protecting small trade route towns, outlaw gangs robbing banks, exploring the wild frontier, settling down and starting a town. It's the perfect setting for an MMO. It allows for growth, continuity, persistance, player interaction, AND a great way to inject some good ol' history.

Well, there's my top five list of MMO's i'd like to see. If you got any ideas you'd like to add, or wish to expand on mine, please do!!

Oh no! The Graphics! They are Dated!

Posted by JKnight1 Friday September 5 2008 at 5:09PM
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Alright, i've seen enough of it these past few days. Especially since the release of the 17 minute, in-game trailer for Darkfall. It scares me, that my generation's only concern is how shiny a game is. They want all the pixel shaders, all the lighting effects, the realistic particle effects, moving shadows, wavy grass and trees, they even desire to see the very pores on their characters skin.

When did gaming go so far as to say gmeplay, content, innovation, and uniqueness is no longer important? When did they decide that the only thing we, as gamers, wish to see, is shininess? THEY didn't. It's us gamers that are pushing for graphics so intense, so awe inspiring, that everything else takes a back burner. They wanna give us content, gameplay, and graphics, NOT just one of those three.

What I saw for Darkfall amazed me. A game that actually gives you something to do, gives you full control, doesn't constrain you to a set path.  It is giving us huge amounts of content and gameplay. I mean come on, fleet battles, castle sieges, hovercraft siege weapons, fps style combat, skill based system. It's so open ended for us, who could ask for more?

The graphics are great for what they have been doing. And honestly they look better than some games i've played, such as WoW. It's graphics are sub par at best. Cartoony, cliched and dated. Yet they have over six million subscribers. Then you look at AoC, it's graphics are amazing, but it has failed in the departments of gameplay, content, and stability.

Graphics are enhancements to the game, not the game itself. I play games for the gameplay, the content, and the fun. I don't spend my hard earned 50 bucks to ogle skin pores while running through a monotonous, cliched, and predictable story that offers little in gameplay or content.

There are three games that graphic wise aren't award winning or awe inspiring, but they were the best damn gaming experiances I EVER had, and they are:

Baldur's Gate - Content, Storytelling, Replayability, Gameplay

Fallout 1 & 2 - Storytelling, Gameplay, Replayability, Content

X-COM UFO Defense - Gameplay, Replayability, Innovative

None of those games had graphics as a prioity. None of them needed graphics to make the game awesome. The games themselves were awesome. Period. You gamers my age, which is 22, and younger, need to get your priorities straight. Graphics don't make the game, it's what the game let's us do, what it provides, that truly makes a game worth playing.

I'll be playing Darkfall when it's released. It has everything I want, and nothing I don't need.

 

Truly Unique, Totally Doable, Never Touched

Posted by JKnight1 Thursday September 4 2008 at 5:39PM
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Heya guys, yeah, last time I spoke it was in March. Went on a long hiatus playing games and went on a tour of the USA and Canada with my grandmother. Finally back home. Longest trip of my life. But, it did allow me to think. And I did a lot of thinking. Mainly about MMO ideas that are never touched, that would be very unique, and that could so be done, and loved by many. Here is my list of ideas I compiled during my trip.

 

The MMO's Never Touched

1: Wild West/Cowboys-Native Americans

     Take the Wild West of the US during the 1800's, mix in a tad bit of steamwork tech, faith based classes, and the ability to explore/settle/start new towns, find gold, set up trade with natives, rob banks, horse rustling, become a train baron, run trading companies, join the US Military, set up forts, fight for territory with other nations.

2: Steampunk/Alchemy

Create automotons, build steampowered flying contraptions, create new formulas, discover transmutation of lead to gold, discover new forms of explosives, create new fuel types, invent new machines, parts, and tools. Play as human or automoton.

3: WWIII/Future

Set in the future, fight for the three sides. Similar to Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars. Sonic technology, harvest new fuel types, fight over contested territories and resources, design and invent new weapons, vehicles, and technology.

4: Modern Day Earth/Alien Invasion

Play as either human, or one of three alien races, one allied, two uncaring, and one bent on total subjugation and domination of the living. Set in modern day, preform autopsies on alien corpses, research alien tech to fight the invasion, design new weapons and aircraft to fight for earth, create organisations, taskforces, and alliances with other factions and races, join the enemy for power, control, and a chance to rule portions of the Earth.

5: Evolution/Creation

Discover the wonders of genetics, mutations, and adaptations. Play as a human in the future, utilizing DNA to evolve and mutate to adapt to their environment. Travel to distant planets full of alien life, mutagenic substances, and alien technology. Create factions based on faith, science, the furthering of the human race, or the preservation of humanity as it is today.

 

This is by no means all of them, but some have been done in some form or another. Some examples are Cyberpunk, Vampire/Lycan/Undead, Cops Vs. Robbers, Spy Vs. Mercs, and a few others.

Now, i'd like to see others give me some ideas they may have had. My criteria were rather simple.

1: Avoid Fantasy/Elves/Magic/Dwarves

2: Original for an MMO, Never done mainstream.

3: P2P, NO Item Malls

4: Unique Gameplay, Innovative Ideas

5: Fun Factor, Market Size

 

Now, have at it!

The Humming Disc

Posted by JKnight1 Friday March 7 2008 at 10:26PM
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Okay, folks. Got another little thing eating at me, this one is less political. Well, not political at all.

Lack of ingenuity, creativity, and innovation in MMORPG's.

Now, I know these new MMO's coming out keep spouting innovative features, but really, they are the same mechanic, just in a different uniform. Quests, leveling, skills, classes, races, etc. Now, i'm not saying one can't take a working, and well made feature and enhance it, but that is not innovation, that is updating.

MMO's were infants for years. They lacked mainstream appeal, a well known IP, and money. Until Blizzard snuck up and threw WoW out for us all to enjoy. Now, i'm no WoW hater. I just don't like the game. Boring, simplistic, monotonous, grindfest, unoriginal. But that's not to say MMO's don't owe WoW the credit it deserves. It threw MMO's into the spotlight, and helped other, lesser known ones get attention. But, the new MMO's coming out and that have come out since WoW's birth, have become the wannabes.

There are very, and I mean VERY, few MMO's out there that I find truly innovative and fun.

City of Heroes is one of the first to have the most in depth, expansive, and detailed character creation i've ever seen. I spent hours JUST making characters, combining different parts, colors, designs, etc. The options were endless.

EVE online is one of the very few that the Devs actually introduce, continue, utilize, and support Roleplay. Their storyline is continuous, not just changing month to month, but literally day by day. And it both is affected by, and affects the players. Their actions fuel the story, the story fuels their actions.

Anarchy Online is one of the few, more original sci-fi concepts out there. Yeah it uses cliches, but, it uses them as new and fresh. Who cares about the sub-par graphics. The content, story, and originality alone is enough to keep me engaged for hours.

Runescape is, in itself, a darling. Now before you haters start spouting your fiery breath at me, I love this game. It was my first MMO. I learned how to lead a clan, I learned how to work as a team, I made many friends. It was cheap, it was fun, and it was loaded with things to do. I played it for six years. My clan is STILL going, four years since I left. THAT is amazing to me. I STILL talk to friends I made in that game. It is an introductory MMO, maybe a bit simple, but it is original and damn fun.

Now, That is not all the MMO's I have enjoyed, thought as genius, etc. But those are the ones that made a positive difference in my MMO experiance. They were creative, different, driven, and innovative. MMO's today? They follow a formula. Tried, tested, and true. That's all well and fine, but when all MMO's begin to feel and play like the same game in different skins, something is wrong.

I tried WoW, got bored. I love the Warcraft series. I tried LotRO, got bored. I love the LotR story. they both feel, act, and play damn near the same. Same quest log, same leveling system, same gear-centric advancement, same quests. It's one game in two skins.

Now, I know, i've been rambling on. And you say, but what do you propose? What do you think is needed to spice up, differentiate, and make games look and feel creative? Well, let me give a few of my opinions.

Quests: No more "Go kill 8 boars, bring back the tusks to prove you killed them." That is not a quest, that is a mundane task. An errand that i'd send my little brother out to do. It's not heroic. It's a mockery of my growing badassery. I want heroic deeds, I want to save the princess, assassinate the evil prince, break into the dungeon of an ancient dragon for the mystical spellbook. I want quests that shake the world, change the story, and make me look the total bad ass.

"But, then everyone will run around, being badasses, that's no fun." I agree. Each quest should be tailored to your character alone. Well, character or party. Now, I know that would require, *GASP!*, involvement of either Developers or Game Masters. Oh my, what? I'm suggesting they actually come and talk to us? Yup. I want a Game Master who leads me along an adventure, deciding the outcome of my choices. I want him to set up a quest for me, one that only *I* will be able to I did. One that will make me look like a bad ass. When 2 million different characters all have slayed Tragmadiloria the Red Dragon of Lame for her Chalice of Sameness, does that really make you feel THAT badass? Not really, makes me feel like I was a bit slow in catching up. And that Tragmadiloria is, actually, lame.

Now, there are some side effects of such a feature. Interaction between employees/volunteers and the players will sky rocket. The Devs will get to know and understand what the players really want, and will, by God, probably listen to us. It will though, on the con side, require a lot more GM's, time, and money. But that can be easily taken care of. Get players to volunteer to be a GM for their party for a day, for a group of people for a week, what have you. It will inspire, teach, and reward all involved.

Now, the rewards. They need some originality to them. No more receiving some random sword with the name of so and so NPC in the header. It's a damn sword. Now, I want a reward that will mean something, that will require me making a decision on when, how, and why I should use it. Now i'm not saying getting a sword is bad. No, I want a damn sword, heh. But I want a sword that will either A) Make a difference, or B) Be the ONLY one of it's kind. Yes, again, uniqueness tailored to you. But that again, would truly make you bad ass. To be the only dude walking around with the Frostcleaver Mace. Out of 2 million people.

Gold is cool, we all need gold. And that, I do not believe, should be changed. But Experiance Points/Skill Points? Yes, that needs a face lift. I want to be able to choose what I get. Perhaps not directly, but I want to gain experiance through the choice i've made during that specifically tailored quest i'm doing.

Say, for example, I must get through a locked door ahead. Now, normally you would have to get a key, or beat some bad guy for it to magically unlock. Lame. No, that's blah. I want multiple paths, each with different choices, and each reward me differently.

So, a locked door. Here would be the options:

1) Bash it down.

2) Pick the lock.

3) Use acid on the lock, disintegrating it.

4) Throw a fireball at it, burning the wood.

5) Find a key.

Now, those are basic choices, but each are different, each work, and each will get you to the same conclusion. You got the door open. But dependant on those choice, will depend on the consequences that follow, and the reward should reflect this.

Say I bash it down. I should receive some point, or experiance towards my strength/bruteness, etc. But I may have woken the sleeping orc guard on the other side. Now I have to deal with him.

How about i melt the lock with acid. I should recieve experiance or a point towards my ingenuity/intelligence. I slowly open the door, and see the afore mentioned sleeping orc. Now I can decide on the best way to take him out with as much or as little confrontation as I desire.

Choices give consequences, and my rewards should reflect that.

I'll end there for today. Tomorrow, Part Deuce of The Humming Disc.

The First RPM

Posted by JKnight1 Friday March 7 2008 at 12:22AM
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Hey all, first blog. Hope ya all will become vic- er...loyal readers of my mad rantings, psychotic randomness, and over-zealous, fundamentalist, insane, crap.

That last bit is a lie. The fundamentalist part.

First things first.

Fare thee well, Gary Gygax, Original Dungeon Master. Your adventure has only now begun.

Alright, now i've got a few things eating at my gray matter, and i'm tired of the buzzards, so gonna let them loose here.

First off, Sex in Videogames:

It, oddly enough, is one of the most taboo, and hated subjects in the American public, media, and government. It is reviled more than decapitating innocent bystanders, it is more demonized than the actual portrayal of demons. Why? I dunno. But I do know that sex is the most natural act, and one we were mandated by God to exercise freely. All that hogwash about doing it out of wedlock, masturbation is bad for your health, it's harmful to children, etc is all just rhetoric spouted by the neo-conservative, uneducated, ill-informed parents and politicians. Oh, and arrogant, self worshiping lawyers.

Now that I got that out, i'm not saying we should glorify sex. That we should hold it up on a pedestal. No. I'm saying, have an open mind, be informed, and be mature. Sex can be a wonderful addition to a game, so long as it is depicted in a healthy, non-gratuitous fashion. But, that would be impossible. No fun in that, right?

Well unfortunately, ANY sex, being it, oh woe, a bare nipple or two, is seen as the most taboo, and untouchable subject in our culture today. Why? Far right, over-zealous, fundementalist religious doctrine and orginizations. Now, i'm not saying religion is bad. God's no. But listening to heretical, half-witted, biased, and close-minded preaching is. They make having sex out to be sinful, yet God said to us, "Go forth, be fruitful, and multiply." The big dude told us to bang like rabbits. Why then, does the Church want us to remain celibate, want us to hide the oh so dirty, yet heavenly mandated action? Control. They wish to protect through control. Control what one sees, and all they will get is what you want them to. Simple, tyrannical, and frighteningly achievable. All we need is a scapegoat.

Video games. This generations newest hobby is the last generations newest whipping boy. rock music was before that, tv before that, comics before that. It's a phase. And i'm sure will pass in time, but not without some damage being done to an otherwise harmless hobby.

To say showing sex in video games is bad, is kinda odd to me. Seeing that we have it on primetime, public access, free television. We have it in our music, on the pages of our magazines. Yet no one touches them, why? Money. They have money, they have power. We, the gaming industry, are still young compared to them. And we, unfortunately, do not have as much precedence in constitutional law as they do. But we can.

We have to speak up. We have to open our mouths. We, as gamers, though fiery, often loud folk when it comes to devs wronging us in games, don't do enough, or say enough when people with real power attempt to. We need to defend our constitutional right to both free speech and free expression. Video games are an art form, and as an art form, are legally protected by the Constitution of the United States. To keep our mouths shut, is to undermine our hobby and something we care about.

Leave our games alone, I say.

 

And that is the first RPM of this Broken R0m.