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Paragus Rants

Rants, reviews, and interviews from an MMO veteran and guild leader.

Author: Paragus1

Rant: Gimmick Raid Bosses

Posted by Paragus1 Thursday June 21 2007 at 6:33PM
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Rant: Gimmick Raid Bosses

Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a raid boss in some MMO, and you stop, and sort of have a time-slowing moment where you look around and wonder who thought this boss was a good idea as you watch your friends being slaughtered by some over-the-top gimmick?  Well as you probably guessed by now, I have, and it used to happen to me on a regular basis being a guild / raid leader.

What Went Wrong?

Now I've been trying to figure out what or where we went wrong.   I remember raiding in games a long time ago and never having to do some of the Special Olympic activities that I made to put my guild through in World of Warcraft raids.  Somewhere between the distant past and the present, something has gone horribly wrong with raid boss design. 

Now I know there are going to be a lot of people who read this who may actually like a raid boss that involved hopping on your left foot, on the third tile from the left, while spinning around in a circle, while juggling half a dozen eggs (which aren't allowed to break!!), while humming the tune of Super Mario, and DPSing with your feet to win.  If your one of those types of people more power to you!  Maybe your praying the new instance will have you playing a game of twister against the boss to win!   I'm going to blow chunks all over my monitor if I need to do something this ever again.



There is a definite difference between a gimmick and a theme though.   I don't mind a boss with a theme, it's to be expected.   Not every raid boss can be a single target tank-and-spank.   I would expect a fight like Ragnaros to be all about fire flying everywhere, after all he is the Lord of Fire.  I've decided that the test to decide if a boss is too gimmicky is if you can see Bob Barker on "The Price is Right" making one of his contestants do what you are to win a new dining room set.  Bob Barker must have been hired a long time ago as a side gig designing raid bosses for MMOs because they just keep getting dumber and dumber.   I'm waiting to walk into a boss fight and see a giant money wheel that I only get to spin 2 times and hope I get it to add up to $1 without going over.



Both EQ2 and WoW are guilty of helping to pioneer this new trend in raids.  In a PvE oriented game, it is only natural that the top of the end game will most likely consist of large groups of players raiding super raid bosses or Gods, or even small size encounters against super villains for what will be the best loot.  When we look at the MMO genre as a whole, we can see that there are definitely 2 different raid encounter designs, the old and the new.

The way it was....

When I think of the old, I think of most of the PvE oriented MMOs from Everquest 1 up to and including FFXI.   Bosses had some themes and pretty wicked moves in their arsenal of attacks, but it didn't really cross that line where it had degenerated into a 3 ring circus.  I remember fighting one of the old God's in EQ1 before the age of Ventrilo and voice chat.   The pre-fight run down went something like......first guy in gets a death touch and will be killed instantly, rest of you are going to get your salad tossed around the room with some knockbacks and damage.  He maybe 1 or 2 other moves and we went in and had a fun fight!  FFXI had some really nice small scale encounters that gave you the same epic feel as a large one.  I remember fighting the Arch Duke of Jeuno, an epic story boss encounter, and it was a blood bath but a ton of fun, and we didn't have to bust out the twister game, the money wheel, or a 30 min pre-fight explanation.



The way it is....

Somewhere along the lines, Blizzard consulted Bob Barker, and the face of raiding as we know it has changed.  I remember back in the day working through Molten Core for the first time when it was the cutting edge of the games content.  I think my head exploded for the first time, literally, when I had to train my guild to defeat Baron Geddon.  After screaming in ventrilo telling my guildmates "YOU ARE THE BOMB! RUN! OMFG, RUN YOU DUMB BASTARD! NO, NOT THIS WAY! NOOOOO!   YOU DUMB MOTHER F...!" I started to seriously wonder why I was subjecting myself to Kindercare playground activities.  As more instances opened up and more bosses got revealed, the trend was becoming more and more obvious.   BWL's first room had us kiting 40 mobs in a small room, while mind controlling, while breaking eggs, while standing in the corners, while running in circles, while dropping traps, while targeting the mages just to get past phase 1 of the first mob in the instance.



Impact on the Genre

1)  Voice chat programs like ventrilo and teamspeak have become 100% mandatory for every person in order to have a chance of success against elaborate and silly gimmicks.   Just explaining these fights in a chat box by typing before the fight would take an hour.  Then trying to explain the path to conquer them would waste even more time.

2)  The more gimmicky a fight becomes, the less the skill of the actual player comes into account.   The fight becomes far less about playing your class well, and turns more into a circus of players trying to step and jump and click the exact way a dev demands.   This leaves almost no room for strategy variations.  We see this in WoW when a new boss is killed.  Once the gimmick is explained, everyone kills him the next day because it has nothing to do with skill.

3)  Players will be forced to take matters into their own hands in the form of raid mods.   These mods often time dominate the end game raiding scene, and remove the frustration of poorly conceived boss encounters.  In WoW, I watched as CT Mod used decurssive to remove the challenge out of half of the fights, then took it even further with CT Raid mods having giant pop ups.   These mods then become mandatory for all players.  These mods will then be made shortly after every new boss is introduced and ultimately trivialize ALL encounters, not just the gimmicky ones.

The way it should be...

At the end of the day, these types of activities can turn a lot of players off to your end game as a developer.  If your end game is stupid, people will quit once they reach it.  Nobody wants to be forced to go download third party program to play your game.   As a developer you shouldn't be forced into designing encounters with these programs in mind.   There needs to be a happy medium somewhere between the raids of old, and giving the encounters a theme.   Don't overdo it.   People are getting turned off to the idea of raiding, and it can be heard in the buzz leading up to a new MMO release.   It can be fun without crossing into the boundary of silly.  If I wanted to fight silly encounters, I'd go play Zelda.



Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Rant: Guild Functionality

Posted by Paragus1 Monday June 18 2007 at 6:38PM
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Rant: Guild Functionality

This is a topic that is somewhat near and dear to my heart because I am the leader of a guild.  In most MMO's we play, we see guilds playing a major role in our gaming experience.   Guilds often tend to be the deciding factor of who we spend most of our time socializing with, and in many cases transcends to be more of a club, but a family of people who roam from game to game.

So with all of this in mind, is it too much to ask for a game to give us some real guild functionality?  What is guild functionality?    As a guild leader, when I take my guild into a new world and a new game, I expect there to be certain tools and features that cater to us.   These tools and features which target guilds and guild management can very often be a legitimate feature to lure me into a game as much as graphics.

As a developer, it would be very wise to target people like me because I have the influence to sway upwards of 50-60 people in my case on whether or not we are going to purchase your product and subscribe.   At the same time, I am not the type of person you don't want to drop a deuce on, because I can also influence the opposite direction and cost a developer those same 50-60 accounts.

What am I looking for?

First of all, I expect there to be a banner of some kind.   A banner to distinguish us from any other crew of people.   In a game with PvP, this is even more important to me.   Our symbol is often times how our enemies will distinguish us from others, and it may be something related to the name of the guild.  The problem with this is in a lot of games, the banner are absolutely retarded!  I mean let's cut the crap here, what self-respecting PvP guild looks over the choices of symbols to burn their legacy into history, and decides that a god damn teddy bear, heart, acorn, flower, or bunny rabbit is the symbol to strike fear into the heart of the enemy.  Furthermore, who in their right minds wants to join a guild that is going to slap a giant pink heart on your chest?!   Unless your guild is called <The Carebears>, I think I would have to check my balls before accepting the invite.  When so many of the banner options are horrible, we all end up picking the same 1 or 2 that are acceptable.



The second thing I expect to find is some form of housing.   Now I know it can be a major pain in the ass for a developer to code in housing of some kind, but at the same time as a guild leader I like to have a place that I can call everyone together and to hang out during downtime without interruption from tile-hopping 12-year olds.  DAOC had a pretty good housing layout.   They had a side area you could go to, and search all the houses and even visit some of them.  Inside the houses you could put in merchants, decorations, trophies, and other useful crafting tools and storage.  EQ2 had a probably an even better housing layout.   Real buildings right in the town you could zone into.   I don't even mind if its instanced, as long as I can decide who can come and go, this is one area where Devs are allowed to cheat with instancing.  Decorating the house with trophies and the like also gives guild members something to do and talk about.   It is a form of content and amusement that probably gets overlooked in the design meeting.



The third thing that really makes a guild leader's life a lot easier the a really good guild interface.  Back in the day, all we had was the same chatbox we typed in to try to set our ranks, see our ranks, see our members, and see who was online.  FFXI gave us a little linkshell menu to see everyone who was online in our guild.   WoW came along and totally redefined the tools a guild leader has at their disposal by adding a nice window where I can add notes and even sort the list by parameters, and see who hasn't been playing as much.   EQ2 came along and took what WoW did, and took it miles and miles beyond anything I have ever seen.   This UI has anything I could ever want in a game.  Tabs upon Tabs of easily manageable data, I can make notes, name the ranks, set permissions for every rank, sort it, splice it, rename it, and my personal favorite the "Event Log".  The event log was a window that tells me everything of interest that has happened in the guild.   If I log on, I can check the tab and see what happened while I as gone.  This is the guild user interface every MMO Dev should be looking at.  Outstanding!



Finally, probably one of the most often overlooked and yet most important features I want.....the guild bank!  This one really shocked me in WoW.   WoW is such a gear and guild oriented game.  A lot of the raids often time require the guild to stockpile certain supplies and quest items which are used to obtain epic armor.   Yet every guild leader is forced to roll up an alt, and mule everything over.  DAOC had a nice treasure box I could put in my guilds house and fill it with items.   EQ2 had a separate storage at the bank in town with the same thing.  Both games gave the ability to decide who gets to out in items, who can take them out, and who is even allowed to open the box and look inside to see if there is anything of use in there.   This needs to be standard issue in every game.  It is a major hassle and pain in the ass to have to not only mule items to another character, but to have to go back onto that character to tell people if there is anything of use in there.   As long as gear and guilds are a major staple in MMOs, this needs to be there.



Remember Devs, guild leaders are probably the most important members of your target audience.   Whenever a new game comes out, it is my job to take a look at it and decide if this MMO is even worth mentioning.   If you win me over, I become a salesman for your product, one with the power to influence many other people.   It's probably not a good idea to ban me from your game for having too much gold because you didn't have the foresight to add a guild bank! *cough* Vanguard *Cough*.  If your making a PvP game, these things are even more so important as every PvP game will ultimately be guild oriented.  Give us guild leaders what we want, and we will give you want you want.....subscribers!

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Rant: Itemization

Posted by Paragus1 Thursday June 14 2007 at 7:21PM
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Rant: Itemization

If there is one thing at almost every MMO has in common, it is the emphasis and dependency on equipment and assorted gear that ends up being one of the focal points of the game.  In many MMO's the players try to advance and grow their characters power usually by raising their levels and skills.  It many MMO's, the max level can be easily achieved in a month or 2 worth of moderate gaming.  Once our levels have been maxed and our skills capped, there is only one other way left to improve yourself.  Gear.

It seems more and more MMO's are replacing good old fashion player intelligence and skill with raw gear.   It used to be that gear only took you so far, and that ultimately skill and mastery of your own spells and skills would be the deciding factor.  The gear dependent game is an epidemic to the MMO genre that collapses the gap between what were once average and great players.  The effects of poorly thought out itemization have had many effects on the games of today, and quite possibly the games of tomorrow if the trends continue.

The first part of itemization is how drastic certain items can give you amazing advantages in both PvE and PvP settings.  We can have 2 characters of the same level and the same class and the difference between their abilities is massive.    I agree that good gear should give a player more wiggle room for errors, make his or her life easier, and raise the potential of power that can be used.  What I don't agree with is the fact that itemization has gone so far over the deep end in some cases that a character can become easy mode by doing exponentially more damage with his strikes,  achieving seeming limitless mana pools, and super inflated hit point totals.



One classic example of itemization gone horribly wrong is World of Warcraft.   The first mistake in WoW's itemization was the massive differences initially between raid gear and gear found by any other means.   For the first 2 years of the game's life, if you didn't raid and have the gear from epic bosses, you simply were a sheep waiting to be massacred in PvP.   As a guild leader I remember clearly Blackwing Lair with my guild and finding an "Untamed Blade" off of the very first boss.    This sword was massively more powerful then any other sword that could be obtained through PvP, or any instance that didn't require 40 people.   All we had to do was walk into literally the first room of the instance, kill the boss in about 5 minutes, and that was it.   The warrior whom I gave that sword too instantly become a God in PvP.  If that thing critted, the fight was over instantly.  Some poor slob could literally grind away 100's of battlegrounds trying to get a PvP sword, or worse yet 1000's of hours to get a warlord sword, and we could negate that in 5 minutes of raiding.



As time drawing to the expansion pack closed in, they began to rectify the situation somewhat by finally making other playstyles produce gear that had a chance.  But once the expansion came out, they literally made a common level 61 weapon dominate anything that could be aquired from the hardest previous raid bosses.  Basically they made you raid for 2 years to have a chance, then they made all your achievements worthless instantly by common expansion gear.   I consider this to basically force every single player of the game to buy the expansion pack or be completely destroyed forever.

The second aspect of itemization that is destroying these games is that they are shattering character customization.   Super twinking fears in the eyes of developers have led to adding level requirements onto virtually every single item we see in every single game.   This creates an unofficial tier system for gear where there instantly becomes..."The best item for this level" mentality.   These items often become mandatory and standard issue.   Soon it becomes common knowledge that there are certain items that you basically must have at a certain level to be viable.    Everyone soon learns what these items are, where they are, and relentlessly grind to get them and is ultimately rewarded with being a carbon copy of every other player of that class at that level.   I don't think MMORPG's should be encouraging us to strive to be like everyone else.  When you finally achieve all of the best items for that class at that level, you become assimilated into a collective zerg of clones.  Way to reward the gamer!



The primary example of this aspect is the introduction of set armors into MMO's.   Some of my favorite MMO's are guilty of using set armors as a tool for not only creating clone looking characters, but pigeon-holing people into certain build types with set bonuses.   EQ2 and WoW are 2 of the most popular games that use the set armor system of loot, but I am going to throw FFXI under the bus this time.   FFXI practically invented the clone army of players.   In the lower levels of FFXI, there is simply no options or variety at all in what gear can be worn.   Don't get me wrong, I understand that there are some extremely rare and expensive twink armor that will cost your your left nut, but the average first time levelling up player will be forced to wear the same leather, brass, lizard hide, chain, and so on up until the mid levels.  The price to look different in that game was very costly.   Eventually they had the class set armor as seen in the console Final Fantasies.  The condom hat wearing white mage, the pointy hat black mage, and the feathered pimp hat wearing red mage.  What FFXI did do right with items was the fact that gear was never a substitute for skill in my opinion.



A third aspect of itemization detracting from gameplay is the fact that in most games, the items you need are always dropped by the same monster and only that monster.  This monster either is an extremely rare spawn, or some raid level boss.   The information becomes common knowledge, and the frenzy to kill these mobs ensues.  Depending on the location of the mob, this can often time leads to camping of a certain mobs, or the highly tedious process of attacking the same raid bosses over and over again until the Gods of random number generators decides to smile on you.  This entire system often leads to the trivialization of other content because players will know that there is nothing there they can ever find that will interest them.  So how can we get around this?

Well a long time ago, a game called Asheron's Call used a random item generator system of loot.  Those of you who have played the Diablo series are probably familiar with this.  It basically means that any given monster can drop any given type of loot of reasonable level equality to the monster with randomly generated stats.  This adds an entirely new level of excitement to killing mobs that in other games would never be interesting to kill.    There were many occasions playing AC1 where I would be out in the vast wilderness, kill a monster, and find a substantial upgrade or an item powerful enough to fetch a good price back at the town others would want.  You never knew what you were going to find, but the mere possibility that on any given kill you could hit the jackpot was enough to make you want to keep going.   It also made you never close your mind off to going to a certain place because you knew you would never find anything of value there.



At the end of the day, itemization is playing an increasing role in every new MMO that comes out.  The need to be a good player, and the ability to notice one is becoming increasingly difficult and disturbingly unnecessary.  MMO Devs should think about spending some time trying to come up with alternate ways of advancement after max level in the form of AA's or other rewards.  Hopefully the next crop of MMORPG's will be innovative enough to leave the players enough room to distinguish themselves in both physical appearance and skill.  In a good MMO, players will be able to develop a reputation for being the good crowd controller, the reliable healer, the tank who knows who to save lives, instead of just the guy with the epic set of armor who could WTFPWN N00bs with EPIX.

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Rant: In-Game Events

Posted by Paragus1 Tuesday June 12 2007 at 6:47PM
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Rant: In-Game Events

MMO Developers will often spend millions of dollars and years of hard work creating virtual worlds that will seem full of life to keep us playing.  One thing that seems to be overlooked a good bit is the use of In-Game Events as a tool to add a dynamic feel to the daily life of the worlds that we play in.  When I think back at all the MMO worlds I have passed through in my travels, some of the times that stand out in my mind the most are some of the in-game events I have had the fortune to experience.

The problem is that this aspect of MMO's is often not given the attention it deserves.  I do however understand the fact that from a developers point of view, in-game events can often be timely to code in, and in many cases only ever get to be experienced once, and often times by only a hand full of players.  Or do they?

Starting at Everquest 1, I think I can only remember ever seeing or hearing about 1 or 2 events going on in the game while I was playing.   I believe one had something to do with a lot of undead running wild in the Commonlands, and the other had some giants scattered around the world dropping Rubicite armor.  Now maybe there are some EQ1 players out there who have seen more then I did, but in my years in Norrath I never saw much dynamic content.  I heard Mayong Mistmoore of castle Mistmoore only appeared as a GM played mob, but I personally never saw him.



I remember in Anarchy Online coming back from a series of missions and finding Cyborgs marching through the streets hosing people down.  I didn't know why they were there, but honestly it didn't matter to me.   The town was a war zone with mass combat and people dying everywhere and it was fun as all hell.

One of my most memorable times in World of Warcraft was during the Valentine's Day event.   Me and some of my buddies were bored on a Saturday afternoon, and there was a teleporter in the town that took you off to Moonglade.   Upon arrival in Moonglade a giant two-headed dog named Omen was going totally apeshit rampaging all over the zone killing everyone on both teams.    Alliance and Horde were both trying to kill him and killing each other in the process.



Final Fantasy 11 introduced "Besieged" in their ToAU expansion pack.  Beseiged was basically a periodic event that would trigger a massive invasion of the expansion packs major city.  When the trigger went off, 1 or more of the 3 tribes of beastmen would form up an army complete with generals and bosses would travel out of their lair in a formation towards the town.   Players EXPing outside often times will see the army walking across the world heading for the town at which time the event begins.  A massive bloodbath usually ensues with people fighting everywhere in the towns main square and the monsters try to kill the players, capture the NPCs, and try to steal the artifact from the center of town.   Captured NPCs would be taken back to the monster's dungeon and locked up in a cell until freed by adventurers.  There was a considerable amount of lag, but at the end of the day it did prove to be a lot of fun and added a real dynamic to the world that says these AI mobs aren't just standing around waiting to be killed, they are coming for you!



Finally, probably the one of the oldest and most legendary in-game events I have ever seen was in Asheron's Call 1.   AC1 had a massive backstory that unfolded through monthly updates and lore which was continually being built on.   Monthly content would usually be related in some way to the events of the month which could range from a variety of horrors.

One day, the Dark God in Asheron's Call (The Hopeslayer) actually appeared in the world.   He wasn't at the bottom of some dungeon, and he wasn't in an outer plane, he was literally walking around the countryside looking for towns and people to kill.  As far as I understand it, this guy was controlled by an actual person working for the game company.   He would walk and fly around the games massive overworld and visit towns.   Upon arrival he would shower the towns with fireballs, death and destruction, leaving the bodies of players in his wake.  it was up to the players on these servers to find a way to stop him from terrorizing the game world. 



To this day, I do not think any game has ever outdone the events that Asheron's Call 1 has set in motion.   Players would log in after a monthly update to find a certain popular town had been destroyed, and watch it build up slowly again over the course of the coming months.  I remember towns being attacked by monsters on several occasions, as well as other human controlled villains making their presence known.

Devs of future MMO's should definitely be sure to not forget this aspect of the game if they want the players to truly feel the world is alive and dynamic.   It may be a worthy investment to hire people who are able to enter the world as story related heroes and villains to help further the story and help involved players.  Then you have the recurring events like FFXI, which while may seem repetitive at a glance, helps build a immersion.   This is especially important for a PvE game.    PvP games are often driven by the actions and wars of the players.   PvE games are a turn off to a lot of people because they are often time viewed as the game where the monster stands there waiting to be killed.   Is it realistic that we want to kill the dragon, but he has never attacked the town?   Bring on the dragons, bring on the monsters, and bring on the chaos. 



Sure players may whine about getting killed by things they have little chance of winning against, but they will forgive you at the end of the day with more time subscribed because you will have given the gamer what he wants, a world that feels truly alive.

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Rant: Travel Time

Posted by Paragus1 Saturday June 9 2007 at 3:03PM
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Rant: Travel Time

When word comes of a new game going into open Beta or hitting retail, one of the most important questions to this old gamer is how large is the world?   World size is very important for the fact that a larger world will hold attention longer.    The bigger the world is, the more there is to see and do.  That epic feel of a large world really comes down to one thing, travel time.

World builders will literally spend months and years trying to design the worlds of tomorrow which will eventually become our virtual playgrounds.    What usually can end up happening though, is that all the hard work of these world builders can be flushed down the toilet due to how travel is introduced.  The real world we live in is pretty large, but perception of its size has been altered greatly in the last century due to the invention of faster forms of travel like cars and air travel.  The same goes for MMOs.

For the most part the virtual worlds are large, but the perception of these worlds has been seriously marginalized due to the fact that developers are making it overly easy to get from one side of the world to the other.  When we think of the epic quests and adventures of high fantasy, we must remember that the journey is half of the adventure.  Killing the mighty dragon if he is living in a 2 minute walk from town doesn't quite seem as epic as the dragon who lives in a far off land inside a volcano somewhere.

The way it was...

In Everquest 1, they made a massive world.  I remember when the game came out and I started my MMO career there, it was simply staggering to me how large the world was.   As someone who started in Qeynos, the trip to Freeport, or even Faydark as a noob was almost impossible to imagine.  The first time I hoofed it across the continent to see Freeport for the first time took me all night.   The boat ride in Everquest was enough to make your ass cheeks clinch together in sheer horror as you watched cyclpose wading close to the boat, and in some cases too close as it was not uncommon to be smashed into oblivion on the deck of the boat.



One day they released an expansion called Planes of Power, which added a new area that had teleports to many areas scattered across the old game.    This area became the main huddling point for most of every servers population and sucked the life out of every other city in the world.   It also totally trivialized the world size making it seem much smaller even though its size had remained the same if not grown.

In Asheron's Call, the world was the size of a small American State.   There were no boats, no mounts, just your feet and the portals.  The portal system was very large and extremely complex.   They would wisk you away to far off places in most cases without a way back unless you knew how to manipulate the system to your advantage.   This required a knowledge that could only be gleaned by a mastery and understanding of how the hundreds of hidden world portal were interconnected into a series of loops and circuits.  Eventually someone had to make an almost mandatory third party program to help the average player educate himself on how he could use this system to his advantage.  Due to the somewhat complicated nature of the portal circuits and massiveness of the world, this system in now way diminished the perception of how big the world was.



Dark Age of Camelot brought us mounts.  These mounts were not really able to be controlled by the player, but acted more like a shuttle bus to take you a certain town.   You were given the option to hop off the horse at any given time if perhaps your destination was along the way to where the horse was going.  This helped players get to the far reaches of their own realms while still having to wait a few minutes, and did fine to not trivialize the realm sizes too much.

Final Fantasy 11 has an interesting take on travel.   For the first time players were able to ride a mount they could steer, the infamous Chocobo.  Once completing a quest which allowed a player to ride them, the Chocobo was completely steerable to the players liking while at the same time playing one of the most horrific songs ever written ;)  After about 10-15 minutes however, the Chocobo would kick you off and leave you.  In most cases, it was enough time to get where you wanted to be given you rented the bird at the closest stable to your destination and didn't waste too much time.  FFXI also had the Everquest 1 style of teleporting but I thought it was clever how they approached it.   You could not be teleported to any of the spires which you had not previously visited and collected a crystal at. 



They also very cleverly decided to give the group teleport spell to the healer class, which had previously been a staple of the mage type classes in other games.  This made it more enticing to play a healer, which as we all know is not widely viewed as one of the funner classes to play in most MMOs.  The world of FFXI to this day is massive and still growing, and they still have the only other game with a good boat ride next to EQ1.  On any given boat trip, a player may find his boat being attacked by giant sea monsters or even being boarded by pirates!  Airships eventually become available to allow players to travel between capital cities which are otherwise a great distance apart from one another.

The way it is....

Now we find ourselves in the era of EQ2 and WoW.  

EQ2 does not have a lot of fancy transportation, but honestly doesn't need it.  The games overworld is designed in such a way that it is chopped up into little island worlds which personally I was not a fan of, but with all of its expansions, they have greatly fixed this problem in their newer content making the world seem very large.



WoW on the other hand has some pretty good world design as far as how its continents are layed out.   For a seamless game I would have liked to see a lot less mountains walling me in superficially.   The real tragedy of WoW is how their nicely crafted world has been totally destroyed and poorly utilized because of their travel system.    There are griffin towers in practically every area you walk into.   This makes the world seems massively smaller then it actually is.  Not only does the travel make getting everywhere far too easy, but it sucks the life out of the overworld even further.   Most travelers can only be seen flying above all the content and world they spent years making.  Only a first time visitor to an area will usually be seen walking on the ground to get there.  As a result, there is a lot of the overworld that will see almost no traffic once they are visited by first time travelers.   It is a shame because WoW has a lot of zones that are very interesting an scenic, but now are simply just flown over on the way to where they are going.   A zone like Thousand Needles or Ungoro Crater are classic examples of zones that have a unique and interesting atmosphere, but unfortunately will seldom be seen short of a fly over to somewhere else.



The way it should be...

I seriously have to wonder if the world builders making these worlds have any say in how travel will be in these games.   I would be furious as a world builder if I spent months building up areas of the world with magnificent scenery only to be bitch-slapped by some whiny ass Dev who think that players should be able to get everywhere instantly totally bypassing and ignoring the entire world.  The journey is half of the adventure, so please stop trying to take it away from us.  

Sure there will be whining bitches who will cry on how they had to sail on a boat for 5 minutes to reach another continent, but hey, its another freaking continent!   If we didn't have air travel in real life, and you were going to sail to Europe from America, its going to take some time.   I understand that nobody wants to spend a day on a boat and I don't expect anyone to make it that way, but there needs to be a middle ground where we as the adventurers still get to experience the journey.   As a developer you need to ask yourself if you are willing to compromise your entire world and the scale of your game because some whiner can't handle the trip.  These are the same little kids who sit in the car asking "Are we there yet?!" on your road trips.  They deserve the same smack in teeth now as they did then.

The size of the world in eyes of the gamers is not the actual size of the world as made by world designers.   The size of the world is based on our perception of how big it seems with the forms of travel.  The larger the world APPEARS to be, the more exploring we will do, the longer the game will hold our interest, and the more money we will pay you because you will have earned it by providing us with a truly epic high fantasy world they we wanted.

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Rant: Death Penalties

Posted by Paragus1 Friday June 8 2007 at 12:41AM
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Rant: Death Penalties

I remember back in my EQ1 days being in a raid that wiped out in the Plane of Growth, back when that area was cutting edge.  Soon after my death, I found myself sitting naked on a dock in Kunark, which was 2 continents away from the front door to the Plane of Growth.  As I stared at my exp bar which had moved considerably in a negative direction, I began to winder if I would ever get back to my body to see my worldly possessions ever again.  I had school the next day, and it was getting late, but the thought of going to sleep with all my equipment scattered across the outer planes was upsetting.   I sat and hoped that my guild would be bale to break back in and we could get our gear back and stop.  It never happened.

I went to the bank and got out the only 2 items I had in there the bard would ever need, a flute and a drum.  I ran naked across 2 continents, got back into PoG, and ended up having to kite half of the zones monsters around in a big circle while my raid got their gear back.  If you played EQ1 in its glory days, chances are you have nights like this.



This is probably the harshest PvE death in MMO to my knowledge and from my own gaming experiences.  Exp Loss (with possibility for level loss), and a full corpse recovery to get your gear back.

If you were to list all the death penalties in the major successful MMOs, you would see a trend of them getting softer.

EQ1 = EXP loss, Level Loss, Item Loss (everything), Corpse Recovery

AC1 = Vitae (stat reduction) of 5% per death, Item loss (not all), corpse recovery (any items lost). No possibility for being revived!

FFXI =  10% EXP Loss, Level Loss, No Corpse recovery, No Item Drop, chance for a "Raise".

DAOC = Exp Loss without chance of Level Loss, Optional Corpse Recovery for minor exp

AO = Exp moved to a debt which is worked off, NO Level down, No Corpse Recovery, No item drop, No possibility of being revived.

EQ2 / WoW = Minor Exp Loss, 10% durability hit

Now please do not misunderstand me, I am in no way a fan of the EQ1 degree of sting from dying.  That brought on serious amounts of stress with your entire characters inventory at steak in a game that was heavily gear based.  On the flip side though, we have WoW / EQ2, which has to be the biggest joke of a death penalty (in any MMORPG that I have played). 

What went wrong?

It always cracked me up as a guild leader and a raid leader to hear the whines of newcomers to the genre in WoW crying about wiping in raids.  These young ones don't know what how death should really sting.   Oh no!   I might have to run 10 seconds back to the instance!!! Noooo!   And don't give me that nonsense about repair bills, money in that game was useless for anything but repair bills once you got raid gear and a mount.  Much like the grandparents of today would roll over in their grave on how pussified this generation has become, so does the veteran MMO'er.  Eq2 was no better as much as I love the game.  Death is the worst thing that can happen to you in an MMO, so why not motivate people to avoid it all costs?



The weak death effect was another major factor to why the PvP was a complete joke.  Now I'm not one of those guy who thinks you need looting for PvP to make you not want to die, but there has to be a middle ground between that and a 5 second run back to the fight.   You have dead people coming back so fast it just becomes a senseless spamfest with no room for strategy or thinking.

Who did it right?

As much as I hate to admit it, I was always kind of fond of FFXI when it came to having it hurt just enough to really make you not want to die.   I'm not saying it was perfect, but it stung just enough for me.  Some of the missions and dungeons were so elaborate that death would mean a complete failure of the mission, a nice cut off the exp, the end of the group, and even the potential of the infamous level down.  



Nothing is more embarrassing then doing something incredibly stupid, then being massacred in front of a large group of players, and having the big "LEVEL DOWN!!!!" come flying up over your head for the entire world to see.   It screams out... "Hey I'm a jackass, and my balls just got kicked!  Look at me!"  



It really was the perfect system of Darwinism.  Survival of the fittest.  Stupid people who fail to learn their class will be stung by death to the point where the will shall be shattered, and all will know not to group with you thus making your advancement dwindle to  crawl or stop completely.   As a result, as you progress through the game, you find that the higher level you go, the skill of the players is amazingly noticeably higher.



You can compare this to WoW and see that a god damn chimp or a 3 year old is running around in UBRS as your healer, or afk in the back of your raid winning loot.   When you see someone who is max level in a game like FFXI you have a real respect for the person who has made it that far.  In WoW we see the opposite, where max level is the norm, and anyone who isn't max level must be in a coma to not have reached the level cap.  

Now I know there are a lot of you out there who are going to say "I don't like a hard death penalty because its not fun!".  Its not supposed to be fun!   Going to jail in real life isn't supposed to be fun either unless you like dropping soap, but it is a deterrent for stupid behavior. 



The same goes for death in an MMO.  When death has real consequences, you will see a much better community, and a much higher sense of prestige and accomplishment.  I felt more satisfaction with doing the level 30 FFXI "Khazam Key" quest by myself then I did the day my guild destroyed Nefarion back when he was the hardest guy in the game in WoW.  The challenge makes the reward that much sweeter.

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Rant: Battlegrounds

Posted by Paragus1 Wednesday June 6 2007 at 11:22PM
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Rant: Battlegrounds

I'll never forget the last hours of the World of Warcraft open stress test before they took the servers down for the last time before retail.   Me and my friends were trying out this polished new game with 2 opposing sides fighting all over the world.  We were playing horse guys in the barrens when a large army of our team wanted to push into Ashenvale and attack the Night Elf strongholds in the woods.  What happened in literally the final minutes of beta was one of the biggest blowouts of PvP I had seen i quite some time.   People coming out from behind trees and over rocks fighting everyone.   Coming right off the heels of a tour of duty in DAOC, we saw a game that appealed to us a lot.

Release came, we all bought in and leveled up on the PvP server.  I remember we used to jokingly call the jungles of Stranglethorn Vale the Viet Nam of Azeroth.   Outdoor PvP was waged against  us every step of the way, and this was before there was any honor system or reward.  We killed each other for no other reason then because we could, and they were the other team.  Eventually everyone hit max level, and we roamed around between the Plaguelands, Winterspring, TM, Ungoro, Tanaris, Feralis, Booty Bay, and anywhere else that was contested looking for action and we usually found it.

Then it happened....



Some developer who probably had a really good look at his own prostate from having his head shoved up his ass for so long decided that Battlegrounds was exactly what WoW needed to promote fighting and to put the War back into Warcraft.  They gathered us up in groups and herded us away into instances to fight over a forest that was about 2 acres large, playing grab ass over a flag, and dangled some items as prizes which could only be attained by playing hundreds of matches.  Before long, the life was sucked out of the hand-crafted overworld and into these little instances and tried to convince us this is where the war was.  With a lifeless overworld, people did nothing else but fly from their city, to the BG and grind away.


Now maybe its just me, but I picked a PvP server because I wanted to fight other people, I wanted to fight all across the far reaches of the world, I wanted to fight in the capital cities, I wanted to fight everywhere.   With one fell swoop, the developers cut the shriveled balls off of the PvP servers making them literally no different from the PvE ones.

I played on Darktide, Andred, and Mordred.  Anyone who is a true fan of PvP knows that one of the big things about PvP is that its not always going to be on your terms, and honestly I can live with that.  I like the fact that a situation can deteriorate into a blood bath on a moments notice, even if I am the one getting bent over a tree stump in Red Ridge.  That's PvP.  Let's be honest here, the death penalty in WoW was practically zero, and in PvP it was less then that.  Die, rez, run back in 10 seconds, engage in PvP again.  So it never really bothered me no matter how bad the odds were.   It was a guild past time to make PvP movies of fun and hopeless situations which we still have to this day on our web site. (Check them out if you get bored)

What went wrong?

The battlegrounds basically took the war out of Warcraft.  It destroyed the immersion of the games premise.  To make matters worse, the same self-prostate examining Dev decided that why even make people leave the city to get to the battleground, lets just warp them over.   This diminished the outdoor traffic even further, and when you factor in fight paths drop you almost at the front doors to the raid dungeons, there became little reason for most to go outside the city.   Not only did battlegrounds ruin PvP, it ruined all the time and work that went into world design.

But hey, the good news is that you will spend the next months of your time fighting over a Lumber Mill, 2 acres of woods, and a snow covered valley trail.   They actually expected us to believe that the world was being torn apart by a war, but the only places of importance were these 3 static areas?!   If you win you gain some points and nothing changes, if you lose you still gain points and nothing changes, so WTF is the point of this?   The loot could be outclassed by raiding the easiest raid dungeons at the time.



What should have happened?


First, there should have been either special servers with no battlegrounds, or just not put them on the PvP servers at all.  The popularity of such servers would have been massive.  Second, the contested zones should have actually been contested, which would mean able to be taken by one side or the other.  Contested zones could have been connected by supply lines or lattices, and the war would have drifted along these supply routes on both continents so that at any given time there would have been 2 or 3 fronts to chose from.  This would have prevented zones in the middle from being taken without controlled the neighboring zones.  This of course would mean some concrete capturable objectives in every contested area in the forms of towers, caves, bunkers, etc.

PvP servers are supposed to be hard, and as such, creating a character on a PvP server in AC (Darktide) and in DAOC (Andred / Mordred) would come with a disclaimer warning of a harder lifestyle on these worlds.   This is your crybaby insurance, slap it on there and leave your diapers at the door or don't come in.



Who did it right?

Dark Age of Camelot is the king of PvP to many people for a reason.   They really knew how to promote overworld PvP with real capturable objectives, with real bonuses and value to them.  They had the war map you could pull up and see who held what, and they had PvP points which unlocked new powers to further advance yourself.  Blizzard seems to have stolen the best features from all of the previous successful titles except this one.   I in no way fault them for taking ideas, some of them were good ones.   FFXI pioneered the auction house system which is pretty much standard issue in any game now thanks to WoW adaptation of it.  I just wish if they were copying stuff they would have learned a bit more from Mythic.



If your a developer of an upcoming MMO with PvP slated to be a major backbone of your game, please read these words and take them to heart.   Instancing PvP is a mistake and should only exist in extreme moderation if at all.  Unless your making a Guild Wars Arena type game it doesn't belong.  Your making your game with PvP as a focal point, and if you want that crowd to take you seriously, PvP should take place on the beautiful overworld you spent years making.   Its like taking your child to the amusement park, and telling him to play in the parking lot.  Let the world be our battleground.

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Rant: PvE Instancing

Posted by Paragus1 Wednesday June 6 2007 at 11:39AM
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Rant: PvE Instancing

 

Camp Check!  Anyone else remember the days of hearing this shouted into every dungeon you walked into?   Chances are if you do, you’ve been around the MMO block a good bit and probably since Everquest 1.


I remember walking into Lower Guk and hearing that phrase every few mins and watching my chat box fill up with “ Lord, Frenzy, Assassin, Bed Room, Zone, Arch Mage…”.  One could only wonder what room in the dungeon didn’t have a bunch of guys having a sausage party waiting for some rare guy to spawn so the group could fight over the loot.  My brother spent weeks at the Frenzy camp trying to get his hands on an FBSS for his warrior, and back in the day this was a tale that was all too common.

 

 

Needless to say, a lot of people left Everquest 1 with a chip on their shoulder about how they want to spend their time.  One of my RL friends spent a week in Nagafen’s room waiting for a spawn to get his cleric epic weapon.   If I was going to sit in a room somewhere staring at the wall, I’d probably spend it in my bathroom sitting on the toilet because at least there would be a better chance of me accomplishing something meaningful.

Fast forward a few years, and Anarchy Online comes out with a revolutionary idea of instancing.  The games random mission generator would not only spit out an endless supply of missions, but it would give you your own private dungeon where you would be free to take care of business without interference from other players.  The game still had non-instanced dungeons, so there was not a complete changeover at this point.

 

 

Along comes WoW, where now every single dungeon is instanced.  Now every adventurer has the chance to be that unique and special little snowflake, where he can go off in solitude in search of loot.  With that, comes isolation of the games population.   People are now herded into their instances like cattle with loot being dangled from a stick.  The social aspect of the game starts to deteriorate as people are forced to be in tighter groups because if you enter the dungeon alone, you will always be alone.   This forces players to be a part in guilds to have any chance, guilds like the one I lead, and now all players are forced to pay homage to the guild and raid leaders, even more so if they opt for the infamous loot “council”.

So what is the answer?  Instance everything, and you end up chopping up the population and forcing people into guilds to be able to achieve any success.  Instance nothing and bring on the camp checks.

What went wrong? 

Everquest 1 filled their dungeons with the rare spawns every few rooms, which isn’t a bad thing.  The bad thing is the frequency and chance of the rare spawn showing up.  The typical Everquest 1 respawn time was 15 minutes on most mobs.  Every 15 minutes you either got the placeholder, or the guy you really wanted.   This in my opinion made the focus of the dungeon to find an unclaimed area, and wait.   Every 15 minutes you had a chance of hitting the jackpot, so you minds well wait.  This attitude then spread across you population has them all going into these dungeons and fighting over spots.  Having a shot at the rare guy every 15 minutes was just too enticing in my opinion.  A player could literally walk from the start dungeon to the final boss chamber without seeing a single mob due to excessive camping.

What went right?

There are 2 games from my experience who have achieved the perfect balance of instancing, Final Fantasy 11 and Everquest 2.  Both of these games have non-instanced dungeons.  What they do have are instanced boss fights.  Going from WoW back to FFXI and EQ2 was refreshing for me because I was able to walk into a dungeon by myself and have the chance run in with someone else deep in the heart of the dungeon.  At the same time you still have the opportunity to challenge the final boss for the story (FFXI) or the loot every few days (EQ2).  Both games also have non-linear dungeons which also greatly alleviates crowding.

 

FFXI has the same 15 minute respawn timer like Everquest 1 did, the difference is that the rare guys don’t have a chance of showing every 15 minutes.   In many cases they won’t even have the chance of showing up until hours or days after the mob was last killed.  Since the odds are less in your favor, it acts as a deterrent to camping for them, and takes the emphasis off of camping a guy you probably will never see, to finishing the quest you came to do.   If you see the rare guy, great, but only the most diehard farmer extremely dedicated had the lack of life to ride it out.  The bad thing about FFXI is there is a lack of respect among those who take the hard road and try to camp.   If you’ve been camping that guy for 3 hours and someone else shows up 5 minutes before the spawn, he will definitely try to take it from you.  This is probably one of the harshest aspects and negatives of the game.   The good news is that unlike WoW, most loot can be sold and is not all bind on pickup.   Those who don’t have the time to camp can always just buy what they want in most cases.

 

EQ2 does have its fair share of instanced raid content, but I think that raid content is probably the exception to the rule.   You don’t want entire raids of people competing over that content unless it is part of the mechanic like an outdoor raid boss.  Although EQ2 has instanced outdoor zones in crowded situations is a mistake the breaks immersion and interaction.  At this stage in the game no single outdoor area is THAT crowded that warrants this in my opinion.

The moral of the story is that I play an MMO because there are thousands of other people playing, not just my friends and guildmates.  I want meet strange people in strange places under strange circumstances.   That’s part of the adventure.   Instancing kills this possibility.   If I wanted to play a game with just my friends with no chance of seeing someone new, I’d play on a LAN or Diablo.  I hope Devs of the next generation can pull back from instancing a bit so that we can have the adventure we are all looking to experience.

 

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com

Rant: Quests

Posted by Paragus1 Tuesday June 5 2007 at 10:21PM
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Rant: Quests

Is anyone else besides me who has been in this genre longer then 2 years wondering what the hell happened to quests?   When I think of a quest, you think of high fantasy and epic missions to save the world, or the damsel in distress.   Frodo and Sam went on a quest to stop the evil forces.  The dude in Krull with the glaive went on a quest to save the girl from the teleporting fortress.  William Wallace went on a quest to free his people.



I remember back in the days of Everquest and Asheron's Call 1 (one of my favorite all time games), of undertaking monumentous tasks to acquire weapons of real power that involved the killing of great dragons, traveling to far off places people were scared to go, and trying to accomplish the impossible.   Its the sort of thing that would give any adventurer some oak in his pants.  The type of missions that would make you the talk of the town when you accomplished it, when "Grats" actually meant something because you had done something extraordinary.

Fast forward 8-9 years later.....

I find myself in Azeroth for the first time with my guildmates.  A woman tells me she has a quest for me.   I feel the oak starting to pitch a tent in my pants.   She tells me to fetch her some water from the well about 20 feet away.  I eagerly run to the well, bucket in hand, figuring that this water might need to be hiked across the great land without pilling a single drop.   I bring it back and.........quest complete.  Huh?   I thought you had a quest for me?

The last time an older woman told me to go fetch her some water, it was my mother because she wanted to water the garden.   In the real world, you guys know the one without the pixels, I always thought that was a chore.   You know what else I would consider a chore?   Gathering mushrooms, picking berries, skinning wolves, cutting the grass, pulling weeds, trimming hedges, doing laundry, collecting 27 deer antlers, 57 dingleberries, 14 boar hoofs, and 12 bandit masks.



The once epic journey is now a 10 second walk behind the house.    The divine truth realized is that pulling weeds isn't fun.   The reward is a bad case of poison ivy and some dirty underwear.  And the "Grats" lost its value because frankly a 10 year old can go collect butterflies and pigs feet.

Speaking of which, the only thing more rediculous is some idiot developer thinking these sort of tasks are entertaining is the fact that I can kill a pig and get zero feet!   I mean how the hell does that happen?   Did my one knife stab it took to kill the piggy utterly devastate it to the point where  not 1 of the 4 feet were salvage worthy?  I mean in theory I should be finding 4 of these off of every pig I kill, and I'm getting lucky to find one! 

Let's be fair here though, the glory says of Everquest had their fair share of utter bullcrap.   I remember playing a Bard and needing to get a red dragonscale to get my epic weapon.    It was bad enough that Nagafen, one of the only red dragons in the game at the time only spawned once a in a real-life week.   What was even more silly is that that huge dragon only had 1 scale on his body!  The dragon was the size of a mack truck, and he has 1 scale?!  Oh by the way, half the classes in the game also need a red dragonscale for their epic as well.    Better luck next week, if your in a raid that has dibs on the dragon, and if you beat the dragon, and if the scale drops, and if your the guy who wins it if all of the previous things happen.



Developers need to find the middle ground.   Let's start by not insulting the intelligence of every gamer over the age of 12, which is the vast majority in this genre.   Don't tell me that folding my laundry and collecting little brown logs from my cats litter box are quests, those are called chores.    There needs to be a challenge and a real accomplishment for something to be worthy of the word quest.   At the same time, developers need to understand that an entire raid of 40+ people will not be motivated to complete their quest when the the odds of them finding the dragonscale are 1 in 1000 when the damn thing is covered in scales.

If your a player of World of Warcraft, Everquest 2, Vanguard, or Lord of the Rings Online, this rant is something you should mull over.  These quest writers are insulting your intelligence.  I'm not saying this means these games are bad, I for one played WoW for 2 years, and EQ2 for about 8 months.  Both are rock solid games, but if I didn't know any better, I'd say the same guy was writing the quests for all of these games.   Either that, or everyone thought that WoW did everything right and could do no wrong, so they stole their model for quests.  When people say WoW clone, this is the first thing that comes to mind.  Go look at a game like Final Fantasy 11 and Asheron's Call where quests would make you sweat.   Fletching Tool, Sword of Lost Light / Hope, Greater Atlan Stones (all from AC1) are all great examples of what a quest should be.  Maybe someday the quest writers will make "Grats" will mean something again...

Rant: Unfinished MMOs

Posted by Paragus1 Tuesday June 5 2007 at 9:42PM
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Rant: Unfinished MMOs

In light of some of the recent games in the MMO genre, I just want to take some time out to rant about "Unfinished MMOs". Now don't get me wrong here, I understand that no MMO is ever really "finished", but there is a big difference between being "finished" and being in an "Acceptable Retail" version.

I am going to throw Vanguard under the bus as an example (There are countless others) because at the time of me writing this, it is the most recent and one of the most highlighted examples I have seen regarding this issue. This is a game I have followed very closely since its beta, sorry let me correct that, non-retail beta, through members of the guild who were among the select few who were chosen to test the closed beta. Quite frankly, if you had seen this game develop, it was painfully obvious that this game never had a chance in hell.

Here are 5 facts about Unfinished MMOs:

1) Unfinished games hurt the genre. Nobody wins. The developer is going to get hosed, there will be less competition in the field of games, which in turns lower the bar for all other games. Newcomers who have just started playing MMOs may pick up your hot steaming pile of crap and end up being turned off to the genre because you were their first experience. If their first game is a good one, they will be play for a long time and try other games as well. World of Warcraft is a classic example of this. More people in the genre is a good thing because it will inspire more people to make games because there will be a bigger market.



2) You will not recover for a bad launch. It just doesn't happen. Even if you turn the game around completely, people will still be unwilling to try your game, especially if there is bad word of mouth, or they were previously burned by it. A classic example is Anarchy Online. This game had one of the worst launches in the history of MMOs, and it was probably the first MMO to fumble right out of the gate. The game eventually turned into a diamond in the rough. The game broke the mold of the traditional MMO, had a skill based system along with levels. They had probably the biggest game world in its time only rivaled to that of Asheron's Call. They released an expansion that was massive, that added new classes, and new game play dynamics. (Take some notes Blizzard)



3) Open Beta = Retail. How many times have you heard some honest objective criticism leveled against a game in open beta, and some Fanboi screams “ITS ONLY BETA!!11!one!”? It happens with almost every game. Now I’ve been around this genre for over 8 years, and had the privilege to beta a lot of games both good and bad. I’ve got news for you foaming at the mouth lunatic fanbois…Open Beta is ALWAYS the mirror image of what will be sitting on the shelf plus or minus some bug fixes and character balancing. Massive game altering features are never added in between and quite frankly shouldn’t be because they haven’t had time to test them. If the game gargles balls in open beta, it will gargle balls in retail. Chances are you will be paying for Betail (beta + retail / Beta 6 / Pay to test), and unless you’re on the payroll or a stockholder, you have nothing to gain.

4) Potential is not enough. How many times have you heard this line? I got a Fox news Alert for you, potential never gets fully realized and isn’t worth justifying playing if the game sucks. Dark and Light had potential. It ultimately turned into a virtual scam that lured players in, got their billing info, overcharged them, lost their billing info to third parties, and released probably the worst pay-to-play game ever made. I don’t know about you, but massive rollbacks and fraudulent billing is not my cup of tea. The only potential that was realized here was the potential for a class action lawsuit. We aren’t even counting countless other games that started off good and totally botched it by making stupid decisions, but that’s another rant.



5) Fanboism is part of the problem. Seriously, you know who you are. Stop the madness. The reason developers can even consider the option of releasing an unfinished game is because they know they will sell copies because fanbois will buy them. Example Vanguard. Brad McQuaid has admitted himself several times that the game came out too early; the reason behind it to me is irrelevant. Your knowing asking for money for something that is giving you less then you promised. Would you buy a car with the transmission missing? Would you buy a computer without the RAM? Unless you some type of mongoloid I would hope you have enough respect for yourself to not make a donation to someone who is misleading you to help fund his train wreck. Your not a stock holder, your not on the payroll (I hope) so why don’t you make these bastards work for your money. You need to objective. Where there is smoke there is fire. When you hear beta testers say it’s not ready, or it’s a buggy mess that won’t run on the system requirements on the box, its probably true.



When we as players make them work for our money and deliver what we expect, they will be forced to do it or crash and burn by their own deceit and stupidity. Hold these bastards accountable for them. I’m a small business owner, and I have to stand by my product. Make them stand by theirs, and if it sinks, they get to go down with their ship.

Paragus
Co-Leader of Inquisition
www.inqguild.com