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Teala's Wickedly Cool Blog For The Masses

Just my thoughts on MMO's, roleplaying, game companies, and the people that play these games.

Author: Teala

Why Guild Wars 2 is good for World of Warcraft

Posted by Teala Thursday August 30 2012 at 7:03PM
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Ever wonder why the MMO gaming genre has been in a rut for such a long period of time?  Of course you have.  We all have.   Ever since World of Warcraft came onto the stage it has been the model by which many game designers have tried to copy.    Instead of bringing about changes and innovation to the genre, game designers saw Blizzards success with WoW and immediately they jumped on the WoW model for game design band wagon.  

Even the once great  SOE(publishers of EverQuest and the former Star Wars Galaxies) were amazed at World of Warcraft's growth, and couldn't take it lying down.  They took a game fresh on the market, in its first couple of years of its life, Star Wars Galaxies, and rewrote it to play more like World of Warcraft - the NGE(new game experience) was SOE's and Lucas Arts attempt to make their game Star Wars Galaxies play more like WoW.  Who could blame them, World of Warcraft saw phenomenal growth in a short period of time, and brought in millions of new MMO players.   This was an astounding feat, and for any gamer that had been playing MMO's since their inception(with the creation of such games as Ultima Online and EverQuest) they were surprised as well.  

World of Warcraft set the gold standard for MMO's.    Within a couple of years we saw dozen of games that would be deemed WoW clones get launched.   All were decent games, but the one thing they failed to do was take what World of Warcraft had done and instead of making as good a game, or better - they merely tried to counterfeit.   It didn't work.    Many games ended up going free to play just to stay alive, some barely clung to life support due to the publishing company unwillingness to proclaim defeat, while others did close their doors.

This is good!   In fact it is great.  It means the good games succeed and the bad made games went the way of the Dodo.    It also meant that game makers realized that in order to compete for the market, that Blizzard dominates, they'd have to take risk and try to give players other options.    Because of that we saw games like Pirates of the Burning Sea, Darkfall,  and the Secret World get published - games that tried to go off the beaten path from the WoW blueprint, that so many game makers had tried to follow.  Sure these games were not a huge hit, but at least these gave us other options as gamers, and it showed that some game companies were willing to take a chance to give us something different.

Recently Anet and NCsoft gave us what some people would love to call a WoW knock-off.   Guild Wars 2 is not a WoW clone, it is a themepark, but unlike games like SWTOR and RIft that fell more into the definition as a WoW clone, Guild Wars 2 has brought a new type of themepark to the table and is trying new things.   It is showing us that even though Guild Wars 2 is a still a themepark, it can and does have unique game play, and innovates how a themepark game can be built.   It is a great base for Anet to build from to make Guild Wars 2 one of the best MMO's on the market.

This is good for Blizzard and the gamers that play World of Warcraft.   It is good because Blizzard, in order to stay relevant, must adapt and innovate themselves - if they wish to stay competitive in todays MMO market.   If they don't, then games like Guild Wars 2, and other up coming titles, will strip gamers away from World of Warcraft and Blizzard itself may find itself scratching its head asking - "Where did we go wrong?"   

Blizzard has to realize that their game is starting to show its age.  The graphics need updated and the game itself could do with some substantial, sustainable, content upgrades.   Not just new battlegrounds or raids, but new content, and new ways to play through that content that is both dynamic and fluid.    Static worlds are going to go away.     Azeroth itself is very much a static world.     Anet has shown us that a game world doesn't have to be static.   That it can change and evolve through the actions of the gamers that play the game.   Something many games fail to do(games like EVE and Darkfall are exceptions to the rule).  

With competition comes innovation.    Guild Wars 2 has brought a good alternative to the table in regards to themepark MMO's and I for one think this is a good thing for all of us as gamers.    Let's hope other game designers take notes and realize that good games succeed and can make it in a tight market place - even if said market place was once controlled by an 800 pound gorilla.   


BTW if you are curious, my only real complaints about Guild Wars 2 is the lack of first person view, and no mounts.   If Anet ever decides to add them, I'll probably give Guild Wars 2 a go.   ^-^

En memoro de Harry Harrison (Marto 12, 1925 - Augusto 15, 2012)

Posted by Teala Wednesday August 15 2012 at 12:14PM
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This is a little off the beaten path, considering this website is dedicated to MMORPG's, but I think now and then a little deviation from the norm is a good thing.  Besides, many MMO players wouldn't be MMO players if it weren't for the fantasy and science fiction writers that brought us such worlds Middle Earth and Tatooine.   So, maybe, this in a sense does belong on a website dedicated to MMO's since the basis that these games were founded on comes from the books of such authors.

With that said, I am writing this blog entry today to pay respects to an author, a writer mostly known for his science fiction novels and stories - who, sadly, passed away today at the age of 87 - lia nomo estis Harry Maxwell Harrison.   Though many will not recognize his name right away, you would recognize it if I said it was his novel "Make Room!  Make Room!" that was the basis for the 1973 movie "Soylent Green"  staring Charlton Heston.     I have always been a huge fan of Harry, and one of the first books of his that I read was Stainless Steel Visions and it is that book that turned me on to his writing.   

He may not be as well known as some other sci-fi writers like Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, or Ray Bradbury, nevertheless Harry Harrison wrote some of the best pulp sci-fi I have ever read.   His wit and humor that his writing is well known for was often laced with serious messages dealing with societies misgivings.  Every once in awhile, though, he would surprise his readers with some serious hardcore sci-fi like his "To The Stars"  series of books(first one is called Homeworld), but most sci-fi readers of Harry Harrison know he was best known for his "Stainless Steel Rat" series of novels(of which there are 11 in total), and his "Bill, the Galactic Hero" series of books(satirical set of novels based off Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers).   These are the books that will endure and people will continue to read long after we are all dead and buried.  

And if you are a reader of sci-fi and if you haven't read any of his books - shame on you!  Go do it now!

Just like Edgar Rice Burroughs, Harry Harrison was well versed in pulp sci-fi, and a master of it, and I think that was one of the main reasons why I liked Harry's novels and stories.    It wasn't so much the science, as it was about the telling of stories set in a distant future that drove me to read his books.   He brought these bigger than life characters to life in a simple manner and then weaved stories around them.  Not quite as prolific a writer as say the western author Louis L'amour, still Harry wrote many novels, and was writing right up until his death - his last published novel was in 2010.

Hardcore sci-fi writers will always get the praises and gold stars, however, it is the pulp sci-fi writers that get the chicks as far as I am concerned - and Harry if you are listening and or can somehow read this - "the world is a little bit sadder today with your passing, but the Universe is rejoicing because one of its stars is coming home to roost.  Thank you."


EVE Online: Barge and Exhumer Rebalancing Incoming!

Posted by Teala Friday August 3 2012 at 3:31PM
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Over the last 8 or so months CCP has been working hard to bring balance to many of the games space ships, and it seems that will also mean barges and exhumers.   This is a good thing, but of course nothing good comes without a price, and this has caused a bit of controversy over at the official forums.

Here is the list of up coming changes.  >> Barge and Exhumer Rebalancing << Click on the link to see the changes and what CCP Tallest has to say regarding them. 

This is a very heated topic and many of the players have voiced their concerns regarding it recently.   To some it is a much needed and overdue change to mining.  To others, it seems, this will make it more difficult to attack unsuspecting miners(there is more to ganking than many people assume and it isn't always about griefing - though some do gank others strictly to produce gaming tears it isn't always the case).

In my opinion, I can see why some people are upset, and I can also understand where the miners are coming from, however, I think the below post(Barge Fairy Tale) by one of the people against these changes puts forth a very good argument.    As a miner and a player that runs a mining corp, the game gave me a choice, either play it safe and run my barges and exhumers with an armor tank, and be somewhat less of a target of potential gankers, or run my ships with modifications and fittings that lowered the armor but would allow me to pull more yield.   I personally chose to play it safe and run with armor - exhumers cost over a 1/4 billion ISK apiece.   So I and the others in my corp all rig our ships to have good tanks.    I'd rather get less yield and not lose all the ISK I poured into the mods, rigs, and ships.

Ganking ships in high sec space does serve a purpose and it does have its place.   By CCP mucking around and making it less likely to succeed and making it a more costly endeavor - this will definitely play favorably into the hands of the miners.   This can also be an issue.   Less ganking means, more ore and minerals on the market - and that means they'll be making less through their mining endeavors.    As a person that runs a mining corp I have enjoyed the recent higher prices of the ores and minerals.  It has allowed me the freedom to expand my corps operations.   With these coming changes I can see prices will be back down in the gutter again.   

I do agree that the ships CCP gave us all ready are set up fine for armor and tanking.   It just seems that CCP is kowtowing to a certain type of player and is dumbing the game down further by making these ships(mining barges and exhumers), as a few players on the official forums have said: idiot proof.   CCP seems to believe that certain players are not capable of learning how to play their game so they are going to make it easier on them and just give them ships that going to need less skill and knowledge to use.    It use to be that players of EVE had a choice on how they would fit and rig their ships.   You always needed to make a choice.   In PvP, do you rig a ship for more damage output or rig it to take more damage?  Do you fit a ship for damage, ECM, ECCM, and or shield and armor?  You can't do it as a player must make a choice.  That is the beauty of EVE.

With the changes CCP is making to the barges and exhumers it seems CCP has sent a pretty clear message and it seems EVE will be losing some of her beauty.

If you are interested here are a few of those ongoing heated forum threads from the official forums regarding this issue.

Barge Fairy Tale: CCP saving stupid Pigs from themselves.

Barge Fairy Tale Part II

Why are CCP redesigning Exhumers around high-sec suicide gangs?

CCP - promoting AFK mining and botting with the new barges.


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