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As Seen on TV

Simply want to talk about games, in a neutral light, the pros, the cons, and of course toss in my own personal opinion, right or wrong doesn't matter, because I don't see it as such.

Author: WolfClaws

ShadowRun : Sleeping in the Shadows

Posted by WolfClaws Monday September 29 2008 at 8:05AM
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Yeah, it's me again. I believe this is my 3rd blog posting on ShadowRun MMO.

No, it is not in development, but I sure do want it to be. For some reason, though, I have not been able to sleep some nights. Even clearing my head I have these... thoughts, these ideas. And it stays there until I write it down. What better place to do it, than here!

In my previous postings I talked about the classes, and missions and all that. This will be a several parter...

Now I will talk about, what will bring gamers back to the game AFTER they log off.
Doesn't matter if it is their 1st time or 100th time... what will bring gamers back?

Now, granted, some of these features have been done in some games already, but the way they are used.... is a winning combo. Pay attention MMO Publishers.

Ahhh, yes... the mighting housing issue. First, why do we, as gamers, want housing? Is it to find a comfortable bed to sleep on? Grab something out of the fridge late at night? A place to keep the rain off of us?

Of course not!

We do not care about the mundane stuff, we want the house to show off our decoration skills, a place to put our war trophies up and brag about things. It can be a secure location to invite some friends over. Or a rally point before a big raid.
But this has all been done before... the funny thing is... games today are NOT giving us war trophies, or homes we can decorate or even show off to others easily. What is the point of having a home if people cannot find it? What is the point of having a home if I cannot put my stuffed head on the wall?

Keep those flamethrowers at bay folks... but Star Wars Galaxies had it right when they put in the housing system. Anything in your inventory could be dropped and put anywhere... now in any position. Armor, weapons, trophies, cool stuff, whatever, and you could decorate your home however you wanted IF you wanted to take the time to do it. Or you could have your buddy come in and decorate for you. Then you showed it off.. great stuff. This system reminded me of Ultima Online but with far more creative execution.

Ok, so ShadowRun, do I plan on putting trophies on my wall? You would if there were a crapload of items in game that matched SWG's system. Everything from weapons, trophy weapons, totems, decks (the hacking kind) head of beasts, or legs, or tails, teeth from dragons... This way you could design your quarters as you see fit.

Are we talking instanced housing?
Unfortunatly, yes. Why? Because while most people don't mind navigating through the streets of Seattle... trying to find real estate for 50,000 people who call that server home.. would be crazy. You would needs to build apartment buildings, Go up the elevator, head down the hall to the right, and make sure you don't lose your key... it's a little too tedius.
Let's try this. Depending on which city you are based in, it will be instanced.. nothing to be done about that. Instead of being down.. think of this. You can own one pad in each city.. if you are "legal" there. Legal being a loose term.

What the hell??!! You talk of instanced housing, which is bad enough, but now multiple houses??? What is wrong with you man!

I know. Hear me out. They would have to build this thing from the ground up. Duh. But, think about searching the internet... you hop on or to run a search using the right tags. Heck you can do that here with the blogs. Now imagine you set up your home in Seattle and you are allowed to create tags for your pad. So you use "trophy, decoration, museum, party, decker" and now your pad is associated with those terms AND your characters's handle.

Now someone only needs to head to the nearest terminal in that city and plug in Museum for the search word, and a whole listing of places come up for them. If you have an "open house" anyone who is not banned from your home, will just come on in and look around. See your view, if any, and when they want to leave, either walk out the door or use the terminal in the home and find another home to visit. Simple on paper right? LOL.

Ok, so I can make a home, decorate it, but what is the point? I am not an interior decorator.
Simple. We make housing worthwhile to have, from a gameplay aspect.

You know how food and drinks raise up your regeneration in other popular games?
Well here your home would do that. Check this out.

Your place, whether it be a squatters nest that you get when you start out, or if you are a corporate man, a nice small efficiency, you will be allowed only a little bit of "room" to place things inside. These simple things like a bed and a fridge, shelves, will have a certain "value" that the home cannot go beyond.

This value would have a Roleplay reasoning of "in a squatters den if you have too much stuff, someone will surely come to take it, so best not to tempt fate" Or "your corporate sponsors only allow you to decorate your home so much, to better represent your role with the company. Earn their respect to be assigned to larger quarters and hopefully one with a better view."

That was established.

The bed would provide your mental regeneration and the fridge your health regeneration.. Nothing crazy, of course. Other trophies and items placed in your home would also give you other benefits, again, no large numbers or powerful abilities, but some nice to haves. And who knows, maybe even make Feng Shui a prominent factor in enhancing these increases slightly... something fun.

Remember when I brought up the thing about having a place each city? Well your increases will only happen when you in that city's influence area... So if you are visiting the elves in England, you won't get any benefits from your homes in America.

All games have some kind of crazy money sink system in place... The way rent would work if you choose to rent, will be monthly. You would be responsible to come up with rent and could pay 3 months out, 12 months out etc.. and this would be real life months. Your place also wouldn't go away with all your things deleted if you don't pay your rent, but others will not be able to enter, and neither will you until you pay your back rent. And you lose your benefits.

Another option would be buying a home... much more expensive, but less Nuyen in the way of monthly payments for utilities and condo fees (if you bought a condo).

Which brings me to the items... The items in your home would give you certain bonuses of course, but also certain abilities... But, I think I will make that another entry. I had a LOT to think about last night.

ShadowRun: Cut the Drek Chummer

Posted by WolfClaws Thursday September 25 2008 at 11:57AM
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A while ago I had created an entry about ShadowRun being a MMO and the possibilities for it.  That can be found here .

Now I am back.  Gonna post a little bit about me staying up for a few hours last night brainstorming some more on this concept.

Am I afraid someone will rip me off and get started on the game?  Meh, if they do, I am sure I'll get royalties or at least an invite to the beta heh.  Besides, for the greater good, the more I talk about it, hopefully the more I will inspire someone to push it forward.  I would do it myself, but I don't have the millions of dollars to develop this game... and I truely believe, I could make it all up in the first month.  Ok, maybe 2 months heh.

So, I was thinking about the Archtypes, the classes.  I was also thinking, how will all this be put together.  How will the level design work, xp, Nuyen.. ?

Well right off of the bat, Fixxers and Mr Johnsons would be more than likely NPCs.

Why? Well, they don't really have a combat role, and they don't really do much than support the Runners in moving hot items, or aquiring items like fake SINs and weaponry, information... 
Mr Johnsons because they provide the Runners with the missions.  Pure and simple.  They are usually powerful beings, or represent a powerful being, have a ton of wired and magical bodyguards.  So these guys would be support NPCs.

I am trying to keep the spirit of ShadowRun alive in this "wannabe" MMO.
Now what about the classes?
Well, Street Samurai, Shaman, Mages (all types), Detective, etc are all combat oriented.  They would be part of the standard shoot em up, blast em to hell kinda classes.  Pretty easy.

The problem children will be the Decker and the Rigger.  Both provide direct support and there is a ton of lore for each.  The question would is, "How to implement  them in an way that is true to what they are in game?" 

Well, at first (in my previous blog entry) I thought the Rigger would be an NPC class.  Or be held off until later expansions... but last night I had the answer.  The rigger would be needed to reach certain missions... but would be able to be contracted out via NPC so groups wouldn't be felt left out or absolutely need a certain class.  But you wouldn't get the same support from them.

Anyways, you fly in, or wheel in thanks to your local Rigger, and she sets up camp in a "command" center setup that allows her to use her drones right there with the other Runners.  They don't go up with the runners with their "meat" instead they are flying up or driving up and around with their drone.  The drone will have different upgrades and weaponry and if the drone gets blown up, the rigger sends in another drone, but the drone has default weapons (in case too many drones get blown up) and either sets it up on the fly or have it preload with the upgrades and weapons.  This will be his money sink... but should be able to salvage his wrecks and the other equipment in the mission.

The Decker will be a different story...
I am still not sure how to incorporate this in a team aspect to interact with others.  Because the Matrix has to be a huge part since there is an enormous sub-culture that lives in the Matrix in the ShadowRun world.

I want to give it the proper respect as it deserves but it is like a whole new game within a game.  And Deckers are normally lone wolves providing deck support to Runners.

How will the world be, missions be?
Good question...
Well, I was thinking of it being a mix between missions in "dungeons" as the primary way of doing things.  This will allow for Decker support in the future, and of course the Rigger support.  So part Dungeons and Dragons Online with the specialized and customized missions maps... lots of work I know.   Then probably something like WAR or AoC in the open environment... maybe including something similiar to the PQs in WAR or whatnot.

No idea.  Since ShadowRun it would be based on teamwork and  not individualism.  Well, aside from the Decker, but he is still working towards a teambased goal.

Now there will be different factions.  You will have major corporations making their power plays.  Maybe not all of em will be in play at the start but definately 2 or 3 of them,,, then the ability to be "snatched" into the new ones at huge cost.  Not only will there be Corp Runners who are well financed and have stock weapons and technology that is the specialty of that Corp, there will be the actual Runners who are living in the shadows... those that bound to any master and lay their loyalties who whomever is paying the most Nuyen.

So I guess it could be like Pirates of the Burning Sea in that aspect... The actual ShadowRunners would be the Pirates, and the Corps will be part of a Nation... That's a good idea.  None would be enemies unless there would be a bounty on said player or they were working on opposing goals.  That would be part of the competition aspect... Two or more groups of Runners working to achieve their goals while trying to subvert the other group... but not in direct PvP... The Decker could be in play here to try to lock doors, or activate security systems etc...

 What about the Voice Actors? Are they going to be the same cheesy sounding ones in other MMOs?  Hell no.  Like I mentioned in my comment below (since I forgot about this too).  Each voiceactor (one may do multiple voices of course) will be from that region they are portraying themselves to be from.  What that means is that someone from Seatle will be doing the voice over of a NPC who is from Seatle.  If the NPC is from a Native American organization, then they will be a Native American from that appropriate region.  Same if they are from China.  Depending what province they are supposed to be from, that voice actor will be from there (speaking english of course,,, with some Mandaran tossed in heh).

In closing, for now... This was some stuff that was on my mind last night.  I hope you all enjoyed :D

WAR! Good God Ya'll!

Posted by WolfClaws Friday September 12 2008 at 7:40AM
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Warhammer: Age of Reckoning or WAR is a game built, developed and released (or will be) by Mythic Entertainment, formally EAMythic, formally Mythic Entertainment.

The game was built from the ground up with Player vs Player (PvP) interaction in mind.  WAR uses the system of PvP that Dark Age of Camelot used called Realm vs Realm or RvR to put some focus and purpose in the fighting.

The problem some MMOs... Ok, a lot of MMOs is, what is the point of PvP?  Sure PvP is fun, but why do it?  For items?  I have everything.  Gold?  I have 100 million Platinum already.  For Prestige? I am already famous.  So why fight?

For control. 

In DAoC you captured keeps for gold and xp bonuses and if you captured enough of them you could go for the Relic Keeps and take a Relic from one of the other two nations.  This, along with your primary relic gave bonuses to either your physical damage or magical damage.  Then you have to defend... so there would be constant wars with the relics Fluxing back and forth between the hands of the three different nations in the game. 

For WAR, I am not certain what the relic is, if any, but I am certain that something similiar will be had.

I mentioned that PvP was the main focus of this game.  It is.  From level 1 you can go out and PvP for your side.  Yeah, I said Level 1.  Something Mythic learned was that people hung out in level 15 and 25 battlefields for the pvp fun.  Even though they had level 50s running around.
WAR gives this to you.  You run around killing folks (other players) and gain points for your nation.  It is my understanding that you have to be in a certain level range to get these points, to prevent greifing and unfair tactics.

Ok, so the theory for a good PvP game, that has been tried and true. 

Let's talk a bit about the graphics.

WAR's environment is a colorful, but dark.  The character models are large and chunky and exagerated.  This is why people are comparing it to WoW.  It ISN'T WoW!  Nothing like it.  The elves don't have glowing eyes and big floppy ears and dance around like Brittany Spears and Michael Jackson. 

Your Character creation is very... limited.  You get like 5 heads to choose from, a couple of hair styles and a few hair colors and that's it.  You are done.  The armor is limited in visuals as well.  End game, everyone who is the same RvR level or rank will all look the same.  I do hope they change this.

Combat... combat is ... classic MMO style.  Call me crazy or spoiled but I like Age of Conan's combat system better.  This one is simple, autoattack and click buttons 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,1,2,3,4,5,6,7 now if you are a ranged class, it gets more tricky... 1,2,3,4,shift 1-4... If you are ranged (one thing I like) you cannot attack when someone is up in your face with that ranged weapon, you have to go melee.  As it should be.

Combat animations are clunky at best, and the attacks are... lacking.  The spell effects and animations are horrid as they are missing so much to them.  You use a Ray attack and you see your hands glowing, then a giant damage number appears over the head of the critter you just attacked.  Lots of spells are like this.

The combat is just lacking, it is an old outdated system... sure you get like 40 different attacks and moves, but it is way too much, and as I said, outdated.  They do have a cool feature that allows you to use a special, one of 4 actually that is available the more you fight.  Kind of like an  andrenaline feature.. the more you have filled, the higher tiered ability you can use.

The Lore in this game is bar none phenominal.  The codex is by far the most kickass thing I have ever seen or experienced.  I give huge kudos and props to the developers AND writers with this one.  Everytime you kill a new critter, you gain a new entry, and you see the lore on that creature.  Your quests, monsters, locations, trophies, all have their own lore and pages of info that are easily navigated through.

Quests are ok.  Your standard Fed-Ex missions and kill 10 critters and return... but they have a unique way of showing this on the minimap.  Instead of a dot or icon to where you need to go, they have an outline of an area.  This means that your target is somewhere within those borders.  So you have to do a little bit of looking.  Which is cool.  And there are several quests.  Decent rewards, etc. 
Can you still grind? Sure.
Can you solo, yep.

The coolest part about this game is the little things you can do.  You actually can climb on a catapult and fling yourself on top of a castle wall... I thought it was just a video thing... but it is real and in game.

But the world is small.  And is made smaller since your character is so big.  And by big I mean your footprint on the "world" is fairly large to where one step in this game would be the same as 3 steps in Age of Conan, or 2 steps in WoW.  Your line of sight is also limit as well.  In AoC you could literally a game mile away at least, here, a quarter that.

There are other positives and negatives out there, but I am not writing a book now am I?

Great Lore
Detailed Codex that is easily navigated
It's Warhammer, everyone is messed up in the head here!
Large choice of races on both sides
Minimap quest outlines so you have to think a bit
Couple of inovative classes (Squigherder is very unique)
Built from the ground up for RvR

Pisspoor Combat animations
Huge characters
Still a large number of bugs
Missing that large world feel
No real visual character custumization
Standard MMO combat sequence

All in all, the game is decent and offers something different to players out there.  DAoC veterans will feel at home with the RvR system, but be put off by the large characters.

The game is still very buggy and missing a lot of balance to it for the different classes.  There will be tweakage, like every MMO out there and people will be upset by it.  But the game is not ready... not completely anyways.

There will be haters and fanboys who will be stating "You don't know what you are talking about!" "Your system sucks!" etc... I had been in beta since March of last year.  So.... shush.  Their testing methods were solid, I will give that to them.  No game have I ever tested have I experienced detailed testing like that.  But it is way too soon.

My system?

Core2 2.66mhz
8800GTX SLI'd
4 GIG RAM DDR2 800
Vista 64-bit

There is more to the system, but who cares about the rest right?


My advice...

Get the game if you have it ordered.  Don't cancel.  Give it about 3-6 months before you start up, it might be worthwhile going to.  This way you don't have to deal with the bugs and the exploits and the fixes...

In all honestly, for all the bugs and problems AoC has, I feel AoC has the greatest potential of the two to be the greatest game.

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