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the Lonely Altar

I don't play "games", I play MMORPGs! This is where I talk about them!

Author: Tierless

#105 Camelot Outsourced?

Posted by Tierless Wednesday October 8 2014 at 2:00PM
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Before we begin please go here to better understand what the H’ I am talking about.

I’m a pretty tolerant gamer. I will try to grind through most issues an MMO throws at me before I throw in the towel. The one thing that can send me screaming to the wambulance faster than an instanced world is a terrible UI. You would think, after 20 years of MMOs most companies sort of have a handle on what works VS what doesn’t. Then again what works for me, might not for you.

A UI has sort of become like driving a new car, you hop in, adjust your seat, change the mirrors, adjust the pedals, lower the wheel, put on your lipstick, pull on your wig, switch to your heels, crank up “Goodbye Horses” and drive your cares away!...or something like that...Once you get used to your car, then have to drive someone elses, it just feels weird!

UIs are exactly the same way (exactly, wink). Getting into a new one takes some time and trying to use someone elses set-up is just uncomfortable. The poor Devs have the impossible task of making one UI that fits every MMOer! From the WASD 1-10 player to the Ctrt delete-6 guy! From the leet 13 button mouse guy to the keyboard turner-yes they still exist! How on earth could such a feat be accomplished?!?!

You let them build it for themselves! “Allow the players to take our U.I. to the next level by open-sourcing the entire U.I. code, and not just the mods to it” Thats right, the UI in Camelot Unchained will be made by the players, for the players, right out of the internet itself! It’s like that time a friend of mine somehow managed to shoot arrows out of the internet, but in UI form!

So much potential for great things! And terrifying things!...But mostly great things! Naturally like many of you I have some concerns about haxors as well as mods that overreach and automate more than they should turning the game into AFK Unchained (AKA WOW-what, I semi AFKed through more content than I can remember-mainly because I was mostly afk so I CAN’T remember). It would be extremely disheartening for CU’s ui to morph into something like “Terminator vision” where your enemies entire life history is exposed via a hud allowing you to maximize easy win strats against them but just as I’m sure MANY a PVPer is salivating at the idea, CSE is aware of the same and will take measures to prevent it.

A wise man once wrote “with great power comes great responsibility” let us hope the CU Community is very responsible with the power they are being given with this open sourced UI.

#104 Getting Combative with Camelot Unchained

Posted by Tierless Monday August 25 2014 at 11:22AM
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Please glance over this

And/or watch this

So you know what the H’ I am referencing.

Back when I was a Tiny Tier I used to play a game called WWF Smackdown. I forget which iteration it was, but one of them had a “create a move” where you got to fill 8 move slots with options from a move pool with the end result being one “move” with 8 steps. From how I read the Camelot Unchained combat information, it sounds a heck of a lot like that!

Now before you freak out, yes that is really bat s*** crazy! Yes it will be a pain to balance and yes the players will have more control over their combat moves than perhaps in any game in MMO history! All of which CSE is full well aware of. Don’t be too intimidated. If you wanted to keep it super simple you could just set up your move buttons similar to something like WOW, you would have a sort of stripped down generic version of what this system can do and it would probably hurt you in most PVP cases, but I’m just saying, this system allows for that much diversity. From WOW simple to speed chess complex!

Speed chess is sort of how I see this combat playing out. You approach an enemy and see he has light leg and head armor but heavy body armor. You ask yourself, do I hit button #3 which has a move chain that goes leg strike, leg strike, (this puts a slow on the enemy) head strike, head strike, head strike, OR is it a trick? Does he specialize in leg and head defensive moves and counters? Should I go with a different combo? Maybe his button #1 is all moves that defend his legs and head while countering to mine! ZOMG the strategic decisions! From what I interpret this system will allow more customization and creative freedom from within the class archetype than any MMO class system I have seen since games like UO and SWG!

The only draw back of this system I can see is speed. Getting the speed of combat right is integral. Too fast and this idea breaks down, too slow and it’s more like regular chess than super speed chess. Fortunately that is easily solved via testing.

“Wait wait wait....back up, did you say target the leg?”

Oh yeah...armor will be body part specific, and so are attacks! Each body part will basically have it’s own health pool! ABOUT DARN TIME! Legs, head, arms, body more? I don’t know but I LOVE this concept. I can not wait to set up TONS of moves! Old school MMOers like lots of buttons, good news, you can set up as many as you want with this system! So many combinations, so much potential. Your class will truly feel like YOUR class. You can set them up to play how you want using the moves from within the framework of your archtype. Class FRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMMMMMMM at last!


#103 Camelot Unchained Delays Progress

Posted by Tierless Monday August 11 2014 at 11:15AM
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Before reading I recommend reading the BSC progress bullet points here or watching the video here

If I told most gamers I’d give them a Doritos taco today...but if they saved it until tomorrow I’d give them two more how many of us would eat the one rather than save it to get more? Ok, I know what you're thinking. Yes, I’ve saved fast food overnight and yes I’m aware that for some strange reason it starts to look like a person that sat in a bathtub for wayyyy too long so maybe I should have used cookies instead of tacos...

My point is most gamers would probably take a short term gain over a better long term gain because were impulsive, we like instant gratification, and hell, the breaking could happen tomorrow! I might never see my two Tacos but I got one hot delicious taco here and now and I’m gonna enjoy it! Live in the moment baby!

So what happens when you wait to give a reward to your players until the following day? Sounds pretty....BSC doesn’t it? I’ll be honest this concept did not phase me. I have played every game from Zelda to WOW without giving a damn about stats, numbers, XP, gear, etc. BUT I did it for 2 reasons, 1. it feels less like work and more like play and 2. because I can’t go middle ground, I’m either hardcore or casual and once I flip that switch I’m all in til playing the things feels more like work, OCD and work! I had the nintendo logo burned into my TV for a reason afterall!

I keep it casual for my own well being but I get why people like it. The high of the instant achievement. The brain craves it and the game provides it! Unfortunately developers know that and use it as an uncreative crutch to keep us hooked on their uninspiring gameplay. They COULD do something more interesting but they don’t because it’s harder and it’s riskier. It would take a studio with some serious stones to remove such an easy retainer...enter CSE.

By creating a system in which SOME of the feedback is delayed CSE is throwing down the pole and saying our gameplay is gonna be the pillar of this game! Not “story”, not graphics, not the IP, not the grind treadmill, our RVR gameplay! Keep in mind not all rewards are on a 24 hour delay. Some rewards will happen in real time. Given some players may have to adjust what a “reward” is to them. For me the best reward is RVR ownage, conquest, capture, control, and burning enemies houses down! I’d think most players would agree.

I LOVE that progression will be slow and get slower the more you level. I love that the curve will mean new players won’t be playing catch up from day one. That is incredibly important in an RVR game. I LOVE that players will be rewarded for things like protecting caravans! I LOVE no hard caps on skills, stats, and ability components! More than all that I really LOVE that the reward delay will result in CU playing in a way that is a better experience for most players by getting them to put realm before self!

Whew! That’s a lot of love, so lets get to what I don’t love. I don’t love the NPC king telling me good job. I just don’t need that. When I log off I’m pretty sure I’ll have a sense of how the night went for me. If I get rolled all night an NPC king patting me on the back might be more insult to injury. “You don’t know me BRO! You weren’t there! I sucked! I don’t deserve any praise...I...I...hold me, hold me so I can cry, can’t a warrior cry!” Ok, that got weird... I really like the report concept, I just hope it doesn’t have too much fluff with it and I think the powers that be (CSE) probably feel the same way because “no handholding”. A little chin up isn’t bad but don’t insult me, if I’m brutal or my realm is brutal we need to know it so we can handle it like PVP pros!

More advantages of this crazy concept; less grinders and exploiters. YAY! Less keep trading. YAY! More mystery. YAY! YAY! This system will adjust daily to keep people from trying to grind what gave them the best reward yesterday, genius! It will make every day in the game feel a bit more mysterious and exciting. It’s a fantastic idea and I really can’t gush enough about how much better I believe it will make logging into this game “feel”. Yeah, remember when games had mystery and a “feel”? I do, and I miss it, I miss it badly.

Camelot Unchained will be a living game with real changes which means each server will have it’s own very real very unique history. The daily report is a nice way to record some of that history. Will the reward delay be off putting to many players at first? I’m sure it will. In a few weeks will they remember? I don’t think so, they will be too busy, gasp, playing the game for the reasons we used to! Fun, victory, challenge, conquest, fortune, fame, control, power, domination, and money! The usual. No different than any other old school gamers. ;)

#102 Camelot Unchained's Map IS Crazy!

Posted by Tierless Monday August 4 2014 at 11:49AM
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I recommend watching the BSC map presentation here  before reading this to fully understand what I’m talking about. If thats too long here is a link to the map overview in bullets

From those bullets “The map of Camelot Unchained is arguably the single most important feature of the game”. I can’t agree more. Nothing else matters if the world doesn’t exist and no matter how good the gameplay is if it’s stuck within the confines of a terrible world the game would not succeed. If you read my last blog then you know the “BSC” map presentation pushed me to the very brink of my MMO sanity! My mind was racing, then raging, then questioning followed by mixed emotions and a laundry list of possibilities!

My number one concern for this idea is...can they program it? I know full well CSE is a seasoned studio. This isn’t their first rodeo. A studio by MMO vets with so many MMO vets on staff wouldn’t announce any of this without internally holding it the fire first, and I know less than nothing about programming, but all that said, how? I mean, it seems like such an incredible mechanic I’d think another studio would have tried it by now, then again maybe they did? Or maybe it’s just so BSC that everyone else has been too afraid to!

I always say I want a world to live in, well, this IS A LIVING WORLD! As an explorer I couldn’t be happier! We aren’t capturing a keep and flipping a flag, were burning a keep, dropping stabilizers and moving part of our enemies land across the map to our land! If we hold it long enough the land changes to match the aesthetics of our realm! WOW! Mind shattered! Don’t worry, it won’t be a bunch of tiny closed in WOW like zones, it’s a mix of different sized zones but when they unite they hope to make the map one seamless open mass (obviously varying terrain means some places will have mountains ete.).

The potential for varying strategic PVP is incredible. It keeps the game map fresh while also giving the RVRers the ultimate goal. Don’t just take their keep, don’t just burn their house, take the earth they call home, migrate it to your part of the world and make it look slike your own! That is Egyptian Pharaoh level history erasing right there folks. Think of the other benefits! Resources, defense, immersion, decreased travel time, bridge, canyon, and river choke points, I could go on!

But before I do I have some concerns. I see a lot of water in those examples and we know we will be riding on NPC boats. If those boat rides are entirely safe they become less fun for adrenaline junkies like me. Seeing how chaotic and deadly Camelot Unchained has been described I can’t imagine we will ever be truly “safe” anywhere outside the safe zone.

Finding the right speed for the land to move is integral. Too fast and it becomes capture the flag. Too slow and players will try to skip or ignore it. Thankfully this is easily worked out in beta.

This concern is a personal preference. I like hauling stuff in games. I especially like when hauling is done in a way to create a living world as well as an RVR option away from the typical fronts and keeps. With the map layout as seen in the images I’m not sure how it could work in that way. I’m sure it will exist, but I’m concerned it will either be too safe, or too much of a pain to become a thriving source of play.

Back to the stuff I’m excited about! Imagine your guild is uber leet, too leet for their own good! They cling to their land as all the land around it gets take away! Before long they are a lone island out in the sea! How cool is that! Now imagine your realm trying to get to them to bring them supplies, soldiers etc! Even crazier imagine a skilled guild battles deep into enemy territory and claims a chunk of land! Now they hold land across the map, surrounded by enemies! So much cool! Go to bed, wake up, your house is being migrated across the map! Go to bed, wake up, your oceanfront home is now sitting atop a massive canyon! Ok those last two examples would mean the map is moving way too fast but I’m just saying, the possible outcomes make this game feel more alive than any I can think of! And it’s all player created!

Back in the old days I used to ask for devs to make crops growable and trees really fall down when I cut them...CSE saw that request and raised me an entire moving, living, growing, changing game map! If this concept isn’t Bat S***, no it IS, there is no comparison, this is CRAZY the aged vintage kind that we’ve been missing since games like UO dared to be full loot full PVP. Since games like SWG dared to do open world housing. Since games like DAOC asked, what if we add a third faction to PVP?

Overall I give this 5 out of 5 Batarangs on the Crazy Scale. I am as excited as I am afraid, which in my opinion means this is a crazy good idea.

#101 Camelot Unchained, too crazy for us?

Posted by Tierless Sunday July 27 2014 at 2:39PM
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When is a map no longer a map? When it’s a puzzle! That is what was racing through my mind as I watched the “BSC” Camelot Unchained map presentation by Mark Jacobs. I came in like an idea noob thinking it would match the ideal in my head (even though that is impossible) and within a minute changed to...Why would you do this to the game world! This is the single most important part of an MMO! Why would you do this to MY map! We know what works, why are you breaking it! WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!!!...

Much like my expectations what lie before my eyes was not the image of a giant open world to live in, it was a broken, shattered, mass of islands to fight on! Islands that remind me of...of...of INSTANCES! Small, zoned, isolated, pvp, INSTANCES! Yes, thats what they look like even if they aren’t! (See how quickly fear makes you jump to MORE fear no matter how illogical?) How could this be? Where did I go wrong? What was I thinking? What were THEY thinking!? Is he trolling us? How can this work?!?! Fear, worry, terror! My gut reaction was to jump in my wambulance and grab the can of gasoline I was saving for just such an occasion and burn this house down!!! Tierless ANGRY! Tierless ROARRRRR!!!!...

...But I didn’t. I didn’t do it because I’ve jumped the gun with a keyboard enough times to know typing while emotional is a dangerous thing. I didn’t because I knew I wasn’t yet grasping what was being said. I forced calm because I know for a fact that the map is MY baby! It’s my precious! And because it is I knew I would be more susceptible to a freak the F out during this presentation than any of the others! Above all else that is why I needed to take a step back, breath, listen, give it some time, then come back at this concept. That...and the fact that I was about 30 seconds into the part where he pulls the map apart! Yes, all of that happened quickly because fear is faster than a snake in a burning cane field! A very illogical snake.

I’m letting you into the depths (ok shallows) of my mind on this because I’m guessing many Camelot Unchained followers (both backers and not) felt the exact same way at some point during the “BSC Days”. During those 4 crazy days CSE hit us with an absolute barrage of ideas so far outside the box they were in a circle! I’m letting you know that as soon as it landed on my doormat I was terrified of the change I always knew was coming. The change I was even asking for! I’m describing my mental struggle to you so you don’t feel alone, so you know it’s only natural to fear that burning bag of change on your doormat!

Humans are a fickle lot. No matter how badly we ask for change we never REALLY expect it to come into OUR homes. Change you say? Sure, change everything in an mmo....except MY thing...leave MY thing alone, k thanks! But it doesn’t work that way. You can’t add a new ingredient without changing the recipe and you darn sure can’t expect that new recipe to taste like the old one. You can’t listen to Jacobs say (paraphrasing) “don’t back this unless you want crazy ideas, don’t back this if you fear change, we expect to piss some people off” then act out in fear and anger when it happens, or rather, in my opinion you shouldn’t because at this point it just doesn’t make sense. Constructively question, sure. Fear, no.

Killing ideas out of fear is what has led this genre down this sad and uninspired path over the last 10 years. Having the stones to try things that WILL upset a few people is what will save it. I’ll keep writing down my questions, I’ll keep thinking about the hows and the whys but I’m keeping my Roundup in the shed. I’ll let uncomfortable MMO ideas grow a bit before I decide if I need to spray them (or trim them depending) and I hope other MMOers are willing to do the same. The fans need to ask more of the developers, but in turn the developers need to ask more of the fans. Are you fan enough to sacrifice something you love for the benefit of the entire genre? Are you willing to allow change and progress even if it means adapting to something you're not comfortable with? Do you agree that Megatron is cooler than Cy-Kill? I hope that most of us answered yes to those three questions because the genre depends on it!

It’s not just about Camelot Unchained, it’s about the entire genre. It’s about all of the devs knowing they can bring out their inner crazy and it WONT send fans running for their pitchforks and gasoline. (FYI there's a time for that, it’s called open Beta still broken) It’s about accepting your afraid of change, but being brave enough to allow it inspite of it compromising your precious X,Y, or even Z!

Stage set, wambulance parked, mask on, the next few blogs will cover some of those ideas that CSE is planning for Camelot Unchained. I plan to look at the good, the bad, and the ugly and I’ll even do all of it without running around screaming that the sky is falling (well, I’ll TRY not to). Do they sound crazy good, crazy bad, or just huh, crazy! Tune in “soon” as I go deep into the cave of Bat S*** Crazy! Same BSC blogger, same BSC blog! Watch the skies for the Tier symbol...or the “newest posts” section under blogs.

Special thanks to someone that helped me get over a touch of blogger block and take these BSC blogs to the maximum amount of crazy! Sometimes you gotta walk away to walk forward. Thanks again!

BSC Map presentation link available here, note my panic started at about 6 mins in.

More map info here


#100 CSE is Bat **** Crazy about it's Fans

Posted by Tierless Friday July 11 2014 at 5:01AM
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The big 100! You didn’t think I’d still be doing this did you? Whelp what better game to talk about for the big 1-O-O than the one that got me blogging in the first place (yes blame CU) and MY OH MY what a time to talk about it, some might say it’s a bat **** crazy time...see below.

If there is one thing that defines Camelot Unchained, CSE, and Mark Jacobs as bat **** crazy it has to be doing something like that link above outlines. They don’t have to do that. They don’t need to do that. They probably never had the time to do that. But somehow they did it and they did it for their fans.

I’ll admit it’s been a long 1.5ish years in waiting for game mechanics to be outlined in greater detail. Hopefully after BSC days more mechanics will be set in stone or at least close to it. Without further ado lets look at some of the things this blogger is excited about CSE pulling back the veil on.

“Who is our latest partner?” Partner? Interesting. This scares me as much as it excites me. In my experience quality in partners can greatly vary. Will it be a legend like “Robin” or a PITA like “D-Man”? We will have to tune in to find out.

“Player Stats!” Oh my, this one is sure to send a few people into a frenzy for both good and bad reasons. From what we know about CU I don’t think anyone that wants more complexity from their MMO will be disappointed. I can’t wait to see if I my prediction is accurate.

“It’s BSC Magic Time” Did I say stats might send some people into a frenzy...if so I guess this one might send them into a frenzy-times two! Thats right, X2 baby! Bam! The magic system, the very fabric of the game, the power source, the anticipation! One could argue that in an MMO like CU nearly every mechanic will relate to magic one way or another. I simply cannot wait to see how this magic system will function. I can’t say I have a prediction other than minds will be blown and wambulances may be called because; decisions.

“Combat System - DIY?” You had my interest with “combat system” but you earned by full attention with “DIY”. I can only imagine what this might mean, and it is very very exciting. I don’t know how one would accomplish such a thing, but I’ll be watching to find out.

Ok lets do some shotgun rounds here to cram in the stuff I didn’t mention and don’t have room for! Tea, Oops, Yearly Recap, QNA QNA QNA galore, interviews galore, We Have A Store, Races, Live Streams Galore, A Map or a Trap, CRAFTING MAGIC and MAGIC CRAFTING and much much more including surprises (who doesn’t like those?)....oh and did I say LIVE GAMEPLAY! Yes, at long last, GAMEPLAY and it’s LIVE! Given it’s like...pre pre pre pre pre pre pre Alpha gameplay, it’s gameplay! The one thing people have been asking for since day one, and it will be seen every night during the BSC days, live!

Did you notice I’m pretty darn excited, like waited 1.5 years excited, but I’m also cautiously excited. As much as all of us long for this sort of info the reality is it will be upsetting to many because any time a game wide decision is made someone gets upset. It’s part of the genre, heck it’s part of being human. Let us hope cooler heads prevail and the amount of freaking out is limited and the responses constructive. Just remember, CSE has always been very clear. Camelot Unchained is old school new, it’s BSC, and it’s not for everyone but in my opinion even though change is often unsettling at first when it’s being directed by the right people, it will not disappoint.

“Uh, aren’t you forgetting a little something Tierless?”

Oh yeah, contests and PRIZES, watch CSE talk about the game, maybe get into a contest or snag a prize or something, pretty sweet deal. WARNING: “Some contests will be tied to social sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but other contests will take place on our Forums (and are thus limited to our Backers) and elsewhere.”

“Tierless must you always be so difficult?”

What? I saved the craziest for last because; anticipation...LADIES AND GENTLEMMOERS I give you “The Most BSC Idea Yet - Progression” Since this was saved for the last day, even coming after Magic and DIY Combat I think we can assume this truly is the most BSC idea for CU to this point. I don’t know what this means, I’m not sure how it works, I don’t know who this Mark Jacobs thinks he is taking liberties with something as timed tested and familiar as progress in an MMORPG...but BY GAWD I am waiting with flame baited breath to find out!

The man’s got stones folks, flint stones because if you can control fire you don’t fear the flames. Has he once again fed the rulebook to his dragon and dared to go where few devs have gone before by challenging us to brave a totally new form of MMO progression?!?! Knowing him I think so, but like I keep saying I CAN NOT WAIT to find out! I’ll be watching this from inside my wambulance with a can of gasoline and a fire extinguisher strapped in behind me because you never know which you might need to reach for and until BSC ends days neither will I, but I can’t wait to find out. ;)

#99 Console Crowd Saves the MMORPG

Posted by Tierless Tuesday July 8 2014 at 9:57AM
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Destiny is not an MMORPG.

Grand Theft Auto is not an MMORPG.

Disney Infinity is not an MMORPG.

And yet the things that those games do great, or look like they will do great were taken directly from MMORPGs. People love those games, even the one that isn’t out yet because, reasons. Specifically the console crowd loves those games. As an MMOer, I love those games. Heck I want to buy a darned console just to play them! Yes, a PCer wanting to jump ship because those games appear to do MMO better than MMOs even in the limited capacity that they do them!

I love them because games like them, games that are made for the non MMOer but have many MMO features are subtly introducing that crowd to the MMORPG concept. It’s hard to imagine that it will be the non MMO that revives the MMO but as I type the console crowd is about to come of age, develop finer tastes, ask for more, and go out looking for it. For every kid that loves Destiny you will have one that says “what if we had 25 player co-op or 50, or 500, what if we have 1000 player VS mode!”. It’s only natural for that generation to want more.

Had WOW not sent the genre down the wrong direction for 8 years we might have something to offer them right now. Instead we have to wait for games like EQN and CU that raise the bar for what living in a game can be. I hope that by the time the console crowd realizes they are excited about features that MMOs had 20 years ago and ask themselves a definitive “W-T-F” that we have something better to offer. The first company that does will have something like a WOW on their hands.

I’m not proud of how little this genre has advanced. 20 years ago developers were making virtual worlds and now they make virtually limited games. Kickstarter has helped get MMOs back on track but it will be the mature console gamer that helps MMOs advance in leaps and bounds again because the console crowd is a vast and mighty one. That can translate into big dollars if you can retain them.

Unfortunately they are as fickle as they are numerous but let us again hope that when offered something above and beyond games with MMO touches they reach out and touch upon a MMO to live in and decide to stay for a while. Before the obvious happens I beg you developers! Do not make games FOR the console crowd, make MMORPGs that give console games an ideal to strive toward. These co-op sandboxes are taking what MMOs used to do great and making it work in their limited capacity, take from them what makes their games great then apply it to a true MMO, not the WOW kind, the original kind, the virtual world.

The console crowd is ready, now it’s up to this genre to stop making games that are watered down versions of theirs and start giving them a reason to buy a PC.

#98 Question Everything; Stealth

Posted by Tierless Monday June 9 2014 at 2:49PM
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(WARNING; Stealth is a sensitive MMO subject. The blog below is based upon self reflection of my experiences both as and against stealthers. I will now put on my flame suit while you read beyond.)

How could Camelot Unchained have stealth without the hate, fear, and balance issues that tend to accompany it? I’m not sure, I hate stealth in my MMORPGs because if it’s in I HAVE to play it and as an alt fiend playing one class is simply not ideal. But how could I not play it? Stealth allows me enough tactical advantages to make not paying a stealther seem gimpish.

I have 100% control over who, what, where, when, why, how! So much control! So much win! Did I mention I personally view victory in combat to be based on how many elements of a battle I am able to control? You see! I HAVE to play a stealther if they are in! Not to mention it’s fun being a sneaker! So many fond memories of ganking at flight masters, inside of inns, inside of towns, while people sat in raid groups, in lowb get the idea.

But how can we have a respectable stealther without borking the game by turning it into world of WTFPWNEDBYASTEALTHER Unchained. I don’t know for sure, but I will dare to ask. It’s time for another round of Question Everything, this time, Stealth in Camelot Unchained!

To solve the riddle we must identify the problems.

#1 The seemingly unfair advantage of living in a hidden realm. Ok, that isn’t gonna change! Moving on...OK they could use terrain and camo and be sneaky but that is really only applicable in a 1 v1 isolated scenario and I don’t think most players pick a stealther to solo, I think they pick them to ASSASSINATE! #1 HAS to exist in CU. Stealthers need a stealth realm to be stealth, but making it less comfortable and a bit of a risk to them helps justify it in the mind of the non stealther. Add some risk to stealth via stat decrease, health decrease, or mechanics like X time in stealth means X time out of stealth-but with wounds. Maybe being in stealth gives you special mind or body wounds that need special healing. Anything along those lines works for me.

#2 The stun. I HATE being stun locked simply because it is 100% in direct contrast to actually fighting in a game. You have 0 options, it is not fun in any way, and you have 0 response to the stealther. As a stealther I love it! It’s 100% CONTROL! Solution? Keep it short or remove it. Solved! The stun can exist but it HAS to be short, very short. The stun hate comes from the over extended frozen state. Keep it short and non stealthers won't feel as though the battle is pointless and they won't hate the much...

#3 The High Damage Opener!!! Vaporizing players before they can click is simply BS. Not even Superman could do that (without using his laser vision) so it’s obviously OP. Once again I’ll go back to fighting. PVP is about fighting. Getting hit twice in a fraction of a second and falling over dead is not fighting, it’s lame, just lame (unless you are the stealther). We can’t have that and have players be ok with stealth. Solution? The opener can be damaging, but only if your rogue is wearing nothing but a cape and a smile (boon and bane baby). A better solution is allowing rogues to (GASP) wear heavier armor increasing survivability while giving up some opener damage.

“But Tierless I’m a ninja assassin” You still can be, as long as you pick a wounded target. Act like a real assassin and attack at the most opportune time. Lets be honest assassins don’t go in looking for a fair fight, they wait for the most opportune time to make a kill, like a wolf on a sick baby moose. You should not be going in lone wolf to one-shot a strong healthy bull moose in his prime. The young, the old, the sick, those are the targets you are looking for (slowly waves hand in-front of your face). Wanna take down that bull moose? Then form a pack! But be careful...the more stealthers near one another the less stealthy they might become...more people, more steps, more noise, less stealthy...You didn’t think it would be THAT easy did you?

#4 Vanish. So you overcome the BS lock, and the BS opener, and they poof and disappear with their get out of jail free card...BS! Yet again, this breaks the game for the victims and promotes a join em or lose to em mindset. How do we fix it? See #3. Pick your target, pop out, and live with the consequences of your choice. Vanish is a cop out. If you find yourself needing a vainsh it means you weren’t patient enough. Had you been you would have waited for the baby moose to stray away from the herd. Instead you jumped the gun and now you have a giant moose herd about to trample sneak off your face! Human up, accept your fate, kill and run or be killed but always remember opportunity rewards those with patience.

I don’t think I have all the answers but I think moving toward a version of stealth that utilizes mechanics similar to what I have mentioned would create a form of stealth that would please both the stealthers and the non stealthers while working well in the CU RVR environment. (ok it would probably just make both the stealthers and non stealthers angy, which IMO is the best way to know I’m onto something)

All that might sound anti stealth to some people, but I’m not. I love em’ but I’m the most introspectively critical of the things I love. What I’m saying here is you have hella advantages stealthers, it’s about dang time you accepted the consequences that those advantages provide you. Wanna be an assassin, act like it! If you expect other players to accept your super magic plane of invisibility then you must accept the risks that your chosen profession comes with. Boon meet bane. Stealth is a great power, perhaps one of the greatest, with it comes great risk, but also the access to great gains. Use it well and victory will almost always be yours. Use it poorly and you will get stomped by a moose herd!

#97 Launch Day Part II

Posted by Tierless Saturday June 7 2014 at 11:50PM
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How a company should handle the “Far and Away” like rush for land and resources on day one is something I am less savvy about. It would be pretty unfortunate if day one looked like a race with the biggest guilds snagging all the good stuff within the first hour (which is something I’ve seen several times now).


Just one? Why I have several. 1. Shut the doors and rearrange the house a bit before launch. That will keep the battle planners from steam rollin on day one AND keep the launch day a bit more fresh and exciting for those weary testers. 2. Make everything conquerable one way or another. That way even if a great spot is taken it has the potential to be re-taken by someone else at some point. 3. Chaos. use random in game things like natural disasters to shake things up every so often (like when a game has been dead locked and become stale as a result).

“But dev dur dur der der! Waaaaaa!!”

Yeah I know, you earned it and shouldn’t lose it because a dev said so. I agree, I’m talking about once in a few years game wide hell unleashing. Even then we both know in a game where land is conquerable the ruthlessly efficient cream will float to the top again eventually anyway. This just keeps everyone on their toes and keeps the game feelin alive.

“What else?”

I’m not sure. A part of me wouldn’t mind putting the aged tester folks on a designated server but another part thinks it’s good to get them out among the sheep to help lead them to slaughter...or victory depending.

All I know for sure is nothins for sure. Times have changed quickly and every aspect of new MMOs needs to be considered. From testing, to day one, to say 30 to day 500 it’s all a lot different now than it was just a few years ago, which can be great, and bad, but is mostly just...different. I like different. It keeps things interesting which is what I love the most about the current MMO situation. I feel like it’s the Wild West again, now the trick is to find a game that has the same feeling.

Disagree? Suggestions (other than stop blogging)? Smiley faces? Feel free to comment below.

#96 Launch Day part I

Posted by Tierless Thursday June 5 2014 at 12:11PM
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Back in the dark days (which I call them even though I consider them more enlightening than the last several years of MMO development) day one, launch, the big bang, someone turning the lights on was a pretty epic event shared by thousands of fans that had been waiting FOREVER (ok a few years)! And now that once in a game cycle epic playerbase wide even is dead...don’t fret, it’s not really good, nor bad, just...different.

Back then testing was done on a smaller scale. Beta invites were coveted. On launch the vast majority of the player base knew very little of the actual game. Day one was like a traditional wedding night! So much mystery, so much excitement, sometimes disappointment...the sense of discovering the unknown but not just for you, for almost every player!

Ever since the invention of pay to test things have changed. By the time a game launches just about every fan of said game will have seen what was under the sheets to some degree. They either did alpha, or beta, or both or knew someone that did, or got it from the company themselves. Now more than ever developers are pulling back the big green curtain early and allowing the players and game sites to peek under the hood.

At first it was used for hype, but now I’m slowly seeing more and more companies expose the nasty stuff. The ugly unexciting broken stuff...and it’s beautiful! Nothing will educate and increase appreciation like showing people the bloody knuckles (ok calloused fingertips). It will make the players (the smart considerate ones) appreciate the process more than they would have otherwise.

There was a time when the relationship between dev and player was almost war like, and in many games it still is, but if you do it right, if you forge it right, I think the players become more like an old friend that comes to town to visit once in a while. As long as we don’t overstay our  welcome it maintains a beautiful friendship.

Back to launch. Day one for me might have been two years ago, for you it was a month ago, for the fence sitters it was actually launch day. That is a helluva knowledge gap to overcome on official launch. The conservative in my says “tough, step up, buy bootstraps, fashion them, then pull yourself up by them, dive into what knowledge you have available and catch up as much as you can newby!” As much as I like to sound gruff that isn’t the best model for retaining the darned indecisive folks.

“What’s your point you masked fiend!”

My point is launch day is different now and developers need to be aware of it and create a strategy for it. The best solution I have is the most obvious, don’t hide it-pride it. Put out as much information as you can about your game, be as transparent as you can, and push out as much as you can before launch, then leave it to the player to seek out and utilize that info. Best of all that leaves them with no excuses when they call for a wambulance!