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the Lonely Alter

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

Author: Tierless

#10 The savior of the genre.

Posted by Tierless Tuesday April 30 2013 at 4:13PM
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I few days ago I got my first ban. I was shocked, I’ve been here for a long time and couldn't recall ever getting one. It was a strange feeling-somewhere between detention and a speeding ticket. It was while contemplating my ban, this site, and MMORPGs in general that I came to an interesting conclusion about good ole MMORPG.com.


I haven’t deeply invested in an MMO for at least 5 years now. I have tried them all, but I just can’t get into them. I was sitting around thinking about why they can’t keep my attention and why I even care anymore. I’ve been floating out in cyberspace for so long I don’t even know why I’m here, why I spend more time on these forums in never ending arguments of the philosophical differences between what being able to sit in a chair in game does for it than I do playing the damn games!


I thought to myself “if it wasn’t for this site I would been done with this genre a long time ago”.  That is when the lightbulb went off. It hit me. If it wasn’t for MMORPG.com I would have left this frustrating genre in the dust. But instead of moving onto other exciting hobbies like stamp collecting I kept coming here, day after day, checking the news, then checking the forums to see the reaction of the news, then interacting with people about said news.


I see people bash this site (me included). They call it bias. They say it favors certain games, the reviews are all paid, the promo is all paid, the mods are all paid to control us and the information flow to certain games. Come on, lets be real here, how many of those accusations are after being banned for a day or two? (Random thought here, I bet if they had a banned leaderboard, things on the site might be a bit more civil...)


During the great forum PVP war that was the Camelot Unchained boards I saw people that agreed on nothing, nothing but 1 single thing, that this site was being unfair to them. Pro CU and Against CU, both sides were positive that the devs were taking sides (meanwhile I just picture all the mods drawing straws, the loser has to patrol the CU and TES forums for the week, I feel for ya).


As someone in the trenches I can assure you that the CU boards needed a mass cleaning. They needed a strong hand, and they got one. The boards have slowed but at least they are close to civil again (well, as civil as an internet forum can be).


Back to my main point. If it wasn’t for this site many of us would have left this genre behind us. A lot of MMORPGers spend more time on the site than in their games. As much as we all moan and groan about things on the site, we feel lost without it. I understand where the animosity comes from, MMORPG fans are a very dedicated lot. We love the game we currently play and we want to make sure everyone else knows it’s not just great, but that it’s better than the one they play lol. Drama ensues. My grandpa used to say “theres 2 things you don’t ask a person about, politics and religion” I think I need to change that to 3 things and add, MMORPGs.


Everyone is always looking for the savior of the genre. They keep wondering which game will get us back to where we want to be. Well, sometimes the savior doesn’t elevate, it maintains. It keeps you invested, it keeps you from walking away. This site has been the saviour of the genre for me since back in 2003 after playing SWG for a bit I thought to myself “I wonder if they have websites for these games” and opened up Webcrawler, yes I think it was Webcrawler back then, typed in “MMORPG” hit enter....waited a few minutes for results, and clicked the first link to pop up. MMORPG.com thanks for giving us a place to survive until “our game” come out. More importantly, thanks for tolerating a bunch of dramatic, crazy, argumentative, fanatics like us, we don’t make it easy on you.

 

#9 The Customer is always right! MMOmart vs Jim's MMOcery.

Posted by Tierless Monday April 29 2013 at 1:20PM
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I hate most large corporate stores. I don’t like that they think they can manipulate me to buy crap I don’t want or need. I don’t like that to them I am a walking $ and not a person, and I don’t like that they put marketing ahead of producing a quality product. Not ALL of them are like that, but I would say MOST of them are. Now before you start thinking I’m some smelly hippy, I'm not, I’m a realist, and my evidence shows that corporations make decisions based on what gets them more $ not what is best for their consumers.


A few years ago I called Microsoft (a shining example of what not to do). They had recently made it so you HAD to call them to cancel Xbox Live (by this point I had gone through literally 5 360s, and been on and off Live since Xbox 1 so I was very familiar with the process.) You used to be able to cancel online (even though they made that a pain too) but “market research” shows the harder it is to op out, the less people do. (How many times have you heard, “I hate calling them, my credit card expires soon, so I’ll just wait”?


So I say to the guy with the foreign accent: “Look, I know you have to follow a script, but I’ve been through this 5 or 6 times now, so can we please just move it along. I love Live, it’s a great service but I’ve moved onto MMORPGs (hell yeah) and am no longer utilizing Xbox live so I’d like to cancel it. I’m sure I’ll be back someday, and I have nothing but good things to say about your service.”


He was stuttering, he had a melt down and tried to pretend I didn’t say anything! He tries to go back into the freaken script! I repeat myself, he asks me to hold. A manager picks up, I say to him: “Look, I know you're not Microsoft and I know you’ve never even seen a Microsoft building, you're an outsourced guy with a script that (according to market research) will get 99% of people who listen to it to stay subbed to Live, I am the 1%, I have no problem with Live, I simply moved onto a different game genre, can we please just move this along”.


He apologized but said they had to do the script or they could get in trouble. I thanked him for being honest and said I wanted to make sure the first guy didn’t get in trouble because he was doing a great job, he just happened to get a pain in the ass customer. I begrudgingly listened to the rehearsed schtick, I followed up with a 3 page email to Microsoft about how I didn’t appreciate them removing the cancel online option to try frustrating people into staying subbed, I got a scripted reply lol.


I prefer going to smaller local businesses. It’s like that TV show about that bar and that alcoholic guy that never left his stool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KtAgAMzaeg I never understood why that intro had 0 to do with the actual show, but I loved it....Anyway, I like smaller businesses because it’s nice to walk into a place and they know you, you know them, and you have a weird quasi friendship. You get treated like a person instead of a $ sign.


Recently I was at a local art supply store. I saw they had some fancy new liquid graphite pencil for $8. Thats an expensive pencil! So I asked the owner/till worker about the pen. She says “yeah, I just got those in. They sounded neat but a lot of people don’t like how they write, so you probably want to try it first.” She slid me a piece of paper, I tried it, hated it, thanked her for giving me a heads up and bought some paint (paint is expensive btw). If it was a corporate art store they would have told me the damn pencil adds %15 to drawing skills then tried to sell me on the special eraser, holder, battery charger, and insurance plan that comes with it!


Don’t confuse my perspective on the customer. THE CUSTOMER IS RARELY RIGHT! Most of the time the customer is wrong. I mean, you live that business right? So naturally you know more about it than them, that's why it’s your job to INFORM the customer so they come to the right conclusion, the conclusion that they trust you made in their best interest. Thats a helluva concept isn’t it? It’s almost unheard of these days.


I’ve been MMOing since 03, wanna know how many company heads I’ve talked to, 1, Mark Jacobs, on the Kiskstarter comments section. Let's expand that, I am a consumer, have been shopping for a long time now, wanna know how many company owners I’ve had a conversation with? A handful, and they all have stores on Main Street, and they are all decent people that do what they do because they love it. Do they make money? Yeah, some more, some less, but even the ones that don’t make a lot keep doing it, because they love it.


What does all of that have to do with anything? Well, that depends on how you like to be treated.

 

#8: I'm a contradicting sellout and CSE has to do what I say!

Posted by Tierless Sunday April 28 2013 at 12:39PM
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Recently a MMORPG poster that I have a lot of respect for reminded me about something I wrote about TES on 6-6-12.

“I'd love to say I'm happy but I don't trust smirks, smiles, and coy responses from company heads. We had plenty of them from the WAR and SWTOR heads and look how that turned out. When I see it in game, I'll believe it.

I'm ok with parks but without sandbox elements and SOME forced social interaction this will just be another clone that gets a big launch response then goes ftp in a few short months. How can I say that having seen so little, because it's following the EXACT same path as WAR and SWTOR.

Step 1. CG trailers with no gameplay and lots of "innovative" promises.

Step 2. Promise more and more but show nothing.

Step 3. Talk about how you didn't try to make a WOW clone (despite it being one) then talk about how you expect to get many WOW players (despite not "trying" to appeal the them) and talk about how your MMO will have 5-10 mill subs at launch.

Step 4. Talk about 1 innovative feature that has already been done (WAR-PVP!!!, SWTOR-STORY!!!) and claim to have done it better or for the first time.

Step 5. Fend off rumors of beta players hating the game, promise more but still show nothing.

Step 6. Launch, flop, blame the Avengers 2 movie (SWTOR actually did this with Avengers 1).

Step 7. Fire people. Go ftp and claim it's the correct model for the current state of the industry.

Step 8. After a few years close said MMO and blame the economy (never yourself).

Lets see if they right the ship or continue down this path.”


On one hand, I think I’m (sadly) pretty spot on for poor TES. On the other hand, it looks like I sold out for Cu doesn’t it? Steve jobs was the soul of Apple, MJ was the Soul of Mythic. Mythic made WAR, I made an example out of WAR, “WTF Tierless you fanatic fanboy of contradiction, I’m confuzzled? You say you don’t trust anyone, you are a realist, a man of logic, science, and facts and here you are going “BSC” for an idea on paper, a few vlogs, and some concept art! I’m never ever reading your silly ramblings again and I’ll troll you blogs til the day the veil opens up and transforms me into a demonic rage monster at which point I will hunt you down and slap the contradiction out of you mraaaaaaa!!!”....


...Ok maybe that isn’t EXACTLY what you're thinking, but give me a chance to explain just incase it is.


Thats all true but I think most people haven’t figured out why I would throw my life philosophy away for CSE. Well, to quote a good character in a bad movie “Want to know the secret to winning? Creative sportsmanship. In other words... One has to rig the game.” I figured out the rig, wanna know my secret? CSE HAS TO DO WHAT I SAY! Hell, CSE has to do what YOU say too (if you play it)! I’ll elaborate.


People keep saying “how do we know CSE will do what they say they are going to? How can we trust them” I can go into the whole philosophy behind MJ and CU. I could talk about how I think MJ is making this art for pure reasons, from a pure place, for love and the desire to play a fun game with a niche but still make a living at it without the stress of mass market BS blah blah blah. But all of that is debatable. I wanna go with a factual, proven, 100% logical business reason....


They have to. With 30-50k subs, we matter. We have a symbiotic relationship with CSE. They need us to remain in business, we need them to give us the game no one else will. Even the mighty EVE Online with 500k subs has had to pull a 180 and change up it’s plans when subs took a sudden dive due to some decisions the fans decided weren’t in the best interest of the game. Thats 500k, when your market is substantially smaller, 50k, it becomes even more important to maintain a close, trusted, transparent relationship with your customers.


“But Tierless, I don’t want to play a game ran by us, were crazy, fickle, and can’t agree on anything, have you read these forums?”


I completely agree. But we will not “run” CU. Don’t be delusional, at the end of the day this baby belongs to MJ and Andy, but we are the nanny that will raise it. The big decisions will always be made by the parents, but because the nanny spends most of their time with the child, the child will undoubtedly grow up with significant influences from the nanny ;)


It’s a boon and bane relationship. It’s symbiotic. It’s interesting as hell, and it’s worked great for CCP (a company that I respect and admire despite not even playing EVE). It’s the kind of relationship that requires someone like MJ to pull off successfully. He has to be the ultimate filter. He has to balance what we want, with what he envisions, with what is best for the game, and what is best for all of us in the long run (even if we don’t always agree up front). It’s a helluva job, but if I had to pick one guy in the industry to pull it off it would be MJ.


Hmm, thats interesting. I just looked at my post history again, I never realized this, but after literally years of ghosting this site I was finally driven to post for the very first time, I wrote this “Quality over quantity. I agree with the cuts, and appreciate the honesty with which they were announced to us.” I wrote that in response to this:


http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/game/239/feature/2092


WAR telling us they had to cut content to make the launch date, everyone freaked out and lashed out at Mythic but I saw it as a logical solution and I appreciated that they were honest about it. Maybe I haven’t sold out as much as I thought. It looks like if you're honest with me, I’ll be honest with you (for better or worse) but if you give me that respect, you won’t ever lose mine.


#7: MJ is Bat S*** Crazy; Change so Good You Can Fear it!

Posted by Tierless Friday April 26 2013 at 2:00PM
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Well, that was interesting. MJ kept telling us his idea for stealth was Bat S*** crazy (BSC) but I don’t think any of us imagined that the mechanic for it (the Veil) would potentially apply to the entire game. So his stealth mechanic, literally, changes the entire aspect of RVRing in CU. It adds another layer to combat, another system to fear and manage, and a (as far as I know) completely original way to incorporate stealth. Yes, it’s definitely BSC, but, is it BSC good or BSC bad? Does it add to the overall game focus (RVR) or does it distract from it? I’ll take an honest look at it from a few perspectives.


A Non-Rogues perspective: I play a lot of stealth classes, but I’m not a hardcore stealth guy so this is perspective is simply my personal view. Construed down it’s simplest form the question is this: do you prefer being frozen in place for a 8 seconds as means of crowd control, or, do you prefer being suked into the veil and fighting a jacked up rogue for a 8 seconds? Personally, I play RVR games because I love to fight, so if you give me a choice between being helpless with a stun, or battling 1 on 1 I will almost always chose to battle. That is, of course, if the time frames were similar, stunned for 8 seconds or fight a rogue in the veil for 8 seconds. If the times were different, for ex. stunned for 5 seconds or fight in the veil for 20 seconds I’d rather just wait out the stun and remain in the heat of a battle. Why? Because as much fun as this mechanic is I play this type of game to fight, in the open world. If I wanted 1v1 fights I would play a fighting game. My main reason for playing is group fights (which is sort of a conflict because I’m usually solo or with a friend or two).


That brings me to my next worry, annoyance. If this veil transport is something that happens frequently it could be EXTREMELY frustrating. My main desire is the group fight, but if I keep flashing into a 1v1 survival match away from the fight I want, that might get really annoying. A simple fix, you can only be Valed once every couple of minutes or something like that resolves that issue for the most part. In the end I love how unique it is, and I look forward to seeing it develop further. Like I said, if it becomes a take away distraction I would not like it, if it adds to the battle and doesn’t make said battle less important than I am all for it. In the end the open world RVR HAS to come first, the ghost world stuff second.


A Rogues perspective: I may not be a hardcore rogue guy now, but I was once. I was the guy that camped the flight master in stealth with his rogue friend in WOW (you're welcome) so I think I can slip into a rogues skin/mind and relate on this one. I hate it! Next.


Just kiddng, I’ll go on. But really, my first reaction would be fear. MJ is saying I lost my burst damage, and rather than be a hunter and assassin I have to wait for table scraps? Wait, so I wait in my web and someone throws flies into it for me...that suddenly sounds more appealing to me. And I may have lost my busrt DPS and stun-lock, but I can still stealth up on someone, pop out and attack them. I may have to wait until they are low on health or mana or action, but I can still play a rogue like I always did, I just have to be more cautious, it’s not an instant nuke win. So I’m trading stun lock and DPS for my own lion cage where my team feeds me victims...sounds interesting. I’m open to it. Don’t hate it, don’t love it, but I am excited to try it. No to mention walking through walls like Shadowkat would be pretty cool. Sneak into a fort, wait til a ranged is low on something, pop out an attack them. And I may not be able to group stealth, but I’m pretty sure I can stealth, my friends can stealth elsewhere, and we can meet at a specific point in the castle, pop out and gang assault someone moohahahaha!


What? They can phase through our defenses? What's the point of defenses then? Enter the anti rogue, the rogue hunter, mortal enemy of the rogue. Superman vs Lex Luthor, Batman vs Joker, Tom vs Jerry, and now VS vs VW! I found a song that perfectly describes each class (extra pts for identifying the reference)


The CU Rogue Hunter-Veil Stalkers:

Day Man

Fighter of the Night Man

Champion of the Sun

Master of the Veil

and friendship for everyone.


The CU Rogue-Veil Walkers:

Night man,

Sneaky and mean

Spider inside my dreams

I think I hate you

You make me wanna cry, you make me wanna fight.


So the VS spend a lot if their time trying to get the VW before the VW can get to the VS’s people. Interesting concept. I like it. I see it playing out like Mercs vs Spies in Splinter Cell, but with more moves. I think its interesting as hell, and I can see myself enjoying either class although I lean toward the VS just because I like setting traps. As for ghosting through our defenses, I guess everyone will need a decent VS. It would be exciting to think you're safe in a keep then suddenly you get sucked into a veil, or a few VWs come running up the stairs and you realize your VS was AFK...again!


Balance: The biggest complaint about stealth is that it is OP easy mode. That is the genius of this approach. When you go into the veil (the spider’s parlor) the Rogue has the advantage, when you get the rogue out of the veil, you have the advantage. Equality, boon vs bane, genius. Now both sides are either OP or UP depending on the situation.


Conclusion: So far, as expected, this entire idea has caused mass drama, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Non stealthers, ask yourselves, would I rather be incapacitated for 5 seconds or fight 1v1 for 5 seconds? At least the later gives you a chance to defend yourself. Stealthers, ask yourselves, would you prefer to pop out and either nuke or die, or would you rather exist in your own relm and be hand fed victims to battle without the worry of a near by tank mauling you? I always hated that rogues had 1 shot, then it was either die or vanish and rest up for 5 mins for another shot.


Studies show when asked if they like change people overwhelmingly say yes, when presented with change, they overwhelmingly reject it. We have been asking for someone to go against the norm and challenge the concepts of this deprived genre, and we got it. Don’t be mad about it, realize we caused it. Also realize that right now this is just an idea on paper. MMOs are living, evolving games. We have 2 plus years to work this out or abandon it. Personally I have faith that MJ and Co will get it right, they will make it work, and it will make CU even more fantastic than it already sounds or they will can it, but in reality (or in the Veil) only...time will tell.

 

#6: Giving "AAA" the E-Finger!

Posted by Tierless Tuesday April 23 2013 at 9:51PM
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I had a very long, wordy, pretty blog written up about how I think MMORPG.com is the saviour of this genre (and I mean that, without it many of us would check out of the genre and go away, this site keeps us invested and waiting) and how we all need to come together to create a movement to get our genre back and force it to evolve. Well, another time, another place. Right here, right now, what follows, it’s a straight shot. As straight as they get. No BS, no bull, old school Denis Leary in your face style so pull up a chair-dare to spin it around and sick backwards like a rebel, and lets talk.


We’ve been lied to, ignored, manipulated, shafted, belittled, fooled, flamed, and trolled by the “AAA” mmo experience for too long. “Enough is enough and it’s time for a change”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat around thinking that. I’m sick of being marketed hot garbage and I’m sick of the “higher ups” thinking I have the brain function of a hamster.


Recently a friend of mine showed me a game on her phone, she was amazed because she can raise little monsters and teach them to do things. I loled, “we had that 10 years ago in MMOs” I said. “What is that?” she said. I sighed the kind of sigh that can only come from an old gunfighter that just had a flashback to better days. “Well, they used to be a virtual world you could live in, now they are more like your phone app”...


I remember when the genre hit rock bottom for me. When I bought a game, only to log in and be given a blatantly small storage space with an option to buy more space for $20. It was sickeningly obvious. I wonder how much money, time, and research it took to find the perfectly small but not obvious amount of storage combined with a high enough loot drop ratio to make us spend  the extra cash? Where does that end? Do we pay for a game, pay again to log in, pay for a character, pay to play the character, pay for the ability to walk, to run, to equip? Where does it end?


It doesn’t, MMOs continue stumbling toward the phone/hand held app game market. Cute, easy games that constantly tell us how great we are and let us know we can be even greater-faster; for the low low price of $4.99 we can skip from X to Z! Greatness is one small fee away! For even more cash you can change any sort of consequence you’ve been “forced” to deal with. Ruin your name? Pay to change it. Your side always loses? Pay to change it. Your server isn’t the most advanced one, pay to change it. Not only do they remove any shred of consequence, they are enabling the worst players! It's like they took their nickname literally; Theme Parks, charge us at the gate, then charge us for everything we do once we get in!


I’m old, back in my day server rep mattered. If you ruined your name you had to re-roll your 1 character you were allowed or put in some effort to change the way people felt about you. It could be rough, but on the plus side, the great people stood out, got a good rep, and the community made them into server celebrities.


So back to us, we sit around and complain about being ignored. Then someone comes down to our level to ask us first hand what we want, so naturally we respond with hostility (and people wonder why the smartest thing our creators ever did was never come back). Then we go back to complaining about being ignored again!


Look, “I'm nine mmo years old. My MMO died at seven and a half. I don't want to live in a hole anymore. I'm going to do something about it." (extra points if you know where that quote was lifted from, clue, it’s fantastic). What I did was go against everything I believe in, everything I think is logical, and everything my victimized MMOego wanted me to do and I decided to support CU. Now I’m NOT asking anyone else to back it. I’m NOT asking anyone else to put money into it. I am asking that you support it and what I mean by support is simply keep an open mind to it and what it could do for the genre if for no better reason than to give the “AAA” hole MMO companies the e-finger they deserve!

#5: Lego my Minecraft Art Gallery!

Posted by Tierless Monday April 22 2013 at 2:41PM
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Building cells a few pieces at a time and hand building a house 1 square at a time (unless your friend helps) will never work! This is a MMO, no one wants to spend all their time playing with building blocks, they want to kill and fight. A game made around a building sandbox will never grab an audience!


Wait, wait a sec, Minecraft you say? Legos you say? Look at my post history about the next successful mmo combining Minecraft with the gameplay of current mmos you say? Yes, yes indeed! Camelot Unchained and Mark Jacobs have their finger on the pulse of this genre, much like so many of the players that come to this website. We see the shift, we see where it’s going and we ask for our MMOs to shift with it!


Unfortunately most of our mmos are more focused on charging us for everything in a game, even after we buy the game. I suppose it’s our fault, we kept calling them themeparks, so now they are acting like real themeparks. They charge you at the gate, then charge you for everything inside the park. $5 for a cup of ice, welcome to corporate MMOmerica but before I go too deeply down my oft preached devolved genre rant I’ll get back to happier things like Legos! (expect more on Devolved MMOs in a later blog)


This building system is possibly the most free reign we have seen in an MMO, EVER. UO had a very free one. SWG had a fantastic decor system, but the houses were pre-fab. Archage looks like it has a pretty fun system that reminds me directly of a modern UO. But this ambitious minecraft/lego/mmo hybrid might just be the most delicious slice of MMO construction pie crafting fans have ever tasted.


I’m sure we will see some interesting buildings (most likely many a penis building if I know my MMO pals well enough) and a pile of structures that awe and inspire the same way the stuff in Minecraft does. And just like the Romans, I can tell you that the more time a project took, the more inspiring it is, the more someone will want to burn it down and build their own version, a superior version, to re-write the history in their favor and wave their e-peen as they scream from the highest peaks, “we pwned you and burned your house down, LTP noobs, LTP”.


Risk vs Reward, boon vs bane, life with consequences, whatever you want to call it, the CU building system takes crafting and WARing to a level, the likes of which we have never seen in an MMO. People LOVE to PVP even though most of the current MMOs give them little to no reason to. Now add in that they are defending valuable resources that they depend on to create the weapons that help them continue to PVP, AND the homes they built, the shops they visit, the art they created, the house with lake front property they spent all that gold on, and you have MMO PVP the likes of which we have never seen before!


Some people, weird crazy people that prefer online society over their own, people like Skaios (a guild leader from my SWG days) actually prefer having cool ingame stuff to real world stuff. Actually, yeah, I’ll use him as my example here. You see, Skaios feels like this; in real life Skaios might be, oh I dunno, part of an art collective. That collective has a gallery space, and every 2 months they put on an art opening featuring art that they, and the community made. It’s a beautiful thing but despite how beautiful it is, Skaios can’t help but think back to an art gallery from his past. One from a galaxy far far away on a server named Bria, in a game called SWG. He can’t help but think to himself, “I love this real world gallery, but I’d give it up in an instant to have my virtual gallery back again”.


That is obviously an extreme example with a player that clearly has issues connecting with or rather confusing the real world with a virtual one. Trust me, he is hell to party with. If someone passes out he tries to “loot their stuff”. It’s pretty embarrassing. I’d say he probably has some social insecurities (but you didn’t hear it from me).


Why the long dramatic example? I’ll tell you why, because it drives my point home. If you are like Skaios, and I think many of us are, then you are just about, or equally, or even more attached to your virtual possessions than your real ones. In the real world when our possessions are threatened we want to strike out in anger, fear, hate, and vengeance to protect our belongings...in the virtual world...WE CAN! That is why CU, if it funds, will not fail. That is why EVE online has grown every single year since it’s launch, and that is why you better think twice before you burn down my lake front gallery, hell hath no fury like that of an art collector that just watched his perfectly (and I mean OCD PERFECTLY) laid out gallery burn to the ground! Did I say my gallery, I mean, Skaios’s...

 

#4: MJ Dungeon Master?

Posted by Tierless Saturday April 20 2013 at 10:55PM
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I can't believe this never occurred to me before. It's so obvious now. I feel like a fool.


What everyone keeps asking about is not PVE, it's PVNPC. PVE has never truly been done in an MMO. We never fight the environment, we fight NPCs that we beat then celebrate like it was a big deal to beat something that was made to be beat.


I remember it well in Mario, I remember it in Skyrim dungeons, but I don't recall seeing it in an MMO. I suppose some of the dungeons had it to some degree, but they were always scripted, go on Korean forums, get the pattern, win. I’ll never understand how doing the exact same dungeon sequence repeatedly until your all in sync is fun. I never really liked it. It was fun a few times, then it became a drive to work in the morning. I daydream and suddenly I’m parked but I have little to no recollection of the drive itself (at least thats what I told them...).


CU may be the first game to give us TRUE Players fighting an Environment to survive and succeed. We will face a dungeon full or traps Indiana Jones style. Those traps will be laid by something far more clever than a script, by the most dangerous animal of them all, Humans!


Diabolical, evil, clever, humans. Not only do we have to deal with the harsh environment they created in the dungeon (anyone else find it epically ironic that we’re finally back to having dungeon masters again, I can almost smell my friends basement all over again) but they can become NPCs and bother us directly! It’s so simple, so obvious, so laughable. Everyone is always looking ahead to the next big thing, MJ and Co looked back to the roots of MMOs, then they looked at a term and said ah, this is it. And just like that it seems like it seems so obvious.


Before I get LOTR ragers in my comments section, I am aware of the LOTR PVP NPC thing they did. I thought it was cool but I don’t think it’s been done to this degree of diobolicalness. Our goal, get our crafter to the special forge, their goal, bother us, hurt us, maim us, scare us, slow us, kill us (especially our builders). Genius, not because it’s so fresh it’s unheard of, genious because of how simple and obvious it is. I can’t believe the other companies hadn’t thought of it before, I suppose they aren’t allowed to deviate from the pre-planned marketing campaign “fourth pillar has never been done in an MMO before, it’s called...story” L-O-L.


I love the concept for true PVE but I’m a little angry, why didn’t I think of that, it was sitting right in front of my face for so long. It plays on basic human instinct. We all like to mess with our enemies, especially if they just beat us in something. We all like to watch our enemies struggle. Hell, we all liked to play games as kids, and it was always that diabolical kid that made up the weird rules that ended up improving the games (were gonna play hide and seek, but, you have to be...blindfolded! Scary! Genius yet so simple!). MJ must have been a helluva dungeon master.

#3: Riding CU's Hype Train

Posted by Tierless Thursday April 18 2013 at 9:53PM
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I like hype. There, I said it. I enjoy the excitement, the what ifs, the maybes, and the I hopes. I love following games from announcement to launch and I love seeing the news trickle out. I have come to realize I spend more time stalking games that I do playing them. That isn’t a choice. Back when I played SWG I rarely touched a forum, because that game was fun and never felt repetitive. Sadly the “next gen” MMOs these days are about as deep as a hobbits bathwater resulting in driving hordes ;) of players to the forums.


Some companies like to flood out the hype, WAR did an amazing job at this. Some companies like to keep everything locked tight until it’s close to launch (ESO is an example), other games keep a tight lock because things are going very very bad (SWTOR anytone?). Rarely have I found a game that was extremely transparent, receptive to the players feedback, and, this is a big one, produced anti-hype. Yes, anti-hype. MJ is NOT hyping. So far he keeps warning, denying, and telling people to get off his lawn while he waves his cane at them. Lets take an HONEST look at MJ’s “hype”


PVE would get me piles of backers, we will have 0 leveling from PVE, and 0 gameplay balanced around PVE, and he does not care if lots of people want it, it will not be a PVE game.


Some people are concerned about lack of progress due to limited playtime. “What if we can’t be as uber as people who put in more effort” MJ “Frankly, I don’t care, too bad” Man, what hype! “Not everyone gets a damn trophy, deal with it” Me ;)


Is it a sandbox, lots of people want one. No, it has some sandbox things but it’s not a true sandbox. Can you feel the hype now?


Can I solo, I like to solo, lots of people do. You can, but it will be harder for you. HYPAMANIA!


MAN! So much hype from MJ! The hype is from us, the backers, people like me that live for the hope that they might get a new mmo that isn’t made to reward people for failing. A new MMO that is made for US not ME. Dangit, not everyone is Luke, I just wanna be Lars again!


So far Camelot Unchained has set the bar for working with it’s fans. After all it takes a community to build an MMO amiright? I assume many of the more corporate companies are loling at the idea that, get this, a guy making a game for some people, listens to those people, and makes the game that they want! Hilarious right? Take TOR for example, everyone wanted SWG with some WOW mixed in, but the company heads knew that SWGWOW was what we “thought” we wanted, but what we really wanted was WOW with light sabers. I won’t say which approach I think is better, just kidding, after all what is the internet without firm opinions on controversial subjects? MJ’s is, but with one very serious clause, MJ has to be smart enough to figure out which people to listen to, and which to ignore. He has to be the ultimate filter. If he isn’t we end up with silly things like personal stories full of cut scenes that we were told we wanted but in reality we all skipped within 15 parsecs of playing the game.


Back to happier thoughts. I believe MJ has been in the MMO game long enough to know when to listen and when to ignore. When to agree, when to fight. When to push, and when to nudge. As for questioning his dedication or trust, he puts as much time into the forums and Kickstarter comments as the most dedicated followers. He appears to be pulling 10 hour days, going home, then getting back on the chat channels, but he isn’t promoting or hyping. He is asking, I honestly can’t remember the last time a company head lowered himself to our levels and actually asked our opinions on something. To most of them were just dollar signs. So MJ, and I honestly believe this, were a community. A real community that he enjoys talking to and more importantly, listening to. Leave it to the ever fickle MMO fans to reward a guy trying to help them by trolling him and his game. /golf clap Gee I wonder why more industry people don’t ask our opinions?


Camelot Unchained might be good, or bad, or nothing at all, but no matter the outcome I know, at this point, I’m having a blast. I’m entertained. I’m getting more enjoyment out of the CU ride than any MMO since Darkfall, and SWG before that. I’m on the CU ride, are you? Or are you standing next to the ride talking to your friends about if it’s as fun as it looks? My whole life I was the guy waiting, watching, talking, so this one time, I decided to buy a ticket and I’m enjoying the ride.

 

#2: 2 Ways to Die (Relms)

Posted by Tierless Wednesday April 17 2013 at 3:12PM
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I’ve been saving this one for when we finally have the 3 realms revealed. Well, I can’t wait any longer. Unfortunately we don’t have enough info on them to delve deeper. I’ll have to save that for another day. Instead I’ll talk about the concept art.


1. TDD. If I were a young lad again I would play a TDD, period. It wouldn’t even be a consideration. I glanced at them and instantly thought they were everything I ever liked about the pro wrestler The Undertaker combined with a Zabrak, which equals perhaps the single coolest thing in the entire known universe. If they have an animation where they gore you with their head horns I swear I’ll double my donation! That is the way innocent young me would have viewed them. But sadly that me died long long ago when I evolved into the bitter vet that is the current me. Current me feels that this is a very uber looking race, but the early armor was a bit to full body suit/space suit. It needs some armor breaks, some skin showing through, some wear and tear. This is a war zone after all, things are never pristine in war. Google “the effects of the 100 years war” if you don’t believe me. Other than that, I love it. I had no desire to play a TDD but this concept might have swayed me if for no reason other than to say “Rest....In....Peace” as I burn the corpses of my enemies.


2. Viking. If I were a young lad I’d have no interest in the viking because I would already have decided to make a TDD named The Phenom (Undertakers Nickname ;) lol. But again, I’m old and disgruntled now days so here we go. She looked a bit to barbie ski lodge for me. I expected to see a battle hardened warrior and I got more of a cute girl in fancy cloths. Her axe has deffinetely seen war, but somehow her clothing hasn’t. I would like her to look dangerous and tough, the result of a hard life with little comfort. I expect Viking women to be able to out drink me, out fight me, and out f....er...well you know where I was going with that. This one looked more like she could out shop me. Ok that was a little harsh. I loved the TDD concept, I just like this concept. It’s ok, not bad, not great, just ok. It didn’t feel as unique or as developed as the TDD. The colors did not bother me, it was the lack toughness that I expect from a people like the Vikings. Excellent for a start, but it needs to be refined more and taken to a tougher more developed place.


I’m aware these are both the first concepts and I expect them to change quite a bit over time, I’m even excited for it. Both of them are a very good starting place.


I mentioned it above but the reality is that war is hard for everyone. I even expect the people that decide to live in the safe zones will feel the pains of war in some way. During war things are not pristine, they are worn, damaged, rugged, and used. Even structures and building specs change for war. Look up Israel’s building specs. Look up Spartas way of life. I know this is fantasy, but that doesn’t mean we can suspend the belief of repercussions of war. It’s like my friend says, respect the source material, respect the laws of the world that it exists in. We don’t know much about that world yet, but we know it’s a world is a massive trirelm war, so I think it’s only fitting that we see that war reflected through the characters that live it.

#1: Nerf Crafters!

Posted by Tierless Tuesday April 16 2013 at 11:05AM
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Mark Jacobs isn’t understating when he says he wants to try some BSC ideas. Implementing a crafter class that is defenseless, but the class that creates the war devices, the traps, the bridges, the CU-TV (I 25cented that one fyi, u like?), WOW (no pun intended). Builders went from “he plays a crafter, he doesn’t like to come with” to “hey, can you re-log as your crafter and come with?” and even more interesting, “target the crafter!”. It’s like that awkward shy girl that wears baggy clothes just walked into the dance wearing a hot outfit with a rockin bod that no-one realized she had before.


Prior to hearing the crafter info I had no desire to play one. I loved that CU would create a symbiotic relationship between the crafters and the fighters, but I don’t play crafters. I don’t like to. Too many details. Not my style. I’m more of a motivator type, I’m great with ideas, but figuring them out is for the people that are smarter and much more patient than I am.


“traps, siege weapons, CU-TV, traps, bridges, watching the traps”   :O


Suddenly this “Combat Builder” was much more appealing to a guy like myself. Take a stroll down memory lane with me for a second. I’m sure many of you remember a little N64 game called...Goldeneye? (if you don’t remember it you're younger than me and I hate you for being young while I am old so please stop reading and go away) In Goldeneye I would run rampant with proximity mines. I got a little too effective so I wasn’t allowed to use them, I had to go with timed mines :( but it didn’t matter. I was evil with those little black circles of doom. I wouldn’t put them in the typical places like doorways, thats lame. I liked to place them in spots that would give the other players an “experience”. (apparently I was a groundbreaker in player made content) “Oh, your gonna go into the bathroom stall for some reason? Beware the toilet paper dispenser!”


So as you can see the idea of setting traps to mess with people, then watching the chaos I created unfold on CU-TV makes my heart beat just a little faster. I always enjoy beating my foes, I plan to thoroughly enjoy burning their corpses, but mayhaps I shall enjoy watching them fall for my traps even more? Oh such choices.


Long strange story short, it’s about damn time someone found a way to up the game for crafters. Finally a crafter class that may appeal to people other than accountants and IRS employees. Never before in an MMO have I seen such a dichotomy in one class. I think I know a good way to sum it up...


“What do you do in MMORPGs?”


“By day I craft, make stuff, especially cool looking stuff, I like to color it and then place it around my shop for display. Then at night my guild escorts me into The Depths so I can live out my fantasy of being John Rambo by laying numerous traps that maim, hurt, and kill my opponents. Did I mention my shop got voted best decor on the server, man I love decor.”


o.O

Definitely changes the way people view crafters a bit doesn’t it?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzY17CzM68w

 

Kickstarter Proves PT Barnum was right.

Posted by Tierless Sunday April 14 2013 at 10:51PM
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“Wait, so you give them your money, and HOPE they use it for what they say they will?”

“Yep”

“Thats just crazy, who would do that?”

“Thousands of gamers already have.”

“LOL what a bunch of newbs, I’d never do something like that”

...or so I thought, and kept thinking. I kept thinking it as I went to Kickstarter for the first time, signed up and waited for Camelot Unchained to show up in the search. I must have typed it in a dozen times now, “it’s time WTF is going on” I think to myself, eyes wide, neck strained, fingers hovering in position. “I can’t believe I’m doing this, this is what my genre has come to I guess, sad, but all I have left is hope. Speaking of, I hope I get my tier before they sell out!”


And like that I became a backer of Camelot Unchained. I’m a skeptic by nature. I don’t trust anything, especially something as dangerous as a human. Hope, faith, luck, I crave not these things. Logic, fact, results, these are the mechanisms that I live by. So how did I go from “lol newbs” to OMFGFHAHFKAFH hurry up and let me throw my money at you! I heard about Kickstarter, thought it was silly, and within a few weeks ended up a backer. What could make me change my stance so drastically, and so quickly?


Enter Mark Jacobs. I didn’t know much about Jacobs other than he made a game that was called “the next WOW” and the only WOW factor in it was that I couldn’t bring myself to play anything past level 20. Truthfully I was never a huge WOW fan, I just wanted a good PVP game with some depth and customization options and it according to the charismatic british guy and his 2 partners it sounded like I would get them (you fooled me once).


Long sad story short, WAR left a bad taste in my mouth. While interwebbing I saw some of his comments about the genre needing to take risks, RVR, putting stuff in that might turn people away, and “niche”. To be honest, it sounded good. I thought I’d do a little more research. What I found made me feel bad for the guy, and respect him. He built a company from the ground up, his baby, and had it torn from his arms and dismantled. (I think I related to him since thats how I feel about myself and this genre lol) I searched a little harder expecting to see him slamming the company and the people around him for botching WAR. Time and time again he would be asked to tell his side of the story. It seemed like everyone wanted  the dirt, and MJ never gave it to them. That is where my respect came from.


I came to the conclusion that (as he will tell you) he made some bad choices, as did a lot of people, and WAR fell short. I’m human, I’m good at my job, and I still mess up, because we all mess up. I can accept that. I didn’t have any animosity toward him so I decided I’d listen to what he had to say. (FYI the animosity I had for the WAR marketing and pr guys still exists, yes I know they were good at their jobs, that’s how they got me to buy it right? I agree, but that doesn’t mean I forgive, not yet!).


I started out a cautious skeptic but every one of his damned Foundation Principals drew me in closer. They were literally everything that so many of us had been begging for since WOW shifted the genre. I struggled with the idea. How do I give money to a stranger in exchange for a bunch of promises and no gameplay? It just didn’t make logical sense to me, then it hit me.


CU is more than a new MMO, if it succeeds it’s a paradigm shift in MMO development. On top of that, and this is really what it came down to, I am having a blast being part of this ride! Waiting for updates, forum posts, interviews, vids, etc. It’s exciting. Every time a new MMO is announced I ghost it, and eat up the new bits, and because of Jacob’s hands on approach we have more access, more info, more transparency, and more noted opinion than any MMO in history. It’s a blast! I’m having more fun with it than playing any current mmos, and for once my opinion might just help make this MMO better. I can’t pass up being part of this experiment, so I agreed to fund CU and make this blog to document the history as it unfolds. Fund, lose or draw, I’m entertained by this journey and once a long long time ago before I became old and bitter thats what I played MMO’s for, entertainment.