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the Lonely Altar

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

Author: Tierless

#22 ? All; I'm not a Hero, I'm a Coward!

Posted by Tierless Thursday May 30 2013 at 12:52AM
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I am the greatest hero/warrior/chosen one that my MMO has ever seen! I am here to save the entire world from the biggest baddest threat it has ever seen! It’s all up to me and me alone! I am the one, the saviour, Jesus wears t-shirts with my picture on them! Don’t believe me? Just ask that NPC in the middle of that crowd of players...

If every single player in the game is the hero, doesn’t that mean none of them are the hero? Who want’s to be a hero anyway? So much responsibility, so much pressure, not to mention it’s only a matter of time before some scandal rocks your world and brings you back down to mere mortal status right? I’m no hero and I never want to be. If I did, I would play a single player RPG. I don’t play MMOs to be “teh man”. I play MMOs to contribute to the whole, to interact with others, and to challenge myself by fighting the most unpredictable and dangerous opponent on this plant (no not the chupacabra) other humans!

I grew up admiring Arn Anderson's loyalty to the cause of helping Ric Flair stay the man, wooooo! He was Flair’s most loyal soldier, an assassin, a man capable of leading, but only if and when Flair needed him to.

Some of my MMO friends don’t even wanna be Double A, they prefer being Lars (no not the drummer for Metallica). This weathered fellow that can’t afford a fancy robo leg due to his wife’s spice addiction.

“Look Beru, Storm Troopers on the hill, I wonder if they need directions”

They just wanna be a quiet farmer living a peaceful life wearing T-shirts that say “I’m the good brother”. Not to mention young Beru was kinda foxy. Not a bad catch for a scruffy moisture farmer scraping by on a backwood planet in the outer rim!

We are all capable of heroic things, but heroism is broad and up for interpretation. Am I the hero because I ran the guild raid and we owned our enemies despite being outnumbered? Or am I the hero because I stayed up for 2 days straight to grind out shiney leet weapons for the entire guild? Maybe I’m the hero because I risked my neck to get the crafter the resources to make those shiny weapons? Or maybe, just maybe I’m the hero because I stood in the back with my archer, escaped (ran like a coward) when things looked grim and accidentally lead the enemy to a cliff where they were flanked and thrown to a watery grave below. FYI who do you think wrote history? It was the winners, specifically the cowards on the winning side. It wasn't the brave people, they were on the front line dying. The cowards lived to tell the tales. I’m not knocking historians, I have a degree in history and I always play an archer ;)

The idea that we are all the hero is just silly, as silly as the idea that we all want to be the hero. MMO industry please take note, rather than making all of us the hero, maybe you should make an environment where we can live out any role we want? That might work better for your games lifespan. I can’t tell you how many times in SWTOR and GW2 I was watching an ok you got me, skipping to the end of an animation (sorry, I appreciate the effort but I don’t play MMOs to watch animations) just so I could pick the option to murder the NPC that had forced me into a lengthy and cheesy dialogue. Sadly at the end of said cheesy dialogue my options were hug them, thank them, or give them a sneer while bowing in appreciation, WTF is that! Where is the “murder them so I can stop being forced to sit through scripted garbage and get onto making my own dialogues, with real players” option!

Heroics are as diverse as the people the perform them. Players are as diverse as humans, because we are humans! Typecasting all MMO players as people obsessed with being the hero makes no sense and frankly it offends me! Does Corporate MMO really view us as so narrow minded? Actually, looking at the games they make “for us” it appears that they think much much worse of us. Somewhere between Jeff Spicoli and a puddle of water that thinks the hole it’s in was made just for it (pts for references). Corporate MMOs you have done a phenomenal job of being the Villain, but how about you try being the Hero by allowing us the CHOICE not to be :)

My rage may fade, “but I assure you my resolve has never been stronger” (more pts for the reference, heres a clue, Sith wear T-shirts with his picture on them).


“But...but Tierless, your blog is called Blogabout Unchained, and you barely said anything about CU, WTF man, thats false advertising!”

You're right, I didn't because I don't think I need to. Unless I’m mistaken, and $275 says I’m not, CU is not planning to make all of us the hero, it isn’t planning on scripted cheese, it’s planning on creating an environment where we dictate our status, we control our fate, and if we want to become a hero, then we have to earn that status! To paraphrase Bill Shakespear

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them, some just wanna be Lars and some wanna run away like a coward.” I believe CU is the game that will remind the MMO community what it felt like to hold your fate in your hands agaaaaaaain!

Until next time, I can be your hero, baybay.


#21 Taverns, why waste time and money on fluff?

Posted by Tierless Sunday May 26 2013 at 6:00PM
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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away I was out questing. I stopped by the nearest Cantina for some healing and I walk into this

Yes, those happened, no I did not know about them until I walked into it, and yes I felt like a kid that just opened their parents “locked” dresser perspective was forever changed when I found that dirty little secret (the cantina crawl not the...well...nevermind too painful to remember).

We know CU will have bars/taverns/cantinas. We also know you can go to these bars to enjoy a brew and watch the chaos in the depths. Thats already pretty innovative, but what else can we do in them? How to they enhance the experience of the game? What's the point? Why even have them? I have facebook to talk to people, and forums to talk to e-people, so why do I need yet another chatty Kathy hotspot to hang out, shouldn’t I be RVRing? Why spend so much time, energy, and money on a fancy chat room? Speaking of, do those things even exist on the interwebs anymore, remember when ICQ was cool, hell, remember when myspace was cool, hell x2, remember when facebook was cool? What does that tell us? That the social lounge crowd is fickle and moves around more than a gypsy, so why bother humoring them with a bar full of time wasted?

(goes into a few chat rooms, quickly returns) O.O

Yep, they do, nope, they haven’t gotten better...worse, much, much worse...those people need a hobby, other than chat rooming...

The Tavern should be a social escape but I see no reason that some of the tavern activities can’t contribute to the war. But before we get to that, what can we do in them? Watch the chaos in the depth has been mentioned. Gambling would be nice. Blackjack or a modified CU version perhaps? Betting on duels or at least bare knuckle pit fighting? Dance? Arm wrestler? Other mini games? Maybe we have a spa/salon/barber room in the tavern where players can go work on looking cool? Maybe appearance editor is a skill you can pick up and level similar to image designer in SWG. Not a class the likes of a builder or fighter, but a secondary mini skill you can snag? Lets add dancer and musician to those mini skills, now we have some energy in the room!

What else? Access to the PVP ranking charts, player bounties, and other list type info could be exclusive to the taverns. After all, where is the best place to get info irl (other than the interwebs)? A church or a bar naturally. If we create enough reason for people to hang out at the tavern then the merchants won’t be far behind. Maybe each tavern has a town square area that gets built along with it. That area can be surrounded by shops and crafting related things? Physically making them the center of the towns is important to keeping them busy. Speaking of, maybe the Tavern is where you go to look at drawings for houses or clothing or weapons and armor? NOT BUY THEM, just look at drawings of them for refference. Maybe you can also access some herald like stuff from them? Now we have merchants and crafters involved but like cowbell “I gotta have more”!

Our ingredients are looking pretty good, but lets take it up a notch. SWG had combat fatigue. If CU had something similar it means dying a lot over time gives you wounds. Only a few points off of your health for example. But if you ignore those wounds and continue to die they add up. Soon your health is at 55 out of 100 because you have 45 wounds and were too lazy to get them fixed up. You can have those wounds healed up on the battlefield, or maybe you can go to the Tavern and have them healed up slightly faster by engaging in Tavern activities? So now we have social, we have fun, we have it benefitting other parts of the game, and we have some relevance. Wanna add a pinch of (to borrow a phrase) BSC, maybe when you die you come back to the taverns! Maybe not...

It’s a tricky balance. We want to drive people to the Taverns to enhance the social environment of the game, but we can’t make the tavern into a buff house. We need convenient and fun things to make players want to use them, but not feel like they HAVE to use them. “But why Tierfull? Why spend to much time and effort on fluff? After all the very idea of a bar brought the mighty EVE to it’s knees!” Actually it was a monocle, long story...btw get your facts straight imaginary audience!

Because it keeps people invested. It keeps them in CU and away from other forms of entertainment that might pull them away. It keeps CU feeling energized, populated, and like a living world. How many times have you logged into game X, went to the “main town” saw it was empty, thought the game was “teh lame now” and “dead” and logged out? As much as we all like to think we are Wolverine, we all forget that even Logan needs him some social interaction once in awhile. FYI I don’t think I’m Mr. Snikt. I think I’m Superman minus the powers, the muscles, the good looks, and with a beard...speaking of, “pop quiz hot shots” how does Superman shave? I dare you to figure it out without googling it!

Look, we are humans, and as much as we like to think otherwise, we are social animals, and it’s through our social interactions that we form bonds that get us to protect one another. Most, MOST of us have a need for social stuff at some point, and I believe that is why MOST of us play MMORPGs. They are personal, they are a community, and it’s the social interactions that make the experiences in them unique. If it isn’t the social aspect then what is it? I could kill, fight, craft, beat, etc in single player games. Heck, I can even play FPSs and have some social interactions. But those pale when compared to MMO-social. MMOs SHOULD take it to another level. They SHOULD give us a world to live in. They SHOULD make us interact and rely on one another but not for us, for themselves.

Social interactions are the glue of MMOs. When developers removed having to interact they unknowingly removed the glue that has kept players in their game. Back in the day you didnt leave a game, you made a damned life altering decision to abandon your friends! It was like moving to another country! I keep stressing MOST, I myself mostly solo and rarely get overly involved with guilds, but I think the majority of MMO players would agree, with me; fighting is fun, crafting is great, but the community is what keeps them coming back and nothing binds a community like a Tavern. (see I was bringing it back home, and to think you thought I was going off on another rant, psh, you offend me!)

#20 ? All: Death or Resurrection (there can be only one)

Posted by Tierless Monday May 20 2013 at 9:13PM
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What happens when we die in Camelot Unchained you ask? We’re all immortal so hakuna matata (leaves blog to watch the Lion King).

(comes back humming circle of life) Anyone else weirded out that Simba married his sister? First Luke and Leia now this, thats why I stick to MMOs, less weirdness. I still get emotional when Mufasa becomes one with the circle of life. I myself am extremely curious about the elements related to death. MJ mentioned we are immortal and as a result we need to expand our territories; he has also mentioned death must mean something so from that I deduced that death is in the game (just call me Tierless Holmes), and not just as some sort of unconscious or KOd or “temporary downed” state. FYI immortal DOES NOT mean you can’t die, it means if you aren’t killed by something you would live forever. I believe he also mentioned a little something about stealing souls...I decided to meditate (drink whiskey) on all of that and before I knew it I had the entire game figured out, see below...

Immortal-check, steal souls-check, ghost veil demons-check, important swords-check...somebody knows a secret, somebody knows a secret...I’m pretty sure I figured out MJ’s big secret regarding the “title” of the game. I transposed the numerical alphabetical sequence of the characters that make up the name “Camelot Unchained”. I divided all that by the number infinity a.k.a. immortality and added the number 10102001 ;) then divided all of that by 12 (the number of years since DAOC launched ;). Lastly I recomposed those numbers based on their alphabetical counterparts and I got this HHH AN DR LETIGER, which is OBVIOUSLY an ambigram for “The Highlander”!!! Coincidence? I think not! Bam! Tierless the freer of cats from bags! Personally I still think it’s gonna be Kitty Camelot Online a medieval sequel to the ever so popular Hello Kitty online. But the math doesn’t lie. Speaking of dead MMOs, back to the point of all of this nonsense, death in CU.

(Puts on flame resistant suit) Why do we need rez? Why even have it? If the worst thing that can happen to you in CU (other than having your home burned down) is death then why should we get a second chance via a rez? I’m not sure we should. Death certainly means more that way.


On the other side, how many times have we experienced the “OMG man you got the rez off just in time” “I knew if I could get you back we could beat them” “nicely done sir, nicely done”. How many epic rezzes have you seen? I’ve been through several and it does add a nice little “oh crap/epic rez is epic” moment to PVP.

I think the good outweighs the bad, but just barely. So what can we do? I can’t take credit for this one, this comes straight from the idea factory that is the KS chat stream. Allow rezzes, BUT, at a cost, a cost to the rezzer and the other members of the party/area. They all lose some life, to give some life. That creates a helluva decision doesn’t it? Do we rez this guy and risk losing too much health per person thus losing the fight, OR, do we let him lay and try beating them without our fallen comrade. And, AND....On top of that, when you die you are stuck in the veil for at the mercy of VWs and veil demons and whatever else lurks in that place (like hobbits). Die again while in the Veil and you can not be rezzed!

So, you're the best fighter in your group but you have a rep and are on the BH list and the pvp charts so you get ganged up on. You go down, your 4 friends are putting up a good fight but it’s a close one. Whilst in the chaos of battle they are questioning if they should rez you. Meanwhile you're running for your soul in the Veil. They think they can pull this off so they let you lay planning to rez you at the last second (or after they win the fight), but a VW is onto you! You're begging for the rez before the VW sends you packing, but the fight is soo close your friends aren’t sure it’s the right call. What a conundrum! I like it! Think of the excitement, the chaos, the intensity, the e-drama! Thank you CU community, we came up with a helluva complex and strategic way to do rezzing.


#19 Question Everything; Sub Models (lets talk about CEX)

Posted by Tierless Thursday May 16 2013 at 11:31AM
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Like people that wear Abercrombie & Fitch all the “cool” MMO’s are going FTP or BTP because, well, it’s the “cool” thing to do right? “MMOers just aren’t willing to pay a monthly sub anymore” right? Wrong, let me correct that statement, MMOers aren’t willing to pay a monthly sub for hot garbage. They are more than happy to pay a sub for a quality game. If you want subs again, make a game that has some calzones, that does something, that evolves this stagnant genre. BAM easy peasy, problem and solution, blog done... it’s never that easy is it?

I think CU can offer us something “new and innovative” in terms of throwing our money at CSE, but before we get to new age solutions, lets take a long hard look in the vision pool at a few of the “cool” current models.

RIFT is going FTP despite saying they never would, SWTOR went from SUB to FTP in less than 15 parsecs, GW2 was always banking on BTP, EVE is, well, doing whatever it is EVE wants to do because EVE marches to it’s own techno beat, WOW is SUB but hemorrhaging players like Lauzon in his fight against Miller (J-Lau is a beast btw /respect) and here comes brave little CU. The little MMO that could, still clinging to the “clearly outdated” ideals of the past with a subscription model. Can’t MJ see the writing on the scroll? The era of a sub based game has come and gone, even WOW can’t maintain subs! Surly CU has no chance! Who does this “MJ” think he is talking jive about the FTP model like he did!

I’m not a genius, or smart either, but I think I kinda sorta grasp how the FTP mini game works. You go FTP, 90% of your players never spend a dime, 8% spend a bit on things like bank slots (FYI I think limiting storage is the single most BS way to force people to spend, how about we just pay to be able to loot, and walk, and jump too?), and the remaining 2% buy every single thing in your cash shop. The problem is the % of people paying is very small right? So with each new FTP MMO taking a tiny percent of that tiny percent that pie starts to get stretched thinner than Nick Cage’s hair.


Eventually the mass of FTP titles will spread things so thin that they won’t make enough money to afford being free, at least thats the way I see it, please (I mean this), correct me if I am wrong.

FTP is how sub MMOs “jump the shark”. For MOST MMOs the conversion to FTP is a sad last ditch effort to save your game. Most of the time it’s the last stop before the dreaded purgatory that is “maintenance only” (libations to WAR just now). The reality is FTP is kinda like a tattoo, it sounded cool at the time but before you knew it you ended up with a permanent bullseye on your lower back, and getting it undone is painful, expensive, and generally just not worth the effort. Personally when I hear a game “went FTP” I picture that scene from Transformers the 80’s movie where Optimus Prime is on his deathbed (still gives me a lump in ma’ throat). Lets pass that  Matrix of MMO evolution to CU.

That brings me to the tasmanian tiger aka the standard $15 a month sub. The $15 a month model is completely out of touch with a genre built on gamers that are in their late 20’s to late 40’s. We of teh old have a lot going on in life, well...many of us do...(jobs, kids, bills, more bills, wives, extended family, life, pets, bills, etc., did I say bills?). It’s hard for us to justify putting down $15 a month then “maybe” getting a couple of hours a week in generic themepark Y right? So instead we go with FTP generic themepark X. The lesser of 2 generic MMO evils.

The easiest way to EARN, yes I said EARN our HARD EARNED money is make a game that is worth a damn. “Why not they PTP our generic MMO?” Because despite what your “focus groups” indicate, an amazing IP wrapped around a generic game does not = getting my moneys! I’m sure the IP alone does snag a lot of dedicated fans, but as much as I love (for ex.) Star Wars, I love MMOs more (just slightly). So for me to give you my moneys I need more than the IP, I need (this is the crazy part) an innovative MMO that does something to progress this genre, not keep it stagnant (hell at this point I would even be THRILLED with regression back to the old days of the UOs, DAOCs, SWGs, and EQs).

Stop blaming us and trying to convince yourselves “we” (as if we are legion) have decided the monthly sub no longer works. It’s not us, it’s you and your generiMMO. You don’t even make MMORPGs anymore, you make dressed up phone app cash sinks. They aren’t massive (all small instanced stuff), they are barely multiplayer (I can solo most of them with 0 reason to socialize) and they definitely aren’t Role Play Games (aviator shades and baseball caps in my medieval MMO, thats like Frodo wearing a Lebron James Jersey in LOTR to old schoolers like us). And while I’m at it, LEAVE MY CHILDHOOD ALONE MICHAEL BAY! Mraaaaaaaaaa!!!!


Ok, I’m back now...I can’t believe that vid has 12mill what was I...oh yes, my double secret MMO sub solution, I cleverly call it operation CU-Sub.

What method do I want to see in CU? Thats so easy it’s laughable, OBVIOUSLY I want the one that works best for MY lifestyle and I think you do too. The problem is we probably have very different lifestyles (what with me working as a part time ninja master/custom satchel maker/Brad Pitt body double and you doing whatever it is you do) so we need a few options. Giving us one pay option is SO 2002 right? Offer us 4 of them and let us decide which one works best for us. (yes I’m FINALLY getting to them :)

Each of my options has been influenced by the Kickstarter tiers. Each of them would come with various bonuses of some kind (see SWG veteran rewards for ex). Consider them “bonuses for dedication.” Each of my 4 options would also have couple, family, Guild etc. sub options.

Option 1 (Lifer): Yearly/Lifetime Subs. This one is perfect for that old schooler who is as loyal to their MMO as a black vulture to it’s mate (look it up). Pay X and get the game for a dollar a year for life. Or maybe you pay X and you get a year or two or three etc.

Option 2 (Busy Beaver): Pay by the hour or day. I got this idea from a gym membership I had in a past life. I purchased 30 days and went 3x a week. Each time I went they punched a day off my card. It works great for the people that are really busy. They don't want to pay $15 and only get 6 hours of played time logged in for the month, so instead they buy 6 hours every month (or more as needed). Maybe it’s a simple as every time they log in they get a credit card charge? Pay per log-in, PPLI! Now thats BSC amiright?

Option 3 (Kickstart my Sub): This concept is a little BSC. Pay per month, or months, $5, $8, $10, $15 (whatever amounts CSE feels comfortable with) BUT make each $ amount come with different bonuses. DO NOT have a “special” $50 a month sub that gives extra cool stuff, that would = rage quitting. Cap it at $15, after all, we’ve all done that amount prior right? So that way we don’t have to listen to complaints about how the sub is a cash grab that rewards the riches and shafts the poors. FYI IMHO a monthly sub is me giving you my money because I continue to like your product and expect some of my money to go back into said product. When you start using my money for other products, dedicated players tend not to react real well and yes that is a VERY large understatement (google “EVE players revolt” if you don’t believe me).

Option 4 (CEX, not to be confused with EVE’s PLEX or Rift’s REX or SEX) This is my BSC option, its basically what EVE does with PLEX, but tailored for CU. Its in game, it can be transported, looted, stored etc. Take what EVE has done with PLEX, change it to make it work better for CU, and utilize it in game. It sounds crazy but if it was modified and implemented correctly I think we would all enjoy CEX in CU. It would take CU PVP to another level of attachment and meaning. You can threaten the relm I’m proud of, you can kill the unique character I’m attached to, you can take my damn soul and forge a weapon to destroy the home and town I love, and now you can even take my hard earned CEX! Just thinking about it gives me pvp chills!

Thar you have it, my idea for CU is 4 different subscription options. Each slightly different, each designed to appeal to a different player. So, do any of them work? Do they all fail? Am I BSC? Please, educate me in the comments below.


#18 Question Everything: Levels, Who needs em?

Posted by Tierless Friday May 10 2013 at 12:01AM
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This one is near and dear to my little black heart. Levels, WTF? Levels were invented to keep us paying a bit longer, they were never meant to be more important than the overall game. The drive to get us alting and leveling multiple characters has overtaken the drive to give us something to do once we level those alts. Hell, it seems like most MMOs have been launching with a tacked on or unfinished ending, but man, that leveling was sure swell (until I did it 5x and quit to do it in another game)! If you had put all that time into making a great game world to live  in first, then figured out how to tack on some sort of leveling system that rewards us based on doing stuff in that game world it would be a whole different story (ah, now thats an idea ;) Instead they are putting most of the time and resources into the part we rush through the fastest and remember the least, levels.

I’m oldschool, in my day MMOs were about the stories you made for yourself, not about the zones full of scripted quests telling you what a hero you are for killing 10 elite rats. You played MMOs to get to the end, that was where the real gameplay was. Reversing that has sent this genre into a tailspin. I don’t just think levels are a thing of the past, I consider them “that annoying thing I have to do to get to the end game”, end game being the reason I play MMOs, to do fun stuff in a cool world full of friends and enemies, and get cool rewards like unique decor or the pleasure of burning my enemies house down.

I keep seeing posts like “am I over MMOs, why aren’t MMOs doing it for me, have I moved on” etc. No, it’s not you, it’s them! You get bored and move on after leveling because the entire game is leveling, after you do it you have little reason to stick around. Worst of all, the mechanisms to keep us are grindy token currency systems. Back in my day that grindy stuff had a different name, not tokens, we called it leveling (and we did it barefoot foot, uphill, both ways, in snow storms with a bad ethernet cable)! Leveling was the grind, endgame was the reward!

(cough, cough, cough, sneezzzzze) DAMN ALLERGIES! now where was I...ah bear with me here were about to take the blue pill (or was it the red one?) and travel down that rabbit hole covered in weird reflective mirror plasma. I ask you to bear with me, I need to set up some background first. FYI I do not currently play EVE (I’ve spent about 3 months in EVE total, sorry, I’m an avatar guy), but I respect what CCP has done with it

How familiar are you with EVE’s system? EVE’s system does 2 things that no other MMO does. 1. It completely removes the leveling journey. The second you step into EVE (after the tutorial) you do whatever you enjoy, you don't have to be concerned with leveling. As a result EVE was able to be built entirely for the “gameplay circle” which consists of (remember this it’s important) resourcing, crafting, building, fighting, and expanding, the “what do they do with their time” and it gets its players involved with that right from day one. That is genius!

2. It’s pretty easy for me to walk away from a GW2 toon or a SWTOR toon since leveling was quick and easy I can always do it again if I have to. It was a script, I didn't really “do” anything, I just played out the script. EVE skills level in real time. Once I have started to acquire several respectable ones I realize I put piles of real time into my character. Not to mention, while that was happening I was playing the game, doing whatever I wanted to, real consequential stuff! No wonder EVE retains so well, it’s damn hard to walk away from hours of real time levels and true game playing experiences. (Dont worry Im not planning a real time level system but hang in here, it’s going somewhere shortly)

EVE’s system has another huge advantage over the GW2 type system. After a fairly small time investment you can contribute (with your friends) to just about every aspect of EVE. You don’t hear “sorry bro you gotta level first”. GW2 came soo soo close with the down leveling PVE and up leveling PVP but they still fell short. They needed to get rid of levels entirely and just have XP unlock some small stat increases, and new moves not unlike how you can unlock new skills with the points you acquire by doing stuff in the world (there's that crazy idea again, we must be close). It feels like they had it, then someone said “woawoawao, not having levels might freak people out” so they threw them in to keep things nice and familiar.

“So Cryless, what is your genius idea for CU, as usual I see a lot of roar with little explanation?” Well, I’m flattered reader but I wouldn’t call it genius, I appreciate the compliment, but I’d say it's average at best, more logical than genius really. Step 1. Build the game world first, make the “endgame” first, give players reasons to want to hang around and live in the world first! 2. Work backwards from that. Make gaining XP based on doing stuff in the game world. Not scripted quests, but on the activities that the game revolves around ex. resourcing, crafting, building, fighting, expanding ;) 3. That XP doesn’t go into character levels. No character levels, just skill levels (ok everyone just freaked out)! I’ll explain.

Every player starts CU with a few base skills and respectable core stats. You unlock new skills by filling your “skill bar with XP” (NO LEVEL BAR). Once you fill the skill bar you get to pick 1 new skill from a variety of them, each new skill also comes with a slight stat increase (you also get an animation and ding noise so it looks like you just got more badass. (I gotta have a ding! EVE has no ding, thats lame!). You start badass and capable, as you put time in you gain skills and small stat increases so you are eventually more badass, but not so badass that a new player can’t threaten you. You keep the gap between old and new tight with very slight advantages to the more experienced player. 4. I don't have a 4, because I don't need a freakin 4! Ok, 4. How will skills work?

The skill system works best in pyramid fashion, it resembles this image from SWG but it is NOT the swg system I’m talking about, its just a nice layout to base my example off of.

With my system you would have (for ex) 20 level 1 skills for 1000XP each. You get 1000XP by doing lots of stuff and pick one of the 20. Now you start at 0 XP and work toward 1000 again, except in the tree where you got that level 1 skill you have access to the level 2 version of that skill, but not it costs 2000Xp. So you decide, do I wait for the 2k one or do I go for another 1k right away? Extra kicker here, each class has a limited # of skill points, each box takes a point. So you can’t max every single box, you end up picking skills that will dictate how your character plays. It is similar to the SWG system, but not exactly. It also borrows from the GW2 skill point system (like I said, they were sooooooo close). FYI this is a SLOW climb. You will have to put time in to gain more skills (ie. play the game), fortunately if you don't have time, with this system you won’t be gimped, just not quite as badass. Also you can always just pay cash for skill ups to even things out...kidding, I said I’m kidding! I DESPISE pay to win, but I bet I had ya for a second?

Hopefully I didn’t conffuzzle everyone, hopefully all of that makes sense...With this system you would have similar classes that play different based on the skills they have maxed. It gives us variety within the classes and forces us to make tough choices on which skills we want. New players have enough core stats to be a threat and contribute from day one, but they lack the skill diversity to control the fight as well as some stats. When you select a skill and click learn you hear a ding and your character does a special animation! I love me some ding!

“But Tiermore, how will we know who is leveled and who isn’t without player levels” We don’t, why should we? If you wanna know who to run from you can check leader boards. In game NO ONE has a little number by their character, no one knows exactly what skills you have or how high you leveled them, and that is a beautiful thing. Fight cautiously, you never how your opponent will fight or what skills they possess. Exciting isn't it? It also keeps us from OMG hes a lvl 90 run! It encourages more challenges and less running.

Yeah, its hard as hell to build a great world first, its a lot easier to work something as orderly as levels, but CU isn't about the script written for us, its about the script we are writing for ourselves, through our journeys and experiences in the game. So, good, bad or just plain confusing?


#17 Question Everything: Game Intro

Posted by Tierless Thursday May 9 2013 at 9:49AM
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Continuing with my question everything theme, lets question MMORPG intros. What we are used to seeing is some sort of cut scene, some sort of “we’re relying on you, the heroest of heroes, the hero other heroes look up to”. Then the game loads, your standing in a starter zone, and you walk 5 feet to the quest giver (they reminds you the world is on your broad heroesque shoulders), snag it, then kill 5 rats-like only a hero can.

I haven’t seen much of an improvement on that in the last 10 years. It’s your first ingame impression after character creation and you just made yourself look typical. So, what can we do different?

Maybe we take a Skyrim like approach. A cut scene of your character at a Tavern, or walking down a dark alley. You are jumped by 3 cloaked figures with an opposing relm’s symbol on their chest, screen goes black, you wake up in the middle of nowhere, literally out in the middle of the wilderness and go, play, survive, get back to your main city.

Another bump on the head approach here. You awaken, dazed, screen slowly comes into focus. You're in a fighting arena/pit/circle (scale and type depending on race). You have a weapon and a NPC is coming toward you. Kill the NPC and you are freed and moved into the city to start the game. Die and you repeat until you win. It’s a tutorial like intro so you're probably not going to die.

Crafter, we can’t forget about our crafters now can we? They can’t fight in a pit, but maybe they can craft an item to help them escape, craft a trap to KO a NPC, take it’s keys and get out, make something to bring a wall down, or even awaken in a cave, mining pick in hand?

Wanna play with the Veil and drive up some relm hate? You load into the game and you're on trial, in one of the opposing relm’s capital cities! You were caught spying or maybe you were captured on the battlefield. You are sentenced to banishment to the desert Moses style, paraded through the streets, spat on, cursed, whipped, assaulted then finally thrown out of the gates, death is not a question, you will not live long, this is known. You run out of food and water and “die” into the veil. Find your way through it and end up at your relm city, beaten battered and bruised but alive!

Maybe you’re sentenced to death. You stand in a line with your realm mates and watch as a shooting squad slamms arrows into you and your friends. You load into the veil but are horrified when you realize you are reliving the capture and murder of your friends and family! You stumble through the veil witnessing the carnage that the other realms have brought to your people, you emerge, dazed, battered, bleeding, but back at your Relm city.

Drive up realm pride right from the start!

Maybe it’s just a dreamy intro, well animated (something like the 5 minute short Star Wars Clone Wars from several years ago). As the history of the veil ripping, your people suffering, your leader emerging, the wars starting, flash by you the dream gets darker and darker until a dragon kills you, you enter the veil, and feel strangely calm until you realize your soul is getting away from you. You start to chase it down but never quite catch it, finally you fall down pit too deep to exist in the real world. When you hit bottom you're on a pile of skulls, your people’s! This is the fate that awaits them if you don’t stop the other realms! Your character awakens in a bed in a tent/barracks/street/etc. You’ve seen the history, seen what the other realms have done to yours, seen the future if you don’t join the war effort, it’s time to make the other realms feel the fear you just did!

So here is a twist. We want new players to get some XP in a safer place before they are thrown to the wolves right? So maybe for the first 5 lvls (or whatever CSE decides on as the amount of lvling needed before leaving the BG to the main world) everyone is the same faction. You're in "training". You go to the BG, pick a temporary side, and fight it out. When not in the BG you're all running around together. You all start at the same place, kinda like a mists from GW2 but it's your Veil Journey or something. Then once you get enough XP you go on a "vision quest" and conclude by picking one of the 3 relms. You're "born" into the main world and you go on with the game from there. I like the idea of possibly having to fight people you played with prior. “We used to be friends but now you went TDD so I have to kill you sry bro”

This last one is probably my personal favorite. We see the video intro about the past, and about the hell the other relms have brought down against yours, and bam you load into the game, you're in a trench on a 3 way battlefield (its the starter open world battlefield). You spawn in, see other people in trenches not too far from you, go fight kill XP! No tutorial. Literally being thrown on the battlefield and forced to survive right from the first experience of the game.

All of my concepts have a dark tone, well, personally I feel like war is dark, it’s gritty, it’s sad, and it’s horrifying. It also brings people together like nothing else. I wanted to convey the dire situation, show us what our people have been through, and give us motivation to fight right from the beginning. If I had to put it in a sentence it would be, this is your history, this is why you should hate these guys so go kill them.

So those are a few ideas from a guy with a computer (and frankly I think they are too safe and not nearly outside the box enough), I bet you have a computer, what are some of your ideas?


#16 Question Everything: Character Creation

Posted by Tierless Wednesday May 8 2013 at 11:24AM
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You only get 1 first impression, well, character creation (i'm calling it CC here, hes I know that crowd control, but bear with me this one time) is your first chance to impress a player. I’m sure a few overzealous players /random through this asap the first time, but I’m confident most of us aren’t of that mindset. To me the cc is my first chance to see what kind of developer I really have. Marketing be damned, you can tell a lot by cc if you look a little deeper. Below I’ll look at what I think of as the worst CC, the best CC, and finally some ideas for CU.

SWTOR, ah SWTOR, you are always my favorite example or the worst of the worst aren’t you? AAA, next Gen, even average? No. Shallow, bad looking, and all around under developed, from the options to the races, everything felt dead and unfinished. Expectation is a bitch and a MMO with a price tag like SWTOR has me expecting something better. I expected more than a variety of human races with skin tone changes. The cyborg race, WTF? They could have had cybernetic options for all the races and made it look like they did something neat, instead they tried to pass them off as an entire race, and it only served to expose just out of touch the rest of the game was.

EVE, my gawd this EVE cc! Amazing, the best I’ve seen! Sliders galore. You can really push the system for some unique looks. The sad irony of it all, your character is essentially useless. You only get to see them when you're walking around your closet with the eternally locked door. What a cruel joke CCP played on us with this one! Give us WIS you curs! Great system, lots of variety, and you can make a character look like just about anyone.

EVE WIS rant aside. SWTOR was cookie cutter blah. EVE was really impressive, some of the slider controls were odd since you actually grab a part and stretch it, but it made for a very unique feeling, almost like an extremely low end version of some of the clay modeling programs. It felt like you shaped your being. SWTOR on the other hand felt like I put some paper cloths on a paper doll.

So what can CU do different and better? From what MJ has said they plan to do a variety of races that basically go, normal, interesting, extreme, that is a fantastic start! Right off the bat, as many options for hair, skin, tattoos, weight, height, etc as they can fit in along with sliders for everything would be epic! I gotta have more sliders!

I have 0 code knowledge but I assume the following is done for code reasons. I never understand why we are always limited to for ex. 8 hairstyles. Why not just have a hair slider so you can make it the length you want? The WWE games have some pretty deep character creators to reference. I don’t expect a MMO to go as hardcore as they do, but it’s a good reference point. Just look at what some of the crazy talented people from the WWE community have been able to make with that cc, it’s really impressive.

I’m not crazy, I’m fully aware that in an MMO most of our play time is spent fairly zoomed back, looking at your toons back side, which is covered from head to toe in armor. Details aren’t exactly the most important factor once you put the character into practice, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important! We don’t need sliders for ear hole sizes, nothing that extreme, but we need to feel like we made something special for ourselves. Retention has a lot of factors, but if you can get your new players to feel like they made a special character, unique to them, you're already headed down the right path. It’s easy to walk away from a generic character in generic gear that everyone else has, it’s harder to walk away from MY custom made, personal character.

#15 The End of Segregation!

Posted by Tierless Tuesday May 7 2013 at 11:56PM
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Your side vs my side, or maybe it’s 3 sides all driven by conflicting goals, or maybe it’s good vs evil. I’m not sure exactly when it happened but at some point MMO devs decided the best way to have a war is a clear division of sides/factions/races/relms. Ironically it was around the same time that the War in MMORPGs changed direction and headed to “everyone gets a trophy without any consequences”.

You wanna question everything, lets start here. So why? Why do we have sides? We don’t need them. The nice thing about people is if you put X amount of us on an island we will quickly break into mobs/gangs/factions, war is soon to follow. We don’t need someone saying “hey you, yeah you, you're Horde, I’m Alley so we have to fight ok?”. Give us the freedom and I promise you will see conflicts, factions be damned!

Factions are kind of like realtors, no one really needs them, they just make the process easier. My best experience with this was SWG. SWG had Rebel vs Imperial, but it also had unique flagging and guild war systems. Even if you were Reb or Imp you didn’t show up on anyones radar unless you turned yourself PVP active. The nice thing about this was the random fights that broke out. I can’t tell you how many times I would be peacefully hanging out in the cantina when in would walk a few overt Rebs. Silly rebs. They would strut around talking smack and daring Imps to go overt and fight them. 99% of the time a bar fight broke out, that spilled into the street and that spilled into the town and before we knew it a mass battle erupted and the whole town was being lit up. It was a beautiful thing.

You also had the choice to feud with another guild. Once you got into a guild war you were KOS to one another. Again, me innocently waiting in line for my buffs before I went out to grind Rancors for cash, when I see a red dot on my map! Before I knew it my guild was in a battle right in the middle of the star port! You just never knew when you might run into trouble. No matter where you were you always had a bit of the unknown in the back of your head keeping you on guard.

I even had one friend, not surprisingly the same one that told me all about DAOC, that was a Trando Bounty Hunter. He was pretty much ALWAYS flagged for PVP! I wasn’t that brave, plus I usually wore fancy dress clothes when I wasn’t geared for battle lol.

Even if we didn’t have Imps or Rebs I guarantee we would have seen alliances form and conflict arise. It’s what happened in UO, EVE, Darkfall etc. I’m kind of surprised that more devs haven’t gone with a similar system. It seems like it would be a lot easier to develope 1 world, 1 starter city/zone/etc than the current model of doing 1 for every faction. I like the idea that you start out part of the same nation, same place, same time and you go into the world, lvl, join guilds, make enemies, flag and start pvping. An added bonus to this process is that when players aren’t flagged they can be around one another. It made for some great spying back in the day. See a guy walk into a bar, overhear him talking to a guild about going out to grind some faction quests (faction quests flagged you). Msg your friends, follow the guy, wait for him to flag, and give him a proper mauling. It’s no wonder so many ruthless feuds started in SWG! Thats some cold stuff right there!

People don’t need reasons to war, if history has shown us 3 things it’s that people excel at the 2 f’s. Fighting and F***ing, and no one is unkillable (I’m looking at you Lord British).

So I ask you my CU brethren, why even have realms in CU?


#14 Jabbando says it's gonna be a long 2 years!

Posted by Tierless Tuesday May 7 2013 at 2:11PM
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Welp, I spose I need to find maself a game to fill in the next two years. I’ve done this several times in the past so I decided to make a requirement list and try to zero in on the MMO for me. Below are the features I look for in a MMO.

In no particular order:

1. Unique Character Creation; 2. Consequences; 3. Meaningful PVP; 4. Able to effect the game world; 5. Housing; 6. Cosmetics; 7. Player Crafter Economy; 8. Bounty System; 9. RP Server; 10. No carrots on sticks dangling over hamster wheels; 11. Horizontal Progression; 12. Open World

...Things look pretty grim already...lets see what I like to do in a MMO, maybe that will open some doors for me. I usually lvl and frequent 2 or 3 characters on an RP server. I don’t RP too often but the RP servers are usually full of more mature, loyal, entertaining folks. It’s like free player made content to me. I will RP if I feel like it, and my characters are all created with a very specific path/character in mind.

I usually step into a new game to conquer, fight, loot, fight, get cool clothes (not armor, cloths), and fight more. My first character is usually my serious PVP guy. Learn the game, learn to fight, make money fighting. I’m on a mission, conquer and get rich doing it, ruthless mercenary style. Usually a ranged bow class; I sit back, watch, learn, set targets, snipe.

My second character is usually made after I’ve gotten the feel for the game and I have decided a particular class intrigues me. This character is usually a solo collector type. I go about picking up anything I think is interesting, usually to wear or display in a home. I prefer to get things then give them to my other characters if those things fit them. I usually use the income my PVP toon built up to fund my collection desires. A really good solo class works best for this type of play. Less serious, but goal oriented, I like to think of this character similar to Dark Obi Wan.

My last character, this is when I’m long in the tooth in played time and I feel like I need a little change of pace. He is sort of like a character out of the movie Goodfellas combined with Han Solo. Always looking to make a deal to make a buck on something, but he’s not much for violence. I log in, spend time in social places, make wagers, find stuff for people or sell some of the stuff my collector has. My goal is a carefree good time. I go about interacting with people and try to entertain myself. This character makes for a good alt when the first one gets in deep with a good PVP guild and becomes more serious. I rarely lvl this character very far, most of the time I put into this one is basically finding creative ways to play the game without really playing the game the way I’m supposed to.

If you didn’t notice my characters work in unison. #1 gets the cash, #2 uses that cash to get unique items ex. a rare painting he grinded for, #3 Networks and sells said unique items. My ideal MMO would allow me to set up that sort of mini game for myself. It’s a pretty odd playstyle and it takes a pile of work so I don’t expect most games to make is possible, but I think it also says a lot about the whole “world to play in vs world to live in” concept. When I had the freedom of a world to live in I ended up creating my own game within the game, and I absolutely loved it.

When I’m not playing my triple threat character cycle I likes me some alting...a lot of alting....I loves me alts! Always have, always will. To me classes and races in a new MMO are like Pokemon, gotta try em all!

It’s probably my one true OCDish game thing and it drives my friends crazy!

Friend:“WTF are you doing, we agreed to re-roll so we could lvl together and we’re all lvl 20 and you have like 8 lvl 5’s, we can’t wait for you, pretty soon you won’t be able to play with us at all!”

Tierless: “Sorry man, I still have like 3 combos to try, did you know the female undead rogue has a custom eviscerate flip animation?”

Friend: “They do, hmm my rogue just spins in a circle”

Tierless: “Lame, this chick does an uber flip, very cool looking”

Friend: “Maybe I’ll re-roll, no! You always do this to us! Lvl up or we’re lvling without you!”

Tierless: “I already told you, this is what I like to do in MMOs, and I never said I wanted to re-roll and lvl as a group. Everytime I try to do that you all leave me behind because I can’t log in as much time, and I’m cool with that. As odd as it sounds, this is what I like to do. I can always catch you in the end, don’t worry about it, I’m glad you wanna lvl with me but I’m enjoying myself, I’m not much of a instance guy anyway.”

Friend: “Dude, instances are the fastest way to lvl right now!”

Tierless: Bah, you just don’t get it, I don’t care about lvling, I’m more worried about stuff like aesthetics.

Friend: You just dont get it, it’s about lvling-the best class-the fastest-so you can get the best gear and be a badass!

Tierless: I don’t care about gear!

Friend: You just don’t get it!

(we agreed that neither of us “get” what the other likes to do in MMOs and moved on)

Yes that is an actual transcript from my WOW days. Yes I caught them in the end. Yes the female undead evis (I think it was evis, maybe the stun, hard to remember-Im old) was a badass backflip or frontflip (again, the age). No my friend never re-rolled, but he always said he wished he had lol. Oh youth, we were jut 2 different people that wanted entirely different things from our MMOs. He wanted to be Darth Vader and I wanted to be a Jabba/Lando hybrid. Now days everyone is the leet hero or villain, and all of us Jabbandos got left in the dust. I understand why, it’s easy to define a hero or villain, but a complex character like Jabbando, that would require some inventive systems, and we all know how much more work inventing is than rehashing and so we end our journey where we always do.../Rage at the genre for making everyone the epic Hero or Villian (“pop quiz hot shot”, if EVERYONE is the hero, doesn’t that mean NO ONE is the hero? Food for thought. Points for the reference ;)

What was my point....oh yeah, to find a game that would allow me to be Jabbando. From what I can tell this game called Star Wars Galaxies would be perfect, but it was sacrificed so that it’s brother from another mother could snag a few thousand more subs for a few months (From launch to FTP in less than 15 parsecs!).

...hmm...(slurps coffee) Yeeeah, I’m gonna need ya to help me out with this one. I can’t think of 1 single game that fits even a few things from my criteria. I’m not asking for a dead ringer, but just a few would be nice...still got nothin, I think it’s gonna be a long, loooooong two years for all of the Jabbandos of the genre...


#13 I hate Your Chili But I Love My Tannoki Chili!

Posted by Tierless Monday May 6 2013 at 4:13PM
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I love thinking about MMOs and coming up with ideas for MMOs as much as actually playing MMOs and last time I checked we were in prime idea country for Camelot Unchained right about now! Like hunting season in the midwest just about everything is open game and just about nothing is safe. But be careful, deer may look all cute and friendly but just like an idea they can turn on you at any moment and before you know it you're fleeing for your life.

I can’t stress this enough, at this point we can bring up ANYTHING, and no matter how scary it sounds at first, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you, dont freak out! Now is the time to acquire ideas, beat em up, break em down, build em back up, and discuss them in a civil, constructive manner. Why not? We don’t need to worry about any of the details for a year right? “The media is the message” and my message is don't freak out if an idea comes up that threatens you, your class, your favorite MMO feature, etc. It’s just talk. Don’t be afraid to talk about it if it makes you uncomfortable. That is usually the best way for people with the idea to understand it on a deeper level and adjust it so it functions on multiple levels without becoming a “quit point” for someone else.

Want tiny pink polkadot flying elephantduck mounts? Suggest it. Want giant dwarves? Bring them up. Want a race of murderous bipedal deer warriors? Ask. Have an idea for an expansion like Trails of Atlantis? Ok, keep that one to yourself...Like a Friday Night in Vegas, anything (other than TOA) goes.

The other night I had a dream I was talking to Yoda about this very blog (FYI Dream Yoda didn’t like SWTOR either). Dream Yoda said it best: To question; the way of intelligence this is. Fear; a treacherous path to ignorance this is. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Yoda, how it is possible you have the internet? All Star Wars fans know the only moderately good reason for being unawares of Yoda’s magnifilousness is that you have had 0 access to technology since May 25, 1977! And for the three of you, I’ll translate, Intelligence Questions, Ignorance Fears.

Make no mistake, we will see some ideas rise and some fall. We will see some ideas that we all love that don't make it, and some we didn't like make it, and we will see some things happen because they just have to. Please, please for the love of Yggdrasil remember that ideas are like homemade chili, each one is slightly different, and all of them are dear to the person that cooked it, so be nice, be considerate, and be constructive (yes I get very attached to my chili, I mean, my gawd! I cook that stuff for days on low heat, monitoring it, checking on it, nurturing it like a small child, I can’t help but get attached!). We’re a small community, 15kish, it does us no good to infight and break one another down. We have to work together to help make this game as good as it can me.

The beauty of a MMO is that it is in a state of constant change. Over time anything can and will happen. Ideas will come and go, rise and fall, leave and return. It’s our job to help make it a little easier for CSE by preparing our ideas for the Camelot Unchained chili pot. Speaking of CSE, I pity them so. A Megatsunami of ideas is about to come crashing down upon them. They will have to sort out the wreckage, they will have to make the tough decisions, they will have to be the night man, sneaky and mean, plaguing our creative MMO concept dreams!

The best we can do is /bow, politely inquire as to why a concept was thrown off the island faster than we could say Richard Hatch and hopefully, eventually, we will get an answer. If not, don’t cry, dry your eye and realize that the task of sorting out peoples ideas is hard as hell and CSE is about to begin one of the most monumental tasks in gaming history, trying to make 15 thousand hard core dedicated customers (that already paid you their money) happy! I get chills just thinking about it! Customers are bad enough BEFORE they make a purchase! The second we hit 2mill and Amazon put our transactions through (yes amazon, you conveniently worked at that point during the KS didn't you?) it was like we all got hit with a MASSIVE -25 to patience de-buff. Like stray cats that your grandma decided to feed, we just keep prowling about begging for more, but no matter how much MJ gives us (see Mark-A-Thon) we are never satisfied, and we won’t be until beta starts, and then, until the game launches, and then, until the first Xpac, and second, etc. etc. etc. CU2! Where does it end? It’s, no this isn't isn’t madness, This Is MMORPG GAMERS!  It’s just how we roll amiright?

Things look a lot different from the CSE side of the glass don’t they? Our side is nice and comfy and cozy, not to mention our padded walls keep us from being hurt by anything other than other backers, but on the other side the responsibility and the pressure is monumental! As Sam Jackson (aka the best Jedi ever) would say, “be cool”.

Yeah I know that wasn’t in english, somehow it seemed slightly even more epic that way.

Ok so what did we learn? Lets review:

1. It’s Idea time, any and everything is open for discussion, even stealth, rezzing, and duck death bombs!

2. Everyone has ideas, most people are attached to theirs, so be nice while crushing one another's dreams over the next couple years.

3. CSE unknowingly opened Pandora's box (no not that planet from the movie with giant blue cat people, Pandora=stray alley cat=the backers, box=cat food=Camelot Unchained). We’re never going away now, NEVA!

3.6. (Ha! You didn’t even know I would use numbers like this did you? You were all “what’s next  #4? Maybe, maybe a few of you were like #3.5?”. Hah again! I’m like a Veil Walker, just when you thought you had me I pull a big 3.6 outta the veil and totally surprise you!) This blog is like Jurassic Park my friends, so “hold onto your butts”. Now where was I...oh, 3.6. Just Cheeeeel. Be cool man, be cool. If we’re 2 weeks from launch and we're still having these discussions it’s time to freak out a bit. Right now, lets do what we’ve been doing, smile on each other, everybody come together and support one another, right now; by theorycrafting on what we think can make CU the coolest thing since the Tanooki suit costume with drawstring tail wagging action!

#12 Super Mario Cooks MMO Chili!

Posted by Tierless Saturday May 4 2013 at 11:17AM
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I need all of my readers to go on a little journey with me. I need all of you to turn up your volume and click the following link. I know I’m asking alot, but please, indulge me.

Now close your eyes, and think back a couple...ok a few....ok...several...ok we’re old! A long time ago to a place that will, at first glance, seem like happiness and flowers, that place is the Mushroom Kingdom, that game is Super Mario Bros (side note: it’s been a long standing rumor that Luigi was unhappy living in the shadow of his big broski, but I have it on good authority that, like Arn Anderson to Ric Flair, Luigi is a man of honor, proud to help his brother for the greater good of the Mushroom kingdom.)

The reason I say “at first glance, seem like happiness and flowers” is because just about everyone who clicked that link went on a brief trip down nostalgia lane. But let me remind you of a few things. You started with 3 lives, THREE, if you lost all of them (and didn’t know the secret start button cheet that sometimes worked ;) it was game over-start from the very beginning, again! That is old school gangster! Speaking of, I wonder whatever happened to that kid from Wizard...

If you even mention a mechanic like that now days devs and players alike would freak out! I firmly believe to have success in the future you have to be aware of the past, you don’t have to respect it, you don’t have to like it, but always remember where you came from. I’m not saying I agree with that mechanic, and I can confirm that many a /ragequit was the result of starting over, but I respect it and I realize that in spite of it, Mario did ok.

At this point I was going to make a Mario to MMO analogy, but I had it pointed out to me that doing so would be like comparing Apples to Kryptonian Oranges. It’s just too much of a stretch considering how far games have come, so instead I’ll compare MMO development to something that makes a lot more sense, good Chili!

If you tried to take a bunch of random ingredients, throw them in a pot, cook em’ on high, and eat them they aren’t gonna taste the best. To make GOOD chili one has to start with quality ingredients, then one must correctly prepare said ingredients. After that you have to combine those ingredients in a pot and slowly cook them on low temperature for what seems like an eternity. As your home beings to smell more and more like heaven you will be tempted to eat the chili early, but you can’t! Not if you want great chili. Great chili takes time! So you wait, and the longer you wait the more those quality ingredients come together into one homogeneous scrtrumulescent bowl of awesome, aka great chil!

That exact same process applies to MMORPGs. “Frankly Tierless I think you're full of E-Waste, I just don’t see how these two things relate to one another” Ok fine, I was hoping for the easy-out but I’ll elaborate a bit further. To make a good MMO you have to start with good, refined ideas. You have to prepare them, then bring them into the game, make sure everything balances out, try them over an extended period of time to, and hopefully, in the end they all come together to form a great game. Bam! Mario to Chili to MMOs! “But Tierless I hate most people’s Chili, I only like my own” Good point, also like MMOs almost no 2 chilis taste the same, and people tend to be very opinionated on what “good” chili is. For example I like ma’ chili like a soup, with lots O’ tomatoes; my hombre likes her chili like a thick paste with lots O’ meat, and we hate one another’s chili.

So how do we find a solution that works for both of us? Well, we don’t, but that explanation will require a blog of it’s own because I have more important things to do than write a blog about a game, like playing a game...or at least watching vids of people playing a game. You see all this nostalgia made me want to que up some good ole’ Mario vids. Lord knows I’d hook up my old NES but due to allergies blowing into the console and/or game cartridge to get in functioning would induce a coughing fit of doom ;) so I’ll settle for the next best thing. Don’t fret, my blog on idears is coming soon. (side note, anyone else amazed that in an era without the interwebs the secrets of the Nintend-blow managed to traverse this vast country and even the entire known gaming WORLD!?!?)

Until next time I leave you with some pleasure for your ears.


#11 The Times They Are A Changin; A Hole in the Veil

Posted by Tierless Thursday May 2 2013 at 10:11PM
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Did you feel that? I felt it. I think a lot of you did too. Most of the time things change slowly and no one really notices until they look back in reflection. Once in awhile history leaves us an exclamation point that speaks directly to the change of an era. The Berlin wall coming down, ABC canceling TGIF, WOW launching, Simon leaving American Idol, and now Camelot Unchained. Yes indeed, sometimes the writing is vague and mysterious, and sometimes its written boldly on the wall, or in this case, on the Kickstarter comments wall ;)

We did it, all of us. I’ll admit my view of people isn’t the best. I’ve seen a lot of the dark side and I’m a news junkie, sadly those two factors sort of go hand in hand these days. I truly did not expect what I saw happen with Camelot Unchained. I watched a few posters on this site morph into a few thousand posters on the KS morph into (at this moment) 14,873 strangers that came together for one common goal. We put our trust, and our money in the hands of a man that was practically blacklisted from the genre all for the hope that he makes the game so many of us have been asking for since November 23, 2004 when our genre shifted away from the old school niche into the mainstream.

Anyone who doubts Mark Jacobs passion, drive, and honesty, please watch his emotional “funded” speech, followed by skipping sleep for an entire night (despite a month of late nights and long shifts) to interact with backers on the KS chat and (this is the good part) ask our opinions on some ideas, which he then adjust as per our request. Hell, I couldn’t stay awake if I had tried, and here is Mark Jacobs filming ANOTHER thank you after a 24 hour marathon of CUing! That guy still knows how to grind out a level! (Now he needs to learn how to avoid my Veil Stalker! In time Jacobs, all in good Time...;) Speaking of, I don't see BSC stealth on the stretch goals, I suppose thats because its...stealthed (cocks eyebrow).

So what does this mean for the genre? THAT WOW’s DAYS ARE NUMBERED!...I kid, I kid. This humble blogger feels that we just saw a teeny tiny hole in the veil that is the status quo. CU funding sends a message to all the grizzled old devs that miss making playable art rather than revolving cash shops! The kind that liked making worlds to live in! The kind with calzones made from extra deep dish pizza! The kind that are just crazy enough to brave uncertainty, but just sane enough to pull it off! It tells them “hey, you should check this out broski and/or broskette, why don’t you do that, people love your games, your fans are even crazier than DAOC’s, why do you need to sign away your creative soul and rely on some umbrella corp to fund your dream game?” That sounds pretty cool right? Well, in the words of Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson, “we’ll see”. If any of the KS games crash and burn this whole social experiment could disappear in an instant. I certainly hope they all develop well and ship to the projected success that they aspired to. Variety is good for gaming, this is a way for us to get more of it.

I don’t truly hate corporations, more like I hate how the corporate structure often results in the sacrifice of quality in order to increase profits. I understand where they are coming from. They have investors, investors want to see stock go up or they go away. So with piles of rich people glaring at your every move, do you A. Pile money into the riskiest original game concept possible? or B. Pile money into the safest bet you can make knowing even if the game sinks that due to the IP you will move enough boxes to call it a success even if you see a mass exodus of players 3 months after launch and end up free to play faster than the Falcon on a Kessel run. It’s a bad system, one that the industry, and frankly the country might do well to get creative with; see Nordic Countries. Those Vikings were great at pillaging, and apparently even better at avoiding financial catastrophe through revolutionary creative ideas...weird, I think I just described CCP to a T.

Back to us. WE ROCK, self high fives all around. No one person did this, no group of people did it either. It takes a community to raise an MMO, and raise we did. We blew right past the 2mill onto a couple of stretch goals-including archers (thank god I love my twangy twangs). So what does this mean? Taking a page from Max Lucado (In the Eye of the Storm); The Old Man and the White Horse, “no one knows” but I think I already got the price of the box out of the game. You can put a price on entertainment, but you can’t put a price on the numerous moments that all of us shared together over the last month here on MMORPG and in the KS comments section. Sorrow, sickness, drama, scandal, levity, creativity, cooperation, and even a birth just to name a few! It’s been a hullva ride, and this was just the beginning! I can’t wait to see what the next 2 years that I think about it, hopefully a new computer, in all my CUcitement I seem to have forgotten that little detail...

I wanna take some type and thank for putting up with us; yes I mean both the web mods and the frequent forumers (even the ones that forum PVPed with us, I love/hate you guys!). It was that gave CU a home when it was just a concept on paper, noone should forget that. The forum mods were doing the best they could with an absolutely insane situation. I’ve been a member here for a long long time and I’ve never seen anything like it! I also wanna thank and congratulate CSE and Mark Jacobs. Thanks for reminding the industry that honesty, transparency and (here comes that CRAZY idea gain) listening to the people that love the product you're making can still work lol. Lastly I want to thank the CU community. I had a moment where I was feeling pretty low and it was inspiring to see so many people that I’ve never even met do there best to pick me up, dust me off, and ask what server/faction I planed to they can (some day) put a bounty on my head, and I wouldn’t want it any other way, because this is CU, bounties are just one of the many reasons we threw our moneys at our screens, this is known.

(Disappears into the Veil)