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the Lonely Alter

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

Author: Tierless

#50! Why are you so angry?

Posted by Tierless Thursday October 17 2013 at 7:28PM
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#50. It seems like just yesterday I was trying out the blog concept. I was nervous because I had no writing experience and didn’t know if I could keep coming up with ideas relating to MMOs. I underestimated my anger. The rage is strong with this one.

Being that I’m at #50 I’ll answer the top question from the billions, and billions of my adoring readers (fyi thank for the gifts, you're too kind). Why am I so angry? Well it goes back to childhood...no, it doesn’t. I‘m lying. Why am I angry? Probably for the same reasons you are if you're an old school MMOer like myself.

I’ve spent thousands of dollars and probably more than thousands of hours investing into a genre that I had to watch devolve from something truly inspiring and revolutionary to a simple minded shallow shell of it’s former self. I’m angry because I can still remember the one of a kind experience that an MMORPG can create when it’s done right. I’m mad because I don’t understand how a game from 1997 is STILL considered far deeper, far more immersive, and far more enjoyable than the modern games. I’m mad because I forgot my password to log into an unnamed FTP MMO I own, and don’t care enough to retrieve it. I’m mad because I’m Murican, and were generally just always mad. But most importantly I’m mad because if I didn’t wake up angry about something the world would feel a lot less exciting. I was born for the storm, the calm does not suit me. I embrace chaos and see the beauty in the unexpected and I long for the day when I can log into an MMO and think “my gawd, I wonder what might happen tonight”!!!

Why are you mad? Feel free to comment below. ;)

Since I’m in an answering mood I’ll answer the second most frequented question I get. This is a blog about Camelot Unchained, yet I don’t always talk about Camelot Unchained,  WTF? I’m a fan of CU but I LOVE the genre as a whole. It gives me something to be angry about ;). CU generally makes me happy and it’s a well known fact that people talk much more about what angers them than what makes them happy. On top of that I talk about CU ALL the time, if you know where to look. ;)

I could not be happier about the money I put into CU because the ride that is CU’s development is incredibly fun thanks to a fantastic team and Sir Mark Jacobs himself. It’s a blast and every update makes me hungrier for another. If you don’t know CU has gotten dark, very dark. It’s borderline horror at this point and it's about dang time we got ourselves an MMO with enough e-balls to dive into a direction instead of staying in the vanilla middle to snag a few extra subs like so many others.

Speaking of CU and darkness updated #68 came out today (the second update this week FYI) and it was the darkest yet. All manner of the worst that humans are capable of topped off with some blood tears and Centropus Sinensis (google it, you will thank me). It’s a little known fact that Centropus Sinensis or the “crow pheasant” as I like to call it is the single coolest animal on the planet! I love them so much I want to hunt them, which, in hunter speak is the single most honest expression of love. Sadly ironic isn’t it? Hunters; they fund and conserve more wildlife than any protection group on the planet, more irony! Speaking of hunting, I wonder if we'll hear more on the CU bounty system sooner than later, that is one update I may have to do a multi-part blog about. It’s my muse, my love, my desire, my epic loot if you will.

If you think X-force Archangel was cool when he was going crazy and ripping people apart with his bare hands I think you will like the CU version of the Valkyrie. Think Archangle combined with the Crow. Two words for ya, blood tears! I know right, it's like awesome combined with dark-awesome!

end...see even at #50 I’m still full of surprises, bam! see!

#49 Do you like Coca Colla Games?

Posted by Tierless Monday October 14 2013 at 9:16AM
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Thanks to WOW every major “AAA” mmo under development with a ginormous budget is obsessed with doing one thing above all else, getting non mmo players...

Sounds crazy right. Like selling steaks to vegans or veggies to Willy Wonka or class to Miley Cyrus but for some reason it’s what aged business men that have never played a game like to do. I assume it’s a power thing. Like “I’m so rich I can bend people to my will” or something because; money. The root of evil, corruption, and crappy MMORPGs.

Ok, I get it. 250k subs paying $15 a month isn’t enough because some company that built an IP for 20 years hit it big 9 years ago so now you HAVE to out do them or you will feel demasculated. I get it...ok, I don’t. I think doing dishes and laundry makes me more of a man but I’m new fashioned like that. I have a weird idea on how to attract the non MMOers...it’s pretty “revolutionary”. You ready? Make a unique and fun game, so fun that (in your market studies) after playing it your testers have the urge to tell a friend.

BAM! Crazy right. Make a “unique, fun” product first, and it will attract more players, even non MMOers, because 99.9% of gamers like fun and uniqueness. Ready for some more? Make the character highly customizable because customization = unique feeling = :) player. INSANITY! More? Too bad! I want to change subjects and you should know all of this already, it’s on the interweb after all. Just read, or pay me for the secret secrets to MMO success...despite the fact that I’ve had 0 success with MMORPGs outside of sometimes making a cool looking character and dressing them well...#armchairdev

The problem is “business” folks don’t think “WOW, Rockstar built that game up for 15 years from a little top down Playstation game to this truly incredible cutting edge experience” they think WOW all we have to do is copy GTA 5 and we will make berluesqullions (fyi thats even more than gagillions) of dollars!

And so waged the eternal war between artist and commissioner. Those that do it for their soul, and those that have none. Those that do it for love, and those that only love money. Those that blog because they have no friends, and those that read blogs because they pity those with no friends...Little life advice here; a friend stabs you in the back, a true friend stabs you in the front. Think about it, it makes sense...I think...

Obviously I’m overstating for dramatic effect and to help politically sway things into my favor because; propaganda. Once in a (very rare) while you get that special balance. The artist who wants to make great art and hopes to make enough money from it to continue making more art, but is not making it solely for the benjamins. When that happens we get playable art and we want to tell our friends (well, those of us that have friends want to tell them). Before we know it an idea becomes a concept, a concept a game, the game art, the art a cultural phenom; beer, cookies, and gaming for all! I might be wrong on this, but I hope I’m not; IMO most great ideas don’t come from the desire for financial gains, they come from the drive to make something great. Money just happens to be the crazy corrupting country cousin of making something great.

“ok double T, if making greatness is so easy why don’t you do it”

It’s not easy, but if thats what your thinking your not pickin up what I’m puttin down. It might look like I’m saying “just make a great game”, but what I’m really saying is don’t strive for money, strive for greatness and if, IF, you achieve it money will follow. It may be a longer, harder, riskier journey, but achieving it is the difference between Grand Theft Auto and...

*edit ok so I just read how many of these GTA “clones” make mad cash here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Theft_Auto_clone#List_of_clones

I take it all back. The main stream apparently has a terrible generic crap meter and way waaaay too much expendable income. Fools be buying up these knock-offs like mad yo. Shameful really. “Please, please spoon feed me more of that sub-par hot garbage I can’t get enough” quote; Lots of gamers. But hey, if you're happy with “Coca Colla” Theft Auto games who am I to judge. I’m just a disgruntled artist that asks for more than a spoon of hot crap once in a while. Now if you'll excuse me I’m taking my e-ball and going e-home to fire up my Commodore 64 to play some MUDs!

 

#48 CCP should turn on it's players.

Posted by Tierless Thursday October 10 2013 at 4:38PM
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In entertainment the best stories come from real life and have elements of reality sprinkled throughout them. The lifeblood of EVE Online is the metagame where the line between life and game begin to blur until no-one is sure which is which. But EVE has always lacked one thing, a true villain. A villain that everyone could rise up to defeat. Sure the Goons and The Mitani have been labeled villains (although emergent gameplay fans might argued they are the hero). Sure some players have done villainous things, but what EVE really needs is the age old authority figure trying to bring everyone under their rule. “The Man” trying to chip away at their freedoms until they are under control. Trying to shape EVE into something with less PVP for less hardcore fans. Sound like CCP? Or rather, sound like the way many players view CCP?

Read any EVE related forum and you will see it’s full of CCP hate. Conspiracy after conspiracy gets glued together with CCP always being the big baddy. Decisions are put under a microscope, manipulated, and regurgitated with a media spin that would put politics to shame just to make CCP look bad. So CCP, your fans are asking for it. I would say they are even initiating it. Why not give it to them?

Sure there is a whole list of pros and cons and don’t mistake me; once you go down this rabbit hole there is no coming back, at least not in the short term. If you make this decision you have to go all the way, Heisenberg style. If it doesn’t feel real it was a waste of time.

Imagine the headlines: CCP TURNS ON PLAYERS! CCP new in game faction bringing order to the universe! CCP for a kinder gentler EVE! CCP FINALLY unlocks captain’s door-WIS now in game...but only for themselves! (CCP could then post a vid of them walking out wearing a monocle and overly expensive clothing-that isn't available to anyone in game)! CCP Unveils (long suspected) alliance with Goonswarm only to turn on them and disband them seconds later! CSM Disbanded by CCP! Veldspar removed from EVE; Chribba Banned for Alting! SO SO many options! They could even troll the updates. “Alting banned as of Nov. 1st”. Then on Nov 1st: “New Announcement: All Your Alts Are Belong to Us, just kidding, November Fools yo”.

MMO players have hated on the very companies that made their game of choice since the beginning of the genre (Trammel, TOA, NGE, TBC), but we have yet to see a company truly embrace that role (although SOE has come close on several occasions). The internet itself might implode of CCP pulled it off. The rage, the flames, the /quit posts followed up by CCP quoting the post and replying “we already took your money, now we have your stuff too” followed by a link to the cost of making DUST. Ok that might be a line crosser in terms of being at war with your players...

It would take a tremendous amount of planning, a company with major spaceballs, and an EXTREMELY defined implementation strategy but if it was done, and if it felt real and not like some GW2 script it could literally change the industry. Especially if they can get people to believe it’s real at first. It did wonders for Vince McMahon in 1997, why wouldn’t it work in this genre? It plays on the exact same human emotions just in a different setting.

Risky, company killing, game ending, maybe...but it couldn’t be much worse than DUST could it? (how ironic that the a game called DUST was only successful collecting it-I kid, I kid) ;) EVE might be the only MMO that this would work perfectly for. The symbiotic relationship they share with their players is as unique as it is delicate. You wanna call me the bad guy, you want me to be the bad guy, ok, I show you the bad guy. CCP you could be that bad guy that gets your game over the hump and takes it from great to legendary. And really, you would just be living up to the role your fans have already casted you in wouldn’t you?

#47 GTA Online figured it out

Posted by Tierless Monday October 7 2013 at 12:25PM
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You can’t have full pvp or full loot, it’s impossible, it just doesn’t work,. If you do you end up with a TINY niche audience that slowly dwindles until no one is left playing and your game finally meets the lonely dark end that games made for sociopaths deserve! Quote: Car E. Bear

That seems to be the general argument against the “hardcore pvp” MMO but I think two little known games say otherwise. The first is UO, but unfortunately too many kids have no idea what a UO is and compare everything to the “Gold Standard” of MMORPGs, World of Warcraft (which ironically lacked quality war, crafting, and an open world; thank you marketing and IP strength). I will never get over every zone having giant mountains surrounding it. I felt like a mouse in a box glued together with more boxes with tiny holes to go between them...yes it’s going to be one of those blogs.

(Eats fire flower and becomes temporarily immune to flames) We can argue all day about what made WOW popular but I think we have to agree it wasn’t the war, the crafting, or the world. It was the IP, ease of running it, ease of play, lots of carrots, hype, and the most important thing in the known universe time-ing.

My fire suit just wore off so I better get back on topic. If I can’t juice any reason out of MMOers using UO as an example it’s ok because I just got an even better one. A franchise that is even more well known than WOW, Grand Theft Auto. If you haven’t played GTA at some point in your career as a gamer you probably live on an isolated island and lack the capabilities to read this blog. Since thats the case I will tell you I hate you, but you will never know will you...

GTA Online has a simple but effective system that allows for full loot and full pvp while maintaining a sense or order. It’s similar to EVE and UO but a bit more humiliating-which is a terrible yet effective way to curb behavior isn’t it. Act like a dunce, and you're forced to wear a dunce hat and play with other dunces. Amazing isn’t it? So simple, so effective, so WTF MMORPGS why haven’t you done this? The nicest part is dunces can play as duncy as they want, they just end up being relegated to playing with other dunces. It’s like that old saying, “dunce onto others as you would have dunced onto you and you end up only having dunces as friends” or was it “dunces of a feather flock together”...

I’m sure the usual people are already revving up their rhetoric engines but the reality is if you look at the amount of players embracing GTA Online I feel that it proves MMO players would be ok with similar gameplay. After all we aren’t THAT different from those simple minded consolers are we? I mean, yes, we are superior in every way, but just barely. We’re like Cro-Magnon (on steroids) to their (slightly less evolved) Neanderthal man. Like PC to their Dreamcast. Like Nutella to their bag of crushed up peanuts. But when they get smart and grow up what do they become? PC gamers amiright?

Frankly the entire genre owes Rockstar a collective thank you for unlocking the door of MMOdom to millions of GTA fans. While GTA is not an MMO YET, it unlocks the door that I assume Rockstar plans to eventually open up, wait, kickdown, wait, drive a flaming monster truck through when it finally makes a full fledged GTA MMORPG exposing millions of new players to this backwood genre. I know a few MMOs have tried to be an RC Cola version of GTA but like WOW before it, this brand sells. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if thats a good thing or not.

So yeah, dunce caps, genius. (clears throat and yells in a Russian accent) Once again you disappoint MMORPGS! You disappoint! Dunce caps for all!

FYI I haven’t touched GTA because I don’t like owning inferior non upgradeable technology so the “GTA FANBOY!” stuff is nyet good here!