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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

Are you a role-player or a RULE-player?

Posted by beauturkey Friday March 27 2009 at 10:40PM
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Let's get to it.  You are of either one or the other (if you are a combination of both, write your own blog post so I can link it!) Understand that you can also be one or the other at different times, this ain't no concrete rule:

1) A role-player: This does not mean that you go around going "..thus thou and thee!" all the time. This means that you dive right into the game, all of it. This means that you love to explore and discover. You just log in and see what happens, with no particular agenda. Sure, you might log in wanting to do a particular thing, but don't care if that thing gets sidetracked or pushed off for the time being. Leveling isn't that big of a deal, and you like to read quest text, usually. You will talk to strangers and might or might not have a guild. You don't use walk-throughs or mods, and never use a website unless you think a quest or item is broken.

2) A rule-player: This does not mean that you never break rules. This means that you jump right into the game, as far as what the game has laid out for you. You might raid or grind XP. You log in to check on your guilds agenda. Sure, you might log in and goof off for a bit, but can grow bored quickly if there is nothing planned. If there are levels left to achieve, you feel you haven't even begun the game yet, and you will usually skip quest text. You will talk to strangers once they join your guild. You use walk-throughs, mods, and frequent many of the best websites for information.

Of course, I feel as I am a number 1. It might seem like I am making number 2 read like a "bad" thing, but it is not. It is how many, many gamers play nowadays. (And you have to know that I HAVE TO make the number I am out to sound better!)

I am fascinated by bloggers like Syncaine and podcasters like Total Biscuit at WoW Radio. First of all, they both seem like smart guys. Well, I should say, they don't seem like total idiots. In Syn's case, he is always mentioning WoW, even in posts that have nothing to do with WoW.  It is obvious to me now that he was somehow hurt by WoW, and finds the need to mention WoW in 99 percent of his blog posts, all the while maintaining that the game is nothing but "neon and care-bears". All this WoW hate comes from a former experienced WoW raider (that means he spent HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS in raids.)

I figured it out, finally. A player like Syn needs to know the rules, so that he can "beat" something, or so that he can rise up to some kind of level. Players like him need "rules" that have been set by other players like him (not the game) that say that the "end-game" is the place to be, or that you should kill ______ other players, or that you control some amount of land (examples, people, examples. They could be specific to his games.)  Then, according to him, the game (WoW) became nothing but easy street noobsville..making raiding more "accessible" than ever before (they made raids smaller, shorter and funner but there is still plenty of heavier stuff to do.) In other words, the game changed his rules that told him that attaining a certain level of play was the way you play. He was like a dog in a household with no rules: confused and a little scared. His self-imposed titles lost their worth, which surprised me that anyone would place much value on something that thousands have achieved.

Total Biscuit is nothing but a loudmouth, and for the life of me I can't figure out if he knows that he is acting as some kind of MMO "shock jock" just to get attention. I can't believe that he listens to himself and goes "Yeh, man, I owned Blizzard and their dumb decisions on that one.." He seems to be suffering from the same rule-change trauma, talking (at least on the 3 shows I heard him on) on and on about how the raids are now wrong.

Understand that I am not saying that this type of play is wrong, the type that is a player waiting around for the game to tell them what there is to do and what to "achieve."

Vanguards community, from my experience, has always suffered from this need for rules and restrictions. How else can you say you have achieved something if there are no ceilings to hit? Right now, this need for rules is biting a good number of the community in the butt with the announcement of RMT coming to the game. Players will be able to buy characters, items and gold from a safe outside "market" like on the two EQ2 servers that have been around for a few years.

I have seen players melt down and want to cancel simply because the rules have changed. No longer is hitting level 50 and having a ton of plat a goal or an accomplishment, if a player can just go out and buy them with real money. This is a real feeling for them and I can almost empathize with it, if I gave much of a crap about what other people thought about how I play my video games.

A "rule" player needs those accomplishments to have fun. Of course, there is nothing at all wrong with that. That type of player is the bread and butter of the MMO industry, the type of player that not only pays for their sub every month, but also stays logged in.

But, here's the catch. Those rules have never been anything but what individual the player makes them. I have never played a single MMO that forced any player to do anything save interacting with the world in basic ways, but even then you can make certain choices about how you interact (travel, communication, other examples.) I can play alongside hard-core raiders or pvp'ers and be just as fulfilled and excited by the game as they can. Why is that? If there are rules that say that max-level and the best items are the point to the game, then how can I play with my sub-par gear and dumb habits like spying on strangers (only to go up to them and go "Bleep? Bloop?")

That's because smart developers know that choices are more important than satisfying a select group of players.

I understand that the game MUST have some kind of rule-set or there would be nothing to do except everything, something that Second Life has suffered from since the beginning. In Second Life you can pretty much literally make anything and do anything from making games to sex toys, and yet the "game" is not nearly as popular as many MMO's.

There is information out there (including some from LL themselves) that shows the average player of SL to be logged in for fractions of what the average "normal" MMO user plays for. Why is that?

As I have said before, it is because in a world without boundaries or rules, players tend to get bored. How you can achieve something if everything is achievable ?  I actually get that, and think that a smart developer has to be very careful with RMT and other things that might "devalue" things like raid loot, high end gear or max-level characters.

I don't want an eradication of all "rules and boundaries." I just enjoy the choices that are there.

Here's the second deal: The "old rules" are changing, and hopefully forever. I can't wait for the day when players do not simply follow down the path of every other player before them, playing in the same areas, achieving the same things. That type of set-up creates a false set of "rules" that many players confuse for law.

In example: many players love to use the phrase "Play your class correctly."

My issue with that is not that there is no "right way" to play a class. I actually think that there IS a right way in most modern MMO's. The bad part to me is that there are, in most MMO's, only those classes. To me, an MMO is a simulation of a real world. In a real world you would have many variations of the same type of person, from the fighter that heals to the mage that uses a sword.

I guess that while I can log in and have fun with any number of different games, I am a little unsatisfied with a game that tells me that I am a unique individual, but within a class of the same unique individuals. Rule players need those groups of types of players or there would be no "best of the class" or "most kills by a _______." Rule players, like Syn and that Biscuit guy, NEED to have something solid because they have a hard time adapting, or simply do not have fun adapting.

Now, just for the record, I will repeat: You are of either one or the other (if you are a combination of both, write your own blog post so I can link it!) Understand that you can also be one or the other at different times, this ain't no concrete rule.

Beau

 www.spouseaggro.com

The Wind, New Worlds and Dog Arcs.

Posted by beauturkey Monday March 23 2009 at 11:52PM
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Get off work, go to a restaurant so I don't have to fix supper when I get home. Me and Leala talk about her day.

All night at work I was amped up, talking to people about their new puppies, marveling at the clueless nature of a new puppy owner.  Amazing to me when people just buy and don't think.

Get home, give the dogs a treat to sit so they calm a bit. They sit on the floor at our feet while we have party tacos and burritos. Suddenly, Roy's head is poking up in between us. He didn't seem to be begging, but just was there.

Take a bath. Wash my face and the smell of puppy pads and dirty change off my hands.

spellspell1

This entire time, all day every day, my mind is racing. A million miles an hour, thinking of stories and art and my characters, and how to set my own stamp on someone elses world. Laugh at the lack of clues some people have about me, or about what I do with my time. I want to write a new character story or 5, and want to put them on my blog..a place that people might come to every day, which is a nice feeling. I go to many of them myself.

I need some coffee. I can't believe it, but I am considering decaf, at least for night time. When I don't drink coffee I have long story driven dreams, I re-visit my high school or travel around my teenage stomping grounds in an old car I had forgotten about. I make some regular, for now. Decaf this weekend.

mabmab4

I sit out on the door jam and let the dogs sniff around the yard. Roy comes up to me and nudges me, so I pet him, remove bits of leaves from his fur. I know he had been rolling in the yard, with Bettie play biting at his face and neck. They play so rough, sometimes it can turn into a tiff, so I usually cool them down before anything gets too heated.

I love Roy as much as any dog, if not more. I love Bettie the same, but more like a daughter that's full grown, off at College. I know she will be fine, I worry from a distance, but I let her be.  Roy is more like a son, always asking questions, but he can suddenly morph into an athlete capable of straight leaps into the air as high as I am tall.

mabmab1

The Wind is absolutely stunning. I can hear it in the giant tree in my back yard, it is swirling around my fenced in area, throwing leaves.

Then it stops.

Then, it's blowing through the leaves again, the dogs lift their heads up and sniff. Who knows what they smell?  I am sitting in my pajama bottoms, no shirt. It is not cold or hot, the temperature is perfect, the coffee is hot.

I come in and hear Lealas side of her Vent conversation. She is laughing, we watch a funny Onion video. I wish I was them. Sometimes I can be in bed and I can hear her giggling in the next room, and I can lay there and listen to that sound all night.

I start typing this, log into Spellborn. I realize that Spellborn and Ryzom are very similar, and share the amazing sounds of the Wind. The sound of the game is worth it, alone.

mabmab3

I will do a quest or two, and I am still amazed that there are actual players in game. Last experience told me no one was playing it, but those were Germans and were few.

Will log into Mabinogi. Last night, found a "Mabinogi 2" game, and marveled at some of the F2P games coming out. I am so excited for the future of MMO's. This is a hobby that changes constantly.

Then, a sound outside the window, someone closing a car door? The dogs look up, Bettie stands up.

I walk straight to the back door, Roy follows me as usual and slowly walks out to investigate. I hear the jangling of Betties collar as she makes a beautiful smooth arc from the back room, through the living room and right out the door into the backyard, and right up to the fence. She doesn't bark, just sticks her nose back into the Wind.

mabmab6

Last night I was glued to the TV, which rarely happens...the Iditarod race..dog sleds. The dogs pulling those sleds are said to be some of the smartest in the world. Also, one of the strongest, pound for pound. They will pull that sled for thousands of miles, sleep on hay in the snow and will do it until they fall.

So, I come across this game, which I HAVE TO PLAY:

 
I want to have a team of huskies. Best part of the video? The way the Wind makes the hood/hair move on the character. The way they turn in an Arc. I realize that I have rearranged the furniture in my house to allow the smooth Arc of my dogs, to allow them to get outside quickly, without stopping. I took down a porch swing that was in their way.
 
I will turn level 5 in Spellborn, listen to the Wind in the game. There is a small pond by Hawksmouth, maybe I will sit there.
 
In Mabinogi, I am trying to work my way to the Land of the Giants, so I asked around in game and found my way to the Elf village. I offered a ride to a player that was running, and she pointed me the way to the Elf town. Then someone told me that I needed to go back and make my way through the "Maze." They said it would be a long journey.
 
mabmab5
 
I have a campfire if I need one, and a camp. I have good food, my horse is ready. I am good enough with my sword, and my horse is the fastest type you can get in game..his name is Osheba.
 
I want to get to the Land of the Giants because they have dog sledding there. They have a husky pet that will pull you on a sled, and I am obsessed. I want to sled over the snow and then bunk down at night, tonight, in my backyard, bits of dirt biting into my skin, the dogs occasionally looking up to sniff the Wind.
 
But I miss Leala and her giggles.
 
So I will log in and think about all the people I could meet, and think about what they are doing on their side of their computers..is the Wind blowing there, too? How is their town, music...are they thinking of a million things at once like me?
 
I love this song..in fact, I am becoming more and more fond of female singers, and can't stand most male singers. I like softer music, cry when I have a migraine as though I can't control it, and get too excited when I hear Motorhead or the Ramones. I do not need more excuses to be excited.
 
But the Wind will calm me down.

 

Spouse Aggro #71: "Two kids in a candy store."

Posted by beauturkey Monday March 23 2009 at 8:32AM
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Spouse Aggro #71


Mon, 23 Mar 2009 02:28:00 GMT [download/play]


"Two kids in a candy store."

TheHighlights from show 71!


  Here's the deal: 10 topics, 3 minutes a piece. Leala picks a random number and keeps time. We miss a lot and hit on target a lot. Try it sometime, it's hard to get it all in there in 3 minutes.  I seriously messed up the VG topic, being that I had been reading about it for the last week and it clouded my brain with visions of numbers and pink dresses.

1) Spellborn Open Beta 

2) Vanguard  RMT

3) Ether Saga Open Beta

4) Mabinogi Anniversary  

5) Ryzom live events, patches!

6) WoW meetup  - http://www.meetup.com/armory/

7) Runes of Magic begins!

8 )  Darkfall exists.

9) DOMO and gay marriage

10) Free Realms, still ignoring us.

 Here is Tipas blog, a good place for Spellborn stuff (besides mine, of course.)
 
 And here is Saylahs blog, a good place for ROM stuff.

Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

 Website found at spouseaggro dot com.

 Twitter name: spouseaggro
 
 Skype name: beauturkey

 
 Now GO LOG IN!

 The Turkeys

 

 

Spouse Aggro Vidcast #13: The Turkey Awards, Evil SOE, and some tips for a protest.

Posted by beauturkey Saturday March 21 2009 at 8:34AM
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Spouse Aggro Vidcast #13: The Turkey Awards, Evil SOE, and some tips for protesting RMT. from Spouse Aggro on Vimeo.


In the first part of the show I hand out huge gold statues to MMO's that have captured my attention. Here are the categories:

Best Customization
Best Graphics
Best Lore
Best Housing
It Just WORKS
Best "Fluff" Items
Best Game

Remember, although I asked for input, these are most of the games that I have played over the last year. For example, although I played WAR, I didn't like it so I just left it off the nominees.

In the second part of the show I point to a very particular group of players: those that have deep hate for SOE and have talked (for the last 10 years) about "protesting," "boycotting," or otherwise trying to send a message to SOE about how they feel.

If you play other games, take out SOE and put in place your favorite game developer. Also, take out Smed and put in the boss of your favorite company. It all applies the same.

A lil ranty, a lil rave-ish. All meant in good fun.

Now, go log IN!

Beau Turkey

spouseaggro dot com

spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

Twitter: spouseaggro

Help me vote for my Vidcast Awards SHOW!

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday March 18 2009 at 11:47PM
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Want to help me decide on which games deserve this dorks award for "Best ____________ ? "

Go to this poll I had to make because WordPress is weird 'bout polls, and help me decide. If you have any suggestions, let me know. I might add on some categories. I will be filming this Vidcast within the week..ish.

Beau

RMT in Vanguard: Let's keep it simple.

Posted by beauturkey Friday March 13 2009 at 2:16AM
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Ok, such a basic thing makes my mind whirl. So I am going to talk really simply for MY sake, not yours.

Here are my arguments for it, or at least against the standard sub model:

1) No, that 15 dollars a month is not just paying for "access" to the game, nor is it paying for "time in game." You are RMT'ing, right now, if you pay a sub. You paid 50 bucks for a BOX, which is the only thing NOT virtual. RMT is the trade of real money for virtual items.

IF you only paid "for access" (airhead on the Massively comments section) then what does access entail? The avatar? Oh, but you HAVE to have that, right. Ok. How about the avatars newbie stuff (weapons, armor, space ship?) How bout that newbie horse you might get, or that newbie special item for being you know, a newbie?

Just because those items are almost standard within MMO's does not mean that they are a law in MMO's. If anything, this argument of   "I ain't RMT'ing, I am paying for timed access..." simply shows how flawed and silly the "standard" model is. After all, I get just "timed access" (there are still limits to limitless amounts in MMO F2P games...after all, servers must shut down and they can do whatever they want with my time) for FREE in a F2P game. You are paying 15 DOLLARS for it. HA!

Anything above (depending, of course, on the game) MOVING is a luxury item. Being that there are no rules at all (unless player created) on how you enjoy something like a video game (Sally enjoys the scenery while walking, Bob enjoys killing dragons) than there are no rules for what has VALUE. Paying real money for something MIGHT create value, but you still do not own that sword, not if you paid for it with your monthly sub OR with a cash shop. You have paid for the USE of that sword, just like the guns at the lazer tag place (that smells like urine.)

You might value that cool sword, but I think it is poop.

So, you, standard sub model, are just a form of RMT'er.

2) "A player with real money has an advantage over me":  No, he doesn't. Unless the MMO is crafted ONLY around the premise of "He who has the first cash shop bought item WINS and the game is closed down forever" then there is no such thing as competition in an MMO. After all, even in MMO's that have "rules" such as PvP or "uber gear" are there other activities besides participating in those pursuits. Just because role-play, crafting, or exploring is not as valuable to you, (some of you) does not mean it does not exist as a choice or that it does not have value.

A player buying a sword that you "worked for" (remember we are talking video games here, a recreational activity) does not take away the value of your memories. If you think so, you are so easily swayed that I would like to ask you to send me, blindly, 4 million dollars. Because I need it.

I admit that it is possible, and even very likely, that players will feel de-valued by a cash-shop/RMT type of system in a game. Sure. But those players need to stop worrying about it, simply put. Do you find that most communities in cash-shop (FULL cash shop) games are only filled with players worrying over others players gear? NO and NO. They accept it for what it is: something that other players might be able to afford to do, while they cannot.

3) A player with multiple accounts is somehow OK with the "no cash shop" crowd. Somehow, (this boggles my mind) they do not see that multiple account holder as having a financial advantage over them. They see them as, I don't know, dedicated? Somehow they do not connect that player and his insta-team (tm) with an advantage over themselves, yet see a player that has a cool looking sword that cost 5 bucks as the downfall of their game.

4) The economies will survive. Players with more gold and more items spend more gold and trade more items in game. Just because I can go and buy potions in Mabinogi does not mean that I never buy things from players. Especially because there is not one single MMO out there that uses cash shops and RMT that allows access to the best, most sought after items in the entire game ONLY through the cash shop. Do they offer some GREAT items? Of course. Not without offering choices.

If I bought 100 plat for 100 dollars, that does not mean I will ignore your armor in the AH just because I can buy it in the cash shop? That means, more than likely, that I will succumb to (you guessed it) IMPULSE BUYING. I will shrug off the MORE expensive items (compared to the past, because you got greedy and raised your prices) because I have 100 PLAT! Everyone gets richer. It all balances out.

We are not talking thousands of dollars here. We are talking, on average, what that multi-boxer spends on his additional account. You know, the dedicated guy.

5) Most SOE players do not care about the cash shops/RMT. They were recently dropped into EQ2, and the response has been so good that they have hired additonal staff to work on the shops. That means either they are stupid, or they are making some money. Players are not quitting in droves, and neither will most of you, cash-shop haters.

6) This has to do with the EGO, period. With the value one places on other players reactions to his/her stuff.

Here's the deal, though: the whole idea of "uber items" needs to pass. Uber items, if anything, are a false sense of achievement. After all, there are reasons that players trash those uber items for another, better one. That's because they like the thought of uber-dom, not the item. But the problems start when you give another player that same uber item, and tell the original player that the uber item can be gained in easier ways.The original player has an issue with another player "not earning" his/her item, the same way he did. Instead, the "easier" player earned it with real life money, which takes real life work to get. After all, every player is acting in REAL LIFE to manipulate his character, so how is acting as a employed person any different than acting as someone with 6 hours a night to kill?

I can't wait for this to pass. Cash shops/RMT are/is the future, thankfully. If I am going to paying real life money (sub) for virtual items (every single thing in the game that is not real) then at least I want to control where it goes and for what.

If anything, this might make VG enough cash for more adverts, more staff, whatever they need. Perhaps the communities methods of "Let's talk about the same 5 issues (that have nothing to do with communtiy sites/activities) over and over" is not working.

Beau

Ryzom, getting NEW STUFF??

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday March 10 2009 at 11:57PM
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I don't know what to say.

Yes, yes, it isn't THAT big of a deal, but it certainly gives me hope.

Essentially, the new Ryzom team put out a new patch today and it shows that they are not only working on new stuff, but are attempting to bring Ryzom up to "modern standards." In case you didn't know, Ryzom is a skill based system set in a sci-fi fantasy type world called Atys.

Atys is a giant rootball, and the four races all look very unique. They ride around on elephant/horsey things, and fight giant bugs in the underground areas of the world.

It's great, trust me.

Go below to see the patch notes (crafters can put a lil message on their items! YAY!) One of the great things they did was to add better missions, or newbie intros into the Island of Silan. Silan is the "newbie experience" for Ryzom, and the beginning missions were a little bland and didn't have much life. Now, the NPC's talk to you and really explain things. I am all for learning curves in a game, but this is a new age. Players get bored within minutes, last thing you want to do is confuse them, as well.

I ran through some of the fighter missions, and they were interesting, easy to understand and gave a little glimpse into the lore and world.  I really loved how it gave hints about mob movement, and even had you go examine some mobs to see how they move. It actually asked you not use your sword, but just to observe.

The mob AI in Ryzom is well known for being some of the best out there. The mobs migrate, hunt each other, defend each other and generally act real. Every time I go into a game and the mobs just sit there (most MMO's out there) I think of Ryzom. I am still floored to watch a huge line of Bodocs migrating to grazing land.

It's nice to see Ryzom acting like a "normal" MMO in some ways. Granted, I like the game for it's uniqueness, but it has to take some steps into modern times. Many players claimed that mission or "quests" would lessen the game, and I agree to an extent, but they do not have to be silly or "standard."

Also, they added some new things (buildings and NPC's) to the newbie island that gave it more life. Granted, the NPC's already moved about, but now there are two of them dueling near the combat trainer. Also, they seem to have more to do there, more interactions with the environment. Also, small icons near NPC's indicate who might have a mission or some answers. Many players might scoff at this, but new players might be lost in game or might feel they are playing a "dated" game without these little modern touches. If there's one thing I am, it's a purist, but a few icons do not break my immersion at all.

The most important thing with these new patches (in my opinion) is the way they make current players feel, or especially older players. I have been involved with the game for 2 and half years, even hosting a Ryzom podcast at one time, and we have been waiting for (what seems like) forever for SOMETHING new.

It makes me feel like the game might actually, in all reality, become a "normal" game that gets updated, changed...one that stays exciting for more than just the lore and friends. A game that can attract new players and one that brings new and exciting things to the table. Ryzom already has, but it could always bring MORE.

This is going to sound hokey, maybe a lil cheesy, and perhaps a lil chick-flicky:

But I dream about games like Ryzom. I don't just play them, I let them excite my imagination. As a creative person, an artist, I can't just play according to the rules. I need to weave my own story into the story of the game. If I am going to play in someone else's sandbox, I have to draw it, paint it, write it, become it.

I dream about Ryzom doing all the things it could do. Things like:

1) Add cooking. The game is PERFECT for that. Everything else is organic, but we have no kids or FOOD.

2) Let us climb to the top of the Roots. There they are, sitting there. We want to see them.

3) Host mass invasions. That's what this game's engine is MADE for. Right now I am sitting on 50 gigs of footage from last nights invasion event (but it was down in the Prime Roots) and I want to see the Kitin come above, to bring the fight TO us, to take over a city. Those things build community.

4) Let us NAME OUR MOUNTS. By the Roots!!

5) For me, this last one. Please. PLEASE: Let me get a GUBANI MOUNT. I WILL PAY YOU LOTS.

This might sound like a stretch, but I think some of my dreams for the game might come true. Surely we all lay there at night dreaming of different things before we close our eyes, and one of those things is our favorite MMO's.

New Patch Notes:

Tuesday, March 10th 2009

Feisty Kitins, Weeping Homins

Soon the actions of the Fyros spread. Carried by the wind, across the New Lands. Panic-stricken at the thought of another great swarming the leaders of the four nations summoned their people immediately to combat this threat. They were summoned to the Agora Stage in Pyr, the stage in Yrkanis, Frogmore place in Fairhaven and the big stage in Zora. They arrived with their stomachs full of fear, clutching their weapons in hand, determined not to lose their homes to the Kitin again.

Erlan, Chronicler*

Tuesday 10 March 2009, 9PM GMT

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

PATCH NOTE 1.4.0

. We reworked a lot of the Silan missions. They are now easier to understand and to play. We invite you to create a new character, play them and tell us what you think! The goal is of course to create a better experience for new players.

. Very great news for all crafters; you can now customize your crafted items with a unique text. Use your imagination to put some additional information about the item or create a nice message for the buyer, or even just to sign it...

. You'll be happy to see that your team members should now be back on the map.

. We fixed lot of bad texts in English, French and German thanks to your posts on the forum and with the help of testers. If you see any more then please continue to post in the threads :)

Other features and fixes :

. Added cut/copy/paste actions in the hands bar.
. Added icons on the radar and next to names of NPCs who have missions for you.
. Added a confirmation dialogue when deleting a macro.
. Some spawn zones of Kami/Kara teleports were placed incorrectly and could end up getting you stuck; they should now be fixed.
. The background picture during Resurrection should now always depend on your cult (Kami or Karavan fame).
. You'll see a new welcome text when you enter your apartment.
. Fixed a crash when using special characters in a macro title.
. When you now create a new character, all chat channels will be enabled by default.
. Alt+F10 now takes PNG screenshots, they'll be saved into your base Ryzom directory in the usual place.

Now go log in!

Beau

Spouse Aggro #70! "Mabinuubies, Home Games and Double Dorks!"

Posted by beauturkey Monday March 9 2009 at 5:34PM
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Spouse Aggro #70


Mon, 9 Mar 2009 20:44:00 GMT [download/play]


"Mabinuubies, Home Games and Double Dorks!"

TheHighlights from show 70!

* 0:00-32:00: Beau shows Leala a bit of Mabinogi, his new current favorite MMO. Leala has a stroke while trying to wrap her head around the concepts of a F2P game, and Beau strains to convince Leala that the game is fantastic. Trust him.

*33:30-48:17: The Great Couple of Dorkdom have a discussion about Home Games, or games that a player will always hold within their hearts, much like a Celine Dion song..

*48:26-1:18:44: Double Date! Beau and Leala interview Augustina and Heyoka, and make a few fart jokes while they're at it.

*1:19:00-1:32:00: What did we play this week? GAMES, fool. We give a rundown.

The music from the show is brought to you from the band Metric. The song is called "The Twist." Very sexah!

Here is the Onion video Beau mentions. THE VIDEO IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK, BUT IS FUNNY AS H E DOUBLE HOCKEY STICKS.

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The Turkeys

The Immersion Project..in a F2P game?

Posted by beauturkey Friday March 6 2009 at 8:44PM
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I think it can be done just as well as in a "normal" game.

I am going to use Mabinogi as my first guinea pig, being that the game has as much depth as any game as I have ever played.  It has everything I normally love in a game, but the graphics and art style still take some getting used to. But that is the challenge, isn't it? To take something that is make believe and to see if I can get it to feel more, well, real.

The more I play some of the better F2P games the more I find that the myths about them are well, mostly myth. There are so many things people have issues with, and it is obvious that many of the haters have played none or very few of them. In recent discussions on the Vanguard forums, some players talked as though all free play games "forced" you to spend money in the cash shop. This is not only false, but if you do decide to spend some money, the same amount you pay for a typical subscription will get you not only more fun, but more types of fun that you can customize.

Here are some myths I would like to break down:

a) Only children play F2P games: No and no. Granted, there are a TON of kids frequenting these games (I had one send me a whisper because he wanted to tell me he was 10 years old but was embarrassed to tell everyone else) but if you spend time getting to know individuals you will realize that the mix is pretty much even. As a matter of fact, most of the "hardcore" players I meet tend to be adults, being that even free play games have a good deal of challenge in the high end. The guild I just joined is led by a 45 year old and his daughter.

b) These games are nothing but a grind: While there is a grind element to these games, you don't hear players speak this way about the lack of questing in other, better known "normal" MMO's. Players talk about UO as though it was the Supreme Game, but indeed all you could do was go find stuff and kill it. Most of the 30 sum-odd games I have played all have quests, and many of them have story-line quests, NPC quest givers, and even customizable quests. I find it funny that so many members of the community will quickly make fun of these games while literally doing the same thing over and over in a "normal" MMO such as raiding or rep grinding.

c) You have to spend money to enjoy these games: SO false. Does it help? Of course! These developers are not stupid. But, as I already pointed out in other avenues, EVERY MMO is a cash shop game essentially. Do players really believe that they have not traded real life money for their characters or the items in game when they buy the game for 50 bucks and pay 15 dollars a month (more than I have ever spent on a F2P game)? It is the same thing. If I spend 15 dollars a month on a horsey, and someone else spends 15 dollars a month on a subscription with no guarantees of a mount, who got the better end of the deal? (Depends on who had the most fun.) Cash shops are genius. They make money and allow you to pick out how much you want to spend, when you want to spend it, and on what.

d) There is no depth to these games: There is some truth to this, but there is some truth in that pertaining to many "normal" MMO's. Many of these F2P's have extensive lore and most of the ones I frequent have player events, sometimes weekly or even several times a week. Name one "normal" MMO that has maybe 3 events a week? You can't. Also, a game like Mabinogi is an example of really really simple systems that make for deeper gameplay.

Some examples:

1) A "day" system: each day of the game week is a different day with a different name and (brilliant) different bonuses like extra drops in nature, better luck with crafting, etc...

2) A pet system that allows the pet to not only grow, have a name and die, but you can also play AS the pet.

3) A skill based system that allows you to decide what kind of player you want to be. No cookie cutter classes.

e) The best items are sold in the shop, making playing worthless: This myth always makes me shake my head. This one is usually coming from someone that has never played a F2P, or has heard that this is how it goes. Are there items in the cash shops (in some games) that are equivalent or very close to some really nice in game items? Yes. But throughout all 30 sum odd games I have played (of the free variety,) none have sold the Uberest item of Uberosity in the cash shop. How could anyone with half a brain think that the developers would allow only the cash shop as a source of the best items? How would a game like that make millions (like many of these games do) if they had no reason to play or anything to actually go after? Many players got upset (yet hardly any unsubscribed) at EQ2 when they released their "cash shop", saying that they are now being forced to spend more money on new content when they already spend money as it is. Those players need to leave the game, because they are clearly nuts.

Again, almost all of these games seem to have but one or two things they are about: (examples) Flying, Pets, Housing, Socializing. But almost all of them have complex systems that (duh) even a 10 year old could figure out. (Easy to start, hard to master.) Also, many of them have free updates, sometimes more frequently than many "regular" MMOs, that might add more landmass, more systems, or different races.

There are many more myths, and some cold hard truths about these games. I am attempting (with the Immersion Project Rules) to scrape away all the surface B.S. (like the spam, the annoying kids or the repetitive play) to get to the deeper game beneath. At the very least, these games have the depth, humor, sadness and "serious game-play" that my other favorite games do. It's there, you just have to give them a chance and make some small adjustments. I had to make small adjustments to any game I have played for it to fit my play-style.

First, a recap of the rules as I apply them to Mabinogi in particular.

1) Only certain forms of travel allowed. No instant travel to homes or home areas. Got this one down, pat. I use my horsey for travel. The mounts can be named, die and can fight. You can even leave them tethered somewhere while you go about your business. Classic.

2) Only realistic forms of chat, such as /say channel, /shout channel and letters. (Unless the game explains it, like a sci-fi game. The idea here is to use “old school” forms of communication. ) Done and done. I like chat bubbles, though, so I can leave the chat box invisible. Mabi's chat bubbles are fine, but in town the spammers get out of hand sometimes. There is a mailing system and everything.

mabichat

3) Only allow a recall a limited amount of times per month. I will allow a "recall" (by scroll or otherwise) in case of emergency. Essentially, I will stay away from these. Travel in Mabi is fun and easy, and now even has boats to other lands.

mabitele

4) Use “role-play” speech. Not thus and thou’s, but try to avoid “this reality (Hang on, my cell phone is ringing)"  speech and references. Try to stay in character. Mabi is not really set in some kind of recognizable time period. Many of the NPC's don't use much specific language. But I have already been chatting with players in "role-play speech" and they don't seem to notice or care.

mabichat2

5) Realistic trade: your character has to make a living. Trade is the most common, in a “real life” setting. So, with a little adventuring, I will be a trader. Mabi is GREAT for this. You can buy wares from other areas or take the items you get from mobs and quests and sell them at lil' personal shops (thos annoying AFK shops that most Asian market MMO's have.) I am going to experiment with items that are only available in other lands, and will try to form a trade route to sell them.

mabitrade

6 ) A “home base.” I have to nominate (my home will be the place in some games, or a certain inn in others) a place that will act as my true home. This is only possible at an Inn, being that owning a home in Mabi is out of my reach for now. The game just recently added housing, and it was done pretty well. But I haven't had the time to start looking into it, and I doubt the money as well.

7) Only use a physical, blank map that needs to be filled out by me, in real life. Use landmarks and the lay of the land to get around. This has proven to be MUCH more difficult than I thought. But FUN! (Some games need to put out BLANK MAPS officially!) If the game explains maps, try and use it minimally to encourage landmark usage and actual (gasp) memorizing of the landscape. I am going to try and find some for Mabinogi, but in the meanwhile I use road signs and I stop for directions. A pretty old school method, but it works. I have already begun to memorize the landscape better.

8 ) MODs: (This rule does not apply to Mabinogi.)

9) Weather: If the MMO has a good weather system, or at least a good ENOUGH weather system as well as a good day/night cycle (if the game world has day/night) then there must be realistic limits put on how long a character can adventure without rest. Even heroic characters need rest. I love this one. Mabi's weather system is nice graphically (the lightning lights up the sky) and even effects harvesting and gives certain buffs and de-buffs. Hit the letter E and I pop my hood right up onto my head:

hood1

hood2

(What a great lil touch that helps with immersion.) If I venture out into the wild, I need to get a camp site kit first. You can get one through the cash shop with a random drop service, or you can buy them from other players. Here's the cool thing: you pop the thing up and it acts as a mobile spawn point for your character when they fall in battle. They can seat 6 and can be password protected! And they stay up for as long as you are in the game, which can be until server reset (for days and days.) So, the camp site acts as a mobile home, but in a believable way. I will use one when I am out adventuring and must "sleep" in one and must take food breaks there. I could, of course, make a "normal" campsite out of wood if I don't feel like running back to the 'site.

mabcamp

10) Food: This is taken care of in Mabinogi. You lose stamina as you grow hungrier, and it fades on a more "realistic" time table. Basically, you eat something better and it keeps you "fuller" for longer, eat something smaller or weaker (like a carrot) and your stamina does not fill up as much. This is fantastic because the game literally tells me when me or my pets are hungry, and it can effect performance. When I am needing food, I will eat or go back to camp to eat. If other players join you at a camp site, you can all share food and the bonuses included. Makes for great conversation!

So, there are the Rules as they work in Mabinogi. This game number 7 (or so) that I have officially adapted the Rules to, and I think they will work perfectly in Mabinogi. The true test will be to adapt them for the much "cartoonier" games like Free Realms or Ether Saga.

Wish me luck. These F2P games often have layers upon layers to sift through before you hit on the true game. But it's there. All games have a soul and some are just a little harder to peek at.

Beau

Spouse Aggro Vidcast#11: Turn-Based and some F2P!

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday March 4 2009 at 5:29PM
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 MMORPG will not allow me to embed anything, so let's just say that this video is cool, and is so incredibly awesome that you will just have to go to my website, www.spouseaggro.com , and watch it.

 Wouldn't it be great if they just trusted their community and allowed us to embed videos, at least in our blogs? I mean, after all, they trust us to police each other on the forums with our posting, so why not with our blogs?

 Anyway, it's the best thing in the entire world, period. Too bad you can't watch it.

 

 Beau Turkey

 

 


 

Ether Saga Online: one of the best looking F2P's I've ever seen!

Posted by beauturkey Sunday March 1 2009 at 10:12PM
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I have been telling people for a while that F2P's are quickly coming up the quality ladder. That market and those developers just have a knack for it. Now, I am not saying that the bulk of freebies are currently at that quality level, but seeing a game like Ether Saga Online really makes you wonder how amazing the games are going to be in a very, very short time.

Remember Dragons Lair, the old video game that let you "play" through a cartoon? Basically, you just hit a series of triggers and you would move on to the next spot. But now, these games really look like cartoons, but play like MMO's.

I'm more in touch with the "realistic" side of MMO's, but there is something to be said for the fact that if you are doing a "cartoon" MMO, you can get much closer to the mark because the mark is so variable. Reality is harder to get to and often the developer can fall short because current technology in MMO's just doesn't allow for a game to look THAT amazing while supporting hundreds, if not thousands, of people.

But it is getting close, too.

Still, there is something endearing about cartoony characters. There is even something in me that is starting to get the super-mega-duper-cartoony-ness of Anime. I can see that when you have something like a little dot of an animal and you make it so cute that it has only button eyes and a little stalk for a hat, and then you add the fact that when it gets mad that it blows up the entire universe, you get some kind of appealing (yet often times annoying) juxtaposition of power and sweetness.

Something so cute, fluffy and cartoony becomes so pouty that it's bottom lip swells to the point of destroying mankind.

I hope this makes sense.

It really is art, in some cases, this comparison of rubber jelly and searing pain.

I really hope this makes sense.

Ether Saga is going for less of a cute/powerful thing and more for a cute/smooth thing, but the power is still there. The engine they use for this game is amazing, and seeing it makes me realize that my prediction is coming true: Asian market F2P games will lead the world in graphics and (soon enough) game-play.

Think about it: they spit these games out faster than a jackrabbit on a date. But almost all of them have splendid design (if not repetitive) that plays on almost any system. And now with games like Perfect World, Runes of Magic and Mabinogi, you get the same game-play that you would normally pay for.

Again, do they still have some ways to go? YES and YES. But, they are getting there. If we want, we can sit back and watch as our gaming companies become the same as our car manufacturers and certain tech fields: out-sourced and crapped out. We need to step it up.

These games are getting better all the time, and I don't have to worry about keeping the sub going. Now, if they could all  have deeper systems like Mabinogi. :)

Beau

PS: Oops, I meant >.<

Dog, what I have become?