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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

Spouse Aggro #87: The Historian interview!

Posted by beauturkey Saturday August 29 2009 at 2:30PM
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Spouse Aggro #87

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD


" A brunch with The Historian. A brunch with lasers."

I sit down with Acclaim's wonderful and nerdy Community Manager named "The Historian" for a 30 minute chat about The Chronicles of Spellborn, community management, and collecting Atari consoles.

I plan on doing more of these developer/community/insider interviews...just 30 minutes, some chat and a little bit of an inside look into these games we love. I would LOVE to get one of the developers of Spellborn on the show, to chat about the wonderful art, music and game-play of that game, but we'll see! :)

Write us, or send in a segment. Call the phone line and leave a comment:

972-535-8867

Enjoy!

Send emails to spouseaggro at yahoo dot com.

Website found at spouseaggro dot com.

Twitter name: spouseaggro

Skype name: beauturkey

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The Turkeys

Spouse Aggro # 86! "Blizzcon, Beau's fun, Able Gamers and THE END OF SUMMER!"

Posted by beauturkey Thursday August 27 2009 at 9:22AM
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DOWNLOAD OR CLICK OT LISTEN HERE!

*EXPLICIT*

Me and Leala have discussed things for a while, and decided to break away from Virgin Worlds. This does not mean, in any way, shape or form, that we have any issues with Brent or the site. This is simply about having direct control over when our file goes up, and access to all sorts of information about the files. I cannot even begin to thank Brent for his contribution to not only Virginworlds, but to us as well, and for setting a bar for podcasting that, to this day, is a very high bar. This is a matter of spreading ourselve a little thin, as well, being that mmovoices.ning.com is taking over some of our time, along with writing for various sites and planning travel to games conventions.

We would like to tell people that if you normally get our podcast off of iTunes, that this current file in this current post is on a NEW feed, but we will be receiving the old feed soon. In other words, you might not see this podcast updated in iTunes. This is just a temporary holding area because we needed to get this show out before we recorded another. We finished it a while ago, and want to get the Blizzcon stuff out of the way and also do not want to be so late to the party.

Anyway, there it is. We will see you on the old feed as soon as we get control of it, and thank you for all your support. And of course, thanks MORE THAN WE COULD EVER TYPE to ViriginWorlds.com!!!!!

-----------------------------------NOTES----------------------------------------------------------

Me and Leala sit down WITHOUT food (trying to keep the chomping noise down) to talk all about all the really cool stuff that was announced at Blizzcon. Needless to say, Blizzard wins again.
Then, I get to run down my list of really cool games that I am playing, beta'ing and looking forward to. I want all of you, yes ALL of you, to try these games and call the number with your thoughts!
And I wanted to add on to the show my interview with Mark and Steve from Ablegamers.com. I thought I would save it for the next show, but I wanted to get the interview out there. I'm so excited to be dealing with their site, so go visit it at ablegamers.com!!

972-535-8867

Enjoy!

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

Ok, so DID Cryptic warn you or NOT?

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday August 25 2009 at 9:09PM
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Ok, the latest fuel for the nerd rage fires is the announcement that the Champions Online Life Time sub ran out, fast. According to some, the emails sent to players with the offer didn't have the "limited quantities" wording in them. I don't know, and would love to see one of these emails. Seriosuly..who got one? I would love to link it.

Clearly on the forums they warned of the limited quantities. VERY CLEARLY.

The are questions as to if they warned people, in EVERY communication about the deal, that there were NOT limited quantities, just an end date. I want to find out. Someone on Massivelt said that in their email they just saw "limited quantities" and not a date.

Here's my hunch: they covered their asses. They said both "limited quantities" AND "until Sept. 1st." This is case of "change your oil at 30k miles OR at 3 months, whichever COMES first."

We'll see, though. It's fixed easy enough, just let those few remaining people buy it and eat the cost for any confusion.

Now, dammit, see what I DID? I wasn't going to TYPE today!

Beau

EDIT: Someone has just posted a screenie of the offer. http://img193.imageshack.us/img193/8858/emailt.jpg

Limited means in quantity OR date. Whichever comes first. Done and done. Next time, move faster.

Spouse Aggro Vidcast #9

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday August 25 2009 at 11:21AM
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I posted a quick vidcast explaining my move to the new old format I used to use alot. It will help with my arm pain, and will centralize my posts.

 Since MMORPG.com does not allow embedding, here ya go:

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVrcoUUySEs

 If you would like to join with us on our blogging site, we are just starting out and want quality over quantity..go to http://www.mmovoices.ning.com

 

  Thanks guys!

 

 Beau

Blizzard gets you again.

Posted by beauturkey Saturday August 22 2009 at 8:49AM
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 With all the recent announcements being fired off from Blizzcon, the Turkey Household is all buzzed up. We are even going over Stomp's house (potty mouthed host of RawrCast) to watch the stream, drink some beers and to generally nerd out. This is not a stretch at all to say that these kind of events are more fun to us than Christmas (a holiday for a religion we do not follow) or summer vacation (Texas sucks.)

 Understand, I don't even play WoW much anymore. The last time I logged in was a month ago. I canceled my account. But, I have had plenty of years of entertainment in that game, and I will enjoy a few more I'm sure.Leala, on the other hand, is obsessed with the game. She loves the community, just recently stopped hosting a pretty damn good podcast about it, and still leads a great WoW guild. She is, needless to say, glued to the PC screen as information comes out. So although I don't play the game much anymore I am enjoying her excitement. But just like with the Sims games, I can see the familiar cycle beginning again: the new stuff gets announced, players get excited, the new stuff comes out, players barrel through all new content, players whine about lack of content, new stuff gets announced....

 It's such a familiar cycle that I just don't get that excited by it.

 But, that does not mean that my wife and her excitement are somehow illegitimate or misplaced. Actually, the opposite. Despite the fact that I don't find the game that exciting anymore does not mean it is not that exciting for many, many people. Despite the fact that I look at other games for better game-play and more exciting features (other games actually have housing, for example) that does not mean that millions do not have a ton of fun with the features that are in the game. The game even sinks it's teeth so deep into some players that they continue to post about the game, to whine about the new stuff coming out for the game, while not even being subbed to the game. It reminds me of a young guy that dumps his pretty and popular girlfriend, then after she moves on happily, he stalks outside her window while telling all his friends what a bitch she is (despite his obsession with her.)

 Also, I think many people analyze these announcements and changes way, way too much. Players just need to lean back and enjoy the show. There are hundreds of people that worked very, very hard to bring out this content and, despite what some obsessed-yet-not-subscribed players might say, this stuff is good.While I hate to see players blast it for being the same-ole-same-ole, I hate to see fanboys and girls analyze it to the point of reducing it down to individual pixels. BLEH!

 I am reminded of an interview I read one time with Bono, lead singer of U2. I don't buy U2 albums, I don't follow them on Myspace. I am not a fan, but I don't hate them. They are a obviously working very hard, being that they have lasted for this long while maintaining such a flow of, admittedly, pretty good music. I'm paraphrasing here, but basically he said "If any new band put out the material we are putting out it would be lifted up as original and amazing, but since it's us, it is just another U2 album." This is completely true. While Blizzard is just putting out another expansion and getting the old cycle going again, name any MMO that can do what they do, change the world the way they are changing it, or can put out such massive updates that work so well for so many people.

 Just enjoy it, even if you do not play the game. I promise you there is enough excitement for everyone.

 

 Beau

 

 

A clone of WHAT?

Posted by beauturkey Thursday August 20 2009 at 10:45AM
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That's the new thing, now-a-days. That's what all the kids are a' doing: calling games a "_____ clone."

Usually, of course, it is a "WoW Clone."

I can see why, as many of the players that are OK with using the latest in hip internet lingo probably grew up with the internet, and WoW was their "home game." When they were jamming on that game, I was well into my 20's. Not that this is a big thing, it's only 10 years and not some grand length of time, but growing up with the internet during your teens and watching the internet actually come into being have completely different effects on players.

open-phone-bookAnyway, as the slew of new games continue to come out, there will always be the inevitable clone comparisons. We don't need to get into who started what, being that many players never even played the ones that started it all.

My question is, if everything is a clone of something, where are these original titles that these players claim to be the start of it all? Also, if they were the prized games, why aren't they playing them anymore? I know so so so many gamers that claim their love for EQ, yet they haven't touched that game in years. And then there are bloggers and players that do nothing but mourn the loss of their favorite game to nerfs and crappy patches (while I maintain boredom is the more likely cause.) I will also say that I don't think almost any game has been changed so much as to be nothing like it's original state. Players love to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to the memories of their first games.

It is to the point that almost no discussion can be started without players resorting to just typing "meh" (call me old, but godamn I hate that) instead of explaining WHY they feel the game is not to their standards. Now, you can just type "fail" to indicate your dis-like for a game, instead of explaining or looking into why exactly everything bores the hell out of you.

You know what I think it is? It's simple, but you can laugh at me all you want.

Skipping quest text.

That's right, skipping quest text is the main reason for this epidemic of lazy writers. Think about it: in example, Civil War novels are a very popular genre. There are Civil War romance novels, adventure novels...you name it, it has been done while set within the Civil War. The actual physical copy of the book is the equivalent of the MMO itself, and the story within is the equivalent of the Lore. Now, you can enjoy the book as it is, on it's own, or you can claim that Civil War novels have been done too much. You can read it front to back in one week, or go out and buy the Cliff's Notes or go onto some website to read spoilers.

Essentially, the MMO and game-play are just a delivery for the Lore, the Story. That IS the main point of these games, to deliver a story set in some other world or time.

If you skip the quest text (something most players I know do) then you are skipping the Story, period. If you skip the story, then yes, the delivery of the story, the vehicle, can seem like nothing but a copy of all the other deliveries/vehicles you have seen before. Not only that, but skipping quest text puts you in the habit of skipping all sorts of things, and encourages you to do things like going to a website to read all the walk-throughs before even your first attempt.

No wonder so many kids on forums are talking about "clones." This is an age in which many younger people (and older!) brag about not reading a damn thing. Books are "boring." This is why we have simple, simple, simple words like "loose" being used instead of "lose." Just the other day, one of my recurring trolls on one of my websites tried to insult me in the comments section. He not only used "loose" instead of "lose" but "your" instead of "you're." (I bet you he could spell "meh" correctly, though.) Needless to say, it was hard to take him seriously, being that his profile said he was a "37 year old male."

Think of how many songs or movies are basically the same as others, in setting or in rhythm. But, it's the lyrics or the story that can make those songs or movies unique. Why can't there be more than one game set in a comic-book universe or in sci-fi land without it being accused of being a "clone?" I wager it's because players are not looking at the story, just the vehicle for the story.

In a recent Becketts article, I read that the Harry Potter novels contained somewhere near 1,000,000 words. All the quests in EQ2 equaled near 9 MILLION words. If you were to skip past a good bulk of those words, you obviously miss most of the point of the game.

Yes, I know...there are many games that actually are just rip-offs of each other. The worst genre for this is first person shooters. Even the new EVE FPS footage showed the same lame design for weapons and vehicles (wheeled vehicles? Seriously? A drop ship? C'mooonnnn). Also, there is plenty to complain about, game-play wise, in MMORPGs. But let's be a little forgiving, because if we are not even willing to participate in half of the game (the quest text) then we are not really giving the game more than half of a chance.

So, name some games that are truly original in game-play and story. For me, I'm going with Ryzom and The Chronicles of Spellborn. Even Ryzom, with its very very limited development cycles, still attracts a hard-core following. Why? The story is so original. Spellborn is essentially a story that you play through, but what a good story it is! What an original setting!

For many, quest reading is just too slow. I understand. But, give it a chance, slow down a bit. The game isn't going anywhere, and no one cares if you are the first to gain anything. Just enjoy the story that so many talented people worked hard to bring you. Then, you might find that the entire package (the story and the game-play) form a pretty original package overall.

Beau

Planet Calypso: I'm embarrassed FOR you.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday August 19 2009 at 1:40PM
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Usually, I try to be pretty forgiving of a game. I try to give it several chances before posting any hate. I normally try to keep in mind that I do not understand the game, or simply have not played it long enough to know the basics. That's cool.

But, I don't know if I am just hungry, or what, but this game has frustrated the living hell out of me. Seriously, I don't GET frustrated. EVER.

Basically, Mindark released a new, prettier version of their really f*****g ugly game called "Entropia Universe." It is now called "Planet Calypso."

OK, I have played this game a few times over the last few years. Each time it is interesting, but the game-play is so sluggish that it is hard to get into it. The game not only LOOKED dated, but PLAYED dated. REALLY dated. If there is one thing that can kill my fun now-a-days, it's reminding me of the time when games were really that primitive. Playing in the EQ days 10 years ago was fun, but we had to do a lot of tweaking, messing with, adjusting, and plenty of "f*****g around with" just to get something like basic controls comfortable.

So, I thought this was a chance for MindArk to bring Entropia into the NOW. You know, give it an over-haul, try to get more people playing it. You know, do something good for the game.

Ok, stop. I'll stop right here. I am going to go make another brand new character or account to MAKE SURE I am not missing something. I'll be back.

*goes to load game*

*picks this up the next day*

Ok, let's go through this with some pictures. First of all, if you were an old player and wanted to go check out the new stuff, you google "entropia" and go to their site:

website2

You click on the Planet Calypso link, and come to the next page. No warning of "beta client" or anything like that. Just a big old download link:

website

The forums are a mumble-jumble of a mess. Like the game, you have to take your time to find anything. Not that this takes you more than 5 or 6 minutes, but who DOES this type of thing anymore? This feels so dated already:

forumss

When you finally load the game, you notice that it doesn't look that good at all. By default, my game was set at "high." Here is an avatar set at "high": (notice that yellow button? That happened, somehow, when I was trying to set my key bindings. You have to open up a lil keyboard and then all your actions, and drag the action to the key. For some reason, that yellow key became bound to MY SCREEN. I tried resetting, opening up the bindings again, but nothing. It was a "strafe left" button and it stayed there. MindArk: just MAKE A LIST of all the actions, and have us CLICK THE BUTTON we want bound to it. You know, like every other f*****g MMO out there allows us to DO.)

uglyavie

And weird shit is happening alllllll the time. What IS this golden halo thing that I kept seeing over my head? Well, I should say that it would happen NEAR my head, behind it slightly. I finally snagged a screenie of it. To the game's credit, this probably has something to do with game-play later on:

wtfISthat

And what game would feel like it was from '01 without getting stuck in a wall? Seriously..in a WALL. Now, this does happen to games all the time. It's common. But, no clue as to what to do in this situation. All I found out (through searching the bloated key bindings) is that T means "teleport":

stuckagain

While I was teleporting, some guy got stuck too:

someoneelsestuck

Here is a bank, in the city. The lil character in the shot there is a player that got stuck in the bank. He ran around in circles and couldn't get out. Amazing:

nicebank

Some of the wonderful choices you have in this brilliant game:

moreoptions1

Annnnndd here's another shot showing how bad this new upgrade actually CAN be. This shot looks like something out of Second Life. No, I am not kidding. This isn't bad for Second Life, being that many of those textures and costumes are MADE BY AMATEURS. But this is a brand new graphical engine, and is not supposed to look like SECOND LIFE:

lookslikesecondlife

This is just a funny screenie. Every time I teleported, I stared at this screen for about 2 minutes. Must of been my PC, but who knows? For the record, this PC runs every other thing in the world just fine, at high settings:

loadscreen

I turned up everything to max, and got this shot. Not bad, actually, but worth the small amount of lag? Nah:

hmmok

Ah, yes, the "Tutorials." They tell you how to do everything, without telling you how to get the things that you need to do the job. (Where the f**k do I get my WEAPON? Could you have just given me a basic pea-shooter?) According to those that finally acknowledged me, the developers took out all of the basic tutorials that the "old" version had:

greattutorial

Another funny strange event. Again, probably due to my card, but it is strange that this never happens in any other game:

errorerror

This is a screenshot on "high:"

entropiaview1before

This is a screenshot on the highest settings. No difference:

entropiaview1

More beautiful, new and hip avatars:

amazingavatar

And some of the chat, in which I ask for help and get the explanation that they took away all of the basic stuff that a noobie would need. People were helpful, though, but they didn't make the game:

chatchat

Now look, I'm down with development. I have spoken before (and still mean it) that developers really do nothing wrong, because they are offering you a toy. And they are. Just refuse the toy if you don't like it.

But just tell me if the toy is supposed to be an inside joke. Just tell me if I need to be a vet player to understand how to do something as basic as killing something. You need me to put 10 bucks into your game to start off? Fine. Just TELL ME. If this is not a beta test, just a buggy release, JUST TELL ME. Yes, I saw your little note on the front page mentioning that some things might not be available in this version, but you mean to tell me that you seriously took out basic noobie tutorials? For what reason?

And just look at your controls, and your interface. Just take a minute and LOOK at it. When I log in, for example, I see a non-stop stream of blue chat telling me that "so and so just dug up a dead body worth 504 ped and is now super popular!" It keeps going, on and on. Ok, so on the chat bar there is a little button colored the same as the annoying text. I click that little button (as you can see in the screenies) thinking that I turned the chat off. NOPE. It keeps coming, and coming.

Here's the deal, if you are not from America and do not speak American-ease, hire someone that speaks English much gooderer than me. Give them 1,000 bucks and have them sit down at the PC (and while you're at it, try the game on A FEW DIFFERENT systems) and go through this entire process. I did it in a few afternoons. Have them look for spelling errors, bad translations, stuff like that. JUST DO IT. If you have so many basic errors, it makes you seem like an amateur. YOU ARE NOT AN AMATEUR. Last I heard, you were a legal BANK.

Now, look. I understand that after a while I will get used to the "learning curve" and will grasp all the controls and finer points of the game. I understand that to many players, this is all elementary stuff. But let's play a game, ok?

Guess the word that I am thinking of.

Go on, guess.

Ok, it was orange. Did you guess it? Nope? But, it's SO F*****G SIMPLE.

Hiding stuff from me in bloated interfaces or behind non-existent tutorials does not mean your game is deeper or more complex than a simple game of hide-and-seek. Just give me the basics. Sure, players in your game might brag about how they passed through the gauntlet of "the learning curve" (like they STILL do with EVE despite having many good tutorials.) But, that's not what most players want nowadays. People don't need to "figure out" basic things like a CHAT CHANNEL. Also, if you are trying for a graphical re-do, why go for a new look that not only doesn't look quite THAT real, but that also requires a much beefier system than the previous players were used to?

Trying for realism in your video game, at this point in technology, is pretty stupid. If you try for ultra-realism, you will usually fall short of the mark, only drawing attention to the fact that it doesn't look real at all, just really weird. Go for a stylized look. It's easier on systems, and lasts longer because there is no "reality" measuring tape for your game to go after. EQ2 learned a lesson about having a graphics system that looks OK, but just OK, and only at the highest settings.

Anyway, I'll give it some time. I am very forgiving of a beta. Hell, I am very forgiving of the 3 or 6 month period after a beta. A MMO is always changing, developing. Oh, wait. This isn't a beta. They just took some tin foil and wrapped a turd in it.

I will check back in a month or so. Go download the client, fair reader. Tell me what you think. I will bet that I am missing something really simple, but you get me.

Beau

Toys and Worlds.

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday August 18 2009 at 1:26PM
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I have a recurring dream.

In the dream, it's usually after me and Leala have gone to a great dinner with people we know, in some nice city like New York or San Fran, and we walk out of the restaurant with a good buzz as the snow falls. The scene is always amazing, a combination of perfect moments from my life.

K3319A-s

Then, I see it. Somehow I have switched scenes and I am standing inside a small packed store. Think of a junk shop that sells mostly watches and other miniature goods, but the real stuff is in the back. In a hallway are stacks of drawers and inside those drawers are little robots, tiny metal army men, wind up toys and figures. All of them are something like 50 cents and I have an adult wad of cash in my pocket. The feeling is spectacular!

Some games give me this feeling. I can see the little box of 1's and 0's sitting there, waiting to be double clicked and installed. Some games, once I log in, overwhelm me with a sense of joy. The first thing I do is load up the cash shop, look at all the great items for sale, little digital packages waiting to be delivered to me! I can explore the entire toy box, buy some neat things along the way, meet people.

Then, some other games give me a feeling of going...very.....slow....

Not in a bad way, in a good way. Spellborn, for example, has been so enjoyable because of it's pace. I read some more of the Lore through quests, I accomplish a little here and there. The world and music make me feel as though I am playing in a world, in something bigger than my character.

Ryzom does this, too. It does it by making their world seem alive. The mobs, the weather, all combine together to form  a living, breathing world.

Vanguard always had this, too. Telon is a massive world. Often you come across giant collapsed towers or destroyed buildings and you stop and wonder about when it was first built, who occupied it.

Both feelings have their value. We all know that some nights we want to relax and play a little mini-game, or we might feel like wrapping ourselves up into some epic lore. Some games do a pretty good job of wrapping up these two feelings together. Free Realms has some surprising lore, and Dream of Mirrior Online and Mabinogi really get me with some of their quests. I love when I am logged into a "toy" type game only to be surprised by moments of "world-ness."

Maybe that's why I love this old PC. It's desktop is packed with 30 or so MMO shortcuts, all windows into worlds or toy-stores. That's another reason I love F2P games, the fact that they can sit there forever and you can explore their store shelves at your own pace.

I hope this makes sense. I'm pretty sure it does to most that will read it. I am basically speaking to those feelings we got as a kid during the holidays, or at certain stages of our lives. Sometimes we had incredible fun, while other times we sat quietly as we discovered something new and grand.

Beau

The word "beta" is officially replaced with "released."

Posted by beauturkey Monday August 17 2009 at 3:47PM
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Thousands of gamers across the world are relieved to finally get the official nod that the word "beta" has been replaced with the word "release." For the last 5 years of major MMO development, gamers have been confused as to why their actions did not match up to what they were called to be doing.

Posts scream of  "..buggy play sessions that feel like a beta.." while all along players felt as though they were playing during the grand opening of a brand new world instead of helping out developers by reporting bugs and keeping track of issues.

Game developers have now changed "closed beta" to "open beta", will remove all NDA restrictions from the closed beta, and will use "closed beta" instead of "alpha/development/meeting at a coffee shop discussing an idea for a game."

So far, the "release" of Champions Online seems to going relatively smoothly, if not for a few minor issues, like the lack of a physical box on store shelves and no box art to go on those boxes.

WOOT! New Entropia client out today!

Posted by beauturkey Sunday August 16 2009 at 9:46AM
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http://www.planetcalypso.com/home/

Entropia is an interesting game, for sure, But the graphics have caused many to go "bleh" and to run far away. Well, the new engine upgrade is out tomorrow, and the pre-release client is ready for download!
I have had several accounts over the years in Entropia, and while I enjoyed it, the dated graphics really hurt the fun. Granted, I am no graphics nut (look at my obsession with Mabinogi) but when they get SO dated looking, it begins to feel a little dated, too.

This will be exciting! Everyone should go download it and take a look tomorrow!

Here is a slideshow of the new graphics.

Beau

Are virtual relationships REAL relationships?

Posted by beauturkey Saturday August 15 2009 at 8:57PM
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Me and Leala often talk about our online B.F.F.s...people we know from all over the world and have met through this wonderful form of entertainment called MMORPGs. We talk about them pretty much as though they are the friends that we interact with on a daily or semi-daily basis, in real life. We share stories about them, laugh about them.

In fact, just today one of Leala's good friends, a guild-mate, announced the birth of his new little girl. We laughed that he said he would be on "later tonight".

Many of these friends we talk to on Skype, in game chat boxes, or over Vent. Some we only know through text over the years, but text is surprisingly efficient at gathering facts about some one's personality. Many of them we have even met in person at game conventions or through travel.

So, are they real friends? Do they exist in the same space as the friends we meet, in person, on a regular basis?

Well, what is a friend? To me, a friend is simply a person that has a recurring role in the book that is your life. Cheesy, yes, but a decent example: they are a character to you, with certain predictable behaviors, a personality, and little quirky things that make you laugh. Does it have to be a physical one to make the relationship real? Think about your friends as work, for example. Think about someone you like there. Even though you might consider them a good friend, how often do you touch them? Not a lot, I would wager. Even my best friends I might hug only once in a while.

So your friends are really, mostly I should say, just an image in your head. A kick-ass hologram, also, but still mostly an image.

And the same goes for many online friends. I can tell you that Leala and me, thanks to our busy schedules, spend more time with virtual people than with real people. Now, that is not to say that we don't have any contact with the real world, because we do and plenty, but we are at home more than we are out. Yet the virtual friends of ours are as vibrant and fun as any of our real life ones, of course minus the physical interaction.

But let's look at an example of how this might actually become less of an issue of people staying home, and more of an issue of people never leaving their friends behind. Thanks to technology, we will be able to maintain friendships anywhere and anytime:

Jen is logged in to her favorite MMO, playing with her 2 favorite online buddies. "Ok guys," she says "I've got to get ready, see you in about 30." Her friends say goodbye and she logs out. After taking a shower and getting ready, she takes the train to the coffee house, orders a latte and sits down with her friend Kelly.

Jen opens up her laptop and logs into the game. There are her 2 favorite online friends, and they all go into a little virtual movie theater together. Their avatars sit down, get comfortable. The lights begin to dim.

Kelly asks "What are you watching?" and Jen invites her to join them. Kelly pulls out her phone, links to Jen's laptop and downloads the game. Within minutes she is sitting next to the three of them as the movie begins to play. They watch the movie, talk to each other using their real voices, and if Jen looks over at them in the dark, she can see their faces in 3-D, as they look in real life, smiling at the movie screen.

Several lattes later, Jen and Kelly say goodbye to their online friends and head out to the dance club.

Look at the iPhone as an example. It is just a very small computer with mobile capability. It can make calls, play games, tell you about your surroundings, and help you communicate with your friends. Can you imagine it in 10 years or 20?

These friends you make online, these acquaintances, these guild-mates and add-ons to your friends list: they are real people and exist in your head just like real people do. In a recent Radio Lab episode, the scientists talk about how recent findings suggest that memories are fabricated every time you attempt to remember them. Each time you remember them they lose a little bit of the parameters of the original memory. Simply think of the last time you were out with a loved one or friend, and ask yourself to go over some of the smaller details of some of the memory. You will soon find that you are not sure about quite a bit of the memory, and it is very possible that it exists as fragments of your imagination more than as a concrete collection of facts.

So, if that's how you see "real" friends in your head, why makes them much different than virtual ones?

Now, I know what many might fear about these technologies: that many people will become home-bound, and never leave their house to go out into the "real world."

First of all, there are many reasons, physical and otherwise, why some people might not be able to leave their house. This article is not about that, but on a side-note, consider for a second that you might not know why any of your virtual friends might not be as able to leave their house, and what the game and it's interactions might mean to them. (I'm talking to you, developers, so go out there and make more accessibility features for your games!)

But there will always be those players that never leave the house, and yes the technology will only make it easier for many to leave even less. Those people have issues despite the technology or the availabilty of it.

But technology will also take our virtual friends with us thanks to portable devices!

So, are virtual relationships real? Are they valid?

I'd say that they are new and different.

We haven't had much time to see what happens with these type of relationships, being that most humans on the earth have only been online for the last 10 years. But they are relationships, valid and fulfilling, but definitely different than hanging out with your friend at the corner cafe.

Beau

So, what's up with Spellborn?

Posted by beauturkey Friday August 14 2009 at 11:08PM
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 I raved about The Chronicles of Spellborn a few hundred million times on the show. I was so excited to actually log in and play it. I even "flew to Europe" every other day to play it when it was just open to them. I  got to level 16, then my subscription ran out.

 No biggie, I would just wait for the North American release.

spellborn_promo_hdr

 So, when it DID come, I was excited to get back in. They revamped the newbie starting area and added a neat intro instance. All in all, things were looking good. Then, since I played the same character, I noticed how UN-fun it is to play through the same story quests to raise your character. One of the reasons I hate alts is that I hate leveling. Well, I shouldn't say that I hate leveling; I mean to say that I hate leveling several times. Rare is the activity that will hold my interest for months and months. Normally, I like to have one main to build it up over a long period of time.

 So, I played with my new alt until level 7 and decided to wait until the F2P client. I couldn't wait!

 Then, just today it I found out that not only were the EU servers being shut down and merged with the NA ones, but that the game was going completely FREE for anyone to any level, to make up for having no more development until the F2P client comes out in early '10.

 I merged my accounts and VOILA! There was my level 16, waiting for me to play him. And I have been, for sure. I am glad I get to just pick up where I left off, and very glad that it won't cost me a dime until the cash shop comes out. (I will more than likely spend more money on cash shopitems than I ever would on a sub.)

 Why did  the game not fare so well? One good reason seems to be that a power leveler could tear through the entire story/levels in about 5 days. 5 DAYS. Now, I know that Spellborn should have more content to level through, but what kind of nut-job is going to play that MUCH? It does happen, I guess.

 My thoughts? I think the game didn't give enough time-sucking activities to do BUT level. Crafting, sure. But that was about it. The game is PERFECT for role-play, and I am trying to get together a role-play group, but the game just had too little to do. That will kill a game before anything else. If your player-base just has nothing left to conquer, than for many of them there will be no reason for logging in. I, for one, do not think that the "leveling" has to be all there is to do, there could be better crafting, live events, collecting things or customizing your character, but there has to be something.

 I just don't think that Spellborn had those extra activities needed to keep people entertained, at least not enough.

 BUT, that's where a cash shop comes in. The game is perfect for one! Love them or hate them, everyone has to admit that a cash shopactivates that same impulse reaction in all of us. That same reaction makes us pre -order games that we KNOW will have plenty of copies left to buy, and it makes us do things like hunt after titles or rare, but useless, items.  If they play their cards right, a cash shop could give players that little extra something that encourages them to slow down a bit and to enjoy the game a little more.

 Give the players something to do, developers. It doesn't have to just be combat.

 If you want to find me, I am on the PvE server under the name Beau. I am the only super skinny rogue that doesn't wear a hood!

 

 Beau

Onyxia Revamp to give NGE a well deserved break.

Posted by beauturkey Friday August 14 2009 at 3:59PM
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Blizzard Entertainment released a FAQ today detailing how to introduce the new Onyxia re-vamp to those needing a desperate change of topic for nerd conversation. Among the many tips, you will learn how to distract the ranting nerd from talking for an hour about the NGE (and ruining your conversation about that jerk at work that has dandruff) to talking about how it was better in the "old days before B.C."

Granted, you will still have many conversations wrecked when you slip up in the slightest and even mention Star Wars and the Internet in the same sentence, but with this new topic you can expect, at least, a fresh stream of nerd rage shooting from your pal.

From the FAQ: "Just nod and agree with him that a few years ago can be referred to "'.way back then..'" and that "..that was when the game separated the men from the noobs."

Soon, CCP, creators of the highly successful space-based MMORPG called "EVE" are going to attempt to help by announcing their new efforts to use "Ambulation" in even more ways, in order to attract more females to the game. Then, scientists believe that the NGE will be safely diffused.

Actually, it's none of your business.

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday August 12 2009 at 10:46AM
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Man, what a rant-fest I have been on lately!

Several items have fired off this blog:

1) Tobold's blog about "Blogging Ethics." He talks about being sure to divulge any free "gifts" from developers or companies that he might cover.

2) A thread on MMORPG.COM about free stuff that players might receive.

3) Discussions about players getting angry at developers for posting about their vacations. How dare they vacation!

Simple things, but they add up. Over the last several years that I have been more involved with communities than games, I am always surprised that players even ask about such personal things. First, let's talk about bloggers or podcasters receiving "free stuff." Does it happen? Sure. So, why is this even relevant? Many players seem to think that if you get a free poster or glow-in-the-dark pen or free access that you're opinion is tainted and will more than likely lean to the positive. Even if the game sucks, you will give it a glowing review because you saved 15 dollars.

payola

Not only is this is the largest sack of s*** I could think of, but even IF it was true, how is that not the natural order of things? The point here is to get to playing the game. If you are a developer, do you ask bloggers/podcasters to buy your game for 50 bucks, and then ask them to sign up for 15 bucks a month? That's ridiculous. You spot 'em a deal, and allow them to get to the game. If that same blogger goes to a convention, you don't expect him to pay to sit down with a developer to play through the game for an hour? They sit down and log in.

If Tobold feels as though it is "ethical" to tell everyone every time he shakes some one's hand, more power to him. I admire it, but to be honest I just don't care if people think my opinion is tainted. It's an opinion, and the readers/listeners are supposed to have their own.

I want to make sure people understand that I understand that these are the more extreme examples, but it is linked to players thinking that somehow a developer or a blogger or podcaster is not just a human being just doing something. In the case of most bloggers/podcasters, we are not getting paid. At all. I blog every day, in a few areas, and receive nothing. If someone wants to throw me a Light Saber throw towel, go for it.

Of course, my payment is the interaction I get with the fantastic people I have met, players AND developers. Gaming is such a small, small world and is very open to pretty much anyone coming along and making a home.

But think to those that think that freebies being throw around equal biased BS filled reviews and opinions, I will point a few things out.

1) Get with the year, say, 1960. Payola happens. It can taint opinions one way or the other, but so can bloated pay options, cruddy betas, or whatever. A million things can effect an opinion in a million ways.

2) Bloggers/podcasters are NOT journalists. They are teenage girls, keeping a diary. Instead of talking about the cute boy in class, they whine about patches. You do not expect them to remain unbiased when talking about, essentially, toys. Certain levels of excitement or excitement over interactions with the toy-makers can and will adjust their opinion. We are not talking about the crisis in the Middle East, or about health care. Those are subjects that rarely effect us directly, and even occur in other lands. It would be much easier to remain cold and unemotional if the story had no effect on us whatsoever.

3) The players that have an issue with "journalists" receiving any type of gift or high-five or smooch from a developer need to ask themselves if they ignore all the kick-ass swag at video game conferences/fan-fests. Of course not. They grab up that stuff like their lives depended on it. But I will assure that a person-to-person opinion (the one that the gamer has) carries more power then any 1 out of 5 million name-less bloggers out there.  You, as a player, can effect more people than you think, trust me. But snagging free s*** doesn't effect your opinion?

This issue, to me, connects to the idea that developers or "industry people" are somehow not human beings. They are. In fact, you would be hard pressed to find a genre of entertainment that is more accessible to it's fans than MMORPG's. You know where a lot of the developers came from? The fanbase!

If you think some one's opinion might be tainted by getting a free pewter figurine, then take what they say as...

...an OPINION.

Form your own. There has always been and always will be the possibility that a blogger or podcaster could not only be feeding you a biased opinion, but outright LIES, and you would never know. Don't place so much trust in someone else's opinion. Use it in consideration for your own opinion, but just as part of the bigger picture.

And, if you really really want to, form your own podcast/blog. Get involved. As someone that just decided to try it one day, I can tell you that the industry is filled with more cool people that are down-to-earth and cool than most. Players AND developers.

And then, when a developer wants to give you a free mug that says "I live to PWN!" you can refuse it for the sake of unbiased opinions.

Beau

Alternate forms of control for 3 great F2P's.

Posted by beauturkey Monday August 10 2009 at 9:06AM
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Anymore, I have to first look at a games controls to consider if it will be a good game for me to play. I might first open the options panel to see what can be re-mapped to fit my "mostly keyboard" style. I usually am best with movement being on the WASD keys, along with the arrow keys. I also like to find a few ways to attack, to loot (if applicable) and to travel long distances.

Consider it for a second: how many tiny clicks or hand movements do you make during a gaming session? Ever have achiness in your hands, or take a break to massage your arms or wrists? Ever do that thing where you shake your hands around as though they have sticky substances on them? That's because slowly, but surely, you are causing damage to your arms/wrists/hands.

I've been causing this damage for most of my life. I have not only been playing drums, but been playing drums HARD. I have been a painter, too, sometimes doing detailed or massive artworks that required huge brushes. And then there is the last 10 years of PC usage. Overall, I have hurt myself, but it's not so bad that I can't work around it. At least for awhile.

So seeing how some of my favorite games are going F2P soon, I want to look at how they work with my play-style. I just want to concentrate on the basics with this article, because the first thing to consider in a game is how you might go throughout the world.

DDO+Character+Creation.preview

DDO Unlimited: This game has been absolutely thrilling to play again. When I played it for the show a while back I enjoyed it enough, but when it came time to pay the sub I chose to spend my money elsewhere. Although I can afford several subs per month, I have to pick and choose how much I spend like anything else. And now that this game is going F2P, well, I am more than excited.

It plays wonderfully smooth. The game looks incredible but runs great, even on my older system. The cash shop is a nice balance of functional and cosmetic, and the beta has been a blast.

But, I was worried about the hack and slash FPS style controls. If there is one thing that destroys me, it's holding down a move button while controlling views with my mouse. All those little clicks add up to one big pain. But, this game has so many options for controls it's crazy! I can basically re-map anything, and in a couple places. I can now be in FPS mode (if I chose to be) and with the push of the T button, can be in a customized "classic" version with two movement key sets, three attack choices (either ctrl key or a mouse click) and many other click-saving options. It's been wonderful to play, being able to switch on the fly between play-styles. I can also control the camera movements with a button set, and attacking is pretty accurate and smooth. Overall, I am thrilled to be playing this game again.

spellborn_promo_hdr

The Chronicles of Spellborn: I raved about this game for a long, long time. When it came out it was almost like I couldn't believe it actually came out. I loved the look of the game (it is probably my favorite art style besides Ryzom) and enjoyed the game play. Granted, running for 4683 miles is not that fun, and the linear story-quest leveling gets a little clunky, but the story is engaging and the world is beautful.

Again, though, when the time came to pay the sub I had already played to near level 20 on the over-seas servers. When the North American version came out, I was not thrilled to be playing the same character, basically, following the exact same story. In fact, that's one weak point about a story driven game (SWtOR?): re playability is low. Once you go through the story, being forced to go down it again gets very old very fast.

But you can play to level 10 now, and when it goes F2P you can take your time and gain high levels without the pressure of a subscription. Being that I have already been through a good deal of the earlier levels, I can only play it in chunks.

So, how does this "FPS" style game do for me? Well, it does OK. This morning I played with the controls and was shocked to be reminded that there is not a single control for cameras besides zoom out or in. I am actually able to pull out my weapon, hit the mob and fight pretty well by using classic MMO modes. Granted, the attacks normally have to be clicked by the mouse to go off, but I found that pushing the number that corresponds to the attack will fire it off also. So, I can actually play it pretty well if not for the lack of such a simple thing: camera control.

Yes, I know the game was meant to be played FPS style. The point is though that these small controls can be the difference between having many players being able to play and many players avoiding your game. FPS style is so taxing that alternate forms of control would be helpful for almost anyone.

wiz screen

Wizard 101: This "kids" game has been very successful due to the fact that it has fun and surprisingly deep game-play. It is basically a card collecting combat game, but has brilliant player housing and a cash-shop for all the impulse buyers out there. It will run on older machines, but the animations and effects are far from amateur.

I became concerned when I couldn't figure out how to control the game during combat with anything but the mouse. I almost lost several fights because I was trying alternate buttons just to see what they do! In time, I found out that you can arrow over to the card you want and select it with space. Then, you simply arrow over to the enemy you want and hit space again. Voila! Instant destruction! Moving and camera work is not complicated or anything new. In fact, the camera is pretty restricted so you don't even worry about that.

Over all, I am so happy that these games are going to be more comfortable for me to play. Even with only playing maybe a few hours per night, I am up to icing my arms at least twice a day. If this can cut back on the discomfort, then I am a happy gamer.

I am going to look into more alternates for these games and see what I can come up with. It's nice to see that there are options, but I could always use more.

Beau

Ryzom: the game I am pulling for!

Posted by beauturkey Saturday August 8 2009 at 4:27PM
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You know, as I sit here in game watching players interact for the new Player Marketplace that some players have arranged, I am just remembering all the great times I have had in this game.

It still looks great, mainly due to it's uniqueness and not it's texture res. The game has a wonderful feel to it, and makes me wonder how many more typical swords and sorcery games we need before someone designs a game that is actually based on a very unique world, with characters and systems that are nothing like the rest of the games out there. It kind of makes me uncomfortable to think that Ryzom is all alone in MMO Land.

ryzmarket

It also makes me realise that I enjoy games for so much more than playing them. If a game is just a sum of it's combat systems, then I want nothing to do with gaming. The point of these games is to do things with other people, to forge friendships, to grow your character.  To me, at least, combat is nothing but another activity in the game.

And while I have done my share of fighting, in Ryzom my character has grown to be a combination of reporter, trader, explorer and (recently) digger.

But over the last three years, not so much has been done with the game along the line of anything new. Recently, the new owners have have done more than ever before, and it is much appreciated, but everyone has their dreams that they were like to see come true for one of their favorite games.  I wonder, though, if I missed something by not doing in this game what many players do in other games: get to max level several times. There are basically a ton of different skills you can have on your character, and all of them can be raised to 250. The highest skill I have is 170 or so, and that is with my hand-to-hand.

Even in Ryzom, those players that seem to have been able to raise their characters level the highest seem to enjoy themselves the most, even in the world that has hardly changed at all. And I am a little jealous. While my character has been forged through community involvement, exploring and through many adventures, theirs have been forged by performing the long hard grind not once, but several times. In a way, they have badges of courage I could never stomach.

It's something I have got to get used to, I guess. My inability to stick only with one game to the point of having the very highest in level (and gear in some games) has caused me to miss out on developing my character in that way, ever. The players that I watch and have watched in this game for the last 3 years would probably play this game and it alone for the next 10. I'm jealous of their characters deep history. Mine is always too busy to build himself up that way.

Oh well. I guess the trade off is being able to explore anywhere and anytime, and the sum of all my characters is pretty great, too. Plus, it's just how I am. Those players and their 5 year histories have gone through a long, boring process in some cases.

So, more power to them!

Beau

Games that should go F2P.

Posted by beauturkey Thursday August 6 2009 at 9:26AM
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You know, the F2P argument is a lot like politics. People choose sides, start thinking black and white.

"I will quit the game if it gets any form of RMT!"

"I will not play a sub-based game!"

It feels a lot like the two major political parties. People join up and attach the badge of one side or the other. Of course, there are many shades of gray, so why have the two sides only? Why have titles? I have to admit that I do not think that many players are actually that divided on the issue. I reside in a world that most players probably do not: the world of blogging, podcasting, getting to know people that make these games, someday working on these games. My point of view is a little off from the average player that just, you know, plays.

But, I do have a side. I much prefer the RMT/cash-shop/micro-transactions model, for many reasons:

When you visit the theme park called "RMT Land", parking is free. (Client Download.) You get to ride all the rides, but can even spend a little extra cash to get you to the front of the line faster. (XP potions/better optional gear/services.) You can also choose to avoid spending the extra money by waiting in the line. (Leveling/grinding.)

And there are more new rides and souvenirs to buy all the time! (New content for F2P's comes out constantly, and new cash shop items.) The most brilliant thing of all? You can always visit, socialize, make new friends and play most of the games for absolutely free. And while F2P Land USED to be nothing but a ghetto fair-park, nowadays there are amazing new parks opening all the time that are the same in quality as "SUB Land."

"SUB Land" is filled with great rides, and great people. But the parking costs you (client purchase.) And while you have unlimited access to all the rides, no one can ride all of those rides forever. Also, the lines can be very long and tedious sometimes (the leveling, the grinding.) And new rides come out every 6 moths or every year, compared to some of F2P Land's monthly update schedule! Also, there are almost no live events in SUB Land, but F2P Land is packed with them! (Some F2P games have a few in a WEEK.) Worst of all? You pay the entrance fee every month, despite not visiting the park or while visiting other parks.

So why pay for something you do not use? Paying a monthly fee for access to more stuff than you can do in a month is...well, a waste of money. Granted, SUB Land is filled with some GREAT games, and some incredible people. But so is F2P Land.

Having said all that, (I'm sure I am missing some smarmy example) I would like to list off a few games that I would like to see go completely F2P with a cash shop add on.

1) Ryzom: This game has been screaming for F2P for a long, long time. I used to do a Ryzom podcast a few years back, and then and even now the game has financial issues. If they had plenty of subs, this would more than likely not be an issue, but obviously the game is not interesting enough in certain ways to maintain more than 3 servers of people. Or, of course, it's just that players do not see it as having the same worth as the other games they are paying for. I absolutely adore this game, but my 15 dollars a month over the past years have given me barely a thing. As a matter of fact, the most updating happened recently before and slightly after the latest FREE period.

foto_ryzom

Throw a cash shop on it. Sell special mounts. Sell XP crystals. I might be wrong, but I bet way more people would spend 5-10 dollars a month on cash shop items than the current player-base paying 15 dollars a month for a game that has gone under 3 times. I know, I know...the game IS special. But it needs money to survive. While the new owners seem to be doing more than the rest before them, I have been there and done that, and watched it close.

2) Vanguard: This game would be PERFECT for it, and already gives you the ability to buy gold, characters and items from other players through Live Gamer. A Station Cash shop would not be a far step behind. Also, I would love to see the emphasis of this game shift from high-end raiding and content (just so that the raiders can burn through it in a few months and start to complain  about lack of content) to filling out the fun for all levels. Sell housing items, get with the EQ2 picture. Vanguard is freaking amazing, and is holding in there thanks to the great dev team but thanks to SOE's lack of funding,  the game will continue down the path it's on for a long, long time.

thestra

I would rather shift the game away from any mention ever again about the "Vision" (being that Brad hasn't been involved with the game for YEARS) and shift it to allowing it to be even more of the really, really fun game that it is.

Shit, I'd pay 10 bucks just to fill out some of the ocean with some scenery fish.

3) The Matrix Online: Rez this game! Yeh, the combat, the community and the role-play were not enough to save this sometimes crappy game, but there is something there for sure. This game, of all, is probably the very best candidate for the F2P model. Look at how important fashion was to the game, and how wonderfully extra story chapters could fit into a cash shop! Rez this game, now. Start it over and re-launch it like DDO is doing.

mxo

Of course, many games will not do well despite what kind of model they follow. Generally, though, cash shop games go on and on. In fact, I am hard-pressed to think of one that has gone under. And is success only measured in sub count? Wouldn't success also be just surviving in this mad world of a million MMO's to choose from? I have played some cash-shop games for the last 5 or 6 YEARS. That's way more than many "AAA" MMO's can claim.

I want to save these games mentioned above. While some might argue that they are doing fine, I will argue that they could do way, way better. The problem with them is that many people like the games but not enough to do away with their "main game" sub to play. But a F2P game can be owned at no cost, something anyone can afford.

Beau

Holding some players "to task."

Posted by beauturkey Tuesday August 4 2009 at 10:57PM
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Here's the thing.

I hate having a certain thing I'm about. I hate to be pigeon-holed so much as to have a "title."  I don't want to sound like some indie band on the local college radio show (" I would say we don't fit any genre really...") but I think one of my strengths is that I am pretty much all over the place. Well, one of my weaknesses, but let's pretend it makes me cute.

I accept gaming as it is: a toy. It is purely for fun, and makes you happy. Yes, even when you are in "serious EVE drama" mode, you are happy. Even when in "sheer PvP/gonna' lose all my s**t" mode, too. If not, you have crossed into the land of "Leave the F*****g Game Because it Doesn't Make You Happy Land." Games are, for me, many things at once. They are Christmas at age 12, the 4th of July when we used to get into fireworks fights, my first beer/s, and playing in the woods at night.

0060-0808-1315-0946_Nerd_With_Propeller_Beanie_Clipart_clipart_image

My thing is to remind players that they might be getting a little too serious. Why do I care? I care for many reasons:

1) Those players, sometimes being the loudest, might be mistaken as speaking for the majority or for anyone else but themselves. Go on any major gaming website and look at the most popular threads/blog posts and you will see topics about gaming failure, what developers can do better, and how the products are all the same.

2) Since the above mentioned posts are the  loudest, legitimate conversations are pushed down because they don't add anything to the negative noise.  A thread or conversation about how fun something is is just seen as having been said before, and dismissed as nothing. Yet, the same 4 topics come up about developers and they are discussed all over again.

3) These negative arguments put out false information. Look at RMT, for example. It is simply a choice on how to pay for your game, if at all.  Each individual makes a choice and it does not effect any other person. Yet, many players talk about ruined economies, items bought that are the most powerful in game without having a non-cash shop equivalent, and about how the cash-shop model doesn't work. All this coming from players that simply do not want another player buying what they "worked" for. If they are going to say something negative about something that they do not like, they should just come out and say they do not like it because it makes them feel a certain way. Instead, they come out and accuse developers of being out to get them or say that the developers are simply greedy bastards looking to "nickel and dime" players to death, as though players have no choice in the matter.

There are those that say that criticism brings out the best in someone. Game criticism makes developers stand up and notice what their community wants, and makes them be very careful about any mistakes they might make.

That's right, mistakes. As in they didn't mean to f*****g do it.

But I beg to differ. These louder-than-loud criticims (ironically, by people who play the games the most) have actually created this fantastic paranoia that is more-than-common in developers nowadays. As someone that has interviewed developers, and as someone that has attempted to GET interviews with developers, let me tell you that getting solid information out of a developer is very, very hard. Actually, near impossible. Why do developers give those canned answers that we all read in interviews?

That's their form of malpractice insurance.

Just look at patch day, today for example. WoW had a patch and all day I heard complaints about the server being up, then down. I read dozens of Tweets about it being broken, and general complaining. All this after players have spent years in games, seeing how patch days typically go.

This worry is also the reason why developer interaction with the community is rare (depending on the developer, of course.) Some of the developers I have met say they have to just tune most of that stuff out. After all, their job is not community relations, but even one visit to the forum to see players threatening to quit if their godamned class is nerfed is enough to make a developer lock them self away behind their PC.

So yeh, while I shouldn't care about what other players think, I tend to. After all, I don't blame the developers for really anything. I cannot control what they do, or how they make their products. They are simply standing there offering a game to you. Take it or leave it. And once you DO take it, understand that sometimes mistakes happen. Also understand that not everyone, despite your entire guild being angry about it, is angry about it the same thing.

And even IF the developer is evil as sin itself, LEAVE THE GAME. A simple fix, really.

The funniest thing is this undercurrent of mis-trust in the community. I actually read a blogger say that they were "holding developers to task" as though they were some kind of watch dog for the MMO community. Players like that actually believe that if the community "let's up" even a bit, the developers will suddenly be robbing you blind! MUHAHAHAHA! Not only is this an insult to the intelligence of the community, but essentially highlighting the silliness of gaming in general by saying something that a child would say. ("You're in trouble Mommy! You didn't give me my ice cream!")

Maybe that's what I like to do: remind players that this, this gaming thing, is what children do. We are playing children's games. We are pretending in the same way we did when we sat in our parents car and pretended it was a space-ship.

But that's not a bad thing. The imagination knows no age. So why do people want to pin-point game makers so much that it turns the whole process from a creative one into some kind of boring science? It's not science. It's a relatively new, kick-ass way of entertaining yourselves while you meet people from all over the world.

SO, yeh, that's my genre I guess. Sometimes I complain about the complainers. Most of the time, though (as you can see from my blog and podcasts) I am just having a really f*****g good time.

Beau

Champions too? So how many uses DOES this damn system have?

Posted by beauturkey Monday August 3 2009 at 12:12AM
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So the XBox 360 hurts the **** out of my hands.

I mean, as in normally I need to ice 'em down about...every few days, if I am playing a lot of games. This XBox makes me ice 'em down twice a ******* DAY.

So I am doing some re-thinking. I love many of the games, but will look into any possible mouse/keyboard usage I can get out of it. Also, I have been asking for games that require less button mashing and have received a few recommendations. At the game store, the kid even told me that "End War" can be operated almost entirely from voice commands! I'm trying it soon enough.

header_champions

But the real thrill in the Xbox is the downloadable/streaming stuff. Honestly, I can do all of this stuff from my PC, but I like that the Xbox will always run the demos without worry and is constantly changing. I have it hooked to our NetFlix account and have been watching tons of streaming content like "B******t" and "This American Life." I even catch up on older movies like "Pan's Labyrinth", which was slightly above freaking pointless.

It's a great system, but having only one real MMO on the system just doesn't rise it above "streaming box thingy" in my book. So, I was very happy to hear about "Champions Online," another real MMO (none of that "but you can play with up to 6 friends" BS) coming out on the system. Granted, I would need to still bother with the painful controller, but I am finding ways around that, slowly.

Next they need a browser to check your email and that Twitter functionality they talked about. And when that creepy boy stuff comes out, I am sure I will put plenty of time into messing around with games that make me jump and duck.

What I like about it is the fact that it's so small, compact. I can unplug the thing and bring it to my little brothers house for some gaming. Funniest thing is that it actually works, while it's half-cousin the PC is almost guaranteed to mess up at some point. Dozens of times. I say abandon the PC and just make consoles that have a few of the options of a PC, Microsoft. Who cares about these bloated PC's that come packed with all this extra stuff that we don't use. Bloated boxes, bloated code, drivers, things that are bound to interfere with each other.

The PC, while haven given me hours of delight throughout the last 10 years, can go away and slowly die somewhere and I would not miss it.

What I WOULD miss are real MMO's, games that allow you to play in a persistent world with thousands of people. Oh, trust me, I am fully aware that within another 10 years we all will be ditching PC's for simple "do it all" boxes (that will be the size of iPhones) anyway, but that doesn't mean that I will just sit back patiently. I will always be on the lookout for the product that works, and that doesn't need to be replaced almost every year.

Just give me a box that works, and one that games will look pretty on because the systems are all the same.

And keep adding REAL MMO's like Champions (IF it does indeed come out for the 360) and I will be a long-time customer.

Oh yeh, looks like many of my predictions are coming true, if not off-date a bit:

http://www.mmorpg.com/discussion2.cfm/thread/245762/page/1

Damn, that was fast. Soon, players will post "I'm bored" before the developer can announce the name of their top-secret "in development" products.

Beau