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My 2 Copper's Worth

Well we're on a website dedicated to MMO's so I'll give you one guess as to what I'll write about. And no it's not mustard.

Author: ivan50265

Divergent Paths: Three Ways Champions Online and DC Universe Online Differ.

Posted by ivan50265 Friday June 26 2009 at 6:48PM
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   Hey all sorry I have been absent work has been a little nutty.  In my time absent I have still been keeping up with my MMO news.  So I thought today we'd do a little comparison shopping. 

 

  With two new super hero mmo's in the works one can;t help but compare the two as eventually they will be competing against one another for market share.  So I thought I'd fidn out just what makes these two games different.   Im my research I found alot fo differences and similaritites, but in the end I focused in on three diffeesnces that I think really seperate the two games from one another.  So why don;t we take a look at those. 

Powers: Total Customization vs Versatility

 

  One of the biggest differrences with the two games is how they handle their powers.  Champions Online has chosen to give the player the ability to completely customize powers deciding on what kind of damage or status effects you wish to tack on to them.  DCU has gone with a more versatile route choosing instead of customizing your powers they give you the ability to chnage the nasture of your powers from damage to defense to healing in an effort I think to alleviate role rigidity and make it easier to find groups. Either choice I think is a good one I love the idea of min/maxing and tweaking the heck out of my toon's powers, but I also really like the idea of being to change roles on the fly for party flexability.

 

 

Villains: The Nemesis System vs Player Bad Guys

   Another area of divergence were the choices made in how the bad guys will be represented.  Champions Online is offering us the Nemesis System which allows players to create their own personalized NPC villain to plague your PC hero on their journey through the game.  The DCU team has decided to allow players to play as either heroes or villains.  I have to admit I am very interested in trying out the Nemesis system to see just how tought my Nemesis cane get, but alos a part of me would love to give Superman some chaep shots.

 

PvP: Battlegrounds vs Open World PvP

   Finally we get to Player vs Player.  Champions has chosen PvP battlegrounds where as the DCU is using a mixture of battlegrounds and open world PvP.  I understand Cryptics call on the battlegrounds as there are no player villians and battlegrounds just make sense for the more PvE centered game.  I am excited about the open world PvP idea that DCU is working on.  In DCU as a villian you can choose to take on an open world mission and help some crooks rob a bank for a cut of the take, and as a hero you can try and foil the crime.  This actuall sounds like a fun way to introduce PvP to the game.  Although I don't put it past Cryptic to do some fun stuff with their battlegrounds as well. 

  Other areas that I saw divergent paths included graphics and  variety of locations, but those semed rather obvious to me.  I like the choices that both games are making and both appeal to me in different ways.  It is obvious to me that these games will be offering different experiences I wonder if they will be diferent enough to get us to play both at the same time.  Needless to say I am lloking forward to playing these games as well as reading feedback from their respective communities. 

   What are your thoughts on these two games.  Feedback is always appreciated below.

Until Next Time

Ivan

Consensual PvP

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday June 14 2009 at 10:46PM
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   Hello again all.  I hope everybody isa havig a fun weekend leveling toons and what not.  I myself have been finishing inFamous on the PS3 which I have to say I really like it.  I also had the chance to catch The Dark Knight on cable and have to admit I forgto just hw damn goo that movie is.  But I digress.  Enough about me.  I have been perusing the forums of some titles currently in developement and have seen the idea of consensual PvP bandied about.  So today I thought I'd dig into it a little bit.  So as always enjoy.

   As a player of MMO's I like to play in both the PvE and PvP worlds.  I enjoy tackling the challenges the designers of the game comes up with as well as taking on other players in some good old fashioned PvP.  As a player who like to play in both PvP and PvE I also understand that there are player who enjoy one better than the other, and even some who refuse to participate in one or the other as well.  I understand that this is a matter of preference much like the preference of solo or group play.   Now I'm guessing that developers want to maximize their existing gamespace allowing for PvE and PvP to coexist and not upset either population.  So the innovation of consensual PvP shps up to save the day and allow all players to live happily everafter and conflict only emerge when players were in the mood for it.  All in all on paper sounds good, right? Well sometimes.  Let's break down the good and the bad of consensual PvP.

   So let's start off by taking a look at the good, or more importantly where consensual PvP works.  The first place you can see consensual PvP at work in a good way would be in MMO's where there is no underlying conflict between factions of players.  Some good examples of this would be LOTRO, DDO, or CoH before CoV was added.  These examples show us a world where the players tend to be fighting on the same sides towards the same goal.  Consensual PvP in these MMO's tend to be in the way of dueling or in arenas, or in the case of LOTRO in the way of monster play.   All of these are excellent examples of what consensual PvP has to offer friendly competition among players no pride, equipment, or territory lost, and most importantly no hurt feelings of the players which makes developers happy.  Consensual PvP works very well in games without a factional conflict, and is a safe way to make PvP a less competative option, but still an enjoyable option for those who wish to participate in it. 

   For the record I would just like to say consensual PvP does not work in MMO's where there is factional conflict in its stroyline. Now I know that seems a little harsh, but stay with me on this one.  Let's take a look at one o the most talked about MMO's of all time Star Wars Galaxies.  Now when the game first launched there were always talks about the big galactic civil war.  Their attemot to iterate this in the game space were broken battlegrounds and consesual PvP everywhere else where you had to choose to flag yourself for PvP in order to participate.  What this led to was a galctic skirmish between the two factions at best.  Occasionally you'd see a fight break out, but the feeling of a civil war was really never accomplished.  Now can we blame it on all the idea of consent before fight not really. We could also look at WoW.  PvP largely there is considered a joke because it follows the rules of consesual PvP no gains to be had or losses to be endured.  WAR attempted to put loss and gian into their PvP with rewards for taking keeps but forgot to add the reward for successfully defending it.  One other idea they had that actually made sense was in the end game where the more ground you took the more areas of the city that would be unlocked with dungeons and the such in them.  Where I'm getting at is if you are going to have a game with conflict in its background a risk/reward PvP is needed for anyone to want to participate. 

   The inspiration for this blog came from the forums for Star Trek Online.  There is some disappointment surrounding an anouncement that PvP in the neutral zone ill be consensual PvP as opposed to open PvP.  Now this wouldn't be so disappointing but since the back drop of the game has the Federation at war with the Klingons.  Now someone with even the most basic Star Trek knowledge would guess that if there was going to be a war between the two the neutral zone would be the most logical place for the conflict to happen. With that conflict now being consensual in the one zone where you think the war would be the most intense and moved to the outer reaches of the play space the whole war seems to lose a little credibility in my opinion.  To me it seems devlopers of high profile titles at present are afraid of alientating any players from any aspect o their game so much that they are willing to defy simple logic in order to try and keep every potential player happy. 

   I'm not trying to say the mechaninc of consensual PvP is bad in every instance, but I will say that it is over used by devlopers and investors who have embarked on the futile quest to capture the same mega success as WoW.  As stated earlier consensual PvP works in envrionments that do not center around a factional system, but if you want to center a game on a conflict give the players a conflict they can see and be a part of with tangible rewards like territory gained and content unlocked rather than the same old play war get equipment we've seen for so long.  Give us the contested game space and let us fight for it with real gains that can be felt not only by the PvPers fighting for it but by the PvE palyers as well.

 

Well that's al for me for this week. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on conesensual PvP are feel free to leave a comment below. 

Until Next Time

Ivan

  

  

The Smiley Awards: E3 2009 Finale

Posted by ivan50265 Sunday June 7 2009 at 2:28AM
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   Well thanks for stayin with us and welcome to the finale of the Smiley Awards for E3.  If you missed all the action in pasrt one I would reccomend reading that first and then jumoing back in here for the finale.  Ok now that's out of the way back to the awards. 


   Now we all know that the PC gets all og the MMO love every year, but it is a reality that the next gen consoles want in on the fun too.  This award goes to the gamin platform otehr than the PC who showed the most dedication to bringing MMO's to their platform.  And the Smiley goes to:

Sony: Playstation 3

   As it stands right now the PS3 showed a true dedication to bringing MMO's to their platform.  They plan on having Free Realms, The Agency, DC Universe Online, FF XIV, and APB on their platform with more MMO's in the works. Well done Sony.  Our next catagory please.

   We hear it in the MMO community all the time the screams for innovation in the MMO genre.  Some of us may even be an active voice in that couse.  This award recognizes the developer who is attempting to answer the call for innovation whic many of our comunity members feel so pasionate about.  And the Smiley goes to:

Real Time Worlds: APB

www.gametrailers.com/player/50050.html

   APB's ops and robbers sandbox mmo is about he furthest departure we saw from the traditional fantasy mmo at E3 this year.  This game offers a fresh new look at what can be done with the MMO space and I for one am looking forward to seeing more progress in the future.  Our next award please.

   One of the best perks of E3 is the gameplay footage we get to see of upcoming MMO's.  This Smiley is awarded to the MMO who showed us the most complete representation of gameplay in their MMOfor better or worse.  And the Smiley goes to:

SOE: The Agency

www.gametrailers.com/player/50720.html

www.gametrailers.com/player/50716.html

www.gametrailers.com/player/50714.html

    The devs at the agency were very forthcoming this year with the gamplay footage.  They gave us a good look at many different aspects of their gameplay and though it still seems like there is some work to be done there they did offer the most complete gameplay footage of E3 for an MMO.  Our next catagory please.

   With every E3 comes the rumor mill of game announcemnets and speculation.  Yet there is always one big announcment that flies under the radar just long enough to pop up and shock the hell out of us.  This award honors the buggest suprise MMO announcemnt of E3.  And the Smiley goes to:

Squar Enix: Final Fantasy XIV Online

www.gametrailers.com/player/50331.html

    Like anyone saw this one coming, and it fropped like a bombshell.  Who knew that FFXIV would be an MMO.  Oh and that it is scheduled for a 2010 release means they've had this ubder the wraps for awhile now. Good one.  And now for the Grand Smiley. 

  So here we are at the end.  E3 saw a number of MMO's attempting to get us excited about thier game this year.  The Grand Smiley is rewarded to the MMO whose announcement or footage creeated the most buzz throughout the community and the press alike.  And the Grand Smiley for Best Showing of E3 2009 goes to :

Bioware/Lucasarts: Star Wars: The Old Republic Online.

www.gametrailers.com/player/49937.html

   With a brilliant cinematic trailer that puts shame to Episodes I-III as well as the announcement that all NPC's will be voice acted it was easy to forgive the teams oozing of geek on the stage.  This trailer went viral within hours after it was shown and created even more buzz for a game that semed to be overflowing with it anyway.  For this SWTOR is awarded the Grand Smiley for E3 2009.

Well that's it for the first ever Smileys.  I have to admit this was a blast to do and is something I will defintely do again.  We here at My 2 Copper's Worth stand by our awards and have emailed each developer a congratulations for their individual achievments.  As always feedback is more than welcome below.

 

Until Next Time.

Ivan

 

 

 

 

The Smiley Awards: E3 2009 Pt 1

Posted by ivan50265 Saturday June 6 2009 at 12:05PM
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My 2 Copper's Worth proudly presents:

   Hello and welcom to The Smiley Awards for E3 2009.  This years E3 was a huge success and with so many new announcments and updates within the MMO world we here at My 2 Copper's Worth thought it would be nice to honor the event with an awards ceremony dedicated to the best and the worst of E3 as it pertains to MMO's.  So get comfy, grab some popcorn, and enjoy. Our first award is coming right up.

   We all know developers are a lot like us.  Big nerds who love all things sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming related.  We also know that developers can get their geek on with the best of them, or even better since they have things like expense accounts for this stuff.  This award honors that devloper who oozed their nerd all over E3.  And the Smiley Goes to:

Bioware/Lucasarts: Star Wars: The Old Republic Online

www.gametrailers.com/player/50075.html

   In case you missed it Bioware and Lucasarts brought on about 20 or so jedi and sith to hang out on the stage for thier press conference announcements for SWTOR.  And just when you think their geek couldn't go any further both company big whigs came walking down the aisle dressed as jedis themselves.  Hats off to you guys your geek knows no bounds.   On to our next catagory.

   Technical achievment awards always sem to get the short end of the stick in awards ceremonies by being grouped with the "uncool" awards, and we here at The Smileys are no different.  The hardware techs are the unsung heroes of the MMO world making sure that all the working parts of the machine are running smmothly.  This award honors these selfless folk for their technical achievments. An the Smiley goes to:

SOE: DC Universe Online

www.gametrailers.com/player/50952.html

   What you may ask did this game do to get this reward?  Well the DCU had a playabl demo of their game playable on both the PC and PS3 with both systems sharing the same server effectively creating the first merger of two consoles for a next gen MMO.  Good job. What do we have up next?

   E3 and the developers who participate in ti visually assault us with gameplay footage and trailers all week in hopes of peaking interest in their games.  Most of these promos are well put together and leave us wanting more.....then there are the one's that leave us thinkng WTF?  This award honors the developer who left us confused and maybe a little disturbed by their efforts. And the Smiley goes to:

gPotato: Dragonica

www.gametrailers.com/player/50599.html

   For E3 the folks over at Dragonica offered up two promo cinematcis.  Was it gameplay? No. Was it a kick ass CGI? No. Instaed what we got was some bizzarre intro to three character classes that plays out like a messed up 80's kids cartoon short.  I'm only happy I quit doing drugs years ago as this visual may have caused some emotional scarring.  Hmm...Ok I'm better now on with the show.

   Every year at E3 may developers show up to give us a litle more taste of their wares and excite us about them, and every year there's a devloper who's working on something we really want to know about and they don' show up leaving us feeling abandoned and unloved.  This award honors the MMO developer that we feel should have been at E3 and wasn't.  And the Smiley goes to:

Cryptic Studios

   With two high profile MMO's in the works and one launching soon you would have thought we would have seen Cryptic making some noise at E3 with some gameplay footage or a trailer for one of thier upcoming titles, but no they didn't show.  Come on guys give us some love especially with Star Trek Online.  It's not like you guys couldn't use a break for some schmoozing, some alcohol, and booth babes.  They brought back the booth babes, and you missed it. Ok I'm good.  Next catagory please.

   Every year we get new MMO announcemtns at E3.  Some are eyebrow raising and exciting while others are the same old sh*t.  This award honors the developer whose thinking remians safely secure inside of the box.  Living happy in the land of repetition and unorginality.  And the Smiley goes to:

Trion World Network: The Heroes of Telara

www.gametrailers.com/player/49819.html

   Yes Trion takes the Smiley with their world exclusive unveiling of The Heroes of Telara another high fantasy MMO.  And of course this high fantasy MMO will be different from every other because of....blah,blah, blah we've heard it all before.  You guys would have had me perked up if it was a Weird West MMO, but instead you get a Meh.

And that's it for the first part of The Smiley Awards for E3 2009.  Be sure to stay tuned for part two later this evening where we'll be revealing awards for Best of Show, Best gamplay footage, and much more.

 

Until then. Thanks for reading.

 

Ivan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consoles and MMO's

Posted by ivan50265 Monday June 1 2009 at 12:29AM
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   We see it in developer's job listings and hear in their intentions that MMO's will be coming to the next generation of consoles.  Whether we like the idea of hate it we seem to be in the verge of inevitibility.  So with E3 already rolling I thought I'd take a look at the idea of the console MMO.  I will not presume to bore you with console MMO history, or with which system would best handle an MMO.  Instead let's take a look at the pros and cons of the multi-platform MMO the general obstacles that are in its way as well as the benefits for the genre as a whole. 

 

The Good

   There are obvious benefits for developers to take an MMO in to the console market.  The most obvious would be the number of new comsumers that would be exposed to MMO's some for the first time.  Just in the United States alone there are over 25 million PS3/Xbox 360 owners.  Throw in the Wii and you double the number to over 50 million.  As a developer hoping to make money you just can't ignore those numbers.   If a developer ever hopes to achieve Blizzard like numbers they  will most likely  have to make a multi-platform MMO.   Directly correlated with this is the benefit of expanded audience would probably come more games to the genre which is never a bad thing. 

    Another obvious benefit that comes jumping right out at you is that of innovation.  How many times do we hear the screams of we need more innovation in the MMO genre.  Including consoles as part of the MMO community would allow designers to rethink just how an MMO would be played.  We have already seen proof of this with Champions Online's more action oriented gameplay as opposed to the usual point and click UI.  It is of course no suprise that Champions Online also intends to launch on consoles as well.  The Agency also proves this point by choosing a more FPS style MMO in which they are developing for the PS3 and PC.  With consoles added to the mix we could see even more innovation in the areas of gameplay and genre choice with MMO's. 

   The last benefit that comes to mind rather quickly is that the consoles have pretty much caught up on the graphics end of things.  I'm not trying to say they are equal to or better than a high end PC I'm just saying the differences at present really aren't really as apparent as they used to be at least when it comes to the 360 and the PS3.  Both could run a modern day MMO on them maybe not up to max graphics standard, but at least in the medium graphics range. 

   Now with that in mind maybe you're asking why haven't we seen a next gen MMO launch on a next gen console? Good question.  Age of Conan at one time planned a release on the Xbox 360, as well Marvel Universe Online never saw the light of day which was to launch on the same system. Also let's not forget that NC Soft signed with Sony to launch exclusive titles on the PS3.   We hear all the time developers intending to launch on one console or another, yet none have surfaced as of yet.  The obvious question is why? Which brings us to the challenges that developers face when making a multi-platform MMO. 

The Bad

  I think the first big hurdle a developer comes up against when making a multi-platform game are the technical issues which are bound to follow.  I'm not talking about the big issues either those everyone are thinking about.  I'm talking about the nit picky issues like balancing control schemes between a 12 button controller and a keyboard and mouse so as to alleviate one system complaining another system has an advantage over the other in PvP or what have you.  Or we could look at hardware issues and the fact that you'll be programing for at least two different systems with their own little quirks and then get them to play nice with each other on a server if you want them on the same server that is.  I could go on, but I think you get the jist. 

    The next big hurdle is the console war itself in my opinion.  If the console war has taught us anything it is that the console companies love their exclusives.  So of course I am sure that the respective consoles would want exclusive rights to certain MMO's.  This of course would be couter productive to the ab0ve mentioned numbers in the good category.  So the delimma is if a third party can make a multi-platform MMO where all parties invloved could agree to coexist on the same server.  I know FF XI was able to pull this off, but with the console war so heated would the companies allow it now? 

   Then maybe we could look at the various business models of the consoles.  As they all have their own stores and thier own models of transaction.  Would we see  the typical westerns business model or perhaps would console mmo's usher in the RMT or F2P model into the west as the predominant model.  Either will have a publisher having to navigate getting revenue from a third party or trying to find a way to circumvent it.   

  In the end we know they are coming.  With the increasing popularity of multiplayer components in console games seems to point that the customer base could embrace the mmo genre.  But who knows I suppose we'll all find out soon enough.  I stayed pretty broad on this topic as I would love to hear what you all think about console mmo's and what pro's and con's you see with them.  Feel free to share your thougts below. 

Until Next Time,

Ivan.