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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

How to Fix FFXIV's 1017 Error (Not Really)

Posted by BillMurphy Tuesday August 27 2013 at 7:59PM
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Have you been experiencing the insane login woes with the recently released Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn? Chances are, if you're not logging in early in the morning or staying logged in all day, when you try to play Square Enix' wildly popular relaunched MMO... you're finding yourself unable to do more than stare at your character select screen. The 1017 error is the current result of  a login queue system that doesn't allow more than 100 people to queue to login to a server. In short, it's frustrating as all hell when you just want to play your new game.  

You could spend all night pressing zero on your num-pad (thank me later if you've not discovered this yet), or you could give up in frustration and go do something else. I'd suggest the latter, personally. Luckily, my son likes to wake up at 4am, drink a bottle and go back to bed, giving Dad enough time to get an hour or so in before work beckons.

But is that what we've come to? Waking up before dawn to play around in Eorzea?  I suppose it's a good sign that Yoshi-P and his team have done well by the re-imagining of FFXIV. Its only fault is that Square must not have expected this many people would want to play an old school and nostalgic MMORPG. 

In the next week or so, a data center expansion will be complete and these woeful early days of new life in Eorzea should be behind us all. Hell, this is actually an encouraging state of affairs for SE, as it means the game is very much in demand. It's also the only AAA MMO release for the rest of 2013, if I'm not mistaken, so it has months of potential spotlight ahead of it if they can get past these early hurdles. But until Square Enix can institute a real login queue system that doesn't require spamming the 0-key, I'd suggest they change the "1017 Error" window to give us a little vindication at least.

 

How are you coping with 1017? What have you been doing to pass the time until you can get back in and work on some Guildleves?

RE: The P2P 'Hipster Bandwagon'

Posted by MikeB Thursday August 22 2013 at 5:12PM
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This blog is in response to Torvaldr's post in Garrett Fuller's Elder Scrolls Online: Risky Business column. Given the length of the response and my desire not to derail Garrett's comment thread, I am posting it here. :)
Originally posted by Torvaldr
Originally posted by MikeB
Originally posted by Torvaldr

Garrett, I'm sorry but this is just a really one-dimensional pandering article you wrote.  It almost feels like you guys, I read Mike Bs article as well, are hopping on the hipster bandwagon.

What "hipster bandwagon" are you referring to? I must say, I'm quite curious!

Geez Mike, do you have a pearl script running in the background that detects your name and any bait words? :p

The P2P "resurgence" is the new hipster thing.  I'm poking at you a little, because it's only sensible that you would cover the news story of the business model announcement, but they all read like we've stumbled back on the realization that this could be the right thing and we all really like that model down deep and hate the sub-free model.  I felt that it really sort of pandered to what the pro-p2p crowd want to hear.

Although you touched on the risk, no one is looking deeply at why the subscription model has foundered and how it has evolved into a double-dip gouge.  There has been no critical investigation into the flaws of the payment model and how that could affect these releases.  And I felt Garrett highlighted a couple of the worst f2p models without actually looking at good ones or scrutinizing bad p2p models.

As TESO, WS, and FFXIV all tout that they're offering a better experience due to the payment model, no one is looking at how they could be misusing it like so many others have.  No one is asking really hard questions and putting these people to task.

There is a lot more to question other than the risks involved in competing with sub-free game offerings.  So hopefully no offense is taken because none is intended.

No. I just read our forums, you know, that whole community manager thing. ;)

I've written many, many columns discussing F2P and stating my preference for subscriptions. This isn't new for me. I prefer subscriptions, but I'm not ideologically opposed to F2P. If done well, it's a fine alternative, and it seems to be doing well for many developers which is why we've seen it start to become the predominant business model in the West as well.

I've weighed in on the reason behind P2P's failure in the past and even (briefly) as recently in my last column. It's just always been a losing proposition. A certain subset of gamers are willing to go for it (and its hard to grow outside of that group of players) and then you have to deal with the attrition which all sub-based MMOs (outside of WoW, up until recently) experience.

F2P simply lowers the barrier to entry and even non-paying players play a role in contributing to the feeling that server populations are lively. The developers make money and players have options. It's a pretty good deal -- when done right. It's not always done right, of course, and that's where you guys come in to vote with your wallets and let them know. I still prefer just paying my subscription and not thinking about it. $15 is a drop in the bucket compared to what I could spend on other entertainment activities, so it's a non-issue for me.

Still, MMO developers want to reach more players and there are a whole bunch of gamers out there who just won't go for a monthly payment. Period. With development costs only going up, the pressure to expand the pool is definitely higher. It's also way easier to get people to try your game and come back to check out updates with F2P.  MMOs grow over time and judging them forever based on a snapshot in time because you (understandably) refuse to resub and find out if it's really as improved as your friend says sort of runs counter to what makes MMOs cool. Being able to come and go as you please is beneficial to the player as well as the developer.

Can subscriptions work for some games? Maybe? It seems that's what Zenimax, Carbine, and Square Enix are betting on at the moment. The odds aren't really in their favor, but we're also in a different era where F2P is ubiquitous and P2P is the "underdog", so maybe subscriptions can thrive when there aren't as many other subscription games around to compete with.

On the other hand, and I argued this in my last column (and in the past), it makes it even harder to justify a subscription cost to a customer when they can easily cancel and find other MMO entertainment for basically free. In the past, canceling one sub usually meant starting up another one for another game (and perhaps buying a box), so you may have been able to keep unhappy players for longer or keep players who are temporarily unhappy or bored due to some recent change (or lack thereof).

My last column reflected my bewilderment at my realization that the majority of AAA MMOs coming out in the next year or two are now subscription based in light of all of the above. I'm certainly not jumping on any bandwagons. I'm trying, probably like the rest of you, to wrap my head around whats going on here. What I can say is this: if I have the chance to ask any of these folks -- I certainly will! I do know one thing: they are much more business savvy than I am and they wouldn't make this sort of decision lightly.

Community Spotlight: The Rise of the Sandbox

Posted by MikeB Sunday August 18 2013 at 10:34PM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "Will the upcoming wave of AAA sandboxes mmos change the public preferences?" by maccarthur2004:

"In the start, almost all mmos were sandbox. Then came EQ and later WoW with the themepark formula. The phenomenal success of WoW shaped the mmo market for the next 10 years, creating a paradigm that all AAA productions followed. The sandboxes became indie products.

Well, with the upcoming wave of AAA sandboxes/sandparks, will the market and the public preferences change once again in the opposite direction? Will these AAA mmorpgs "teach" the public to play and appreciate sandboxes? Will the themepark elements that some of them bring within serve as a "bridge" in that transition?

Open to opinions."

DMKano feels that the execution of these games is crucial to sparking a change in preferences:

It highly depends on how well the games are done.

Players want fun, immersive and well polished games first and foremost - what catergory they are (themepark/sandbox) is not the primary motivator for many gamers.

If there's a sandbox game that is very high quality, fun, very polished, immersive and easy to play yet difficult to master, it would have a much higher chance of doing well than a buggy, unoptimized, overly complicated game.

I think players will be pleasantly surprised with some upcoming sandpark games like ArcheAge for example - it has many of the qualities needed for a successful game.

Jagarid isn't confident that this is all a sign that things are changing:

Sandbox games will never be as popular as Theme Park, ever. Most people prefer to be guided rather than be given creative freedom. Sad, but true. This simple fact will give Theme Parks the edge, no matter how many great sandbox games are made.

psychosiszz points to the resurgence of sandbox games as having to do with players being sick of themepark games:

I feel alot of MMO gamers are sick and tired of the same old theme-park games.

The great thing about sandbox games is that the content is run by players. Which means people can do unique and interesting things with the tools given to them. 

The problem with previous sandbox MMORPG's is that you often don't know what your doing, and it takes a while to understand it all. Modern gamers don't have the mental patience us older gamers do (Damn did I say that im 27 lol i feel old now). Which is why I can see a combo theme-park and sandbox emerging. Theme park to hold the players hand and guide them to the sand and how to use it.

One can hope it does change the way people view MMORPG's and set a new bar. I want a living, breathing world, a world which you can change via building and destruction, a seamless world (no zones) and where areas you went early game aren't redundant but still needed for resources/conquest etc. A game where you feel like a part of the world and not some lobby game where you queue up in the main city and wait for PVP/PVE.

 

As for me, I don't know that the traditional sandbox (systems over content focus) will ever take root as a mainstream MMO sub-genre, but I do feel that developers are finally realizing that the traditional themepark is unsustainable and this resurgence of 'sandbox' MMOs is their course-correction.

I don't think the final result will look like a true-blue sandbox, but we are probably going to see the elements from both sub-genres that work best combine for future games. For games like EverQuest Next, this seems to be a sandbox design as a foundation, with a certain level of developer created content layered on top of it.

The goal is to create a game where the world and system design can keep players entertained in between content deploys. In a traditional sandbox, its entirely systems driven, which works for some, but not everyone. For themeparks, it's entirely content focused, and players just churn through it all too fast. The future, as far I am able to see at this point, should be a combination of these things and it looks to me that the developers behind games like ArcheAge and EverQuest Next understand this quite well.

Your take? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Community Spotlight: Favorite MMO Zone

Posted by MikeB Monday August 5 2013 at 1:14AM
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In this week's Community Spotlight, we focus on the thread, "What is your personal favorite zone/area of all-time in an mmo?" by Epicent:

Some of you may laugh at me but my personal favorite was  Ashenvale from WoW (pre-cata). It  may be because I was younger but it gave me a feeling of awe and wonder that I have not often gotten from an mmo. What about  you guys? What is your favorite place in an mmo. Could be a dungeon or zone  or town or whatever. I'm just curious to see what answers I'll get.

Read on for some highlights from the thread!

Homitu picks Ashenvale from World of Warcraft:

Well, OP, you beat me to it.  When I saw the thread title, I came here to mention Ashenvale from vanilla - WotlK WoW.  I still get chills when I listen to the music of Ashenvale!  The atmosphere and ambiance was just haunting.  Plus, I loved the Night Elf lore.  I've logged onto a free trial account a few times since Cata, but unfortunately, they changed the Night Elf zones so much, especially Darkshore, that it's difficult to even recapture the nostalgia :(

The Human starting zones, on the other hand, the Elwynn > Westfall > Redridge > Duskwood cluster, still do it for me.  I still log on every Halloween season to quest through the human areas and venture into the haunted cemeteries of Duskwood.  Such a great atmosphere.

I also loved Howling Fjord and Grizzly Hills when WotlK came out.  

The only other zones that make the list for me are...nearly *every single zone in GW2*...  Where as, out of 10 zones, most MMOs tend to have 2 I really loath, 6 I'm indifferent to, and 1 I really like and 1 I absolutely love, GW2 seems to have 7 I absolutely love, 2 I really like, and 1 I'm indifferent to.  It's quite simply the most beautiful and fun open MMO world I've ever been in.

trinix can't limit himself to just one:

I'd start by saying EQ, almost every zone up until PoP.

Some highlights though,

Velk's lab, vertical ice dungeon ftw, kedge keep, underwater dungeon, omg. Kitty Forest, no zone has me freaked out so much as that zone, as young halfling you are educated to stay out of that zone at night. Lake of Ill Omen. Only the walk to the zone was a challange to start with. You had to walk passed these Driders. Usually one or two had see invis/stealth on them, so you had to get a SOW from your local druid/ranger or run with a group. Many groups died to them in the end. And LOIO, I remember spending so much time there. And well everything related to the dwarf, giant, dragon factions.

To make it good, Vanguard showed up and had some great adventures for me as well. Ancient Port Warehouse was already mentioned. Great dungeon with so much space, if they spend a bit more time on fixing the code, 6+ raids would easily be able to simultaniously do the dungeon and most wouldn't run into eachother at all. 

But Ruins of Vol Tuniel showed us that open dungeons had a place in modern MMO's. A big dungeon, where you would get lost, again could wander in a direction and never find another group, easily could hold 3+ groups, not counting the salamander wing that was hiding beneath the surface. Man I loved and hated that place for getting completely lost. And when you were done there you would enter Thelaseen, lair of the dragon riders. This was a dungeon in the trees, a complete society of evil guys living and walking around above ground. It's a dungeon, but it has a lot of open air. CC was really important. Last I want to mention Nusibe Necropolis. It's one of the best dungeons I've seen in years. Getting lost was easier than finding the way. Dragged corpses around with rez stones for people, had to mezz as a rogue or I couldn't get passed them. It took a lot of skill and adventuring in there with a group was super awesome as well. Really great dungeon.

I would say Nusibe was my best experience in the past years.

vorrin5 picks EverQuest's Ak'Anon:

Tough one, but I'd have to choose Ak'Anon in EverQuest. I know it's weird that I picked a starting city, but it still gives me nostalgia.

My first EQ character was a gnome and my human cleric main (second character) used to hang out in Steamfont Mountains buffing newbies. At least until my friend got angry with me for spending too much time there and not leveling. I enjoyed it though.

I even once attempted to build a replica of  Ak'Anon as a counterstrike map when I couldn't afford a subscription to EQ. It didn't turn out as well as I would have hoped though.

I know I'm probably going to be leaving something out here, but the first zone that comes to mind for me is Grandville from City of Villains. The propaganda video screens depicting Lord Recluse throughout the zone and more importantly the zone's awesome sense of verticality really set it apart for me. Other than that, a couple of zones that would make my short list include:  Endor and Dathomir in Star Wars Galaxies and Age of Conan's Eiglophian Mountains.

What are your picks? Share 'em with us in the comments below!