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Cookie-Cutter Games

Posted by wan7830 Sunday January 25 2009 at 6:44AM
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I love cookies, but to be honest, we all tried at least once what is labeled as “cookie” but tastes like “old shoes” or “hang-over vomit.” Most of the time we glance over the cheap cookies made from the cookie cutter in the 99-cent store and walk away with the crap-like nostalgic taste in the mouth, but today I would like to remind you that even if it tastes like crap, it is still cookie, even made by a cookie cutter.


Let me explains this clearly if you don’t get the metaphor (frankly I believe everyone has heard of people talking about a cookie-cutter game. Admit it! You have at least tried 1 Free-To-Play game): people accuse free to play mmorpgs (mostly eastern) for lacking content and filled with grind to lengthen game play, but some of those cheap games have some features that I enjoy. Keep in mind that I will only cover the FTP games here.


Rappelz: The polished cookie.
A lot of people argue that Rappelz is the best FTP mmorpg (That is like saying banana is the fruit with the best shape…not sure what I meant there), but I do admit that Rappelz gave me the sense that a FTP game can be very polished. Compared to other games at that time, Rappelz utilized what it has and made the best out of itself: graphic, game content, combat, you name it. The game feels “finished” compared to the rest of FTP games out there, and since FTP is notorious for being “unpolished”; Rappelz managed to attract some audience and survived.


Flyff: The fancily wrapped cookie.
Remember the chess set you got from your grandma during Christmas time? Even though you know grandma would not buy you a hand-held gaming system, but the shinny wrapping paper and the shape of the present still managed to make you smile, even just for a little bit. Flyff is one such item: whether it is the flying system or the graphic or even some core game contents, the shinny incentives to make us play Flyff is not enough to cover the MASSIVE grind behind the game. But still, I applaud Flyff, just for being prettily wrapped up and hey, you never know when you are in the mood to fly around on a skate board.


Silkroad: The fortune cookie.
If you claim that fortune cookie is the worst-tasting cookie out there, I wouldn’t argue with you, the same reason why I wouldn’t argue that Silkroad is the Grindiest(Is that even a word?) game out there on the market. However, no one is forcing you to eat the fortune cookie in the restaurant, and what harm can it do if you just open it up and read your fortune? Very much like fortune cookie, Silkroad has some very unique game mechanics behind it, especially the silkroad system(Hmm…duh…)- the system that allows you to make a fortune(Hehe, pun) by transporting good from city to city, or rob other merchants on the silkroad as a sneaky bandit, or protect your client as a body guard. And hey, one or two of us will be curious enough to bite down and get a taste from the fortune cookie, even though we know that it probably does not taste good.


Mabinogi: The “special” brownie.
“Special” as in it contains marijuana or LSD(If you don’t know those two words, good for you!). Quite frankly you can’t label Mabinogi as a cookie cutter game, because it is not even cookie to begin with. Ranging from graphic to combat to equipments, or even the skill/level system, Mabinogi manages to remain unique, for better or worse. I’m not sure if it is better, but it is definitely different. It is somewhat addictive, and it managed to attract a solid player base. Very much like “special” brownie, the game almost DEMANDS you to pay money to be on equal ground with other players, but hey, it is still free to play.


Sword of the New World: The stylish cookie.
Ever seen one of those? With rose petal painted on one side and itself shaped and colored so stylishly that you have to by one even to just look at it? And it tastes like a piece of hell? That is sword of the New World, or formerly known as “Grande Espada” (Did I spell it right? sounds like coffee). The character models are so god-damn good looking it makes you just want to log on and stare at them. You don’t need to eat the cookie at all; just looking at it is satisfying.


Ace Online: The spicy cookie.

One of those cookies that’s spiced with paprika or cumin. It is unique, and not a lot of people like it. Ace Online, or formerly known as Spacecowboy, offers something different from other FTP mmorpgs. Not everyone likes it of course, and the player base for this game is shrinking after each year(log on and see for yourself). They stopped making spicy cookies because people don’t buy them; the cookie itself still manages to add some variety to the cookie isle.


There are some other games worth mentioning, but I doubt that they are good enough to make my good-crappy-cookie list. If you would like to express how much you hate those cookie-cutter games, save your words and spare our eyes, because we all know that they are horrible in many aspects; if you have a cookie that you want to share, feel free to do so.
 

Cup Holders

Posted by wan7830 Wednesday January 21 2009 at 7:07PM
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Quick hind-sight:


I recently discovered that I am losing my sense of humor like an old man losing his ability to resist oats. I will try to make this blog more interesting as it goes, as hard as it may seem (Maybe I should attach pictures of cute puppies on each entry, then again I might get sued for copy-right infringement for the eleventh time). I stayed low in the blogasphere(is that how you spelled it?) because mmorpgers were so strongly opinionated and passionate(they we, might still are) that you can't poke fun at everything. It was like going into an old retirement home: everyone's so cranky and uptight; everyone’s cursing at things they don’t like (such as young people or cultural diversity) and trying to convince everyone else that things were much better in the 1970s or life is better in a particular neighborhood. It was horrifying to discover that I myself is among these…what do you call them again? Anyway, now where was I?


I started blogging again because it is a great way to improve my writing skills (and a fantastic way to keep myself in shape by burning 0.003 calorie every time I type a letter). Since I have a lot in common with fellow mmorpgers, I can communicate the subject matter much clearly here than anywhere else (possible explanation why the nerds are exhibiting the “flocking” behavior). I hope I will create some good entries in 2009 (I also hope that cars will run on water in 2009…I’m keeping my hopes alive!).


--------Entry Starts here------------
One of my fellow classmates was debating an issue regarding the “cup holders” of great products: the little remote control that pops out in some laptops, or the DVD player in some SUVs. You know, the cherry on top of the cake, the little luxury that is clearly not essential, but great to have, something that might tip your decision (like the zip-lock that comes with the bacon packaging. Ok, three examples are enough). Today I want to discuss these “cup holders” in mmorpgs.


  • Auction house. I don’t know who came up with this idea, but it is one of the greatest features I have ever seen. This saves the hassles of looking up item prices or doing that twenty-way chat and negotiate prices with all those players at the same time. I spent hours and hours in front of the auction house with the principle of “buy low and sell high” in mind, trying to conjure a bag full of gold out of a handful of junks I picked up on the door step. A game with an auction house is like having a dog that can dig up coin on the beach, or a cat that leaves wallets instead of dead squirrels on your doorstep.
  • Mail box. Need I say more? Even if you can’t mail items, just to have something that can take or leave a message in a game is great enough. This feature allows players to communicate offline without going to a third party. Remember how popular pagers were when they first came out? Me either. But I certainly love to check my messages on my cell phone every now and then (every 5-6minutes). Just imagine how psyched you will be when you figured out a way to send sandwiches to your friends or dead squirrels to your boss.
  • Horses. Well, mounts in general. Like cars to college students, any kind of personal transportation is welcome in any mmorpg. The best part is that not everyone can afford them: remember the last time your horse/bike/car/lizard past someone and they look at you enviously like little Tommy in-front of Toys R Us in the cold wind?
  • Personalized music player. Getting pumped for combat? Trying to stay awake during a raid? Need some classic music to set up the mood for some intense dungeon adventure? To have a personalized music player in game is like having an ipod implanted in your head: you don’t have to check the battery when you run, and it doesn’t cost extra memory (yes this word applies in many levels). I have to pause the game and turn on Pandora for so many times, and I was so thankful that I started playing a game with a personalized music player.
  • Mini-games. Any sort of mini-games is welcome. For some reason I always find myself waiting for a friend in a bar or waiting for an ice-cream truck to spawn in front of me. To have mini-games in a mmorpg is like having a PSP or NDS on the subway. Although sometimes you might get so focused on your mini-game that you miss what you were waiting for (reason why I stopped bring my PSP to the airport…).

Are there any little features you love? If you wish to post it here, remember don’t put down any game titles in your post, after all, we are still in the retirement home.
 

More Whining

Posted by wan7830 Sunday January 18 2009 at 8:24PM
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Is it just me, or is YOUR first ever mmorpg the best mmorpg experience you ever had?


For the next few paragraphs I'm going to do some more whining and complaining, read along if you missed "the old days" like I did.


I'm a "eastern" gamer to begin with, so my first game online was not Ultima Online nor Star War Galaxy (enjoyed both actually).I bet none of you have ever heard of the game I played in 2000: Cross Gate by Square Enix. You've probably heard of square enix, even the western gamers are familiar with the notorious Final Fantasy series.


Now let me do a quick introduction of Cross Gate:

  • It is a 2-D game.
  • It is a turn-based game.

Need I say more? Are those enough to turn a modern gamer away? I spent two months with that game (moved to U.S afterward), and let me give you a quick run down of what I did in those two months (In character of course):

  • I made 11 friends in game. "Friends" as in you remember their birthdays.
  • I got to level 10 (The cap is at least 100, so there is no way I reached the end game).
  • Helped a friend becoming a magician by guessing the "magic word" in front of a tree during mid-night.
  • Went below a church and fought a ghost with an animal trainer that throws daggers, a priest that uses boomerangs, a knight with a hooked-spear, a chef, and a sealer who got loads of pets.
  • Bought a pet mouse from a sealer that can summon meteors, traded it for a bee, and traded the bee for a blue slime.
  • Gave a bag of gold to a tour guide(player), and went into the mind of a twisted teenager(npc), as a tourist.
  • Formed a rivalry with a barbarian(player), dueled him (and lost to him)on a daily basis.
  • Became a dancer.
  • Learned to play the flute(in game).
  • Traded most of my gold for a soccer ball.
  • Killed a bandit(player) who guards a passage way and asks the player for a "passage fee"
  • Change the my profession from dancer to assassin, with a group of friends helping with the assassin quest.
  • Bought a dog from a sealer.

All of those can be done in a day, and they consist the most basic functions of a mmorpg: combat(turn based...), trade, quest, pet, and nothing more, but I enjoyed those nevertheless.

Need I say more? For those old enough who played on a MUD, I bet you understand what I'm getting to here. Graphics get better, and there are more and more interesting features, but it is so hard to bring back the "Multi-player" and "Role-playing" in this day and age. Why is that the case? Why is it more and more difficult for me to enjoy games that are supposed to be FUN?

I will go on a whim and take a wild stab in the dark: the player base is changing, and that is what making mmorpgs less enjoyable for me than they used to.

That is not a bad thing necessarily, and I am not belittling younger audience and players who enjoy Half-Life more than I do. It might just be too difficult for me to find people in common in main-stream mmorpgs. It is hard to find mmorpg players who Role-Play (It is hard to find someone who READS, remeber the last time someone follows the big arrow on the minimap instead of reading the 200-word quest log?), and it is difficult to find people who have the patience to spend time with other players. Maybe my kind is dying off, maybe the definition of a "hard-core role player" is being replaced by "hard-core player" in a mmoRPg.

Should I start gathering a few good nerds and play D&D the old fashion way on Fridays?

 

Journey to graphic land...

Posted by wan7830 Monday November 26 2007 at 5:53PM
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What game has above average graphic?

I am going to use an old standard, Elder Scroll 4: Oblivion. You can argue that some other game has better graphic (Gear of War!), but you cannot creditably argue that the graphic of Oblivion sucks, right?

OK, cut to the chase. Is it possible to make an MMORPG with graphic as good as Oblivion? Yes! Will there be one? Not in ten years!

With so many player running around with detailed models, it is very hard-ware demanding to play an MMORPG with AWESOME graphic...but still, all the game developers are pushing the envelope, making the environments look more and more realistic, the animations ore and more smooth...

What kind of graphic do I demand in an MMORPG?

That's the kind of graphic I want...

If you never played Darwinia, you would say "that looks horrible!"

But I don't give a rat's ass about how detailed the world is! Seriously! As long as

  • Each object in the world, (no matter how badly it looks) has a meaning.
  • Objects don't run into each other like they exist in different dimensions(Run through a character's arm like part of him is spectual).
  • It runs smoothly on my computer.
  • The world is full of meaningful objects.
  • It's 3D.
  • The terrain is not flat, and the cliffs are made of more than six edges(look at the screen shot! the terrain is more complex than most mmorpgs!)

After all, I have a really odd taste of graphic...and I seriously doubt that any developers would release a game with graphic like Darwinia...since most players want top notch futuristic looking MMORPGS....

I have a quest for you!

Posted by wan7830 Sunday November 11 2007 at 9:57PM
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I decided to try the LOTRO 7 day trial...because it's free and I need a break from the other games(got a nervous twitch from playing Portal for the seventh time)...besides, I'v never tried it before, at least now I have a new standard for comparison.

The over all experience is "meh."

Nothing really caught my eye...the good o' traditional interface...the good o' classes(they defined guardian as tank and hunter as nuker at the character creation screen...I mean...come on)...good o' crafting...and the constant gold farmer/power leveler spams...

LOTRO fits into the traditional MMORPG model that WoW established...before you throw your battle ax, I have to clarify something...

I'm not saying it's bad...(in fact I used the adjective "good" several times)...I actually purchased the game and set up a subscription after the trial

Anyway...back to my point...

Just like the other MMOs LOTRO has lots of quests...in fact, the entire game is quest oriented...during my first 7 days of game play...something disturbing occurred to me...I won't spell it out, but I will demonstrate it to you...

OK here's the deal: pretend you are playing a MMO...I am an NPC with a Big o' sign floating above my head and my location is glowing on your mini map...which means

I HAVE A QUEST FOR YOU!

I am standing under a big oak tree, and when you click on me, I give you a detailed quest description and objectives:

"Greetings friend. I am Reion "Dusk" Abyssmal. I am a scholar who studies the movement of the stars, what you might call astronomy... The change in the Heaven often reflects itself on the Earth. A change of Path of a brilliant star might symbolize a change of Fate of a brave hero; the falling of a white comet might correspond the death of a great leader. The dark sky is a window that allows us to peak into the Past of the Future, the Beginning of the End. This art is taught by my mentor, and his mentor before him...the legacy of the Star Gazers...the legend of the Fortune Tellers...and of course...the curse of the Iron Tongue...
For you see, my young friend...Those who study the art of the dark sky are bound to keep secrets...what they see in the sky can only be told by the eyes...the future can never be spoken as words, and the balance between the Heaven and the Earth shall be maintained...
However, I foresaw a great horror in the future...and you my friend, is the source of this horror...By meeting you here, I broke my oath and shifted the balance of Fate...I altered your future to avoid the disaster that you will bring upon the innocents. I am sure my action today will be punished by unimaginable consequences, but that is not your concern right now...
If you continue your journey, you will reach the Moon Well, and a great sage awaits you there. According to the stars, you are supposed to join him and fight for his cause, but I am here to warn you...do not be persuaded by him...for his ideal is against the rules of nature...and you will help him break the balance and harmony of Light and Darkness... If you understand my prophecy, you will defeat him and cheat Fate...if you don't...you will break the rule and cheat Death."


-Go to Moon Well and Defeat necromancer Lamssyba "Dawn" Noier.

That's it...that's my demonstration...

Now tell me...if you are actually playing the game...and you are actually accepting the quest, how much of the description did you read? Honestly.

If I'm in this position, I probably only read "Go to Moon Well and Defeat necromancer Lamssyba "Dawn" Noier."

This is what disturbed me in LOTRO...some of the quests are brilliantly written filled with humor and drama...but I ignored the Role Playing and drowned myself in the "Kill X of Y at location Z" model...that sent a chill into my spine...

How much of the game did I miss by blinding myself with level and gold?

We always complain about a game lacking depth, but how can you define depth? Doesn't a quest with an epic story count as depth?

I hope I proved my point through the demonstration...if you don't get it...you probably shouldn't...

Companionship: pets in games!

Posted by wan7830 Sunday October 14 2007 at 5:23PM
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I had some trouble finding my own blog...today I stumbled back to the the website and discovered the changed layout, and found my long lost blog again...
Too bad no one responded to my last blog entry, I still believe its a master piece =P(haters!). Only going to write a short post this time.

I'm looking for a new apartment and hopefully find some interesting roommates as well. One of the main concerns I have is if the apartment allows pets(see, this has a purpose all along). I also visited several local animal shelters and see if any good looking dogs are up for adoption.

Ok, back to MMOs. First of all, do we want pets in MMOs?

I think I read a poll somewhere before, the poster who started the poll made the conclusion that only girls are interested in pets.

But I say, deep down, we all want some pets in our mmos. I will list the reasons:

1. The mob mantality:

"They are always impressed by the mob, even when the credibility and the strength of the mob is highly questionable."
                                              -Socrates
If you see a swarm of critters running toward you, no matter what the critters are, you can be scared. Which one is more terrorfying, a middle-age man with a baseball bat, or twenty adorable first graders who think you are a big birthday Piñata(with baseball bats).

It always make me feel safer when there are six minions forming a shield between me and the monsters, that's the mob mantality.

2. Charater costume extention:

If there are pet armors in game, we all attempt to dress up the little fellow. The truth is, a six-foot-tall silver wolf with glowing blue eyes and blacksteel armor on each paw LOOKS GOOD standing next to you. It makes you feel proud to say:"That wolf right there is my Fluffy, I found him in Silversnow Valley(fictional location)."

3. Companionship:

Most pets don't have AI: if you don't feed them, they die; you feed them, they follow you around and bite people for you. Nothing more to it. However, we all get bored when we grind to level 55; we all get bored when making the 679th pair of leather boots. We need some kind of companionship when our friends are busy raiding or killing. It is time like this that make us want to pet Fluffy the six-foot-tall silver wolf with glowing blue eyes and blacksteel armor on each paw. Even on an unconsious level, we treat our pets like companions.

4. TOOL!:

Fluffy bites!

I can't think of any other reasons on top of my mind. Pets are much more interesting in real life anyway. I hope the game devs can come up with a game that has pets with AI(It would be awsome to see Fluffy beg for a treat!)

My favorite pet: dog.
Favorite breeds: Welch Corgi. Shetland Sheepdog. Australian Sheepdog. Siberian Husky. Border Collie. Great Dane.

Once Upon a Time.

Posted by wan7830 Thursday September 27 2007 at 9:21PM
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This is a story of love, humor, and adventure, but I can only tell you part of it. Why? Battery is running low.

This is the tale of Lamssyba, a mmorpg developer and designer. The story happens during a peaceful and stable period in history, it is a time when people wield magic, when dragons glide in the valley and griffins fly in the sky.

Lamssyba is a promising young man. He was an apprentice under the Grand Master Luciuos, who created thousands of fantastic worlds inhabited by strange and interesting creatures. Lamssyba however, isn't quite talented. He made several mmorpgs, but none of them is successful. The worlds Lamssyba creates are dull and insipid, the creatures and npcs that lives in those worlds walk around like programmed robots, and no one appreciates Lamssyba's creations.

One morning, Luciuos summons Lamssyba.

"Lamssyba, my student, how is your latest creation?"
"Not so good, Grand Master Luciuos. No one likes it and I had to shut it down."
"That is why I summoned you today, Lamssyba. You are not qualified as an mmorpg developer. Your creations lack certain element, and you have to discover this element before you create your next mmo. I gave you many chances to prove yourself before, but you failed to demonstrate your ability and understanding of the soul of mmorpg. Today, I will send you on a quest. Before the sun goes down, you have to answer this question: what does a mmorpg player want in a mmorpg? If you fail to answer it, I will have no choice but to banish you and remove your status as my pupil. Now go, search the answer in this world that I created."

Lamssyba leaves Luciuos's temple and begins to search for the answer of the great question:

What does a gamer want in a mmorpg?

He travels to the nearest village, and he sees a crafter, polishing a newly made flask.
"Excuse me, wise craftsman, can you answer a question?"
"I will try my best."
"What are you looking for in this village that Luciuos created?"
"Hmm, gold of course"

Lamssyba gets his first answer: gamers are looking for gold in a mmorpg.

Lamssyba departs the village and traveled through a forest. In this forest, he meets a hunter who just killed a giant lizard. He decides to ask the hunter.
"Excuse me, agile hunter, can you answer a question?"
"Depends on what you ask."
"What is your purpose in this forest that Luciuos created?"
"I'm hunting lizards so I can get enough scales."
"Are you trading them for gold?"
"No! A perfect lizard scale is priceless! The most powerful gears in this world can not be traded with gold!"

Lamssyba gets his second answer: gamers want powerful gears.

Lamssyba hikes across the forest and climbs up a mountain. On this mountain he sees a barbarian smashing rocks with his hammer.
"Pardon me, strong warrior, can you answer a question?"
"Blah, I have nothing better to do anyway."
"What is your plan on this mountain?"
"I have the best gears a warrior can get, but I'm frustrated that no one can match my strength."

Lamssyba gets his third answer: gamers want player versus player actions.

Lamyssba travels to a tavern, sails across the sea and reached an island, crawls though an underground cave, marches through a deadly swamp. He encounters many players, but none of them gives him a satifying answer. More over, everyone has a different answer.
The sun is going down and Lamyssba is losing hope. He walks aimlessly until he stands in front of a crossroad.

An old witch is standing in the middle of the crossroad, she is possibly the most hideous gamer Lamyssba has ever met in his life. I won't spend much time describing her, just imagine the oldest, ugliest woman you can imagine.

The old witch begins to talk to Lamyssba:
"Greetings young man.
I know your past, and I can change your future.
I am the oldest and wisest mmorpg player there is.
I know the question you ask, and I know the answer you seek.
But there is a price."

Lamyssba responds desperately: "What do you need? I can give it to you, if you can answer the great question."

"I want you, to marry me."

After much consideration, Lamyssba agrees and makes a deal with the old witch:
"I will marry you, if you tell me what gamers want in a mmorpg."
"The answer is in front of you, but you are too blind to see it. Isn't it obvious?  Gamers want choice!  They want options to choose from, they want the freedom to chase whatever they want!"

Lamyssba travels back the Luciuos's temple.

"Have you found the answer to the question, Lamyssba?"
"Yes I have. Gamer wants choice."
"Splendid! You past the test, and you may stay as my pupil."

But now, Lamyssba has to deal with the old ugly witch that he married. The newly wed get back the Lamyssba's residence right before the sun goes down. Right after the sunlight disappear, the old ugly witch turns into a young, beautiful woman. Lamyssba is stoned by her beauty, and words can not come out of his mouth.
"This is my second form, I am the old witch during the day, and I am the young princess during the night. However, now I am married to you, you can choose: I can stay as the witch during the day, or I can stay as the witch during the night, either way, I stay as the witch half of a day. Choose wisely my husband."

What is Lamyssba's answer?

"The quest I completed today taught me something. Gamer wants choice. I am a game developer, and you are a gamer. The bound we share now doesn't give me the power to take the choices away from you. A gamer should choose what she wants to be looked like, she should choose her life, the game developer can't make the decision for her. So, I am letting you, the gamer, choose the life you want to live in."

"Then I choose to be beautiful during the day, AND during the night.

Then it is the usual ending, they live happily ever after, and Lamssyba makes many great mmorpgs with the help of her beautiful wife.

Character naming: the cool, the weird, and the "wtf?"(part 2)

Posted by wan7830 Wednesday September 26 2007 at 10:30PM
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As I promised, the post continued =).

Popular modes(continued):

5. Tweaked words method: [Common word]+[Personal modification]. Example: Magisty, Shieldon.
Pros: My favorite method. You can choose a word that is related to your character and tweak it. If I am a female mage, I can choose the work "Magic" and "Majesty," then tweak them and add a female twist, the result is "Magisty": "-ty" marks my female status, "Magi-"  symbolizes my class, and the whole word sounds like "Majesty."
Cons: Easy to mess up. It takes wit and IQ to use this method. If you come up with a name like "Urany" with the word "Uranium," I suggest you try another method instead.

6. Historical name method: [Random Historical Name]. Example: Pinder.
Pros: Easy and simple. Because someone used that name before, you can be sure that it works. If someone recognize your name, they can be impressed by your knowledge.
Cons: Who the hell is Pinder? (Writer around the Socratic age...wiki or google him)

Thats about all I can think of, after all, making up a good name is a very complex and delicate process, and you have to put a lot of thoughts into it.

And here are the absolute rules:

1. No numbers!
Roman numerals are dangerously close to numbers, but if a symbol in you name can be typed by the number pad, you better come up with a new name. If I see a Josh, and two minutes later I see a Josh88, I would punch Josh88 in the name tag...For that matter, wan7830 is even worse, because wan doesn't mean anything at all...\

2. No prefix+suffix!
I don't need to explain much here, I'm just going to throw out some examples and you can decide how annoying they are:
xxxBloodyMagexxx
>(BodyGuard)<
PWNyourfacemyassPWN

3. People must be able to pronounce your name
These kind of names usually show up during beta testing:
askjldfh
eoriudfknlv
swoeirh
Oh and also in game gold farming advertisers...if you see someone named wwieohf whispering you, block him....

4. Don't be funny!
Well, my parents thought it would be funny to name me pignose, but they didn't, and I'm very grateful for it. Like I said, a bad name is like a tattoo on your forehead, if you think an orange on you forehead is funny today, it might not be funny tomorrow.


That wraps up my thoughts on names. I saw a lot of comments after my first post(8 is a huge number) and those comments pretty much patched up things I missed...

So, until next time.

 

 

Character naming: the good, the bad, and the unspeakable(part 1)

Posted by wan7830 Wednesday September 26 2007 at 6:54AM
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You can change your hairstyle. You can change your class or equipments. Your name, however, stucks with you FOREVER. Having a bad name is like having a big "L" tatooed on your for head. In this post, I am going to go through what many gamers already know(frankly, I'm posting for the few who don't) about how to make a good name for your character.

Popular modes(not ranked by popularity):

1.The native American naming method:[Adjective]+[Noun]. Example:SleepingWind, CalmSky
Pros: Many players choose this method because it is simple and easy to recoganize. A good combination of two words can result in a very interesting name. There are many examples I can use here.
Cons: Too long. If my name is BleedingLance, by guilds and teammates are going to call me BL or bleed for short. Eventually, the short version of my name will be reconganized and the original one would be ignored by my friends =.

2.The backward method:[Nuon] or [Evitcejda]. Example:Nogard, Wodahs
Pros: If one day your friends decide to flip your name over, they might be surpriced by the hidden word. In every game, on every server, there is a "Nogard" running around just waiting for someone to discover the true meaning of his name.
Cons: Too hard to recognize. If I see someone named "Wodahs," my first reaction would be "Is he Arab?" instead of "It's the backward shadow!"

3.Dictionary method:[really hard word]. Example: Abnegator (definition:self-denier)
Pros: Deep. If you meet a scholar or someone with a good vocabulary, they would be impressed by your name. Other than that, not much advatages.
Cons: Too deep. It's a game...not the SAT...show off your vocabualary somewhere else...

4.Biological method:[name of an organism]. Example: Sycamore
Pros: A biological name can reflect your characteristics and relationship with with the organism. If your name is Canine, I can assume you are going to be a good firend, or howl.
Cons: Some names made by this method can be hard to understand(What the hell is sycamore?).

There are more methods to name your character, but my laptop is running out of juice, so I guess I have to make a part 2 for this post.

Ok, cut to the bad. What to avoid when naming you character:

1.Random letters and numbers. Example: wan7830
What the hell does "wan7830" mean? It doesn't tell you anything and it doesn't look like anything!

2.Body parts. Example: RagingToe
No one is going to take you seriously if your name involves a body part(exception, eye).

3.Celebrities. Example: BatMan
First of all, it is against most EULAs(for those of you who actually READ instead of SCROLL). Besides, it's just lame...

4.Extremely long names. Example: Joshlikecarrotsandpotatoes.
People hate long names...They are just going to call you Joshtheretardedrabbit instead...

More to come...rushed during the second half of the post. I promise I will make it up in the next post ;)

Character Costume:The Golden Rule.

Posted by wan7830 Sunday September 23 2007 at 8:45PM
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So...what is a "good" character costume?
Well, if it's a rpg, the standard is simple: as long as it looks good on you, it's good costume. This rule, however, doesn't apply on mmos.
I'm going to use a quote by Eric Cartmen(for those of you who don't know who he is, he's an asshole):

"Now every douchebag in town has ninja weapons, lame..."

That sentence pretty much sums up the fashion trend in every mmo.

Let's ignore stats for a moment and assume every visible equipment in game has the same stats. If everyone is wearing shiny gold armors, I want to wear something else, even dirty rugs is more preferable, because it makes me stand out. In this case, a paladin can equip a hello-kitty wand just because that item is unique. If no body has it except me, I'm going to show it off and rub others' noses with it.

I'm going to spell out the golden rule: players don't want to look like each other.
I'm going to use a a classic mmo as an example:
-WOW(millions of players...come on): Honestly, it is very hard to find some one who looks like you in wow after level 15. The item data base is so massive, and the item models are so numerous, it is visually impossible to pick out some one who look just like you. It is exciting to find one who looks like you in wow, I usually stop and chat for a few minutes because it is such a coincident to find a look-alike. On top of that, wow also pulled out two new expansions. What really impressed me is the fact that in both expansions, new hair styles and dances are introduced.
The way I see it, this is part of what made wow so successful. Wow keep emphasizing on player's uniqueness and individuality. If you play as a druid, and meets a druid in a forest, you would say:"Crud, a copy cat." And if his level just happens to be higher than yours, you would think :"OK...grind for 3 more hours and I will become THAT guy..." That's no fun. That makes the time and energy you invested into your character seems pointless if you are just following someone's foot steps...
But in wow, you don't have this feeling, because THAT guy looks nothing like you.

The character costumes is one of my tools that I use to rate an mmo. If I see an army of clones(exact copies) running around me dancing like bees, I would consider deleting the game, because seeing exact copies makes the game boring...and makes me dizzy and question my own sanity...

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