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All Posts by Tanemund

All Posts by Tanemund

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94 posts found

My journey to becoming a gamer is different than what made me a gamer.  Let me explain.


My journey to becoming a gamer started with Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st Edition in 1978; the greatest gaming gateway drug to gamers of my generation.  I tried it because one of the local priests was preaching that D&D was demonic and wanted it banned and I, being raised by libertarian parents, was like, "If they're trying to ban it, then I gotta try that!"  One afternoon and I was hooked.  Gary Gygax is to blame!


I made my shift to video gaming when my brother and I got an Atari 2600 in 1979 and I spent the 80s playing Combat, Warlords and Pitfall along with stand up video games like Joust, Dig Dug, Dragon's Lair and Space Ace in Video Arcades.


I kind of fell out of it when I went to college and law school.  I just didn't have the time.  A friend had a PC at college and on rare occasions we played some tank type game where you blew up houses and then ran over the people that came out leaving a bloody smear on the ground.  It was sufficiently gruesome to keep me mildly interested.  He also had the DoS based Ancient Art of War and Ancient Art of War at Sea.  Graphics were a bit dated, but again it was fun to have a beer and play a bit.  I didn't play anything during law school.  Too much work and no computer or console access.  What little time off I had was spent with my fiance or sleeping.


After law school I bought myself my first PC with a 75 MHz Hard Drive.  It was STATE OF THE ART, BABY!  I used it mainly as a glorified word processor for work until one day on a whim I bought a game called Frontlines, which was some kind of RTS simulator.


I tried other games as I upgraded rigs from time to time.  I enjoyed a Jane's Submarine simulator (learned to read sonar screens from the game) and I bought several of the NASCAR racing simulator games by Sierra.  I never played on line because I never had internet access that was cost effective.  Around this time I also got married, bought a house and started traveling the world with my new wife while getting into my career.  Basically I gamed sometimes, but not regularly.


Then in 1999 my first child was born and my wife and I did what every couple with children did;  we stayed home and didn't go anywhere.  I picked up a copy of Star Wars : Force Commander (widely panned by critics but I enjoyed it) and by this time I had cable internet access.  So one night while I was sitting up keeping watch over a sick baby, I fired it up and hooked into an online game.   I remember waiting for 30 minutes for the game to start because you needed 4 to play it and there were only 3 of us in the lobby for a long time.  I think that's when I discovered Gamespy.


Then in 2001 I picked up a copy of Starfleet Command II : Empires at War.  My second child arrived in February of 2001 so we were even more home bound.  I played the single player campaign again late at night between diaper changing shifts and the like and rapidly discovered the single player campaign suffered from a bug.  After downloading a patch I discovered I could hook onto the Dynaverse which was a series of servers set up by Interplay where people could play the game on line.  There I met a bunch of guys and I started playing with them at regularly scheduled times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I was amazed that we could get 60 to 70 people on a single server playing the game at the same time and fighting each other.


By the end of 2001 SFC II : Orion Pirates came out and split the Dynaverse playerbase.  That kind of ended SFC II for me.  On the suggestion of an on line friend I'd met in my SFC II days I picked up a copy of Dark Age of Camelot to play with him and with that I became an MMO gamer.


Since then I've tried most major titles including CoX (beta tested CoH and CoV), WoW, WHO, LotRO, Allods, STO, SWToR, Runes of Magic, Age of Wushu and a few others I've tried and forgotten.


Now a days if I get time to game (kids are older and I run my own business now so time is limited) I log into Planetside 2 equip my shotgun and go Banzai Madman for 20 to 30 minutes.  I'm not in an Outfit and I never join a unit because I like to just charge in like a wildman and I don't care if I die a lot as long as I get that one spectacular kill a night that makes me laugh.


One of the highlights of my gaming career has been to actually game with my children.  I was able to take them to the battlegrounds of DAoC and have fun with them there.  My kids also have an XBox I watch them play with their friends on line.  I never could get back into console gaming after I left the Atari 2600 behind.  I can't get into smart phone gaming either.  Probably because I'm always talking or texting on the dang thing.


Am I a gamer?  Aye aye, sir!  Gung Ho, Gung Ho, Gung Ho!  Dyed in the wool and tried and true.  You name it and I did it, so I figure I qualify under any definition.


But as for exactly what it was that made me a gamer I'd have to say one thing and one thing only.


An imagination.




I'm always confused when someone says they want "skill" tested in a video game.  Just exactly which "skill" are we talking about? 


Are we talking about physical skills like Reflexes and Hand eye coordination?  Is it Proper posture and the ability to keep your hands on the home row?  Is it just basic Typing skills?  There aren't a lot of physical "skills" that a video game can tap into.  The truth is given the current state of computer inter-phase (keyboard, mouse, game-pad etc) a true test of "skill", at least physical skill is nearly impossible.  In the end, to the extent it is possible, people deride the game as "twitchy" and that "he with the fastest inter-phase and graphics card/processor wins."


Perhaps they mean mental "skills" like Logic and Reasoning or Observation and Learning.  Those could be tested giving the current state of inter-phase, but then there wouldn't be any reason to add complex graphics.  If this was the case then puzzle games would be the most popular thing ever.  In fact I'm pretty sure most video games wouldn't have been invented because pencils and paper are enough to play most logic and puzzle games. 


Perhaps they mean Social "skills" like communication and cooperation.  To test these all we need is a mic and/or a keyboard.  However I think that if people really wanted this "skill" tested then the game, which is a MASSIVE MULTIPLAYER online game would require you to build the biggest faction to "win".  In other words it would focus more on politics/interpersonal relationships and power bloc building rather than the ability to defeat a given number of foes by saying the proper words to one another at the proper time.  Truthfully the group is more efficient if everyone knows what to do and when to do it without being told, so these "skills" aren't really being tested.


So, for starters lets see just exactly which "skills" to which we are referring.


Simply put the "skills" that are tapped into by a standard video game are; 1) the ability to recognize a situation in which you should mash a certain button on your inter-phase;  2) If you can't recognize the situation or mash the proper button with your own faculties, then you should consult one of many wikis for answers and clues;  3) Finally, if you are in a game that requires group play (something I sometimes wonder if people really want in their gaming) you need to find a group of people who will tolerate your presence and with whom you can achieve common goals with as little actual communication as possible.


Ok, now that we've defined our terms why isn't "skill" being tested in video games. 


Well first off the definition kind of answers that question for us already.  The current state of computing inter-phase doesn't allow for too much in the way of "skill" to be tested without the game turning into some kind of math test or logic game test. 


Also the stereotypical gamer might not be the most "social" animal roaming around out there.  Lets face facts here.  If they truly made a game that was everything we hoped for the video game would become our social life,  while true social animals are out in the real world meeting one another and reproducing.  Think I'm lying?  Ever try to tell your non gaming friends about your in game experiences?  Give that a try and watch their eyes glaze over just like yours did when your friend who is into beads told you about their latest beading project or you friend who loves Fantasy Sports told you about his latest Fantasy Sports draft.  More to the point, do you have non gaming friends?  (This isn't a "bad" thing necessarily since people tend to hang out with people who share common interests, so don't get your back up.  I'm not calling you anti-social.  I'm calling you selectively social.)


But the real point has been mentioned above.  If we had a true skill based competition then there could, by definition be only one winner.  The terrible thing is that they would probably be the same people who were the best at that "skill" in Real Life.  If the video game tested the "skill" of individual straight line speed for 100 meters, Usaine Bolt would win every time and the rest of us would be 20 seconds behind him and screaming for a Bolt Nerf.  Sword and Axe "skill" would be won by Fencers and Lumberjacks or maybe LARPers.  Scientists and PhDs would win the battles of brain "skills" and politicians and prom queens would win the social "skills" battles.  In other words the people that have natural talent for a certain "skill" and put in the required 10,000 hours of practice to reach pro-level proficiency in that "skill" will "win" the game and the rest of us would be labeled as "casuals" because we've got jobs and kids and unlike the tippy top people of any "skill" we don't sacrifice EVERYTHING ELSE to be the best at that "skill".


So be careful about wishing for "skills" tests.  First off its just not possible given the current state of computing to test much in the way of "skill" and I'm not looking to break a sweat during my horse around time.  If I was I'd have taken up wrestling or MMA.  Second if we went to a "skill" based standard the same people who win in Real Life would dominate the cyber world as well.  And thus maybe our dumb-down fantasy games where everyone gets to be a hero isn't so bad.  Its the one place where everyone can be a star and that, beyond the fact you get to live out your sword swinging and gun toting fantasies, is the biggest draw of the cyber world.

I wasn't sure until I read this article, but now I'm convinced and its time to tell the world.


WoW killed Kennedy! 


Its true, I tell you!  Go back and watch the Zapruder film!  There was an Orc in the crowd that opened an umbrella and then the undead on the Grassy Knoll fired the fatal shot!


I'm afraid I didn't read the whole article because, quite frankly I've read it in many other places and possibly written parts of it in some of my former posts.  People have been crying this same lament for the past ten years to the point where this is probably just as much of a troll as saying "WoW was the first MMO!"  To say that this era of gaming is any better or worse than any other gaming era is a simple matter of opinion. 


Blaming WoW for the state of MMOs today is like blaming McDonalds for obesity in modern society.  Blizzard put out a product and people consumed it.  The product was successful and other companies tried to duplicate the success.  That is the way of the marketplace.


The fact is that the original generation that played MMOs grew up and didn't have time to play those games anymore.  The original MMO player was an ex table top role playing game veteran with access to a computer with a modem.  After spending entire afternoons rolling dice to determine the outcome of a few encounters in a dungeon, what happened on line was blazing fast in comparison.  Then we got older and with jobs and kids we no longer could spend a whole weekend on a raid or thirty minutes getting a group together.  Things had to happen faster and it had already started to happen in games like City of Heroes before WoW came out.  I played DAoC when it came out.  I loved it.  But if it re-released tomorrow in its original form I wouldn't play it.  Why?  Because it took 21 days /played to make it to 50 back in 2001.  That's 21 days of in game time to get to the level cap.  I just don't have that kind of time to spend on a game anymore.


And to put on our rose colored LCD screens and say, "oh remember how wonderful the downtime was?  Remember how we used to talk and engage each other?" is revisionist history.  I lived through those days of gaming and I can tell you no one spoke to each other during the downtime.  We all went AFK.  In fact the "downtime" was explicitly the universal AFK time when everyone went to the bathroom, had a smoke, refilled their drink or microwaved their dinner.  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE griped about the downtime.  The games were rife with time-sinks that everyone just plain hated and were eventually removed even from the games that had them. 


Also if you played Dark Age or any other game from that era you'd know that people back then did the guild shuffle there as well.  People would abandon their starter guilds for "RvR" guilds or 8 mans (back then known as "Beat Squads") when they hit 50 so they could get realm ranks.  Then came the whole Zergers vrs. 8 Mans argument where people tore at their realm mates for "not playing the game right."  There were huge guilds where people didn't know every member and those guilds split and reformed and merged and all kinds of things based upon what the people in the guilds wanted to do.  There were guilds that didn't speak to a single soul who wasn't in their guild back then as well.


Want to know what really killed Role Playing?  Voice Chat.  Ventrillo, Mumble, Roger/Wilco and Teamspeak did more to kill Role Playing than WoW ever did.  How can you role play a character while voice chatting with the real life people behind the toons?


All of these "maladies" you point to as starting in WoW existed prior to WoW.  All WoW might have done is magnify them by multiplying the number of people involved.  All that really changed was the consumer and consumer expectations and needs.  Those games are gone and they're not coming back and it's not WoW's fault.  It's our fault and we can also be the cure.


You have the choice.  You can sit around and pine for "Ye Goode Olde Days of Yore when every gentle soul typeth like this" while waiting 10 minutes for a port and mana regen and write pissy posts blaming WoW for giving you hemeroids, or you can log into any game and be the cure by meeting people and having adventures with them just like you used to.


If anything we should thank the gods for WoW.  It proved to companies that MMOs could be profitable beyond their wildest dreams and has probably caused more companies to make MMOs than would have if games like EQ still dominated the genre.  It brought in millions of more players for us to meet and adventure with in WoW and other games.  Maybe instead of lamenting its appearance we should join in the celebration because the truth is WoW breathed new life into a genre that was a dead man walking.

Come back and play the same story ... again.


No thanks.

As has been said before, I'm not sure this really adds anything to game experience.  Leisure Suit Larry meets Aragon of Gondor?  Really?


It does raise a bunch of questions though.  If you're married in Real Life and you have sex in game are you cheating on your RL partner?  Do people you have sex with in game count towards you're real life "number"?  If you get in game VD are you morally obligated to tell all of your past in game sex partners?  Who do you sue if the contraception doesn't work?  If you can have a kid are there virtual diapers that need changed?  By the by, who gets to play the baby avatar?  Is it shared custody with weekend visitation or what?


My sense of humor wonders just what it would be like to sit down to lunch with a co worker who's avatar you "did it" with last night.  I'm pretty sure that would make the RL relationship get a little "weird".  Or imagine sitting down to lunch with someone you struck out with in game the previous night.  Also a little "weird". 


This seems gimicky to me.  I can just see the reviews now.  "Yeah, the quests in PvE are pretty pedestrian.  The PvP stinks.  However, my avatar got busy with just about everyone on the server!  Totally worth $15 per month."


Maybe just leave the quest for love or lust for Real Life.  It gives everyone an excuse to log off every so often.

It looked like a legit interview to me.  The questions were fair.  It was fair of the interviewer to ask Mark Jacobs to explain 1) the deviation from the Kickstarter schedule and 2) access to Alpha spots.  I didn't think the interviewer hit those issues too hard.  He certainly didn't keep circling back to these issues and digging for more.


In fact I wouldn't mind if the media would be a little more aggressive with Mr. Jacobs and his ilk.  Gamers have been fed a lot of lines lately and have been served up a lot of half baked games.  I'd like to know just what makes these people believe that they are going to reverse the trend.  In other words, I want them to sell their product to me, rather than selling me an alpha spot and having me sell it for them.  I got burned by Cryptic and Star Trek so after that no pre-orders for me.  The people who make games have to sell them just like people who make any other commodity and that means sometimes having to answer some questions.  If we as consumers don't ask the tough questions then we get what we get and we have no right to be upset.


As far as CU v. Crowfall I don't see that either.  People fiercely defend their online games of choice and now that they've been asked to put their money where their mouth is prior to the game even being produced they're going to be that much more sensitive to any perceived slights.

Originally posted by druidsfire
Originally posted by Tanemund

My view on this is pretty similar to some of those above.  I think it is incumbent on the Game Developer to either 1) define exploit clearly or 2) brand a particular practice an exploit.  One the Game Developers do that then the burden falls on the players to either 1) stop exploiting or 2) run the risk of being punished in some way.




A game studio creates content whose point was to actually play through it before being rewarded.  The play style is not unique to SWTOR.  It's pretty much the same methodology for dungeons and raids since the days of EverQuest.  You don't get the big rewards until you clear the dungeon/raid and defeat the final boss. This is how it's worked since 1999.


Why in the world should BioWare have to actually assume we're all stupid and need to be explicitly told that porting directly to a downed final boss and looting him is an exploit?


Seriously, at some point, common sense should be invoked.  We as players KNOW that's not intended behavior.  We don't need a game studio to actually tell us that's an exploit.  We know it is, and at that point, a player's personal conscience is up to them.  Nitpicking over BioWare telling us or not is foolish.  Something like this is cut and dry whether it was or wasn't an exploit. If it was questionable, yeah, I can see your point, but this one?  Nope.  


While I agree with you that it should be common sense by now that Developers mean for content to be fully played before the raid boss is killed, I'm afraid that we're forced, even in the real world, to operate on the biggest idiot theory.  (Sad to say we live in a society where they have to put "Caution :  Contents are hot and may cause burns" on coffee cups these days).  Until you make things crystal clear the extremely clever and the extremely stupid are going to keep right on rolling.  Its unfortunate but you literally have to club people over the head before they get it.  You have to make it so even the biggest idiot can get the message.


I saw a great slogan the other day:  "Common sense has become so uncommon that it now qualifies as a superpower."


With that I'm going to stop typing as I'm depressing myself.

My view on this is pretty similar to some of those above.  I think it is incumbent on the Game Developer to either 1) define exploit clearly or 2) brand a particular practice an exploit.  One the Game Developers do that then the burden falls on the players to either 1) stop exploiting or 2) run the risk of being punished in some way.


A simple post from Bioware saying, "If you do this you will be considered an exploiter and face punishment" would be enough to fulfill their duty.  They could also add that we are actively working on a fix for this exploit and will implement it as soon as possible and without warning.  Now the burden shifts to the players.  They are warned that a certain behavior is an exploit and they can choose their path accordingly.


This kind of reminds me of the steroids flap in baseball.  What every one of the sanctimonious seems to forget is that it wasn't even against the rules of baseball to use steroids until 2004.  It was incumbent on baseball to make a rule banning the use of steroids and it didn't.  How can it be fair to now say, "Those who used steroids before it was against the rules are cheaters"?  You can't break a rule that doesn't exist.


By the same token if the Devs don't make it plain that a certain activity is an exploit, then it isn't fair for them to run around hitting people with the ban stick or whatever. 


A simple three line post in blue makes all the argument irrelevant.  Instead of making veiled references and allowing each gamer to follow their own conscience, Bioware could have very easily taken all of the guess work out of the equation by simply stating, "Porting to the end of the instance to loot the dead boss is an exploit.  We know people are doing it.  If you do it from now on you risk discipline."  Simple.  Easy.  Skid proof.  Now the chickens are coming home to roost as those who did it claim one thing and those who didn't claim another.


Bioware has only itself to blame for the muddled mess it created.

I think its been touched on several times in this thread, but the truth is it comes down to what we players value and what our goals for the game are.  That is a personal choice we all make and there isn't a right or wrong choice.


Personally I've never understood why someone would play an online game with a huge online population with the goal of staying isolated from everyone.  I do understand, as a casual player, that at least some game content needs to be solo friendly so that people who can log on only once in a while can get some leveling done.  However, I will say from personal experience this mentality of people before pixels has led to a much more satisfying gaming experience for me.  I tend to worry less about game mechanics and whether it is a "good" or "bad" game while I'm focused on the people I'm meeting.  Through gaming I've met people from all around the world and developed deep and abiding real friendships with people that continue even when there is no game to play.


I guess its because I learned early to value the friendships and relationships I formed through MMOs over the arbitrary and random pixelated rewards granted me by the game.  I happened to fall in early with a group of people who believed the same thing.  I always kept in my mind that if someone spilled coffee on the server all my nice pixels would be toast, but the people behind the pixels would still be there.  The game just facilitated and fostered those relationships to the point where they stood on their own two feet.  Sometimes when my playtime is limited I'll pop open my friends list and say, "Hiya" to everyone on it and just ask about their day.  Over time I've discovered I get more satisfaction in doing that than leveling my Wood Cutting ten points.


What I'm saying is no great revelation and I'm not the only one.  I do think that if you game long enough eventually you come around to the conclusion that all the game is there to do is enable relationships to form.  I always say the best times I had in game were doing simple things like farming mobs in PvE etc with a group of people who I liked and were fun to be around.  On occasion I've tried different paths and valued pixels more.  I've chased gear scores and PvP rankings and a myriad other things in game.  They never satisfied me because no matter how much of a PvP bad ass I was, no one threw me a parade and/or cared if I logged on unless they were seeking me out to take the title from me.  Yet the simple act of chatting with some random stranger made me important somehow.  Someone cared whether or not I logged on and missed me when I wasn't there.  So I always find myself coming back to the conclusion that the people are more important than the pixels and that is where I find my greatest satisfaction playing the game.


But again that comes down to a personal choice.  No game mechanic can force me to participate in any kind of community if I don't want to participate.  Forced grouping, public quests, world events; how many programing dohickies have been tried to foster the growth of community and exactly how many of them worked?  None.  Why?  Because in the end people (myself included at times) found more efficient ways to level up to the "endgame" and basically skipped those pieces of content because they were awkward and encumbering when compared to blasting through solo content.


I guess the answer is to be the answer.  You might get dumped on a few times (people will take advantage of your kindness and friends will abandon you from time to time because they're "not getting what they want from the game" while they hang out with you), but in the end the results will be gratifying.  If enough people do this a community begins to form and all those things we've been missing in MMOs since the dawn of time might come back to us.


Just something to think about.

Elitism existed before Gear Scores.  All Gear Scores does is give elitists an easy crutch with which to perpetuate their elitism.  It makes elitism more prevalent now because there is an easily identifiable "number" that someone has to hit to be included in the group.  Elitists used to seek each other out.  Now everyone tries to make their group/friends/guild into an elite haven.  I'm not sure its "elitism" so much as an "Us v. Them" mentality meaning "we" are clearly superior to "them."  Somewhere between MUDs and today's MMORPGs the idea of community went from everyone in my realm to everyone in my guild/friends list.  I think a few things are responsible for that.


1. Focus on the End Game and viewing every other piece of content as something to be endured and powered through rather than enjoyed.  I'm not sure when this happened but when I first started playing MMOs the leveling curve was so long that most toons never reached max level and therefore no one talked about "end game".  Instead there was the game.  Period.  The rush now is to get to max level everything with the minimum of effort.  In most games now you can level crafting while you're doing something else by having an NPC slave do it.


2. Proliferation of informational websites that give full walk-throughs on content the day the game is released.  One of the purposes of community was to pass along information such as, where is a good spot for this level or I've got a great spot to farm gold etc.  Now you just log onto the wiki and cookbook your way through the game.  Because of this easy access to information people don't feel any need to connect with anyone and/or will be intolerant of anyone asking questions.  This also includes leveling guides which will take a player from 0 to max level without even once grouping with another player.


3. The movement by developers to "reward" players for every second they spend in game.  Heck the developers reward people for simply making an account.  This can be anything from bonus XP to gear etc, but today's MMOs are stuffed to the gills with things that reward players for simply expressing an interest in the game.  This ties in with the informational websites in that a player can simply avoid content that doesn't provide the proper "reward" of XP or gear to facilitate leveling as quickly as possible.


4. Player choice.  No matter how you program the game, if people choose to be "isolationist" "elitist" "xenophobic" or whatever that is how they're going to play the game.  You cannot program community into a game.  That is a choice the player base makes and for whatever the underlying reason, most people choose not to associate.  Today people not only Min/Max their avatars, they Min/Max the circle of people they interact with in the game.  It simply means they hang out with people that can effectuate their in game goals faster than others.  Those people may be friends, but those friends become expendable if they're not progressing in the way that an individual player wants to progress.


Just look at the way "PuG" or "Pick Up Group" has become one of the dirty words in online gaming.  Its become a way to call an entire group of people "noobs".  However this won't change until we gamers change it, and we won't because ... OMG TEH PIXELS R SHINY!

Like others I think Dune would make a fantastic MMO World.


Asmiov's Foundation series, but it could be a little tricky.


Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series.  They're making it into a Television show like Game of Thrones. 



I think that they COULD so long as a true sandbox game was offered.  By that I mean there are true consequences for engaging in PvP.  I'm not talking about full loot.  I'm talking about people who engage in PvP are truly risking something themselves.  That could be a faction shift that bars them from towns or the spawning of NPC bounty hunters or simply not being able to tell if your intended target is lower or higher level. 


People talk about true "risk and rewards" PvP when they mention sandbox, but that's not the truth.  What they want is the ability to loot the people they gank.  They want the victim to take the risk while the ganker reaps the rewards.  To have a true sandbox (by that I mean a game that is just a world where the players are left to their own devices) you have to have the risk flow both ways.  If the would be ganker is unsure of the level or skill of his intended target, they are running the risk of attacking someone they can't handled, getting mauled and getting their shoes stolen.  (By the way, taking someone's great stuff by ganking them has no style.  In my gaming group its all about comedy.  So when we ganked someone lower level than us, we would loot their pants and then roll on any white items in their pack.  Our victims had to run bare-assed for a bit and they lost a bunch of white stuff they could have sold for in game cash, but they weren't really harmed by the experience.  Most of the time that was enough to tell them to avoid us and where we were.)


If the risk flowed both ways meaning the attacker risks losing something as well as the victim, then sure they can co-exist.  If the attacker's only risk is that the victim might loot him back then all that does is encourage ganking of lowbs or zerging to insure victory.  Regardless of protestations to the contrary, most people in games assume risk just like they do in real life.  They're going to pick on the 100 lbs geek instead of the 230 lbs linebacker.  Also another cautionary function exists in real life in that you don't know everything about that 100 lbs geek.  He might be a world class MMA fighter who when you attack him proceeds to smear your ass all over the pavements like so much strawberry jam.  Most people aren't going to do ANYTHING that might cause them to lose face and stuff in real life let alone their precious pixelated lewts in game.


Give PvP a real consequence with teeth in it and ganking will piss right out.  Then PvP and PvE folks can co-exist in a sandbox because PvP has a true risk/rewards spectrum.  Unfortunately that game hasn't been invented yet and I suspect its too close to real life for anyone to enjoy it.



As many of you know, I am an 3-God.  My comings and goings and doings in 3-Space are myriad and magnificent.  That qualifies me to give advice and counsel via random post on message boards to the steaming masses of nOObs that supplicate daily for a boon from my manifest and spectacular wisdom.


Today I shall instruct nOObs everywhere in a matter of grave importance; the Naming of Avatars.  The state of avatar naming in MMOs today is putrid.  If people named their dogs like they named their avatars, dogs would have turned on mankind en mass and mankind would be wearing the collars by now.  Look folks, it is a sad fact that many MMO players have either the limited creative ability of a dry sponge or the meglo-maniacal mindset to believe they are doing something original.  Well the time has come for someone to kick this problem right in the nether regions with the hobnailed jackboot of the unvarnished truth, and that truth is; YOUR AVATAR NAME SUCKS!


That's right.  It sucks.  And by association you, therefore, suck too.  Look, don't get mad at me.  I'm just the messenger.  The truth is everyone has been laughing at you for a long time.  I'm the only one that likes you enough to tell you.  Really.  I'm just like that guy that finally tells you that you've had a picture of a phallus pinned to your back for half the day during the eighth grade.  The rest of them out there just laughed at you.  So I guess you could say that I'm here to help you.  Yeah, that's the ticket.  I'm here to help ... or something.


Yea, nOObs you are all fortunate that I am not a vengeful or spiteful 3-God.  Instead I am here to provide clues for the hopeless horde of ineptitude that aspire to properly name their Avatars.  Pay close attention nOObs or forever be doomed to the seventh level of nOOb Hell (also known as General Chat).  Here are Ten Commandments that should help you properly name your Avatar.  These Ten Commandments will keep you from sucking at the game of your choice right from the moment you fill in the name slot for your avatar.  Believe me this is important, because the wrong name just starts you down that slippery slope of ignominious nOObiedom for the rest of your gaming career.  Yet with my Ten Commandments I'll shall spare you the searing fires of internet troll scorn.  I'm an 3-God after all.  I'm cool like that.


Tanemund's Ten Commandments for Naming Thy Avatars


1) Thou Shalt Not Name Thy Avatar After Thyself - Truly folks, if you are over the age of five and you give your avatar your real life name in any form, seek professional help.  By that I mean have someone who is a professional MMA fighter kick you in the head several times.  You're a nobody in real life and now you're setting yourself up to be nobody in a game.  What's worse, everyone in game knows you're a nobody in both realms.  That alone should be enough to deter you from ever doing this.  However if that isn't enough to stop you, then this should.  People will know who's mother to call when you're up past your bedtime. 


2) Thou Shalt Never Name Thy Avatar With a Verb - Your avatar's name should not be or contain action verbs like "Kill", "Crush", "Thud", "Evacuate", "Conjugate", "Smell" etc.  If you land in a crowd of people like this on line its like you stepped bodily into a Batman rerun.  You know who names their characters with verbs?  Professional wrestlers.  If you want to be like them, well I'm sorry, but you're beyond my help.


3) Thou Shalt Never Name Thy Avatar After a Vampire - This is kind of a continuation of a rant many of us crotchety old pissed off 3-Gods have been on for about a decade, but seriously this vampire feces has got to go.  Vampires like Dracula stalked the night and devoured unwary children when I was but a wee fledgling 3-God.  They were bad asses out for blood and gore.  Now every prepubescent teeny-bopper can't wait to fall in love with a glowing Emo-loser who's privates are as smooth as a Ken Doll.  And that's what you look like if you name your Avatar "Lestat" or "Edward" or the like; a smooth crotch Emo-loser.  If you insist on doing this the rest of us can only hope that Dracula ambushes you on the way home from the vampire LARP party at your friend's house and causes your sphincter to prolapse before he drains you dry and urinates on your ashes.


4) Thou Shalt Never Start or End Thy Avatar's Name With the Letter "X" - Having reviewed the history of Mankind, there was only one person in the world cool enough to pull off starting or ending his name with "X".  That was Malcolm X.  Every other attempt to do so has just been pathetic.  Seriously, unless you're naming your Avatar Xavier or Xanadu (Then again why the hell would you want to name your Avatar that?) the only reason you put an "X" before or after your name is because someone else previously logged in an Avatar with the name you wanted to use and so to get it you just stuck an "X" in front or behind the name.  Worse yet you put an "X" both in front of and in back of the name you wanted.  Not only does this expose a lack of creativity, it also indicates a person with personal hygiene habits that are characterized by a tendency to eat boogers.  And not necessarily one's own boogers.  How's that for a vivid visual?


5) Thou Shalt Never Name Thy Avatar With a Sexual Reference - This one is simple.  If one's Avatar is named "Coitusmonster69" we can safely assume that person has neither had coitus nor 69ed.  In fact, we can safely assume they have never been closer to a woman than the range of a can of mace.  It's true.  He's not a stud.  Don't be that guy.


6) Thou Shalt Never Give Thy Avatar a Name with an Abbreviation in It - A sure sign of severe mental retardation and/or functional illiteracy is the tendency to type "LoL" or "LMAO" or "TBH" or "KTHNXBYE" after sentences (or in this case names) in any form of written communication.  This means either your ability to express yourself in writing is so stunted that you actually need to give your audience the equivalent of an "applause" sign to indicate that you are being funny, ironic or sarcastic or that your audience is so vacuous that they can't grok the fact you're being funny, ironic or sarcastic and they need an indicator that they should laugh.  Man has had written languages for almost 7000 years now.  Somehow we can pick up a book written in the 1600s and determine if the author is being funny, facetious, or ironic without some amalgamation of random letters at the end of every sentence.  At least those of us who finished the fifth grade can.  If you didn't finish the fifth grade then rest assured that I'm not talking about you.  LOL.


7) Thou Shalt Never Name Thy Avatar After a Celebrity or Band - All I can say about this is to ask which of you is Beavis and which is Butthead?  Yes, I know that the Female blood elves in World of Warcraft dance like Brittany Spears.  That is NOT a good excuse to name every other female blood elf "Brittany Spears" or some derivation thereof.  And no one cares if your favorite band is "Megadeth".  Only people who are starting to notice they have hair in strange places on their body care about that.  The rest of us think you and Megadeth should be blown out of an airlock with the rest of the garbage.  One day some celebrity is going to round up their legal team and go after all of these half assed trademark infringements with a vengeance.  Until then we can only hope that the pack of snickering 12 year old fart sniffers who name their Avatars after a celebrity or a band have their penises amputated while dabbling in self-abuse during a close encounter with a vacuum cleaner.


8) Thou Shall Never Have Multiples of One Letter in Thy Avatar's Name - For example.  If you name your Avatar "Chuckkkky" you are an idiot to the third power, which I believe would be mathematically represented as either an (Idiot)3 or an "(Idiot x Idiot x Idiot)".  Either way it's not a pretty picture.  Think this one through logically.  This means you are the forth person to log into that server who wanted that name.  The first guy named his Avatar "Chucky".  The next guy named his Avatar "Chuckky" and so on until it got to you, the least creative guy in the pile of "Chucky" manure.  What else could be the logical explanation for this behavior?  Are the rest of us to believe that you stutter when you type?  Really, you wanted this name so bad you were willing to butcher it to the point of alphanumeric incontinence?  If you have an avatar with a name that looks like this, not only should you delete it, but you should seriously consider a new hobby and possibly deleting yourself from the gene pool.


9) Thou Shall Never Have Misspellings in Thy Avatar's Name - Avatar naming slots obviously do not come with spell checkers.  As a result one should be ready to use the good ol' standby, the dictionary.  I've seen far too many "Deathangle"s and "Distroyer"s in my gaming life.  Imagine how quickly the pride changes to shame when someone who can spell hips "Deathangle" to the fact that he is not the angel of death, but the angle of death, whatever the hell that means.  At that point there can only be one of two responses.  The first of which is, "I am a geometry teacher with a sense of humor".  This response has a probability of truth somewhere around .0007%.  The second response is, "I came in dead last in the mentally handicapped 100 meter marathon at the Special Olympics."  (Yes, I said 100 meter marathon.  That's irony.  LOL).  Do your own math.


10) Thou Shall Never Choose a Name from Fantasy or Sci-Fi Lore or Cannon - This is the greatest of these Commandments and violation of it is most foul smelling to us E-Gods.  This is for every person who logs in an elf (why oh why would you ever play an elf?  And, by the way, a Dark Elf is even worse because now you're that mysterious, brooding outsider elf who has a tortured past.  That's sad times two.  I know, I know.  Lots of math in this post) named "Legolas" or a dwarf named "Gimli" or an "Aragorn" or a "Gandalf" or a "Skywalker" or a "Kirk" or any other famous member of any science fiction or fantasy lore or cannon.  If your Avatar is named "Tyrion" or "MacLeod" or "Lo Pan" or "DArtHMaUL" do us all a favor and choke on your two-Twinkie-and-a-Mountain-Dew-dinner.  If you've ever done this you are as close to a mindless zombie as you can get in the MMO universe.  You deserve to have your genitals scalded shut with a branding iron so you cannot pollute the rest of the world with your brainless progeny.  Even a three year old cannot get dispensation for this kind of mess.  Anyone who is vaguely self aware with an ounce of self respect knows better than to do this.


I hope you nOObs find these Ten Commandments helpful in your quest to properly name your Avatars.  You can take my advice and make me proud or ignore my advice and make me laugh.  I'm good either way.  And so this is your benevolent 3-God Tanemund signing off and until next time I say,



Most people don't want to be the hero.  They want to be the uber pwnz0r Rogue with the tortured past that all the men fear and for whom all the ladies slide out of their pants.


And then he's bitten by a vampire and becomes immortal and spends eternity brooding on the unfairness of life that he can never love or be loved, all the while pwning the noobers and wannabees who wish they could be just like him.


No one wants to be the hero.  They want to be the unjustly persecuted anti-hero.

I know PvE gets a bad rap around here, but that's what most of us spend our time doing in MMOs.  Either through just plain leveling or crafting or farming to go on raids or to get PvP gear, PvE is where our avatars live the majority of their pixellated lives.  Even though I tend to PvP as much as possible and I have some great memories, the strange part is my most cherished memories of playing MMOs are PvE related.  Usually it's something foolish that happens during leveling or farming or even just horsing around.  These seemed to be the moments when  I really connected with people and they became more than people I knew on line; they became friends.


I'd like to see a post about your top ten PvE memories be they funny, silly, sad, maddening or otherwise.  They can be in whatever games you choose.

As has been repeated many times above, not including Everquest in this list is inexcusable.  Like WoW, EQ cast a huge shadow over the online gaming industry for a while.  It was the first game that people outside of gaming had ever heard about.  It was the first game to "go public".  Before that MMORPGs were the purview of early denizens of the internet.  Games like DAoC were produced as Anti-EQ games and people talked about games being "EQ killers".  Before WoW this game was the 800 pound gorilla in the room and it introduced many things that most of us take for granted in our online gaming (level based advancement, anyone?).  Whether games that came out later copied or rejected the base principles of EQ, they were influenced by it, just as games that come out now-a-days are influenced by either copying or rejecting the WoW model.  Even people that didn't game knew about EQ.



Were DAoC and SWG good?  Yes.  Were they groundbreaking?  The data seem to suggest that they weren't.  As noted above no one seems to be in a hurry to copy those games, so their influence is limited.  In the end I'm not sure these games would pass the "Star Test", meaning that even people who don't game would know of these games.  You ask the average person who doesn't game what EQ or WoW is and they'll know.  Ask them what DAoC or SWG was and they'll go "What?"


After that I can see the logic behind the rest of the picks.  I'd probably drop the fourth choice in favor of EQ.

Originally posted by wargfoot
Originally posted by Tanemund

Ack!  Look how a great idea can get ruined in just a few sentences.

You killed the dream.

Proof positive that nothing can mess up a good game faster than players.



You going to run a Kickstarter on this?  Because if you are I'll throw you enough to get your first ream of paper. 


By the by that's another way to monetize;  different color paper.  Although with this you have to be careful because as everyone knows red paper is clearly superior to green paper.  And then there is that whole scissors issue.  Better  nerf scissors right off the bat.


Ack!  Look how a great idea can get ruined in just a few sentences.

First off, why would you ever want to see a game hyped up?  How many games have been hyped to the point of disappointment lately?  The last think you want is people getting hyped up for the game until they've got completely unrealistic expectations for the game.  If you want a successful game you almost have to sneak it under the radar now.


Second, as has been said before the game is still vaporware.  It's a lot of promises, posts on forum boards and a few scraps thrown out by the developers.


Third, maybe everyone needs a refresher.  Am I the only one that remembers that Mark Jacobs, who is now being hailed as the possible savior of the MMO genre, was the guy who created DAoC, and then proceeded to kill the player base and ruin the game just 24 months later with the Trials of Atlantis expansion?  Then he cranked out that turkey called Warhammer.  Don't tell me he was not the lead dog on that project.  He may have left before the ship sank, but he was captain when it ran into the ice burg.  With that as a given I'm a little skeptical when someone bandies around the name "Mark Jacobs". 


With those three factors in play I think the "we'll wait and see" approach is wisest.  Blessed is he who expecteth nothing for he shall not be disappointed.

Blizzard, as a developer, is the company gaming companies should copy.  Now before you get that look on your face, let me lay out my argument.


First off, I don't mean that everyone should copy Blizzard games or the Blizzard formula.  That's been tried ad naseum and it doesn't work.


However gaming companies should follow the Blizzard model of development.


1) Have a solid original vision for the game.  (Blizzard envisioned the World of Warcraft World and the idea of a theme park where everyone got to see everything in the big vast world.


2) Remain true to that vision.  (Blizzard stuck to the lore and didn't stray).


3) Do things that the masses can enjoy (i.e. keep graphical content at levels that you can run on any PC, not just the PCs using the very latest graphics cards).


4) If you're going to put it in the game, make sure it works and it appeals to the crowd it is intended to appeal to.  (It may not be the "best"  PvP you ever saw, but WoW's vanilla PvP works for the most part and PvPers have goals to reach etc.  Hey, it wasn't the best but it was fun for a while).


5) Make sure it is ready to be released before you release it.  (How many other gaming companies just shove stuff out the door before its ready while Blizzard is famous for delaying releases until they have worked out the kinks).


Any gaming company can do this, but so few actually do it.  This is the secret to Blizzard's success, yet the model remains uncopied.  Too bad.

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