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All Posts by Ryahl

All Posts by Ryahl

2 Pages 1 2 »
39 posts found
Originally posted by thecapitaine
This game gets my vote as most improved MMO for 2013.  I initially was very disappointed with the RNG method of acquiring heroes, the balance between heroes, and the prices in the cash shop.  However, Gaz has addressed each of those as well as heaping on new ways to play, adding new heroes and costumes, and basically enhancing every element of their game.

It is a game that is very easy to just jump in and play for 20-30 minutes at a time.

It is also a game in which those 20-30 minutes can easily turn into "hey, where did the last five hours go?"  There are so many ways to find yourself doing "just one more [insert option] and I will log off!"

It's definitely a great game and the developer team has done an amazing job adding to it.  The only downside, as I see it, is that your feelings about the game are likely to be deeply tied to how well a specific hero fits your preferred playstyle. 

With the stable-size of the game roster, it's almost a guarantee that there is a match.  However, finding that match can be problematic if you don't know the universe really well.  Once you find that hook, though, the game really shines.

Originally posted by Samhael
Also, that should be "Luke Cage" not "Like Cage."

Ugg!  This is what happens when I try to rush a story.  I would award a No Prize except (1) I'm pretty sure it's trademarked and (2) they would stack up too high if they were based on my typos...

Apologies for the multiple mistakes!

Originally posted by Solar_Prophet

It's Kate Bishop, not Hope. Also, it's Starktech, not 'Start Tech'.

Gazilion's transparency when it comes to the game is definitely impressive. Doomsaw himself has actually spent time in the game answering player questions and the like. I wish more devs were as open and honest as him, as the games industry would improve vastly.

I have no idea what I was thinking interchanging Hope for Kate.  That one's just flat out confusing to me.

The Stark Tech one is a direct typo.  I'm thinking auto-correct caught me there and I missed it in proofs.

The Gazillion team are really enjoyable to observe.  They clearly have a passion for the game and really enjoy interacting with their customers.  They also have some people on that team who are well-vetted Marvel fans as well, I'm often surprised by their breadth of IP knowledge.

Patch 2.1 was, any way you slice it, a very well-done piece of content.

I would probably feel completely different about Roulette if you could queue as a partial group and still get the rewards.  I understand the importance of Duty FInder tools and generally appreciate their inclusion.  What specifically bothers me about the Roulette is that it outright insists that you not play with friends.  We're moving past facilitating group opportunities for off-hour and small-guilds with that mechanic.

Originally posted by BadSpock
Originally posted by Banegrivm
Originally posted by ThomasN7
The most thing I miss is a sense of community. I miss the days where you can log in and hang with your online pals, level together and help each other out on hard quests to accomplish goals. That stuff doesn't exist anymore.

The last time I felt this was Warhammer. God I miss those days. Community feels like it is all but non existant anymore in games.

What rubbish.

There are likely tens of thousands of guilds in World of Warcraft alone, not to mention all other MMOs, that do these things each and every day.

Being forced to group versus being more solo friendly hasn't done anything to affect grouping for those who want to and chose to group.

It's just an excuse people give because their friends stopped playing MMOs or are playing a different game now than them.

I wouldn't quite call it rubbish.  I agree with BadSpock that community still exists in the modern MMO.

However, I agree with the assertion of the original statement as well.  The meaning of community is very different today than it was 15 years ago.  Back then my community was the guild and a good chunk of the rest of my server, or at least those who played in my time frame.  This meant that it was common for me to:

1.  Regularly run dungeon groups with members of allied guilds

2.  Have three or four allied guilds that always had spots on our raids.

3.  Had three or four allied guilds for whom I regularly attended their raids.

Community today certainly exists and thrives, but its far more insular.  From a social network perspective we have far more closed communities than we once had. 

While the old, wider community was a function of resource scarcity (rare spawns) and open-ended raid caps, I don't think those mechanics are exclusively required to make it happen.

To extend kind words towards the GW2 community, people who regularly engage in WvWvW on the various servers certainly have a broader community reminiscent of older MMO's.

To all responders - thanks for the kind and interesting thoughts.  And no, I'm not Suzie. :D

Originally posted by calyptic101
The main problem with themparks is that developers can not keep up with players. The reason players want more sandpark or sandbox games is simply content. Player driven content simply mever runs out.

also the comments about you losing your stuff 8n eve sounds worse than it actually is. Losing your internet spaceship is no big deal for players you make it sound like that players worked for months to acquire what they are flying. Replacing what you lost is easy. Good article though.

First, thanks everyone for the kind thoughts.

@Calyptic101, I don't really understand EVE beyond newbie space, so thank you for the clarification.

I suspect, though, that what an EVE player considers "replacing what you lost is easy" is surprisingly a lot more than what much of the mmo market considers a minimal penalty for failure.

I'm speculating it's a bit like the xp-penalty in EQ1.  By the upper levels you almost always had a nearly full xp rez available, so the actual penalty wasn't that much.  Most everyone had experienced "losing a level" temporarily leveling up, though so the perception of loss was always much greater than the reality of the loss.

Originally posted by BadSpock

Not much about FFXIV:ARR is there?

Should be a more general column, not specific to the game IMO as it is MUCH more about themepark vs. sandbox.


FFXIV:ARR is definitely a themepark, as you said, unapologetically so.

ARR is also giving a ton of different rides, and in a lot of ways, allowing you the player to choose which to ride and which to skip, as well as which to repeat to your heart's content in a way that is somewhat unique in the genre.

Building a better park IMO - and that is EXACTLY what I want out of my MMORPG.

Great character building, great graphics, cross platform play, excellent story, lots of group content both small and large scale, a full housing system, and the promise of a subscription fee with NO item mall or cash shop or freemium premium F2P B2P P2W or RMT.

I would that there was more to say about FFXIV right now, but I think we are all stuck waiting for Thursday (and a few days after that for full translations).

The article is very much a general MMO focus, but my column is primarily a FFXIV one.  With downtime between beta-3 and beta-4 I'm going to branch out a bit, but I have to try to tie it back to ARR as well.

Agreed on the other points!

Originally posted by UsulDaNeriak

But you cannot add sandbox features to game, which is designed based on the theme-park model and call it a sandbox. Its core and its underlying design philosophy remains theme-park. You will just get a more flexible and dynamix theme-park, thats it.

And this is exactly, what i expect from EQN: an even more dynamic GW2 or something like that.

There are two EQ Next products and the details on each are still pretty murky.

My take on what I watched is that EQ Next is a more dynamic and adaptive theme park.  It sounds like it has some sandboxy aspirations, but it also sounds like there are plenty of stopgaps planned to minimize the ability of one player to adversely affect the other.

The other product, EQ Next Landmark, though, sounds pretty sandboxy in a Second Life sort of format.  It seems to lack combat, but as you note combat isn't essential to a sandbox.

The two products integrate with content from Landmark filtering into Next, but the specifics are pretty vague at the moment.

It is quite possible that Landmark is a bigger deal than Next.

Thanks Knightaudit.  

I miss the contested dungeons of older MMO's.  The shared dungeon experiences of EQ (Unrest, Mistmoore, Kedge Keep or Tower of Frozen Shadows) and EQ2 (Stormhold or the SolA/SolB reimagining) contain some of my favorite MMO memories.  

I understand why theme parks moved towards instances (kill stealing, training, etc.) but I liked having to deal with respawns and running into people in the bottom of a dungeon.

I think that recent games with multi-tapping rules (DCUO, LOTR, GW2, etc.) open the door to go back to large, shared PVE environments.  Instances still have their place, they free up the developers to try create more complex encounter mechanics.  

Nowhere was this more absurdly put forwards than in TOR.


Jedi1: Relax everyone, I have killed the Emperor

Jedi2: No, no, you are wrong, I have killed the Emperor.

Jedi3: You guys are totally confused and possibly mind-controlled, I certainly killed the emperor and my unique droid companion can prove it.

Jedi4: ... I have a bad feeling about this...

Jedi Council: It doesn't really matter, none of the other professions even know that all of you killed the Emperor and their story lines are still dealing with an emperor empowered universe.  Here, have a twinkie!

I'm going to offer two reasons why this is an intriguing idea:

  1. This changes the F2P MMO from a monetization model and into an economic hub model.  Right now in F2P games an inordinate amount of time is spent making new cosmetic gear.  If the community is making that gear and the developer is just the taxing/transaction authority, then the developer should be freed up to make new content (which also requires new art assets).
  2. In many MMO's we see a restriction in wardrobe tied to the artistic design choices of the development team.  While it is certainly a good thing that these restrictions keep us from having penis-helmets, developer art constraints are also why women tend to have a very limited clothing choice set in MMO's (naked, nearly naked, and just suggestively naked).  At the risk of starting one of those threads, I would point out that a player made art community opens the door for more choice, be that racy or conservative, for both male and female avatars.

If MMO's are going to move towards player created content, then I would rather see some returns back to the creators of that content.  I doubt anyone is going to be able to quit their job and turn into a freelance MMO fashion designer, but I imagine there are some people who could supplement their software purchasing costs while they build out their portfolio.

Not me, of course, my artistic ability stops shortly before stick-figures.  Yes, before...

Originally posted by BadSpock
Originally posted by Ryahl

Basically, every time you think you have this system totally nailed down they give you a new layer of complexity.

But I thought FFXIV was just a WoW-clone money grab?

One thing that worries me about FFXIV is that it is very easy to come away with exactly that perception in the first few levels of the game (and I know your comment is tongue in cheek).  Make no mistake, I think it's absolutely an incorrect perception, but I can see where someone would mistakenly assume that.


The layers start getting added, but sometimes very subtly, and you don't realize it's gotten more complicated until you think back on the process.  Most people either (a) don't wait for the layers to show up or (b) never think back on the process and thus come to the conclusion you made (tongue in cheek, of course).


As an example, consider Guildhest.  These are 4-person quick adventures (30-minute timer, you will usually finish them in half that).  The first pair (level 10) introduce very basic group mechanics.  If that's your sample, its easy to conclude "ho-hum, so easy" if you're an experienced MMO player.


Having finished the level 25 guildhests (they come in a pair of two every five levels), those were fun and harken back to some of my favorite old-school MMO fights.  In the first level 25-guildhest, you get waves of adds.  These adds can mez the tank and really disrupt the party.  You need to use some crowd control and really coordinate your team through five packs of this stuff while handling a boss.  The second level 25-guildhest helps to use crowd control, but its doable without it.  The final fight, though, has tons of ground effects.  I'm reminded of a supervillain from "the Tick," the Mad Bomber (what bombs at midnight).  You spend a good bit of time in that fight shifting positions, poorly choosing where to move can leave you stranded later on.  Again, for experienced players, you recognize what you're up against and start reacting to it reflexively, but (a) for new players that's going to be a shocker and (b) even for experienced players you have to admit it really ratchets the bar up from the 10 and 15 guildhest.


If you bailed on Guildhest at level 10 because "ho-hum," you missed it completely.  Looking back, it's very clear that the complexity was rising in each five-level increment, but it isn't noticeable until you compare across a larger sample.


If I were to hammer out a HQ crafted item and take the time to materia it up, it would easily keep pace with pink-tier (sub-boss) dungeon loot.  It might even hold its own against green-tier (boss loot) dungeon loot of the same level range.


There's also a ton of randomness to dungeon drops.  Specifically in a game with seven classes (soon to be eight), each with a unique weapon, getting the gear you want from a dungeon is very hit or miss.  My Gladiator leveled from 15-26 primarily in dungeons.  I then took the auto-promote to 29 (beta-3 feature only) to do Haukke Manor.  End result, I'm still sporting some green-tier level 17 items from back in Tam Tara Deepcroft.  I've seen tons of dungeon drops, for other classes.  


I need to invest some time this next session and push for some HQ armor to replace some of my weaker slots of gear.  HQ combines are hard, but they get a lot easier when you use HQ inputs.  HQ inputs (ingots, rivets, and plates) are a lot easier when you have HQ raw materials (ore, leather, etc.)  


I also need to finish doing some "blow through" gearing to soulbind and convert to materia for my HQ crafted gear.  I had done that for a short while with shields, make myself a couple of disposable shields, run a few dungeons, break them down for Materia.  That's largely where my stock came for testing out the Advanced Materia system at level 25 crafting.


Oh, and it turns out that at level 15, crafters get cross-class abilities just like other classes do.  Each class gets a unique level 15 ability, which you can cross-class once you level up another crafter.  This fleshes out the variety of things you can do as a crafter.


Basically, every time you think you have this system totally nailed down they give you a new layer of complexity.

Originally posted by Foomerang

My main concern is longevity and relevance. All it takes in these themeparks is one new raid or dungeon and crafted gear becomes nothing more than a temporary stepping stone. Another unfortunate thing that seems to happen a lot with themepark crafting is that end game materials and recipes are only available via end game raids. As a crafter, I don't want to have to raid in order to craft the best items. I don't mind as long as the materials and recipes are not soul bound. But in my experience, the best always are.

A good crafting consignment system, as in EQ2, fixes the problem you reference (bolded).  FFXIV should have a form of consignment crafting for materia melding and repairs (they did in FFXIV 1.0), so they do seem to recognize a need for crafters who aren't raiders.

Originally posted by Murugan
Originally posted by Grakulen
@Murugan take off the tin foil hat partner. I'm not shilling for anything. I prefer sub based games and said as much. I also refuse to call microtransaction based games F2P. Not once did I use that term. I hope the game does well in the sub model. Due to the fact all these games have real people working on them and depend on them for their livelyhood I wish they could all do well. Even SB.

I'll respond to more of the questions tonight and talk about how Square Enix is a publicly traded company and regardless of what he tells you they do have investors to answer too. For tje record so does Activision/Blizzard.

Then why devote nearly half of your article to your speculation on whether it can really justify a subscription in this era of the "the western microtransaction surge".


Did you not read Ryahl's article last week?  How about the comments, did you see all the people saying "Wow please more articles about the subscription fee, and the business model's plausability".  Nearly every comment supports subscriptions, those that don't are clearly aware this game will have a sub by now.


Maybe devote more of the article to the game next time, you have all covered the topic of the fee enough.  I swear if you devoted as much time into analysis of the value of cash shops in the myriad of F2P and B2P MMO's you all report on no one would dare use the term "free to play" any longer.


You are trying to create a controversy here, where there is none.  You are told this repeatedly and both you and Ryahl have to resort to defending your article and the fact that you "really do love subscription models!!!".  So the next article from you what percentage of that will be about the payment model? 


I can't wait to see what new speculations you will have for us based upon your extensive business model testing in phase 3.

To be fair, my article wasn' t last week, it was yesterday.

It wasn't 50% F2P, it was one paragraph in which I observed it was one issue that would polarize people's opinions.  

One paragraph at the end of the article, following four sections which were, I think, very positive about the game and its direction.  My F2P paragraph even included the statement "and I respect his decision."  I do note that "I wonder if that market segment has come and gone," but that's not a commentary on FFXIV as much as it is based on my 20-Aug, 2012 analysis of the MMO market segment.  

The sub-only MMO segment appears to have a relatively fixed population of about 2mm + WoW.  Gains to one title's subs seem to come as a loss from another's subs.  Other than WoW, the sub market went stagnant in 2004.  Is it a niche market that has recently lost some of its over-congestion (which would still justify the FFXIV strategy) or it a segment that can be genuinely grown and cultivated?  I don't know that answer, but I am intensely curious to find out.

Robert's article is structurally similar to my feature from yesterday in this regard, one paragraph which focuses entirely on the industry direction and includes the statement "I find it refreshing to play a MMO that requires a subscription."  

Regarding the "F2P shill" accusation, I would have to refer you to my Internet defender, Mr. Inigo Montoya.

Granted, that's the paragraph that the comments took off about in my article and it's the paragraph that bothered you quite a bit in this article.  Billing models are a contentious topic in the industry right now and any broad discussion of any upcoming MMO probably needs to include some comments about the business model.  

That's the thing, it's a thing to talk about.  Yoshi's taking a position on this issue, it's a position that's not in-line with where the industry has been migrating.  Yoshi's decision to keep FFXIV sub-based is clearly a differentiator for this game.   It's a position that won't work for some customers, but will appeal to others.  I'm not opposed to the position he's taking, I think it might work and I think there is room for a sub model if your business is built around realistic expectations for the size of a sub model game.


Just to be clear, I'm not against the subscription model.  

I actually have authored an article on the obituary for the subscription MMO  where I conclude that the MMO market segment is legitimate but, at least when I wrote the article, saturated.  It's also been inundated with product not well suited to subscriptions.

Since writing that article a number of the subscription games have moved to F2P, which actually takes some of the pressure off of pure subscription games.  I think there is a niche of customers who are just not right for F2P and similarly there is a market of F2P customers who are not right for a subscription.

(side note: maybe it's time to update the numbers and write a "rise of the subscription MMO zombie" article...)

I think there's plenty of room for a few EVE sized subscription MMO's and that those MMO's will financially do very well (over time).  I don't, though, think there is a market for two WoW sized sub games.  The subscription market has been pretty stagnant for about a decade (except for WoW), it's the same number of consumers rotating between a handful of new and old products.

Most of those old products are long in the tooth, so there is room for a good new 300k sub game out there.

I think FFXIV has a good chance of being one of those games.

Originally posted by Xepo
  I enjoyed your review. I have played through beta myself and many of your thoughts on the game are close to mine. One thing that can be mentioned is that the game pad functionality is by far the best I have seen in any game... mmo or otherwise! You can become quite fluid with it and as a long time caster/healer in almsot every mmo since FFXI I can say I was more than impressed with it's functionality!!! I healed that dungeon with ease using the game pad the whole time. They need an award for this feature alone. It has taken way too long to actually have someone figure a way to do this in an mmo.

You really have to give some praise to Square-Enix for designing separate UI's for the keyboard/mouse and controller groups. Neither player-type is being shoe-horned into the other ones UI.

Originally posted by NaughtyP

I am going to probably get flamed for this, but I take issue with games that still design their content delivery this way:

"While the outdoor game is, at least in beta, a very soloable experience, the dungeons require teammates working together."

There is something fundamentally wrong with designing a multiplayer game that is predominantly solo content and only promotes working together when you want to do a dungeon. This kind of content delivery is what I expect from a 2001 game, not a 2013 game.

Sorry. I get that a lot of people still want this, but to me it's... uninspired.

I'm on the record (over at Eorzea) as agreeing with your sentiment.  I'd rather not see a soloable outdoor world with the dangerous stuff tucked into corners.

I'd rather see a dangerous outdoor world with plenty of soloable stuff tucked into corners (city missions, etc.).

But, I think your timeline is backwards.  A group oriented outdoor world is circa 2001... a soloable world is everything post 2008.

Also for the challenge of getting the loot but finishing at a good time is an old school gamer mentality of competition. If Yoshi were smart they would have dungeon speed rankings which also included how much loot was gathered. IE: the more side loot you gather while keeping a good dungeon time would result in special completion items.

First, I'm glad to hear everyone liked this article, I am arranging the second dungeon review.

As to the challenge rankings, I would love to see an MMO do something along these lines.  There are a number of ways rankings can be done without resorting to *just* speed (although speed is certainly one metric).  Damage mitigated, effects countered, timer as a function of zone completion (e.g. 100% clears with timers, not speed rushes).

Scoreboards can be a fun meta-game for those who run efficient groups.  I completely agree that there is a whole array of competitive dungeoneering that developers routinely leave on the table.  


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