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All Posts by Curate

All Posts by Curate

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19 posts found

"In order to better accommodate the streaming technology that powers Matt Mihaly"...

 

I *knew* there was something strange about that man...

Originally posted by Moriwenne

I'm sorry Curate but I believe you are the wrong demographic for this game. I don't play moto driving games. If I were to try it I would find many things wrong simply because it's not for me.

Add to that the fact that you didn't play the game enough to have a formed opinion.

Don't get me wrong, you're welcomed to the debate, I enjoy debating with anyone I'm just saying your opinion lacks experience and because of that value. This is not derogatory, just stating a fact.

 

Two points:

1) I agree with the demographic issue: I was the wrong demographic for the game. However, I have to wonder if there is enough of a right demographic for this game to thrive rather than be another Matrix Online hovering on SOE Station Pass life support. As I said at the end of my post, I am definitely the wrong demographic for EVE Online as well, but I'm pretty sure that game's getting along just fine. The broader issues are how PotBS was marketed, as Havohej mentioned, and what preconceived notions the gaming public en masse will bring to "a pirate game." I'm not sure it was marketed poorly; what I knew about it made me think I wouldn't like it (as I said), but I gave it a shake when it was handed to me. It's the latter issue I wonder about. Would the gameplay as it stands had been better served if the game had been plugged as (say) an economic trading game rather than pirates? 

2) I played the game long enough to have formed an opinion, in my opinion. I figure I invested about 20 hours into the game, and I feel that if I don't find a game fun after that amount of time I can pipe up about it -- especially if an issue is that people aren't sticking with the game. Wandering back to my entry point into the discussion, I feel that the avcom changes are targeted to people like me who came, didn't like it, and left. They may be inconsequential to the game as it stands, but is the game as it stands viable?

I do believe in the adage "you got to dance with them what brung you," though, and much like the NGE merely alienated much of SWG's remaining playerbase it's possible that the current changes to PotBS will be fruitless because they don't address the issues of the people who've stuck with the game.

Right now it looks like PotBS can go an EVE route, not setting the world aflame but slowly and steadily growing a dedicated and profitable fanbase, or it can go the SWG route, trying to reinvent itself to attract more people and only losing those who still love it. I hope for the former simply because I hate seeing games fail.

Originally posted by Vetarnias

Which raises the question: When you tried POTBS, what did you expect to find? A "Port Royale" economic game based on real supply and demand?  A lighthearted pirate romp like Sid Meier's Pirates?  EVE Online in the age of sail? World of Warcraft on ships?  From your post, I'm guessing that this is the ambiguity of the game (and the expectations of its players) which led to many of the problems that followed.

(Apologies if I borked the quote -- I'm still not savvy about trimming out parts of quotes.)

What I expected based on what I knew at the time of install was "Sid Meier's Pirates, but with people ganking me and the non-ganky bits not being nearly as fun as Sid Meier's Pirates." This was because my expectations were fairly low. Had I not been handed the box I wouldn't have played. I got surprised, though, because I never once engaged in PvP, so the gankfest  worry never materialized.

What I wanted was "Sid Meier's Pirates, but with more depth and multiplayer action."  To be somewhat specific:

1) Fast-paced action, both in ship-to-ship and melee combat. I mostly got the ship-to-ship combat action I wanted (although a bad wind could make a battle tedious), but the melee combat was drab.

2) An economy that augmented point 1. I found the whole harvesting/crafting aspect of the game dull, more appropriate to a game named, oh, "Traders of the New World" rather than "Pirates of the Burning Sea." The foundation of "you own property that produces goods" just didn't sit well with me. As an endgame prospect, sure, but transporting/pillaging/looting seems more like the economic foundation for a pirate game.

3) Fun exploration. "Go here, traipse inland, discover Olmec ruins or the now-savage survivors of a shipwreck or what-have-you." Now, I'm a fan of how City of Heroes handled instancing, but I think PotBS took that to a terrible extreme -- stand by the port guy (authority? don't recall now), pop in and out of instances, then go to the next town, lather, rinse, repeat.

4) Optional, as-fair-as-you-can-get-for-an-MMO PvP combat. When you have Pirates you have the Plundered, and that setup screams for PvP. From what I read I wouldn't have been pleased by PotBS PvP, but I can't really comment since I never once engaged in PvP.

5) Group-friendly PvE content. I think PotBS provided this somewhat, but I never felt that the game encouraged teaming up all that much. I'm glad it didn't force teaming, but I would've like more blatant reasons to go into an instance with other folks.

Please note that I can't say that the game should meet these desires. EVE Online sounds as fun as lighting my groin on fire, for example, and yet it's a game that's apparently doing quite well and has a loyal playerbase. Clearly not all games should cater to my tastes.  I suspect that PotBS would've done better if it had, though.

Originally posted by Vetarnias

Everything I've seen of late in terms of proposed changes seems more cosmetic than anything else. {...} Avatar combat revamp? Okay, the original avcom was often mentioned as the worst part of the game, but it's also very inconsequential. You don't fix it, it really doesn't affect much.

I find this interesting, because I think it addresses the issue of fixing a game post-release. I tried PotBS because I got it as a gift. I'd been interested in it early on, but once I heard it was going to have a heavy PvP element my interest dried up (there also seemed to be a lot of dev emphasis on user-generated art submissions, which I personally felt was a lot of wasted energy). Still, once PotBS wound up free in my lap I figured I'd try it. One of the aspects of the game I found lacking was "avatar" combat; buckling a swash just wasn't all that fun, and it was certainly one reason I decided to quit the game. (Conversely, the ship combat was really well done.)

The problem is: I'm gone. I am not the existing playerbase, and it's unlikely that FLS is going to woo me back with the chance that they might've finally gotten it right. I figure I'm not alone; MMO players get entrenched in a game and once there it's hard to pry them away. So while I think they flubbed "avcom" hard, I think you're probably right that it's not worth fixing -- it's too late to worry with that. The people who cared about that are now off playing other games.

Originally posted by Machieltje

Anyone who lacks the skills to figure this out in a reasonable amount of time might have a hard time in any MMO.

Ahh, asinine smugness: Yes, you're right, it's a wonder I'm able to operate this here computing box, much less access my webs. 

Guys: It's the First Impressions thread. Those were my first impressions. I appreciate the explanations, from Olepi's elsethread and Gil's here (Gil, I may PM you later about my minor quibble which seems to have gotten a bit more airtime here  than warranted.)

 

Originally posted by demonkaze 

The con system is pretty simple when you get the hang of it, if you hover over where it tells you what lvl it is it will tell you 21-30 for example which if your combat is anywhere between the 20 to 30 range you will get a lopt of XP for it, the nearer you get that skill to 30 the less XP you get.

...which still seems needlessly complicated to me. If it's 21-30, or, 25, or whatever, just put that in the display and be done with it. I think the less newbies need to do to get the hang of the game the better they'll manage.

 

I'm not exactly new. I tried the game somewhere around the end of 2006. I remember thinking it was nifty, but Other Stuff dragged me from the game. So... mostly new. (“It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY new. There's a big difference between mostly new and all new...”) Here's my initial, offhand reactions, which I will change on a whim just to be contrary:

 

PROS:

The game system and setting work well together. In other words, the freeform skill system and stanza creation really compliment the sandbox style world. If the game had more rigid leveling/quest content the flexible character advancement might've felt out of place (or at least subject to balance problems); if the game had fixed class/level definitions the wide-open might feel curiously shallow, since there would be no real depth to character advancement.

 

In particular: Stanzas. These are great. Even more fixed class/level games could probably implement these in their magic/superpower system.

 

I love the look. It's stylized without being cartoony, emphasizing the otherworldy feel. (I'm reminded of “Fantastic Planet”, but maybe that's because it's my only other exposure to French animated Sci-Fi.)

 

Material type and material quality affecting the final crafted product? Fantastic. I loved this aspect of Star Wars Galaxies, and I'm glad to see it here.

 

Personally, I love the religious aspect of the setting and the somewhat murky nature of either side.

 

Tryker women are cute. I know, I know. Leave me be.

 

“MEH”s:

 

The starting island needs a rethink. On the one hand, it is a great introduction to the concepts and mechanics of the game. Again: stanzas. I could've been really confused by them, but the game explained them clearly. Harvesting, crafting, magic, combat – the game covered them well. However, the lore was not given as much emphasis. I suspect I glossed over it, but I'm still unclear how my character appeared on the island, or really much of the background for the game. I think those parts should get as much “air time” as the game mechanics.

 

I also agree that the quest-centric method of teaching the game sets up a false expectation that may confuse and alienate players once they get to the mainland.

 

In a broader sense, I'm wondering if there's enough sand in the box. I've just started the game so I may Not be There Yet, but I'm hoping there'll be more to do than just fight, craft, and harvest. (I'm tepid about PvP.) Player housing, badges, points of interest (places that are not only visually interesting but has special “stuff” going on), and whatnot. On the other hand: Ryzom Frackin' RING. I get to be a GM. Mwah hah hah hah!

 

CONS:

 

First, the Con system. Maybe I'm missing the elegance here, but it seems needlessly complex. Quoting olepi from another thread: “Say you click on a mob, and he cons blue. That means he is below you in level in most MMO's; in Ryzom, that blue (and the attendant number of stars) indicates an absolute level. So a 4-star blue is probably around a lvl 40.” If that's the case then why not just show, oh, 'level 40'...? Either that or do the relative con system everyone else does: Squishy, Slighty Squishy, Gamey, Tough, Will Eat Your Soul, and so on.

 

If you're going to tout cooperative play, have a damn Looking For Group tool. I strongly suggest taking City of Heroes tool, futzing with it to match Ryzom's setting (no classes, no instances), and releasing the result into the wild.

 

There's got to be a better way to steer people to quest goals. I loathe those floating question-marks and exclamation points in other games, but wandering around a town reading every single NPC name, trying to find your target, gets real old real fast. I suggest a mini-map/quest journal interface where the person/thing you want to see shows up on your radar. Or, for immersion fans, allow me to ask the town announcer/greeter/thingy “Hey, where's Vinnie 'The Bodoc' Lambcakes?” and have her tell me which way to go (which, in the UI, translates to showing up on your radar).

 

INITIAL VERDICT: Pretty damn cool.

Originally posted by MaDSaM

Pets could well be fun, yes. Unless they don´t devolve in a Pokemon Style :" My Varynx can beat your Jugula any day in combat." *shudder* Maybe if the limit the amount of tameable animals to those that make sense somehow.

I think that's pretty typical in pet-enabled MMOs -- some creatures are tamable and some aren't. I also really like the idea of requiring characters to equip specific critter-handling gear in order to manage their creature: chair and bullwhip, maybe?

It is easy for pet-handlers to dominate the landscape in a skill-based game if they're not balanced well, though. The whole pet schtick -- taming and training and whatnot -- is really popular, and having your own portable Tank/DPS machine is typically better than not having one. I'd suggest the developers add combat pets in, but do so carefully.

Will you need to have to have an internet connection to play Star Trek Online?
Yes.

Heh!

Anyhow, sounds good so far. Looks like they've got the idea of teaming covered.

Originally posted by Cynthe

Ryzom's characters kick EQ's butt in my opinion. For those that think they are odd, well they are 'alien' in a sense, Atys is not our world it's another planet and I find the models to be very charming once you get over the initial "oh these don't look human.." moment.

That's one of the really cool things about Ryzom for me -- the setting is wholly original. On the surface it looks like Random Generic Fantasy, but the best term I can come up with is "science fantasy". You can attempt a bit of correlation -- Matis are Elves, Tryker are hobbits -- but near as I can tell that falls apart under closer scrutiny.  It's not simply "D&D except with guns and the occasional Karavan transport ship" either. There's a cohesiveness about the background that works. 

As a result, the developers weren't constrained by expectations of a particular genre. If you say "elf paladin" you have all the baggage that comes with D&D: classes and levels and dungeon crawls and whatnot. This is one place I think Star Wars Galaxies fell down. You had people (for example, me) who came to the game expecting a lot of developer content that related closely to the source material, and instead got a sandbox world that often seemed at odds with the source material. (There were scads of other problems with SWG at launch, true, but the near-vacuum of developer setting content was a big one.)

By rooting (pun! hah!) Ryzom in a completely original setting the devs were a lot more free in making the gameplay flow however they wanted.  They chose to make a practically freeform world,  something rare in the MMO universe, and I'm glad.

 

Originally posted by randomt

They say a new server would just attract oldtimers who would drag their old history into the fresh start, and lord it over the server, to which I say: you are the old timers, chose to not do that. Why would you want to ruin the new experience? Tsk.. selfish ;)

(Disclaimer - New player here. I played the game briefly, probably less than you did, but real life got in the way and I wandered off.)

The quoted bit is what's confusing me. I'm not sure exactly what you're talking about by "history". What don't you want the veterans to bring over, exactly?

A new server would mean veterans would start at the same character level as new players, yes. However, the veteran players cannot unlearn the experience they've gained from playing, so when it comes to things like "how to craft efficiently" and "where to find the hunting grounds" and whatnot, they'll still have a leg up on the rest of us. They can't choose to unlearn all that. They'll also bring over existing friendships; if Klaus, Sue and Maria were all in the same guild and chat on forums and whatnot, they'll probably want to join forces again on a new server.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the desire to come into a game fresh. As a relatively new player to WoW I found that most people didn't want to interact with me. All the content I'd like to see everyone else viewed as either 1) best avoided or 2) best rushed through, since it was just in the way of getting to level 70 with their other characters. In the sandboxy SWG (pre-CU) new characters often had nothing to offer anyone; all the more experienced characters could do all you could do, just better. It can suck.

Presuming Ryzom has these same problems (people keep saying it doesn't; I'm taking a wait-and-see approach) then a new server won't really change anything. Best thing to do is to wait for a brand-new game that's like Ryzom and dive into it at release.

So... would you elaborate on the bit I quoted? What do you mean by people dragging "their old history onto the fresh and lording it over the server"? How would one lord history over people?

...and this is why I need to read more Jung.

This has all been terribly fascinating but irrelevant, as someone has yet to tell me how I should pronounce 'Matis'. What about my needs, people?

For that matter, I've given the manual a once over and I can't find what or who 'Ryzom' actually is according to the setting. I gotcher Atys, got some Ma-Duk and a Yrkanis (long-may-his-shining-face-give-life-to-the-leaves) -- but no Ryzom.

Anyhow, I now return you to the semi-fresh start discussion, already in progress.

For an analysis of why Marvel Universe Online isn't moving forward, I'd suggest this blog post: http://www.mmorpg.com/blogs/UnSub/032008

Short answer: No one really knows. I think the best guess is that Marvel's being a lot more restrained with their intellectual property when it comes to licensing, and they're twitchy about investing in an MMO that'll appeal primarily to western audiences when WoW's got an apparent stranglehold on the market. I'm not surprised considering how well non-game IPs have translated so far into MMOs: Star Wars, The Matrix, and (arguably) Conan and Lord of the Rings.

EDIT: OK. let's try and make a link here: www.mmorpg.com/blogs/UnSub/032008 -- there we go.

Originally posted by randomt

The way they put it, it kind of sounds like there won't be a wipe.. doh

It sounds like they're letting the veterans back in as part of a stress/Post-release beta test. Once they're sure all the systems are ready they'll open it back up to everyone else. If a problem's appeared that only relates to greatly experienced characters it's best to have an existing high-level character find it before letting the general public back in.

Makes sense to me. I just demand one of y'all let my fledgling Matis into your guild. (muh-TISS? MAT-iss? May-TEE?)

Originally posted by gillvane1 

You can't have it both ways. If groups don't make more XP, then you're punishing the group because it takes time to group. You could be spending that time completing missions, so now you've put the group behind.

IMO, City of Heroes/Villians is a fun game, but plays more like a First Person Shooter. In other words, it lacks depth, and while it's fun to run around bashing bad guys, that's pretty much all there is to it.. That's why people don't care that the groups are punished by not receiving substantially more rewards than solo players.

They're not, though. The groups are rewarded over the soloists. Here's what you've got:

1) XP Bonuses for more people in your group (I don't have the exact calculations anymore, but more people = XP bonus).

2) Instanced missions that are reactive to the group size. I know "instancing" equates to "kicking puppies" to several people around here, but instances spawned more/harder critters depending on how many people were in your team. Because larger groups are more effective than smaller ones (generally) you'd get more XP per spawn group.

3) Instanced missions that have adjustable difficulty. While this doesn't tie directly into teaming, you generally could make your missions tougher if you had a larger group, particularly in the 30+ level range. Tougher foes = better XP.

So if you wanted to solo, or only had time to solo for a bit, you could do that and still feel like you're accomplishing something. If you wanted to team, though, it was pretty easy to find a team because of the benefits to teaming.

I also think there's a bit of half-empty/half-full here, especially when people toss around numbers without context like "5-10 times faster." Basically: If I feel like soloing or if soloing's the only viable option at the time, can I do that and still have fun? If yes -- but it's still decidedly better to team up because of in-game rewards -- then I think you've got a win/win. Lots of people who'd otherwise solo because grouping is a pain will stop soloing and start grouping.

If memory serves, there were several skills in the Merchant tree that just flat-out didn't work. That was well and truly broke.

Thanks much! Didn't think about trying to operate the team members independently -- that makes sense.

1) How do I get to a full-screen mode? In the current windowed mode the font in the message windows often runs behind pull-down boxes, bleeds off of buttons or gets otherwise mangled.

2) How do I map movement to keys? W-A-S-D or whatever?

3) (*EDIT* I figured out how to get my "UPC" -- a bit overcomplicated, but there are instructions.)

Thanks for the help, folks.

 

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