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All Posts by jakin

All Posts by jakin

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149 posts found

Sadly WAR is toast.  It'll bump along until EA decides to pull the plug, but there's so many deficiencies to cover that it would take a full dev team a year of fixing just to get the game back on it's feet.  I say that with true regret as well, as both my wife and I loved WAR when we played.

 

Mythic may have been a good company once, but it died when it was sold to EA.  There is literally no hope of Mythic producing anything again simply because they're nothing more than a brand of EA's online gaming division.  EA's decisions drove the reduction in development staff, the appointment of unsuitable lead producers and resulting in the languishing of a game that could have made something more of itself.

 

Not to say the WAR developers didn't help dig their own deep deep pits.  Paul Barnett really oversold a game concept that either never really existed or was abandoned very close to live.  The class balance developers took way too long to even begin to address the disparities inherent to having 12 very different classes, and even then wound up never addressing the more glaring deficiencies. 

 

Most importantly though, knowing that they were launching with two factions, they should have had an internal active population balance mechanism from Day 1.  I'm not sure what the idea was, but it seems like they just hoped that active faction populations would normalize and balance out on the large scale - and that players on the short end of the stick would simply stick it out until the winds shifted back to them.  If that's true, it shows a really astonishing lack of understanding for player mentalities.

 

For their own sake I hope Bioware is much more successful with KOTOR, and that EA doesn't see fit to cut them off at the knees post-launch.  They may then have some chance at retaining their identity.  My gut feeling is that it's going to be another launch-big, dwindle-fast type game, which may result in the same actions from EA management - but hope springs eternal (even if I wouldn't play it myself).

This would be a pretty quiet site if all that happened was people stopping by to read the articles. 

 

People have opinions, strong ones even on occasion, and being able to share those opinions is held as one of the fundamental underpinnings of Western society.  Though it doesn't happen excessively frequently - there have been occasions where a well-reasoned argument or debating point has gotten me to reexamine my own views.  To allow that possibility is enough for me to welcome people who firmly defend their views (without dragging it down to personal attacks, rhetoric and other inappropriate tacks).

 

The most striking element in Bill's article though was the line "Frankly, I just don’t have enough energy to care about it."

 

One could argue that this attitude is the primary thing responsible for the declines in our society today.  Most of the key events of the past century have been started by a small group of people who did find the energy to care. 

The greatest ally the crooks and corrupt of the world have is the people they're oppressing / taking advantage of being distracted by their own lives to the point they never look up and see the world around them.

Sure - MMOs and gaming don't fall into the same league as ending apartheid, but I would never discourage anyone from expressing their passion for a given idea.  Having a passion for anything and a willingness to defend it is an asset to society as a whole IMO.

Problem:  MMOs function on a faucet / drain economic system, therefore there needs to be a way to introduce currency into the economy.  Combat is the most common activity practiced by the whole population so the faucet has to be combat-related.  Therefore, killing will net currency.

Back in the day, killing a mob usually would either give coin or coin + usable item.  Again back in the day people cared about game worlds making some sort of sense and lizards dropping copper pieces doesn't.  Immersionists complained.

 

Solution:  Critters drop type-appropriate loot that can be traded for cash.  Animals drop body parts, humanoids drop coin and/or broken equipment (because butchering humanoids has ESRB implications).  Immersionists are happy.

 

Time passes and virtual worlds are traded for online games...

 

Problem: Players critique "grey loot" because selling it interrupts their playtime, logical integrity of the world takes a backseat to convenience and "doing what I want when I want".  Currency still needs to enter the game via combat however.

 

Solution:  Essentially automate the vendoring of trash loot (in this case sending a lackey off to sell it and bring back the money).

 

How long before they cut out the middle man and go back to simply awarding cash for killing directly again?  It's funny how things move in cycles.

No, it means that just like every other IP-based MMORPG, they choose / are forced to bend and break the existing lore of the IP in order to make a system compatible with the existing structure and technology of the game.

AFAIK, the Skaven aren't actually fighting "on the side" of Order - they're being controlled by Order forces in their battle against a united Chaos front.  It's bending the lore yes, but hardly the most outrageous thing they could have come up with.

Originally posted by Robsolf
The only people on the free model that really have any rights to access content are those people who paid points for those areas.

 

I don't see how that is any more distinct than someone that bought the box.

F2P players that buy the area buy the ability to access that area, just as someone that bought the box back when it was P2P bought the ability to play the game for a month.

Turbine could very well rejigger it if they chose to without affecting anyone's "rights" - as you say, it would be a terminally stupid business move, but I don't see how it's any different.

"Lineage II must eventually find some way to stand out from the thong of new titles."

:D

I know the Freemium model is all the rage these days due to DDOs success, but I suspect the next big wave is customizable monthly payments.  That might work for WAR - where you pay for the things you enjoy and have no access to the things you don't.

For instance, Tier 1 and all it's content is free as a trial.  For a couple of bucks a month you can have access to each other Tier.  For a small charge on top of that you can have scenarios, and so on.

If they get creative enough with the parcelling, you could have a greatly customized experience for the player, while the developers have instant, unambiguous feedback on which systems players don't feel worth their money.

The only element of LOTRO that interests me is Monster Play.  If  I can "earn everything by working toward it" how do I go about accessing Monster Play as a F2P?

Originally posted by Comnitus

Originally posted by Selenica

Take a close look people. This same thing is going to happen to Bioware.

Blizzard, too. And ArenaNet. And CCP. And SOE. And... eh, what the hell, let's throw in Turbine as well.

Or did you have any evidence to suggest that it'll only happen to BioWare?

 

Because EA doesn't own Blizzard, ArenaNet, CCP or SOE.

The main point there is that when Mythic and Bioware signed on with EA they became simply brands within a large corporate structure.  There is no more Mythic or Bioware, any more than there is a Bullfrog or Origin Systems.

They're slapping the Bioware sticker on TOR because it suits their purpose.  Bioware has a good reputation in the gaming community and EA will trade off that reputation as much as they can.  Mythic's very public failure with WAR (be it their own fault, EA's bad management or a combination) virtually assures the Mythic brand will eventually be put out to pasture - sooner rather than later if TOR proves to be a hit.

I'd go one step further and call it manifestly unfair to the rest of the F2P spectrum to lump DDO and LOTRO (and whatever the next AAA game is that adopts this hybrid model) in with the rest of the item-mall driven games.

DDO was a borderline case, given it's popularity was never very high post-launch, but LOTRO released as a full on triple A game.  Box price, monthly sub and lifetime memberships up front and continuing.  It has been a successful subscription-based game for years, through two "boxed" expansions no less.

While I'm not conversant in the business models and cashflow of a genuine free-to-play game (i.e. developed as such from the ground up), I've got to imagine that LOTRO has had access to development resources far beyond the wildest dreams of any free-to-play game to date.  Even Guild Wars probably didn't pull in the sustained revenue that LOTRO has.

This trend of converting "aging" games to a freemium model as their popularity wains seems to be prone to putting a whole lot of pressure on genuine free-to-play games, similar to how WoW has put long standing pressure on the subscription-model, fantasy, quest-grinder market.

The "Gotta get them all" element of AP in Fallen Earth really hurt my enthusiasm for the game in the early stages.

It's probably possible to just casually pick them up as you go and create a workable character, but as soon as I knew there was a defined number of AP I couldn't get it out of my head that I'd need to eventually go through and pick them all up.  Especially since I was looking ahead at a PvP endgame.

That one mental element took me right out of the open-world, sandbox mindset and into the grind.  Looking up a list of questgivers that I needed to hit, knocking out generic missions and mission lines just to pick up that one more AP point, taking on missions as a job rather than an experience.  Completely killed my enjoyment of the game and I ended up just not logging in anymore.

My own fault for letting the mentality drive my play, but I still think it wasn't the best implementation of the AP system they could have come up with.

The odd thing about these periodic threads is that most of the anti-EVE posters generally imply that there is something missing in EVE that exists in every other MMO.

EVE is just a timesink, but I seem to remember running around a small area killing slugs in LOTRO for the deed, or doing circles of an area looking to kill a given mob for a certain rare drop.

EVE takes forever to find the "fun", but I spent plenty of time waiting around keeps in WAR for the enemy just to have a fight.

EVE is just a chat engine, why would you want to play with all that human drama in your hobby - but any guild is completely drama-free right?  Much less a high-end raiding guild.

There's no fun PvE in EVE, but "Fun PvE" in most other current MMOs consists of running dozens of badly written quests as quickly as possible, or running through an unchanging, pre-scripted encounter trying to find the one or two developer designed ways to win.

Anyway ...

EVE demands a few things of the people that play it:

  • you usually need to play with a group of like-minded people (at least at first).  You can solo, but the activities that are suitable for soloists are repetative and as such you need to have a long-range goal in view to make them a means to an end.  Which leads to...
  • you must be able to set goals for yourself.  Doesn't matter what the goal is, you have to be able to set a goal and take pride in accomplishing it.  If you arrive in EVE and functionally stand there waiting for the game to provide "the fun" (aka goals) it probably won't be long before you quit.
  • you need to devote time to it.  This is why I don't play anymore, I simply don't have the time EVE requires.  Not so much in the travelling, but the things I enjoyed in EVE take longer to accomplish than a couple of hours every couple of days.
If you want to give EVE a good, honest try - join EVE University (if they're still going that is, or some other decent newbie-friendly corp) and dedicate yourself to learning the ropes.  Then while you're in that corp, actively look for your next corporation / alliance based on what you enjoy.  Factional warfare is usually a good place to start, or the Red vs. Blue corp, if you're interested in learning to PvP effectively - but bear in mind they're a training field for corp / alliance warfare, so you don't really get to see the whole picture. 
 
At some point though, you need to set yourself a goal and start working towards it.  You'll burn out every time if your goal is simply to fly X ship class, or get Y amount of ISK.  Your goal has to be something in the meta-game, not something explicitly in the game mechanics. 
 
It's basically like your last year of high-school.  Everyone is asking you what you want to be when you grow up.  You've got to decide that for yourself.  Once you do, you find EVE opens up and becomes more than simply a collection of game systems.  Read a couple of the posts above for ideas (I always wanted to do the drug smuggling thing - never got around to it though).
 
Good luck if you're interested in giving EVE an honest try.  If you do and it's still not fun, at least you know for sure you don't like that style of game.

OK - first off, I would have loved to show up to Metaplace, except that the first I heard of it was it's closure announcement.  :)

Now, as to the topic at hand.  Investment dollars are by-and-large driven by idiots.  The majority is always following behind the trend, investing in past success and generally riding the downward slope of a trend.  Check out the average success of the average investor (even professionals) - it's dismal, and it's mostly because humans are genetically programmed to follow the herd not lead it.

I fully agree that the easy money may fall on the heads of "social game developers" for the next while, but it's hardly cause to claim the death of the MMO.  No more than the advent of reality television heralded the death of complex scripted drama.  It's trendy and popular right now, but it will all balance out in the end (otherwise we'd be buying stuff from Pets.com, playing with Neopets and watching bad John Hughes films).

Look at the movies.  Avatar does very well, so now everyone is jumping on the 3D bandwagon.  Most 3D movies will be crap, 3D TVs will be a footnote in history next to BetaMax, 3D channels will be stillborn and the world will keep turning.

I appreciate that it must be discouraging for folks like Raph to have been beating the VW drum for so long, only to see the money and success follow the diametrically opposite path, but the players are still out there.  A straight up (functional :P ) clone of SWG (as an example) could easily pull the same numbers as EVE Online - which as far as anyone can tell is perfectly profitable for CCP.

I have faith, but then I still play flight sims - a genre that's been out of favour for 15 or 20 years now it seems.

Conversely though, if a player gets fed "epic" moments from the very first moment of the game it feels hollow.  In the new version of SWG you meet up with C-3PO, Han, Boba Fett and Chewbacca (I think) within your first few hours of play.  Then you wind up in the actual "MMO" part of the game and it all falls kind of flat.  There's no real way for a developer to continuously throw memorable and epic experiences at a player over the content duration expected of an MMO.

When you throw in group content you have a little more leeway - such as your example of the giant in Tier 1 of Empire in WAR.  However, that requires a good population, good grouping mechanics, and a willingness of players to group for said content.  Alternatively you could heavily instance the encounters (much like the chapter finales in LOTRO) and make them both epic and soloable - but then you're really removing the massive multiplayer experience.

The fact of the matter though is that you cannot be a hero all the time.  MMOs aren't like books, movies or single player games.  Each of these focus on a moment in a life, a point in time where the hero has the opportunity to do heroic things.  Before he blew up the Death Star, Luke was a farmboy picking up power converters from Toshi Station on a planet furthest from the bright centre of the universe.  We see a snapshot of his life during the movies.

In an MMO you have to include all the other times when nothing much is happening.  You have to show Jack Bauer on the other 364 days of the year where the world isn't coming to an end.  It's the nature of the game experience.  If you're busy being a hero 23/7 it rings hollow.

This is actually where PvP steps in.  It's a lot easier to generate situations where you feel like a "hero" on the small scale, sort of like WWII has countless stories of heroism on a very small scale - not epic, world-saving events.  When you pull a group out of the fire on a keep siege, or lead a fleet of reinforcements to a critical battle, the participants know who was the hero that day.

Originally posted by Selenica

 I have a feeling that this game is going to lack the simplicity that console gamers expect from FPS games. I'm a little surprised they're even allowed to publish it on consoles - the sales projections for the game must be staggeringly low. Even if every Eve player has a console and buys the game, that's no more than 200,000 sales.


 

Not really the point.  If they wanted just EVE players to play DUST they'd release it for PC only.

CCP is trying to create a good shooter game first, trying to independently capture the console shooter gamer as an independent market segment from PC gamers.  If they make a shooter that stands well on it's own they'll expand their playerbase.  The link to EVE is one of CCPs typical push-the-envelope ideas that is supposed to be a value added experience.

 

(Oh, and to earlier in the thread - and Whitewolf is in Atlanta not Austin)

This seems more of a positive to me.  CCP wouldn't licence an engine if they weren't happy with how it's performing and were confident it was going to suit their purposes.  AFAIK, anyone can fool around with commercial engines as long as they're not making money off of them - development could very well be quite far along and they're only just now working out the legal agreements because they're only now sure UR3 will work for them.

I'm actually glad CCP made the choice to use a proven engine to run DUST.  CCP is an MMO company, they have no experience with FPS games at all.  So they'd either have to hire a whole FPS team to develop a novel engine, or they could licence a proven engine and tweek it to their needs while concentrating on the integration and the MMO elements of the final game.  I know which I'd choose in their place.

Originally posted by OddjobXL

The main AURORA event I was involved in was the Khanid Carrier series of events.  It was kind of amazing to me that we even had that going on given how relatively few people were involved.  The battles would see pretty broad participation but the side events building up to them almost felt like they belonged to just a handful of small Corps that were vested in Khanid RP.  The whole thing blew my mind.

However, you can still have a D&D like RP experience in at least one MMO.  SWG, which is hard to otherwise recommend, does have a couple toolsets for player content creation.  The Storyteller system focuses on live interaction between a player managing the props and NPCs and a player party.  It's not instanced so the Storyteller can set up props in player cities, with permission, and many regions on many worlds for a real involved adventure.  As an old tabletop hand myself, I can say it's by far the closest I've come to old school roleplaying adventure in MMOs so far and that includes CoH's Architect.

In many ways, I think putting the tools of creation as much into the hands of the "right" players as possible might well make for a much more lively, dynamic and egalitarian system of adventure and narrative creation than what we've seen before.  And by the "right" players I mean those not so motivated by material reward.  That was the bane of Architect.  Why have a handful of RP GMs when you could have hundreds of player GMs and players organizing freely around them?  If one clique isn't working find another.

 

That kind of thing was both the boon and the bane of AURORA.  Events were never "supposed" to target one particular faction of players (i.e. events "shouldn't" have been made that targeted Khanid roleplayers particularly) - but the best return on the event would inevitably come from the roleplayers, who would generally appreciate the event for the experience rather than the shiny loot.

So at once you've got criticism that AURORA was targeting cliques with preferential treatment, while at the same time having criticism that events were worthless because there weren't good enough rewards attached for the work.  It was always a catch-22 that had someone crying foul.

My personal philosophy when producing an event was to have the 'hook' be as public as humanly possible, giving as many players as possible the chance to be involved - but then to let the story evolve as it would after that.  Usually it would be down to a small core of roleplayers that follow the storyline through a series of events, with some others drifting in and out by chance.  At one point I ran an event targeted at a single player, because that was the way the story made sense (the next event in the series was then aimed at more, and frankly I doubt anyone ever came out of an event I ran ahead in either ISK or loot).

Rewards are the biggest problem with an official event system.

 

Sadly, the reason I started playing EVE was because of the clownshow that was SWG's early life.  I believe you when you say the Storyteller system would be a good substitute, but SWG has too many other issues attached for me.  I fooled around with the Ryzom ring for a bit too, but it just wasn't the same.

EVE has a huge, rich storyline to hang everything off of, and for whatever reason people in EVE would generally just start roleplaying along (casually mind you) if a bunch of green text showed up in local chat.  One of the things I really liked with eventing was hot-dropping into a random system and starting to roleplay the story, just to see the reactions.  With an in-game storyteller system you don't get that - the people you wind up with are looking for that experience.  I appreciate that the outcome would probably be "better" from an experience perspective - but it's also a little bit predictable, which is unfortunate.

 

I was part of the AURORA project that Oddjob refers to for about a year prior to it's shutdown.  Bar none it was the best experience of my MMO life, though it sort of ruined EVE for me afterward (and MMOs in general I guess).  I grew up playing D&D, and the opportunity to perform a "live-action" DM role in a game with almost limitless storytelling potential was nothing but pure magic for me.

That said, getting things done was often a nightmare of complexity - trying to coordinate dozens of people from literally every timezone across Europe and North America, getting storyline and event setups approved by three levels of authority, actually working through a very primitive interface ... it kind of amazed me when any event went off even close to the plan.

I can kind of see CCPs point in closing it down, given the possibility of abuse or favoritism, the relatively low impact on the playerbase (an event can only play to so many people out of the playerbase as a whole) and the overhead of supporting a volunteer team that was almost a hundred people strong at one point (with five levels of authority at that).

Still, the day it closed down something special within EVE died never to return.  The Mercury team does a good job with the limited mandate they have (mostly ex-AURORA still trying to provide that magic) - but it's not the same as it used to be.

 

AURORA wasn't the only great volunteer element of CCP that contributes (contributed) to the community there though.  The volunteer forum mod team was a great builder of community and was very well recognized within the forum population prior to it's shut-down in favour of paid moderators.  The current Community Manager came from those ranks actually.  (Indeed, I know for a fact that at least several of the current developers and staff at CCP cut their teeth in one of the four vol programs, and a few more are working in the industry on other MMOs)

The newbie helping STAR team is a very nice touch, which once had a mandate to try and personally greet every new player to EVE and answer any questions they might have had.  I think they're mostly in-charge of moderating the newbie chat channel now - but still a very important function that you don't see much anywhere else.

And even though most MMOs have a test server and dedicated tester-players, the EVE bug hunter team just seems to outdo any of the ones I've seen.  Perhaps because they've been part of the QA department for so long that the devs trust the ECAID volunteers and their opinion - I don't really know.

 

CCP was founded by people who loved the original UO, and it showed in the creation of a volunteer program.  They've made some missteps over time, and they've given up on things I personally would have rather seen continue - but they're living proof that such things are viable as long as there is a political will to implement and support them.  Frankly, it's a value-added service that studios such as Icarus might well consider implementing as a way to enhance their product.

In the spirit of full disclosure - the list of servers for WAR:

http://warhammeronline.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_servers

Originally posted by Malickie

Is it just me or did they give up on further development...?

 

This would be closer to the mark IMO.

I'd suggest branching out.  I've been playing MMOs for years and have not once played one where 9 of these 10 things were even available (lag being a constant - but far from as bad as most make it out to be).

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