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All Posts by jakin

All Posts by jakin

7 Pages « 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »
123 posts found

Spyder, I think you're letting your enthusiasm for WAR cloud your opinions.

Cheating has been a problem in WAR since day 1.  It took them almost a year to get a handle on the hack program WARBuddy (if they indeed do have a handle on it now -it doesn't seem to be as big a problem).  Using that program it was indeed possible to move in ways that made it very obvious a player was cheating (there's a YouTube video advertising it's features out there - check Google).

Beyond hacking, there are definately still exploits that would explain the effect Sweaty is talking about.  Screen-dragging or something like it existed in DAoC and was in WAR again from Day 1.  It's a method of intentionally lagging out your own client for a brief period so that your avatar warps around in the game world.  I've seen it done and it is really frustrating to fight against as a melee character.

As to PBAoE, it's still a very powerful and viable tactic.  The two main specs for BW / Sorc are a Close Quarters bomb spec or a long range Focused Mind spec.  The latter is in keeping with the "glass cannon" idea for the two mage-types, but with the addition of the Guard function they are both far too survivable in melee ranges for the amount of power they wield.  If you don't realize that - you're not being honest about the state of the game.  You're right about GTAoE like Rain of Fire and Pit of Shades - the devs did render those far closer to balanced months ago, but on balance the two mage archetypes are still disproportionately powerful compared to the other RDPS.

And that is only one example of the poor class balance job done by Mythic.  While the BW / Sorc are the most out there, check Winkl's stats for the bottom-rung archetypes across all Tier 4.  They've been the same classes for the life time of the game.  Magus, Blackguard, Maurader and Shadow Warrior have been the absolute poorest classes of all for their entire existence.  Not to mention several pretty dense mechanic / role choices that make Black Orks, Swordmaster, Zealots and Runepriests rather unpleasant to play - if not outright breaking the class.

Finally, while most of the (remaining few) servers are pretty close to balanced in overall population - Mythic certainly deserves to wear it for not considering the fact that overall balance doesn't matter when you've got wild swings in active population with absolutely no method of correction or balance implemented.  It's not much fun for either side when the zerg is rolling, and with their experience from DAoC I would have hoped Mythic would have at least attempted to code in some limiters or balancing factors to make the zerg less of a factor.  Sadly they did not, and in fact have steadily made choices that empower the zerg rather than limit it.

WAR was and remains a lot of fun, but to ignore or downplay these valid criticisms is not right either - it's simply a knee-jerk reactionary response to criticism.

Missed one other option IMO:

"Official RMT"

EVE Online has been using this strategy for a while now (though there may very well be others).  A system set up and sanctioned by the game company whereby players can choose to pay real money for a game time code, and then sell that GTC to another player (via secured transation secured by the company) for in-game money.

Different from an item mall because there is nothing else on sale, simply the ability for one player to trade in-game cash for a month's worth of playtime - but without further intervention by the company (i.e. the players set the going rate).  A subset of a subscription model game (as someone has to pay money for the subscription at some point) but different enough to warrent mention I think.

Originally posted by MMO_Doubter
Originally posted by Shooter-90

Also I'm surprised that they didn't price it at $47.47 (Star Trek franchise joke).


Could you explain it? I'm sorry to say I don't get that one.

I think this is the reference:


Adaptation, reboots, re-imaginings and so on are the current flavour in both Hollywood and MMOs because they don't have to find a particularly talented writer to imagine a vibrant and consistent world, just a team that can manage to throw together dialogue and action scenes.  They all seem to do passably well too, just based on the strength of the existing fanbase if nothing else.


The problems usually start to crop up when the adaptation loses it's way and starts to simply shoehorn in various things that they suppose are "needed".  In keeping with the article, think of Star Trek: Nemesis (the last in a line of movie adaptations of the Next Gen TV show).  There is that pointless scene involving a dune buggy chase on some remote planet - driven by Jean Luc himself.  This (to me at least) was a blatant example of some writer or producer saying "this movie needs more action in it, let's get the captain out and doing something!" - when anyone that watched the series even casually would know it's not particularly in-character and would ring false.


MMOs suffer the same problems (and it's even evident in this article) when they make assumptions on what their game "has to have" to satisfy the MMO population.  If the IP you've chosen doesn't particularly support combat gameplay - then perhaps the answer isn't to figure out how to shoehorn it in, it's to figure out a new and engaging system of play that doesn't focus on combat.  Star Trek is probably about 25% combat on average across all the series (with certain samples falling way outside that average).  Frankly, if STO wanted to be true to the series they would need to have errant technology within the ships themselves being one of the major adventure hooks (what's Star Trek if the holodeck or the transporters aren't causing some kind of episode-long trouble).


Frankly - the problem isn't that adaptation forces certain choices on an MMO team, it's that MMO teams (or rather the production houses behind the team) seem to think that they need to have an IP to hang their product on.  So they pick an IP that they figure would have the biggest draw and dump it on their development people, telling them to make an MMO out of it - rather than the more logical approach of designing the bones of a great MMO and then (if needed) looking for an IP who's properties mesh best with the game they're trying to create.

It's the standard thing that comes up in all these threads. 

Sandbox <----> Themepark is a continuum, it's just that inevitably someone comes along and arbitrarily draws a line saying "this is where sandbox is, all the rest are themeparks".

Sandbox MMOs don't fail - as long as they're developed well.  Poorly developed sandbox MMOs fail, as do poorly developed themepark MMOs.

If the term "fail" is actually meaning "not as successful as" in this context - I'd personally pin most of that on the fact that a sandbox-esque game by definition relies more on the player to be self-motivated and capable of setting their own goals and deriving their own fun.  This is not a skill that very many people pick up these days.

It's got to be a good MMO first.  Being a fan of the series / world will only take you so far - if the game is junk then it doesn't really matter.

Can't really have the discussion if one doesn't frame the situation properly.  Is the question assuming the technology of the Star Trek universe, or assuming current day tech, or something in-between?

The tactics and strategy of a battle is almost completely dependent on the platforms that are engaging in the fight - and in this particular case, would also have a great deal to do with what fantasy technological solutions exist that would make combat in space viable. 

Ah - how quickly the past is forgotten.

LOTRO was on the ropes a year after launch.  Subs decreased sharply in the first year or so due to a lack of high-end content (being Angmar only at the time), bland zones (Lonelands anyone?), and an almost militant lack of interest in supporting the PvMP system.

Subs had dropped below 100K by some estimates (some of the same used to indicate the game's success now).  This forum was thick with doom and gloom (not that it's ever clear of it - but trends are trends).

Moria breathed new life into a dying game at the time.  That was when things started to look up.  The lifetime memberships probably kept the game from going out entirely (upfront dose of cash, plus a cadre of players that keep the populations up as they drift in and out - my opinion anyway).

Oh - and EVE Online sat in the top spot here for so long it was silly.  It's long been known that a small, militant player population can skew the ratings here if motivated to do so.

Originally posted by Cerion

While EVE is probably the better Sandbox game out there, I think Mr Richardson's metaphor of a brick is a bit mis-representative of EVE.

EVE simply does not have that level of granularity to it.  EVE controls the number of Bricks you have (mining), and it controls the way in which those Bricks can be arranged (blueprints).   Compare the old Lego sets which were free form and the new themed Lego sets in which you build what is depicted on the box.  EVE is the latter.  You cannot innovate in EVE.


I would have to say that the establishment of an actual bank (no matter the outcome), or the months-long espionage antics are proof enough that it's possible to innovate in EVE.  Your focus is too narrow.  All MMOs will have mechanics that cannot be changed by the players - just some games focus on providing mechanics without defined usage attached.


The brick thing is an analogy, and by nature imperfect, but it's close.  There was (and remains) nothing coded into the game that demands 0.0 space is a ganking paradise for instance.  If the players wanted it, by this time next year 0.0 could be player-policed and just as safe as Empire.  Of course, it would be boring without all the politics and maneuvering for space - but it's possible.  That's the key thing of EVE, there really are fewer limits on what you can and can't do than in other MMOs.


EVE is a very "masculine" oriented game.  It feeds the testosterone-driven impulses of human nature.  Generally the people that find EVE boring are the ones that really have no experience / time / desire to make their own goals and achieving them.  EVE requires people to have an ego to get the most out of it.  Most other MMOs feed you the story, EVE hands you a recipe book and says "good luck with that".


All of those points are indicative of poor management.  The same people that run these games into the ground would end up running any business into the ground - be it a Quicky Mart or a McDonald's franchise.

By and large (from my personal experience) MMO game developers have just enough "artist" in them to hand-wave away a very large part of the realities of designing and running a business - because they are visionaries, misunderstood in their own time and so forth.

It's kind of understandable in a way.  A game dev gets promoted up the ladder from QA or CS based on their ideas and capabilities.  The erstwhile bug-hunter shows that he's got a fantastic way of putting together game systems to make a really fun and successful game - thus he's make lead producer, head developer and whatever.

But then the studio wants a new game, or that eager beaver wants to strike out on his own and make the game he always dreamed of, and all of a sudden he's not a designer or developer anymore - he's a manager.  And large-scale management / leadership is a skill-set he simply doesn't have.  Going down in flames would be the expected result here - especially if it's on a high-profile game with a lot of pressure to perform.


Add to that the creeping notion that publishers aren't looking for the "best" game, they're looking for the game that might pull in numbers like WoW (which wasn't the best game either at launch - but simply captured lightning in a bottle and ran with it) and it's not tough to see why most MMOs suck.


The only mention of FE in that article is when the dev says he's notoriously slow at leveling in MMOs (such as Fallen Earth).  Otherwise it's an opinion piece.


The article is simply a question posed to a developer, it could have been some dude from WoW just as easily. however has implied FE is the subject of the article by including FE pictures in the body of the text. 


That's where the misinterpretation lies.

If someone wanted to try it, I'm certain that they'd need to bring it before some sort of court to clarify the nature of the service.  As you say yourself, there are several questions.

They may not fall under a goods and services act at all even.  It's possible that because it's an extension of an ongoing contract (no matter the means by which the contract is extended) that it falls under contract law.

Frankly - I'm not sure there is a coverage, but I'd probably suggest looking at cell phone contracts or similar for examples as there's a greater chance of a similar case being explored in that case.

Originally posted by SirPaco
Originally posted by Torik

I would think that MMORPGs would fall under the exlusion clause of 'once the actual service has commenced'.  The companies simply have to add the required warnings to the account creation screens and they are covered since the 'service' starts as soon as you activate your account.


not necessarily.

In the case being discussed in the AoC forums, the user had 1 month game time left but purchased 3 months additional.

Technically speaking, those 3 months have been delivered to him, but the actual service has NOT commenced.


P.S. is a subscription to a MMORPG a good or a service?

Probably either.

If it's a physical object (i.e. a time card or a code you input) then it would likely be classed a "good" and on top of that would probably be classed as "open software" and thus excluded.

If it's a credit card subscription then it would probably be a "service" because it's simply entering into an agreement to a certain number of months at a certain rate.  That one might be debatable in the example you put forward above - but would likely require legal intervention to compel it.  This of course would only be debatable if there is no clause in the "fine print" that specifically informs the customer that no refunds will be permitted once the sale is complete.

Originally posted by Stradden
...MMO companies don't get into it for the boxes, they're into it for the long term subscription revenue....

You know - I'm just not so certain of this fact anymore.  At least when it comes to the biggest publishing companies (primarily thinking North American here, EA / SOE / perhaps Cryptic).

I wonder if the business strategy for many MMOs isn't a whole lot closer to single player games than is usually thought.

I'm starting to think that the big dogs in MMO publishing are starting to push for MMOs that provide just a few months of entertainment, and just hype the living daylights out of them prior to launch in order to maximize box sales.  I'm thinking the strategy is simply to recoup and make a bit of profit off the first few months of live, and simply wait and see whether the game catches fire.

It's almost like they know they can't plan on another WOW, so they're just going to toss out game after game with these huge hype machines behind them - and only if the game proves to be lightning-in-a-bottle will the big money for the live game come forth.

Otherwise I think we'll see the WAR story repeated again and again, the dev team downsized and the game going into maintenance mode, as the parent company starts the hype machine for their next offering. 

I'd even go so far as to say that the SOE Station model might very well become predominant, with the big companies having stables of MMOs that draw in just enough subscribers to keep the lights on with a bit of profit to the parent.  Both SOE and EA are going that way, and Cryptic is closing in on it as well.  They might even snap up the odd indy game or gaming company from time to time.

Personally, I hope I'm way wrong - as I'd like to see more immersive worlds that function on long-term subscriber loyalty, but it may be that only the smaller independant companies are likely to offer something of that sort.

Originally posted by Euphoryk
Originally posted by Blackhound

A lot of people are ignorant and believe the English speaking countries are the center of the universe, when a lot of their products are older ones from the Asian countries; hand-me-downs.

Care to list a few? I'm personally curious about what "hand me downs" we have received over the last five years other than Aion.

Enlighten me :)

I wouldn't say "a lot" but the MMO "Sword of the New World" was released in Korea first as "Granada Espada".  Just sayin' :)


Mythic failed in the same way that most MMOs fail these days.  They poorly prioritized their post-release workload and as-such wound up with their backs to the wall after a year of live play.

They were behind the 8-ball from day 1 having to put back in the 4 missing classes.  They took far too long to get a grip on the performance issues of the engine.  They never implemented a dynamic balancing system, and they never really balanced out the various archetypes - frankly I'm not sure they ever understood which archetypes were supposed to balance against each other.

Modern MMOs have about 6 months from launch to do a very few things.  They need to squash major and often-seen bugs (i.e. bugs with career skills), they need to ensure smooth performance at all times on any hardware above or at recommended, and they need to iron out disparities between classes and archetypes. 

After that time a modern MMO had better be working on expanding and improving content for level-capped players.  If they don't they'll lose them to boredom while the dev team is screwing around on other systems. 

Frankly, if a game launches and has a dire need to redo content in the newbie experience or the lower level areas within the first year - they should never have launched in the first place and will constantly be playing catch-up throughout the first several years of live service (if they make it that far).  MMO companies need to embrace the idea that whatever they launch with outside of bugs and end-game is what should be in place for at least a year virtually untouched.

Since you need a .mil address to qualify - afaik it's only american military pers.

Sometimes I read through this site, and on my more forgiving days I occurs that perhaps players are just not seeing the forest for the trees when it comes to MMOs.

Comparing the MMO genre to single-player games, just think of how many crappy shovelware games are out there for consoles.  As a percentage of the total number of available games, I'd generally suggest that there are a higher number of decent MMOs than decent console games.

As to the engrossing story in MMOs - developers are rather stuck there.  Games that provide a story have to provide it for everyone - and thus must either be heavily instanced or fall back on the generic questing for most of it.  Consider that single player RPGs are generally only 40-60 hours of play at most (some as low as 20).  You just can't have a stable community-driven experience if people are done with the game in a month or so.  So they all fall back on easy-to-design (repeatable) content.

On the other hand, if developers don't provide a steady stream of quests - a large percentage of the playerbase won't give them a second look because they are simply not capable of making their own fun (as in SWG or EVE or UO).

I do think you're slightly unfair in your comparisons however.  No mass-market product can be as good as a customised PnP setting with a group of friends - looking for the same in MMOs is bound to end in disappointment.

Similarly, not all MMOs are created equal.  To say the genre is failing because WAR and UO aren't the same isn't really taking into account that they were never designed for the same purpose.  I played WAR for a year, and generally had fun with it for what it was - basically an e-sport, a pick-up game of swords-and-sorcery football.  I didn't expect the deep and engrossing experience I had with EVE or SWG and so I wasn't upset when it wasn't there.  (not to say I didn't have problems with Mythic's development - just that I was satisfied with the game for the most part)


The key is that the old, monolithic "MMORPG" title has grown to the point where there are sub-genres within it.  As fashions change and players evolve, certain types of MMO experiences will be more prevalent.  Right now we're tailing off the majority of the WOW model, and many new games are seeking to innovate in small ways to bring a piece of the Warcraft audience to their game. 

It's unfortunate that MMOs take so long to develop, as that strands fans of a particular genre in a very dry spell when their chosen game-play model isn't in vogue (much like in other genres - flight-sim fans for instance) - which is one of the reasons I believe that Fallen Earth seems to be garnering as much favourable reaction among "vets" in this community and others.

I think you're feeling a bit of the stranded feeling at the moment.  In time something will probably come out that is right up your alley - but my only thought would be that until that comes around, if you play a game try to play it for what it is rather than what you wish it would be.


In my mind this review simply exposes a much larger issue for Dana and to solve with their "official" reviews as a whole.  What is the specific purpose of the official review at this site and do the current pieces reflect that goal?

Is the review supposed to be a guide or introduction to the basic features of the game?

Is it supposed to be an objective benchmark of the game features as measured against common examples of the industry?

Is it supposed to be a subjective report of that specific reviewer's experiences within the first several hours of gameplay?


In my mind, these 3 examples aren't particularily compatible, so jamming them all into the same review piece likely won't work well.  Were authors plentiful the ideal solution would be to give every game 3 pieces (AoC has been given a similar treatment I believe) - however given the number of releases I'd suspect that's not a tenable option.

As such, a choice needs to be made and communicated clearly to the audience so they know what the intention of the piece (and all similar ones) is. 

My personal thoughts are that the "subjective impressions" style piece is not overly useful or warrented.  The internet is infested with opinion, as are these forums.  If I want subjective opinions and an aggregate "community" score - I need look no further than the user opinions section.  It takes a bit of trolling to get a good idea below all the spin and counter-spin - but it's there.

Similarly, the "guide" type of piece isn't terribly useful if that's the sum of the piece.  There is a place for it, but if the whole review simply steps through the systems involved it tends to lead to (yet another) opinion piece.


So I tend to favour the "benchmark" type of review personally.  Ideally, I would like to be able to flip to any "official" review on this site and see a common format examining common features, with the review largely focused on objective measures (if possible - i.e. Frames per second) and comparisons to other MMOs of simliar age.  Each section gets scored objectively, and the aggregate score is what is reported as the "official" rating.

It would be nice to see a summary at the very top of the article as to the main features of the game (genre, PvP available, subscription model, etc), and it probably wouldn't be out of line to have a brief summary of the reviewer's machine specs as well.

The main downside to having such reviews would be a stifling of the creativeness of the individual writer.  To compensate, perhaps the last section of the review could be a clearly labled "subjective impressions" section where the writer can go off on whatever impressions they had.  Such a section should have no bearing on the scoring of the review - but could be a useful counterpoint to the more formulaic benchmarking review.


While I don't see anything inherrently wrong with opinion based reviewing, generally they are only useful if one discovers a reviewer that shares similar tastes - and then follows that reviewer exclusively.  This is fine for professional reviewers (Roger Ebert and similar) who can generally be expected to review most of the pieces in their field - but this site generally only has one reviewer from a pool of writers on any given game.  As such, even if I found an revewer I agreed with - there would be no guarentee a given game would be reviewed by that person, and so this site's review for that particular game is useless to me.


Just a few thoughts on the issues this situation brought to light in my mind.  Withdrawing the review was the right decision regardless, kudos.


Any game with set classes is going to be a disappointment for someone that wants to build a specific character concept.

Perhaps you should explore the (few) skill-based MMO options if you really want a character of a specific build.

As to the specifics of appearance - it's unlikely that any MMO will be able to fit your mental image of a character exactly.  Perhaps in Second Life (not sure) and certainly in a text-based MUD (yes, they still exist), but otherwise you're at the mercy of a third-party for your apperance options.

Virtually everything under your "Personality" heading is purely up to you to portray.  There isn't anything in any game that stops you from portraying a character as you have described.  If you don't already - try getting tapped into the various RP communities that exist (often underground or off the beaten path) in most MMOs.

If you're not tied to the idea of swords and sorcery, Fallen Earth would allow you to approximate your character build (with mutations in place of the magic powers) - but it's a post-apocalyptic setting which may not be to your liking.  It's also very new and still suffering from teething issues (if that sort of thing bothers you - balance and stability issues mostly).

Originally posted by eric_w66

Eve is a single world seperated by a crap ton of zones, which in effect, is "multiple servers" sharing a common chat interface (EQ1 did this).

As for a single world without zones, Eve can't do that, WW2 Online does. And did it well before Eve ever came around.


You've got two different things confused together there.

EVE has one shard with a lot of zones.  Correct.  There are not multiple "servers" (in the common usage of the term) because there is only one replica of the game running.  People confuse the term "server" and "shard" all the time.

There is no MMO on the planet (afaik) that does not zone their worlds.  Some have seamless transitions between zones and some don't - but all are zoned nonetheless.  There simply isn't a technical way that I'm aware of to fit the expansive content inherrent to MMOs, with the "massive" number of players required, onto one physical CPU.

I.E.  You can run the length and width of Vanguard (or LotRO - baring the PvP zone - when I last played) without encountering a loading screen.  Both games have zones the same way EQ did, but handle the loading of the zones in a manner that seems seamless to the player.

As to the writer - the article comes off as very naieve to state boldly that CO innovated a shardless model.  Their particular take on a single-shard game is slightly different, but the writing of the piece used too broad a brush when painting that statement.  As a result, the author came across as having only played WoW and CO (which was probably not the intent).

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