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It's Always Personal

Agree or disagree if you will, but regardless of your choice, it's always personal!

Author: 56KModem

Milestones for Dark Millennium

Posted by 56KModem Wednesday September 8 2010 at 11:30AM
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Alright, so this entire time I was raging over the fact that I was thinking that Warhammer 40K Online was only a dream of mine and will never make it to reality. Well, I could not have been more wrong in my thoughts and now realize that I was a complete douche for thinking the opposite and broadcasting my hate. Don't get me wrong, I will still be broadcasting my hate, but this time around, I am thinking about some of the gameplay elements that I would really like to see.
What follows is a checklist that would make or break the game for me. I am an avid follower of all things Warhammer 40K, and the Dark Millennium MMO.  So far, I was pleased with what I was seeing. Some Space Marines, some Orks, and even some Tech Priests. I am getting really happy about this kind of progress that is being made. Thank the Gods that Mythic did not take up on making this MMO. I have high hopes that Vigil will do a fine job. Generally speaking, I am a cynical person, but I have some hope on this matter. Note my signature.
Anyway, here is the list of a few things:
  • Don’t start in Power Armor! If Space Marines start off in full armor, it would break the game slightly. Everyone would look the same and the only small differences (divinations, emblems, and brims of armor) would not be sufficient. There has to be an option to be able to hide some armor pieces (like helm, and perhaps others).
  • Don’t make another Tabula Rasa! That game blew so many balls that it was laughed right out of the game room. Warhammer 40K is indeed heavier on ballistic weapons, but it would be great if melee was a viable option. For example, in Dark Heresy, one could make a character that is all melee and also very effective. It is simply a matter of balancing. If comes down to nothing, but running and shooting, then the game will be shot down. This is simply gameplay issue that will cause problems in the long run. Coupled with the issue above, it will be a wave of uniform robots firing at each other.
  • Don’t let players make up chapters!!! Please for the love of everything out there, don’t allow the players to make Space Marine Chapters. I only need to point at lore to show that it’s a bad idea. Want to make guild-like arrangements? Tthen make companies within a chapter, but don’t let some douche create a section that thousands of marines hail from and call it Fluffbunny Brigade. This is easily remedied by having the player select one of several chapters available. Also, all the marines could be from the same chapter. Either option is alright in my book, so long as I don’t see any stupid ones (hoping for Black Templars, Space Wolves, and Imperial Fists).
  • Don’t mix too weak with too strong elements! If Space Marines are a playable class and Guardsmen are a playable class, then it makes no sense. One marine can mow down companies of Guardsmen. One marine can withstand hits that would cripple a tank, while a guard can probably die from a berretta misfire. You get my point, I think. Unless a player is able to control an entire squad of Guardsmen (which would make for an awesome gameplay mechanic), it’s better not to mix marines with them.
  • Don’t bunch factions! This is a common one that I have seen many times before. Either doesn’t put all the factions in or spread a little thinner than usual. Eldar, Space Marines, Orks, and Chaos do not get along with one another. It makes little sense to force them together. Either makes it so only Space Marines and Chaos are playable and the rest exist as monster races, or have all playable. Again, the latter would spread the population too thin, but hey, its quality that we are going for here, I hope. Besides, Space Marine chapters are not that big, perhaps several thousand is about the largest there is.
  • Planetary travel should be encouraged! Personally, I think that it would be great if one could explore the entirety of Calixis Sector or any for that matter. Still, thinking realistically, I would be really thrilled if more than one planet existed and could be visited. It simply makes for a better experience on the part of the player.
  • Lore, lore, and more lore! Warhammer 40K universe is a dark place to live. It’s no wonder they call it the Dark Age of Technology. I think that the atmosphere should reflect the current state of the world. If the lore is not transferred to the players, it would make little sense for anything to be happening the way it is. Also, I hope that the worship of the Emperor of Man is conveyed properly. Keep in mind that he is the single God of the Warhammer 40K universe. Everyone is afraid of and worships him. Space Marines are in eternal service to Him. It should not be like WoW, where nobody knows what Gods are who and where. It should also not be like in D&D, with pantheons. It would be a singular deity and all others are false. Worship of the false Gods can only be purged with one thing… holy fire.
Anyway, so that concludes this little section about my wish list. I have a feeling that these kinds of journals have been circulating for a while, and I sure as hell hope that developers see some of them and recognize the need to make it the best game they can. Vigil also needs to know that they are not in a race with WoW, or any other MMO for that reason. The only thing to watch for is the downfall like that of Tabula Rasa. We need to see their mistakes and learn from them. If the above points are done right, then you, Vigil, will have me as a eternal customer.

Victim of WAR

Posted by 56KModem Wednesday March 25 2009 at 8:43AM
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Dawn of Disappointment

The analysis of why Warhammer Online has failed me in more ways than any other game.

I know what you may be thinking; “Warhammer is a great game!”  “Sure it has bugs, but it is a great game!” “Go back to WoW!” “It’s like the best thing ever!” I have an idea that many others are thinking a little differently; “Warhammer sucks!” “It’s much worse than WoW!” “Warhammer is dying!” Look, we have all been there when an MMO fails on an epic scale, but I am not here to bash the game for what it is. I am going to be discussing my own personal opinions and feelings toward the company that made it, as well as, the actual intellectual property of Warhammer. Bear with me and feel free to bash me at the end as I really enjoy reading all sorts of comments. Agree or disagree, I have my mind set for good on this matter and it is about time that I catalogue it in writing (or typing rather).

Let me start off that I have lied in the paragraph above. It is Turbine that I loathe for making DDO what it is, but that is a tale for another time. For now, let me just state that I think that Mythic Entertainment is one of the worst game developing companies that I have ever came across. Of course I am speaking from my perspective when I state that all the employees of Mythic should have been fired when the company was bought over by EA. It is not fair what they have done to me or many others that share my opinion on the matter. Again, I am only speaking for myself, but I would have thought that the MMO disaster that was DAoC would not repeat. I was wrong. How I prayed that WAR would not be like that, and how badly I was let down, the world may never know. Suffice it to state that I bear a grudge for what Mythic did with WAR IP. This may make little sense this far so let me start by explaining my reaction toward the company.

Why are all MMOs about medieval fantasy? I can tell you why, Tabula Rasa is an example. Sci-fi games lack the story and depth and many cannot relate with the main characters. WoW and the overall genre of MMOs using medieval fantasy is time tested. Time tested to a point where experimentation is frowned upon. I think not! Why drag Warhammer universe into it. If it was left to any company but Mythic, the game might have been different. The game might have had great potential. Mythic tried to steal WoW’s customers. That is the reason they did that. What a terrible incentive to make a game. What a terrible game it turned out to be. So Mythic, like many others, decided to go with medieval fantasy. They decided to follow the formula except hopefully make a better game than WoW. They should have bailed on the idea when they realized that their plan was not going to happen and that they are going to get a small audience (less than half-million players). Mythic should have made a game for a small audience, maybe then it would grow.

Many people know of Dawn of War titles. Warhammer Dawn of War is a great and successful RTS. Story is fresh and the whole gothic/doomed glow of the world is completely believable. That is what I knew Warhammer to be since I started playing the RTS and since I started playing its board games. It was not to be. Half-assed RTS titles were released shortly before WAR’s release, supposedly trying to follow the same formula as WoW, down to the letter. The only difference is that those RTSs (Mark of Chaos) were so bad and poorly developed, that they completely flew under the radar. Mythic proceeded with their plan anyway, even though the tell-tale signs of a failure were there.

Warhammer should have been of the 40K universe. It is much more defined. It is much more believable. Finally, it is very original. But no, guess what Mythic did! They decided to make a shitty ass game and change much of the story of the 40K universe in the process! Fucking bastards! They were so focused on the profits that WoW was making, they decided to try and get a piece of the pie and create a fucking mockery of Warhammer. They changed the realism with shit. They changed the magic with even more shit. They dumbed down what was the original lore. They have mutilated the WAR IP. In trying to follow the same formula as many MMOs out there, fucking Mythic made DAoC of my favorite game. I speak with passion here, because I was actually hoping from the start that Warhammer MMO would be of 40K universe. I actually prayed. I even fucking petitioned. Then I discovered that Mythic was making it and I had a terrible feeling. My fears came to pass tenfold.

Sorry for the harsh words above. I tend to have such displays about things that I really care about. What really saddens me though is that it was allowed to happen. Relic, Games Workshop, and others have let that happen. What company is going to make another Warhammer MMO now even if the 40K was going to be accepted? The market is saturated with Mythic’s filth now. Single-handedly, the company had destroyed the IP and doomed it not to have any correct remakes as that would be too much for the market to handle. They are now chewing through their mistake. The formula had failed the company that is made of failure. The only question that I ask now is why they have decided to massacre my favorite IP. If it was another DAoC then I would not have minded one bit.

I am not sure, but I think that I am the only one here that plays Warhammer 40K Dark Heresy. How much I wish that the game would make it to the MMO market, I cannot explain. Who would create it now? Mythic ruined the IP and saturated the market with the wrong game universe. For what? For fucking profit. Did they succeed? NO! The signs were obvious, they should have catered to the small (not that small actually) demographic that played WAR 40K. The surrealness of 40K universe would have drawn in more users. It would have drawn me in. If it wasn’t for Mythic.

With the release of the Warhammer MMO, one quote from Dawn of War made me believe it entirely: “Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment.”


NPCs and Things

Posted by 56KModem Friday February 1 2008 at 9:11AM
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Greetings, and welcome to my blog. Last time, I seemed to hit a little close to home with my ideas; however, this time around I may be able to provide a slightly different outlook. I will be discussing the nature and the behavior of the “bad” NPCs in video games. I will start by analyzing the three genres where the NPCs may need improvement and what I think such an improvement should be. As many of you have found out, read my blogs with a pinch of salt. Today the targets shall be: First Person Shooter (FPS), Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing  Game (MMORPG), and lastly Sports. I understand that this is an MMORPG site; however, I think that to create a good game of such genre, one must understand that in many instances, NPCs should work the same way.
FPS titles are to this date, home to some of the most unorganized and stupid artificial intelligence (AI) maps known to mankind. The enemies seem to literally be uncoordinated and not care about anything relating to anything but directly them. Examples include such things as: “Two soldiers are walking; one gets shot and killed. The other continues walking uninterrupted.” There have been many games that improve on the AI of FPS over the years, but generally speaking, they are still just about as clumsy as ever. I personally think that the NPCs in this genre should be just as what they would seemingly be in real life. Terrorists should go crazy trying to shoot everywhere and hopefully hit the sniper that just killed his friend. Enemy snipers should be well hidden just as though they were players. The smarter the game AI gets, the harder it is to win; therefore, in coalition with the above examples, I think that the difficulty settings should change the intellect of the enemy not the physical statistics.
MMORPG titles tend to introduce the monotony to the lives of the AI. Not only are they bound to wonder around aimlessly, but they cannot attack even though they are seemingly only a few feet away. Such a design of NPCs is fairly well done due to the simplicity of finding them for players. If every kobold knew that some warrior will come by and kill him to collect his whiskers, then the entire clan would hide or run. The main thing that I would like to see happen to the AI in MMORPGs is more teamwork and if that means increase the power of the players, then be it. If an enemy is “pulled”, such an enemy can bring his entire surroundings with him. In many instances, (Murlocks) that would be very bad for the player; however, if such players were stronger and would fight the enemies, the victory would go a lot higher. In the MMORPG genre, scripted events can make certain enemies seem to be much more intelligent then they actually are. I am talking about normal “mobs” in the middle of nowhere using some of their own tactics to take down an adventurer. I believe that both sides of the conflict should be given a chance; nevertheless, the player should have at least a slight advantage in order to come out on top.
Sports titles seem to have a fairly descent AI. The main reason for this is due to the fact that the goals are so simple and repeatable. In a racing game, the pursuit to the finish line is the only thing in mind of the enemy racer. The paths are scripted and determined with the NPC not being able to deter from such fate. Some sports titles have strategy involved, while others have reflexes and quick analysis. In the end, the enemy is determined to win no matter the costs. The AI in these instances could be modified to allow some random factor. Exactly how far is an enemy going to go to try to win? The players should be able to find that out first hand. All are things to consider while creating sports NPC are equally important as any other genre. A lot of developers seem to forget that.
The above are some of the things that I see how they are now. Also I would love to see the next top MMORPG of my choice feature some of the characteristics of the NPCs that make them distinguishable and challenging. AI should be the character that is played by a computer, not a dumb terminal (my puns suck). There is a line that has to be drawn as well when it comes to the actual intellect and scripting that goes into the game. The players are always number one and should be kept that way in all hierarchies of power in relation to the environment. If done correctly, the enemies will apply tactics, attempt to flank the opponent, and otherwise try their hardest to win; however, the hero being heroic and all should be able to dispatch of them all and get a great feeling of satisfaction out of conquering an enemy that actually “tried” to kill him. A smart enemy conquered is much better than dominating an idiot, just as long as there is the ability to accomplish such tasks. From the technical point, I believe that there are not that many limitations. The scripts and codes will all equal out to more space used on the hard drive or CD. Current technologies should have no problem supporting something that is so trivial.
I know that this topic has been brought up many times in the past. I apologize for the repetition, but I think that I am shining a different light on things. Stating my opinion in a slightly different way is what I love to do.  I believe that many may agree on this, “Nothing worth while is easy.”
Discuss if interested.

Self - Titling

Posted by 56KModem Wednesday January 30 2008 at 11:45AM
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       Over my rather small time being a part of the gaming community, I have observed different people from different walks of life talk about their titles. What does a title of Geek or Gamer or Hacker, actually entitle the person? Is it supposed to provoke some respect from the surrounding community? Or is it simply to elevate oneself into a group that he/she perceives is higher in social status? This entry will focus on the mysterious world of self-titling.

       Geek is the title that I would love to start this discussion with. The broad definition of this word relates to the person that has made "higher" technology as essential part of life. To me, such a definition would mean that the person is constantly carrying a laptop or whatnot around and trying to find some internet when not home; if ever. I would also think that a Geek, when asked some technological questions would know the answer or at the very least would know a place where to look. It seems that the term is referred to very loosely and is perhaps the number one self-title of all time. In gaming community, I have noticed that a vast majority of "Geeks" are self-proclaimed. The attempt to elevate oneself to a point of respect with other members is very obvious. Majority boasts about being such Geeks and in turn start saying that they are not accepted anywhere else besides the gaming community. This in particular seems to be very popular with the female part of the community as of late. Multitude of such females proclaim themselves as Geeks and then go and say stupid things while using their new status as a crutch to make people think that they may know something. Obviously such occurrences are not limited to females; however, it is exhibited by them the most. I have been called a Geek before, yet I never let that catch on and start boasting to all about my new title. Perhaps others should learn by example.

       Gamer is a very broad style of title. This particular title is seemingly the most dominant one out there. Everyone seems to be a part of this group and yet they rarely actualy self-proclaim to that point. The broad definition of this word relates to the person who constantly or from some point in time plays video games. Indeed its video games because nobody refers to football players as gamers. Whether hardcore or casual, the suffix word that follows the two is usually gamer. To me, the title bears another meaning. I think of gamer as a person that understands the games, gets the feel, lives the story, and in the end excels in it. There are some people that actually boast about being a gamer especially to the non-gaming community. They state that they play games as if they are smarter and more gifted than the normal person that comes home and watches TV after work. Again, many have called me a Gamer because I have a passion for games, not because I simply play them.

       Hacker is a technical title. This particular title is the rarest self-title I have come across; nevertheless, it is an existing one. The broad definition of a Hacker relates to a person that is constantly attempting to get past some measure of security. The security may be a firewall or another security client. Such a person may spend several weeks trying to accomplish a rather small goal that will pay-off large to them either in experience or in something more tangible. The rare times that I have witnessed this title being self-proclaimed is by the people that generally do not know much about the computers to start off with, yet after some time develop little knowledge that they think is very advanced. An actual, real life hacker would not go into any blogs or posts or anywhere else and start boasting about hacking through some security measures of a company or domain. People that have never worked with code seem to call themselves hackers after starting on Visual Basic, even though such coding has nothing to do with hacking or even brute forcing. I had one instance of an extremely bad self-titled hacker. When I asked him to demonstrate his skills in hacking, he changed his user priviledges in Windows to a Power User and then re-logged as such. I was in a silent shock as he told me "Yeah, I hacked the system and now I am a Power User. I got a lot of power!" If the above described example was not understood by the reader that means that you are not a hacker and by no means a Geek either.

       Self-titling makes my blood boil. I cannot express the rage that I feel when someone starts calling themselves something that they are not. There are obviously more titles than the three that I have listed, those are simply the ones I wanted to discuss. Finally, demonstrate the skills, show competence, explain reasoning and let the others decide what to call you.