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Beta Progress & Polearms

Tim Eisen Posted:
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It’s been another really good if not great week at City State Entertainment. The biggest news is that Beta 1 is coming this year. I’d hope so! You might be asking yourself how it could have been close several times yet only dated to within the next nine months? I’ll tell you how. Because, if you haven’t figured this out by now, the greatest myth in MMORPG development is that developers set deadlines. The games themselves set the deadlines then later decide to hit or miss them.

What I mean is, due to the breadth of a MMORPG an exact date is rarely in the control of the studio. I’m convinced no developer in the MMORPG genre can say, with 100% certainty, when their game will allow a development milestone. They have hope. They certainly have an informed opinion. But in the end the MMORPG Gods and the game itself will determine when its ready. Realizing then accepting this makes it a bit easier to be a fan of this genre.

MMORPG gods? If they didn’t exist, then how else could I justify my beloved Star Wars Galaxies being sacrificed in order for The Old Republic to be born? Exactly! Proof! A terrible trade but one that was required none the less. It is an ancient little known rule, for one to live one must journey into the great unknown. It also explains why so many MMORPGS leave us every year.

In other news, a few important items were checked off the Beta check list. Use seeding system to create nodes/farms of minerals - While this is only the first pass it’s nice to see CU finally getting a resource system.

First pass inventory system, including encumbrance penalties - Before getting deeper into game development this wasn’t something I gave much thought. After following the development of several games, I consider it an absolute nightmare. I don’t know what a developer thinks of it but from my point of view, a system based on cataloging every item in a MMORPG and the movement of said items from game world to various inventories seems like it would be incredibly difficult. That might explain why so many games of yesteryear featured inventory and item glitches. It’s a lot of stuff that goes inside of stuff that makes other stuff happen making for some tricky stuff.

Plot ownership, access permissions, change of ownership – I imagine a land ownership plot system is right up there with inventory systems. My beloved Star Wars Galaxies had a great one but I’ve seen few games before or since work up a system for live game land management complete with the various permissions and problems that come with it. Most games go with instanced land for a reason, it’s easier but let me attest, a live game system helps make the game world feel real in ways you have to experience to understand.

Now onto the usual information paradox that is the CSE top ten list for last week. #1-7 Tech that was done prior got improved. Within this we learned they merged a lot of work on buildings into the main game. I’m going to assume this means the path to the CUBE/CU merger just got closer to being paved. The manual aim concept continues to survive despite the fact that it scares the heck out of longtime archer fan Tim Eisenzimmer. Don’t worry he is willing to get out of his comfort zone to try it before he damns it.

Banes and Boons got booned, er, buffed meaning they are progressing on multiple fronts and lastly the beta guild UI is getting close to complete. Fast Entity Reader did a thing that is over my head and lastly, but most importantly, bots per server is up from 120 last year to 350 and possibly even 500. This has nothing to do with players per server but it does mean bot testing will cost substantially less making for more frequent, longer tests.

#8-12 Cover a part of the game that I’m more familiar with, art. Terrain textures are being improved, Sandra and Scott rocked out several animations, armor and weapons grow nearer and lastly the place of power that we got to witness from birth got a facelift. Sometimes the CU updates make me think I’m paying a MUD as I try to imagine what the visual translation of the text is.

The most important part of the update was an image that featured a section polearm animation. I need to make something clear, polearms and spears are not the same! Grouping us together under the assumption that all staff weapons look the same to you is offensive to me and my refined polearm loving brethren.

Although the peasant spear community wouldn’t care, I wouldn’t even call spears and polearms distant cousins because it would offend the sophisticated polearm community. You see a spear is a stick with a pointy end. Chimpanzees could fashion such a basic tool. A polearm is like the index finger of Ares forged into a piece of weaponized art that you lay waste to your rivals with. Then again as a HUGE polearm fan I might be a tiny bit sensitive (and bias) on the issue. I kid, I’ve played plenty of spear classes…when polearms were being neglected as they often are – out of jealousy I assume.

The polearm animation capture has me anticipating a polearm user transforming into a blood painted whirling dervish of death on the battlefield. I don’t always shoot arrows and run away; when I don’t I wield a polearm. This is the part where I make a conclusion paragraph but this time I think I’m just going to stop so you can go back to admiring that polearm image. 


Tim Eisen

I roleplay a wordsmith that writes about the technological and social evolution within the game industry