This week, there were a few topics that I wanted to cover, so rather than presenting a single, coherent thought in this week's column, I thought I'd break it up into smaller, bite-sized chunks for your reading pleasure. Welcome to the ramblings of my mind. Don't pay any attention to the upside down clown weeping in the corner:
Star Trek Online Bridges
Last week, I came down pretty hard on the folks at Cryptic for their cross promotion of Star Trek Online with their Champions Online lifetime subscriptions. This week though, I'm happy to be able to actually applaud the STO dev team for their recent decision to include interior bridges in the launch version of the game.
I'm not just saying this because I'm a fan of Trek and can't think of more iconic IP locations than the bridges of the various Enterprises, Defiants or Voyagers. I'm actually saying this because it seems as though the move was made in direct response to player feedback.
Since details began to emerge about Cryptic's design for this game, players have been clamouring over themselves for starship interiors. Now, while I understand that what many of these players are looking for are completely explorable ships: sickbay, engineering, ten forward and the like (I want these too), I can't help but see this as a great step in the right direction that promises more to come (provided players make use of their bridges).
The only negative thing I have to say about this is that they are planning to use the bridges as social hubs... I'm not sure that's entirely appropriate. You rarely saw characters 'hanging out" on their bridges. Heck, just add a conference room (or even captain's ready room) off to the side for socialization.
Still, I applaud both the specific addition and Cryptic's move to at least try to meet players part way on starship interiors.
Possible Call of Duty MMO
I'll start off this section by saying that when I first read this news I was the first one to put on my conductor's hat and jump on board the excitement train. I've been asking for a new, AAA studio to make an FPS modern war-based MMO for ages. No disrespect to the folks at WWII Online who have done a great job with their product, but the idea of a game with the kind of money behind it that the CoD franchise demands makes me weak at the knees.
I think that there is a huge potential to bring a "new genre" of MMOs into the spotlight, and I think that if anyone can turn a high grossing video game IP into a high grossing MMO IP, it's Blizzard.
Then, I started to think about it a little bit harder. The original news story actually comes from an LA Times article, and all it says is that an unnamed source "close to Activision" is considering adapting the franchise for use as an MMO.
This made me sad. It made me sad because of freaking course they're considering making it into an MMO. WoW is a huge cash cow for them so they're probably looking at ways to adapt any of their popular franchises into MMOs.
Don't hold your breath on this one folks. "Massiveley multiplay online world," is a catch phrase these days, meant to grab people's attention.
Still, CoD Online could be epic.
Darkfall's Community Publishing Program
Aventurine announced that it was going to start paying players to bring other players into their game.
Now, it's not that the idea of incentivising players to recruit their friends is something out of the ordinary. I mean, pretty well every major MMO company out there has something in the way of a refer-a-friend program.
What baffles me a little bit is the fact that Aventurine is offering up cold hard cash to players who do it. I mean, most companies go with in-game rewards or game time. This is a whole other ball game.
I think the move, from a PR standpoint, isn't a great one. It might be greatly appealing to the game's players, but to people observing from outside of the game, it has the potential to come off as a little bit desperate. Then again, Aventurine is pretty well known for flying in the face of conventional PR wisdom and doing or saying whatever they like.
While I'm in the camp that just feels like there's something off about offering up cash in this way, I will give the company credit for doing things differently, and doing it their way. For that, they get +1 respect, even if I don't agree.
That just about wraps it up for the whines and moans rattling around in my head this week and next week's Thanksgiving, so enjoy your turkey and I'll see you all again in December.