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Under Construction - Balance Soonish

Tim Eisen Posted:
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Clickbait lead aside, there really was a general disturbance in the CUniverse. The General Data Protection Regulation (aka GDPR as the kids call it) has torn another hole in The Veil! This black hole feeds on money and time, both of which are rare commodities among game studios. As a result the Beta Crusades(TM) have seen a drastic elevation in intensity! (28 days to go!) To battle this galactic threat CSE staff have likely upgraded from soda to espresso. From oatmeal to Pop-Tarts! (Root Beer or Orange Crush?). From bathrooms to...bedpans? (“Until they replace desk chairs with hospital beds and stick IV’s in their arms they aren’t trying hard enough!” MMORPG fans, probably.)

Despite these trying times (close but not quite transitional -5) CSE hasn’t missed an update or newsletter. I did notice the later felt a bit smaller than usual making it only slightly double the length of any other game newsletter I receive (gives a Jeremiah Johnson nod to CSE Max). The new GDPR’s have crit far and wide costing businesses time which is money which is especially challenging, for example, if you are a small studio racing toward a Beta 1 deadline...(Totally random example there.) 

CSE Devs aren’t the only ones suffering. Let’s not ignore the cross the backers are carrying! For those old schoolers that prefer a good old fashioned forum addiction to fiending for Discord this must be an especially difficult time. Chin up blokes! I’ve gotten through this many times and so will you! Just keep clicking (my columns).

One click at a time it gets better. Keep those fingers lithe and keys oiled. The forums will be back soon. If you feel low pop into Discord and squint, it’s almost the same minus the younger demographic and slang you won’t understand. If you get really low and need a fix of the hard stuff you could dive into the friendly forums here at MMORPG.com. (Shameless plug +5) I’m sure you will find a welcoming community of eager MMORPGers happy to discuss their love of crowdfunded PVP games with you. If you hit rock bottom you can read the backlog of my Camelot Unchained columns! (Shameless skill maxed out, Scoundrel lvl unlocked. Congrats on the ding.)

The general data positive is all of our data belongs to us and we get compensated when companies sell it right?...What’s that?...We don’t?...Oh... At least it’s a lot more protected until its not. Protection is a never ending evolutionary battle. A seeks protections to prevent B. B seeks to overcome protections from A. A must then seek new protections or B will eat all of A until B starves to death because B’s are gonna B (as seen in the Lion King). Like a few of you, I’ve been known to dip a toe into the interweb from time to time, like when I wake up, eat, bio, work, or breath.

Having any amount of increased protection sounds good but all that jazz is over my head and across the way. I can barely manage the VCR let alone the world wide net so it’s all just new stuff and things to me. If you want you can get more info on the GDPR relating to CSE from Mark and Space Lawyer Jim conveniently located at this link. I just hope it balances the data wars so the B’s don’t eat all of the A’s.

Speaking of balance (transitional word use +5), that was the focus of the latest CSE Newsletter. It seems that some Alpha testers are wondering why the game isn’t perfectly balanced. Because it’s Alpha. /thread (drops mic, leaves ring, walks up ramp, strolls past gorilla, grabs bag from locker room, gets in stretch limo, begins to pull away, opens sunroof, sticks head out and lets out a classic WOOOOOO!) Some day...

This is a what happens when every studio with initials begins to sell their own interpretation of exclusive internal testing. (Nothing says exclusive internal testing like being publically sold.) Every studio is selling the exact same thing, access. BUT, and it’s a UUUGE but, there isn’t a single instance of that access being identical between any two companies. Do you see the the problem here? It’s like buying a watermelon at several grocery stores. When you get home and cut into them you’ll find out that some of them are sweet, some are rotten and some took your money, blew it on a bunch of overly marketed concepts that weren’t hinged upon reality and you’ll never get your money back because you can’t return fruit after you cut it...But that’s, um, watermelon not games. Not at all...

I tend to put a lot of responsibility on consumers to research their purchases (because product reviews are always honest and your data never betrays you) but when it comes to a new product that is completely inconsistent across the entire industry I can’t help but understand their point of view. On the other hand City State Entertainment specifically has made extreme efforts to clarify what Alpha and Beta meant to their consumers. It is one of the single most repeatedly asked questions going back to the Kickstarter so I...I don’t know where I was going with that...

What I can’t see is the Jedi’s point of view. It’s not a story they would tell you. (“I should be a God and if I’m not it’s everyone else’s fault” a moody teen named Annie-and the internet, probably.) Part of my fascination with this entire crowd funded experience has been this very mechanic. How the product, language and people involved would evolve as failures and successes occured. In that realm it has not disappointed. Ideally the frustrations that consumers and producers must overcome now means the next generations won’t have to. (Do it for the children.)

The long of the short as Jedi Council member CSE Ben put it “If we spent the time to get the game to a reasonably balanced state, and then--for example--some of the stat modifications that were previously not working got hooked up and started to function, we would have to go through another time-consuming balance pass and make the necessary adjustments to rebalance for the new changes.”

My translation is pretty simple, it’s too soon. You can’t put a roof on without walls and right now CSE is just finishing the foundation. Beta will make those walls and near then end that roof will get built! Then the launch tornado that is players figuring things out blows the house down forcing CSE to rebalance - infinitely. Like I said, A trying to protect from B is a never ending part of this circle we call life. It’s not just survival, data and Mufasa. It’s life, the CUniverse and everything, including game balance.


Tim Eisen

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