Quote of the Day – Or We Just Don’t Want to Do It November 27, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Warcraft.
Tags: BlizzCon, Quote of the Day, Warlords of Draenor
As we discussed at BlizzCon, we’re accomplishing this by making it so primary stats for a given piece of gear will change based on your current spec, though it’s likely that only new gear added in Warlords will work like this, as it might be impossible to implement this for all existing gear.
From the forum update on the Warlords of Draenor itemization plan (emphasis mine)
I came out in favor of the itemization revamp plans announced at BlizzCon. As somebody who hasn’t played for long enough… at least since I have come back… to be deeply invested in the current system of drops, enchants, reforging, stats, and whatever, I suppose that is easy for me to say. Still, the primary stat changing to be based on your spec… so if you need INT plate, you have INT plate, if you don’t then you don’t worry about it… seemed like a good idea.
So I was a bit disappointed when, in that post linked above in the quote, they said it probably won’t be ported backward to all previous content. But I get it. I work in software. Some things are just not worth the effort required, especially when you are moving everybody forward in any case.
Only they had to use the word “impossible” when there were so many other ways they could have put that. They could have said might be:
- too much work to accomplish before we want to ship
- too broad in scope and touches too much code to be worth considering
- so much work that it would pull people off of other things we think would be better for the game
- too boring even to assign to the interns
Hell, they could have said it was impossible to do within certain time or cost parameters. But no, they just said it might be impossible.
Which, of course, it is not. At least not for any dictionary definition of the word I’ve seen. Given enough time and effort, Blizzard could do this. That they don’t want to is fine. There are many good reasons not to. But don’t try to cover that with the word “impossible.” People aren’t going to buy it. Absolutes like that just attract scrutiny.
Worst of all though, now SynCaine will be using “Blizzard says it is impossible to re-itemize all gear in a game” as a troll for the next decade or so, and it is all your fault Blizzard!
Quote of the Day – Who is Hardcore Anyway? November 22, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment.
Tags: Quote of the Day
I think there is an antagonism from the hard core towards the casual…
-Jeff Cannata, NPR Story Hard-Core And Casual Gamers Play In Different Worlds
With the release of the PlayStation 4 and the XBox One, video games were in the news and NPR was out trying to define what a hardcore gamer really is.
Like any such query in the mainstream media, they seem satisfied with a rather simple view. They only have so much time, so they focus on hardcore console gamers. The reality is much broader. We know that. But everybody close to a given subject sighs at generalizations about it that gloss over the texture and finer details. We’re used to it now, aren’t we?
In the end though they do boil down to at least one idea we see over and over, the fervent hardcore belief that, whatever their favorite gaming segment, it is “being dumbed down, being simplified to bring in a wider audience.”
Cue the parade of a thousand blog posts gone by and the endless argument over accessibility, improvements, and who owes what to whom.
It’s why we’re all here, right?
Quote of the Day – Did SOE Solve the Latency Problem? November 14, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest Next, Sony Online Entertainment.
Tags: Landmark, Quote of the Day
In old MMOs, when monsters started to attack, dice rolls had already determined if they was going to hit you or not. We’re not doing that. We’re allowing you to move out of the way and do stuff that way. With positioning of your abilities versus what the monster is doing, it’s a very fluid situation. There’s no lather, rinse, repeat mechanic that works all the time.
Dave Georgeson, interview at Rock, Paper, Shotgun
The interview linked above is interesting if you want to learn more about the plans for EverQuest Next and Landmark. I recommend it.
There is a lot about the tools that will be available to end users and the scope of what players will be allowed to do. Heady stuff, with ideas like “build your own MMO” being bandied about and EverQuest Next being referred to as just “a professionally developed alternative” to what players will be able to create in Landmark. It all sounds like many steps beyond things like Wurm Online, right down to the griefing potential.
In the midst of all of that, there was some talk about players, classes, and combat, which included the quote at the top. Again, sounds nifty!
Only reading that triggered a memory. A few years back there was a new studio… and I have forgotten the name, date, and what not, so … and one of the developers was talking about them making a zombie MMO and generally criticizing combat in all MMOs up to that point. He didn’t want hot bars and dice rolls behind the scenes, he wanted to swing a bat and, if it intersected with a zombie’s head, to score a hit and do damage.
Somebody else must remember this, right? Help me out here.
[Addendum: Talyn found it! I am not crazy... in that regard at least.]
Anyway, that was doing things properly and he was quite dismissive of the MMO industry for not having done this already.
In due course a fair number of MMO devs sighed, shook their heads, and went on about how they would love to do that sort of thing, but the realities of network reliability and latency and client synchronization prevented it and that these loud mouthed upstarts would surely learn all of this in the fullness of time. (Or maybe it was just this post, which I was able to find once I had the date.)
If I recall right, they did, balance was restored to the force, and we all moved on.
At least until I read that quote up there at the top, which brought back those partial memories along with a few question… like, did Dave Georgeson really mean that? No dice, no probability, just a check on positions and the intersection of objects in motion? In real time? In an MMO? Over the internet?
Did SOE solve some critical network issue along the way here? Or am I reading this wrong?
My alternate quote from that article, which also hits on a side detail is this:
Sometimes we ask questions that we know can only go one way. But the players are constantly having debates over stuff, so then we can go in and explain why we’re doing things a certain way. Because the more we can work with our players so they can understand why games need to be built a certain way, the better the suggestions will be.
This actually makes me feel a little better, as a number of questions that have popped on the round table have seemed to have only one possible outcome, so I was wondering why they bothered asking. Now I know.
Quote of the Day – Screwed by the Autopilot October 11, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online.
Tags: Quote of the Day
Every player shares the same gigantic persistent universe, which sounds impressive but means that the main gameplay mechanic is “commuting.” Ships hopscotch across the universe from stargate to stargate. This can take hours, which is why you have an autopilot, and that autopilot might as well be a self-destruct system.
The main complaint in the EVE Online part of this article is that the autopilot in EVE doesn’t warp you to zero when traveling through jump gates. Which, I grant you, does slow things down when traveling. And I won’t even go into how “warp to zero” wasn’t even a thing when I started playing. “Warp to 15km off” was the way it was for everything back in the day.
Fine. EVE has lots of things that annoy people. And I cannot say that I like travel all that much. While a single trip can be an adventure, hauling crap repeatedly over the same space quickly turns into a chore. But then I tried to factor in the title of the column.
6 Groundbreaking Ways Video Games Are Screwing Players
That seems like a bit of a stretch for this issue.
I mean, with all the things going on in the gaming industry, in a world where Zynga still exists (remember them, Cracked?), where selling hotbars is a thing, and where making single player games “online only” is a trend, ranting about the autopilot the EVE Online might not actually be worthy of the #2 spot on such a list.
Putting the auto pilot in there feels more like “axe to grind” when lined up with daily presents you must log in to claim, lock boxes, DLC porn, and consumer behavioral optimization. There are basically five decent, money related issues that link back to the opening paragraph, plus the one non-monetary entry seemingly added just to piss all over that internet spaceship game. Or maybe it was an attempt at link-bait trolling, knowing the EVE Online community and such.
But it does make me wonder how much it would change EVE Online if the autopilot warped to zero. It certainly wouldn’t save people in null sec. I get popped on gates warping to zero already. It happened last night, thanks to an erroneous “clear” response on the intel channel. (Clear aside from that Pandemic Legion camp on the gate.) Likewise with low sec. It just makes the ignorant and the foolish mildly more difficult to catch.
And while it might cut back on suicide ganking in high sec choke points like Niarja, I get the feeling that the align time for a freighter fresh through a gate would give the sharp gankers the time they needed to scan and destroy likely targets.
So, warp to zero for the auto pilot: Would that be a game breaking change or just another tweak with the usual unintended consequences?
Hat tip: Harbinger Zero
Quote of the Day – Bored With All Games October 2, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in General.
Tags: Farmville, Mark Pincus, Quote of the Day, Zynga
Right now, I’m pretty bored with all games
-Mark Pincus, former Zynga CEO in a Wall Street Journal interview
On the one hand, his longing for the early days of FarmVille, to which he claimed to be “addicted,” is an understandable emotion, at least to me. I certainly long to relive the early excitement of some games.
On the flip side… really, FarmVille is the pinnacle of your gaming excitement?
But I think it is clear from his history that Mr. Pincus was looking for a way to make money in life, not a way to make games. I particularly like this old quote:
I did every horrible thing in the book, too, just to get revenues right away. I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this Zwinky toolbar which was like, I don’t know, I downloaded it once and couldn’t get rid of it
Well he made money and left his mark on an industry. I still wonder what Lord British thought we was getting into before Zynga pretty much fell apart.
Hat tip: Game Politics
Quote of the Day – Commandments of Online Worlds August 30, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, MMO Design.
Tags: Nostalgia, Quote of the Day
Thou shalt not mistake online worlds for games, for they encompass far more; nor shalt thou forget that play is noble, and game is no epithet.
Raph Koster, The Commandments of Online Worlds
A little over seven years ago Raph wrote his commandments post. It, and the resulting discussion in comments, feels like it is from another era. Of course, it is from before Zynga and gamification and free to play as the default revenue model, back when the idea of a virtual world had meaning to a lot more people.
I was reminded of this post because I was listening to VirginWorlds postcast #17 this morning. The show itself is a nice time capsule, having gone live back in July 2006. Brent talks about DarkFall, EA buying Mythic and what that could portend, The Burning Crusade expansion that was set to come out six months later, along with a discussion of subscription numbers and what they mean. Or meant.
Quote of the Day – Defending SWTOR… Badly August 21, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, MMO Design, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Tags: Free-To-Play, Massively, Quote of the Day
Was this supposed to be sarcastic?
That was my exact thought when reading the Massively Hyperspace Beacon post Six misconceptions about SWTOR free-to-play.
The post purports to defend the SWTOR free to play model from people who “make it out to be something that it’s not.”
And yet, for me, the article managed to damn the game through defensiveness and hair splitting to the point that I really had to question if the author was secretly trying to undermine the game while pretending to be a fan. Was this SynCaine writing under a pseudonym? The author seemed more keen to reinforce than debunk a couple of his assertions. For anybody looking to play the game for the first time, the post is not much of an endorsement.
I certainly had some trouble reconciling that post with the words of SWTOR’s lead designer, who says he has gotten religion about free to play, and who recently wrote:
One of my mantras about being a free-to-play game is that, in order to call yourself that, your evangelists have to feel good about telling their casual friends, “Yeah, you can totally play for free!”
I guess you can still feel a little guilt for not telling your casual friends that the restrictions on free will come early and often and will seem at times like they are specifically designed to make the game frustrating to play unless you pay.
Not that such methods makes SWTOR unique in any way. I seem to recall that at one point somebody from SOE came right out and said that their model was to drive people to subscribe if they really wanted to play.  And LOTRO, which I have been playing a lot this summer, sure seems to have its hand out all the time, reminding me there is a cash shop almost constantly.
It comes with the territory, and doubly so with a subscription game that has been retrofitted into the model.
I have rambled on about my ambivalence towards the free to play model as currently implemented in popular MMORPGs. I can see the upside. New players, for example, are the life’s blood of such games, and free to play seems to be the only way to keep them showing up. But I can also see the cost, the fact that revenue generation always gets a primary focus. So if your model is based on unlocks and cash shop companions, that becomes the top priority and anything beyond that shares whatever resources are left.
The free to play model is certainly here to stay. I am just not sure if were “there” yet when it comes to the model maturing into something I am really happy with. But that might be a futile hope.
Quote of the Day – On Ruining Video Games July 18, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor.
Tags: Cracked.com, Quote of the Day
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Microsoft backpedaled like an anarchist on a tandem bicycle
Robert Brockway, on Microsoft’s post-E3 change of heart
That quote sort of epitomizes why I go read Cracked.com on a regular basis. It made me laugh.
I am not even sure if it makes sense as a metaphor. I had to Google “anarchist” and “tandem bicycle” to see if there was some obscure reference with which I was unfamiliar. The best I came up with was two French men on a bicycle.
I suppose that is close enough.
But even as I am chuckling at such things, I get the suspicion at times that Cracked is really a cover to discuss serious issues under the cover of humor. The quote above came from the article 4 New Video Game Realities that will Kill the Industry, which actually gets at the heart of a couple of things that bother me.
Quote of the Day – Tannhauser July 17, 2013Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Humor.
Tags: Opera, Popehat, Quote of the Day, Tannhauser
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Wagner could have just said “enter the entire Monster Manual, which humps.”
Ken White, Popehat Goes to the Opera: Tannhauser
I actually have a version of Tannhauser in iTunes. After reading that post, I must go listen to it again… once I stop laughing.
Go. Read. Still cannot breath here.