Daily Archives: August 8, 2013

LEGO Legend of Chima Online – A Second Try at a LEGO MMO

LEGO Universe is just a memory, some random screen shots, and a painful timeline at this point.  But that doesn’t mean LEGO is out of the MMO business or that a LEGO MMO isn’t a good idea.  LEGO has a new MMO going, LEGO Legends of Chima Online.

LEGOChimaOnline450LEGO has teamed up with Warner Games for to take another run at the whole MMO idea.

I am not sure why they haven’t gone with Traveller’s Tales on this plan, as they are the people who have made pretty much ALL the good LEGO games, from LEGO Star Wars forward.  Then again, TT does seem to have a pretty set formula, one that might be getting old by this point.

Anyway, with lessons learned from LEGO Universe, things have a new flavor.  The game will be web based, using the Unity Plug-in as a platform.  It will be free to play, with premium options.  And it will be focused on a single, LEGO owned property, the Legends of Chima, which LEGO is starting to roll out as building sets, games on the DS and Vita platform, and a television show on Cartoon Network.  So a big cross channel cash-in is being attempted here, and it looks even more ambitious than the Ninjago campaign.

The site for Legends of Chima is up and running and the game is in open beta and seems to include all of the standard MMO features from levels to combat to inventory management.  The critical game features that LEGO is calling out are:

Free to Play – LEGO Legends of Chima Online is a free-to-play online game! Membership and Premium currency are available to further enhance the experience but are never required!

Build – As the new commander of your Outpost, it is up to you to decide what you want to build and where you want to build it. Every building provides benefits from generating and collecting studs, creating weapons and armor, or providing your hero with special skills and abilities! You can also build and destroy LEGO creations within the game world.

Create & Customize – Be the hero you want to be. Your skills depend on what kind of Outpost you choose to build! There are no classes, no restrictions – you can play the way you want to play! Customize items by picking which color brick you want to build them with!

I suppose we will see how a new LEGO MMO stands up in world that already has Minecraft and EverQuest Next Landmark on the way.  But this time around, the goals seem to be more modest and the focus a lot more concentrated for LEGO.

Blog Banter #48 – You Want the Lore? You Can’t Handle the Lore!

Mrs Caldari Citizen 561237412,

We deeply regret to inform you that your son, Caldari Citizen 564752873, was killed in action on July 28th. His ship, the Dongs Dongs Butttes Dongs, self-destructed for unknown reasons.

A Board of Inquiry was formed to address these issues. Captian xWeedLordXxXGoku420x was found to have acted properly on all counts when the court learned that he was 27 jumps from home and his ship was a stock-issue Slasher. He has been provided a new crew and Slasher.

In deepest sympathy,
The Mittani
CEO Goonwaffe
(signed on his behalf)

In partial fullfilment of Blog Banter #48, which asks, “How important is the lore in EVE Online?”

Not very important at all.

There, am I done yet?

No?

Okay, some of the lore does get impressed upon us at.  The tutorial explains the EVE Gate and how humanity ended up in New Eden, though it never quite gets to why I feel the need to write “EVE” in all capital letters.  It isn’t an acronym.  It is just the way that CCP styles it.  But back to lore.  I bet some of you can even tell me which system in EVE Online the  EVE Gate resides in.

The lore also explains the four main factions of EVE Online, their background and political system.  And while I am sure players tend to skim over that sort of thing, I bet most can match up the faction with its political system.  Go ahead, print this out and drawn a line between the faction and the description of it’s primary political philosophy.

Amarr          Shareholder Rights
Caldari        Rounded Edges
Gallente       Worship of the Rust God
Minmatar       Aging Skinhead Rulers

And the lore of EVE Online does touch us nearly every day, influencing our decisions, shaping our goals.

There is the Consolidated Cooperation and Relations Command, better known as CONCORD. (As with the Amalgamation of Regional Militia (ARM), it sounds like the acronym came first, then some words were forced into place.)  CONCORD is part of the lore and it heavily influences how PvP happens in large parts of space.  Who you can shoot, what gates you can go near, how you fit your ship for a gank, and whether or not you are safe to fly in high sec space at all is influenced by CONCORD.

Likewise, the somewhat insane lore that dictates that you can insure ships influences behavior in game.  The reimbursement policy of many an alliance assumes that you will buy the Platinum Insurance Package for your ship before you fly off into battle.  I would love to see the balance sheet for the insurance system of New Eden.  It is probably so out of balance that we should consider magic money to be part of the lore as well.

And then there are ships and ship design philosophies, which is probably where lore comes closest to touching every single player in EVE Online.  Some of it is so ingrained that people might not even think of it as lore.  That the Amarr like phallic shapes, that the Caldari think asymmetry makes them edgy and modern, that the Gallente think green doesn’t make them look fat, and that the Minmatar have figured out how to make metal rust in a vacuum… plus the various armament and tanking philosophies… influence our ship choices.

But it emphasizes my front still, right?

Some (or all) of those philosophies end up becoming part of the game framework of any long term player.  And it is driven by lore.

So the lore is important to the degree that it does shape our play style choices.  But the lore doesn’t stop there.  No, it just keeps on rolling.

There are ongoing updates from CCP about the political struggles amongst the four major NPC factions, like that time… when that guy… crashed his ship into that station… and the Caldari and the Gallente went to war or some such… and the dead station was there in space for all of us to ignore as we went about our very important space business.  And then Factional Warfare was introduced, left to stagnate for a while, and was eventually spruced up and incentivized so people would play it.  And manipulate it.  Because this is EVE Online.  That was all part of one plan.  I think.

There are the back stories to all of those infinitely staffed and supplied rebel/pirate organizations, like Sansha’s Nation and The Guristas.  I am not sure how deeply involved with that back story anybody really gets when running missions or clearing anomalies, so long as there are more to shoot.

And then there are the lore details that most people don’t even get to.  Like the fact that, according to the lore, ships have crews.  That is canon right there bub, you do not fly alone.   Somebody has to tend the fedos.

People discover, dig up, or remember the crew thing every so often.  Jester wrote about it back in March, mostly to muse aloud about whether crews that live long enough ought to bestow benefits upon ship performance.  He also put up this nice little chart that I can never find when I look for it, so I am going to steal it right from him.

Ship Staffing Parameters

Ship Staffing Parameters

Somebody in the Something Awful forums stumbled upon the ship’s crew aspect EVE Online, and the game discussion thread devolved into an exploration of that bit of lore for several pages.  The quote at the top of this post is from one of the responses to the crew question, an example of the thousands of letters of condolence that one might imagine has to be sent out after battles like the one at 6VDT.  Boodabooda’s signature might have been stamped on as many as 25,000 such notes just for Prophecy crews alone after that battle, assuming a crew of 100 and a 30% survival rate.

And the discussion went on to wonder where all these crew members come from.  How do you recruit the thousands of warm bodies needed to work the internal systems of the ships in your fleet.  At 6VDT we had more than 900 Megathrons in the system, which could represent more than 270,000 crew members.  Who signed them up?  How did they get out to 4-EP?  Who feeds them?  What motivated them to join one side or another?  Are citizens of the various empires press ganged into serving?  Are conditions down on the planets of New Eden so terrible that a likely death in the vacuum of space seems like a reasonable choice and where most of your life is spent in a station in the middle of contested space?  And to whom do these crews hold allegiance?

Sometimes it might not be in your best interest to look too closely at the game lore.

But I will change my opening statement and grant that the lore is important, at least as a framework for our lives in New Eden.  It just is not that important in terms of the story of our own experiences in EVE Online, the tales we tell and the memories we create through playing the game.  In the end, player made lore behind a list like this:

2009-02-04
16:04 Alliance Band of Brothers has been disbanded
16:04 Corporation Keiretsu has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Relentless Construction has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Tin Foil has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Black Eclipse Corp has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Reikoku has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Destructive Influence has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation TAOSP has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Black Nova Corp has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation gettingaDeathSquad has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Justice. has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Evolution has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation FinFleet has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Oh Canada has left alliance Band of Brothers
16:04 Corporation Umbrage Inc. has left alliance Band of Brothers

is far more important than where the Guristas came from (and why they keep coming back) or what happens to your crew when your ship gets blown up… again.

Other, more serious entrants in the Blog Banter: