Friday Bullet Points From the Empty House

Summer must be coming to an end because the new semester starts for my daughter next week.  She and my wife left Wednesday morning to drive up to Oregon to get her moved into the dorm and settled, while I stayed behind.  It took about a day before working from home and having nobody to sync up with on meals before all structure fell away from my existence and I began to live like the cats.

My wife will be back tomorrow to help return me to a more normal cycle, but until then it is time for another nap.  But before I snooze, a few items that came up of which I wanted to take note.

  • Designing Virtual Worlds

On Monday this week Richard Bartle announced on his personal blog that he had asked for the rights for his 2003 book Designing Virtual Worlds to be reverted to him and he has now made it available as a free download in PDF format.

Something like the book cover

I actually found out about this via a tweet from Raph Koster:

Naturally I grabbed a copy as soon as I could.  Even if you are not interested in the design aspects, the book includes a run down of the history of virtual worlds from MUD1 up into speculating about the launch of EVE Online.

As is noted constantly, the whole thing predates the launch of World of Warcraft, but is still remarkably relevant 18 years down the road.

  • Men Who Play Women

Nick Yee’s group, Quantic Foundry, emailed be about the release of a new publicly available report on the genders people choose to play when they have an in-game avatar.

home of gamer research

Among the findings were that while only 9% of women play male avatars, 29% of men play female avatars.

The report goes on to try and explain why men play female avatars and comes up with some good points.  But I suspect that the fact that so many games hyper-sexualize female avatars plays into it a lot as well.  The game designers are very much in on the objectifying of the female body.  I would be interested to see if there was any variation in the numbers between games that are all in on boob bounce physics and titles that don’t go down that path.

  • Esports in Asia

Niko Partners, which covers the video game trends in Asia, has a new report on the size and trends in esports across Asia, which makes up 54% of the global market.  While the full report will set you back $5K, the intro page has some tidbits about the market that you might find of interest.

  • EA Making Loot Boxes Suck Slightly Less

In their quarterly earnings call EA said that they were seeing more engagement and more spending when they let players peek at what was in a loot box via special “preview packs,” which you could open before committing to buy.  These were apparently received very well by the community and a lot of players who otherwise had not purchased loot boxes spent money on these new packs.

EA has literally discovered that if you tell people what you’re selling, more people are likely to actually buy.

  • More Bonus Skill Points in EVE Online

A quick one to slip in because it is time sensitive.  CCP has a skill point login event going on this weekend.  For Omegas that log in  and claim the rewards on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, there is 50K skill points in it for you.  For Alphas, it is just 15K, but that is still better than nothing.

  • Reminiscing About EverQuest and EverQuest Next

Finally, last week aLovingRobot had Jeff Butler, one of the original EverQuest team members, on the show where they chatted about EverQuest Next, EverQuest, Vanguard: Saga of Heroes, the early days of SOE, and the MMORPG market.

aLovingRobot’s channel has more than a few videos dedicated to the history and lore of EverQuest and related titles, so if the subject interests you, then you can certainly find some more to watch.  There are a number of names from the past that appear in the series.

Hat tip to Feldon for finding this.

3 thoughts on “Friday Bullet Points From the Empty House

  1. PCRedbeard

    Methinks I’m going to have to download that book for a read.

    And as for the female toons of male players, I do think that the overdone aspects –boob bounce physics, overly sexualized toons, etc.– have an impact as well. In my case, however, it just kind of came out that way that my main toons are female. I was so certain my Warlock would get played a lot more than it has (L23) that I’m kind of surprised that it was Card that became my main in Classic. However, I did choose Briganaa deliberately as a female toons because for some reason with my male Draenei toons back in retail days I would have a terrible time of estimating jumps. I figured a “smaller” Draenei would have better luck, and so far she has.


  2. Tremayne

    I play a mix of male and female characters – and without doing a detailed count, I’d say the ratio is the same in games like LotRO, where all of the female outfits are ‘modest’ as in games with combat stripper outfits. There are definitely players out there who throw the boob slider to maximum and the chainmail bikini to minimum, but I couldn’t guess who prevalent that is. For myself, as a writer I tend to create a balance of male and female characters so that carries over to creating game characters.

    I copped my only Reddit suspension (to date) on this topic. Someone suggested that any male who creates a female character is transgender. I (not so) innocently replied that in that case J K Rowling is transgender because she wrote stories about a boy and BOOM!


  3. Gary

    (RL male here) A long time ago in EVE I was in null sec and rolled a female cyno char on my 2nd account figuring a female char had less chance of getting popped while defenseless. I doubt if it ever made any difference. A few years later I joined Red Frog as a freight hauler and needed a throw away char to be my Red Frog contract acceptee. (The rules of Red Frog say you never haul with your public contract acceptee.) As it turned out I became a Red Frog new hire tutor and probably trained about 150 players in the Frog ways of hauling. My female alt became more famous than my main.


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