Category Archives: Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day – The End of Legends

Within the Daybreak family, LoN seemed to be that uncle that, while still part of the family, no one ever talked about. He was always just hanging around creepily, standing in the corner sipping on a bottle of who-knows-what out of a brown paper bag.

Dellmon, Guest Post at EQ2 Wire

Legends of Norrath went dark last week and, despite a previous post about its imminent demise, I totally missed the date.  I suppose next year, when I do the month in review post, being off by ten days won’t matter much.  And frankly, to me the game itself didn’t matter much.  It was a convoluted game in a genre I don’t care for in any case.

Dellmon puts the game’s “players” into three categories in the post linked at the top, and I clearly fell into the third of the three.  I tried the game for a bit early on, then just collected the free card packs that being a Station Access subscriber got me, opening them up in hope of finding a loot card or two.

I will admit that I did get a few nice housing items out of those packs.  But it wasn’t enough for me to bend my mind to the task of opening up those card packs on a regular basis.  I think I had 80 or so sitting around unopened as the game went away.

There was a momentary glimmer of hope for the game when Smed, seeing Blizzard make a quick success out of its card game, Hearthstone, figured SOE (soon to be Daybreak) could do something like that too with Legends of Norrath.

Of course, nothing came of that.  The studio had just announced the closure of four titles in what looks like, in hindsight, pre-acquisistion house cleaning.

And so it is gone, like so many online titles before it.  I still think the high point of the game for me was when Brent from VirginWorlds was used for a card in one of the expansions.

Brent from VirginWorlds got a card

Brent on his card

That is likely to be the only card I will remember.


Quote of the Day – Competing Against the Outside World

Meanwhile, VR devs are going, “But what about sticking blinders on people’s faces and making them stay at home?”

-Syp, on Twitter

In sudden surge, the augmented reality game Pokemon GO does seem to have gotten more press over the last few days than virtual reality has gotten over the last few months.  It has gone from the gaming press (I think half the stories at Polygon this week have been about the game) to the general press to showing up on the local news.  When your local news anchor is saying “Pokemon GO” a couple times an evening, it is a sign.  And then there was word of a movie based on the game as well.


This has been very much a perfect storm event, with a launch that managed to combine summer, when kids are off from school, have free time, and an inclination to go outside and do something, a free app for the smart phone so many people already own, and the immense popularity of Pokemon.

Meanwhile, the biggest VR news I have seen this week is that the Occulus Rift pre-orders from the beginning of the year have all finally shipped, but that the Touch motion controllers still do not have a firm date as yet.  Go team.

Of course, a phone app and VR aren’t really comparable, but it is a reminder that there hasn’t really been a killer app for VR yet that would get the average person interested in buying an expensive headset and a high end PC or console to go with it.  Right now it is still a niche product for enthusiasts.

Quote of the Day – Goons Will Win the War

We all know how this is going to end. goons will buy off the key people against them, or the allies will simply run out of ISK and /or interest, or CCP will come to the rescue of the RMT cartel.

Any way you cut it, goons powerbase will remain intact, and they will be as stronger than ever once the latest ISK printing press is installed one jump from Jita.

Dinsdale Pirannha, comment on Betrayal at M-OEE8 post

Not actually an April Fools joke, yet it feels like it belongs on this day.

Probably not the person you expected me to be quoting either.

There is something surreal in finding that the person most sure of victory for The Imperium, or at least victory for Goonswarm, is one of its constant critics.  But what of his statements?

The first is that the all powerful Goons will outspend IWant ISK, an online ISK casino that can afford to blow 1.8 trillion ISK on skill injectors just to say they did so.

Also showing off with that wallet balance

Also showing off with that wallet balance

Oh, and they are giving away titans during a video stream today.

I am not sure even Goons have the ISK reserves to do that, not to mention that the war against The Imperium has gone past mere rhetorical forum posts along the lines or “Ceterum autem censeo Gooninem esse delendam.”  The war appears to have achieved a life of its own, with or without ISK, with a goal to burn down Deklein and salt its fields so that no Goon may ever flourish there again.  Anybody who swapped sides to join The Imperium now would be savaged almost immediately and be ruined in reputation.  That likely isn’t worth any amount of ISK.

So, since a buy out seems to be out of the question, The Mittani will just Bat phone Reykjavik and tell Hilmar to win the war for him and his team.  “I’ve promised my people we would have that XXL citadel in VFK-IV before the next timer, so make it happen!”

Okay, that is way over the top, but I cannot come up with something that would both win the war for us yet wouldn’t totally destroy the game by making people quit in droves.

I will give Dinsdale credit.  His middle option isn’t at right angles to the situation.  I am not sure the “running out of ISK” aspect is going to happen, given the prodigious amount of in game currency IWI is able the throw around, but running out of interest… getting bored with the mechanics of total war, tired of forming for big fights, frustrated with tidi and the annoying sovereignty mechanics of the moment… that is pretty much how Goons, then the CFC, then The Imperium took and kept their holdings in the first place.

That is pretty much The Imperium plan now, the old stand-by of weaponized boredom.  But to get there we first have to get the war into a stalemate.  Winning fights and objectives, making progress, cancels out boredom.  And in a situation where the enemy can sneak in and reinforce VFK-IV, the one-time heart of the empire and a symbolic location for The Imperium, stalemate might not even be within our grasp right now.

Who did this?

Who did this? (said in angry Snape voice)

So barring the forces of the Moneybadge Coalition getting tired and wandering off, things look pretty bad for The Imperium.

Yet I wonder if there is any outcome that would cause Dinsdale to reconsider his view of Goons and CCP and EVE Online?

I didn’t write this post to be mean to Dinsdale, but he has a long standing reputation in the comment threads of many blogs and has pressed home his views time and again over the years.  He clearly wants to talk about them, and he keeps coming back for more, so I am going to guess he won’t be deterred by any of this.

But is there anything that could shake his views on this topic?

He might be so wed to those views that no set of events could change them.  I don’t know.

But the bigger problem… or at least the problem one can rationally discuss… is that I am not sure that the game would allow our foes a victory near complete enough for him to even consider changing his views.  The problem… if you consider it a problem… with New Eden is that you can never extinguish your foes.  They have to leave the game of their own accord.

So even if the Moneybadgers win a complete victory, take every Imperium system, win every battle, and hell camp any evacuation, some aspect of the coalition will remain.  Enough angry Goons can go on making people mad in New Eden for ages.  Even if the Moneybadgers band together in a permanent alliance and knock Goons down and keep them from ever holding sovereignty anywhere in New Eden again, they can still be a pain in the ass, another Mordus Angels group that can’t do anything on its own but which can sting annoyingly by shooting ratters or reinforcing a tower now and again.  And it would take a lot of work to knock Goons down to that level.

We are now facing a number of foes whom we have beaten in various wars over the years… sometimes on multiple occasions… yet there they are, back at it again, attacking Goons.  And so I suspect that no matter the outcome of the war, some form of The Imperium… maybe rebranded, maybe just flying under the Fat Bee flag, maybe with some leader besides The Mittani… will exist and will flourish and reassert some portion of its power again.

And then Dinsdale could say, “I told you so!  They won in the end!”

Is this a problem?  Or is EVE Online already savage enough?

Quote of the Day – The Optics of VR

The games with peripherals that do the best are highly social games that demo well at parties – think Rock Band or the Wii.  Both were compelling experiences that made observers immediately want to rush home and buy their own.  VR, on the other hand, makes you look like an idiot to observers.

Damion Schubert, I’m Still Skeptical of VR

GDC came and went last week up the road in SF and Virtual Reality was a major topic (and gimmick fest) at the event.  Mr. Schubert was there and came back with a few bullet points for one post and then a whole post about the harassment potential of VR in multiplayer experience that needs to be addressed.

Out of all of that, probably the most trivial bit, how VR looks to other people that tickled me.  It isn’t as bad as made out by that Time magazine cover…

Time Magazine

Time Magazine

…which became such a meme that my Google search to find a copy of the cover was almost nothing but parodies.

Feel the Bern... erm... Burn!

Feel the Bern… erm… Burn!

Nothing right now is going to get you up and running around and jumping in your living room with that tethered headset.  Not without some lawsuits.  VR right now is about your head being in the game, so to speak, with the player being able to orient their view in the way we do in the real world.  It will be a long time before it is something akin to bad interpretive dance.

But even then VR is something that you cannot really get a sense of until you are the person sitting there in the sensory deprivation mask and headphones actually experiencing it.  Watching somebody else don the equipment and begin to play is a bit eerie or comical or silly as you watch them move and react to things to which you are not privy.  Having the mask on, being the person in the gear, is a very solo experience.

Quote of the Day – CSM members have no agency

CSM members have no agency.

-Sion Kumitomo, Now We Got Bad Blood

The quote was so small that I put it in the title of the post.  Saved you a click… unless you’re already here.  Ah well.

The post from which I took it however is somewhere in the 4,500 word range, or about double the number of words at which I start thinking that I might be rambling too much.  So many words in order to build up a context, set the story, explain the machinations, and try to tease out some of the nuances of the whole saga. (And then there is the comment section which seeks to compete on the total words front.)

The words of Citizen Sion

The words of Citizen Sion

Yes, the post was put out there to tell a story and justify an resulting action, and that can require many words.  Sion gets to have his say.  Yet, for me, the essence of the whole issue was delivered in five words nestled deep in the heart of that enormous post.  This all came about essentially because members of the CSM, for all their hard work and devotion to the game, cannot make things happen.  They cannot make CCP listen to them.  They cannot make CCP like them.  They cannot make CCP disclose information to them.  They cannot make CCP fly them to Iceland.  They cannot make CCP acknowledge their existence.

The members of the CSM hold almost no power in their relationship with CCP unless they take the game out of school, so to speak, and start getting players riled up directly.  And even that has worked exactly once, back during the Incarna brouhaha.  Going out of school mostly just gets you ignored or ridiculed or excluded from the proceedings so far as I can tell.

School is, of course, the apt metaphor.  I called the whole thing the Galactic Student Council back in 2008… and I am not going to let that piratical Rixx Javix steal my lead on that insight either with his 2011 observations!

Not that I begrudge CCP their hold over things.  They have a business to run, and adding a bunch of well meaning outsiders to the development process can be a hindrance to getting things done.

But CCP also set this whole CSM system up.  They have encouraged players to step up and pitch in, on their time, and generally work at what I once described as essentially a “horrible middle-management job,” all for the love of the game.  It is not unreasonable to expect that, if you’re going to ask people to put in the effort, that you not jerk them around.  You don’t tell people they matter, that the whole process matters, and then consistently prove to them that they really don’t without some blowback.

And so Sion boycotted the latest CSM summit.

Part of me doesn’t agree with his choice.  After all, what does a boycott of one accomplish?  And doubly so, how effective is a boycott when you’re alleged to be the member that CCP changed the whitepaper, without consulting the CSM, just to exclude from running for CSM again?  Staying away seems to be giving CCP exactly what they desire.  It would be better, to my mind, to show up and bang your shoe on the table like a latter day Khrushchev just to let people know you’re there and won’t be ignored.

Then again, I haven’t been in Sion’s shoes.  After his experiences, it may be that exercising about the only agency he has left within the confines of the CSM Whitepaper seemed like the better plan.  In the end, he made the choice and gets to live with the consequences.

Anyway, the management of the CSM at CCP has traded hands, with CCP Logibro, a friend to all fan sites, and the perennially popular CCP Guard taking over the helm.  Perhaps that will change things a bit for CSM 11.  Putting one of the most well known and well liked members of the CCP team on the case does send a message.  But CCP Guard also seems like one of the busier people on the CCP team, at least when looking in from the outside, so I hope he and CCP Logibro have the time to do something with the CSM.

Quote of the Day – The Paywall Cometh

Ultimately this is a business decision, to best support RIFT moving forward into the future. We’re on the cusp right now of RIFT’s 5th Anniversary, and we’ve got great stuff planned for 2016. But that stuff takes engineers and designers and CS and QA and a whole lot of other folks.

-Trion Worlds, on their voidstone plan

Free to play must really be an incredible pain in the ass as a developer because, if nothing else, players will literally assume you mean “free” when you say “free.”

And, seriously, if you’re going to start in with, “Well, “free” doesn’t really mean “free” because…” just stop right there.  The idea was to provide content that players would feel was worth paying for.  If enough people aren’t paying, maybe it isn’t your player base that is the issue.

Or, maybe it is.

As we saw last year with the PlanetSide 2really struggling” post, some players are just never going to spend a dime on your game, no matter the incentives, if you are giving it away for free.  Some are poor.  Some are cheap.  Some just like the challenge of the limited free mode.  And some, I am sure, just want to take advantage.

You can get angry about this, spit nails, and use words like “entitled” all you want, but it was the company which made the game that set the payment terms, not the player.  If you are going to blame the customer for taking you up on your offer, looking in the mirror for the real guilty party is all I can suggest.

As noted in that “really struggling” post, no amount of incentives will induce some players to pay.  And if you cannot induce people with the carrot, well, there is always the stick.  And so Trion is making a change and removing the ability to unlock new equipment slots introduced with the last expansion through a long but free grind, thus forcing players who want to get the unlock from the cash store or by subscribing.  Sounds like a paywall.

Yes, there is a work around still.  Trion’s statement goes on to make the claim that you could earn the in-game cash to buy a REX, the sort-of Rift version of EVE Online’s PLEX, wherein you can use in-game currency to subscribe, more quickly than you could grind out voidstones in order to unlock those  same slots, all of which makes you wonder why they would bother.

Oh, right, somebody had to pay real world money for a REX for it to get on the market, and creating demand for REX will increase its value in-game, which makes it more likely that paying players will buy more.

So the slot unlocks remain free for some, so long as somebody out there is paying.  A somewhat porous paywall, but a wall all the same, and possibly a harbinger of things to come.

I’m really neither here nor there on whether this change is an outrage or a reasonable adjustment.  Even World of Warcraft has their WoW Token offer which they push vigorously enough. So is the old Rift motto getting more or less true as time goes by?

No, not Azeroth!

No, not Azeroth!

Posting this is more a matter of noting how the F2P MMO market is continuing to evolve as the difference between competing games seems to diminish.  The trend will no doubt continue.

But still, it isn’t like Trion is doing anything really outrageous like, say, putting lock boxes inside of other lock boxes.  That requires a whole different level of “customer focus.”

Addendum: And it looks like Trion is on the same track with Trove.

Quote of the Day – What Should Early Access Be?

For us, Early Access is not something that should be taken lightly. It should be considered a final release in the sense that you’re on a path to finishing the game and you’re going to get it out there.

Studio Wildcard co-founder Jesse Rapczak over at

We are in the age of early access for video games, and Steam has been a huge enabler on this front.  When going through my queues during the winter sale I saw this plastered on many a page.

Warning: Not a finished product

Warning: Not a finished product

Steam has a statement about Early Access (that “Learn more” link), but it is really up to the developer as to when they go for early access and what it means.

The interview with Rapczak linked above represents the world from which I came… more than 25 years ago at this point… where you don’t give half finished items to customers, that you let them in only when you think you’re ready to ship but want feedback before the official launch.

And this seems to have worked out pretty well so far for Studio Wildcard’s game Ark: Survival Evolved.  They wanted/needed feedback as opposed to funding to finish the project and, judging from what I have heard about the game, things have worked out very well for them.

Of course, not every developer has the luxury of delaying funding until the game is nearly ready to go.  There are some indie projects out there that need the dollars to just keep going.

But there are established companies out there that ought to be able to get further along without the cash infusion.  Derek Smart said he was charging $99 to be in the Line of Defense early access program because he didn’t want any freeloaders using his resources.  A $99 barrier to beta so that only the truly motivated would join in.

Then there is Daybreak (née SOE) and its two Early Access children, Landmark and H1Z1.

Landmark is two years in with no release in sight, while H1Z1 will be a year in Early Access next week.  Certainly Landmark seems to be the poster child for how to build some excitement quickly and then let it dissipate slowly as development grinds on for years.  I am actually much happier about the state of EverQuest Next.  Yeah, we’ve been talking about it for more than five years now, but at least nobody has paid for it only to lose interest in a less than half done product.

Meanwhile, I don’t think it is unreasonable to be concerned about the future Landmark.  What happens if too many Early Access customers lose interest before it launches?  Do you ship a product that can’t keep enough of your truly dedicated fans?

And then there is H1Z1, which at least seems to have some excitement around it now and again… there is at least enough activity to keep its subreddit aboil.  Then again, according to the official statement on Steam, it was supposed to go “live” last year.  Of course, Daybreak apparently told their lords and masters at Columbus Nova Prime that they had shipped the product already… like 11 months ago.  There were probably some revenue recognition issues which lead to that, but at least somebody there thinks the game is live already despite the soon to be year old Early Access banner on its Steam page.

We live in interesting times when it comes to game development funding, with crowd funding and Early Access, and variations on the theme all looking to get money up front for project to be delivered down the road… often much further down the road that originally estimated.

Sometimes it works… and even works well.  As noted, Ark: Survival Evolved seems to be doing well, and of course Minecraft started out that way and is now so ubiquitous that I see references to it or related products everywhere I go. (Your favorite game may be popular, but it likely isn’t on the shelves at Target, doesn’t have a series of LEGO kits devoted to it, or its own market segment devoted to hosting servers.  Minecraft has quietly taken over my daughter’s generation.)

But sometimes Early Access just seems like a good way to make a quick buck as your product peaks too soon.  Community involvement and growth is one thing, but too long in that pre-launch state can take the bang out of the eventual go-live.  And if you’re charging money, you reap the press response you sow with your state of readiness, which may set the tone for your product.