Tag Archives: Facebook

Discord as a News Source

One of the ongoing issues of the blog over the last decade and a half has been consistent access to a reliable news feed when it comes to the games I follow.  I’d like to write about what they’re up to if only they would take a moment to let me know.

You can find a few rants early on in the life of the blog where I am frustrated that a given company… usually SOE… has a new page on their web site dedicated to a game and then won’t update it, or breaks the RSS feed, or insists on putting any useful information deep the forums, where no sane person dare go, or, perhaps most common of all, simply fails to update anything anywhere for long stretches of time.

That was in early days of social media, when Twitter and Facebook were something of a novelty and community teams mostly hung around on the forums or made podcasts, which were the hot new thing.  There was a long stretch of me dissecting each SOE podcast for news, back when that was a thing.

Social media has made things a bit better.  At some point various studios realized that they needed to raise their profiles on the various social media outlets, so we got official accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and where ever else one might find potential customers.  Some go so far as to post game news on LinkedIn, which has basically become “business Facebook” because the advice of every half-assed consultant demands that you build your brand by posting nonsense there.

The problem is that social media platforms are bad at timelines.  Twitter seems distressed that I follow so few accounts (I keep a hard cap of 500), so gleefully injects all sorts of suggested accounts into my feed, muddying up the waters.

And they are great compared to Facebook and Instagram, where time apparently has no meaning (I seem to get all the Instragram “Going into Friday like…” memes on Tuesday for example) and once you’ve seen something it gets stored somewhere you can never find it again.

And even when they are not screwing with your timelines, you do need to be there and looking at their site when something gets posted in order to see it in a timely fashion… or at all… which, admittedly means being online and ready at some point after 4pm on a Friday looking for bad news.

That used to be a standard Daybreak move, though CCP ran with the same plan for the great price increase news this past week.

Things have gotten better in that various community and marketing teams seem to get that they have to, you know, keep the players informed in order to keep them engaged.  That is literally the base function of their positions.  If you can only do one thing, do that.  But consistency remains spotty and, as noted, the social media platforms seem to be working against any sort of useful information getting to people since that doesn’t drive engagement like inflammatory political rantings from niche players you would never have heard of except that the know how to play to the algorithms.

Getting timely updates remains harder than it should be.  And don’t even get me started on the Bizarro world that is Google Alerts, which will go out of its way to tell me about every sketchy analyst group that wants to sell me a report on battle royale games but doesn’t seem to know that Massively OP is a thing when I get results for “Daybreak.”  (And when Pokemon has a “Daybreak” update… fergetaboudit.)

Then I ran into a Discord feature that allows game companies who run their own server to setup a news channel that you can subscribe to and pipe into your own server in order to get updates as they get posted.

Unity through Discord

I took the TAGN Discord server, which I setup back when Fantasy Movie League was a thing, and created a new channel in it, and went around and subscribed that channel to the news feeds of various video games.

And it has worked pretty well.

It has its limitations, the largest of which is that a studio has to set up its own Discord server and actually maintain it.  But Discord is popular, even by my own meager measuring, and has become a go-to spot for a lot of companies since gamers are already there.

For example, Daybreak seems to have bought in fully on running a Discord server for at least a couple of their games.  I am subscribed to the news feed for the EverQuest and EverQuest II servers and, for maybe the first time in the life of the blog, I feel like I am getting timely and relevant updates for those games.

Granted, Daybreak as a studio has gotten much better at communication, but this puts updates in my field of vision faster than ever.  They seem committed to the platform for now.

Valheim also provides updates in a timely and consistent fashion.  The Forza Horizon team might be a bit too eager to share, though I will admit everything they post is relevant for players of their titles.

Amazon Games is a little iffy.  They do post updates reliably, but seem to forget that they have more than one game.  They seem to copy an update from either New World of Lost Ark and post it to Discord without actually mentioning which game the news is for.  Usually it is somewhat obvious, but if they announce server restarts and don’t mention a game, do I assume them both?

And then there is Playable Worlds, which has yet to discover the subscribe feature… but they also don’t have a lot of news yet that is worth digging into.

So, for game companies that commit, it works very well for me.  The problem is that not every studio is that into the idea, and those that are do not exactly advertise their servers very well.

I know that Daybreak, as a studio under Enad Global 7, is very much into the Discord thing, but you had to know the servers were even a possibility in order to find them.  LOTRO, in a classic, old school move, announced their server in the forums… more than five years ago.  Early adopter, but non-obvious if you’re looking for it today. (They have social media button for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch on the front page, but no Discord.)

Addendum May 10, 2022: That was actually a third party LOTRO server that was being promoted, and it has since decided it isn’t interested in LOTRO anymore, so forget about that.

CCP, which does like to get into the trenches with customers now and then, seems reluctant to go the Discord route with an official server, but then made a server for Fanfest which quickly became the official server by default because they ran it.

And some companies… well, they just aren’t that into us.  I was kind of surprised to find that Gamigo actually has a couple of servers for former Trion Worlds game, including Rift and Trove.  I am not sure how useful they are… Rift seems to mostly be about the weekly cash shop deals and server restarts, which is not news that interests me… but it is there if you’re still playing.

Anyway, a new option in the struggle to find news.  It is out there, though your mileage may vary.

Answers to My Questions for 2021

Back at the start of the year I eschewed the usual predictions post and instead went in for a round of questions.  After 2020 I was clearly feeling unprepared to predict anything, though this was not the first time I went down that path.  Now we have hit the middle of December and it is time to see if any of my questions got answers we like.

2020 plus 1

There is a long pattern of me making such posts on the first of the year.

Anyway, let’s get tucked in and see what I can come up with.

What will a return to normalcy bring to the video game industry?

Right off the bat I am going to have to object here to the assumption that we’ve returned to anything like normalcy.  We’re not in 2020 anymore, but we’re not not in 2020 anymore either.  The shadow of that year lay heavily over this one, its poison seeping in.  People who can are still working from home, Covid is still spreading, the economy is still in a bind from the pandemic, and the world still seems to be going to hell at a rapid pace.

Will Shadowlands hold players?

Well, at least we have an easy one here.  The answer is “no.”  There are a few reasons, not the least of which is Blizzard not releasing much in the way of additional content and Blizzard being revealed as a nightmarish Dickensian workhouse of misogyny and intolerance.  Also, maybe “run Torghast every day for the next two years” wasn’t the winning plan that somebody thought it was.

Will Diablo Immortal ship?

Another easy one!  And another “no.”   Wyatt Cheng once asked if we had phones.  Many of us probably have new ones since he asked that question at BlizzCon 2018.  Now does he have a game?  That seems to be a more pertinent question at this point.

Does Blizzard have anything new planned?

Three for three here on the easy questions, with another big “no” on the tally.  Diablo II Resurrected is about as “new” as they got, and they had Vicarious Visions do the remaster of a twenty year old title for that.  It was a good remaster, but it wasn’t new.

Along with that we had Burning Crusade Classic and WoW Classic Season of Mastery, also not new.  Even the solo mode for Hearthstone didn’t feel very new.  I guess their bigger company issues got in the way for some of that, but it still feels like they came into 2021 just winging it and hoping something would come up.  And, honestly, they don’t seem to have much lined up for 2022.  How can such a big studio… more people work on WoW than most MMO studios have total employees… deliver so little?

What does Daybreak under EG7 really portend?

A reverse merger, with Ji Ham now at the helm?  I wouldn’t have called that one.  Otherwise there has been some promises for the future, but the first year really seemed like business as usual for Daybreak… except maybe they didn’t lay so many people off in 2021.  That’s a plus.

Will Norrath continue to boom?

Kinda, maybe, sorta.  As noted above, things were mostly business as usual.  That has generally been good for the Norrath titles, EverQuest and EverQuest II, which get an expansion in November/December and a major content drop in late spring/early summer every year.  So things roll on there.

But when it comes to doing anything new, it is LOTRO they want to put on consoles, DCUO they want to update, and an unannounced Marvel IP MMO that gets all the headlines.  They even keep bringing up H1Z1.  But EverQuest as a franchise?  Any plans for that look to be dead.

What happens with H1Z1?

Nothing.  As I wrote above, EG7 keeps bringing it up when they talk about the important IPs they control.  There is clearly some wishcasting going on about the title returning to the top of the battle royale genre. But actual progress?  There was some mention that they had a few people look into being able to run a build, but otherwise nobody appears to be working H1Z1 in any meaningful way.

At least they stopped renaming it I suppose.

Where is Cold Iron Studios?

Not with Daybreak and EG7, we know that much.  Somewhere between the announcement that Daybreak was purchasing Cold Iron and the launch of their game Aliens: Fireteam Elite, Cold Iron went somewhere else.  Details are hazy, the story is mostly inferred, but Cold Iron never made it into the EG7 stable of studios.

What does ArenaNet do after all the departures?

Pretend nothing has changed and announce an expansion?  This is the problem with bringing up studios and games I do not watch closely.  A bunch of key people left ANet last year, but back in August they announced the End of Dragons, slated for February 2022, so I guess everything is good.  Maybe?  I don’t really know.

Where does CCP go next with New Eden?

Nowhere?  Seriously, after the Triglavian story cycle the company has been been focused on the new player experience and trying to force the in-game economy into a form that they believe is best for the long term survival of the game, ignoring the short term “hey, can you give us something fun?” requests from the players.  Short sheeting the economy isn’t fun.  Even if you don’t care about the economy and mock miners and industrialists who are complaining, you have to admit that there is very little fun in what CCP has been doing for the last year.

Will CCP stop strangling the New Eden economy?

No.  There was a promise over the summer that the end of scarcity was coming.  But the Q4 quadrant, New Dawn: Age of Prosperity, involved very little prosperity.  For every relaxation of the economic restrictions there was some matching nerf to offset things, often hidden behind some oppressive new game mechanic.  CCP said they were listening to feedback, but they mostly slowed their roll a bit (compression will be in 2022 now) and tried re-arranging the deck chairs some (“waste” got renamed to “residue”) as they carried forward with the goal of resetting the economy to some past halcyon state.  I am sure this will end well.

How Will World War Bee End?

The side with the 3:1 numbers advantage got tired and went home.

There are many ways to spin who “won” the war.  PAPI can claim that they forced the Imperium down from four regions to one constellation and destroyed trillions of ISK in ships and structures.  The Imperium can claim that they held out, denied PAPI their stated victory conditions, and in the end destroyed as much in ships and structures as PAPI did.

As for losing the war, that award generally goes to the group that loses their space and has to move elsewhere.  That makes Legacy Coalition, the main instigators of the war under Vily, the losers.  TEST, the leading alliance in Legacy, lost their old space, couldn’t hold their new space, and ended up trying to live as far away from the Imperium as they possibly could.  Brave gets a special mention for losing hardest of all, as not only did they lose their old space and their new space, but now the rest of PAPI is attacking them because Brave sold structures to the Imperium so they could at least asset safety their stuff and get some seed ISK in the bank to carry on.

Really though, the honor of ending the war goes to CCP.  It was already somewhat obvious after the second battle of M2-XFE that their servers were not going to be up to a final mighty battle.  And then CCP made changes to resources and production that made capital ships too valuable to expend freely, so the attackers were limited to subcaps.  In the choice between investing a lot of time and effort in a real blockade of the final Imperium constellation or just going home, they opted to go home.

Will Nintendo announce a remake of Pokemon Diamond & Pearl?

Yes, goddammit, yes they did.  About freaking time.  And it has shipped and there is a copy for me and my daughter under the Christmas tree.  We’ll see how that plays out soon enough.

Will crowd funded MMOs finally find their way?

Ha ha ha ha… no.  I mean, Crowfall went live I think.  I am not sure it will survive, but it shipped.  And they are a stand out in the stable of crowd funded MMOs, which mostly promised things they couldn’t deliver.  Don’t spend money on things that you cannot play today.

Project: Gorgon is the right path, as it was in playable form from the day of the first monetary ask. Camelot Unchained is the wrong path, asking for money, blowing through every promised date ever, and starting a new project before the promised one is even in beta.  And then there is Star Citizen… well, they certainly know how to milk a community.  Star Citizen is a lot of things, but being an actual video game seems to be a few bullets down the list.

Is there anything new possible for MMORPGs?

The metaverse maybe?  That seemed to be the topic for 2021.  I don’t know if it is Raph Koster’s desire to remake the simple days of MUDs in the 90s or Mark Zuckerberg’s dystopian vision of an all controlling metaverse that turns our very desires against us, but I guess either might be something new… at least for MMORPGs.

Oh, and something about crypto and NFTs.  But we’ll probably burst that bubble in 2022.

Will I play anything new this year?

Valheim.  That was a bit of a left field star, but ended up being our main game for about two months earlier this year.  New World showed up and, once the initial chaos settled down, the instance group got into the game.  And then there was Forza Horizon 4 & 5.  Open world driving for the win.  There were a couple of other small titles that were new, but nothing that I invested more than a couple of hours in.

That I played three new games made 2021 a departure from the usual routine.  In 2020 80% of my game time was spent in WoW, WoW Classic, and EVE Online.  The year isn’t over yet, but so far those three titles represent less than 50% of my tracked play time.

Will VR get a killer app this year?

Ha ha ha ha… no.  VR will remain a niche so long as it requires a real world obscuring mask strapped to your face… oh, and the motion sickness issue gets addressed.  Ready Player One and Zuckerberg’s idea that we’re all going to live in his ad laden VR metaverse hell is a pipe dream.

Will the industry be smart enough to keep regulators away?

Not really.  The industry’s best defense so far has been regulators being interested in other things to further their own interests.  It has to be a slow news day for lockboxes to make the headlines of late, so politicians and regulators have mostly been busy elsewhere.   Except for Blizzard.   Yeah, Blizzard is having some regulatory issues, though not over lockboxes and that sort of thing, just mundane things like running a hostile, discriminatory work place.  The usual corporate thing.

But the industry keeps on trying to get the government to come down on them hard, with cryto and NFTs on their list of things to try next.

Will We lose Section 230 Protection?

Not yet, though Facebook seems to be pushing to have that taken away, because they have the money and the staffing to deal with any new regulations which would help them cement their place in creating our dystopian future… and present… and recent past.

What will I do when the blog turns 15?

Write a post about it.  That is my answer for most things I suppose.

So that was the list for 2021.  As those were just questions rather than predictions there is no score.

I think I’ll be able to warm up to doing some predictions for 2022.  I have a couple of weeks to get on it.  But first I need to make a 2022 graphic.

Facebook, the Metaverse, and John Carmack

The metaverse is honey pot trap for architecture astronauts.

-John Carmack, Consulting CTO for Oculus VR

The metaverse has been much discussed in our little corner of the world here in 2021, largely due to Raph Koster and his Riffs by Raph columns over on the Playable World site where he has been writing about virtual worlds, multiverses, and the potential for a metaverse.  While he is clearly selling a vision as much for investors as for us, his self-promotion contains plenty of valuable insight.

There has also been something of a wave of NFT and blockchain proponents hyping their favored tech as the key ingredient for some future metaverse, though they can hardly drag themselves away from destroying the planet and scamming people with the virtual goods version of the property flip scam to be taken seriously.  They are are just modern incarnations of those who would sell the Brooklyn Bridge or investment opportunities in perpetual motion machines.  George C. Parker would be very much at home among them.

Steam went so far as to ban all titles that have NFT or cryptocurrency ties. (Scott Hartsman has a Twitter thread about why Steam might not want the liability that comes with those titles.)  Epic went the other direction immediately because Tim Sweeney’s idea of an argument is the automatic gainsaying of whatever his opponent says.  But Tim Sweeney says a lot of things, and he carefully caveated his statement to give the Epic Store an out.

But the big bombshell this week was Mark Zukerberg announcing his intention to create the metaverse and being so invested in the idea that he has changed the name of his company to Meta.

The memes based on this image are quickly becoming meta

My gut reaction to a Facebook owned metaverse requiring me to strap their Oculus hardware to my face and let them watch and exploit everything I do in their Horizon virtual world sim is a pretty strong negative.

The pitch has been put together in this 20 minute video which features Zuckerberg himself explaining how he wants to co-opt the metaverse idea and make it something he controls.  He isn’t so much promoting a metaverse so much as a “Zuckerverse” where he’ll be king.

Part of me sees evil based on what Facebook has become, but part of me also sees somebody who peaked in their 20s with an astounding success, becoming a billionaire over night, who now wants to top that.  Oh, and I also see somebody who has no idea what real people want or need… and maybe a bit of distraction from the bad odor Facebook is in right now as well.  Lots going on here.

And I am one of those people who read Snow Crash in the late 90s and have been hearing about the idea of VR since the mid 80s, so I am still in the target zone for online world ideas.  But Facebook driving it… well, a lot of people were annoyed/dismayed when Facebook bought Oculus back in 2014, and we were only angry because Facebook hosted crappy spammy social games and harvested our data. (Some fun links in that post. I think the Raph Koster one might be the most on the money, which doesn’t surprise me.)

More interesting and refreshing though has been the take by John Carmack, Consulting CTO for Oculus, which Facebook owns (and which is also losing its name), who gave the keynote speech for Zuckerberg’s event.  He seems much less convinced that the metaverse is an achievable objective in the way that is being presented.  The video of his presentation is embedded below, dialed up to just where he begins to speak about the metaverse idea.  He is a strong proponent of the idea, but not so much of the path it is on, and is keenly aware of the complications it faces.

The “architecture astronauts” he mentions in the keynote, from the quote I have at the top of the post, are those who like the big picture ideas of the metaverse while skipping over the details of how to actually make those big picture ideas work.

Carmack is very much about those details and points out quite a few issues with the idea of an Oculus VR based metaverse, not the least being the problem of the headset itself.  He compares it to the ubiquity of our phones and the challenge of reaching that level with hardware that you have to strap to your face and which blots out the real world, not to mention the whole motion sickness thing.  I mean, he still seems all in on a Facebook metaverse, he just just comes across as skeptical that they’re going about it the right way.

Anyway, there is a bunch there to digest and news stories abound about the Facebook announcement, so use your favorite search engine to find them, though if you want the best headline to come out of this, Vice has you covered.

Ars Technica also has a summary of the Carmack keynote if you don’t want to watch it, though I think watching it has much more impact.  There is also a nice Twitter thread that brings up key Carmack statements which is a quick read.

As for Facebook changing its name to Meta… does anybody actually call Google “Alphabet” now?  And what happens to The Meta Show, the weekly EVE Online Twitch show?  Does this help it or hurt it?

We’ll see what this looks like a year from now.

Addendum:  The Meta Show rebrands in light of the changes over the past week.

Fountain Frank announces The Facebook Show

The Other Shoe Drops on Facebook Account Requirement for Oculus

We learned last August that Facebook, owners of Oculus since 2014, was going to start requiring all new Oculus users to login using a Facebook account, with a plan to eliminate legacy Oculus accounts by 2023.

This was viewed with suspicion by many who expected that Facebook (motto: Evil is just a question of money, how evil do you want to be?) was planning to collect and abuse data from these accounts.

Happy FarmVille Memories… which apply to Facebook in general for many

And now we have the confirmation.  This past week Facebook Reality Labs (formerly Oculus and I feel like they should put the word “harsh” in before “reality”) posted a blog update announcing that they would in fact be collecting data from your VR usage in order to present ads and make you a focus of targeted marketing.

This, I am sure, surprised exactly nobody.

Your Facebook data will even be popping ads in the Oculus app for you.

The surprising… or perhaps “galling” or “outrageous” is the right word, I am not sure… part of the blog post was where they announced that they were starting to test injecting ads into select VR games based on whatever skeevy data Facebook has collected on you.

On reflection, “surprising” was clearly not the right word because I found the whole thing absolutely unsurprising once I read about it.  It seemed quite on track for Facebook.

I am sure this is exactly what every gamer is looking for, ads based on their every day life, viewing habits, and purchases, showing up in the escapist pursuits.

I mean, I am perhaps not the best one to going on about immersion, it being a delicate line that I can only cross when I am absolutely not thinking about being immersed, a cotton candy sort of mental state that melts away the moment I realize it has happened, but I can guarantee it is never going to happen if I get real estate ads in my game because I liked a Facebook post my wife put up about her latest listing… because spousal support is about all I can manage on their platform these days.

Of course, I don’t actually own an Oculus VR headset… but if I did, I would be disgusted with it I imagine… or myself.  I am sure I’d find something to be mad at.

Related:

Oculus and the Facebook Account Requirement

And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like “Log in with your Facebook account!”

Somethin’ Stupid, lyrics slightly altered

I remember back when Facebook bought Oculus back in 2014 and the panic it tended to induce in people.  The quotes I gathered at the time indicated that some people did not like Facebook.  I am not sure why, given all they had done for gaming up to that point, like… um…

Oh yeah, social gaming, and that crash when the accurtate description of the average game on the service became “spammy piece of shit,” was still living large in our collective memories back then.  FarmVille!

Happy FarmVille Memories

But we don’t hate Facebook as much now… oh, right… yeah, Zuckerberg’s decision that money from people seeking to subvert democracy and spread false rumors spends just as well as money from any other product has not made him any more popular.

At least, however, he seemed to be content to leave Oculus and its VR headset business alone.  That was likely because the VR market has yet to meet early expectations.  CCP didn’t get out of the VR space because business there was booming.  So Oculus has been able to improve its hardware over time as they continued to sell units at a decent, if more modest, rate.  That latest model from them is better, smaller, cheaper, and no longer requires so many connections to your PC.  All of that is likely to make VR more viable in the market.

Things have been quiet enough that you might have even forgotten that Facebook bought Oculus… until this week.

This week it was announced that Oculus users would eventually have to migrate to using a Facebook account to log in.  The full announcement is here.  The crux of it is:

Starting in October 2020:

  • Everyone using an Oculus device for the first time will need to log in with a Facebook account.

  • If you are an existing user and already have an Oculus account, you will have the option to log in with Facebook and merge your Oculus and Facebook accounts.

  • If you are an existing user and choose not to merge your accounts, you can continue using your Oculus account for two years.

Starting In January 2023:

  • We will end support for Oculus accounts.

  • If you choose not to merge your accounts at that time, you can continue using your device, but full functionality will require a Facebook account.

  • We will take steps to allow you to keep using content you have purchased, though some games and apps may no longer work. This could be because they require a Facebook account or because a developer has chosen to no longer support the app or game you purchased.

They are billing this as an ease of use and improved experience, but a statement in that post seems a little more on point as to why they are going this route:

…when you log into Oculus using your Facebook account, Facebook will use information related to your use of VR and other Facebook products to provide and improve your experience. This information is also used to show you personalized content, including ads. For example, we might show you recommendations for Oculus Events you might like, ads about Facebook apps and technologies, or ads from developers for their VR apps.

You will be in the Facebook targeted advertisement ecosystem, which is where Facebook makes its money.  You get to be both customer and product.

Now, does this really change anything?  Theoretically, since Facebook owns Oculus, your account was a Facebook account already.  But I suspect that it wasn’t fully integrated into the Facebook authentication services.  Facebook, like Google and Apple, has made their authentication system available to other services.  And I actually us Google for a few things, as I have 2FA setup on my main Google account.

But would I use Facebook?  With the way that the company has shown itself to be over the last few years?  Maybe not.

I wouldn’t avoid getting an Oculus VR headset because of this, but I also wouldn’t put it on the list of things in favor of getting one either.

Other coverage:

July in Review

The Site

I started getting ready for Blaugust, but I am probably still behind on things.  I do tend to write things in my own good time.  This is why I can never write for anybody else.

A picture of one of our cats because I don’t have a relevant image

July was sort of an odd traffic month.  The actual volume of traffic was about normal for these days, even a little bit better than the last couple of months.  The number of referrals from search engines was about on par, almost exactly the same as May, which meant I was getting a little more direct traffic I guess.

The odd bit was the posts that were popular this month.  If you look down at the “most viewed” posts section you will see that not a single post that I wrote during the month of July made it into the top dozen, the closest being in 17th place.  I do not think I have ever had that happen before.

Also, the selection of posts on that list… again, odd.  I mean, the top one is normal, but some of the others are strange.  I guess Burn Jita 2018 came up somewhere, but otherwise I cannot explain it.

Maybe that post about masks was relevant after one EVE blogger turned completely toxic and got himself banned, only to claim it was all an project for a class and expecting all his bad behavior to be forgiven.  (That didn’t work out well and, unsurprisingly, he went right back to toxic, leaving his excuse more than a bit threadbare.)

But the two FML posts from past seasons? I am not sure what got them all that traffic.

One Year Ago

We adopted a new kitten.  He’s much bigger now.

The Steam Summer Sale wrapped up and I went over what I bought and what I considered buying, but then passed on.

Amazon Prime Day came and went and I realized I had been buying things from Amazon for 20 years.

I started using a dual monitor setup at home.  It took me a while to get used to it… I would turn off the second monitor a lot early on… but it seems natural enough now.

Gevlon was telling us about the corrupt game developer career path.  I bet you wish you knew it was just that easy to get rich.

The call of nostalgia got me to subscribe to EverQuest II for a bit to try the Fallen Gate progression server.  I got far enough to get the crazy mount.

In EVE Online Reavers were deployed in the east of New Eden where we helped blow up a Fortizar in the Great Wildlands.  CCP has used a picture from that fight a couple of times. It then took us two days to get back to Delve, during which we argued about BBQ sauce.

Back in Delve we covered the deployment of another Keepstar in the region.  I was also producing mechanical parts via PI.  And I tinkered around with one of my Alpha clones, running some of the profession quests and mining in a Vulture… I mean a Venture.

The July update for EVE Online brought us revamped Strategic Cruisers… the start of the current reign of Loki supremacy… as well as an update to Project Discovery.

It was also announced that the captain’s quarters would soon be removed from the game.

We also got our first taste of The Agency in New Eden.  It was just an event at the time, though it would grow to be all things PvE soon enough.

And CSM member Jin’taan was advocating for cat ears in space.

I found that Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin still ran on my system.  A great old war game.

Albion Online launched.  I didn’t play it.

And, finally, Lord of the Rings Online got us to Mordor.  It only took ten years.  I bought in, but then there was the question of how to proceed… and with whom… and how to get back into the swing of a game I hadn’t played for ages.  I returned to one of my favorite places in the game, Annuminas

Five Years Ago

I was looking for gold in the MMO blogging community, which became the topic of the moment.  I think that post marks the final time Tobold deigned to leave a comment here.

It was summer, so there was a Steam Summer Sale.

Activision-Blizzard was moving away from Vivendi… and WoW dropped 600K subscribers.  Heh, remember when that seemed like a big drop?

There was a promise of some news about EverQuest Next, so I started speculating about what we might hear.  The word “sandbox” got mentioned a lot.

In New Eden the battle at 6VDT-H ended any hope left for TEST and heralded the end of the war in Fountain.  The war made up most of my posts for the month, which I will list out here:

There is a summer reruns post that rolls all of my Fountain War writing together into a single post if you are interested.  It includes propaganda and the defining video of the way.

On the iPad, DragonVale and Candy Crush Saga were my current games of choice.

My summer vacation in Middle-earth got me to Moria.

The instance group got together just long enough to defeat the Storm Queen… and that was about it for us and Rift.

The Civilization V expansion Brave New World changed up the game again.

I starting musing about the inventory management aspect of games.

And we said goodbye to Google Reader.  While I am used to Feedly at this point, I still think this was a mistake by Google.  It certainly didn’t push enough people to Google+.

Ten Years Ago

BioWare finally let loose the least well kept secret in the MMO-verse at the time.  They confirmed they were making a Knights of the Old Replublic type MMO.

The mention of Diablo III seemed to spur a revival of Diablo II with the Diablo II Battle Chest taking the #1 sales spot for a time.  Not bad for a game that has not had an expansion since 2001.

Meanwhile, on the SOE front, it was time to say farewell to the EverQuest side of the Living Legacy program.  I also griped a bit about how SOE was advertising the completely out of date EverQuest Platinum on the EQ Players site and had been doing so for a long time.  That ad disappeared before the month was out though.  Such a coincidence!

In Azeroth the instance group went back to the Slave Pens as we edged ever closer the Burning Crusade level cap of 70.  We were also out in the Blade’s Edge Mountains. Then there was an off night where we visited Norrath for a bit.

Meanwhile people were selling Wrath of the Lich King beta keys on eBay for $500.

Blizzard also seemed to have a default web site for their games.

In New Eden I was pondering the economics of building and flying a marauder and comparing the benefits of a Raven Navy Issue and the Caldari marauder, the Golem.  It was laggy in Lonetrek, which later turned out to be some GoonSwarm op going on in the region.  Our little corp was on the move again.  And some of us were taking the EVE personality test while I compared ships styles of the different factions to cars from my youth.

And speaking of EVE Online, I also joined in with CrazyKinux on some crazy EVE Blog Pack idea.  I was kicked out later for not being an exclusively EVE Online blog, then weaseled my way back in.  Not many of the original 20 blogs are still up and running.

Warhammer Online was on the horizon.  I had pre-ordered the collectors edition, but then came the content removal, some classes and four cities.  And while Mythic posted the minimum system requirements, I was wondering what the recommended… often thought to be the true minimum for many games… might end up being.

And, finally, I was done with GameFly and damn glad to have escaped from Atlanta.

Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Burn Jita 2018 Aftermath
  3. Honest Game Trailers – Animal Crossing
  4. Burn Jita Back for 2018
  5. Extra Credits – Picking at the Lockbox Thing Some More
  6. Winter Movie League – Denouement
  7. SuperData and the Rise of Fortnite
  8. Spring Movie League – Cats and Birds and Bruce
  9. Rumors of Future Daybreak Projects and the End of EverQuest
  10. Rift Prime Time
  11. Do You Wear the Mask or does the Mask Wear You?
  12. The Road to CSM13

Search Terms of the Month

test keepstar killed
[Which one?]

are wow chats dead azuremysy
[WoW was having all sorts of issues, and don’t call me azuemysy]

cqbb8zuazauxymjot9dt6bvyvbscpniymcjjpeybo8kjeym_uqv0kjsr2nbysvcb1vnasmaoaf_p0p_d1rzp-tcwo4ytelyaok8s1ku8srgyi-qrubxmwzyq5bhzwaeybej5kgat8khjlezt0ujmzvhpwpqtixf12ecugegsdu9vv3svigbrtxelv0qgz__cazueezhb6f6a-bq2fzibx_7hdxhsfmsifawtrwsjq4i8tz8ziiecbuhekhnpmoayubht2bfjxafr5cmkoppont3z6p-dk7yiygkms80osfwbxshf2eowlvv8d9744dg5tlf3oc3wgdttm3zw4j-fma
[Must have been a hit on a Friday post]

EVE Online

It has certainly been an active month in null sec, with battles happening in the north and south end of 0.0 space as the whole place split into two teams to fight.  Keepstars were a focus, and for a while TEST has a bunch of northern capitals bubbled up and camped, until they broke out.  All of that is going to make for a bullet point list a year from now when I do the month in review.

Minecraft

The Aquatic Update finally landed.  There were some problems initially, but it settled down a bit and mostly worked.  I had actually been putting off looking into Minecraft until the update was finally released.  Now I am out looking for the new stuff it delivered… and trying to figure out what to do with it once I do find it.

Pokemon Go

I actually made it up a level in July, hitting level 33. To get to level 34 however is now a million xp, so that will likely be a while. I have kept on with the friend thing, exchanging daily gifts pretty regularly. Because of that I now have nothing save 7km eggs in my inventory.

One thing that changed with the last update has ended up being a bit irksome; the journal no longer logs when you get kicked out of a gym and how many coins you earned. That is actually kind of important information to go missing, since you can only earn 50 coins per day. It matters if I got kicked out of a gym before or after midnight. Ah well.

Level: 33 (+1)
Pokedex status: 333 (+2) caught, 351 (+1) seen
Pokemon I want: Still Lapras, still don’t have one
Current buddy: Slakoth

World of Warcraft

We hit the end of the Legion expansion and started warming up for Battle for Azeroth.  That warm up has been… slow.  But not as slow as waiting for my addons to get updated.  WoW seems to need to pitch a fit when addons are askew.  Why can’t I just unselect “load out of date addons” and get on with my life?  Instead I have to affirm my addon choices with every visit to the character select screen, and woe be to me if I forget to one again uncheck that box about out of date addons.

Coming Up

Battle for Azeroth will launch simultaneously world wide in the middle of August.  I’ll be good to go at 3pm local time on August 13th… unless there are problems.  But there are never problems when launching an expansion, are there?  Anyway, this launch will no doubt dominate a lot of the MMO related blogging.

As noted above, Blaugust is also upon us.  That will mean trying to get myself on track to write something related to the suggested weekly topics for the event.  Also, I am going to try to post something every day over the course of the month, as task that always seems daunting at the start of the month.  Then I go into overdrive and end up with excess posts by the end of the month.

In EVE Online the brewing null sec war will likely continue with each side taking on targets of opportunity.  Will it lead to another huge supercap killing battle?  Somehow I think not.  EVE Online‘s ability to handle such battles is still dubious, reinforced nodes or not. If a node goes down mid-battle the losing side just declines to log back in when the node is restored and that is the end of that.  So both sides will probably just keep scorching whatever regions of space they can manage.

Finally, if you follow TAGN on Facebook, you won’t be come tomorrow.  Pressured to fight the boogeyman that is “fake news,” Facebook is cutting off the ability for people to post automatically to their timeline from other applications.  Oh well.

Still, if it reduces even a bit of the stupidity I see on Facebook I won’t complain too much.  The note I got said I could make a “page” and things would still work, but I don’t know/care what that is really, so I am not sure if it is worth the effort.  As a source of traffic Facebook ranks well behind Bing at the trivial end of the commercial sites and, as a rule, almost none of that meager amount comes from my own feed but from when somebody links me independently in their own feed.  You can still do that.

October in Review

The Site

Odd that this, a month in review post, is also my yearly Halloween post.  That is kind of anti-climactic… unless you really like these posts I guess.

Meanwhile, the only amusing site-related bit for the month was this message I got over on Facebook.

My flaming fart joke falls afoul of Facebook

Yes, you can follow the blog on Facebook by friending Wilhelm Arcturus there.  Friend him, he’ll accept.  It is just blog posts from here, EVE Online Pictures, and updates from Good Reads, if you’re interesting in what I am reading.  I don’t play crappy Facebook games any more because, so far as I can tall, all Facebook games are crappy.  Thanks Zynga!

Anyway, Facebook seemed to think that the lighting of farts was an indicator of spam.  Or such is my guess.

Given all the absolute garbage that gets “suggested” to me by Facebook, not to mention all of the alleged Russian sponsored political ads that Facebook is trying to pretend didn’t happen, flagging my post as spam seems almost comical.  That’s some top notch work there Facebook.  I bet it wouldn’t be spam if I paid you some money.  Glad you’re on the job.

I filled out the form declaring that my post was not spam.  Well, it isn’t spam any more than anything I post here is spam, but spam is in the eye of the beholder I suppose.  I haven’t been back to check to see if they agreed.  That account is a bit on auto-pilot.

Happy Halloween all the same!  Go “like” this post on Facebook or something!

One Year Ago

Amazon’s game studio announced some games including the alleged MMO New World.  Being given almost no information about New World did not stop some people from banging the hype drum, boosting expectations, and generally setting themselves up for disappointment.

Also announced was the Nintendo Switch, which would allow millenials to play video games at roof-top parties if the trailer was to be take literally.

Civilization VI launched and became the first Civ title I did not acquire at the soonest opportunity.  It just didn’t excite me.  Instead I was getting my strategy game fix with Stellaris.

I reviewed the Mineserver Kickstarter campaign a year later.  The units were nine months late with no end to the wait in sight.

I made it to level 20 in Pokemon Go.  There was also a Halloween event.

Tom Chilton of unfortunate quote fame let out another one when he said that World of Warcraft had over 10 million subscribers again after the Legion expansion launch.  Blizzard, having taken a vow of silence on subscription numbers the year before, denied everything and claimed he was mis-quoted.

Over at Daybreak they were discontinuing game cards and taking H1Z1: King of the Kill off of Station Cash as an RMT currency.  They did give us firm dates for the two Kurnak based expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II.

In EVE Online, while we were fortifying Delve our foes in the Casino War began to turn on each other, with Pandemic Legion and their followers declaring their intention to take Tribute and Vale of the Silent away from Circle of Two and TEST.  All I could do was give a Nelson Muntz, “Haw-haw!” at that turn of events.

Still, that wasn’t half as much fun as CCP declaring casinos against the EULA with the coming of the Ascension expansion.  Our foes would have to actually earn ISK in-game.  I wondered what that would do to the economy.

We also got the YC118.9 update which, among other things, meant the death of the in-game browser.  We did get breast cancer awareness skins.  Yay, pink skins!

At our end of New Eden there was a lot to do.  I was fighting the Blood Raider menace with my Ishtar and looking for ways to help the coalition.  Reavers turned two years old and were blowing up citadels and fighting over timers in Querious.  The coalition itself was ranging up into Fountain with a new doctrine.

And in World of Warcraft the Legion got its first post-launch content drop while my own enthusiasm for the expansion was starting to wane.

Finally, I was at EVE Vegas, but since it lasted through Halloween I didn’t post about it until November.  Also, a new version of my blogger feed was operating in the side bar.

Five Years Ago

The San Francisco Giants won the World Series.  That made the second time in my life, which was one more than I had any reason to hope for.

Disney bought out Lucasfilm, claiming ownership of Star Wars.  Panic ensued.

Zynga was well into its troubles, leaving me to wonder how Lord British viewed his partnership with the imploding company.  Certainly the Zynga business plan seemed… childish?

I had a sudden crescendo of activity around World of Warcraft, culminating in Blizzard finally letting me cancel my subscription.  There was the Panda launch and people declaring success or failure.

Instead I was off in the Emerald Dream pirate server attempting to relive what WoW was like back in 2006.  In involved a shovel.  Vanilla WoW nostalgia drove a sudden surge of traffic to the blog.

The first Project: Gorgon kickstarter kicked off.

I was invited on a pre-release tour of the Storm Legion expansion in Rift.  Then there was the big update to the soul system, some adventures in Lantern Hook, and the Autumn Harvest Festival.

In World of Tanks the word of the day was Sturmgeschütz.

Storm Eagle Studios was again worried about my marriage.

There was some trolling about free to play.

Lord of the Rings Online launched the Rider of Rohan expansion.  I eventually picked it up for Turbine Points… or LOTRO Points… or whatever.  I haven’t actually played through it yet.

In EVE Online we got the Retribution expansion that updated all that crime watch stuff.  At least visible timers ended up being cool.

EVE-Kill was looking for donations to keep everybody’s then-favorite kill board up and running.  It has since died, so I guess that didn’t work out in the long run.  Also in that post, there was a new EVE site up called The Mittani dot com (worst name ever), something about sound in EVE Online (who knew?), and the dawn of miner bumping.  This is why I hate those bullet point posts one, five, and ten years later.

I was off on a CSAA killing mission that got me accused of cognitive dissonance.  I was feeling warm and cozy in null sec.  We were also pursuing our foes in Tribute and the Vale of the Silent.

I was wondering how EA Louse’s comments about Star Wars: The Old Republic were holding up two years after he made them.

I was complaining about games (or, in my 30+ year old example, a game master) that try to impose their story on your character.   I don’t mind being a part of the overall story, but my characters have their own stories and motivations and I do not like it when games put their own words in my character’s mouth.

And, finally, there was the case for seat belts.

Ten Years Ago

For about 20 minutes the blog had a different theme.

In EVE Online I finally finished my training and was actually flying a Hulk!  Being mining focused, I went out and calculated which asteroids were the most profitable to mine.  Veldspar rated surprisingly high.  I was also calculating the cost of producing light missiles, probably the only time I really used a spreadsheet for EVE Online.  “Spreadsheets in Space” is a lie.

I also figured out that with 120 billion ISK and a year of training, I could fly a Titan, but I couldn’t fire the main weapon system.

Blizzard made its first big cut in the amount of experience needed to get to level 60 in World of Warcraft.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

There was SOE’s Station Access Savings Calculator.

EA announced it was buying BioWare for $860 million.  It seemed like MMOs might be in EA’s future again, as BioWare was already known to be at work on one.  Meanwhile, I was trying to work up a set of criteria on evaluating whether an MMO would be a success or not.

I was going on about THE REAL PROBLEM with voice chat in video games.

Mario Kart Double Dash was our Wii game of the moment.  My daughter was also playing Webkinz, though some of her friend’s got their mothers to play for them.

I found one of the rare Golden C-3P0 mini figures in a LEGO package.  I was also looking at the stack of old Dungeons & Dragons books at the used book store up the street from work. (Both my work and the book store are long since gone.)

The instance group finished up Zul’Farrk and went after one wing, then the other, in Maraudon.  We were closing in on level 50 across the group.  I also got a horde character to level 40… I think he is still level 40 today. I was also excited to get a 16 slot bag drop!  Also, being able to craft from items in the bank, as we now can, would have helped me a lot.  Meanwhile I finally read some quest text closely.

Gods & Heroes: Rome Rising was put on indefinite hold, which lead to a headline contest.

In the post-launch downturn for Lord of the Rings Online, Turbine was out polling players about what they wanted… and what they would pay for.

As usual, with the coming of autumn, the rains, and a new expansion I again became nostalgic for EverQuest.  I was also playing around with some ideas for Secrets of Faydwer packaging.

Also, Team Fortress 2 launched.

Twenty Years Ago

Age of Empires and the first Grand Theft Auto launched.

Most Viewed Posts in October

  1. From Alola Pokedex to National Pokedex in Pokemon Sun
  2. Where the Hell is that EverQuest Successor Already?
  3. Lost in Legion
  4. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  5. Home From EVE Vegas 2017
  6. RimWorld Ate My Gaming Time
  7. The Demise of BattleClinic
  8. VR Development Dead and Layoffs at CCP
  9. Daybreak 30 Months In
  10. Lifeblood comes to EVE Online
  11. Three Years of Reavers
  12. Attribute Remap in New Eden

Mildly amusing that the end of month post Lost in Legion made it up to third place on the list so quickly.  Writing about WoW attracts views.  Also amusing is how the top two posts on the list have persisted for so long.  There is a reason for the first, there being NO national Pokedex in Pokemon Sun & Moon, however the second seems… odd.  Are people really looking for an EverQuest successor?  They keep coming here in search of that.  I’m not sure my post is much help in that regard.

Search Terms of the Month

eve jaspet mining strategies
[Go find some in your Venture and mine it. Warp off if somebody shows up.]

eve online change name
[As bad as the name is, I don’t think they’re going to change it]

new everquest game
[Maybe, some day… probably not an MMO though]

any games succeeded everquest
[Technically EverQuest II I suppose]

level 20-25 planarite bow rift
[The way you level up, you won’t use it for long I bet]

“october 15 2017” torilmud
[An oddly specific date]

blizzcon predictions 2017
[I sort of did that yesterday]

why make flying in draenor so difficult
[Wait until you get to Legion buddy]

EVE Online

There was EVE Vegas.  We also got a big update with the Lifeblood expansion last week.  The repercussions of that will likely take a while to settle down.  But actually, in-game, I did not do a lot in New Eden.  I went on one actual strategic op, got two PAP links, and that was about it.  Oh, and I remapped my attributes.  I’m barely down from that high.  Woo.  Perhaps The Agency revamp and the Crimson Harvest event will give me something to do.

RimWorld

Holy moly, this is probably why I wasn’t playing EVE Online… or anything else… for at least half the month.  Steam says I put in a lot of hours playing RimWorld… which isn’t a game you play so much as tinker with and adjust and watch until you realize it is way past when you planned to go to bed.  I eventually hit a threshold with it, but for a while that was pretty much all that was running on my computer.

Grim Dawn

This was on a Steam sale when the game launched an expansion.  It had long been on my wish list, so I decided to grab it.  I haven’t spent too much time with it, but it really seems to be the ideal Diablo clone; same enough that you get it right away, but different enough to not feel like a straight up copy.  Unfortunately the timing was bad and I started off in WoW and have slacked off.  I’ll have to return to it and write something about it, but SynCaine was effusive about it back in March and so far I agree.  Tops Diablo III, Path of Exile, Torchlight II, and the Titan Quest remaster in my early, and perhaps premature, opinion.

Pokemon Go

I hit level 30, a milestone indeed, though the path from there to level 40 is much longer than the path I have already trod.  Then there was the Halloween event which offered double candy, something that helped my finally evolve a Magikarp into a Gyrados.  It takes 400 candies to get there and Magikarp are rare in my neck of the woods.  My next goal is to get a Blissey because I want to be that level 30 jerk with one in a gym that can’t be taken down by people level 25 or under.

  • Level: 30 (+1)
  • Pokedex status: 204 (+15) caught, 236 (+14) seen
  • Pokemon I want: Blissey
  • Current buddy: Chansey, because I only need 10 more candies to evolve it to Blissey

Pokemon Silver

I started off playing for a bit, but let that fall to the wayside with the coming of RimWorld.  I haven’t even gotten to the first gym yet.   Still, it is playable and clearly a solid entry that helped cement the Pokemon saga as a staple of Nintendo’s handheld titles.  I own a 3DS XL to play Pokemon.

World of Warcraft

I resubscribed.  I want to fly in Legion.  I am still figuring out where I left off a year ago.  But I will say returning to WoW and all of its polished smoothness is still a good feeling even when I’m mildly frustrated about what the hell I should be doing.  I seem to be on course now, immersed in a task, though the mount of the Headless Horseman still eludes me.

Coming Up

Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder treason and plot. 

So we have that to look forward to.   Seems apropos this year. 

But by the time that rolls around BlizzCon 2017 will have come and gone and we’ll be more the wiser… or not.  Despite my prediction back in January, it seems likely we’ll all be talking about a new expansion for WoW rather than Guy Fawkes.  I waxed a bit about that in yesterday’s post.

I expect we’ll have a broader look at the upcoming expansions for EverQuest and EverQuest II, the latter being set to arrive during the last week of the month.

Given the big expansion in EVE Online I’m not sure we’re slated to get a November update.  They may just be pushing bug fixes through until December when they have a few more items in store.  And the disruption that layoffs and re-orgs cause lends more weight to “not much going on in November” idea.

Nintendo will be launching Pokemon UltraSun & UltraMoon in the latter half of the month.  I should get that pre-ordered to get my discount on Amazon and make sure my old 3DS XL is charged up.

And then there is the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, the gateway to winter, Christmas, New Years, and a bunch of predictable annual posts.  We’ll get there soon enough.

Obligatory Shock About Oculus Rift Post

So yeah, yesterday after the markets closed, Facebook announced they were going to buy Oculus VR for $2 billion. Oculus VR is the company currently working on the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

And then a corner of the internet exploded.  I figured I ought to mark that moment in time so we can come back and revisit it later.

Sudden, and potentially rash statements were made.

A general revulsion with all things Facebook was expressed by some.

Basically, all the dislike of Facebook… and there is much to dislike about Facebook and it methods and its founder’s outlook… bubbled forth.  Answer this question: If Mark Zuckerberg asked you to strap this to your face…

Into the Rift

Into the Rift

…which movie would come to mind?  Aliens?  Clockwork Orange?  Lawnmower Man?

Would you envision fun things happening or bad things?  Or just boring things?

So we are currently in the shock phase of this announcement, which is making the whole “Disney buys Star Wars“thing look pretty tame, at least in our little corner of the internet.  After all, for a lot of people the Star Wars series was already ruined by episodes I-III, so what else could Disney do?  But a lot of people were pining some pretty big hopes on Oculus Rift being a step into the future of gaming.

And now Facebook has it.  Are we going to get Candy Crush Saga VR?  FarmVille 3D?  Are we going to get any sort of VR gaming experience at all out of this?  Zuckerberg isn’t exactly big on video games.  His past actions have been about extracting money from those games that choose to live in his domain.

Ars Technica already has a column up about what Facebook might do, which includes a lot of promises about what won’t happen… from the guy who no longer controls the company… so the brightest bit in that seems be the fact that Facebook bought Instagram and hasn’t destroyed it yet.  Maybe Zuckerberg will just leave them alone.

Then there is the Kickstarter aspect of the whole thing.  Oculus VR raised $2.4 million of its funding via a Kickstarter campaign… just before Disney bought Star Wars, to bring that back around.  People who gave money at that point forked it over for very specific reasons.  This was the way it was pitched:

…the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games.

For video games.  That is what they said.  Will they keep saying that a few months after the acquisition?  And will it matter if more developers step away because of Facebook?

While Oculus VR likely has no legal/financial obligation to do anything but send out the promised T-Shirts and early units that people were entitled to for their pledges, do they have any sort of moral obligation after taking Facebook’s money when it seems likely that the vision sold will not end up being the vision pursued?

And, finally, there is the “Why sell to Facebook?” question.  Why would Oculus VR sell to a company that has so little interest in video games and so much invested in collecting and selling our data?  Were things just up for the highest bidder?  Were there too many strings attached to other offers? Did current investors force the move to cash out?

Because there had to be other offers.

Anyway, among other things, this puts the whole “CCP moving closer to Sony” thing in a new light.  Was the word already out that Oculus Rift might be moving away from video games?  Was CCP hedging its bets?  Is Sony’s Project Morpheus the new leader in that arena?

The Sony project was interesting when Oculus Rift was there as well, but alone it seems destined to become yet another proprietary piece of Sony hardware.  Sony VR will require you to purchase a PlayStation 4.  And that may keep Oculus Rift in play even with Facebook looming large over it.

As the dust settles after the big shock, people are starting to muse about what this really means.  I suspect we will be doing that for a while.

Of course, every such announcement has its bright side.

And then there is the humor aspect.

We shall see how this all develops.  If nothing else, I have a tickler now to check back on this in a year.

Quote of the Day – Social Gaming in Hindsight

A lot of people now equate ‘game on Facebook’ to ‘spammy piece of shit,’ which I don’t think is an unfair or inaccurate estimation of the situation

Scott Jon Siegel, quoted at Gamasutra on social gaming

Gamasutra is moving into one of the things they do really well, which is looking at how things unfolded in some aspect of the gaming industry in hindsight by pulling in key players and getting them to talk about their experiences.

The topic of the moment is social gaming… which pretty much means games on Facebook… and articles like the one above are starting to show up to examine the phenomena.

Of course, it is tough to pick just one quote out of that article.  Gems abound, such as:

any Facebook game he tries will be poorly designed, lack invention, try to trick him into spending money and spamming friends, and start emailing him regularly without permission

And the especially damming:

You had a huge population of product managers, game designers, and developers making games that they themselves didn’t like

You hear a lot of “game studios are businesses” and “they have to make money” when anybody complains about monetization in games.  Those sentiments are true enough, if not exactly a defense against any particularly odious money making scheme.   But when your studio becomes all about the money and cashing in and being the next Zynga, well, something is wrong.

And a lot of the blame in the article goes on Zynga, both for their questionable business practices as well as for their huge initial success attracting copycats and wooing Facebook to tie themselves to the Zynga model.  In the end, so-called social gaming went from a giant cash cow, to a more modest one that now requires some originality to stand out.  You can still make money.  Look at Candy Crush Saga.

An interesting read, and one I am sure some people will take a great deal of satisfaction in.  “I told you so!” should spring to mind for some.

Additional fodder: These two videos about Cow Clicker and Age of Empires Online.

Extra Credit Question: Lord British was telling people they would be stupid not to make an MMO when World of Warcraft was the big, big thing.  He then jumped on the social gaming bandwagon and even attempted to hitch his star to Zynga at one point.  Now he has a crowd-funded project.  What does that say about crowd-funding?