Day Twelve: Whom You Admire

I could make this post twenty pages long.


I could rehash the bloggers I’ve already told you are some of my favorites, because generally speaking I like the blog because I like the voice behind it.


Then I thought maybe I could tell you about some game designers I like, but its like I would be telling you something new.   You know of my admiration for Peterson and Fantasy Flight Games,  for Luke Crane’s genius, and so on.


I thought maybe about going more general, outside the realm of games, after that fun little back and forth about Andrew Jackson.   But then skimming Twitter today, I saw something and realized this would be a good place to shine another little spotlight.   How about a producer/developer?


Basically this is what I saw in my feed:




And that, ladies and gents, is Scott Hartsman in a nutshell.  Several years ago I wrote a post raging about a poorly worded title in a Rift announcement.  Scott, who apparently on top of the zillion other things guys like him have to work on 25 hours a day, was scanning blog feeds.  He tracked down my email, apologized and promised me a spot in Alpha.


It would be easy to chalk that up to media wooing – but I’m not the guy who gets invited to behind the scenes jazz and press junkets.  I’m happy with the moderate traffic I get here, but I am not one of the big dogs.   A couple of weeks later, when the Alpha invite hadn’t materialized, I sent an email.  And by golly, and I got another apology, plus he dropped whatever it was he was working on and I had the Alpha launched downloading within five minutes.


In other words, he went out of his way to be nice for a fan.  And that tweet above shows its not just me that he goes out of his way for.   He’s honest enough to speak his mind and kind enough to offer whatever help he can.


To paraphrase a line from A Knight’s Tale, even if that’s all I knew about him, it would be enough.   But let’s be honest, Rift was and still is one of the best developed and put together MMO’s out there, and its launch was mostly free of the usual hiccups.   So we know he is talented and good at his job too.


So, if you want to know who I admire, there ya go.  I admire Scott for his skill, his openness, and his kindness.  Hopefully he can help some of those guys and gals at Trion land on their feet.

The PvE Sandbox; or how PvP is ruining my MMO’s one by one.

Does it exist?  And if so where can I find it?  That mythical game with no PvP.


I am reading over at The Ancient Gaming Noob about how Rift is now traveling invariably down the same path that crashed Warhammer and Fallen Earth.  That is, turning your MMORPG into an a  competitive 3rd person whack-a-skill-watch-the-dps-meter-and-create-some-macros paradise.  Granted, Rift is not there yet, because they haven’t, say…changed their entire damage and armor mechanic because it wasn’t good for PvP, or scaled their XP progression primarily around how many matches it would take to cap level.  But its the beginnings of those paths.


I’m beginning to wonder if its a foregone conclusion for any MMO that decides to saddle itself with the burden of PvP.  Its like a cancer that eats away at the heart of the game.  I wonder how many developer hours are wasted on balancing and fine tuning classes/skills/macros/3rd party support that could instead be used to generate new content.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-PvP, or World of Tanks would not loom large in my life.  Nor would I have spent as long as I did in EVE.  But the games I play for PvE content always seemed to be subjugated for some bizarre PvP dominance, as it that were the lifeblood of the games players.   And perhaps it is, which leads me, for yet another reason, to ask the question about the PvE sandbox.  Even TOR does not seem immune to its effects, as the earliest indications of patch 1.1.2 indicate.


Just for once, I’d like to see some PvP players crying a developer said “no” to their desired changes on the reasoning that it would disrupt the rest of the game world who are playing (::gasp::) an MMO.