Quote of the Day: Cracked Explains EVE Online

Actually playing [EVE] is like being one of the attackers in the Battle of Helm’s Deep: Something awesome is happening, but most of your life has been boring drudgery and now you’re going to be killed by characters who’ve been here longer.

That pretty much sums it up for the majority of people who have played, are playing, or will play the game. That’s not to say its not a great game, it is. But its also a bit of a meat grinder with a siren’s call.

The rest of the article details ways that videogames are going through great lengths to screw us. Wilhelm will be both impressed that STO’s lockboxes made the cut, and disappointed that it only came in fourth on the list.

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Quote of the Week

This time of the year really heats up for me, vocationally, so I apologize for the lack of posts.  I still have another post on Project Gorgon to pop out, and some other things floating around, but they will just have to wait.  For now though, I got  a chuckle from bhagpuss‘ comment on TAGN’s latest EQ2 nostalgia offering:

 

One thing you could never accuse SoE of is consistency, which is almost top of the list of why they’re my favorite MMO developers.

 

I thoroughly agree with SOE’s inability to handle any sort of consistency, but I’m not sure that is quite what endures me to them.  I suppose its the almost puppy-like sense of enthusiasm and the way in which the entire group seems to consist of “FIRE, AIM, READY” people, which is very much part and parcel to my personality as well.

QFT: Marriage and MMO’s

From The Ancient Gaming Noob, about how gaming works when you are married:

 

Look, I play MMOs.  Anything with a pause button is like ice cream and cake in my marriage.

 

So true.  True story from me:  my wife once complained about seeing a line on our credit card for a new computer game I had bought.  After the initial “I can’t believe you spent money on another stupid game” lecture,  I said “But honey, it has a pause button.”  And she said “Oh!”  And that was the end of the discussion.

A Few Good Posts

I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile, but here’s a couple of posts that have come out recently (or that I’ve stumbled across recently) that got me thinking and that I enjoyed reading.  I recommend them to you.

 

Zero Class Diversity These Days ~ Keen and Graev

I loved the post and the sentiment both.  I hate the collapsing down of design to that LCD (lowest common denominator) point where ROLE = CLASS.  Shouldn’t each ROLE promote multiple CLASSES, each bearing a slightly different take on the strategy involved therein?  I understand that takes more development time.  The solution, at least for some MMO’s, has been the concept of mirroring across factions.  TOR has 16 classes (I know, Advanced Classes, but in reality, now that the shared tree is disappearing, they are distinct classes I think), but they only really had to design 8.   But I’m not sure its a needed solution.  I think the solution more lies along the lines of what Rift has done.  If skill based is too hard to balance, and class based is too boring – how about “tree” based?  This has been the formula for CoX and Champions, and for a few other minor MMO’s (one from Europe whose name I can’t remember at the moment) – and looks to be stunningly executed in the upcoming eye-popper ArcheAge Online.

Still to echo what K&G have said – I miss the days of extended and unique classes.  Yes, I know balancing was a pain, but we know more now about balancing and power levels than we did back then.  How about we give it another go?

Please redo Everquest (et al) as massively SINGLE player games ~ West Karana

Tipa readily acknowledges the difficulties in making this happen…but man oh man would I love to see it come true.  Roll them out a la Final Fantasy 1 and the old CRPG’s, where I got to control a full party (or in this case, one character and some NPC characters) and I would open my wallet and allow you to have what you wanted.  Make it a co-op or multiplayer option, and I would pay double.

Basically, if you think about it this is just laying out the possibility of a Diablo/Everquest hybrid crossbread.  Give me a static world, but allow me to bring a few friends along for the ride.

If it helps, I’d even give in to allowing the zone to be chosen from a menu screen with loads for each one, if that helps with the online multiplayer portion from a logistics standpoint.  But one thing I do want – I want to be able to play at any level.  Don’t make me grind from the ground up.  Or at the very least, give me some kind of gamemaster controls that put me in the driver’s seat when it comes to leveling rate and mob difficulty.

Oh the possibilities…

The Laws of Online World Design ~ Raph Koster

As I read down these remarkably brilliant ideas, I was struck by a few things.  The first thing that hit me was how few companies seem to have read or even attempted to follow *some* of these, must less *most* or even *all* of them (the last is tricky given the admission that these boundaries need to be pushed or even ignored at times, which I agree with).

The second is that the really good companies, the really good designers, like those at Trion or XL Games, have clearly payed a lot of attention to these laws, and dedicated some time to conforming to them or creatively (and usually successfully) breaking/ignoring them.

The third was that in looking over these, I can’t help but think that TOR is in trouble, at least when it comes to the long run.  Breaking a few laws creatively asserts your game and moves the genre forward, but ignoring most of these laws wholesale and at times even stating openly that you think they are bunk (maybe not referencing the law itself, but the thought underneath it) will mean that that stability and longevity of TOR will be in doubt once the glamour of the IP and the pent-up anxious desire that’s been building for the last 5 years finally slows down to a trickle.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been chewing on in the few nights I don’t step up to the Rift plate.  I’m almost to 46 and loving every minute of it.  I have also been grinding out my last levels of tanks in WoT, with an eye towards checking out the Clan Wars scene in the future.  Really though, I just want the historical matches to be put into the game ASAP –  I really think this will breath new life into the game for me and for a lot of other people.