Gaming Massively

Monday, June 16, 2008

throwing people out

I love this! Massively pointed me to this video, showing the ways you can kick people out of your private space in a web based game called Sociotown.



I'm not sure where I'm at with browser based games yet - I'm beginning to think they might be viable, though I'll be sad to see the high-end graphics go away. Of course, maybe the next version of our favourite browsers will have high-end graphic capability...?

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Friday, April 18, 2008

WoW is the new Second Life

What's that you say? A conference in World of Warcraft? What fun! Apparently between sessions on virtual worlds and the like, they'll do raids. The swag bag apparently includes cash, and a pet. Cool!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

LotRO just 'gets it'

Massively is reporting that a new content release (Book 13) for LotRO will include fishing trophies for player houses. This is the kind of crazy, bizarre social stuff that I think all of the MMOs should be doing. If it's an RPG, how the heck can you RP without housing, dancing, whatever. WAR's comments that they wouldn't have dancing because of the grim nature of the game is bologna. 

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Friday, April 4, 2008

PvE from elsewhere

There's a post up at techcrunch talking about social networking, and how it sucks if you don't have friends. It's kind of interesting to think about social networking sites realizing the same things that MMOs know, and are already working on. It's a variation on the PvE question. And the issue, from the business perspective, is the same as well - how do you keep people paying for a service that isn't very fun (because they don't have friends). Maybe you make your social site a game?

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Free Realms

A post over on MMOG Nation alerted me to some interesting new developments Sony will be doing on their new game, Free Realms. I've commented in the past that social networks and MMOs are destined to come together, and the developments noted in the game description seem to indicate SOE will be taking a big step in that direction. I expect a lot more to follow. Why, for example, are there so many sig generator websites that are semi-functional, when the gaming company could create a reliable one (or a reliable API...)?

Add a splash of MyBlogLog and you might have some really interesting stuff happening.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

A social networking site for gamers?

TechCrunch, a site that reports on new web projects, is reporting that a new site called UGAME is aiming to be the facebook of PC gamers. It has all the basics, plus some new twists:
They’ve built in lots of functionality that will be immediately familiar: news feeds, profiles, friends, blogs, photo galleries, status updates, etc.

But they’ve also added gaming twists to these features and built out new features that don’t exist elsewhere. To name a few: members can post their gaming achievements from both tournament and non-tournament events; they can list their favorite games and computer hardware specs; and they can join teams that are allotted their own public-facing profiles.
I like some of the ideas, though I'm not really convinced this couldn't work better as a facebook app.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

been a while

I've been hammered at work, which has led to a little blogging hiatus. This doesn't mean I haven't been reading like a fiend, though. One of the things I've been meaning to comment on since it came out is a post Tobold did on the question of avatars. I have to admit, I'm usually more or less on the same page as Tobold and his readers, but in this case, I was completely out of step. It had never occurred to me that you could have a game without an avatar. One of my complaints about WoW is the fact that the gear isn't customizable enough - why can't I change the dye, and make the green cape blue? It's such a basic concept. So to see the very existence of in-game fashion debated blew my mind. I would argue that in-game fashion is an aspect of the social part of gaming (just as fashion itself is an aspect of a society). Without it, you lesson the social cohesion of the game, and thus the strength of the game as a whole (if we are agreed part of that the attraction of an MMO is the social features).

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Monday, October 22, 2007

population density

There's an interesting post over at Voyages in Eternity which asks what the preferred population density of a city should be. This ties in nicely, as well, with a post Tobold did this morning asking how to deal with falling server populations in WoW. Both of these, in some way, address the question of ideal population density in a game. Of course, they aren't identical, as the problem in WoW is that many quests are group quests, and those can't be done if you are all alone in an area. There does exist a way to combine the two questions to a degree, as you could set up NPC adventurers that could help you with group quests.

I am of the opinion that cities should be as densely populated as a 'real' city would be. This is especially true if there is going to be player housing. Random scripted events between citizens makes the game more fun, IMO. I like to see that the metalworker is stopping by the bakery for coffee before heading to the forge.

This holds true for quests, as well - I hate the fact that the quest villagers simply wander around in straight lines or circles. Hate it. Introducing cyclic events in those quests makes them more interesting - if you do the quest three times, and every time the people are in different places, going about their business, it makes it just a bit more challenging - and interesting.

The poster over at ViE notes that empty towns do "make it easier to 1) maneuver through the streets and not become distracted/lost, 2) find what or who you are looking for, and 3) highlight 'important' NPCs and other PCs, as opposed to those that have nothing to directly offer to the ongoing activity of the character". But this implies that the end game is the goal, whereas for some people, all those little side notes are just as much the goal. It depends on whether you are end-game focused. Certainly if I were creating a character for crafting, I would love to be able to set up a shop, or befriend a shopkeep, and know that the populace at large were buying my things.

And don't get me started on the shops in WoW where there isn't even a shopkeep. Argh!

Outside of towns, it gets trickier - it's much harder to believe you're doing an awesome quest that only your heroic character can do if there's a queue to get in to the instance, and a mob of folks hanging out waiting for other party members. But you do need people to pick up group with. And chat with. Etc.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Web 2.0 and gaming

There's an interesting post over at Aggro Me about integrating social features (so-called "Web 2.0" features) into massive games. On some level this has already happened, as the game integrates text (and now voice) chat, friend lists, etc. But there are obviously levels and levels. AM's post explores some of those options. I especially liked the random place the comments went, talking about what kind of webpage cats would make.

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