Gaming Massively

Monday, May 19, 2008

AoC et al.

It's been a whole week, and RL precluded pretty much any gaming for me. I see that others have been doing lots of Age of Conan, which is nice - I'm glad it's finally available for public consumption. I note that Tobold indicated customer service might be a bit thin right now, which would be shortsighted on their part if true, as these early days can make or break the game.

Outside of this, I note massively has an article on putting raiding on your resume, something I've actually done for this round of job searching (actually, the line reads 'massive/virtual worlds', but close enough).

There's lots of talk about the avatars being added to Eve Online. I don't think I can have an opinion until I've played the game. Of course, I guess I should play it before they add the avatars, as otherwise I won't know what's different. Happily, I should have time to mix it up now that my WoW sub is set to expire.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

19th Century MMO?

My wife and I were discussing why there aren't more MMOs based on 'real-life'. She suggested, for example, a game based on the Napoleonic wars. As we discussed it, it became clear that many of the game elements World of Warcraft introduced could work very well for a game based in history (or in the present day). Because time is more or less fixed, you could run things through a little bit at a time (the armies are here, etc.) You could even stage 'events' where the actual battles would take place (since really, the war was a whole lot of maneuvering and very few days of pitched battles).

We also discussed how interesting the social side of a game set in this milieu could be - with a bajillion readers of romance novels and/or period pieces, why not have the game set in the upper class social world of the 19th century. The key statistic, then, would be your reputation, rather than health or stamina (although stamina could be used for, for example, the ballroom or the drinking hall). Levelling would include such traits as promotion within the government. You could grind rep with particularly influential people. Etc. It fits very well using the basic mechanics already well established in other games. And the audience, interestingly, is completely new - which either means great success, or great failure....

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Monday, December 24, 2007

on holiday

I got crazy in the car while driving to our holiday destination, and fired up World of Warcraft using my mobile phone as the internet connection. I was able to check my mail, chat with some folks, and things like that, but the lag was listed as 5000 milliseconds, so I decided to skip heading out to do some quests. I'll be taking a couple of weeks break from playing, though I may still post if I see something noteworthy. Right now it looks like everyone is dragging out the old 'why are all the MMO games fantasy' from the closet where it was hidden with the Christmas decorations. I am personally of the opinion that it's a confluence of tradition with the fact that noone is doing a better game in another genre. Give it another ten years, then maybe there will be something interesting to say about it.

The other hot topic right now seems to be paying real money for in-game items, prompted by the startup company Live Gamer. The possibly-too-small-circle of gaming blogs apparently spent too much time in close proximity this holiday season, as tempers flared over the issue. The only thing I have to add is that Tobold is absolutely correct that money killed Magic: the Gathering, and it would not be at all difficult to imagine the same thing happening to any MMO.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

something for n00bs

Massively pointed me to an article on How Stuff Works titled How World of Warcraft Works, which is an overview of massive game technology, using WoW as the example game.

This isn't exactly what I had expected when I clicked through. I had expected a tutorial for people who hadn't played massive games before.

Given that WoW is now doing TV ads (with Mr. T and William Shatner), some sort of primer is probably going to become necessary. I learned the game by watching someone else play, but I imagine the ads are targeting an audience that doesn't have that experience (or rather, more likely, they're targeting the parents of an audience that doesn't have that experience). As the industry matures, instruction may become less necessary, but right now I bet there are a lot of people looking for serious guidance.

Actually, that was my experience with Tabula Rasa. Obviously I know more or less how an MMO works, but the details are important, and I found the intro section simply didn't offer enough guidance on those details. At least, I assume there were details I was missing - the alternative is that combat was really terrible, and I find it hard to believe that the main point of the game wasn't polished.

A game doesn't have to be dumbed down to have a good tutorial - one of the NDA games I've played has a very good tutorial, I thought. But if you want to bring in people who find your game through a flippin' TV ad, you better have something!

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

Spent a good part of Sunday doing happy druid things. Leveled to 41 (finally!) and ran Uldaman one and a half times (had to bow out the first time for some IRL stuff. My druid has all his talent points in nature, but now I'm starting to rethink some of the early points - a couple spells and effects I'm now wishing I had. One thing I'm very happy with is hurricane, an AOE that I put to good use (some in my guild might say too much use) on the run. Raining down lightning on half a dozen giant scorpions is good for the soul, I believe. As my guildies recently ran me through Scarlet Monastery as well, I'm suffering an overabundance of powerful weaponry, and I'm going to have to decide which I like better relatively soon. Do I take the big hammer, or the big spell damage?

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007


One of the things I do like about online games is their ability to be seasonal. Right now it's brewfest time in World of Warcraft, and they've set up some amusing little quests and visuals to add color to the game. It's not really something you could very easily do to a traditional game, and I think it's something that will be taken advantage of even more in the future. There are actually a lot of opportunities in this area - a game which is supposed to take place in a certain real-world location could tie in to local forecasts, for example.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Getting started

I decided to celebrate my druid reaching leatherworking 300 in WoW by following up on an impulse I had earlier to create a massive gaming blog. I don't play nearly as many games as I read about, but I spend what can only be called an inordinate amount of time thinking about how the games ought to work. So this blog will most likely be focused much more on the theoretical than the practical, although it will probably take its cues from newly implemented features in various games. And we'll see where it goes from there.

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