Gaming Massively

Saturday, December 20, 2008

glad I'm not

I suddenly realized, while reading the latest Age of Conan newsletter, that I'm really glad I'm not a game designer. I mean, I love speculating about the next big thing, and coming up with cool concepts, and all that, but to actually have my professional reputation be tied to the success or failure of one of my ideas? That would be (for a significant percentage of MMOs) really depressing. I mean, even if I made what I considered a great product, odds are it would go down in flames. And that would break your heart, I imagine. At least the first time - I'm sure after a few projects go down you just move on.

Since I already mentioned the new Conan newsletter, I should mention that they have apparently added a swanky new dungeon, and upgraded their PvP. My personal favourite, though, is the zombie pets - if I'm going to have a game with minions, I darned well better be able to have undead minions!

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Are we really dying of surprise here? Apparently Age of Conan is merging servers.

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Monday, September 15, 2008


I think the big stuff happening right now in MMO-land is the Austin Game Developer's conference. Raph has some sexy statistics up (I love numbers!) from one of the presentations.

WAR is still, uh, WAR-ing. Seems like things are going pretty well for a game that's just come out. If this is true, kudos to Mythic for not screwing it up!

Conan seems to still be going along. I'll be interested to see if they can hang on once the big guys are both up and running (i.e. WAR and WoW III).

Looks like All Points Bulletin is hiring. I've been keeping an eye on this game - it has a few innovations I'm interested in seeing, even though I'm not sure I'm a cops and robbers type of guy.

Atlantica Online is still working towards release - they seem to be quite close to open beta. I'm not sure what to think about the idea of a turn-based MMO, but that's why I keep watching!

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Back from the dead

...and I'm back! The move covered some 900 miles, and while I've been reading all the latest, I haven't been posting that much. There have been a few interesting developments, not least of which is that I get to play a new game I can't tell you about. Since my gaming computer should arrive with the movers on Monday (fingers crossed) that should keep me busy for a little while.

Let's see: if you haven't read it already, Tobold does a nice job using Magic: the Gathering to explain why games that require levelling will probably always add levels as part of their expansion. Let's hope some of the up-and-comers break the trend, as levelling, at least in the grindy-grind way, makes me sad.

As near as I can tell, in the past month Age of Conan has pretty much continued its downward spiral, at least as the blogs would have it. They continue to add content though, so at the point you play it your mileage may vary.

LotRO is prepping for their big Mines of Moria expansion, which will have some serious content, I have read. The trailer is online, and looks ... well... I'm sure it will be fun.

Honestly, I feel like most of the current gen of 'up and comers' still need some work. The stuff from 38 Studios I am very much looking forward to, but it sounds like another year before we even hear from them. The turn-based strategy games I want to look more at - they sound like they could be fun. We'll see.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Conan hits one million

Tom's Games is reporting that Age of Conan has shipped a million boxes in three weeks. Since I presume there's a 30 day trial inside, that probably means they currently have one million people playing. Minus Keen and Graev. And anyone else who stopped. I guess months two and three are more important. We'll see if they can pull it together.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

AoC etc

Well, the reviews for Age of Conan continue to roll - Tobold has done a good overview of the reactions (along with his comments on what, if anything, it will matter to WoW).

I have to admit that my most recent gaming has been Rock Band, rather than an MMO. AoC does nothing for me. WoW is pretty dead to me as well - I'm going to try to meet some commitments for running a few more evenings before I quit, but I think once I'm out I'm out for good. We'll see. I might be leaning towards Eve Online, but I might also just try new stuff - there should be a new round of betas to do, if I go looking.

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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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Monday, May 5, 2008

Age of Conan

Well, rumour has it the NDA is off, at least for part of Age of Conan. Tobold has written up his impressions. I'm going to refrain from comment, as I'm not sure the NDA is off for everything, and I can wait until release - I'm pretty sure I don't have any earth shattering comments about the game. I will say that if broadband in the US doesn't get better internet delivery is DOA.

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Monday, April 14, 2008


Massively has a post up on a new game called Saga, which looks (from the trailer) absolutely amazing. It's a Real-Time Strategy style game, in which you control armies in real-time. The post notes that this is what the author had expected World of Warcraft to be, which is reasonable, but I expect Warhammer 40K is a better candidate for the massive army control game.

All the same, it got me thinking about WoW, and what an interesting game it would be if, like in D&D, after a certain level you got a follower (or followers). In addition to making the PuG unnecessary and allowing for raiding (to an extent), the PvP could be amazing.

I kind of wanted Warhammer to be like Saga in their RvR play, at least, what the trailer says the play is like. From what I've seen I don't think that's going to happen. By the same token, from what I've seen of Conan nothing like that will be involved, though I don't think they ever claimed it would be. I expect what's going to have to happen is all the games now in beta will be released, and then someone will start developing a game which incorporates all the features they have, and that generation of games will be amazing.

Of course, it's an MMO, so in theory, they could re-develop. But I don't see any sign that, for example, Blizzard is going to make their game better, even though they could. Just milk it 'till it dies. It's sad, but that seems to be the way it works.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

They've got rhinos?!

I really like the idea of mounted combat. Age of Conan apparently has it, and more:
The game offers three mounts: horses, rhinos and elephants. Two of them - rhinos and mammoths - are available through pre-order deals, though. If someone pre-orders from BestBuy they will have a fancy new rhino waiting for them. GameStop pre-orders unlock the mammoth, while horses are purchased in the world. At this time, there is no plan to make the elephant or rhino mounts available through the game itself.
It's quite nearly enough to make me pre-order, the idea of a shiny new rhino waiting for me at level 40 with which to crush my opponents underfoot. I'll be very curious to see how this game does on release - I think timing may be everything, as I'm not sure how many outlays of fifty dollars or whatever people will be willing to make. So you get out before WAR, or you make a lot less money.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

It's a good thing I'm slow on the draw

If I were a faster poster, this would have taken two three blog entries. But now it only takes one, which says that Age of Conan is coming out in May, not March, not 2007 (both of which were previously announced release dates).

I suppose it's a tough line to walk, trying to steer between delaying beyond the time your money runs out, and releasing a product that just isn't ready. It's especially tough with a game that you know will change again as soon as you release it, but by the same token, these are well known problems in IT, and in the end the problems are much the same - users want lots of features, programmers can't deliver them all. So you choose the important ones to get out the door, and put the rest in the next release. So why people seem to be getting their release dates so completely wrong, given that this problem is well known, is beyond me. The only thing I can say is that getting your dates wrong on an IT project is not unique to the gaming world.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Combat in Conan

It may be that I've just started paying attention, but I feel like a lot more detail has been coming out about the combat system in Age of Conan. Apparently there will be three types of melee attack (top, left, and right) and from what I can tell an equal number of blocking moves. Getting hits in where your opponent isn't defending will make your attack more successful. There's a video in the massively article that shows a combat sequence. I believe you no longer target enemies, but rather swing, and it you hit an enemy, good. The blood fountains seem a bit much, but overall it looks like a pretty game. The twitch factor will turn some people off - my wife loves the 'click-and-kill' approach, for example. But for others who find the auto attack a little boring, this will be a welcome change.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

still moving forward

I made it to level 50 with my druid in WoW last night. It was pretty exciting, as it allowed me to max out my balance skills, and now I can summon treants to put the smack down on my enemies, which is very exciting - I love seeing them maul my enemies.

Rereading that sentence, I wonder if I should get Conan when it comes out. I wonder if there will actually be the sounds of 'the lamentations of their women' in the audio track (that's from Conan the Barbarian, if you're wondering).

Anyway, despite my more recent successes, I have been feeling a bit down on WoW lately. I'm afraid my guild is a bit too 'level 70' for me right now. We'll have to see if it continues. I'm pleased with the new levelling system, which makes for faster progression, and I like the fact that there are a lot of new quests. But I can't shake the feeling that all I'm really doing is trying to get to 70 so I can do instances with my guild. Which is a shame, really, as I think the content isn't bad at my level - merely a little lonely. It'll be interesting to see how this resolves.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Of all things, my USA today this morning greeted me with an article on the two upcoming Conan games. Nothing special, but I thought it was an interesting statement on how mainstream these sorts of things had become.

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