Gaming Massively

Friday, February 27, 2009

Fare thee well, Tabula Rasa

Poor Tabula Rasa - slashdot has reminded me that the final swan song is this weekend. It was a good game, as far as it went (I enjoyed it a lot more when I played it in January), and it's sad to see so much work just... disappear. I stand by my assertion that the game should be open sourced and left to the fans, but the game's website would seem to indicate a fairly... final... finale. "[I]f it is truly our destiny to be destroyed, we are taking them all with us."

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

ZG redux

What a difference the level cap increase makes. We blasted through Zul'Gurub with nary a wipe, and hardly any close calls. Realization number one: that is a heck of a long dungeon. We stopped after about half the bosses and 4 hours. But it was entertaining - I am reinforced in my belief that raiding is the part of the game I enjoy the most (or perhaps rather that doing anything in a group is more fun). Now, unfortunately, I have to grind rep in order to actually claim the prizes from the items I picked up inside. And I hate, despise, detest, and generally disdain grinding rep.

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Friday, January 18, 2008


Finally, finally, finally I'm at a level in WoW that I can actually run something with my guild. Tomorrow, if the spirits smile on me, I'll be in Zul'Gurub with 19 of my guildmates.

It's been an interesting, frustrating climb to level 58, and has shown me one of the major weaknesses of the game mechanics World of Warcraft uses: once people are done with a section of content, they're done pretty much forever. Even though, for example, Black Wing Mountain has fun content that is certainly replayable, people have moved on - they're in Outlands now, and for the most part they are not coming back.

I don't know what the solution is - others have suggested the only game that would be totally replayable is PvP, or that PvE stuff should scale (to each according to their abilities, if you will). I like the idea of a PvP where everyone is equal, so a guild could run it together, but I know there are other opinions on that. Either way, the company that solves the endgame problem will most assuredly be very successful.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007


I made it to Outlands, finally. I think we bought BC around July, and I'm just now getting to the content (not counting my level 10 Draeni warrior). I find the whole concept of an expansion rather bizarre, at least the way WoW is doing it, where every expansion brings another ten levels. It obviously adds a little bit more to the endgame, but for the most part people seem to cruise through the content to get to the raids anyhow. Wouldn't it be better to simply work on new dungeons and such, rather than creating a new continent? What I'd really like to see, of course, is changes to the world every so often. Show me the advance or retreat of the enemy. Even better, of course, would be to let me participate in the advance/retreat of the enemy....

Anyway, I'm not actually at the level I need to be to run the BC content - I simply went to train up my leatherworking. Which for me has always been one of the major attractions of the game.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Following on my post last week involving alternate endgame options, Tobold posted the question as to whether or not you couldn't just skip the levels altogether. Massively picked up on his post as well. In my original post I said no, because people like the feeling of advancing. The comments on his post seem to back this up, although there were some interesting variations - a lot of people noted that FPS basically is a MMO without levels.

I often find I enjoy doing the quests which follow sequentially - there's one in WoW where you run all over the planet trying to find a missing diplomat, and another where you have to head to someone's hometown to find out more about them. Those sorts of opportunities for storytelling often work without levelling. And as LotRO has done, you could add a title by your name when you complete a complex chain.

I also liked, and yet was frightened by, the person who suggested a game in which the only skill-ups were the ones you actually learned for yourself. How to pick a lock, in a lock-picking mini game, or actually memorizing the prayers which heal people, or whatnot. The idea of a mini-game for certain skills is appealing - I can see it for the rogue and the fighting classes, e.g. Others I'm not so clear on - mages, I suppose, could have verbal and somatic components that had to happen at a certain time. But that doesn't really appeal (though if I could do it with a WiiMote I might find it more entertaining).

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Monday, October 29, 2007

alternate endgame options

I was reading some books by fantasy author Dave Duncan, in which the various classes in his world were divided into seven levels, each being marked so people could tell what level people were. Political power was, to some degree, related to one's level. And I thought about how that would work in a massive game, but decided that people wouldn't be happy levelling so infrequently. And then I decided that the endgame would actually support it quite well - since many people at endgame tend to be pretty dedicated to the game, it would be interesting to create a separate form of level, and make the highest rank virtually impossible to achieve.

I had also thought it might be interesting to, for example, create more skill based endgame abilities - aimed shots and blocks in hand-to-hand, for example (if they don't already exist in your game of choice). It might be interesting to have various ways to progress through these end levels, for example a strategy route if you didn't want to deal with twitchy hand-to-hand, or something like that. The quests could be ridiculously long and involved, and require extensive travel, negotiation, etc.

In the end, I envision a system where perhaps a dozen people end up at the final level. Then give them real power - let them decide who to war with, or create new items, or something crazy.

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