Gaming Massively

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I was recently reading a post on Bio-Break about strategies to revitalize Warhammer. And I got to thinking about the shiny-chasers - you know, the gamers (I fear I may be one) who chase each new game, try it, become disillusioned, and leave, never to return. And I wondered about the chances of revitalizing a game, using strategies aimed at the gamers you originally lost. I think it can't be done that way. I think a game (an MMO, to be precise) gets one shot to get the hardcore gamers, and ninety-eight percent of them blow that chance. But it seems like we're now seeing some methods for revitalization that are working - moving to a free-to-play model, for example, brings in a whole group of people who won't pay $15 a month, but who might pay something. And it brings back a small percent, I think, of the original wave, who come because they can (it's free, right?) There's also the Eve method of revitalization, which isn't really a method, nor really a revitalization - they just keep going, and after a while people come because, let's face it, people like polish, and polish takes time, and if you just keep at it long enough your game will acquire polish (assuming any level of competence and assuming you don't completely destroy the game (Star Wars Galaxies, anyone?)) But I'm not sure that expecting the people you attract at the beginning of the cycle to come back is ever a good plan - but then, I'm not totally clear you ever wanted those folks in the first place - WoW certainly seems to do better with care bears.

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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Bank robbery in Eve Online

By now I'm sure you've seen news of the massive bank heist that happened in Eve Online. One of the people running the bank made off with the cash, and apparently triggered a run on the bank.

The thing I love about Eve, in theory, is that this can happen - these huge networks of trust are built, and can equally be destroyed. In reading the interview, it's fascinating to see how much the game, for the people running the bank, has nothing to do with 'the game' - they're playing a whole other game, and apparently playing it well.

I hope we see more of this, as new games are released - I think a mobile phone interface for the auction house is a start. Of course, economics is the easiest bit to make mobile, and I hope that's already a given for developers - now let's see some augmented reality apps, possibly using the GPS in your phone.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

EVE Online stats

Yay! More stats from Eve Online! A massive tome with lots of numbers!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

MMO Economics redux

Wow - Tobold just pointed me to a blog called the WoW Economist. This guy likes numbers even more than me. And that's going a ways. It isn't as interesting to me as secondary work using the data this guy is generating would be, but it certainly is good data.

Economics in WoW, and the other levelling games, is interesting - I remember this with Pirates of the Burning Sea especially, where as people levelled up the markets evolved. Of course, PotBS wanted to have a completely player driven economy, whereas WoW has a much more command-and-control economy, where, for example, items can have value one day, and be valueless the next (because they can no longer be traded). Economics on sharded games are also interesting, because what's rare on one server may not be on another.

I think, in part, that's what makes Eve Online so exciting - having an economy where every player has access to the market makes for a much more interesting economic game (and part of most MMOs is the economic game - the auction house in WoW wouldn't always be packed if this weren't the case - people buying low and selling high - hopefully to better effect than the real world of late). Even with a giant bug in their economy, Eve has had a tremendously interesting economic game.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

How many space combat games can we have?

An article on Massively talking about a forthcoming game called Black Prophecy made me think about space combat MMOs. I'm not sure how much room there is for them. I'm not saying the desire for a space combat MMO is zero - Eve Online would put paid to that - but I wonder if Eve hasn't cornered the market on this sort of gamer. To be fair, Eve has issues, by all accounts, so I suppose simply doing Eve better might reap a significant reward. We'll see how this new game does (I saw there was a beta signup - maybe I'll give it a run once I get my new setup in place (assuming the movers don't break my rig))

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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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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

research and exploration

Van Hemlock has a wonderful post up about how to work around the fact that all the hard work that goes into creating a new PvE area (dungeon, what have you) goes away as soon as people post a guide on teh intartubes. He discusses the system in Eve Online, where good stuff spawns randomly, and you have to hunt for it using consumable goods. He also talks about arcane research in Asheron's Call, which apparently used special andles keyed to your account name. Unfortunately, someone reverse engineered the system, and they killed it, but I enjoy the idea of arcane research - especially things like critical fails (you mix it up, and it kills you dead).

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eve and the need for unity

I'm with James of Kill Ten Rats - Goonswarm has created an awesome recruiting poster for Eve Online. And I pleased to see a post on why having all players on the same server is important for the development of community (and legend, even).

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

examples from the real world

I was thinking, in one of my less lucid moments (or maybe it was more lucid, but regardless) of a way to ensure that everyone participated in, or at least had an interest in, some sort of PvP area that could be controlled by either side. I drew on the real world example of mobile phones. Mobile phones use an ultra rare ingredient called Coltan that can be found in only a few places around the world. Since mobile phone production is so important, securing coltan has led in some cases to a real-world PvP sort of situation.

Once I had a real world crazy example, I thought 'why not get really crazy' and base the game on RMT, with currency having both a buy and sell rate (with a commission earned by the game maker in both directions).

Assuming you make the game fun enough in all other respects (big assumption, I know), this in-game element could become as contentious as the real-world example I drew from. Since we already know large organizations get involved whenever there is money to be made, one can imagine the whole thing blowing up into serious RL drama.

Obviously, this is all a thought exercise, as I don't think, in the end, this would make for a stable game play experience, but it is interesting (for me, at least) to think about ways in which the real world could be drawn into the game, giving the game a richer background.

I have the impression that Eve Online may live on the fringes of this sort of thing, but I need my games a lot more carebear, so I'm not sure.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

EVE article in NYT

There's a cute little article in the New York Times about EVE Online. It gives an overview of the game, and asserts that the game is now hitting its stride.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

EVE mechanics as the ultimate game

A while back Tobold posted on the assertion Syncaine from Hardcore Casual made that EVE has the MMO thing down pat. I didn't really pay much attention to it, because I've seen those sorts of things before. But I quite like Tipa's thought exercise which takes this to the next level - what if EVE were a fantasy MMO? In the comments, Syncaine notes having also gone down this path. That post is a bit more specific in its details of how mechanics might translate. It's really interesting to see how easily these things can move around. Additionally, I think it shows a little bit of the genius Nintendo had when they did the Wii. If there really is nothing new under the sun, then introducing something revolutionary is pretty big.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Eve Online newbie review

There's a story up at that offers a newbie's view of Eve Online. I've been reading an awful lot about this game, and everything I've heard seems to jive with this article.

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