This is PvP

From FoH’s boards:

The purpose of pvping is centrally to hamper the progress of your enemy. Take their camp out or take their camp over, make them run back to their corpse, lose time, stop levelling, screw up a quest, etc.

That is *real* pvp.

When you are a level 38 hunter, and my level 60 warlock comes up to you, I’m not just going to kill you. That would be pointless, a waste of mana on my part for the insignificant benefit I would receive. Instead I am going to kill your pet. And then spend the next 10 minutes using a succubus to chain mez you as often as possible unless of course I can just fear you into a bunch of mobs where you take a durability hit.

Or you can save both myself and yourself a bunch of time and every time you see me, just feel free to pull into a bunch of mobs onto yourself and suicide.. It will make the whole process go so much quicker.

Don’t like it? Play on a PVE server you fucking bluebie.

Here is a newsflash for you. Getting a level 38 hunter to quit the game or reroll onto a different server would be the best possible thing that could happen to me. He happily goes off and can level in peace on a PVE server without fear of getting ganked, and I don’t have to deal with his writing TOOO fucking long posts about why PVP doesn’t have a point and is just worthless ganking like what you write.

But that’s usually isn’t what happens. He remembers my name, not just as the level 60 person that ganked him in a split second or as the level 60 that let him live that one time he was xping in the badlands, but instead as the level 60 warlock named Antarius in the guild Minium that harassed him for a good 10 minutes straight. When he gets to 60 he is always going to have a grudge against me. He is going to hate me, he is going to hate my guild, he is going to kill or at least attempt to kill any of us every time he sees us. He will tell his friends about us.

Fuck the thread on this forum about lack of community building in wow. Come roll an alliance character on my server and I’ll show you what a friendly loving community is all about as I sit on your corpse and pass messages to you in AIM about how much you suck.

Posted in: Uncategorized |

Battlegrounds still broken

Recent messages on the official WoW boards:

Not today, but we are shooting for the beginning of June. We just wanted to get some more time on the Test Realm. We’ve made some great changes to the Battlegrounds, a lot of them are based on player feedback, and we want a few days to test out those changes.

We have been patching more quickly. Battlegrounds, however, is a major feature and a large development team would not speed along the obvious testing needed before such a thing is introduced to live realms. The reason why we have kept Battlegrounds on the Test Realm for nearly a month is that no amount of QA testing such a feature can match the sheer wear and tear it takes while players try it out. This has proven most useful, and in the patch’s duration on Test we’ve found and resolved quite a few issues and balance quirks with the system.

I really don’t know where are these “great changes” because I haven’t seen any and all the concerns that the players are expressing are being blatantly ignored. At least if I don’t count as “great changes” the brand new bugs they are introducing.

I haven’t checked in detail the Alterac BG but I can say that most of the problems in Warsong are still untouched and brand new ones are being patched it.

One is already famous, the other was introduced even more recently: now the CTF battleground doesn’t even reset after one of the factions wins. It just sit there forever, breaking completely the purpose of the instance. New players join the BG just to discover that the flags have been already returned and that the match is over. With no way to make the session restart.

The design concerns I expressed along these months are all still completely ignored and even the implementation of those concepts (already faulty) is badly bugged.

All I can say is that I’m going to have a “great, glorious fun” when they’ll patch this shit on the live servers. And not because of the gameplay.

Posted in: Uncategorized | Tagged:

Vanguard – “From Brad to the catasses”, a game manifesto

(I archived the “Manifesto” here for reference)

A couple of days ago I passed some time reading a thread on FoH’s boards that spanned 6+ pages in just a few hours.

I find the thread interesting and amusing for a number of reasons. The point is that there aren’t many places left where, you know, peoples talk about games and have a decent idea about what they are saying. In my opinion these catasses have still something to say if you know where to search and are able to read between the lines. This is why I think it’s important to read the “manifesto” that Brad wrote about Vanguard and his “vision” within the context of that thread. In a number of ways the thread itself is more important and interesting than Brad’s letter.

Now, I probably felt the need of this premise to justify myself the fact I’m reading FoH’s boards but the point is that other communities like Corpnews and F13 are less less interested to talk about games and more and more interested to talk about themselves. We have even recent examples to demonstrate that they still definitely know how to write but it’s a fact that don’t care much anymore. Not that I’m criticizing that, I absolutely undserstand why and I’ll probably finish to not care anymore pretty soon as well, but the fact remains.

There are many important points that the thread brings up about the genre and it’s simply impossible to delve into each one because they are strictly tied with the whole structure and principle of a mmorpg. So I will only try to undeline the “questions” this time, without going on endlessly with the possible solutions (I’m lying).

The first question comes directly from Brad’s letter: “Is there still a space in the market for a game targeted at the hardcore players?”

There are many other questions tied to this one. For example it is true that there was a market five years ago. And that the type of offer allowed the game to count on a strong and steady subscribers base that is a dream for every game. But the market is also obviously changed and it remains to be seen if the same game of five years ago is still mantaining a true appeal or it’s getting just embellished by the effect of the nostalgia.

There’s also another important point that is also useful to consider now: “What was the real value of that game that everyone loved so much?”

I believe that the success of that game came from premises that are important to consider and understand even now. So I’ve collected a few quotes:

NO. No, the whole point is that you do play one MMO. You get immersed in one world, otherwise it’s pointless to play them. Do not let would-be developers think that this is okay.

I agree, I dont wanna “filler games” to keep me occupied while playing a mmo.

I want the mmo to have enough substance, immersion, and things to do that I dont even THINK about other games. I want to enter the game and six months in be OVERWHELMED at what I still need to accomplish.

WoW’s biggest flaw IMO is trying to cater to more of the masses, rather than having the masses adjust to the game that the devs set forth.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter where you add the content so long as you add it. Just making the level grind take longer wouldn’t accomplish anything. It just means that instead of being able to quest to 55ish then having to grind out the last 5 levels, we’d be able to quest from 1 to 3, then grind from 3 to 6, then quest from 6 to 9, then grind from 10 to 14, etc….

Extending WoW’s level curve would solve -nothing-. Instead of being bored for the last 6 months we’d be bored for the last 8 months because leveling would be boring.

Blaming the boredom of WoW on it being too fast is simply poor thinking. Blaming WoW for not delivering on the tons and tons of content that was supposed to be delivered at level 60 is where the problem lies.

Don’t mistake being forced to grind for content.

I think games aren’t doing so well is because they focus on ONLY fighting/raiding as their sole content, something they can not output fast enough

Games have to expand their focus a lot more so there is more that people can do. People can timesink themselves if they have other stuff to be involved in. Heck look at Final Fantasy 7, how many hours were wasted training up a gold Chocobo in that game? it was definantly NOT needed but it gave people something else to do.

Three quotes and there’s already enough meat to discuss for days. The core problem here is the “content”, in this case used as a scapegoat to drift on the surface of the issue. What terrorizes me isn’t a game with no content, it’s the opposite scenario. Let’s say that WoW had 500 epic dungeons at release with another million of quests and hundreds of different objects to loot. Is this a dream? Is this the goal? A game like that would have its lore and its cohesiveness completely shattered. With 500 epic dungeons the population would get infinitesimally fragmented and we would get directly a super mudflated game where the content becomes in the first place a pure grind. Who will have to imagine quests, loot and dungeons to support all that? And where exactly is it heading?

The problem here isn’t in more or less content. The problem is in the model, in what you are trying to reproduce. If the whole purpose of the game is to produce content, the model of an online mmorpg with a monthly fee is simply NOT APPROPRIATE. What I mean is that the “content” is for sure the core problem, but it’s not a quantitative problem, it’s qualitative. Not only it’s impossible to push out constantly that type of content (with quality) that the hardcore players are demanding, but it would require a development team so large that it would simply slip out of control, losing completely every attempt of “authorship”. Why is this broken? Because this type of content comes DIRECTLY from an authorship and the problems are a direct result of a broken model.

In particular in WoW an exponential growth of the same parts will just KILL the game. From every perspective. It’s already hard to keep track of everything and a game with more and more classes, skills and zones will become just chaotic and random. Random loot, random quests, random gameplay, random PvP. All pointless. The fact that there are “only” 10 classes is a design choice with precise reasons. In particular when it comes to gameplay founded on “tactics” the first lesson is that “less rules is better”. The best strategy games aren’t those with millions of variables. The best games are those with a few, precise rules that you can easily grasp and reuse. Like “chess”. When in a strategic game you have too many variables you do not offer more “tactics”, you just offer randomness. This is why the developers of Guild Wars felt enough to build the game around the eight skills for each character. When you mix those skills with the others your party has, you obtain enough combinations and scenarios to have a complex environment that can still be understood and managed.

“More” is always hinting a different problem. It’s a way to hide the fact you miss a quality. So you hide this deficency through a “quantity”. It’s an illusion to prevent you to see exactly what is going on. It’s not rare that the idea of “more” is used as a marketing tool. Because hiding IS lying. And marketing is often at its core a “make believe”.

Recently Lum wrote a piece about “Alternate Advancement Points”.

To which I replied:

Well, thereĆ¢

Posted in: Uncategorized |

Vanguard – “From Brad to the catasses”, a game manifesto

I archive here the game “manifesto” that Brad McQuaid posted on FoH boards.

When we’re looking at revenue forecasts as well as when we’re designing the game we’re looking at long term customer retention with the realization that the majority of money made from MMOGs is from subscriptions not box sales. 250,000 I think is conservative… 500,000 would be just fine… both look pretty good though when doing the math and planning on players playing months and even years.

If the ‘core’ gamer is running out of things to do now (and I say ‘core’, not hard core, because I’m not just reading posts and talking to people who are part of that minority of gamers who play like madmen), then how much longer will the ‘casual’ gamer be entertained?

I’m not here to criticize Blizzard’s plan (nor am I even privy to it), but I can say what ours is, and it’s to keep the average MMOG gamer around for a long time. And we realize this likely means we won’t see sales in the millions. But we took EQ 1 up to 400,000+ for three years with very few cancellations, and I know the game continued with those numbers for quite a while after I left. And that’s the kind of success we’re looking for again with Vanguard.

I know the counter-argument, that those players won’t tolerate another EQ 1 and its advancement pace — that MMOGs have to be designed differently now, targeting the more casual gamer and also the gamer who allegedly has less time to play than he or she did in the past, or who just won’t tolerate anything even resembling a “grind”.

But I don’t buy it. Sure, some people are burned out. But we also hear from a LOT of old school MMOG gamers who want that longer term game again… who want a home again. And if we combine those people with even a small percentage of new MMOG gamers, who were probably exposed to persistent worlds by games like WoW, then it’s simply not that crazy to assume we can get the numbers I’m talking about for Vanguard.

Only time will tell, and I know people will disagree with me. But we really need to be right — not just for Vanguard, but for the genre in general. We can’t just give up, throw our hands into the air, and say EQ 1s were a fluke and that core gamers have somehow fundamentally changed since then such that they won’t or can’t subscribe for years ever again. Were that true, we’d never see the virtual worlds of the scope and scale we all dream about developed. Maybe we are old school, maybe past successes were a fluke, maybe we’re dinosaurs. But I’m betting not.

Btw, I just wanted to be extra clear here and state that I have nothing but respect for Blizzard. I am concerned that they might not be ready to put out new content fast enough, but time will tell.

My post was more to explain Vanguard’s plan and philosophy and how it differs from WoW’s. I think choices are good and am glad MMOG gamers have more choices now in terms of what style and pace of gameplay suits them.

I’m also very happy in a selfish way I suppose that Blizzard showed that the MMOG gamespace is far from saturated as many people were claiming before its release. And, as I alluded to, because of their name cache and their ability to attract gamers who probably would never have tried an MMOG (due to their other fine games and consistent quality they produce) they’ve done us all a huge favor.

Vanguard and WoW have different target audiences and different philosophies behind them, but I also think that a significant percentage of people who tried WoW as their first MMOG are going to finish playing it and find themselves wanting more… and that’s perfect for Vanguard. No, not every casual gamer is going to be converted into a core or hard core gamer, but IMHO enough will that when combined with the old school MMOG gamers Vanguard will have plenty of people interested in it.

Plus, this was a good opportunity to let everyone know that going after millions in the short term as a business strategy doesn’t mean that going after hundreds of thousands in the long term isn’t still viable.

I also think they had/have a vision too, and that they stuck with it (again, who their target audience was, their use of lower tech as opposed to pushing the limits of graphics cards, etc.) And while our vision is obviously different, they at least have one whereas I fear some other more recent games don’t know what they want or where they want to go… being reactive instead of proactive isn’t a good plan when making and maintaining an MMOG at this time.

Exteel – NCSoft presents giant gangsta robot (mmorpg?)

As seen in a thread on F13, NCSoft presented at the E3 a trailer that I haven’t seen commented anywhere before. The title of this original (for the mmorpg genre) game is “Exteel” and looks really like a “City of Heroes” made with giant robots.

The video trailer can be seen here (and once you are on that page you can use this link for a direct download). It weights around 60Mb and is worth a look.

The production value seems already good and it’s another attempt from NCSoft to become a network of games coming from different genres and game companies. What is left to see if all these games in production will be able to find their own public on both the short and long term instead of sharing and cannibalizing always the same playerbase. Thinning progressively the number of subscribers for each game.

Again the trend confirms to be about smaller games with a very specific appeal instead of blackbusters meant to monopolize the marketplace for years. Clearly, the stability of the subscribers is becoming a thing of the past.

Gamers create, customize and develop their own robots using a robust character creation tool, with easy-to-access gameplay and a unique merging of strategic combat and high-speed action reminiscent of the stunning action seen in Hong Kong martial arts movies.

It really resembles to one of the Armored Core games for PSX 1 and 2. And as for that serie I already noticed a flaw: it fails to give the sensation of the scale of the robots compared to the environment.

Posted in: Uncategorized |

DAoC – Spreadsheets for the win!

“God forbid some depth in the PvP system, let’s just play spreadsheets.”

That’s probably the essence of the new patch that just reached the test server after a little more than a month of gestation. This time the focus is on some new features related to the guild system as I was anticipating here. In particular they left out from this first iteration all the most relevant features (the carryable banners and a dedicated UI) to implement a merit system that on a first approach sounds similar to the one patched in EQ2 a few months ago.

So I start to read the lengthy patch notes (Mythic is developing a talent into making them longer and longer evein if actually with very little content, but at least they are precise). And I scroll, I scroll, I scroll. The merit system sounds nice and it definitely adds something important to the game in the exact same way I commented (and praised) when it was EQ2 to add some depth and purpose to the guilds. It’s simply one of the most underveloped parts in these game and one with the most potential not only because it adds a depth to the system, but because it’s directly a retention system of the subscribers.

From a side it helps a lot the players to integrate into the community of the game. Which is becoming a huge problems in this genre, completely underestimated right now when instead should be between the very first priorities. From the other side it allows the player to chase a communal goal, to work together toward something. To provide a context to a victory that will make the victory itself way more rewarding, and the process to achieve it more compelling. Because it’s right there the strength of the whole genre. To make the players really feel part of something and achieve something more than just a “personal grind of power” that single player games can deliver more naturally and with less problems.

Something that has been my pet peeve for a long time and that I discussed recently here:

Players like to “win”. Yeah. But they like even more if a victory has a context, a purpose. If they have a role within a world. If their presence has a meaning.

The problem is that all these considerations didn’t find their way into the actual system that Mythic patched. I began to read from the start and there is a rather long description of the mechanic of a process. Now, the mechanics do not sound too bad even if I have some doubts (the system seems “fixed”. It means that a guild can keep earning points to spend only till they have the possibility to grind a trreadmill. So there’s absolutely no re-usability and it becomes just an limited event to grind and forget. The problems I underline here are already at the origin of what I’ll say below) but it’s the nature of the process to represent the problem. A process has a meaning only depending on where it leads. On what is the purpose. So I scroll, I scroll and scroll more to find where exactly all those mechanics are bringing and finally I find it:

– Guilds can spend their guild merit points to get up to five merit bonuses.

– The bonuses available to be granted to a guild are:
Master Level Experience Bonus – 20%
Craft Haste Bonus – 5%
Artifact Experience Bonus – 5%
Realm Point Bonus – 2%
PvE Experience Bonus – 5%

If you play the game I believe that you already have understood everything and I do not have to add anything. For the others I’ll simply say that between all those bonuses the only one remotely interesting for an actual player is the Realm Point Bonus.

Two-fucking-percent. A player already high in the rank ladder (meaning that he already dedicated to the game A LOT of time), lets say rank 6, will need 62500 points to go from 6L0 to the next step, 6L1. This new bonus will be equal to… 1250 points. Now these points are the total needed to move from a rank to another. This is something that does not happen every day. If you are a catass you’ll have to play for weeks, if you are a normal player it’s a matter of months. So those 1250 points will be “spread” on a rather long time span.

More precisely. A single kill in the frontiers while in a full group will give you, roughly, 200 points. This means that after having achieved this new bonus you’ll get…

202 points instead of 200. OMFG, that’s SWEET!

Now I really do not know who is coming out with these ideas. In ToA (the hated expansion that will get suppressed soon) there was a new skill (not stackable) that gives 1% to hit bonus. One percent. Please explain me how these sort of bonuses can affect the gameplay. I’m SURE that Mythic didn’t even bother TO CODE IT. A 1% bonus to hit is so irrelevant that its whole gameplay consists of having the icon blinking on screen and nothing else. It’s a fucking UI BONUS, completely irrelevant for the gameplay. Yes, the players will continue to use it anyway. Partly because they are desperately trying to convince themselves that the skill they worked to unblock has actually an use, partly because they believe it IS working. But the truth is that the ability could be just a goodamn gimmick and NOONE will ever be able to figure out that it is not working as expected. The code could be broken or disabled since day one, but the players will never know about this. Simply because it’s so irrelevant that it has absolutely no use. It works better as a “suggestion”. It’s really THE moral buff. A jedi mindtrick.

This bonus to the Realm Points comes exactly from the same concept. It’s so irrelevant that it CANNOT BE MEASURED. It’s another fake feature with zero use aside being another “bait”. Another “let’s pretend”. It’s a roleplay skill.

But what is broken in this system isn’t just that. It’s the whole implementation to be completely useless:

The whole game seems captive of this bonuses greed. Mythic really cannot have an idea that doesn’t depend on a bonus, a malus or a timesink. There’s *nothing else* in their design, they are predictable. Everything has an infinite number of bonuses stacking and messing with each other at an insane degree. Characters have bonuses, skills give bonuses, group leaders give bonuses, locations have specific bonuses, keeps give bonuses, the realm population sets bonuses, owning keeps and relics give bonuses and now even the guilds give you fucking bonuses. STOP IT! Where the fuck is this going? What’s the point of the game if noone can even remotely figure out which bonuses are active or not?

I mean, a server could spend right now 80% of the processing power CALCULATING BONUSES. Who’s having fun in this? Lum?

No, really. Jokes aside. This is a ZERO-GAMEPLAY system. It’s not the player to play here, nor it is the guild. This system offers gameplay EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE SERVER (and its math calculations). It’s really Lum the center of the fun here, while he tries to code the system. Once he is done what is left is just another exquisitely passive system. The players will keep playing as always till the guild will magically earn Yet Another bonus. Who is interested in Yet Another pointless bonus? How is it fun? What’s the impact on the gameplay?

Is this all? No, I left the best part for the end:

The bonus provided to the guild by the merit point system lasts 24 hours.

A 2% BONUS FOR 24 HOURS! It’s true! I’m not making up all this, I SWEAR!

I just come from yesterday pointing out the most retarded between all the retarded ideas in the implementation of WoW’s Battlegrounds due to an irrelevant bonus but this “merit system” on DAoC breaks again EVERY RECORD (and in Blizzard’s case it was just a bug).

The bonus could be active just *forever* and it will still be simply irrelevant. But no. It’s even active for just 24 hours. Fucking hilarious.

This basically concludes my comments. There are only a few other parts worth consideration. One is directly ripped off WoW. The respec:

– Players can now purchase a single line respec anywhere in the game world by using the “/respec buy” command. Using “/respec buy” will only allow the player to buy a single line respec if they do not already have one.

– In their lifetime, players are eligible for nine discounted single line respecs, and unlimited single line respecs at full cost. The full cost scales based upon the player’s level. For example, the first time a level 50 player purchases a single line respec, it will cost 2 platinum; and the ninth time will cost 43 platinum; with the tenth and final cost of 50 platinum. A level 10 player will be able to purchase respecs for much, much less. (Note that we will post a chart detailing the costs of single line respecs for every level and tier before 1.76 goes live.)

So they copy once again WoW but they forget to notice why WoW works and why DAoC doesn’t. Again they only copy half the system and the result is simply awful.

There are two parts missing. One is the fact that in WoW it’s an NPC to offer you the possibility to respec, the other is that the cost of this respect make sense and it’s not completely out of scale like the ridiculous version implemented in DAoC. Just for an idea those 50 platinum are roughly equal to 5000 gold in WoW and I don’t think I have to comment further.

About the first part of the problem I can say that it’s another Mythic-classic. Noone cares about the accessibility. They implement everything through obscure command line commands that you can be aware of only if you read attentively the patch notes. Now tell me how many players read carefully *every line* written in the patch notes and how many will actually remember what they read and all the new /commands they introduce with each patch for more than a few days. Yes, 2% like the bonus above: irrelevant. We are back to the accessibility level of a MUD. Reading player guides in order to find out the exact command that allows you to do something. Or at least if you are even aware that the fuction actually exists.

This is Yet Another obscure command that isn’t referenced anywhere. Again the only way to play the game is to use resources out-of-game simply because the game itself is unable to make itself accessible to the players.

Again Mythic copies WoW and leaves out all the basic points. Even when they copy, they do it badly. Not only to not add anything to it. But make it worse.

And finally a last good feature that the players are claiming from more than a year and that has been denied till today:

Durability loss has now been removed from artifacts. Once repaired at a smith, all artifacts will be reset to full durability and will no longer lose durability.

ABOUT FUCKING TIME. And NO, this is definitely not enough.

I want to know why this change arrives just now. Who the fuck was responsible of this? What are the reasons behind the previous system? Why it has changed now?

(btw, considering the trend, I expect the repair costs for the artifacts to be out of scale as well – EDIT – I was right. Ahahahah!)

EDIT- Oh, I was forgetting. I do not comment the fixes and tweaks to the classes but this time I’ll do an exception:


– We have added two group damage add spells to the Path of Earth base line. The spells are available at the following levels:

35 Earthen Rage – 7.9 dps
45 Earthen Fury – 10.0 dps

And I’m really perplexed. Look here. The wizards have the exact same spell. Already:

44 Greater Earthen Fury Friend 3.0s/10 minutes/0s 1000 range Bonus: Damages target for listed damage/Damage: 10.0 DPS

Yeah, they are identic. The only difference is that one is a group buff while the other is single-target but there’s no difference in the final output.

I’ll never figure out the sense of this.

Posted in: Uncategorized | Tagged:

WoW’s Battlegrounds – A precisation

This is a comment I wrote on QT3 as a follow-up to this other comment.

> “IF this last change is a result of a bug, the thread has no reason to exist.”

Just requoting myself.

I criticize a lot about both the Honor System and the implementation of the Battlegrounds. Some problems are absolutely objective and widely acknowledged everywhere like the durability hit on the equipment, the flags disappearing etc… Other problems and considerations, instead, are mine specifically and are less easy to discover because more deep-rooted into the system and harder to explain.

When I post about something it’s mostly to underline those parts that I know won’t be noticed or discussed, in fact, most of the players will just ignore what I say. Because I’m a voice outside the chorus and I do not try to amplify the general point of view.

The point is, again, that I don’t know anymore what’s a bug and what’s a deliberate design choice since I consider the system broken on a number of aspects. So I could expect that the flags will be fixed before the BGs will be released but I’m sure that most of my other critics will remain unquestioned.

That’s all. Once they confirm that something is a bug, I’m happy and I’m done. But it’s when the design choices are broken and intentional that I have the interest to start a discussion.

I won’t say a thing if I’m confident that the issues will be worked out. The fact is that I hate the current Honor System already as it exists on the live servers. So I have my reasons to underline those issues that aren’t so obvious and that are being ignored.

On the official forums Kalgan confirmed that the last change I criticized is unintended and the result of a bug.

If a particular aspect of a game draws a lot of attention (like it happened in this case) I lose every interest to rant about it and I’ll probably ignore the issue altogether. When a problem is absolutely obvious there’s no need to underline it even more, that’s why I say I’m a voice out of the chorus. Most of my critiques aren’t so widely acknowledged and that’s why I try to draw attention on them: because noone is questioning those parts. Noone is discussing them.

The demagogy isn’t useful and I don’t want it around here. This last problem has been acknowledged by the devs so I’m happy and done with it as well. There’s no reason to rant more about it.

But now let’s consider all the other issues. Because the whole PvP system is STILL broken and most of the issues aren’t being properly discussed. It’s there that I want the attention.

A legal form of griefing
Kalgan/Evocare tops the idiocy
WoW’s Battlegrounds – The fundamental problem
(fears about) Emergent behaviours in WoW’s PvP (to vanish)
– And another collection of critiques PvP Honor System – Enjoy

Posted in: Uncategorized | Tagged:

Eve-Online – Free trial

Warcry is handing out free key codes to try the game.

If you check the sidebar on this site and scroll to the links, you’ll see that Eve-Online is still between those games I consider interesting and worth a try.

For sure it has a long list of problems (like an example I discussed) and it doesn’t appeal to the largest public but it is also the less derivative of the mmorpgs currently around and not completely off the genre (so I do not count examples like A Tale In The Desert, Puzzle Pirates or Second Life).

It’s not easy to get into it and feel involved but if you manage to do the step you’ll find an unique experience that you won’t get anywhere else.

To ease some more the first approach and find out more easily the value of the game I suggest to read the manual. Even if it may sound like an odd suggestion the manual is the best I’ve seen in a very long time. The introduction is wonderful and you’ll find it extremely useful to grasp the concepts of the game and understand better where the qualities are.

I was planning to write down a review of the game in January but I never got the time to organize the ideas. As I said it is definitely not an immediate game. So or you are able to dedicate to it some attention to delve its hidden qualities or the surface will look rather dull and boring.

But there’s more, if you have the time and the patience to discover it.

Posted in: Uncategorized |

Parsing comments

Two well-written and precise comments about DAoC and some other general issues.

The comments spawned from a discussion about Mythic and the acquisition of the Warhammer licence on F13.

Johny Cee:
The dominating factor in DAoC rvr/pvp was not items. It was class makeup and group min/maxing, with a bottleneck on having the right class abilities (speed, resist buffs, cc) and good players at the right classes (mezzer, healers primarily; these classes are essential, and not exciting to play. Damage dealers could almost be played by monkeys who can tap an /assist key). Liberally supplemented by out of game aids like radar and TS/Ventrilo.

This is Mythics big chance to redesign the core failures in their pvp system. There are any number of ideas that suck in implementation in DAoC now, that Mythic can’t get rid of since the cure is worse than the disease. Primarily:

1. Crowd controls overwhelming importance. Fights are often decided by who gets off the first mezz. CC went from a defensive measure to an offensive and game deciding measure.

2. Role of stealthers. Stealthers have bounced between solo gods and completely useless, depending on latest changes.

3. Buff(bot) problems. Bots are too prevalent to crack down on now, and too large a source of revenue

4. Interrupt code. Casters are hamstrung by the shitty way interrupts work, and have no option for self-defense besides crowd control (see problem 1.)

5. Damage. DAoC has largely been about frontloading/damage maximaztion. They tried to back off the 35% increase to damage in pvp/rvr in the first 6 months, and it never got off Test because of player outcry.

6. Uselessness of some mechanics. Bolts. Can’t “fix” them, because then everyone would be getting one/two shot. Abandoning bolts just completely fucks over classes that use them to a new and probably not much better mechanic

7. Combat system itself. As has been pointed out in other threads, DAoC’s combat system was cadged together when their attempt to license a developed system fell through.

8. The benefits of group min/maxing. At any one time, there are a section of DAoC classes that have no place in pvp. You NEED to min/max to have a shot. At different times, casters and tanks have been relegated to perpetually lfg. Hybrids generally have always been. I’d like to see a break from the mold of 4 damage dealers (of min/max class a), 1 mezzer, 2 healers, 1 speed class or buffer.


The problem you won’t see is grind. The grind in DAoC is worlds better than at release. And most of the new combat mechanics and classes that have been floated are more than proficient soloers/expers. I have a vamp at level 48 with a few days played, all casual. With a couple lengthy stops in the battlegrounds for pvp.

Yes, the grind was shit-tacular for the first year and a half…. I’m just saying Mythic has figured out that mistake already.

The prevailing trend is away from grind. And Mythic always goes with the prevailing trend.

Twitch vs. numbers vs. other systems — I don’t understand the great desire to have twitch mechanics. It isn’t a test of skill, it’s a test of reflexes and learned typing patterns. Hell, why would a company want to develop an MMO going into twitch mechanics? You have lots of competition in other FPSs with no monthly fees, with a high turnover of dominant games.

Honestly, alot of people who play mmos now would have nothing to do with a twitch system. I know I wouldn’t touch it, after working all day writing or banging on a keypad at mach 9. The fingers just wouldn’t cooperate.

I’d love to see a mechanic that takes advantage of real stategy or tactics, and the importance of decision making. That rewards innovatative play and adaption.

Right now, closet thing you get is Magic Online. You get elements of strategy (deck choice and sideboard choice), implentation and decision making (choice of how to use resources, when to use spells/abilities), and luck. Even in an unfavorable matchup, clever use of your cards can give you a win. Or good metagaming can give you the right choice of cards to use against prevalent decks.

Twitch vs. non-twitch is a red-herring. Skill is what matters. Whether the skill is twitch skill or strategy or whatever is not really relevant. Most MMORPG playing is simply learning a pattern and repeating it 10,000 times.

I think people get hung up on twitch because nearly all twitch games do require some skill at some level, so they equate the two. My problem with MMORPGs isn’t that they lack twitch, it’s that they lack any appreciable skill or real decision making.