Fuck the Politically Correct, bring the noise

Oh my god. TerraNova goes, for the first time, offtrack to comment something that finally MATTERS and what I find? Lum trying to derail back them in the useless academia and navel gazing.

The topic is, of course, the NGE and SWG. For the first time there’s an intelligent analysis on TerraNova that focuses on the *implementation* and that correctly blames it for the problems of the game:

The problem is that SWG’s chief problem from the beginning has been poor implementation, poor communication, poor service. Koster’s design ideas went wrong when they got awkwardly stitched in late Beta to counterposing designs, when the center could not hold. They went wrong when they went live in a horribly unfinished state, with an underresourced live management team desperately trying to keep a very leaky ship afloat.

Unfortunately, the live management team seems to have ignored another long-standing criticism of SWG by many observers: that their design and implementation process is a disastrous mess. Never more so than with the NGE: whatever it is conceptually, in practice, it’s roughly on par with an alpha build of a MMOG.

What do you think is worth saying about the NGE that is “worthy” of Terra Nova? I’m always intrigued when folks in the industry somehow expect that those of us with scholarly or semi-scholarly interests in MMOGs are supposed to be too decorous to engage in the ordinary business of criticism. Literary critics don’t avoid occasionally saying tough things about bad novels, even bad novels by writers whom they generally have a high opinion of.

And what does Lum replies?

Sure. But at the same time you’ve established a pattern of not stooping to, say, posting diatribes from MMO players angry about the latest patch for their game. (Boy, it’s a good thing nobody ever did that. *cringe*)

(a) professional decorum requires me not to comment on publically (no, really)

What the hell. Speaking of being a pussy.

I wish not only TerraNova but also all the other places where there are people with opinions, INTERESTING opinions (for me) could start to voice them. Freely. Without being scared by everything. I wish Raph would start to speak about GAMES, specific games. His own, competition, I don’t fucking care, but something specific that we can relate to and discuss and not the usual, abstract chatter that just goes nowhere if not to build a theory out of thin air. There’s already a so HUGE displacement between theory and practice that is hurting this genre more than everything else. WAY MORE than mass market successes that seem now to absorb and uniform everything.

People are RAGING against the NGE but what I read in the complaints is about NPCs shooting through walls, melee being retarted, and huge problems with the controls. Yes, they are hating “change”, but they are hating it because it’s, once again, an half-assed, incomplete *implementation*. IMPLEMENTATION. And yes, this is the fucking problem of SWG since day 1. They dragged the game in every direction possible, finishing nothing.

I said it in the past and I’ll repeat it. The HUGEST problem of SWG is the high churn rate of the developers. Starting from Raph. The game switched hands like the cheapest whore and its current status is NOWHERE SURPRISING. But there isn’t anything to learn from here, if not that without commitment, long term and STABLE commitment, you go nowhere. This is why it’s so important the managment in a company to keep things together.

TerraNova saw the light for a day and wrote something interesting as it wasn’t happening in a long time. I really wasn’t expecting Lum to come and blame them for the change.

EDIT- That comment thread turned into something really, really interesting and deserving a careful read. In particular Lum killed my arguments (but not my opinion) and brought up so many other interesting points (about community managment in particular). Every post by Lydia Leong is also terribly interesting and precise. I was going to consolidate the comments that I found worthy in a entry here but there’s really too much and TerraNova has been stable enough. It shouldn’t fade as everything else on the internet, making me angry when I try to find again that doesn’t exist anymore. That’s the very first reason why I have this site.

Beside this, just notice how this “terribly interesting” thread was the result of an unconventional article that was strongly criticized. I’ll say this again: “Bring the noise”. We don’t need the politically correct. We need more passionate and specific commentary that goes straight to the point and without all the useless frills. Without that unconventional article we would just get another boring, empty and polite navel gazing and dissertation about the moon. The conflict of interest is what fuels the heart of these games and makes things have a true value instead of fading into irrelevance and indifferece.

What IS interesting, and what I think should be discussed in this context and without, is the concept of completely changing a live service in mid-stream. SWG this week is a far different game from the one that existed last month. How do the players react to that radical a change? Do they react? Do they simply quit? Do they knuckle under and keep going, “relearning the rules”?

This is stuff that would be interesting. “I can’t aim in combat any more” or “Gosh, this live team sucks at implementation”, not so much.

Oh, this is way too good.

My point of view is exactly the opposite. It’s the context (completely changing a live service) to be useless and the content (the specifics of the changes) to be relevant.

It’s only the quality of the implementation to matter here. If the quality is very high, the dissatisfaction would be easily reabsorbed. If the quality is poor, instead, you’ll simply fail to get both new and old customers and the context would be branded as “not convenient” for future, generalized references and commonplaces formed out of thin air that will be very hard to discard.

It’s really this simple.

What was important was to consider the resources available and figure out if there was enough “space” to do a very good work or not. SOE made its choice. We’ll see the results. These results should be always considered for the specific game and the specific changes. Not generalized and standardized as absolute principles.

And can’t you see that the willingness (of the players) to tolerate it (change) depends on the QUALITY of it?

No, I’d strenously argue the point. If Civ 4 autopatched itself into a WW2-themed first person shooter, I really wouldn’t care about the quality of the patch.

Posted in: Uncategorized |

Enough of this Jack Thompson

I never wrote about this and for a very simple reason. I don’t like redundancy that isn’t finalized to something and I always considered Jack Thompson a jerk that just doesn’t deserve the attention. In fact we know he’s a troll and we know that the attention he’s getting is exactly what he is asking. So why should we feed the troll?

Why we cannot ignore him? I know for sure that he is one of those silly internet commonplaces. Like those songs that you cannot get out of your brain for a month and that are getting replaced the month after, or the priests melting faces in WoW. The gossiping of the internet, the redundant chatter. Catchphrases, transitory cultural figures that become popular for the comedy value.

There is, in fact, the comedy value. Jack Thompson became so popular because of it, for the most part. But this type of comedy value is also of the transitory type. In the long run it becomes incredibly boring. And it IS incredibly boring now. In fact I’m writing about this because I’m wondering why the hell I still find his name everywhere.

Why he gets all this consideration? Why people still write seriously about him? He became one of the most popular figures of the internet, I bet he even works like an ad banner, if you write about him your site could get so many more hits. Soon we’ll have even the live webcam of Jack Thompson. He is the hot topic of the moment and this darn thing just doesn’t want to go away. Attention, importance and charisma strongly depend on the people, not on the subject. The people are making Jack Thompson so popular and relevant and this is why I consider it unacceptable. I usually write about everything passing by but in this case I just didn’t want to give relevance to something so irrelevant. Jack Thompson is, in fact, totally irrelevant. He is internet garbage. The internet itself vomited him. The comedy value is over and he is still around to litter the place. People are still feeding him and giving him a space.

So I started to think if there’s another reason behind. Behind his persistence and popularity. Maybe Jack Thompson isn’t a danger for the game industry. He is the antidote. We are keep feeding him because he is a trojan horse to use instead of suffer. He is an ally, not the enemy.

I believe that Jeck Thompson is needed right now. He is convenient for the game industry and he is probably the best thing that could have happened. With or without him, we knew that there was going to be attrition between games, law and morals. We knew that this was going to be a hot topic. It was already a dormant problem just waiting to explode. And there isn’t anything better than a so stereotyped nemesis like him. An occasion to not let go.

This is why I think that the game industry doesn’t want to forget him like an awful dream. The game industry is keeping feeding him because he is their best resource. They know that a more judicious antagonist could bring up more solid arguments and positions that would be WAY HARDER to deal with and survive. The game industry is scared by that type of confrontation and scared by the actual, real responsibilities that are still only implicit.

This is why we have Jack Thompson and why the game industry is in love with him. This is why he is only apparently a transitory annoyance.

Posted in: Uncategorized |

It’s Monday, WoW’s NPCs take a break and go eat turkey early

Mannoroth just disconnected everyone. When it was back there was no lag, but also no NPCs.

Mages are selling ports at 1G. Some people reported that all mobs in MC are gone with the exception of the bosses.

Other people decided to go raid Undercity, then they remembered that they’ll have to walk till there.

On the forums Blizzard announced a lame change to the instances reset timers that will start with the next patch (probably tomorrow the test servers will go up). It was on FoH’s forums (still dead) a month ago. The reason is just to band-aid some exploits that they cannot fix.

Fun times.

Posted in: Uncategorized | Tagged:

“Realm vs Realm and Class focus” patch – Case 2

Hail to the redundancy! Autoreblogging for the win!

“This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend, some people started singing it not knowing what it was, and they’ll continue singing it forever just because this is the song that never ends…”

I just wrote down a summarized version on F13 of what I already wrote here and that I finished to like so much more than my previous attempt. So I decided to archive it as well. More concise, more effective, straighter to the point. And without the excessive preaching.

Not really trying to ressurrect a thread that has been derailed in every direction, but the last patch that is going live in December is way, way, way more interesting than the fluff that was in Darkness Rising and that originated this thread. It’s not as crazy as what is happening to SWG and not as significant as the development in Eve-Online, but at least they are trying and I (mostly) like what I’m seeing.

The patch is branded “Realm vs Realm and Class focus” and should focus on some significant (I hope) changes to the classes (tanks in particular) and larger RvR, but for now the first piece we got on test is a rather HUGE and further nerf to ToA:

– The locked versions of all artifacts will no longer drop from encounters. Players will now only need to have encounter credit and the scrolls to receive the unlocked artifact.

– The location requirements for leveling artifacts have been removed. All artifacts now earn experience from all enemy player and/or monster kills anywhere and anytime.

– Many artifacts now level at a faster rate.

– The drop rates for all scrolls have been increased and the rate is the same for scroll one, two, and three for each artifact.

– Artifact encounters that spawned less than twice a day have had their spawn frequency increased.

There’s more to it, in particular generous nerfs to many encounters. This seems to effectively solve most of the complains about ToA (have – have not) but we are left with the other critical flaws of the standard servers: buffbots, damage scale out of the roof and clumsy interface to trigger the powerful effects bound to the artifacts (drop out of combat, right click on icon, left click on macro, reenter combat). So they removed most of the accessibility barriers of ToA but we still have the negative impact of its other parts.

About the rest we have only hints through a letter from the producer:

Heavy Tank Enhancements: We are looking at a variety of improvements to make heavy tanks more fun and interesting to play. Our goal is to reinvigorate tanks to enable them to perform better in their role of taking damage, safeguarding their realmmates and leading the charge into battle.

RvR Enhancements: We are implementing several new systems that will help to focus the players on larger RvR contributions to the realm, instead of small scale PvP. We already have a large number of rewards for PvP but your feedback has indicated that you want to see more rewards for other RvR activities. Activities such as siege engine destruction, and repairing walls and doors, are being looked at for Realm Point rewards (as well as many other activities).

The process for class enhancements will definitely take several patch cycles, and serious testing and revision. We have some very interesting things planned for upcoming versions and think that you will be excited about all of them. We will keep looking at all classes as we move forward to better enhance their gameplay value and fun. We are currently gathering more feedback and will be taking more polls in the near future. This feedback will help to guide us for future versions in the upcoming year.

Everything from our polls is important to us, and we appreciate your assistance in helping us to determine the priorities. We will of course continue to make other improvements and bug fixes to the entire game as we move forward. Thanks again!

Which is all good, I just would like to see some significant enhancements, features or systems that don’t come just as a bonus, timesink, timeout or a mix of all these… Something that even a brand new player could see without reading the patch notes and feel motivated to play.

I’m not really sure if I like this Jeff Hickman or not, but at least he seems driven by consensus (which is again both a good and bad thing).

I blame and praise in (nearly) equal quantities.

Tomorrow we should be served the second part that should be more “on topic” with the title. I’m curious to see what they are planning.

Posted in: Uncategorized | Tagged:

DAoC starts its own (soft) revolution

(shorter version here)

I’m lagging behind here, the news is already a few days old. I was aware of it but certain parts of what I wanted to say are still rather open and I was unsure how to organize my comments and ideas.

The big news is that Mythic, once again, severely nerfed the Trial of Atlantis expansion (the title on mmorpgdot was hilarious: “DAoC: Monsters Nerfed in Upcoming Patch”).
This time for real:

– The locked versions of all artifacts will no longer drop from encounters. Players will now only need to have encounter credit and the scrolls to receive the unlocked artifact.

– The location requirements for leveling artifacts have been removed. All artifacts now earn experience from all enemy player and/or monster kills anywhere and anytime.

– Many artifacts now level at a faster rate.

– The drop rates for all scrolls have been increased and the rate is the same for scroll one, two, and three for each artifact.

– Artifact encounters that spawned less than twice a day have had their spawn frequency increased.

If you’re wondering when the next bit of 1.81 is going to Pendragon, the answer is next Tuesday. If you’re wondering when all this is going live, the answer is tentatively the second week of December. Subject to change without notice, of course.

All this along with lots more nerfs about specific encounters. They really went radical this time, or at least so it seems by reading the patch notes (it’s not the first time that the game then behaves differently from the impression you get by reading).

While the great majority of the players are rejoicing, the usual BoardWarrior doesn’t agree:

The game now has no challenges as of 1.81B. I see you’re going in the right direction, Mythic, but I think you have taken it too far on the changes making artifacts have no challenge. All of the GOOD players, which is the majority of the game’s playerbase, will now leave as their accomplishments mean nothing to anyone or anything anymore.

“Challenge”? And where is the challenge in the endless farming of DAoC’s dull PvE? CMN.

That was a *pretence* of challenge just obtained through nearly insurmountable accessibility barriers in order to qualify and differentiate the players between “have” and “have not”. A critical flaw in a PvP game. And a noob, critical overlook for Mythic.

These changes appeal me (despite the fact that the efficency of the RvR to level the artifacts should also receive a huge boost. And I mean from killing players, not dumb monster bashing). I think I loved ToA. Or better, I liked what was being offered but I definitely hated *how* it was offered. These changes are in fact about the modality more than the content and are finally a last attempt to solve the accessibility problems that were evident (to me) since day 1. ToA was and still is Mythic’s most ambitious and feature-rich expansion. It’s sad to see all that work wasted and the whole expansion removed to hype and launch the “classic” servers. It’s not acceptable even for me that I chose to play there. Still, it’s not enough to convince me to move back, even if I’d like to forget the classic server branching as a bad dream (btw, they ditched the “evolution server” idea, which is both a good and bad thing).

There are in fact other basic flaws that are still currently unaddressed and that I still consider game breaking. The first is about the buffbots, and the other is about the awful controls to use the effects on the artifacts. This on top of the damage scale that went through the roof and that made the combat simply unfun and too based on the use of this clumsy interface and special, situational powers (also known as I-WIN buttons).

So I feel like hanging between two worlds, both appealing for different reasons and both flawed. How this split was good for the game and the community? These changes arrive late and don’t resolve the situation. They just make harder the choice between the two server types and once again I wish Mythic took a decision back then, instead of splitting the problem without really addressing it in a way or another.

The patch in its entirety is starting to look rather interesting and daring, in fact the main focus won’t even be about ToA but about “Realm vs Realm and Class focus”. Too good to be true? What does this means? For now we have only a vague letter from the producer which left me with even more doubts. I won’t comment the class enhancements till they reaveal some actual details, but the changes to the RvR, in the way they are put, worry me a bit:

RvR Enhancements: We are implementing several new systems that will help to focus the players on larger RvR contributions to the realm, instead of small scale PvP. We already have a large number of rewards for PvP but your feedback has indicated that you want to see more rewards for other RvR activities. Activities such as siege engine destruction, and repairing walls and doors, are being looked at for Realm Point rewards (as well as many other activities).

I’m one of those strongly supporting some added incentives to the RvR but the hints given in these few lines aren’t so appealing. Realm Points given for siege engine destruction, repairing walls and doors? Well, how are these minor activities fun? How these minor incentives (I suppose) are going to support a more fun gameplay and have an impact on the game?

I’m all for them. Handing out some decent RPs for those activities makes sense and is a positive addition. But it’s also something minor that hasn’t in any way a true impact on what was required: “focus the players on larger RvR contributions to the realm, instead of small scale PvP”. To begin with, why they should do this? What are the reasons?

Two days ago I logged in Lamorak and had the most fun in a long while. It was because of a large battle right outside the central keep in Albion that kept shifting from the keep walls to the bridge and a Midgard tower at the other side of the river. It lasted more than a hour, with incessant, involving combat and almost zero downtime. Both factions had their moments and the RPs flowed (more than usual) for both. From more than one player I heard, “this reminds me why I play this game”. And it was true because the scope of that battle, the keeps and towers to support the line of the defence and the deployment of some siege engines between the waves, are definitely some of the unique traits of this game.

This was one rare (for me) example of an involving, exciting battle that had fun gameplay to offer for every player involved. Sadly this scenario isn’t as frequent as I’d like (it’s more like an exception) and the average RvR is often filled with endless downtimes and general boredom (running around, wait to organize, sit at a keep, endless “tennis games” between siege engines at long range and so on). Long ago I imputed the responsibility of these “flaws” to the immobility of the gameplay and a good step forward was done with the possibility to raze the towers. As I pointed at that time it was a positive step in the right direction.

I find the 8vs8 ganking squads scenario dull and boring. It’s a type of repetitive gameplay that doesn’t really add anything deeper than an efficient Realm Point farming. It’s fun as a diversion, but after a while it has nothing to offer. I believe, a bit presumptuously, that most players rinse and repeat this mostly because it’s the best pattern available to pile up Realm Points, the true “functional” purpose of the RvR (give a look to what happens in WoW, for another similar example, link below). This is why the reason to focus on the larger RvR scope is to underline and valorize those quality points that DAoC has. Or even:
“The best route should also be the most fun route.”

Repairing walls and doors and the siege engines destruction are an important part of the RvR and it’s right to reward the players for them. But they aren’t what makes this type of RvR “click”. It’s not where the fun really is and it’s not what should be truly valorized. The focus must be on something concrete, on the gameplay. Not just about adding yet another bonus. The whole point is about making this type of larger scale RvR more appealing and bring it closer to the 8vs8 RPs farming efficiency. The keeps must retain some value and become the true focus of the RvR instead of just a theme park for pick up groups. The game right now rewards the INDIFFERENCE toward RvR objectives and the elite guilds are as selfish and isolated as possible. It’s totally nocessary to leave them the possibility of this choice. But, and here is the core point, I don’t find good to let the game REWARD that type of attitude. Because the beauty of this game is about being part of a realm and play together for a bigger, shared goal. And not selfishly care for your own treadmill and static farming scenario to reiterate ad infinitum.

It’s a duty of the game (and the designers) to promote that gameplay where DAoC shines. And make it an habit and the norm, instead of a rare exception.

Those two “levels” of the game (8vs8 and actual RvR) will always exist. But it’s a good idea to start to balance them in an effective way so that the game can finally focus on what its most unique and precious traits are. In four years nothing new was really added and the appeal of this game is still basically the same. It may be late but it’s still important to focus and expand that potential that has been limited till now. Most of the server boards are completely filled with fights between the 8vs8 ganking squads and the “zergs”. The players almost overturn the actual purpose and rules of the game to form their own “code of conduct”. Does this remind something (+ here)? It’s not the only reason but this happened mostly because the game always rewarded and encouraged that type of 8vs8 gameplay. What happened is that the players magnified and standardized that pattern.

The players learnt from those rules and coded a behaviour that could fit at best with the context. But it’s the context that set the behaviour. Not the player, nor the “fun”.

This is why I believe that it’s fundamental to focus on the parts that are more relevant and give some more depth and dynamism to the actual RvR. A bonus for some side activities is a good thing but just glides on the surface and won’t truly affect the game in any way. It’s just a timid, forgettable “sop” for those players that have to perform those boring activities. The game shouldn’t only reward those. The game should reward and encourage (and, in a second time, develop) what is already fun and involving. Maximizing its value because this is what drives the fun and what keeps the players satisfied with a type of gameplay that is hard to find somewhere else.

Those, along with the dynamism, are the goals I consider important for the RvR. Finding the proper way to reach them may not be so easy and will require some other crazy brainstorming sessions. Still, I think that having the goals clearly set may help to find and focus on the effective solutions and ideas.

Posted in: Uncategorized | Tagged:

Random, useless thought

While I was doing some other thing I started to think about traps and traps.

For example there could be a trap at the entrance of a dungeon. The trap may or not kill you but it probably should be set to trigger during a combat or it wouldn’t make much of a difference. It would just add another downtime while you are sitting to recover some health points (or run back, if it was a deadly trap).

And then there’s another type of trap. Like in EverQuest, you target a random NPC to hail but instead you “fumble” and press “A”, starting an attack and getting killed in no time.

While I was thinking all this I also started to think about “skill” in games. Right now I think the new combat of SWG really requires skill with its clumsy hotkey+right click interface. Even more skill requires the use of the powerful secondary effects on DAoC’s artifacts. Since, as I often ranted, you have to exit combat, right click on item, left click on macro and reenter combat. See? Skill. It requires a good amount of skill to go as quickly as possible through that sequence in the heat of a battle while you are also trying to coordinate with your group and use all your skills at best.

The rule seems to be: the more you fight with the interface and controls and the more the game requires “skill”. After all you are fighting with the interface even when in a FPS you try to aim at a running and jumping player. Or not?

So what ties together the reasoning about “traps” and the one about skill in games? Well, I was just trying to discover the difference between the two types of traps. What’s the essential gameplay value of a trap (like the one in first example)? It should be the fact that, once you fall in the trap, you learn how to avoid it. An unexperienced player would risk its life on the first run, while he should be able to avoid the trap or at least try to counter and minimize its effect on a second run. This can be fun because it adds an interesting element in the gameplay. Essentially we are back at the basic concept of Raph’s “fun” (and mine): we are having fun when we learn something. Then we can practice and reiterate what we learnt. The trap is the ideal example, something that can kill you if you are unaware of it but that it’s easy to bypass once you learnt the proper pattern. The “design masterpiece” under the name of “God of War” is completely designed following that simple rule. All the encounters are almost impossible till you figure out the proper tactics to beat them. Once you have mastered them, the game becomes rather simple even at the highest level of difficulty. The game is never frustrating because it encourages you to master the (wonderful) controls and discover the proper patterns through a continued, varied exploration of your possibilities (types of combos, use of the environment, timing, positioning etc.. You have many, leaving space for a lot of “creativity” in how you decide to face a situation. Another fundamental trait of that game, in fact).

And what’s instead the basic trait of the second type of trap? I guess it’s obvious. The difference is that in the second example you are facing an “UI trap”. To begin with this trap is “OOC”. It’s about the player, not the character. So it breaks the “fourth wall” and the whole purpose of a game (simulate stuff). Then the other fundamental trait is that you aren’t really learning anything. You may actually know that “A” is used to attack but that doesn’t prevent you to fumble and keep pressing it by mistake. I fumble nearly always on every game, in fact in WoW I set meticulously my hotbars so that they are “fumble friendly”, plancing the buttons so that they usually activate when those surrounding are off (my keyboard is also a nightmare, since it has almost no space between a key and the other). So the difference is that in this second case you may be totally aware of the trap, but still this doesn’t prevent you to fall in it. There isn’t a lesson to learn, and, even if you do, you are still not put in the condition to use what you learnt as an advantage. In fact this trap is not fun and rather annoying.

The main point is: you have no control over the second type of trap. In the same way (here’s the tie) you may have no control over your actions while you are “fighting against the interface”. Maybe you know exactly what to do, maybe you know that to make a successful jump in a platform game you have to run till the very limit of a platform and then jump. But the controls may lag and your character drift too much and fail even if you know exactly what you are supposed to do. This is damn frustrating and, while tremendously successful games (from Super Mario to Wonderboy, those games really required “skill”) have been built completely around this concept, I believe it’s a thing of the past and cannot be used anymore today.

We aren’t playing anymore Pac-Man. We play past it. We play in a story and a context. We like to be heroes or demons. We want things to happen as we plan them. We don’t want to see an interface between us and the simulated world and we get even more angry if this interface gets in the way and goes against our will, forcing us to fumble and fight with clumsy, overly complicated controls. We want to think and act because what interests us is the action itself and its consequence, not the skill of the fingers to press multiple keys with a right timing. We don’t want to play anymore the controls. We only want to play the shared myth. The “symbolic shared system”.

And if we like a FPS it’s *after* we have master the type of controls, not before. It’s when we are finally simulating the aiming of the marine (and not ours) and when we are running and jumping like in a second skin. *Only then* the fun begins. And not when you are still fighting with your mouse and WASD, trying to learn how the hell these games work.

What I wanted to say with all this? Nothing at all, just a totally random, useless thought.

I have many of these…

…where we discover the truth about voice chat

That’s also what I thought when everyone started to impose the voice chat more than just offer it.

I have no mic/headset, so I just listened. Fun! Got to listen to another guild’s drama for a little while which was fun in itself.

DRAMA FTW! (I think that is why TS is required, cuz they sure weren’t talking about the raid we were on)

My guild uses Teamspeak to do online Karaoke and other things that amuse 18 year old stoners. We do MC instructions in raid chat via the WoW client. We require only the use of CT Raid. Some people think that voice chat makes them better able to handle dynamic encounters, but it really just caters to whiny little retards that want to be heard.

You mean like official MMOG Message boards?

Posted in: Uncategorized |

MegaMan RhinoWarrior

The warrior Tier 2 armor wins hands down not only compared to the other similar sets, but probably even as uglier and most ridiculous set EVER (well, beside the shoulder peens):

Removing the blades on the shoulders and head would make the set look almost acceptable, but then my warrior would look exactly like a football player…

I wish armors would look, you know, like metal.

But then I’m far from hoping to get Tier 2 armor for my dwarf warrior.

Other sets in the Underdev page, along with a richer preview about the content.

Posted in: Uncategorized | Tagged:

Eve-Online – Next stop 100k

That it is pretty it’s out of doubt.

Red Moon Rising is the upcoming free half-expansion to be released in December. The original plan was to have all features packed in Kali, the next one now scheduled for Q2 2006, but the devs decided to split the project in two in order to keep everything under control considering the sheer scope of the ongoing development.

The new screenshots just released are wonderful and finally show the “Titans”, the biggest ships you will be able to control in the game.

The focus of this further step is on the warfare and PvP action but there are many more features and enhancements that are being added, starting from the client optimization to the addition of four new “asian” bloodlines (one per race) to appeal the eastern market where the game is going to be launched (and it will be truly interesting to see how it goes).

While the hugest ships aren’t going to be accessible if not for those long-time and organized players that accumulated an insane wealth and the support from the largest corporations and alliances, still they reinforce the “sense of wonder” created by the absurd unbalance in the scale of the vessels. And this definitely is what a game also inspired to the Golden Age of the Space Opera should aspire to reproduce.

If at some point you’ll see a Titan passing by during your travels, you’ll surely remember that moment. It’s something real. Those ships ARE insanely valuable and if they are destroyed they are gone. This creates a sense of ownerships and self-consistence in the game-world that sweeps off the “arcade” mood of other games with faked, trivialized environments and rulesets. In Eve things truly exist. The space is huge but in the hands of the players. And it’s undeniable how all these elements are truly appealing and fascinating despite the very slow pace of the game for most of the new players and those not deeply involved in the PvP scene.

It’s not surprising, considering also the steady and ambitious development, that the last press release announces nearly 80k active subscriptions even before the launch of the new expansion and the release of the game on the eastern market. (waiting for proper source)


CCP Announces Major Upgrade to EVE Online

REYKJAVIK, ICELAND – November 18st, 2005 – CCP Games, an independent developer and publisher of massively multiplayer online games, today announced the public release of “EVE Online®: Red Moon Rising”, a new expansion to its highly successful and fast-growing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) “EVE Online®: Exodus”. Red Moon Rising is scheduled for release this December, and will be provided to subscribers free of charge.

“Red Moon Rising is the last of the EXODUS chapters and is the precursor of the Kali expansion,” said Magnus Bergsson, CMO of CCP Games. “Players will see new ships and features in Red Moon Rising created explicitly to augment warfare, so those who crave the adrenaline rush of action-packed PVP will really enjoy this release!”

With nearly 80,000 active subscribers and over 17,000 simultaneous users on one server, “EVE Online” is the largest independently developed and published MMORPG on the market.

“The introduction of these new components is analogous to adding rooks, knights, and the mighty queen to a galactic chessboard,” said Nathan Richardsson, Lead Producer for EVE Online. “Fighters, carriers, and titans are going to take combat to a scale that the MMPORG genre has never seen before. In addition, the sheer economics required just to produce these leviathans will create great opportunities for industrious-minded gamers to take advantage of.”

EVE Online®: Red Moon Rising is the march towards an epic clash between the empires as the tentative peace presiding over the galaxy continues to slip away. Nations begin to conspire against one another, secretly preparing for the inevitable conflict that threatens to redefine the borderlines of EVE forever.

Some of the key features of this upgrade are:

* Titans: The largest, most fearsome space faring battle vessels ever created
* Carriers: Front line capital ships providing fighter coverage and support for fleets
* Bloodlines: The addition of Asian bloodlines available to each of the races
* COSMOS Constellation Expansion: Addition of constellation missions to Gallente and Amarr territories
* Fighters: The main offensive and defensive weapon of the Carrier
* Starbases and sovereignty: Additions of roles to improve control access of services and improved calculations of player-determined Sovereignty
* Next-Generation Manufacturing & Research Facilities: Mass-manufacturing enabling and remote industry management.
* Performance Optimizations: Optimizations to core systems to provide even better performance.
* Mining Industry Upgrade: New equipment, ships and skills for miners
* Combat Enhancements: Varied improvements to combat, enhanced defenses and configuration overhauls
* Jettisoned Canister Flagging: Removing the contents of a jettisoned canister that is not your own will flag you as a thief
* Drone Enhancements: New drone capabilities and improved performance
* An Eye for an Eye: You are allowed to revenge the unlawful destruction of your ship
* Tech II: 23 new Tech II ships, including destroyers, battlecruisers and mining barges
* New Corporate Logos: Corporations have more options to create their own identity
* NPC Changes: New NPC’s featuring elite ships with advanced capabilities such as cap draining
* UI Improvements: Need info from Hagen. (lol?)
* Full Unicode Client: The EVE client now supports any language in the universe

This while they speak about “growing pains”:

What you guys need to be aware of, however, is that due to CCP’s ongoing growth spurt, we’ve presently hit the absolute limit with regards to how many people we can fit in our current housing. We physically cannot add more people until we move to our new facilities (a move currently scheduled for next month). Therefore, to meet current production schedules with available manpower, our focus needs to remain squarely on static content for the time being.

Our company’s having growing pains, but once they’re past us we’ll be better equipped to bring you a more well-rounded gaming experience.

And fancy projects to spare some space for the exponential growth:


A common cause for node deaths is memory exhaustion. Sometimes this is due to some memory-eating monsterbug, but often the virtual address space of 2GB in a 32-bit process simply fills up with legitimate user data. No matter how much memory is installed on the machine, each process can only address 2GB of this.

In order to alleviate this and to buy us more room for growth, we have been working on porting the server binaries to the new x64 architecture and have them run as 64 bit processes under Windows 2003 server 64, or even XP 64.

The ~150k subscriptions of City of Heroes aren’t that far away. We’ll see for how long this will be considered “niche” or “outlier”.

The GoonFleet may also help:

It’s a completely different game than it was in beta/launch.

What the hell…I’m game. I’m sick of WoW. And since I’ve been busy at work lately, this sounds like a good game to get stuff done while I do work with the mining and all.

As new people can see, the devs maintain a very active and responsive relationship with the player base. They frequently post on the online forums in response to threads commenting/complaining about changes, and make an effort to justify their decisions in a way SOE never would.

Btw, they added an into movie to the game with a voice narrating the backstory and mostly-static beautiful art screens to illustrate it. It sets the mood rather well.

Fascinating, indeed.