Woot! One week without writing, I CAN resist!
Just a few comments about some latest thingies.
Warhammer and collision detection. There were some discussions about how it is going to work and I have some pertinent quotes:
Collision is most definitely in and working. It’s much easier to “feel” it than to see it, however, because it’s not like running into a brick wall when you hit an enemy player. You can “push through” or around them (which is what you’ll often see in RvR videos), but it takes time and effort to do so. Think of it like (American) football – where you CAN get past a defender, but it takes fancy footwork or a heckuva push to do so.
There is enemy collision currently. Friendly collision doesn’t serve nearly as many purposes and also poses significant risk of abuse in some cases.
EDIT (added later).
Some well founded hype in regards to Tabula Rasa. From an interview with Lum’s boss:
Instead of like with most MMOs in combat, you highlight a target, then you ignore the target, because he’s just going to stand there and whack you—and you are staring at the interface and clicking fireball/fireball/swordswing/healing potion—Tabula Rasa is a game where you’re really shooting through the reticle. You’re constantly observing what’s happening on the screen where you’re aiming. It’s still a role-playing game in the sense of when you shoot at something, it’s based on your equipment and attributes as to who will be injured…but they’re not just sitting there hitting you. Your opponent is moving and is aware of, say, if you’re behind sand bags, he has a lower probability of hitting you, so he may instead run around to the side, kick you to the ground and start rifle-butting you as required, or however they can find their best position to engage you.
It reminds me what I also wrote a number of times about interfaces and having the battlefield have an impact on the action, without being just a flat box decorated with pretty graphic, but also becoming tactically relevant. The bottom line here, what is really relevant, is to deliver all that consistently with the immersion. Visceral combat, the opposite of convoluted and math-intensive.
There are some parts of this game that sound interesting (like the dynamic PvE “shared” zones), while some parts are less convincing (his examples about the AI aren’t so good, even if the overall idea is great).
This other quote goes without commenting, as it was one of my main themes lately:
So, anyway, that’s what leads you up to the elder game. In most MMOs, the first decision you make is what class you’re going to play, and that’s a permanent decision for that character. And once you’ve started leveling, you can’t really go check out the other classes without starting over at Level 1. So what I think often happens…people will focus on one character to get up to peak level. If you have to start all over again, that’s what I would call one of the “opportunities to exit.”
Tabula Rasa is going to have some features that support my two general principles: “permeable barriers” and “gated content”.
we think people will explore a much broader suite of all the content we provide compared to most MMOs.
Brad McQuaid claim on Vanguard subs:
I can’t get into specifics, but we are well over 100,000 and growing steadily every day.
Which is already above my own expectations. Yet, not really meaningful. The interesting milestone is the three months after, as always and overall trend. My opinion is that Vanguard will peak sooner than similar mmorpgs, so it will grow faster (in relation to its own curve) and then remain steady or decline.
Players are still in their free month, so the only “fact” is that Vanguard is selling.
I also noticed this particular line in the patch notes:
– Updated camel mount speeds to be equal to horses of the same rank
Since different types of mount was also a feature in my “dream mmorpg” I wonder if their implementation is meaningful in Vanguard.
My idea was to have different types of mount, but also make them excused. It would be interesting for example see players use camels in the desert, or other mount types, even equipment, depending on where they go adventuring. It’s part of the “immersive” world, that is also a goal in Vanguard. The idea to encourage players using different mounts was to give them different “qualities”. So, simple example, a camel would move faster than an horse in the desert (and the horse even risk death), so making players USE different mounts. It was part of my attempt to give the terrain a role, different movement speeds and so on.
So I wonder what’s Vanguard implementation here. Are different mounts justified in the game with their own specific role and quality, or are they just a different looking model with a similar movement buff applied to it?
Oh, and there was also an fun comics. It’s the immersion and immersive game design.
(related to the last EQ expansion and rumored subs numbers)
today’s EQ + today’s EQ2 < yesterday's EQ
In a year...
today's EQ + today's EQ2 + today's Vanguard < yesterday's EQ
EDIT (added later).
My speculations and assumptions on Eve-Online revealed to be accurate (quoting their dev blogs):
So you framed factional warfare?
Yeah, an unfortunate fact of the re-focus, which has been known for some time now, is that the factional part of the factional warfare is on hold. We could do a small start of “factional action”, but it wouldn’t be the same and expectations are quite high.
You see, one aspect is that warfare has been levitating to a point which we, and we believe you, don’t necessary like. We all like player infrastructure, we all like the goals they create, and some of at least like to defend or attack that which we, or others, strive to create. But we don’t necessarily like to have to gather fleets in the size of 100’s to achieve anything at all, while possibly crashing server nodes – or at least lagging to hell and back.
Weak excuse, as the main goal of Factional Warfare should be, again, the bridge between casual players and the organized player’s corporation warfare. It’s the EXACT opposite of stacking large fleets to be able to accomplish something. It should be instead about setting goal and a campaign-style progression accessible for EVERYONE.
“Factional Warfare” should be the possibility to “affiliate” to NPC corps and fight in well-defined environments. You may portray it as a vaguely directed PvP structure that opens that layer to everyone, right away. Doing without the ultra-complex layers related to the big corps and their politics. Imagine it as some sort of WoW’s BattleGround, made flexible and adaptable, with these BGs and PvP-driven missions that adapt to a world that is being changed.
So we should have WoW’s BG accessibility from a side (everyone can jump in, participate and have fun right away) and a flexible, adaptable overall structure that transforms the game world and makes these battles have *consequences*. Shaping and transforming the empire space.
That’s the main strength of Eve, used right against its main weakness. Eve’s main strength is the overall, dynamic world structure, all its complex and intricate layers. Eve’s main weakness is its lack of accessibility for new players or even veterans who didn’t find a way to access the layer about corporations warfare and world conquest.
At this point I’m even doubting that my idea of “Factional Warfare” coincides with CCP’s idea.
Tobold on MEO:
LotRO is going to be the “next big thing”, the game you can’t possibly miss of 2007.
I’ve read that MEO is supposedly targeted at bored WoW players, but what I read from the boards is that in the best case playing MEO made people want to resub to WoW. Wonderful achievement there ;)
But that’s also the perfect description of MEO: an uninspired and soulless carbon copy of WoW.
Best review from Haemish:
LOTRO is a boring game that’s a mishmash of D&D Online with every other diku ever made. It failed my 30-minute MMOG rule.
I think the “hate” for LOTRO is that it is a WOW clone that is a step below WOW.
I wouldn’t say there is hate rather than disinterest.
Don’t take me seriously, I’ve put everything Turbine’s in the garbage bin. And I’m pretty sure I’m not going to regret it.
You have to have serious talent to shit on so much potential (meaning Turbine ruining D&D, LotR and even their own IP, AC2). And yeah, you deserve NO RESPECT if when you have a LotR license on your hands and the best thing you can think of is making it a WoW clone. And I don’t mean those at Turbine who put their work in the game, I mean those who made the calls. So, again, you deserve no respect.
Turbine, the wither of mmo worlds.
Btw, where’s this “great graphic”? Better than Vanguard? Sure, but that’s something hardly to be proud of. From what I see it has a LOD worse than Oblivion, with a sharp cut between close and far clip plane. There aren’t even LOD transitions, trees seem to go from full detail right into flat bitmap billboards. The far clip plane not only has muddy textures, but these placeholder trees aren’t even put on the terrain, they look all flying with their roots in the air. World design is slightly better than Vanguard, but still very lackluster and plain, same for the textures. The graphic looks as bland and uninspired as the game design. A coherent game, I guess.
I don’t think MEO is a terrible game that deserves “the hate” or scorn. But, taken for what it is, it is a mediocre game.
Comics and games. Common ground. This is a quote from Bryan Hitch about the delay of Civil War, also somewhat pertinent to the game industry:
These days we have the benefit of hindsight and there are precedents. You can’t set out to create a classic or a series with longevity but it’s getting easier for publishers to spot them as they unfold because the collection market is so large now and one can see what works and what doesn’t. A fill-in might potentially stave off an unfortunate delay but hurt the long term property potential and the only reason a company would consider a fill-in necessary would be to avoid a financial hit in the short term not to keep you guys happy. If they are willing to take what must be a massive hit in the pocket, believing in it’s long term potential, to allow it’s creators to finish the book as intended then that isn’t really a bad thing.
If we do things the way they have always been done then we don’t develop. It pays to be flexible, I guess and Marvel obviously believe they are doing the best thing in the long game for a product they believe in and one that has already proven more successful than they belived possible.
Comics and games industry are closer than what you may expect. Both have to deal with art from one side and industry from the other. In the form of production, time constraints, deadlines, plans and projections. They involve hundreds of people, each with his own competency.
Both comics and games are an industry built on art, but still industry. Industry and art naturally collide, but that conflict sometimes produces authentic masterpieces.