SOE Station All-Access pass, thirty bucks

What I told you about SOE’s business practices and trends?

I saw this looking at other blogs feeds (Cuppycake and Krones). I guess Brad McQuaid pretended the price to raise in order to keep Vanguard vaguely profitable.

The price is now thirty bucks (in Europe add another $5 of taxes) and they even rebill you automatically with the higher fee (effective April 2, 2007).

Firstly they publicize Vanguard and the All-access pass as both part of a very convenient deal, then, I guess, they are successful but so successful to the point that they cannot keep all games and live teams alive with one reasonable monthly fee that has to be split thin.

So it’s now thirty bucks. Still cheap? Well, it’s almost what you would pay for a FULL brand new game with years of development behind it. And you pay that MONTHLY.

Prediction: this will break either EQ2 or Vanguard, as they are now forcing players to pick one side. As I anticipated, only one will survive.

Next step is obviously rising the single monthly fee. But they just cannot do that before the competition moves the first step ;p

They also gave NCSoft the perfect occasion for a winning stab. Release Dungeon Runners, Exteel and Tabula Rasa and launch their own version of an all-access pass with an accessible monthly fee. If they are going to miss this opportunity then they are just crazy. A victory handed on a silver plate. With their accessible games and variety of styles it even makes sense to play more than one mmorpg.

Planetside monthly fee is also going up: $13 -> $15

The player-reported news on VE3D is worth a quote:

After more 3 years of continually dwindling subscriber numbers, corporate mismanagement, a botched expansion, the addition of in-game advertisements, and numerous unpopular gameplay changes, SOE in all their wisdom has decided to increase the subscription rate from $13 to $15, citing investments to improve the game’s support and infrastructure. Any long-time player knows the only support they have given is life-support. Barely keeping the game running is their idea of investing in it.

And another quote from Amber:

The short-sightedness of this approach is staggering. In a marketplace that Sony hasn’t come close to dominating for well over 5 years, they’re behaving like a monopoly with a captive player base.

If you aren’t in Austin you are no one, part 2 (Warhammer 40k)

What did I tell you, hm?

I saw this coming miles away. Obviously from THQ.

I read a while ago that Relic (the makers of Company of Heroes and WH40k Dawn of War) was actively hiring for an unannounced MMO project. Link the dots…

Warhammer 40k mmorpg officially announced.

Problem is that the dots were wrong. I thought Relic was the last good game studios left who could make a decent MMO. Instead it’s not Relic working on this. It’s another FRIGGIN Austin-based studios named Vigil Games.

The team there is led by David Adams, formerly of NCsoft, and is comprised of several MMO veterans from that community. We look forward to making further announcements with more specifics on the game in the coming months.

More incest going on.

From where are these devs leaking? ;)

Brandon Reinhart is my personal myth

Come on, point me another game developer who not only isn’t scared about revealing his identity in a game or paint himself as just a passionate player, but he even posts on the WoW public forums WITH LINKBACKS TO HIS DEV BLOG.

He’s great.

I discovered my guild on Mannoroth collapsed (as many others) with the release of the expansion. I have now this curiosity to transfer my character on his server and join the guild ;p

The only problem is that it would mean leaving a PvP server forever, bah…

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The dream in the closet is about to get burnt

This is about that “Top Secret” project that claims to give you the occasion of your life.

Hey, if I’d be a goon that would be the occasion of my life. Since I don’t have the opportunity to work on games following the standard path (as foreigner) this could be the only way to actually try!

“I’ve always loved the idea that someone, from their bedroom, reveals their passion and talent, then suddenly can have an absolutely stunning career explosion, becoming a famous Game Director with a pre-built fan base. We’re going to make it happen!” says David Perry who is a Game Director and Chief Creative Officer for Acclaim Games.

David Perry will be building the new online game from scratch and is offering members of the Acclaim player community a rare opportunity to help him develop this video game in a collaborative effort with some of the industry’s best talent. “We will bring in some surprise guests along the way to inspire and mentor the contributors,” says Perry.

One lucky winner who shines the most during the development process will be given the top prize. “This is the only chance I know of to jumpstart a directorship career in the video game industry,” continues Perry. “Everyone wins. They get to learn how to make professional games, and if they get anything in, they get a real professional credit on their resume.” Perry finishes, “But, if they win, well then they get their life changed.”

Interestingly, applicants don’t need any prior game development experience. In fact, Perry refuses to look at resumes. “We only care about the pure, focused, passionate talent they show up with,” he says.

Hey, it IS me. It’s about MMO. It’s about bedroom game design. It’s about offering a lifetime occasion. It’s about an opportunity for those who cannot have one. There isn’t anyone else in the world who could make a better target!

But I’m not so naive and my first reaction was the same of Stephen Zepp on the F13 thread: a laugh.

I’m mildly curious about how they are going to attempt this. I’m one of those who like to plunge in the community for ideas and feedback, I’m the one who believes that it’s an indispensable part of making games. But at the same time you just cannot let the players, as a vague group, build a game. And what game by the way?

You cannot design “on the air”, you always need a context. A project must have well outlined goals and purposes, then you can start to gather ideas about a specific system or possible alternatives. The problem working with “the community” is that there’s no synthesis. It’s pure chaos and without someone directing the process and taking decisions then it’s all absolutely useless and superfluous.

Without a set context the ideas would be contradictory and conflicting. Building a game is about having a coherent Vision. Letting a whole community build a game instead equals to a “patchwork”. Even assuming the execution is exceptional, you still have a castle of cards lacking solid foundation, principles and goals.

And would be Dave Perry(™) the director that is supposed to make all this happen? Who will tell good ideas from bad ideas? Who will make the calls? Who will evaluate the community work? Since Lum was too modest to brag directly, I’ll quote what he linked, last year’s Austin rant where he comments one of Dave Perry’s ideas, this wonderfully creative guy:

As an example of that last bit, Jennings brought up a new project by Dave Perry and Acclaim that will include in-game classified ads on the screen. They can be turned off, but players won’t level up as quickly if they choose to play without them, a point that drew a chorus of boos from the assembled audience. He also suggested facetiously embracing a “wonderland of consumerism,” with Coca-Cola-sponsored magic swords, Kobalds corpses that hold Skittles, and a Jet Blue dragon to fly players around.

“When you totally disrespect your consumers like that, I can assure you of one thing: Your project will fail,” Jennings said. “And deservedly so.”

Jennings ended his rant to a hearty round of applause

The crusade against middleware

I take the cue from an unrelated thread on Q23. I would write and explain extensively if I was writing daily as I used to some months ago. Instead I’ll just go with some short comments.

I’ve noticed a ton of games using the Havok physics engine and I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed. I mean, I love the ragdoll flopping around as much as the next guy. But when a lot of games use the same physics engine with very few tweaks, they get a sameness about them.

This is not a specific problem about physics. This is a general problem about middleware and engines licensing becoming predominant.

It’s not the first time I criticize the use of middleware. I always said that sometimes you don’t have the privilege of choosing whether to use it or not, but in any case I think it has a negative effect on the potential of what you are making.

I strongly believe that game design deals both with “what” and, in particular “how”. Right now we are drifting to an idea of game design that is limited to “what”. When you are bound to use a predefined tool then you cannot decide anymore “how”, only “what”. Game design becomes exclusively a problem of content production while I believe that innovation is mostly an exclusive of “how”. That’s also why I wrote that today game design isn’t a discipline with its own recognized dignity.

We have already in the whole game industry a serious problem of “sameness”, where titles within a genre have very few distinctive traits parting one from the other. If then we start to use the exact same engines across a number of titles then game development becomes just an extension of mod development and not anymore of game development.

My strong belief is that today NO serious game company with the hope to stay in the market in a leading position for the longer term can rely on middleware. Technology building, I believe, is mandatory to preserve and secure the right to be there and to be relevant. It’s the MOST IMPORTANT investment. There are plenty of new game groups trying to find a place in the market and hoping to become big in the future. Well, I believe that in ALL these cases accepting middleware as a “shortcut” to be there in the shortest time possible is at the same time a serious mortgage on the future of that company.

As I said, often you don’t have a choice. Or you go with middleware or you cannot even try. But those few who try to build their own technology will find a much steeper approach early on, but they’ll also see a proportional payback later on. “Game” is INDUSTRY. And the infrastructure is the foundation of an industry, if you don’t work and invest on this foundation then your efforts will be be short legged. At the end the real “raw” value is the assets (people and technology) you develop, not the volatile content.

On the other side there’s a trend that is unavoidable: more and more groups will specialize, those who build tools and engines and those who build content (in TV this is already a reality, with specialized groups who invent and sell formats around the world and groups who buy and adapt them). From my point of view the “winners” will be those who develop *both* of those internally. But this is mostly a discussion pertinent to those sitting at the high levels, where the foresight is most important and where that same foresight is rare.

Here Jeff Freeman would come and tell me that game devs are bored about recoding the same basic stuff like walking and that middleware allows you to reduce overhead and focus on what matters.

And I’d reply again making another parallel with comics. It’s like comics artists suddenly said that they are tired of drawing the same backgrounds, the same skyscrapers in New York that in the end look always the same, and they want instead to focus on the plastic figures and emotional expressions in the foreground.

In the same way I said that “mechanics” and “metaphor” are part of a whole, the same about technology development and game design. “What” and “how”. It all part of making a game and nothing is ever secondary.


I wrote above that middleware is unavoidable.

My point, largely misunderstood considering the comments, is that developing middleware internally is going to be one of the major strength in the longer term because it gives your company a sensible, concrete advantage over the competition.

Plenty of dev studios are licensing Unreal 3 engine. But Gears of Wars still came from Epic. Plenty of dev studios licensed the Source engine, but HL2 still came from Valve.

I’m saying: with a crazy number of game companies tossing themselves on this market, the ability and competence to develop internally the technology and drive the innovation forward is going to be a major asset and a major *advantage*. If you make mistakes but still have strong technology then you’ll never completely fall behind. You’ll never completely fail. That competence will guarantees you continuity and stability.

From another perspective: I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future instead of another MMO company licensing Gamebryo we see instead Gamebryo’s makers acquiring a MMO company.

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Bring the Noise

Another parallel between comics and games. This is *exactly* what also the MMO industry needs. Someone like Quesada who can bring the noise. Someone who can lit the fire again.

(from Wizard 166 – August 2005)

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“Gang wars” Vs “struggle of nations”

First post Lum wrote about game design since… forever. But he is well justified.

It’s also about a theme so dear to me that I discussed many times in the past. I usually presented it in the form of “personal Vs communal objectives” and here instead Lum does what he does best: being much more clear and straight to the point.

I agree with everything he wrote, both on principles and analysis. I’m also waiting for a game that goes in that precise direction. That’s my “dream game” and that kind of innovation I’d like to see. Whether it is really innovation or just incremental progress or evolution.

I always said that I don’t care much how something is delivered, but I care that specific goals are set and specific problems are recognized and addressed. So thanks to Lum to give this theme some legitimation. My effort in the past was to persuade people of the potential of that direction.

What lessons would YOU add to make a PvP game more of a struggle of nations and less of a gangbang?

Acknowledging that the “struggle of nation” is desired or even preferable to the gangbang already wins me as a supporter. Recognizing that point and setting that goal is already much, much more than what happened in the WHOLE industry till today. So I somewhat agree with Sinij, that’s exactly the heart of the discussion. Because before figuring out how to encourage and support the “struggle of nation” you have to have the desire to have it in the game and motivate this choice. Instead of going with the beaten path of the classic gang wars.

The next problem is the “scope”. This isn’t just one of the goals. This becomes the basic structure of the whole game, so it is tied with every other part and it’s actually very hard to make general considerations. In the past I suggested many ideas to address many of the problems that come up with the system (Ubiq in the comments brings up one: “The losers of any fight will only take being a loser for so long before they leave (either go to another server, or leave the game entirely). It’s imperative to give them a way back into the fight.” And a problem that is also somewhat near to an article from Gamasutra) the problem here is that it all depends on the actual structure of the game. What I mean is that you cannot abstract too much here, you have to go deal with the practice of the system. You have to have referents. Then you can prospect solutions and delve in every particular issue that comes up.

But that’s also what Lum demonstrated in the specifics. By providing well-known referents (“lessons” learned from past games) it’s much easier for people to follow what you write and understand the point. The problem is when you try to leave current games behind to suggest new solutions.

The simplification in “Gang wars Vs struggle of nations” is still already a lot. Partly because it gives legitimation to that goal, as I wrote above, and partly because it’s clear to the point. It sets two trends one against the other.

About the “lessons” I agree with each Lum pointed. In particular the last, that isn’t a “lesson” as it wasn’t actually learned, is something I’d STRONGLY support. And if I’d have to bring a concrete example about it I’d bring up what I wrote long ago about the early implementation of PvP in WoW. If systems are well put and coherent, then players comply to the context in a natural way. To the point that they don’t even notice this “transition”. But when the context is CONTRADICTORY, as it happens in WoW’s PvP where to get more points you avoid the fight (or jump between BGs looking for a more favorable situation), then all the context you are going to develop, no matter how much polish you put on it, will always get ignored.

The lesson here is “mandatory” to make Lum’s last lesson possible, like a postulate: develop systems so that they are faithful to the context. Or better, develop games systems starting from the context, to “realize” it.

Why this is a lesson? Because the reason why contexts till today didn’t work is that they were “tacked-on”. Added later. And not instead the *premise* from where you start to build the game systems coherently.

This is similar to the critics I had made to Raph about SWG. You should design a game “from the inside”. The game design should be a “simulation” of the setting and context. And not the setting and context “tacked-on” an arbitrary game system. “Metaphor” and “mechanics” ARE NOT independent.

That was one of my crusades and one lesson I’d suggest.

Instead I have some objections about the first lesson. I don’t think that the first lesson is absolute, but then, thinking more about it, it’s just that I would disagree on the implementation.

I don’t like the economy to have a strong impact on the game because it deteriorates other aspects and makes them overall less accessible and fun. Economy creates barriers. But I agree that the “economy” can be the fabric of the conflict. Going back to my ideas and notes on the “dream mmorg” I separated these two same-layers. From a side the personal economy, from the other the world economy. Usually in games these two blend. The same money you spend on your own items and other personal services is the same money your realm uses as greater motivation. In Eve (as Eve was the example) the money you use to buy your ship and modules is the same money involved in the warfare. What changes is the scale.

As I repeated a million of times I dislike this. I dislike the shortcomings that economic system bring and all the negative effects on the fun and accessibility.

So here I somewhat disagree on the goal and would look into possibly better alternatives. One specific idea I wrote about was about that separation. Personal from a side and communal from the other. For example everything belonging to your character would be “safe”. There should be the possibility to store your belongings so that you are sure that when you’ll log back in the game everything is still there. All this “layer” that concerns the “personal” sphere should be excluded from PvP and the level of the economy.

Then we have the other layer and that can be an element of the conflict. So I want resource systems, points of control and all similar structures. But I would keep all these on this specific layer. It means that their *purpose* in the game never coincides with the one of the single player. So if you get resources used on this “layer” you cannot sell them to buy your character a better sword. These two sides, personal and communal are kept separate. Personal wealth should be unrelated to realm warfare, the two systems should be impermeable between each other. Moreover while your personal items can be stored safely, all that belongs to the “world resource system” is persistent on the world. This means that nothing is ever safe (aside your own personal progress). Enemy players can come and not only conquer your territory, but even pillage your cities and steal resources from your depots. There would be no way to take the objects used on this layer and log off safely with them. If something exists on the world, then it never exits. It is sitting somewhere. You can hide it, you can defend it, but you cannot take it out the game with you.

Of course this choice would also force to deal and address other long-time problems, for example guaranteeing a balance and a tactical depth, so that when you log in the game you won’t find out that the enemy realm “won the game” during the night while the defense was down. I thought about these problems and I believe that they can effectively addressed with some work, but again I think it’s pretty useless to abstract here, as the solutions are too dependent on the concrete implementation and scope of the game.

In my “dream mmorpg” the conquest of the regions was somewhat predictable and strictly paced, with a wink to wargames, so you would know which regions you are going to conquer or lose just by glancing at the map. Basically the outcome is predictable, you would be able to guess what could happen in a day, within a best and worst case. The overall goal would be making this “struggle of nation” like a slower paced campaign. Something that evolves through days and weeks, not something that can be resolved in the arc of a few hours. Somewhat similarly, in Eve it takes a loooong time before you can effectively take over a system. You cannot conquer the map in just a few hours, it’s just not functionally possible.

As I always repeat in these cases, I don’t care much about the actual implementation, but just that the right goals are set and that the right problems are considered and addressed. I offer my own solutions, but this doesn’t mean that there cannot be better ones. In this case I believe it’s possible to counter effectively the problems arising.

Concluding. From a comment:

You looked at history of mmorpg PvP through distorted prism of hear-say and reached wrong conclusions. I think its prevalent problem with PvP designing, its never designed by someone who actually, you know, serious PvPers, instead it what other people think it should be and it often fall short.

PvPers want gang warfare and turf wars! Small scale guild warfare over points of control is ideal state of PvP in any game.

Yeah, that’s EXACTLY the reason why today PvE is much more prevalent over PvP. Because PvP was always delivered with that shortsighted mentality of yours.

The point is that we have already plenty of offers of those “turf wars”, in particular with non-persistent games where that model works better. So go play them, and leave us have at least ONE game that gives us the “struggle of nations”, that is where persistence can become a strong quality. Because we currently have none. And because it has the potential to become significantly more successful than current, unambitious models.

Again, I prefer games integrating players as much as possible instead of games designed around small and extremely selective niches.

I also wonder, why when I write about the same themes, brining up the same points I get completely ignored while when Lum does exactly the same it triggers impressive chain reactions? Oh well, I know the answer ;)

NCSoft – Q4 2006 report

Fifth article in a series! A couple of weeks ago NCSoft release their quarterly reports about subscription numbers and financial status.

The .zip file with the original pdf document can be downloaded here.


– Tabula Rasa close to beta and to be released in second half of 2007.
– Guild Wars skips the “spring” expansion, only one expansion to be released near the end of the year.
– Lineage 2 breaking 100k subs in the western market.
– CoH/CoV falling back to 150k.
– “All pass” service in the works (one monthly fee for all games).

Raw numbers:

1,408,170 subs worldwide (+52,200)
11,953 in the US (+2,226)

Lineage II
1,036,303 subs worldwide (-80,624)
105,039 in US + EU (+11,039)

City of Heroes
154,953 subs worldwide (that is US + EU only) (-17,467)

Guild Wars
3,122,000 boxes sold (+675,000)

Lineage is doing pretty well and currently has 400k more than its sequel. This should give a hint to all those mmorpg companies that continue to abandon their games to build stupid sequels that cannot even top the original. I repeat: in this genre sequels are stupid for a long list of reasons, and this is valid even for the “disguised” sequels, not just for those games sharing the exact same name. Anyway, Lineage seems stable or slightly growing everywhere and I also noticed the “personal accounts” are rising. Someone knows how much Koreans pay monthly?

Lineage 2 instead is like Lineage in reverse (sales went up 2% for Lineage and down 2% for Lineage 2), while one is stable but slightly growing, the other is slightly declining and losing subscriptions in a consolidated downward trend. The only point of notice is that the game is becoming successful in the western market and now has more than 100k. I’m impressed. I don’t know from where these players are coming (maybe the consequence of NCSoft aggressively countering the “free shards”?) and I DEFINITELY cannot understand what players like in this game. Maybe the lust for PvP make people digest all sort of crap. I wonder what could happen if there was in the market a vaguely decent PvP game.

CoH is losing a sensible number of subscriptions but I saw that coming. The development stalled as the staff was moved to other projects. I read that they released a new patch recently, so the subscriptions may slightly rise in the next quarter, but I doubt this game has an interesting, bright future. As for the binomial DAoC/Warhammer, only one can survive between CoH/CoV and the Marvel-branded title in the works. The game is on a (albeit long) countdown and will likely sink over time as its appeal fades (obviously that’s not something they are going to admit).

Consolidated City of Heroes/Villains franchise sales were 5.5 billion Won, down 26% QoQ due to a decrease in user base.

Not much to say about Guild Wars. In the last report I wrote that the Nightfall release made them sell another 500k and reach 3M total, so the number was already updated. It seems holding rather well. The real interesting thing is that they seem to have discarded the plan of one expansion every six months as only one is planned for this year and to be released around the release of Nightfall a year ago (October). I wonder if this is still a viable business choice.

Overall from a superficial glance at other numbers it seems that the only market sensibly growing is the European one (+68%). While the profit for the full year 06 is down a -43% over the 05. Sales are stable, while costs went up (also because of Auto Assault trainwreck).

It’s interesting to see their previsions for 2007. They expect Lineage 2 to go up by a 12%, CoH and Guild Wars to lose 15% and between a +969% and +1313% for “other” games. This last number is actually believable and even conservative as they are launching new stuff this year (Aion in Korea and Dungeon Runners and Tabula Rasa in the western market).

For 2007 business goals, NCsoft is anticipating sales to be between 358 billion Won and 367 billion Won, a 6% to 8% increase from the previous year. Operating profit is expected to be between 42 billion Won, with little change YoY and 49 billion Won, a 13% increase year over year. This guidance reflects Tabula Rasa, Aion, and several casual games officially launching within year 2007.

NCsoft’s total investment in product development (Live update cost + new game development cost) grew to approximately 90 billion Won last year from 25 billion Won in 2003. In 2007, this investment is expected to grow to 108billion Won, a 18% increase from the previous year. This strong commitment in product development reflects NCsoft’s strategy to build a strong portfolio of products to keep up with growth in online game market, that is expected to grow 30% a year.

NCsoft has built a development system to introduce at least one blockbuster MMO games and several casual online games a year. To do this, NCsoft spent 64 billion Won for new game development in 2006. This amount will grow to 80 billion Won in 2007.

I hope some of those go to Lum ;)

Tabula Rasa and Aion will officially launch in the second half of 2007, meaning that sales contribution from these products will be limited to some extent. However, games launches have certain costs associated with them, such as the purchase of game servers, the hiring game masters, and marking expenses. For these reasons, profit margin in 2007 could be lower than our mid-term target margin 20%.

In North America & Europe, Exteel, a mech shooter game and Dungeon Runners, a multiplayer action role-playing game, will officially launch in the first half of 2007. These multiplayer games will be free to download and play at the basic levels of gameplay. Additional contents will be available for a fee (in-game item sales and membership packages).

Tabula Rasa, a highly anticipated MMO, will enter a closed beta testing stage soon and will officially launch in the second half of 2007. Also an additional update to the Guild Wars franchise will go live in the second half of 2007.

As I’m against RMT I don’t like what they are doing with Exteel and Dungeon Runners. As I wrote in the past I’m willingly to pay for content, but not pay for items or other unjustified smoke and mirrors.

Finally, they also announced an “all pass” monthly subscription working along the lines of SOE one. So you can play all NCSoft games while paying one unified monthly fee, but I guess you still have to purchase the single games and eventual expansions. We’ll see if NCSoft will be able to provide a better deal.

DAoC: casuals Vs veterans

There was a relevant news about DAoC I originally decided not to comment, but I want to answer on a specific aspect.

The news is that all the stuff you could get from ToA, the used-to-be hardcore PvE stuff that many believe ruined the game till the release of “classic” servers with ToA stuff stripped off the game, well, all this stuff can now be “bought” with bounty points.

The bounty point are some sort of PvP currency, so the bottom line is that previously PvE exclusive stuff is now accessible directly from PvP. I guess everyone welcomes this (LATE) move.

It works like an alternative path but you would lie to yourself if you would think this corresponds to a “choice”. Ideally you like PvE and get this stuff from PvE, while if you like PvP you get the same stuff from PvP. Choice is good but the point is that in the practice there’s no real choice (if not when things are completely soloable): you have to stick and adapt to what everyone else does.

Then you also have to see what is the conversion ratio. Mythic could even decide to make these items absurdly expensive in order to not make the PvE obsolete. But it would be a very bad move.

So, in practice, I agree with Apache. Mythic “killed” ToA and, yes, they may as well delete the ToA zones. That content is now completely mudflated. It lost its function.

I wanted to reply to this post in particular:

On one hand, the changes look wonderful, until you realize that once again, as always, the benefit here is for the “have’s” and the “have not’s” are left out in the cold. How so you say? You need an income of RP’s from NF to benefit from any of this. How does anything in 1.88 make NF any more attractive for the casual gamer? Being slaughtered by stealth zergs and RR10 8man’s isn’t many people’s idea of fun. Standing around at portal keeps LFG for 2 hours when you only have 2 hours to play is not many people’s idea of fun. You can’t earn bounty point in the battlegrounds, why not? Last time I checked battlegrounds were realm vs realm combat… So how does the casual gamer actually GET the rps needed for the bounty points? The powergamers reap 100% of the reward here and the casuals get screwed….again.

Until Mythic realizes that the powergamer is not keeping this game afloat, casuals are, the game will continue to experience it’s steady bleed off of players. Over time, casuals get sick and tired of being overlooked while powergamers are catered to over and over and over again. up to 25% of the players of this game are the so called uber powergamers which leaves a significant pool of players 75% to further bleed off the population. Mythic needs to figure out where their bread is really buttered before the prime time population for all servers is 2500…

The real problem runs deeper. Problem in DAoC is that there’s no influx of new players, so what’s left is long time veterans in high ranks and teamspeak.

While in the past the “hardcore” portion was there, but still somewhat balanced by a group less hardcore and welcoming new players and casual groups, the more the game declines, the more those few players who are left are veterans with powerful characters and a strong guild organization.

So here there’s both a problem of game design (strong bias and support to the 8vs8 meta-game) and a problem of community (game becoming increasingly niche and driving away new players).

Problem is that all this is the long-term consequence of choices made by Mythic a while ago.

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