How I paid for my vacation

July 26, 2012

I knew buying Zynga was a brilliant move!

At some point, one of these ‘expert analysts’ is going to mention that, perhaps, in order to make money in the gaming sector, you might want to try making a good game, right? Wait what’s that…

“At the end of the day, though, virtual goods might not be a viable business strategy. People eventually stop spending money in virtual goods and want to spend that money on real goods.” – Mr. Gartenberg

Oh…

Bigger waste of oxygen: the 10k Farmville player, or whoever pays money to get such ‘expert analysis’ as the above?

Dear Mr. Gartenberg, I’m pretty damn sure people are going to be spending money on virtual goods going forward. Virtual vs real goods is not the issue. Shitty goods (virtual or not) vs quality goods is. It’s much easier to sell a quality good than a shitty one (10k farmers aside).

Shocking: A business model based around peddling shitty goods in mass quantities and then using now-banned methods to trick people out of their money is not doing well.


Vacation time

July 25, 2012

I’m off on no-Internet vacation until August 6th, so this blog will be quiet until then.

When I get back I’ll be sure to talk a little about SW:TOR shutting down (that’s still scheduled for next week, right?), as well as likely reopen recruitment in EVE (train up those scanning skills).

Behave yourselves until then.

Dear EAWare and SOE: Please don’t release any blog-worthy announcements until I get back. I so do hate missing quality bash opportunities.

Ah who am I kidding, zero chance you guys can go a week without something stupid coming out.


EVE: Flying in the Alliance Tournament

July 25, 2012

Jester has a bunch of excellent Alliance Tourney posts up, but I like this one the most (so far). It’s a great look behind the scenes of one of the more unique experiences you can have in the MMO genre. In the giant pile of “only in EVE”, the Alliance Tourney experience is easily near the top, especially because so many outsiders believe PvP skill in EVE is limited to hitting R1 and orbiting.


I ruined SW:TOR I guess

July 24, 2012

How is it that this is the first time I’m seeing SW:TOR being referred to as “Tortanic”? That’s brilliant and I wish I had thought of it.

Also I guess I’ll take the blame for SW:TOR here, as back in 2010 I was calling it an sRPG, and I guess EAWare was listening? My bad. If only SW:TOR was MORE like WoW it would totally be a huge hit right now. Totally.


Mainstream dilution, core gamer evolution

July 20, 2012

I’m glad people enjoyed the article I linked to yesterday, and I wish I had seen it earlier as I really believe it does an excellent job breaking down how certain companies approach creating ‘games’ and also who is actually buying. Because as bad as Zynga and others like them are, they only exist because there are a lot of people buying the trash they are selling, and buying it in amounts large enough to draw companies like EA into that market.

I had a draft half-done talking about how current-day MMO players have finally evolved from the ‘accessible’ garbage phase that permeated the genre from 2007 until SW:TOR or so. The quick exodus from SW:TOR, and the initial scorn for what TESO is aiming to be, seems to show that even in the casual MMO gamer space, people are done with cookie-cutter crap games, and want something a little more… MMO. The cheering for GW2, if somewhat over-the-top at times, is also a solid sign.

So how can we both be moving forward, yet at the same time taking such giant steps back? Market split. Or rather, just different games aiming at completely different targets, and both (so far) hitting more often than not. The only ones who are truly missing today are those stuck in the middle. Those who aim to be ‘accessible’ but still a game, be it an MMO from EA or a more game-like game from Zynga.

The prime Zynga target, that 30 something mother that (somehow…) gets sucked into dropping 10k a year to build a farm, won’t spend 15k if her farm had better gameplay. In fact, she is likely to only get confused and run away, because if you have the mental capacity to drop 10k on a virtual farm, I’m pretty sure you lack the mental capacity to actually play Pong, let alone anything more complex.

The reverse appears to now be true in the core gamer space. The average MMO gamer has (finally) realized that while welfare epics are neat RIGHT NOW, they destroy your fun long-term. That while rainbows shitting out cookies might seem ‘epic’ the first time around, it’s not something you are going to enjoy month after month, and reskinning the rainbow seems to have stopped fooling most as well.

I’d like to believe that the cheap cash-in that is Zynga won’t be sustainable. That once that mother realizes her pimped out farm is just glitzy garbage, she won’t be tricked again and build a 10k city or spacestation. Sadly history suggests that the depths of human stupidity are truly remarkable, and despite being slapped in the face, that mother WILL drop another 10k, or maybe 15k after Zynga refines their ‘secret sauce’ and makes it an even better idiot trap. Just like the slot machine zombies you see at every casino, there is no cure or hope for these people.

Luckily for the rest of us, while catering to the zombie crowd is one way to make a (cheap and sleazy) buck, it’s not the only one. You can bet that DayZ is making suits in every major game studio perk up, just like Minecraft did before it. A title like Skyrim performing amazingly well is news to cheer.

Not only is there good money to be made in creating solid games with good design (LoL), that good money is very sustainable long-term (EVE) under a model that respects the customer. And as gamers (hopefully) continue to get smarter, we should not only see quality rewarded, but more examples of creativity as well. DayZ is successful not because its gameplay is perfected, but because its general concept and execution are so fresh.

(It’s important to note that in the early years of gaming, quality was indeed rewarded. But as the market expanded and gaming become mainstream, the average gamers IQ dropped. I believe what we are (slowly) seeing now is that IQ going back up, overall, while there is still that Zynga sub-set as well.)


Best thing written about gaming (ever?)

July 19, 2012

This is required reading. If you don’t read this start to finish right meow you will be forced to turn in your “gamer” card.

My thoughts on all of it are coming ‘soon’.

H/T to Shiolle for the link.


It’s not contagious, is it?

July 18, 2012

Grade-A trolling folks. Just next level blogging at its finest. If we could get more of this kind of content and less D&D, Tobold might be worth reading again.

After reading Tobold, go re-read EA Louse. It was great the first time, but now that most of it has come to pass, no sane individual can write it off as sour grapes.

All caught up? Let’s have some fun.

“I like Paul Barnett” – Pretty sure Paul Barnett’s mother hates Paul Barnett at this point.

“The man certainly has artistic vision, great enthusiasm, intelligence, and is great fun to watch.” – Fun to watch (fail), yes. The rest… not so much. Cool shades though. Can’t forget the cool shades. PB was WAY ahead of his time rocking those. A true visionary (get it?).

“These qualities might not be matched by an ability to actually turn all that artistic vision into reality” – Not a big deal at all, unless your job is to turn artistic ‘vision’ into reality. Oh right…

“Already it can’t possibly get worse than Lord of Ultima” – I’ll take that bet. Granted, I’ve never played LoU, but as far as I know, BP was not involved with LoU, so if nothing else it has that going for it.

“I’d rather see Paul Barnett trying to revive the Ultima brand than Richard Garriott” – Paul Barnett, bears man vs RG, Ultima series creator, including UO, and Tabula Rasa, which EA did a nice job of burying before its potential was reached. Hell, I’d take RG coding My Little Ponies from a space shuttle over PB being a QA intern with the next Skyrim game (not the MMO abomination).

“most people would consider the original Ultima IV as well as Ultima Online to be unplayable these days” – Lets ignore that UO has more people still playing it today than many ‘modern’ MMOs, and that’s not counting the 3rd party shards going, some of which have thousands of players. Or that EA killed a Ultima IV fan remake project in fear that it would distract people from PG upcoming abortion.

“Maybe Paul infected me” – Guess the trolling finally stopped?

Good stuff though. Gevlon-level trolling.


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