CoC: Bitterly entertaining defeat

September 15, 2014

I’m the type of person who, once I get into something, I devour it. That’s kinda where the title of this blog comes from, because even as I casually (by my standards) play MMOs, I still do so with a ‘hardcore’ edge. I’ve never been into things for the participation trophy, and likely never will.

So because the MMO genre continues to be utterly uninteresting, my attention has focused more and more towards Clash of Clans. In some ways it brings me back to the ‘good old days’ of leading my EVE Corp, of WoW raid, of realm warfare in DAoC, or of guild activities in UO; working with and leading people together against others and succeeding. The major difference is that in CoC, this can done without the massive time commitment leading a guild usually requires. It’s still more than the average, but at least it’s not full-time-job levels.

The other major motivator for me right now is the depth of CoC. You can play it casually and derp around, but the more serious you get about it, the more the game rewards you for that. And because ultimately it’s a PvP game, you won’t hit a mastery level where things become trivial; the better you get, the better you will compete with others at that level. This goes for individual play as well as for the overall average of a clan.

I state all of this because my clan, “Supreme Cream!”, has lost our last two clan wars by razor-thin margins, and that just doesn’t sit well with me. Now let me be very clear, the wars were very entertaining, and ultimately that’s why I play games, but I don’t like losing. Especially when room for improvement exists, starting on my end and going down. Which brings me to the new tab on this blog. It should help us improve, and seeing improvement is a large portion of the fun I have as a leader.

CoC: Blitz offensive

September 6, 2014

Quick little Clash of Clans update: We have less than ten spots remaining in the clan; Supreme Cream! (cap is 50). If you have plans to join up, do so before it’s too late.

As mentioned in the previous CoC post, we are not only winning every clan war, but now we are just straight up mauling people. Up 40+ stars before they even blink thanks to my genius new strat; the blitz.

It’s pretty simple; everyone tries to hit the hardest enemy base then can reliably 3 star right as the war starts, which usually puts us way ahead. When the enemy sees they are so far behind already, a lot of them won’t bother to attack, since attacks during a clan war that you end up losing don’t give worthwhile rewards. When victory is assured, we then use our second attack to hit the highest base we can get a single star off for maximum loot.

Win the war, get massively paid, progress faster, crush whoever is next. That’s what we do, and its a damn good time.

CoC: All we do is win win win no matter what

August 17, 2014

Just a friendly reminder that if you aren’t playing Clash of Clans with us, you’re missing out big-time. Great group of blog readers just helping each other out in a great game and having a great time all around. Great.

Oh and since I took over leadership of “Supreme Cream!” and did a little house cleaning, we haven’t lost a clan war. Coincidence? I think not.

We accept anyone willing to learn and who will be active during wars, don’t worry about being low-level, we’ll train you up quick. Clan space maxes out at 50, we are at 34 right now. Don’t wait and then live with unbearable regret forever.

What happened to all those WoW-babies?

August 4, 2014

TAGN, in a post about the closing of Vanguard, brings back a theory that was pretty popular around the 2006(ish) timeframe; mainly that those who played WoW would ‘grow up’ to eventually play a ‘real MMO’. Let’s revisit that theory today.

As I mentioned in the comments section over there, I think a good number of WoW players did ‘grow up’ and went looking for something better/deeper. How many is the impossible question, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that if WoW never happened, the MMO genre wouldn’t be the size it is today, supporting all of the different MMOs we have out. To that extend, WoW did bring in a lot of new players, and those players did ‘grow up’ to look for something else.

The problem today is ‘something else’ is either EVE, meh at best, or minor-league garbage. Now let’s be very clear here; no MMO was ever or will ever be a ‘WoW-killer’, but that is mostly due to the fact that WoW was a pop-culture phenomenon. Yes, prior to WotLK it was also a very good MMO, but it wasn’t 12m+ players good.

The same can be said today about League of Legends, the ‘real’ WoW killer; it’s a very good game, yes, but it’s not 40-60m or however many active accounts Riot has. LoL right now is benefitting from similar pop-culture status that WoW did, though arguable to a lesser extent because ‘vidyagames’ are more common and accepted today than even in 2006, so playing something popular isn’t front-page news-worthy.

I think a similar story can be written about the current massive success of Clash of Clans (the #1 grossing app still). Farmville laid the groundwork, and without doubt some of those players ‘graduated’ to a ‘real game’ in CoC. Because much like WoW and LoL, CoC is a great game, but is its design really “highest-grossing app out for over a year” great? Or did the pop-culture snowball effect kick in at some point and millions upon millions of people started playing because everyone else was, or because TV told them to?

Let’s get back to MMOs, or more accurately, the lack of either a great one or few with proper aspirations. I think the market size for a great MMO ala EVE is around the 500k-2m range. EVE is the king for virtual world design, but even by its own admission is somewhat niche. It might be the perfect version of Excel in Space, but at the end of the day it’s still Excel in Space. But I think a more mass-market, well-done MMO can get and retain around 2m players. Problem is every title that has tried has been horribly flawed and failed. LotRO, WAR, Rift, SW:TOR, ESO (I miss anyone?); all aimed at millions and fell well short, as each just isn’t great (or even good).

Then we had the problem of niche titles not defining their niche correctly. I think (hope) we are somewhat past this as indicated by titles like Pathfinder Online, Shroud of the Avatar, and Camelot Unchained. None of those titles have promised to be a WoW killer, or to be the next big thing. All, from what I have seen, are embracing their niche, and I hope that embracing extends to the business plan and surviving on 50k players or so. The only big whale I see crashing is Star Citizen, and even that has already kinda made its money (which is insane, but a totally different topic).

So yes, the WoW babies grew up. Not all 12m however, which confused not just readers but also the industry as a whole for a number of years. Seems like people are finally figuring it out, and now we just have to wait for the results when the next wave is released.

CoC: Growing our social mix

July 29, 2014

Growing up I always hated movie tie-in videogames. I think part of the hatred was fueled by what magazines like EGM were writing at the time, because the guys working had to actually play those games to review them, and you could easily tell they hated it. But it also came from the fact that poorly made yet ‘popular’ titles were taking attention and sales from stuff I liked (namely RPG games prior to FF7 making RPGs cool).

Fast forward to today and this here MMO blog, and things haven’t changed all that much now have they? Back when liking WoW was cool, I was here railing against it because that game was drawing away attention from stuff I liked. Of course history shows I was right, and mimicking post-TBC WoW set the genre back a decade, but that annoyance of the crappy-but-popular thing still remains.

Only today instead of movie-based games, we have “popular because popular” based games like the Kim K iPhone game which is making truckloads of money. Who could have guessed that someone with a giant following of idiots could make a product designed around parting idiots with there money (F2P trash titles) and turn that into a cash cow. :shakes fist:

Not all is sad and lost however. A surprising number of readers here have followed my wise advice and gotten into Clash of Clans, and I think so far everyone has been pleasantly surprised by the quality and depth of the game. And as more people join up (clan is at 27 members now), the social/team aspect increases as well, which as we all know is the secret sauce to turn a good game into something really great.

The game, from a social aspect, also has a bit of old-school 40 man raid culture, in that a few more dedicated players can assist or ‘carry’ those who are more casual, and the group as a whole can still progress and succeed. It’s almost impossible IMO to find a large group of very dedicated players who also like each other. Usually either you are hardcore and tolerate each other based mostly on skill rather than personality, everyone is casual and derpy, or you have a mix. But the mix only works if the game supports it, and thankfully CoC does.

Joining note: Clan name is “Supreme Cream!”, in your message just mention the blog or I’ll think you are some random. Only ‘requirements’ are that you are active during clan wars (use your two attacks), and that you aren’t a complete puddle when it comes to improving your layout/strategy.




Re-confirmed: I’m kind of a big deal

July 9, 2014

Knowing how many ‘real people’ readers a blog has, much less how much influence a writer has on his readers, is almost impossible to tell. WordPress provides view/visitor statistics of course, but based on personal experience those numbers aren’t 100% accurate (or even close, really). Not only that, but at this point I’m not even sure if they are inaccurately inflated or under-reported for this blog, as a few recent events have hinted at.

Let’s take a step back; as anyone who reads this blog has noticed, post volume is down, mostly because the MMO genre is in the toilet right now and this being an MMO blog, that has an impact. And it goes deeper than just the current crop of MMOs being meh-to-terrible; they also bring nothing new to the table, which further makes it difficult to break things down and write a blog post. For all its failings, at least Warhammer Online brought new ideas, and had a dev team behind it giving us plenty of fodder. It ultimately didn’t work out for Mythic, but it was blogging gold.

In addition to needing a good MMO to play, I’d also like another WAR in terms of blog fodder please.

From a pure “looking at my numbers” perspective, the shutting down of Google reader was noticeable, and my WordPress stats page reflects this. To a lesser extent, VirginWorlds no longer picking up my blog (along with no longer really working overall) hurt. Jester not blogging has an impact as well. But again, while the raw numbers are down, how many ‘real people’ readers have stopped coming here is tough to tell. I’d like to think that if you are a real person, and you enjoy reading this blog, the shutting down of a reader, or another blog no longer updating, isn’t going to instantly stop you from figuring out how to keep reading this blog, right?

Number of comments is another indicator, but again it gets tricky. I mean, I’m pretty sure I could write a comment-bait post tomorrow (spoiler-alert) and get north of 30 comments. If the comment-bait is really good, and gets picked up by some larger sites, 50+ comments would happen. Get a good comment-section flame-war going, and 100+ is ‘achieved’. But what does 30, 50, or even 100 comments mean, especially when they were somewhat baited or 80% of them are off-topic flames? Does a post getting one person to comment mean that post sucked and this blog is dead/dying, or did thousands of people read it, enjoy it, and just have nothing to add so they didn’t comment? These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night (not really).

Let’s return to those recent events I mentioned in the first paragraph. The first is my Clash of Clans… clan. Those posts didn’t get a lot of comments, and traffic was normal, so it would be easy to assume not many found them all that interesting or were ‘influenced’ by them. Yet today, I think I’ve had 10+ people join the clan (“Supreme Cream!”, still time to join and we are building something pretty solid), many of them new players to the game who picked it up due to this blog. How many others at least tried the game due to those posts and just didn’t enjoy it? How many are playing, just slowly, so they haven’t joined the clan yet (or joined someone else because they are jerks like that)?

The second example is Risen, another post with very few comments, and Steam. On Steam my friends list has grown tremendously due to mentioning my screen name (Syncaine) on this blog and asking people for Steam cards (feel free to send some), which has resulted in getting a better feel for what “the people” are doing on Steam thanks to the “Activity” section.

As mentioned Risen was on sale recently due to the pre-order coming up for Risen 3, and thanks to the “Activity” tab I noticed a bunch of people picked the Risen 1+2 bundle up. Now I don’t know how many of those buys are due to this blog and how many of them would have happened anyway, but I’d bet at least SOME are blog-based, which is pretty cool and says something about influence.

Lastly, and the example with by far the most data, was my time blogging about Darkfall 1 and including the Community Publishing Program link/mention in every post. The CPP was basically a referral system that paid me 20% (I think?) of the initial purchase made using my link, so when AV was running a promo for the game+6months for $100, I got $20 per person who bought that bundle. I wish I had gotten 20% of all future sub fees, if only to track how long people stuck with the game, but sadly it didn’t work that way.

Through the CPP I got credited with hundreds of purchases (and I know for a fact I didn’t get credit with all purchases made due to technical issues sometimes), and AV would later confirm that I was by far the most successful CPP user. This blog, literally, made AV thousands (if not tens of thousands) of dollars, and unlike Clash of Clans that rakes in millions daily, for AV my contribution was actually very noticeable to the company overall. More importantly to me however was seeing confirmation that this blog was influencing people to the point of spending real money on something they would have otherwise passed on.

Examples like the above making writing the blog easier, because it confirms ‘real people’ are reading and not every view is some spam-bot finding its way here thanks to Google. This blog’s main purpose is to entertain #1 (me), but that can’t happen without all of the little people (you) showing up, so thank you dear reader, and keep dancing on those strings (and sending Steam cards).

Missing the Steam sale, not buying beta, leading in CoC

July 3, 2014

Quick note about missing the Steam sale due to vacation: Unless Steam wasn’t sending out those “your wishlist game is on sale” notifications, I don’t think I would have picked up much, and I think the winter sale will be more of a thing for me.

I basically echo TAGN thoughts on the sale overall; a few years back it was a big deal, while now we all expect it and it’s really not a surprise or as big an event.

Small MMO note: The rise of paying for beta access also means titles I’m 50/50 on (like Archeage) stay on the waiting list longer (free beta). I’m sure for the company behind a game it’s better to get money up-front sooner than to get ‘influencers’ (if blog writters can still be considered that) to write/hype there game, especially if the game in question isn’t amazing (less hype, more “pass on this” posts).

Final item: I’m now the leader of the Clash of Clans… clan “Supreme Cream!”. If you are at all interested in the game (and you should be, its pretty fantastic) feel free to apply (just mention this blog so I know your not some random). Since the game is actually a rather deep strategy title, I’m more than happy to answer any questions you might have either through Steam or in-game. Also don’t forget about my tips post.

#Steam #CoC #AA


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