ESO: Is it finally multiplayer Skyrim?

January 21, 2015

So ESO is going B2P (pending what the cash shop contains, but I doubt they are going to sell you hotbars or guns out of planes), which is of some interest to me. While I wasn’t in love with ESO after the first zone, it’s not a game I hated either, and so being able to fire it up and check it out, without it reeking of the usual stench of a F2P MMO, has my interest.

Two questions though.

What exactly is the B2P model going to be? It can’t be the failed GW2 model, where (at least while I kept my eye on the game) spending extra was borderline pointless (crappy looking fluff and nothing else). I think, if they can pull it off, having $5-$10 DLC ‘mission packs’ ala Payday 2 would work for them, but only if the quality was high and the release pace was decent. If it’s one bleh pack every six months, that’s not going to work.

How much better is ESO today than it was in the first month or so of release? If it’s generally the same game, that’s not good. If its far closer to the game most of us wanted it to be (again, multiplayer Skyrim or something at least close), that would be great. If I can play a little ESO with a few friends whenever we want, tossing the devs a five or ten every month or two, I could see that working.

 


Credit to Massively for this one

January 20, 2015

Granted, the good stuff is quotes rather than the writing/opinion of Massively, but still, this article about how Das Tal will be better than ArcheAge made me smile.

That said, setting the bar at “better than AA” is like setting a person goal of not killing yourself today; aim a little higher maybe? My dog could launch and run an MMO better than Trion, and my dog is really, really dumb.


Pay to play, pay to spawn item

January 16, 2015

One item I want to address today in light of Smed being Smed: Since the beginning of time, you have been able to pay another player real money to get something in a game.

In UO I could buy a fully maxed character, a huge house, a powerful item, or a ‘fluff’ thing like a broken water tile with real money. The same is true for basically every single MMO. If you want to spend money instead of time to get something, you could always and still can do it. In some games this requires more effort, or the ban risk is higher, but its an option in EVERY SINGLE MMO.

And because the above is 100% true, this also means that every single item and account in an MMO has a real-world money value. That you may not be aware of what the value is, or that it even has a value, doesn’t change the fact that it does. That’s just you with your head in the sand, and pretending everyone else is also right there in the sand with you is beyond silly.

Now, the new-ish trend in games, and in MMOs in particular, isn’t the ‘money for items’ exchange, its the ‘money to dev to spawn item’ exchange. That is new, and that is how you go down the Pay-4-Power trail.

The only thing I can give CCP money for in EVE is account time (and cosmetics via Aurum), be it direct (pay my sub) or indirect (PLEX). I can’t give CCP money and have them spawn me a ship, ammo, skill points, or anything else that has direct power. I can give SOE/Smed money and he will spawn guns and ammo for me. That is the critical difference. That’s why people are pissed off, and rightfully so.

Especially because it’s one thing to make a Pay-4-Power game, which itself isn’t the end of the world. Plenty of games are exactly that, and can still be fun games whether you do pay and go all wallet-warrior, or don’t pay and see how far up the hill you can climb. But the worst thing a P4P game dev can do is lie and pretend the game isn’t P4P.

If you embrace what you are and are honest about it, players can make an informed decision, and don’t feel that they are supporting liars who think the players are too stupid to know what they are playing.

Smed taking a piss on every H1Z1 player and tell them its just raining is probably not how SOE wants to be represented, is it?*

* Answer: 50/50, because SOE.


LoL – The future is here, and everyone is watching

December 3, 2014

As mentioned before, I greatly enjoyed watching much of the League of Legends world championship, taking in about two dozen or so matches (though all on replay due to the time zone differences), including watching the final matches on the big screen TV with the wife. Just in terms of pure entertainment, the product was on par with other offerings on cable TV.

In other words, if I had the choice between LoL Worlds and say, Game of Thrones, it would be a 50/50 situation (I’d end up watching both, but gun to my head and being only able to watch one… think I’d lean towards LoL honestly).

The production quality was top-notch, the matches were filled with surprises, upsets, and comebacks (though the final winner was the favorite going in, so ultimately things played out as expected in that regard), and technically the product was error-free from what I watched.

All of this is especially impressive considering the size of the audience. Riot has provided the numbers here, and again if we compare this to TV viewership, the LoL Worlds would have been amongst the highest rated shows on TV, and extremely valuable due to it catering to the highest-sought demographic (18-35 males) in terms of advertising. Network execs would KILL for those numbers in that demo for a prime-time show or event.

Consider that by far the most valuable TV property right now, the NFL, averages just under 20 million viewers per game (granted Worlds is closer to the Superbowl in terms of frequency and importance, but the Superbowl blows EVERYTHING out of the water in terms of viewership, and the Superbowl comparison is like comparing MMO success using WoW as the starting point). The average prime-time TV show averages around 7 million viewers, and more and more the viewership is NOT the key 18-35 demo.

I was going to say I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point in the near future, we see eSports on TV here in the US in a major way (this is already the case in Korea), but that might not happen simply because the TV model itself is a dinosaur. Pro players today aren’t looking to get on TV, they are looking to build streaming viewership numbers, which in turn result in more ad revenue and sponsorships. They don’t NEED a network or TV deal, because they have Twitch, and anyone can start up a Twitch channel. In a way it’s like how the news business has changed; in days past a reporter and the newspaper company behind him were in control of the information and when/how it was shared, while today anyone with a Twitter account can tweet and ‘break the news’. For better or worse, technology has changed the news industry, just like today it is changing the TV industry.

And because change is scary and the internet allows us to view fear as it happens, the Massively comments section does it big once again on this story. Worth reading if only for GoldenGirl, clearly a new gem to keep an eye on going forward.


SW:TOR – Hotbars sales not so hot

November 9, 2014

And the good news just keeps on flowing.

Isn’t it strange that this wasn’t reflected on fictional table generator Superdata’s info? I wonder why that is, those guys seem so well informed about everything else…

SW:TOR getting put out of its misery in 2015 is looking like a solid bet at this point, though I think the real question now is which will go offline first, this giant disaster or LotRO?

 


Who hasn’t wanted to kill someone over a balance change?

October 16, 2014

Oh Gamergate, why are you so entertainingly funny? The fact that comments aren’t enabled on that story is a crime, because the CNN comments section makes the Massively comments section look like a Mensa meeting.

I’m not going to fully dive into this little media-created bruhaha because lets be honest, it’s really a story about nothing. Someone getting death threats because they did something someone else didn’t like on the internet? Yea that’s never happened before. An entire group being labeled by another group based on a few outliers that people run with? Are talking about the perception of PvP MMOs again? This is a debate about the SNES vs Genesis, right?

I think my favorite part though is this idea that ‘core gamers’ don’t matter anymore. I mean, I guess if you pretend CoD, LoL, CoC, Battlefield, GTA, FIFA, etc don’t exist, and that Farmville is still a thing, then sure, you might have a point. It’s like when fools state that PvP-based games drive more people away than they attract. Again, if you want to create a fantasy-land and run with it, go nuts, but until the top-seller list ISN’T filled with the exact type of game you claim isn’t popular, I’ll just keep laughing at your stupidity.

Which isn’t to say that the gaming market overall hasn’t expanded, because it has, and that’s a good thing for everyone, but to suggest that people are honestly concerned that the next CoD won’t be made because Barbie Princess Time (get it?) is getting made instead? Please.

PS: Nice of the guy in the video to wait until 3 minutes to throw out the race card. Was really expecting it much sooner. Also would it have killed him to prepare for maybe a minute here? Was he trying to maintain the whole ‘gamers can’t handle public situations because lulz basement’ thing, because if so A+ work. Guy should kill himself after that performance.


Gamasutra getting its EG on

August 12, 2014

This article about LoL is a wonderful piece, if you define ‘wonderful’ as containing at least one factual error per sentence whenever possible. Honestly if this was published on April 1st everyone would call it a terribly lame attempt; that’s how bad this thing is ‘researched’. If you don’t play or actively follow LoL, the comment section will give you a good rundown of things (I’d do it but this week is not ideal for blogging, sorry).


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