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
June 12, 2014
It wasn’t THAT long ago when video games were considered a kid’s toy. Now when someone asks me when I’m going to stop playing ‘games’, I tell them hopefully the afterlife has solid broadband.
Given the above, it makes sense that along with gaming content (‘mature’ themes) changing, pricing models and levels have also been changing. A kid’s toy maxing out at $50 makes sense. Little Billy isn’t the one holding the wallet, which makes picking up a $200 in-game shiny difficult if not impossible for him. Someone a little older and successful can decide between going out to dinner for $200 or buying said shiny, and a serious argument can be made in what has more real ‘value’.
TAGN has a post up about Shroud of the Avatar selling in-game towns for real money, and these are not micro transactions. The smallest option comes in at $750, while the largest is $4000. Those prices are beyond just a decent dinner out, but if you are in a long-standing guild with successful people, splitting even $4000 between 20 or so players starts to sound a whole lot more manageable.
Star Citizen, also mentioned by TAGN, is another example of this growing trend, and just like SotA, if you have the means knock yourself out.
I’m perfectly fine with games like this so long as you know up-front what is going on. While I personally haven’t enjoy my wallet winning for me since giving up Magic The Gathering, if that does it for others more power to them. If a game I’m currently playing switches over to wallet-warrioring, I have a problem, but here both games have been upfront since day one. No one can say they didn’t know what they were signing up for here.
June 6, 2014
This World of Darkness article is sort of a good read. I say sort of because how many times have we read an MMO story about managers asking for one unconnected feature after another, code being reworked, and a game that is in development forever not going anywhere? The answer is often. Hell, I’d bet most released MMOs that have done decently even have a similar story.
Moving past that, the point I want to make today is that Kickstarter could have made WoD possible, for a number of reasons.
For starters, I guess the IP is a big deal (I’m not familiar with it), and big deal IPs attract attention on Kickstarter. Combine this with the fact that you don’t need millions and millions of dollars to make an MMO via Kickstarter these days, and had WoD set a target of, say, 1.5m, I think they would have gotten it.
Second, the Kickstarter route means you are selling access to stuff like alpha, which means more people giving you feedback earlier and really driving the game to some sort of release state. This of course doesn’t guarantee you end up with a good game, but it at least moves you to actually finish it or get it to something resembling a more complete product. And while you never fully want to be designing based on what your players/fans are telling you (cough: AV), if you properly filter the feedback it should be a benefit to the overall game.
Finally, the Kickstarter route somewhat lowers the standard IMO. You don’t need to deliver a full bells and whistles MMO, just a solid core that primarily appeals to those who funded you and others like them. If the initial budget is 1.5m plus whatever extra comes your way, you don’t need 500k subs to recoup that, which means if your MMO is only great at 1-2 things specific to the goal/IP, that will work.
June 4, 2014
Quick one for today, which I think is going to build towards a more substantial post: is anyone else highly bothered by an MMO doing “double XP/loot/whatever” weekends?
I think I’m primarily bothered by it because such events bring “this is a game” to the forefront over “this is a living world”. I guess if your MMO is already highly ‘gamey’, not that big a deal, but the closer your MMO tries to be a virtual world, the more this bothers me. Especially when it’s done with a very broad brush, like “all loot sources doubled” vs “this particular type of mob is now 50% more likely to drop X”.
June 3, 2014
Tales of randomness incoming!
I’ve been playing Sim City 4 lately. A game released in 2003, that is now on GoG.com, which was on freaking sale for $5 due to a 75% sale (so to recap: a game from 2003 is normally priced $20 still; very impressive). I think the last great Maxis game before EA completely ruined that studio? Anyway yea, Sim City 4.
Graphically the game has held up well despite using sprites and going no higher than 1600×1200. It’s not blowing any doors down, but it more than gets the job done, and still gets a laugh or two out of me (the random hyper-violent car crashes in particular). It’s stable, I think bug free, and opens/closes/loads quickly.
What I think I’m enjoying most is the sheer difficulty of the game, in that at almost no point am I in a boring too-comfortable zone with a city. Something always needs to be built, and that something always hits the razor-thin budget or creates new strains on support systems like power, water, or crime/fire/health coverage. The game is a pretty beautiful dance in that regard, made even better because some of the major stuff like the top airport or a highway system are absolute resource monsters.
On a higher level, a well-executed city builder like Sim City 4 hits a lot of points I enjoy in a sandbox game. The open-ended decision points, the more freeform flow of the game, the ability to fail due to your own decisions; all of that just works for me. And then depresses me because I need to go back to 2003 to find such entertainment. Do more gaming, do more!
April 17, 2014
Ars Technica has done some really nice work around Steam and what players are buying and playing on that service. If the stat that Steam makes up 75% of PC sales today is even remotely true, it only makes this reporting all that more interesting.
It’s worth a read for sure, and hopefully they drill down into MMO-specific data so we have something more meaty to chew on. That DoTA is really popular is nice, but yea, not that interesting as a discussion topic. Good start though, and something I’ll be keeping an eye on for sure.
April 10, 2014
What are many gamers sick of? Zombies. Specifically DayZ-clone zombies. This sentiment will only grow as more and more clones get dumped out.
What is SOE working on? A DayZ clone poorly titled H1Z1!
Do you SOE, do you!
PS: Pitching a DayZ clone as the “welcome home” for pre-NGE SWG fans previously screwed by SOE is such a giant middle finger to that fan base I’m actually surprised even the tone-deaf SOE did it. Just next level trolling. Hate to but have to respect it.
PPS: Sorry about the title of the blog, but sometimes you just gotta take a swing when someone throws you a meatball, even from the meatball king that is SOE.