DOA: EQ Landmark

July 27, 2014

66% off already on Steam huh SOE? Whelp, at least you have EQN coming… soon?

Missing Jester already

July 25, 2014

Out of all the interesting stuff Jester wrote about, I think my favorite were his takes on happenings at CCP and what they likely meant for the game. Now granted, I haven’t looked into how accurate those predictions ended up being (guess pretty accurate?), but I always came away from those posts with a better understanding behind the ‘why’, and a good glimpse into CCP and what they were doing.

The news that CCP Seagull got promoted makes me miss Jester. I need a post telling me what this means, whether its good or bad for EVE, and why it happened.

Dear Trion

July 24, 2014

I can’t ‘reserve’ a beta spot for ArcheAge.

I can buy a spot.

There is a difference, and pretending there isn’t doesn’t make your emails more appealing.

So Two World II is not good

July 24, 2014

As the seemingly endless summer of “wtf do I play now” continues, I fired up Two Worlds 2 to give that a shot. Things aren’t going well on that front.

The single biggest annoyance is the voice acting, especially for the main character (you); it’s beyond terrible. It’s so jarringly bad it pulls you completely out of the game, and has me dreading talking to someone in the game, which is not exactly a good thing for an RPG.

In addition to the voice acting, the animations during conversations and cut scenes are atrocious as well. Random, misplaced gestures, uncanny-valley filled movements, and really no rhyme or reason to any of it that would help build characters.

The crap trifecta is completed with poor writing and more nonsensical dialog. The character you are playing is trying to be a badass in every dialog, whether he is actually doing something heroic like saving someone, or something simple like learning how to craft. Within the first hour I’d had enough.

The shame in all of the above is the rest of the game seems pretty decent. The graphics overall are really good, the music fits, and while the controls aren’t perfect they get the job done. For me however that’s not enough; if I’m playing an RPG, the core RPG aspects can’t be a mess.

(Divinity: Original Sin is a title I have my eye on, but Steam conditioning is in effect and I’m waiting for a sale that includes the DLC. Plus for a ‘one and done’ title, I’d rather play a fully patched-up version as well. All of that said titles like Two Worlds make waiting a hell of a lot harder.)

Sandbox end-game: Why keep playing long-term?

July 21, 2014

Let’s talk PvP sandbox MMO end-game today.

One of my outstanding questions from the whole Warhammer Online saga is in a perfect world, what was the end-game for that MMO? I mean we know it was to raid the other faction’s capital city and sack it, but was that it? If it was, in that perfect world, how many times could the players repeat that activity before getting bored? And if there was something greater, did Mark Jacobs or anyone from Mythic ever talk about it?

Darkfall has a similar problem, where the end-game is territory control, but due to a broken economy and the overall trivial nature of acquiring gear, no one really needs or desperately wants holdings, and the fights that result over them are thinly disguised “fights for the sake of fighting”. The criticism that the game is an awkward oversized arena stems from this general lack of greater purpose.

Finally EVE, as usual, is the best example in the genre in terms of end-game, as null-sec has value and giant organizations via to control it. The current ‘crisis’ is that 2-3 groups control it too well, and the barrier of entry for anyone outside of those 2-3 groups is practically impossible to overcome (short of those established groups imploding and creating a vacuum of power). EVE also benefits here because it has other end-games, though most revolve around the acquisition and use of money.

End-game is one of the issues I thought about when writing up my PvE Sandbox posts, and my solution is rather than relying on the players to create ‘content’ by fighting each other, the game world itself would drive players into action by having mobs attacking their holdings, and for the world overall to be in flux based on player actions and success. This would be further sustainable with AI tweaks or mob changes; whenever the players would get too comfortable with the challenges facing them, whenever they got too good at fighting back the mobs, the devs could step in and alter things to keep it interesting.

Looking forward to some future MMOs like Camelot Unchained and Pathfinder, what are the true end-games for those titles? Both have territory control mechanics, but will they have the depth and detail of EVE to avoid the problems currently facing Darkfall’s end-game? Will either bring something new, interesting, and sustainable to the table to keep players happily playing/paying?

CU: Finally something of note

July 17, 2014

CSE, makers of Camelot Unchained, have been releasing a lot of info of late about the game and the ideas behind it. So far nothing has jumped out at me as terrible ala “The 4th pillar”, but at the same time nothing has really grabbed my attention as a major “we are moving the genre forward” piece of news. Until today anyway.

The entire slide deck is about character progression, but this specific slide is the one I want to talk about today. What I like about this is that rather than seeing how fast you are progressing by swinging your sword, you instead get a large, end-of-day summery of everything you did. This alone should lead to players more comfortable just ‘playing to have fun’, but still making progress.

It somewhat relates to what Zubon wrote over at KTR, in that HOW you present information to a player is often as important as what is actually happening.

Two points of caution.

If the numbers are too easy to game, the illusion won’t work. If during beta someone puts a “how to progress” guide that tells you exactly what to do to gain access to sword X or armor Y, CSE has failed here. They say this will help them monitor and stop/prevent ‘keep trading’, but I wonder how far that will go exactly. If I spend the entire day swinging swords at anything I can find to ‘power level’ swords or strength, is that actually going to be viable and work, or get flagged or be ineffective?

On the other hand, if the system is too arcane, and ‘just playing the game’ isn’t effective enough to not gimp yourself versus those who powergame the system (and people will), CSE has failed because they will have effectively forced people to adapt or fall too far behind in a PvP MMO, which is a non-starter.

Those two major points of caution aside, I’m looking forward to CU more today than I was prior to all of this news, so at least on that front mission accomplished.

What to throw money at: The next Civilization game is coming

July 17, 2014

October 24th isn’t THAT far away… right?

I never played Alpha Centari, so the Sci-Fi theme here is something new to look forward to for me. I also think the setting will allow the devs to bring in some ideas that otherwise might not have ‘fit’ into the traditional realistic setting.


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