Daily Blogroll 5/6 — Tempests and Teapots edition

My new computer is due to be delivered today! I’ll be at work, of course, but maybe I can finally find their delivery center and pick it up afterward. My hope and fervent dream is that this will be the computer powerful enough to run Lord of the Rings Online….

Anyway. A couple of weeks ago, Paragon Studios introduced the Make Your Own Farm Mission (aka Architect) system, where players could find a badge they wanted to gain, and find the perfect mission among the thousands created for this purpose to gain that badge, or that level, or whatever they liked. Experience with similar level creators in such obscure games as Diablo, Diablo II and LittleBig Planet wasn’t clue enough that many players would use their new powers to create and play custom missions to benefit their characters.

In response, Paragon Studios is going on the offense. In its statement, Paragon Studios chides the players for using the Architect System for selfish purposes, and lays out a system of locking, rollbacks and banning to deal with the situation. 333 pages later (nice round number — 333 is the number of the Beast’s half brother. Get it? HALF-bro… nah n/m). 333 pages later, the players are still engaging the developers in polite conversation.

Bloggers haven’t sat on their keyboards, silently waiting for the storm to blow over, with nearly every blogger having their say. Spinks wonders why Paragon Studios could suddenly change the rules and insist players are doing it wrong. She also mentioned Monopoly… which will come back to haunt her around noon.

Does anyone think that given the tools, the players of a game would decide among themselves not to use them to their own advantage? Raph Koster’s Laws of Online Game Design says right there in black and white, “The client is in the hands of the enemy“. Players will ALWAYS work to their own advantage in any game where that is both possible and makes sense. Heck, people even cheat at Solitaire.

So we were all pretty shaky after all that went down yesterday, when we got slammed to the wall by Eurogamer’s 2/10 review of Darkfall and Aventurine’s response that tone reviewer had spent only three minutes in the game, and the other had mostly spent his time making new characters and running around the starting city. Darren of Common Sense Gamer gives the broad overview of the debate. Syncaine has the news of the review and the reviewer’s response. MBP of Mind Bending Puzzles chimes in as well.

As a former games journalist and one who still knows quite a few still in the MMO reviewing game, I have to kinda sympathize with the reviewers. MMOs are, by their nature, tedious grinds if you don’t enjoy the game on its own merits, and how can you even review an MMO thoroughly without playing it through long enough to understand the games ins and outs? People gripe at me ALL THE TIME about what an obvious fail EverQuest was, but that’s not the game I fell in love with, the death penalties and corpse runs and camps were just the rules of the game. You don’t slam Chess because you think its unfair the knight moves like that.

I was asked to do a re-review of Vanguard while at Massively, but it ran like crap on my machine, as it always did no matter the settings, I couldn’t get into it, and in the end I told my lead that I couldn’t do the re-review because I didn’t think I could give it a fair shake. So I really feel for people trying to review MMOs.

It looks like they are going to review Darkfall again… best of luck to them.

p0tsh0t figures what World of Warcraft really needs is to be more like EVE Online. Now if WoW can nail that trademark EVE combat, where fighters circle each other slowly, throwing rocks at each other for half an hour.

Evil Theurgists has the complete patch notes for today’s update to Wizard 101, which adds player islands, more voiceovers, quest guide, marked locations for easy teleporting, and many other things. I’ve been pretty impressed with the Theurgist’s commentary on his favorite MMO and look forward to reading much more from him!

Rick Burlew posted his latest Order of the Stick comic, but Roy does NOT get resurrected in this strip, so you might want to skip it. I’m just going to see how many strips it takes him to STOP STALLING.

You think we gamers are nerdy? Check out these vows from a mathematician’s wedding:

May the logs of your joys be exponentially steep;
May you derive greatest pleasure from integrating your lives,
And well past your primes, retain composite rhymes.

The full poem, plus links to the participant’s websites, their wedding site, and the site of their pastor, may be found at Tanya’s Math Blog.

Syp of Bio Break writes that according to EA’s quarterly reports, Warhammer Online has only about 300,000 players — Lord of the Rings Online territory. These are not bad numbers, although wildly lower than they anticipated, perhaps leading to their $111-120 million loss. Maybe they should take a cue from Activision/Blizzard and exploit, exploit, exploit.

Richard Garriott is suing NCsoft, publishers and developers of his ill-fated MMO Tabula Rasa, for $24,000,000, citing fraud. Hmm. That should just about pay for his trip into space…. (via Common Sense Gamer again)

And that’s it for another exciting edition of the Daily Blogroll! I leave you with a picture of my Free Realms level 12 Ninja, and her kitty Mr. Scruffy.

Tipa: 11 Ninja

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Web developer for a Connecticut-based insurance company that's over 200 years old! Also a bicycler, a blogger, a kayaker, and a hunter of bridges.

6 thoughts on “Daily Blogroll 5/6 — Tempests and Teapots edition”

  1. What really disappoints me is I did not get a chance to bad mouth Darkfall during the review debacle…DANGIT.

    Let me say it this way…

    I have two games in my hand…Darkfall and LOTRO.

    I would instantly subscribe to LOTRO for a year!

    Nuff’ said

  2. The Eurogamer / Darkfall issue is getting clouded by the very strong feelings that the game itself seems to generate. People, many of whom have never even played the game seem love it or hate it with an unbridled passion and that appears to be colouring their response to the debate.

    Cutting away all the fanboy / anti fanboy rant is a very simple issue. Aventurine claim that a reviewer only spent minutes in their game before writing a review. If that is true the review is a fraud. The reviewer on the other hand claims to have spent nine hours in the game. Nine hours is not nearly enough to give a thorough overview of an mmorpg but it is enough to get an impression of the new player experience. If the reviewer is telling the truth then we (and Aventurine) need to accept that in his opinion the new player experience of Darkfall is just that bad.

    You make a very valid point about the difficulty of reviewing an MMORPG at all. Perhaps the solution is to accept that every early review of an mmorpg cannot be anything more than an impression of the new player experience and for reviewer to admit as much in their writing.

  3. Apparently V has been purple, glowy, and possibly evil for 20 minutes now, so the 10 minutes to finish casting the spell should easily be another dozen strips. :)

  4. I think 9 hours is plenty of play in which to review an MMO. (Yeah, I know the eurogamer guy didn’t and lying about it was silly.) I don’t think I played Free Realms for 9 hours before I reviewed it, and I know I’m not a pro but I’d happily stand by my review.

    I’m not expecting a detailed review of the endgame. I just need to know if it’s worth my while paying for a month to make up my own mind. So I expect to learn what the heart of the game is about, how it plays, what the good and bad points are, and who the typical fan might be. Don’t need to be told if I’ll still want to play in 6 months time, no reviewer can know that.

    I do think blogs/ ongoing reviews are pretty big for MMOs, but you don’t need that much info to decide whether or not to try it.

  5. Agreed Spinks, the folks on the Darkfall forums don’t seem to realize the purpose of a review… and I think that is to give people who are looking for one month or two months of play to get their money’s worth out of a retail box an idea of what they’ll be getting into. I think if the reviewer hadn’t been so condescending and hostile to the game’s design and graphics they’d probably be loving this review, as the gameplay explanations are exactly what they all enjoy about the game. But they can’t call the reviewer a noob and a carebear when he attacks the game instead of the gameplay.

    Kudos to the Eurogamers editor for the way they’re handling it though. Two important things in that written response: 1. the editor stands behind his reviewer 100% and refuses to print a retraction and 2. rather than telling the original reviewer to walk the coals and re-review the game, making a public spectacle of his contributor, he is bringing in a big name to give it a fair review from another perspective.

    The Social D mention up there was appreciated Tipa, great band! :)

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