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Daily Blogroll 1/5 – Epic Win edition

Posted by on January 5, 2011

If you want to hear about the huge controversy over Jef Reahard’s one hour dismissal of Rift, well, I’ve already said all I’m going to say about it. There’s lots of MMOs, like Kung FOO, Fists of Fu, and Mabinogi that I played for an hour or two and felt no attachment. If someone had come up to me and asked me how I felt about those games after that hour or two playing them, I’d have told them what I thought.

Anyway, what I wanted to talk about on this first blogroll of the new year is: what makes an MMO polished? A comment on one of Beau’s posts on Facebook (warning: link goes to Facebook) turned into a discussion between me and a person who probably won’t friend me now that, among other things, a serious, polished MMO would, or would not, have full voiceovers.

My view: The more voice-overs you have in your game, the more streamlined the game must be, and the less room players will have to leave the guided tour and strike out on their own. And for me, playing an MMO is all about being set free to live in the MMO’s world. While this does mean that I don’t consider Star Wars: The Old Republic to be what I would necessarily consider an MMO — being fully voiced with set paths from start to finish — that does not mean I don’t think it will be a fun online game, because I do. I love Bioware games! It’s just that SWTOR isn’t what I think of when I think “MMO”.

More mucking about in the latest MMO bloggery after the break.

Massively & Star Trek Online

Star Trek Online swept the Massively 2010 Player’s Choice Awards, winning kudos for Best Launch, Best Crafting, Best PvP, Best Roleplaying, Biggest Surprise Hit, Best Stuffing of the Ballot Box by Rabid Fans, etc etc. Rabid commenters were rabid! But then, they probably didn’t bother to vote, either. It’s the whole Bristol Palin/Kate Gosselin thing — if you didn’t like them, why didn’t you vote for the one you DID like?

I’m pretty sure that’s the first time either of those moms has been mentioned in a MMO post. I should probably get an award for it.

Ardwulf of the Eponymous Lair throws some oil on the water and points out that 2010 was a really crappy year for new MMO launches, and maybe, just maybe, STO deserved some of this recognition?

Allods Online

Kaozz is right there with Ardwulf on the generally crappy quality of 2010′s new MMOs. She has a particular beef with Allods Online, which went from being a tasty pastry to dust in the mouth via its cash shop. It’s now apparently advertising itself with animated lesbian elf strippers, which inspired Kaozz to write some no-fail rules of success in this crowded MMO market.

Rift

Trion World’s announced a release date for Rift, the full beta schedule, and opened for pre-orders today.

There’s also new details about what this weekend’s fourth beta event will include:

The conflict between the Guardians and Defiants has reached the boiling point as the two player factions finally meet on the battlefield in the biggest and most brutal Rift™ beta event yet … Warfronts! From 10 AM PST on Friday, January 7 to 10 AM PST on Monday, January 10, the Black Garden warfront map is scheduled to be available for play, giving beta participants their first taste of the epic Player-versus-Player gameplay of Trion Worlds’ upcoming MMORPG. In addition to all playable content released during the first three beta events, Warfronts includes a raised level cap to 27, the zones of Gloamwood and Stonefield, and two new dungeons to explore: Darkening Deeps and Deepstrike Mines.

Rift has a new television ad, a montage of title cinematics and a rift being opened, ending with the words “You’re not in Azeroth any more”. Players are wondering if reminding people of WoW in its advertising was really a very good idea.

(Thanks to Rift Junkies!)

Mind Tricks

Gordon of We Fly Spitfires notices that while EverQuest took a year of daily play to get to max level while WoW takes considerably less time, once you add in all of WoW’s faction grinding and achievement hunting, the two games are pretty comparable time investment. If you don’t count the thousands of Alternate Advancement levels you need to earn in EQ, at any rate. He muses that WoW’s smaller tasks, but thousands more of them, may have been precisely tuned by psychologists to appeal to humanity’s need for mind numbing repetition.

I don’t think you need a shrink for that. Blizzard just watched what players did with their time, and kept putting more of THAT kind of stuff in.

TERA Online

What’s the perfect game for someone who doesn’t care for games like Rift? TERA Online might just fit the bill. It’s a Korean PvP-oriented sandbox game, which narrows its niche to the approximately three people who will still be playing a month after it launches. Jef Reahard writes about the rumors, written on a Korean fan site, about comments that might hint at a possible Japanese release sometime this year, with a North American launch to follow at some point.

It’s got nekkid ladies!

Dragon in the Sky

Epic Hero comes through with a peek at a video from an upcoming MMO from China, Dragon in the Sky. It seems to use QTE — Quick Time Events, where you have to match directions flashed on the screen within a certain time — as part of its battle mechanic, which is kinda unique. LotRO’s Fellowship maneuvers, EQ2′s forgotten Heroic Opportunities and FFXI Online’s Limit Breaks were like this, but I expect this game makes more use of them.

I wonder if it’s at all related to Dragon Sky, a game that came out a couple years ago?

Anyway, the video flashes some pages of code toward the end — written in ‘C’, Python and JavaScript — and who knows why? What an odd thing to include. Maybe it supports modding in those languages, but it’s STILL a really odd sight in a promo video.

X-Fire Sees All, Knows All

Openedge1 continues his extrapolation of MMO subscriber numbers based on the number of players of those MMOs that record their time with the X-Fire plugin. Unfortunately, his approach isn’t mathematically sound — you can’t generate a curve with only two data points — which makes the conclusions meaningless, comparisons to Neilsen ratings aside. He acknowledges that the WoW business model differs significantly from the STO business model (it’s doubtful many Asian WoW players use the X-Fire plugin though they are the largest segment of WoW’s player-base, while it’s unlikely there are many Asian STO players at all) and yet…

I guess there’s no harm in it. The devs sure aren’t feeding us with real numbers.

World of Wavecraft

Via Rock Paper Shotgun, some researchers have written a software package called FAAST that allows off-the-shelf Windows programs to be controlled with a Kinect controller. Like, say, just for an example, World of Warcraft. Walking is done by leaning in the direction you want to go. Find a dungeon and burn some calories…

The PC is getting its own Kinect-like controller, built by the same people who make the XBox version for Microsoft. They’re calling it the “WAVI Xtion”. I don’t know how it’s pronounced. I asked in Twitter and got all sorts of responses; the best was “wave ikshun”. I guess. If a kid wants their parents to buy them one, I advise them to just find it in Amazon and point.

Wurm Online

Sente from A Ding World tours Wurm Online in his New Year’s post covering his recent gaming. I keep HEARING about the game, but this is the first time I’ve actually SEEN it. Looks pretty cool — like A Tale in the Desert, Second Life and, more relevantly, Minecraft, everything in the game has been constructed by someone. Which is just amazing.

APB Reloaded

The second coming of APB arrives in a new beta next month. The GTA-like MMO had a famously disastrous launch and a cancellation that brought down the company earlier this year, but now it’s back.

I’m no fan of crime and butchery games, but I hope it does relaunch and that it does well because variety makes for a healthy genre. It makes me sad when a MMO that dared to be different fails.

Tired now, must sleep. More mumblings from your Lucent Heart headquarters tomorrow!

10 Responses to Daily Blogroll 1/5 – Epic Win edition

  1. Longasc

    I expected a flamefest on Facebook, this was a rather civil discussion. I am a tad disappointed. :)

    I also think Mr. Phil R. has a point! Aside from voiceovers or not, they are rather a side argument. I personally think they make creating story content only more expensive, take longer and harder to fix/change and I don’t really need them.

    Let me re-post his suggestions:
    “1) Never play or judge an MMO within the first 6-12 months
    2) Never pay full retail, wait for the price drop, that’s about the time the game usually starts coming together.
    3) Never, under any circumstances pre-order. I mean seriously, who hasn’t learned that lesson with MMO’s?”

    I was thinking about following his advice with Dragon Age 2. I should rather wait and buy a full DA2 Gold/GOTY/whatever all inclusive bundle a year later. I paid full price of Dragon Age, Awakening and all DLCs, and not all were really that great and Awakening took them ages to fix, and it has still some really bad bugs.

    While I most probably won’t play Rift either (I guess I had enough DIKU style MMO for a lifetime) I think it is a good thing to happen to the genre.

    It does not come incomplete and buggy, but shiny and well done. And it might remind some WoW players what MMO gaming is about. Hint: It is not about solo questing stupid simpleton quests online all alone and teaming up with randoms driven by the same desire to get more badges for more gear and achievements in dungeons. It is also an alternative for those who got eye cancer from Metzen’s shoulder fetish in WoW.

    I don’t doubt that STO is the best MMO of 2010. I quite like it, and there were simply no other major launches in 2010. This is also the reason why STO’s crafting scored so high, the other games had even less.

    P.S. the link to the full Beta Schedule goes to the Preorder CE from Direct2Drive. I would really like to see that, I did not find the full Beta Schedule so far! :(

  2. Longasc

    Stupid me, did not see that they listed the Beta Events besides the preorder bonuses:

    http://www.riftjunkies.com/2011/01/04/full-beta-schedule/ <- same info, condensed.

  3. Drew

    Here we go again with Longasc bashing WoW as stupid and simple, and presuming to tell us all ‘how’ we should be playing MMOs. How predictable! That’s a tired conversation, though, so do me this favor:

    Please, please, PLEASE enlighten me as to what is so fracking different about RIFT that it’s “good for the genre”? Rifts? That’s Warhammer PQs all over again. Talent tress? That’s WoW. It’s polished? Pshaw, so was AION. Battlegronds? WoW again.

    Because I’m not seeing it.

  4. Zygwen

    All I can say is that it immersive fun for me to play an MMO has not really grabbed me like that since EQ and deep down having fun is what gaming is all about.

  5. Longasc

    Mr. Drew – I am NEVER talking to you.

  6. Drew

    Right, because you can’t answer the question. I’ll answer it for you: RIFT brings nothing new to the table. Yet here you are praising it as “good for the genre” when you sit back and whack away at WoW with a baseball bat every chance you get. It doesn’t compute.

    While I’m not going to play RIFT, I’m not going to chastise anyone for their choice if that’s what they want to play – fun is a relative term. You seem to forget that every time you troll on about how stupid WoW players are. Doesn’t that get old? I certainly tire of reading it.

  7. Elementalistly

    Thus the moniker “X-Fire Game”.

    As you stated, it is hard to do math with our single point (I really would love to use Raptr, but it does not list numbers for players, just time spent in game)…but, thanks to the creepiness of the numbers really being close to company stated numbers (if and when they feel like telling us numbers), it just proves to be a fun experiment in gaming the stats.
    I will always note that it is a game, and not hard science….but, will always toot the horn when we get some corroboration.

    Thanks for the linkage!

  8. Tipa

    I DO think the XFire numbers are useful to show the trend of a game, but comparisons with other games are tricky. Lots of people point out that EVE Online had a promotion with X-Fire that may tend to inflate their usage numbers.

  9. kaozz

    As far as Rift goes, I don’t need anything earth shattering and special. I want a good solid NEW game. It can be more of the same as long as it’s a good solid game. I just want a new place to explore, have fun and level blah blah blah. I think the whole problem is the Hype that’s being attached to Rift. Look at the commercial- We’re not in Azeroth anymore. It might be a tad misleading heh.

    As for the Massively thing- If you don’t like a game in the first hour, you’re probably not going to like it in the next hour. If you don’t like eating an awful (in your opinion) slice of pie, you’re going to stop eating it. You wouldn’t say ‘Oh I wonder if it gets better once I get to the crust!”, you know it’s not to your tastes and that’s that.

    I like pie ;)

  10. Saylah

    Not sure what’s going on with Allods but my old posts are suddenly getting lots of hits. It really is too bad they showed us their butts with the cash shop. I was looking forward to playing.