Daily Blogroll 1/19 — Game of Mass Destruction edition

I absolutely would love to know how many people people are REALLY playing World of Warcraft vs Lord of the Rings Online vs Warhammer Online vs Total Global Annihilation (Online) and so on. Heaven knows its not in the interest of gaming companies to tell us. To me, it means they have something to hide. Every company is all so excited to reveal their numbers when they are trending up. When they are silent, that can only be bad news.

So I’m a big fan of Openedge’s “XFire Game” that he runs most Mondays. By tracking a game’s performance week to week, you can get a sense for how well its doing. But there’s a LOT of variables! XFire doesn’t track every online game — if it did, Farmville and Scrabulous would be knocking the gnome out of World of Warcraft. Most players don’t have XFire installed. Competing game time trackers like Raptr could be draining numbers from XFire across the board. Some players could decide XFire really isn’t doing much for them and abandon it. Games with both an Asian and Western presence could find their true numbers under-reported. Games that are popular on non-PC platforms, such as DCUO for the PS3, might find their numbers VASTLY under-represented.

We really need a better metric for this. Something like a Nielsen ratings for MMOs, with a bit of code attached to each game that “phones home” when run.

I’m sorry, did I say that DCUO is doing well? It’s going gangbusters! Check it out after the break!
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/19 — Game of Mass Destruction edition

Daily Blogroll 1/16 — Lazy Sunday edition

Yeah, I like TV. I can say that now; for years I refused to watch it. Rotting my mind and all. But having just come off a marathon 30 Rock Season 2 bender, I find I really want to get back to playing MMOs because they are LESS addictive than television. With MMOs, you chat with people, group with them, make friends. With TV, it’s just sitting with the cat and a bowl of popcorn on a lonely couch. So, you know, on the scale of pathetic leisure time activities, MMOs are way above television.

But I still like it! The GOOD shows, I mean. Since you and I like only the good shows, I don’t need to list them, but I think we know Brennan and Booth are gonna get together.

In MMOs, though, well… we’re not in Azeroth anymore. Unless we are.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/16 — Lazy Sunday edition

Daily Blogroll, 11/30 — Worst Case Scenario edition

World of Warcraft’s forthcoming Cataclysm expansion (1 week away!!!!) is still setting fire to the blogroll today. Hey, if all a MMO has to do these days to generate some buzz is destroy the world, well, I have a couple candidates who could use some devastation.

I logged on to Vanguard yesterday evening to check on how my characters had fared in the big colossal server merge last July, and was shocked to find that whenever it was I last logged into the game, there had been no patches since. For a game that has had zero developer support in eleven months, the community there still seems vibrant and positive. You just can’t kill a good community.

You know? Forget EQ Next. EverQuest doesn’t need another reboot. EverQuest players are never going to jump ship to a completely new game, anyway. Why not VANGUARD Next? Come on, let’s start a petition or something.

Crunchy hot blog stuff after the break.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll, 11/30 — Worst Case Scenario edition

Five Better Concepts for EverQuest Next?

It’s not wrong to be nostalgic. A lot of us old EverQuesters (as opposed to EverQuesties; we hate them!) have warm feelings toward what was, for many of us, our first MMO. Sure, the graphics were crude and the leveling was brutal, but there was the same sort of camaraderie based on shared suffering that you get in wars and natural disasters.

It’s not just the players that get nostalgic; SOE has gotten a little nostalgic as well for the time when EverQuest was the industry leader and set the bar that all other MMOs had to cross. “If only…” they might say, “if only we could return to 1999 and do it all over again!”

Thus will someday be born EverQuest Next, a marriage of World of Warcraft graphics with Norrathian lore, a game that can be both (circa 2004-ish) modern and (circa 1999-ish) nostalgic at the same time.

What if SOE, instead of looking backward, looked forward? SOE has already dabbled in other sorts of non-MMO EQ games. The RTS Lords of EverQuest tried and failed to compete with Blizzard’s Warcraft a year before World of… arrived, and Champions of Norrath tried and somewhat succeeded in applying the tropes of Blizzard’s Diablo series to the world of EverQuest.

Seems SOE really has this thing for competing with Blizzard on their turf. Well, it’s time to stop looking backward — or looking north to Irvine — and start looking into the future. I humbly present five more forward-looking concepts for EverQuest Next….

1. NorrathVille

Ever want to farm jumjum on the edge of Misty Thicket? Interested in exploring dark caves hidden in the depths behind the Third Gate? Have a hankering to teach moss snakes to kick in Jaggedpine Forest? Why not come down to NorrathVille and make your mark on the world? Stake out your claim to Norrath and defend your home from a world that wants to take it from you. As you gain levels, you rise in the hierarchy of your race and eventually become a lord or lady of your land, powerful enough to move your home into the Planes themselves. Play alone or with thousands of your fellow Norrathians!

2. Grand Theft Freeport

On the waterfront, your name means nothing; your race even less. All that matters is what you are; a wharf rat, scrabbling for any action you can get from the ships that survive the crossing of the Ocean of Tears and the pirate-infested Timorous Deep. Or maybe you’re a Freeport Guard, sworn to keep the city safe for the rabble that infest it. Or are you one of Sir Lucan’s Knights, spreading blight through the city under the guise of saving it? No matter how you do it, one thing is for sure: Freeport is YOUR city. And everyone else had better fall in behind you or get out of your way.

3. Team EverQuest

You never know what you’ll be facing, when you step through the portal. One day, a legion of dwarfs. The next, a flight of dragons. The only people you can depend upon are your buds. You signed on as an Elite Vermiculated Elven Ranger Quester for the gold, but now, it’s much more than that. Now, it’s personal. Using the industry’s most advanced matchmaking lobby, E.V.E.R. Questers form up and move out to some of the most thrilling and tactically challenging situations to be found in Norrath. Where regular raid forces fail, Questers succeed. And when squads of Questers face each other in training — well, may the best team win, and may the other guys have good luck finding rezzes.

4. EverQuest Party!

Fighting can be fun, but everyone knows the REAL hardcore challenge for a seasoned adventurer is looking good in the guild lobby. Anyone can slay a mindworm, but can anyone pull off a Starmetal Ruby-Encrusted Greatsword strapped to the back of a suit of Pearlescent Voidtouched Armor? With a velvet cloak emblazoned with your guild insignia? No? Then bust out some killer moves on the dance floor and show them who is the real Master of Motion. In EverQuest Party!, fashion is king. Earn Cred through street challenges and dance competitions, and spend it on armor never seen on a mortal since Veeshan first claimed Norrath as her own with a sweep of her claw. Outshine the gods themselves, and help new players learn the tricks of the trade — because the more followers you have, the more cred you command.

5. Qeynos Qarts

You may have seen kart racing games before, but never like this! In Qeynos Qarts, the tech from Modnation Racers and EverQuest’s lore combines to make a racing experience unmatched. Ride griffons, pegasi, roboboars, dinosaurs, balloons and ogres through some of the most amazing tracks since Pod Racers. Is that a cyclops coming over the hill? Will you steer around him — or try to capture? It’s your choice — it’s your track — but it’s OUR world, now!