Daily Blogroll 10/8: Inappropriate Birth Metaphor edition

Baby spaceship takes its first flight!

Awwww, over-protective mommy ship takes cute baby alt-ship out for the first time! Yes, I’ve joined the ranks of EVE pilots with two accounts; the lure of EVE’s Power of 2 promotion and the savings in time by having a second account for salvaging, hauling, and extra drones was just too much to ignore.

If you think THAT picture is just too twee, check THIS one out.

What your doctor saw the day you were born. If you were a spaceship.

So there you have it. Another alt is born.

Hey, Aion’s out? Already? Wow, how’s it doing? Gold sellers everywhere? Let’s get some economics going. You are spending real money, that you earned, that could go for food or rent or gas on … nothing. NCsoft can always make more gold. They make it by the infinities every day. A resource that has an infinite supply that costs the producer absolutely nothing to produce has NO WORTH. So when you buy gold, you might as well be handing out dollar bills on the street. Anyway, Rer of (Insert Awesome Aion Name) says it a little better. Not only are you pissing away wealth on nothing, you’re ruining the game for everyone else.

Way to go, uber dude.

Stropp has some good ideas to combat gold spam. Simple economics, though, suggest the only real way to combat gold spam is to make NCsoft’s cost to produce more gold non-zero. To, like, make them adhere to the gold standard… So to speak. What if NCsoft had to give a dollar to charity for every thousand gold kinah they added to Aion?

Are you a MMO connoisseur who only plays the BEST, TRIPLE-A titles, like WoW and, um, WoW? Because the other SUB-AAA titles aren’t as good, so you’d be wasting your time on games like Maple Story, Wizard101, Chronicles of Spellborn, et al? Beau Turkey politely asks that you re-think what AAA means with regard to MMOs. Just because it’s a major studio sitting around in executive money chairs doesn’t mean they are the only ones who can make a fun, quality, game.

Gordon of We Fly Spitfires asks how it came to be that raiding is the end-game for MMOs? Why not something else — ANYTHING else? Well, Gordon, it all began with a little game called EverQuest. The EQ devs set their level cap so impossibly high that they never expected many people to ever reach it in the year and a half that they expected the game to run. They had a couple of dragons in the game as impossible challenges. But lots of people DID hit 50, and they found that if they got a hundred of their closest friends together and keep rushing at the dragons that they could eventually kill these beasts. So why is there raiding? Because MMO players INVENTED it. Since then, MMO devs have just been giving players what they ASKED for.

Maybe we should all get together and ask for something else?

If you’ve been stuck on Chaos MUD’s Wolfe Island for the last decade, the zone’s creator has come forth with a walkthrough, so you can finally move on with your life, maybe take a crack at the Telescope Room in Myst :) Seriously, I love reading the stories from the old MUD communities that more than anything else, set the stage for our MMO hobby.

Krystalle at Massively has been playing around in the Eskil Steenberg’s Love MMO’s paid alpha. You’ll remember Love as the game based on procedurally generated content — a world generated by algorithms as opposed to the more usual method of having artists and level developers plan them out. This makes it possible for a single developer to to make an entire world (and is how big-world MMOs like Dawn and Dark&Light intended to make worlds too large to ever be explored). Full featured MMO or glorified tech demo? Check out the videos, or play the game and decide for yourself.

Pete of Dragonchasers has been waxing rhapsodic about Bioware’s forthcoming Dragon Age for awhile, and why not? Looks like a great game, but I personally find it boring to play video games by myself these days. Just having people around makes it more special. Doesn’t mean I won’t play it, though.

Pro tip: Use phrases like “waxing rhapsodic” to confuse your non-English-as-a-first-language friends. It’s fun!

Syp never understood the appeal of sandbox MMOs like EVE Online and Star Wars: Galaxies before, but since he’s been playing Fallen Earth, he’s become a convert. So, I assume we’ll be seeing you in highsec pretty soon? :)

Ramon of Dalayan Diary LIKES grouping in Shards of Dalaya, but dislikes HAVING to group in order to see all the best stuff. Yup. It’s nice to have the choice — but given a choice, people always choose the easiest path. The only way to have a game with a really quality group experience is to make that the best and most obvious choice, alas.

And lastly, the Ultimate Beer Run:

Daily Blogroll 8/4 — Lifetime edition

Another thrilling Champions Online adventure

Well, would YOU bet $200 on a game that nobody but press is allowed to talk about, a month before it’s released? When Lord of the Rings Online offered the same deal — A Benjamin and his identical twin for a lifetime subscription — you had a month to think it over. Not so with Champions Online — if you insist on playing before committing, the offer goes away. Probably the best thing about the offer — access to the Star Trek Online beta, and Mirror Universe outfits for same. So, if I want to play STO and get all the best goodies, I have to toss two c-notes Champions’ way?

They do announce STO’s beta begins later this year, which is in line with their projected Spring 2010 release date.

Green Armadillo doesn’t think ANY game is worth $200 to play free forever, especially when it will have an RMT store that, following SOE’s lead with their EQ2 and Free Realms, will entice subscribers to spend additional money each month on costumes and temporary powers. Keen feels they should at least drop the NDA now so that the blogosphere can weigh in on Champions’ good and bad points before begging players to pay blindly. Anjin of Bullet Points wonders if the Champions IP is compelling enough to take the leap of faith.

I’m in the beta, but when the NDA does drop, I won’t have any glowing articles to write about it (just some comics). It’s just hard to get excited about quest-based, level grind MMOs anymore. I’m just burned out on the whole idea of the grind to play mechanic. By making the level 1 game essentially identical to the level 50 game (or rather, the level 21 game, as that’s as high as I’ve gotten), Cryptic’s previous superhero MMO arguably provides a more super and less level-bound experience.

Marissa and Allison confront the boss of the Sunken City

The Evil Theurgist and Fallon Shadowblade of Diary of a Wizard are sponsoring their Second Official Meet and Greet (SOMG) in Wizard 101, August 15th, Vampire Realm, Nightside. I missed the first one, but everyone had such a great time that I’m gonna try and make this one.

I just finished the Nightside/Sunken City arc with my (now) level 14 Myth wizard last night, too… (picture above, note Marissa’s Firezilla pet!)

Gordon of We Fly Spitfires looks at EVE Online’s sandbox approach to letting players determine their own goals in the game vs World of Warcraft’s rails-driven approach to player achievement and wonders if it would ever be possible to combine the two — still have rails-driven gameplay, but with the freedom to accomplish given goals with some degrees of freedom?

I don’t think that could even work. I’ve played both games, and they are just too far apart. Both fun, but they scratch different itches.

We haven’t heard much from Ayba and Oric over in Shards of Dalaya for awhile, but news comes from the gnoll-infested undead-infested passageways of Highpass Undead Pass that our favorite halfling duo have reached level 30! Grats!

Speaking of returning from the dead, Cownose, once our connection for news of Lineage 2 and Ultima Online, is back with dispatches from the world of Darkfall. And is that Cameron Sorden announcing his comeback by reposting articles from the last couple of years? Aw, no, it’s not. And, could that be some new posts by Tobold? Yes, yes there are.

And lastly, Syp explains why he’s no longer excited about Fallen Earth, Global Agenda, Jumpgate Evolution, The Agency, APB, DCUO, and Guild Wars 2. That’s mean! Doesn’t The Agency have enough problems already?

Daily Blogroll 7/15 — Same quests, different day edition

Now, where did I put my red-blue glasses...

Welcome to another daily blogroll!

EQ2 has re-opened character server transfers via its Station Marketplace RMT store, halving the price and making the process as smooth as possible. I’ve started moving my essential characters from Najena and Befallen to Antonia Bayle, my original EQ2 server before my desire to play with friends led me to have characters on a half dozen servers.

Lazaretto is going the other way, to the PvP server Nagafen, where life is a little different. For one, AAs are so important that people pay high levels to lead them through high level zones for discovery experience.

Laz also writes about Vanguard’s utter reversal of its claim to be the most hardcore MMO on the market to where it is now catering to player desires for an easier, more casual-friendly experience. Sounds good to me. Maybe they could do something about that terrible map while they’re at it.

Angry Raider had an EQ2 epiphany of his own. Why worry about working to other people’s goals, when the whole purpose of a game is to log in, have some fun, and then go about your life? Gordon of We Fly Spitfires feels the same way, and instead of working on other people’s goals, getting Titan’s Grip in WoW and a Megathron in EVE Online will do.

Hey, I’m working on a Megathron in EVE Online, too! It’s a Nice Ship.

Ramon at Dalayan Diary heads into a mysterious warpstone in the EQ-based Shards of Dalaya and finds it’s kobolds all the way down. I’m usually pretty good at guessing which EQ zone corresponds to a given SoD zone, but this one eludes me. It looks too wide open to be any of the Sol dungeons. Maybe the Temple of Sol Ro?

Cuppy’s started a new blog for those who want to blog, but don’t want the hassle of maintaining a site or promoting it. It’s MMOBlurbs, you can post stuff just by sending an email, and though it’s a little rough so far, it could be the perfect way to give a cookie to your inner blogger.

Beau Turkey wonders if end-game raiding really needs to be such a bore. What if you replaced all the scripts and boredom with … minigames, like in Puzzle Pirates battles? It could be fun :)

Dusty of Of Course I’ll Play It settles the old argument about which a game should cater to more, the solo or the group player, by proposing a “soloer flag”. You couldn’t do anything BUT solo, but you’d get special, solo-only versions of the game’s dungeons, so even a soloer would have a chance to see everything. I suspect it would just turn every game into a ghost town…. most people group only because they have to to advance.

And lastly, MMOs may be like women, or they may be like men, but Green Armadillo knows that MMOs are really our furry little four legged friends. I’ve often thought MMOs were like biker movies of the ’60s, but I can’t explain why.

See you tomorrow, and keep on gaming!

Daily Blogroll 6/1 — Almost Summer edition

Doesn't that humpback minion remind you of Underdog's nemesis, Bar Sinister?

Wow, June already. The year seems to be flying by so quickly. I saw “Up” over the weekend, kind of dark for a Disney/Pixar film, but I liked it quite a lot. Gaming-wise, it was largely Free Realms along with some trips into EVE and Vanguard. I hope to make it to Antonia Bayle’s Festival of Unity sometime this week.

Kasul at Shattered was at the opening ceremonies to the Festival of Unity, conveniently held at a place where evil characters would be slaughtered by good-aligned guards oops. Okay. For 2010, a Festival of Dis-unity, to be kicked off in the Crossroads in the Commonlands, okay? Naturally, this one would have to be held on the Lucan D’Lere server….

Back in EverQuest, er, Shards of Dalaya, Ramon has gotten to the point where it’s getting tough to find groups in this F2P EverQuest remix. As Ramon remembers the hours spent catching up on his reading while LFG in EQ, he rethinks whether EQ’s group-only mechanic really works anymore.

Tobold writes about the amazing case of Ferraro, the blogger who wrote at Paladin Schmaladin, and worked as a tester at Blizzard, who suddenly turned out to not be a cute Blizzard tester (personal pictures lifted from TechDarling) but seven people, who suddenly turned out to be just one person, and the lies probably don’t end there. Would this person’s blog had been as successful if it had been written by some ordinary guy instead of a cute, tech-savvy, fictional Blizzard tester?

The fakery doesn’t stop there. Spinks writes about a WoW addon that lets people link fake achievements, so when a group demands you have the achievement that proves you have experience with a demanding instance, you can fake-link it and get in that group. I’m not gonna try and analyze why someone would do this, but it bugs me when I hear people in EQ2 demand things like this, for example, Mythical epics, when the content they are doing doesn’t come close to requiring that sort of gear.

Speaking of EQ2, Gordon at We Fly Spitfires isn’t liking the Qeynos-to-Freeport betrayal quest much, especially where you have to, at great length, train a cute puppy and get him to trust you, only to have to kill it at the end. He calls it bad quest design, but I feel it does what it’s supposed to — give you some history with the animal, so you feel something when you’re asked to kill it. Even if it’s boring history.

Warhammermer of War Like Worlds has been spending a bit of time in Free Realms lately. There’s a concert by the band that did the FR theme song in Free Realms tomorrow at 4PM PDT/7PM EDT (I didn’t know that!), and while this will draw a bunch of people for sure, Warhammermer talks furthr about the difficulty of meeting people in the game and the potential addition of guilds to the game (yes, please!)

Lazaretto at Complete Heal, who’s been blogging quite a lot recently about his adventures in Vanguard, takes issue with Openedge1’s dismissal of VG’s latest “come back to Vanguard” campaign as the game’s “last hurrah”. Since SOE is about to close Matrix Online, it’s not surprising that people will start wondering about other poorly received games like Planetside and, yes, Vanguard. Does anyone really think Star Wars: Galaxies will survive Bioware’s competing Star Wars MMO? I logged into Vanguard yesterday for the first time in months and though it runs fine on my new computer, it was still too much like pretty much every other quest-heavy Fantasy MMO out there.

Beau feels that Vanguard will be gone within a couple of years ANYWAY, caught in the general demise of most subscription-based games as the world moves toward a F2P with micro-transactions model. Ixobelle has the opposite opinion, feeling that players HATE micro-transactions, and that any game featuring RMT is doomed to fail. Beau is in the subscription-dominated North America, and Ixobelle is in the F2P mecca of Japan, and both are prophesying the failure of their regions’ respective business model.

Well, I guess we’re all doomed, then. Better leave it here and see what comes up in the blogosphere tomorrow!

Keep safe, keep cool and keep gaming!