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 9/17 – Kanye edition

Kanye pops up in Runes of Magic

Guy just keeps popping up everywhere, don’t he?

I am playing Runes of Magic now because, hey, WoW is coming out with a new expansion that I probably won’t play, so why not reminisce about good times in WoW by playing some other game? Runes of Magic only allowed me to pick from two races, Elf and Human. I thought they had some short folk in the character concept art, but I guess those were just meant to be children. It’d be kind of cool, by the way, to start of as a child in an MMO (optionally, anyway), and play children’s games of crafting, socialization, war and magic while slowly aging and learning more of the wider world and your place in it.

I’m a little late to the Runes of Magic scene, but I won’t let irrelevance slow me down. Expect a “first look” in a week or two.

Raph Koster is at the Austin Game Developer’s Conference this week (and I’d love to be there, too, to hear about all the new Wizard101 stuff!), and he’s been working his fingers to the knuckles transcribing various panels — he just posted a fascinating transcription of a panel about monetizing online games.

Because “Free to Play” doesn’t mean free. They expect between $5-$50 ARPU – average return per user per month (I believe it’s by month).

Speaking of modern gaming’s loose and liberal use of the word “free”, Free Realms is having a double Station Cash weekend Friday evening through Sunday night. Buy a Station Cash card, redeem it after 7PM PST Friday but before Sunday midnight, and they’ll match your donation. You have to redeem it within Free Realms, but you can use it in any SOE game that takes it. This puts a character transfer for your EQ2 characters at $12.50 each, effectively. Or you can spend it all on dressing your kitty like a pirate for International Talk Like a Pirate day.

If your F2P tastes run more toward stubby-legged cherubs than big-headed fairies, Dragonica Online has some Arr Ye Matey pirate wear in its cash shop, too. And of course, this is like Christmas Day for Pirates of the Burning Sea!

Here’s a little Pirate Alphabet to get in the mood:

Ravious at Kill Ten Rats has a fantastic interview with some folks at ArenaNet, the people behind Guild Wars and its forthcoming sequel, Guild Wars 2: Electric Boogaloo. Find out how the Wizards of the Coast folks have it so easy balancing Magic: the Gathering compared to the way tougher card game of primary and secondary skills, what the purpose of all those different classes is anyway, and what they’re keeping in mind for GW2.

Rer at (Insert Awesome Aion Name) was worried that the news that Aion’s Fortresses would only be allowed to be taken on that server’s prime time would really hurt legions (guilds) with members across time zones. Looks like NCsoft has taken that into account with a lot of tools to tell when a fortress is available for attack, which ones ARE being attacked and so forth to make it easier to get people together for those. Also, looks like the West Coast servers are gonna be the hot ones.

A random corner in RivervaleI used to twink my EQ alts by logging the alt in this little corner, dropping stuff there with my main, then logging in really quick and hope nobody had stolen it or it hadn’t just decayed. Was that cheating? *I* don’t think so. In EverQuest, that’s pretty much why people kept going to the old zones. Twinking — and farming stuff to sell — was the root of EQ’s social culture. It was the battery that kept the whole thing going. Gordon of We Fly Spitfires, alas, sees things differently. Is twinking just another form of cheating? Or is it a way to keep older zones active enough so that newer players can more easily find groups?

Syp thinks grinding has got a bad rap. In fact, it brings you to an almost zen-like state of relaxation. Seriously — grinding might be good for your health! So grind another rank of faction for your kids, because they love you.

If you’re gonna get that zen-like state going, what better reason than living through the apocalypse? Well, not quite living, not if you’re in Fallen Earth. You’re a clone of a DEAD person (oops, spoiler alert). Pete of Dragonchasers isn’t sweating the genetic stuff, he’s out scrabbling through the ruins looking for bits and pieces with which to make horrific weapons of destruction and finger-lickin’ fried chicken. Well, at least the fingers of one of those hands is lickable.

Spinks has words for those scallywags who pre-order a game just to get into the open beta, but then feel free to cancel it if they don’t like what they see. And those words are: go ahead! The game company gets good PR for all those pre-orders, and you got to see if you liked a game without shelling out big bucks.

Spinks is also liking what she hears about the new Captain’s Log in Star Trek Online. Yeah. The more I hear about that game, the more I like it. Please PLEASE I hope they take a cue from their Champions Online and make the STO universe a shared universe.

Openedge1 is stirring in his stone mausoleum… be frightened.

And Keen is agonizing over the server choice he must make for Aion. Every time it gets harder, whether for Pirates of the Burning Sea, or Warhammer, now this… at least Darkfall had just one server. Me, I just wait six months or a year these days. If the game still sounds like fun by then, I go for it. That’s what I did for WoW. Wizard101 lets you change servers at will. I don’t understand why more games don’t design their games around server pools. Dividing friends among different servers shouldn’t be a revenue stream. It’s a problem that needs fixing.

You know, if Lord of the Rings were anything like Lord of the Rings Online, Radagast the Brown might have had a little more trouble with the birds and beasts of the field than he let on…. and Melmoth of Killed in a Smiling Accident has the sad duty to write it all down. My problem with him, in LotRO, was — he was the one in charge of those annoying spying birds? When I met him in game, I wanted to ask him why he didn’t call those annoying pests OFF. But that wasn’t one of the conversation options.

Hudson writes about the closure of a dozen Star Wars Galaxies servers. I don’t think my server is among those, but I have long forgotten in which server I played. I suppose SOE is finally able to let go, now that news about their follow-up, Star Wars Babies, has come to light.

The Teal Nine Ring Highway Hazard has gotten subscribing to several MMOs down to a finely honed science. Get out your spreadsheet and follow along and you, too, can play five MMOs and pay for only one sub at a time.

Ardwulf, he of the one word Aion review, bids a fad sarewell to NCsoft Austin’s Dungeon Runners. I liked the game fine, just got too repetitive, but I am sad to see it go. I remember when NCsoft Austin was started with bright hopes and magical moonbeams to work on a mysterious groundbreaking MMO by game royalty Lord “Richard Garriott” British. I remember it just like it was Sunday. Now, what’s left of it? Gone, along with all our dreams.

The Friendly Necromancer spills the beans about the special PvP armor you can earn in Wizard101. -100% mana? Sounds like winning stats to me. But it does look cool, though making plate armor and metal helms kinda stretches traditional wizard-wear, doesn’t it?

A Titan under attack.

Keep gaming! I’ve had a pretty rough past couple of days IRL but I’m back now :)