Daily Blogroll Oct 10: Columbus Day edition

Creativity can be deadly

I realized today that I have no clue whatsoever what the term “MMO” means anymore. I gave it some thought and came up with “An MMO is an online, real-time game where other people affect can your game.” That’s pretty vague. Clearly there are games which call themselves MMOs and can be played as if they were MMOs, or as if they were solo RPGs. I don’t know. I just know the old definitions don’t work.

Take World of Warcraft and the current flavor of the month, Tiny Speck’s Glitch. One is the most popular MMO in the world (well, if you don’t include World of Tanks, though the developer does). The other is a super casual browser-based game where you can’t even kill stuff. The two games share almost no features, yet both are MMOs. I give up. If you can play your game and can see another player when you do so, it’s a MMO.

Which is going to make writing these Daily Blogrolls SO EASY. Checkers? Is it online? MMO.

The blogging world has changed quite a lot since the last time I was doing these (and work crushed my free time). People are leaving drops of content all over the Internet, on Tumblr blogs, on Google+, on Twitter. I’ll still be pointing out great posts by the bloggers in my blogroll, but I’ll be trying to collect some of these other far-flung bits of wisdom as well.

Before I get started, an update on my MMO gaming: DDO on Sunday nights, D&D fourth edition on Thursday nights, and Glitch. Driver issues have killed EQ2 — I can’t play it. I’ve been poking around in Rift. I’ve started working on the Saint’s Haven quests in Dragon Nest. Mostly Glitch for MMOs, though.

Beau Turkey has done a heck of a write-up on Glitch, btw.

Fighting giants in DAoC beta

It’s been ten years since Dark Age of Camelot went live? Wow. I remember calling it “EQ Lite” based solely on the screenshots they released in the early rounds of beta. When I got into the beta myself, I realized just how impressive an achievement the game was. Yes, it clearly had been influenced by EverQuest, but it was its own game and would become one of the influences that would form the mechanics behind World of Warcraft.

It would be physically impossible for anyone to spend more time in a game than I spent in DAoC. Scott Jennings, Mythic’s one time DBA, has a wonderful post from Matt Firor, DAoC’s original producer, one what it was like to ship an MMO before the market was crowded with hundreds of them.

It was a different world.

Star Corsairs

After taking the world by storm with his sandbox browser MMO Golemizer, indie MMO dev Dave Toulouse is set to unleash his second game, Star Corsairs. It’s an updated take on the old space exploration / trading games of the 80s (most notably SunDog) combined with the mining, ship construction and PvP of EVE Online. And maybe a smidgen of Star Castle. Explore, take on missions to protect the Federation, construct your own starship, blow stuff up, free to play. I’ll have more on Star Corsairs when I’ve played it more.

Donate, and he’ll name a star after you.

Speaking of indie MMO development, Andorov posted an excellent list of 15 important steps to wild success in indie MMO development.

Rule 4: Create a good company and MMO name. Recruiting for Joe Schmoe’s Awesome MMORPG is going to be a lot more difficult than Excelsior Games’ Islandia: The Re-Islanding. Most non-visionaries (which I may also refer to as dumb f**ks or DFs), though talented, are simple folk and easily impressed.

Lucent Heart, the “zodiac-inspired” dating MMO, not content with merely connecting up guys playing guys and guys playing scantily-clad girls, is about to unleash dance battles upon the world, says Anjel Syndicate.

Create your dance from dozens of dance steps, re-create music videos, and .. well, if a collection of Minstrels can do System of a Down in LotRO, I suppose a bunch of angel-winged schoolgirls can do Thriller in Lucent Heart!

See ya tomorrow!

LotRO: Kill the Dwaggin

It's Dwaggin Season

I got this mysterious e-mail the other day, it was simply a list of tasks to perform…

  1. log on to Lord of the Rings.
  2. Find skirmish camp outside Bree gates.
  3. talk to people there and get set up with a soldier and do the intro
    skirmish run.
  4. Press Control+J to get the skirmish panel.
  5. Select the Siege of Gondamon Skirmish.
  6. Second boss to the end is a dragon.

There was a dragon to be killed. Gondamon needed my help to kill it. Do or die, it would be done.

One of the cool things about the free-to-play version of Lord of the Rings Online is that I never have to worry about anything more than just waiting for the patch to download. I hadn’t played LotRO for six months, but my level 37 Captain was still waiting for me — right in the Bree skirmish camp, as it turned out.

Her armor was still a little worn from her previous skirmishes, but a quick trip into Bree and a willing armorer sorted that out. My chestnut mare and I were back outside Bree in only a few moments. I summoned my pilgrim herald to my side. He was looking a little tired, wanted to know what the heck had happened to me. Disappearing for six months during the time of Middle Earth’s most desperate need.

I explained how I was imprisoned by a Necromancer. Or something. He seemed dubious, but I don’t pay him to question my comings and goings. I am a Captain of Men.

The Siege of Gondamon

In the Siege of Gondamon skirmish, a solo adventure for characters 20+, it’s your job to protect Mathil, Gondamon’s ruler, against the forces of darkness. The NPC Guardian, Minstrel and Loremaster trainers will each guard an approach to the city and signal enemy approaches. It is your job, along with your skirmish companion (a warrior in my case) to make a stand and defeat the waves of enemies and the occasional lieutenant or general that joins the battle.

The worst time to be trying to remember how to play LotRO is while there are waves of enemies coming at you. Questions I asked myself like, “how do I heal myself”, and “how do I heal myself DAMMIT”, and “OMG WHERE IS THE FRICKIN HEAL BUTTON” constantly arose and I soon watched Mathil die and myself returned to the skirmish camp.

I took a few minutes to look over the buttons, put up my buffs, and in general remember the reactive way Captain abilities work. Fortunately, I’d long ago set up my action buttons such that I generally just needed to work from left to right and push what got activated in that order, using the monster death-triggered heals as appropriate, and using the herald to cast his heal as well.

Second time was beauty. The Loremaster trainer died, making attacks from the west a little more urgent, and during the final wave I was forced to retreat to the center of the ruins where Mathil himself could help with the defense after the surviving NPCs left the ruins to bring the fight to outlying camps.

Banners were raised, trumpets were sounded, both I and my warrior had to retreat a couple of times, but in the end it was the dragon Nethgarch whose corpse lay cooling on the marble steps and not mine.

Very fun. I don’t know why I don’t play LotRO more!

Daily Blogroll 1/1/11 — Happy New Year edition

We’re way behind on our latest project at work, so I’ spent most of Friday working. I did take a break, though, to log on and participate in the final Beta 3 invasion event this afternoon. I’d spent all night (until 4:30AM) leveling my cleric from 12 to 20, and though I didn’t get a chance to visit the Iron Tombs, I did want to help keep Freemarch free. I’d leveled from 16 to 18 in a raid group at one of Thursday’s invasions. That also earned me nearly enough planar currency to get some nice epic items. I logged on, joined in, and earned enough to get some “purple” leggings. Good stuff.

While waiting for the servers to get turned off, I ported over to the Guardian lands and tried to invade the scholar’s grove. Those places are MADE for PvP — as you near an enemy stronghold, the familiar rift/public quest panel gets added to your quest display, and you get a nice list of goals that need to be met in order to capture the area. First, kill the guards. Then destroy the wardstone. All the while fending off the enemy players, who are being summoned to the area by broadcast warnings.

I could post a lot more about Rift — lots of people are. It’s all a reminder of the similar enthusiasm around Warhammer and Age of Conan etc, where the betas were incredibly fun and everyone was stoked. When the games went live, the laid back beta fun turned into laser-sharp focused achievements and min-maxing.

Will this happen to Rift? Of course it will.

Anyway, let’s see what’s on the collective blog-consciousness, this start of a new year.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/1/11 — Happy New Year edition

Daily Blogroll, 12/1 — Dress Like a Pirate Edition

It was a 7.1 gig patch, but I did managed to get into Flying Lab’s Pirates of the Burning Sea last night, and spent a little more time with it tonight. Just went through the tutorial, did some of the Yuletide quests, joined a “society” (guild) named La Fédération, and wandered around the starting town. Veteran players were being helpful over the nationwide chat and the server was hopping. One server for North America, one for the EU, and a test server. I haven’t played PotBS for a couple of years, but I was very much impressed by their improvements to the land game. The NPCs sing, dance, and make the town very much a lively place to stroll — see the video at the end.

There’s a bit of rough sailing today, though; read all about it after the break.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll, 12/1 — Dress Like a Pirate Edition