Daily Blogroll Oct 19: Time enough to learn to swim edition

If you were given six months to live, you wouldn’t spend it leveling up a new character in some MMORPG. You’d want to do something that gave your life meaning. Six months at the end of your life isn’t more valuable than six months right now. In fact, six months right now is way better. Truth is, your friends and family don’t care that you leveled a character. They care about the time you spent with them. (Fact is, it’s almost certain nobody in the world cares about your achievements in video games, and in a couple of years, neither will you).

People all around me are getting older — old! An old friend died (ten years ago! some friend, eh? but I just found out!). Another friend had a heart attack last week, nearly died. Yet another friend is getting radiation treatment on the west coast.

I discovered recently that I love life and that the world is a beautiful and wonderful place. Years ago, in the depths of my EverQuest addiction, a warm sunny Saturday just meant I’d have to keep the blinds closed so the sun wouldn’t wash out my display (maybe I would type to the guild, “Beautiful day out today!”). Now I bike, I hike, I do things. I don’t play many MMOs, and when I do, I play casually. I want desperately to live in the real world.

It was with some trepidation that I read about Damion Schubert (lead systems designer for SWTOR) and his talk at the recent Game Developer’s Conference about turning casual players into hardcore addicts. From the capsule description:

Hardcore gaming isn’t dead — all of the big ‘mainstream’ successes (WoW, Starcraft, Wizards 101, Facebook games) have a hardcore path, and work hard to convert their casual gamers into hardcore gamers. But doing so may require rethinking your definition of ‘hardcore’, and what it means in your particular game.

I still love games and I still love MMOs and I still plan to write about them — but I’ll have to enjoy the sixteen hour raids and repeated nights after nights of failures against a big boss until eventual victory makes it all worthwhile in other people’s writings.

Time for the blogroll? Sure, why not!
Continue reading Daily Blogroll Oct 19: Time enough to learn to swim edition

Mythos is back! Kinda!

Gremlin Gadgeteer

A couple of years ago, you could have sold a Mythos beta key on eBay for a hundred bucks, easy. Now that it’s finally out — in Europe, anyway — the reaction is a little more muted. What’s happened to the Diablo 2-inspired action MMO in the intervening time?

Hellgate: London devs Flagship Studios, so the story goes, had used Mythos as sort of a proof of concept for some of the tech they were using in their main game. Turned out the devs liked Mythos so much that they decided to build it out into a follow-up title. It featured bizarre races, inspired character classes and talent trees and some of the most involved crafting you could ever find.

Then disaster felled Flagship Studios and all the assets were claimed by HanbitSoft, and now Hellgate: London lives on in an Asia-only incarnation, while Mythos has been extensively re-worked and released as a free-to-play game in Europe, though there’s no barrier to non-Euros playing (as far as I can tell). Redbana is licensed to release Mythos in North America based on the European release, but there’s been precious little news of any progress there in quite a long time.

I have just played Mythos a very short time, but it’s still very much the same game. There is a new, very comprehensive tutorial, though the quest text has the characteristic unusual phrasing often found when translating from Asian languages. Publishers Frogster have set up servers for not only English, French and German, but Polish and Turkish as well.

Mythos’ original developers moved on to found Runic Games and develop the action RPG Torchlight, which shares a lot of the same concepts as Mythos, though in a single player package and without the extensive overworld.

Mythos is still the fast paced hacky/slashy/dungeon crawly game it was two years ago, but Torchlight may be spoiling its chance to make any sort of significant splash here in North America.

Daily Blogroll 1/12 — Snow Job edition

A whole weekend lost in a Rift, but I think what I’ll remember most about this last weekend was this jerk in General chat — named, ironically, Karana — who was going on and on about how the quests and everything else about the game was a copy of WoW.

Well, heck, I didn’t know Thomas Edison was resurrected just to offer his genius insights. But some people just can’t see past their own experiences with WoW. Like, the people complaining that every one of the classes will have a 50/16/0 point spec, as if the class-defining abilities of each ‘soul’ only happen once 50 points are spent on it, similar to WoW’s talent trees. ACTUALLY, the class-defining skill is usually given for free, at zero points. Smart players will have a synergistic three soul mix. Anyway, already went on about that, and though I’m loving Rift and have applied to a guild, I’m really tired of reading about it.

Well, let’s see if there’s some stories from the weekend that aren’t about Rift, shall we?
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/12 — Snow Job edition

Daily Blogroll 1/7 – Better than Life edition

If there could be a greater revolution in online gaming than Microsoft’s upcoming Avatar Kinect, I’m not really sure what it could be. Avatar Kinect uses its popular new peripheral to track your gestures, mouth movements and even your eyebrows and use this data to create a lifelike puppet of you in an online chat room. The traditional problems of the Kinect remain; your avatar won’t be spending much time walking from place to place, but it is certainly worlds better than having to clean house to have friends over.

On to the blogroll.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/7 – Better than Life edition