Daily Blogroll 2/15 — Death of Sleep edition

Busybusybusy mandatory overtime, working at home each night, crunch time blahblahblah but you know what, I have a good job and I like what I do. It cuts into the game playing and into the game writing, though.

But I couldn’t pass up today’s excitement! EverQuest today opens its new progression server, Fippy Darkpaw, and Trion sends their MMO, Rift, into Open Beta! I haven’t been playing in any of the recent Rift betas and I have been studiously ignoring any news about the game to preserve at least a little of the sense of wonder of experiencing a new game fresh.

But, you know, well… I’ve been playing EQ2 lately, spending the Fortune League prizes, and the general chat was all about the Rift.

So, after the fold — news about these stories and many others.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 2/15 — Death of Sleep edition

Daily Blogroll 1/27 — Inevitable Backlash edition

Yeah, I’ve been MIA for a couple weeks now. Work time is creeping into home time. It’s so cold when I get home that I find myself cuddling up with blankets and a cat on the couch, watching Netflix (tonight: the Canadian comedy “Slings & Arrows“, season 1). I’m not wild about this “winter” thing in general. I haven’t been able to get on the bicycle for a few weeks now, and it’s really making me antsy.

Anyway, Rift beta 5 is underway. I logged in last night and made a warrior on the Belmont server and met my guild, Black Company. Played up through level 9, got caught up in some rift fights, had a little fun, but you know… I’m losing enthusiasm for the game.

Does that sound bad? I vowed to play Rift up to the level cap in the company of a guild and see all there was to see. Shouldn’t I be really excited?

I was really excited when it was me discovering a world of mystery. I was pretty damn pleased to try out different souls and make my own unique class. I was jumping for joy when I realized one didn’t need to grind quests with the rifts opening everywhere, just handing out adventure and experience.

But now, you can get a dozen decent build suggestions everywhere you look. There are guides for all the dungeons, all the quests, all the warfronts. By the time the game ships, the game will be completely known and over-examined. It will be SPOILED.

I’m still going to play Rift, and enjoy it. I just see that it’s going to become the same damn thing as with WoW, where my refusal to learn anything about the game other than what I discover for myself makes me look like a raw clueless newbie to everyone unfortunate enough to group with me. I really hate that feeling.
Continue reading Daily Blogroll 1/27 — Inevitable Backlash edition

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!
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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