Sunday, May 29, 2011

Balanced opposition makes leveling pointless?

Have you ever encountered the idea that, if you level up and get +10 attack but then the monsters you face have +10 defence more than the previous ones you faced, leveling is utterly pointless?

I get the social pecking order of leveling. But in terms of gameplay it blows!

If you had a middle ground, like say a random 10% of the time you encounter an opponent from a lower level rather than a balanced opponent, then your +10 attack actually matters, because for once you ran into an opponent with +0 defence. Then you actually did get stronger, but the rest of the 90% of the time it follows the usual formula of delayed progression.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another mmorpg subscription model

Tying in with Tesh's Ratcheted Subscription, I have just one suggestion in terms of subscriptions. Simply one of paying a set amount. Say for imagine, five hundred dollars. You pay your fifteen dollars a month as usual, but once your monthy fee has gotten to five hundred, you don't pay any more.

The idea is the company puts aside some of the money into bank accounts and accrues interest, which pays for costs and makes profits. So in this subscription type, your kind of investing into the game.

Of course, why do that if you can keep bleeding people each month AND all the people your bleeding can't imagine it any other way? No logical reason at all, really.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Do you really choose to group in a mmorpg?

 Over on Tesh's blog, Tipa (enough T's yet? :D ) commented...

If the purpose of raiding isn’t to trigger the camaraderie of team-building through shared experiences, then why not just sell raid gear? In fact, why even have raid gear? Just sell cool looking armor directly.

This whole thing about using groups and raids to enhance your single player experience — with other players essentially being somewhat unpredictable NPCs which you must use to get stuff for yourself — makes me despair for the future of the genre.
Now really the way I've measured it, mmorpgs have always forced a mercenary attitude. Basically they force you into the company of others unless you want to miss out on content. I can hear some of you 'But being in the company of others is the POINT of a mmorpg!'. Well if it were so very much the point then people wouldn't need to be forced into the company of others, would they? I mean, what's the reply to that 'Well, it is the point, but sometimes people have to have the point drummed into their heads'?

It's basically like old school railroading in table top, giving someone the appearance of choice when they don't. "Oh sure you start out by yourself and then you have the choice to play with others...". And maybe the railroading isn't apparent, so when a bunch of people start just using each other in a mercenary way, it just seems crazy out of the blue? When really it's a reflection of the true state of affairs/the railroad.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Driftwurld addition: The Greased Pig Inn!

It's faint so I can post readable text across the top of it in game
Added a new part to Driftwurld, my browser game! Basically the first chat room I've coded! I'll be expanding it latter to have a community prosperity level. All players contribute to this level and each player has an individual reptutation they work upon in it. The higher the community prosperity, the higher your reputation can be and the better weapons you can get!

But right now it's a chat with a button for your character to pick up jobs while they hang out in the greased pig inn, chatting with other players! Though it's hard to get there - you have to earn $8000 to buy some body armour, before it's safe enough to travel to and work jobs around the Greased Pig.

PS: 'Greased Pig' is a bit of a oblique reference to the warhammer quest board game...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Imagine a game world without murder porn...

Imagine your play in a traditional mmorpg (out in the world part of it) went this way...

You step off the road, heading into the forrest or whatever is around the main road...a little way in, you stop and can't move for about ten to fifteen seconds. At the end your XP goes up by a little bit (perhaps from exploring?) and often you find some items that must have littered the ground.

Sometimes a warning sign comes up and you must press the space bar withing about four or five seconds of seeing it, or you teleport back to the nearest town. In about one in twenty times, it doesn't matter if you hit the space bar, you automatically teleport back to the nearest town. The teleport costs you some gold or silver, but not a great deal.

Would that be unsatisfying play?

If so, why are you playing that right now in WOW or whatever, when it's the same thing?

Frankly I think rather than indulging in murder porn I'd prefer a traditional mmorpg to do the above. The murder porn is nausiating after awhile, while the combat is one sided and thus not a combat - it is as I describe above - simply time fillers.

I guess I did alot of solo play when I played wow (and in other games like lord of the rings now). So maybe if you group alot your experience is different, I dunno.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Do you play travian? Covert recreation?

Work *HURR!*, what is it good for!? Absolutely nothin'!

We were having a discussion over here about why people play the browser game travian (I wonder if I should link to the game - google would probably like that, but I'm morally disinclined).

At this point someone said people basically play it at work and play against co-workers. I had this reply

So not as a genuine recreational activity, but instead as a way of making rec time at work?

That kind of gets into the 'the only show in town' crowd draw, since there are specific requirements for what games can be fitted in (obviously you can't sit down for a session of fallout at work, for example!). So a game like travian is one of the few that can meet those requirements - thus it's the only show in town (or one of the few shows in town).

It makes me think there should be some new word for recreation at work - covert recreation? Basically games designed around filling the niche of what you can get away with at work AND also recruit your fellow coworkers?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Free to play mmorpgs, early adopters and you

This little bottie went to market and this little bottie went free to play...

Quite a few people out there seem to get in a tizzy about games that are brought out on a subscription basis, but then a few months or such in become free to play.

When really this was planned from the start (barring the game being wildly successful in getting subs and keeping them, then they'd maintain a sub system)

The fact is a 'free' mmorpg is better advertising than a television advert and FAR cheaper. What sort of advert do you sit in front of, watching it for hours? 'But it's entertaining!'. Well, maybe you found the old spice advert mildly entertaining - were they giving that away for free?

The reason for subs at the start is a fairly standard business practice, if not commonly acknowled amongst the punters. Remember when playstations or ipods or whatever first came out, they cost alot, but then the price goes down?

The fact is, there are people out there with disposable income (and sometimes not so disposable income) that want to be the first to get some new thingie!

They are the early adopters. They are a way of quickly recouping alot of money.

So instead of thinking "Oh, how long is it before your new mmorpg gives up having a subscription, huh?" as if you know the condition of the industry, realise your not ahead of them, they are several moves ahead of you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Life Game, a draft, #1

Okay, so this blog obviously stretches over into philosophy and here's some thoughts on a better real life future, basically through a model or game.

The central idea is simply to grow edible vegetables for yourself. Yeah, been said before. But!...

The idea is that the more you can supply your own vital need (ie, eating - unless your a vampire, in which case see my vampire section...) the more you are politically free to make long term choices, instead of making short term choices for survival/food reasons, but which may undermine your long term values.

It's not a binary state - instead the more you can supply your own food, the more you achieve this status, where you can choose a long term agenda without short term threat swaying the decision.

Further the idea, should one agree with the notion of it all, is to also grow plants (like suger snap peas, beens, etc) in small containers and offer these plants (along with a note on the general philosophy described here) to people. Because just looking after yourself, although glamourised in capitalist society, simply isn't enough. It's just really effective dividing and conquering. I mean, if you wanted to divide people, how would you do it? Well, certainly one thing you'd do is encourage them to only look after themselves. And seriously, how well do you know your neighbours? (ps: If I actually get posts from people who know all their neighbours, I'll start looking into whether alot more people do than I think - but for now, I think most people are cut off at that level).

So, that's the draft. I've put off writing anything on it for trying to word it right, so I quit trying to be perfect on the first try and instead atleast wrote something on it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Obsessive compul-optimised

I'm looking at the the thread here

As I say in the comments, I wonder if a game that does not end/have a final win condition actually exacerbates obsessive compulsive dissorders in people?

It either goes one way - you don't care, because you can't finish it anyway. Or it goes the other way - because there is no end to get excited about, and because you must get excited about something (rather than "don't care"), even a second faster in progression somehow becomes all consuming important. Much like some people have an overwhelming urge to touch every fence post as they walk, or align all their mug handles in one direction, or they become horders (oh wait, that's a bit too close a parralel with a mmorpg, isn't it? Not even an analogy anymore...)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MMO: Forced Friends

Humphrey the fun loving bear....LFG

I don't know if I'm grasping a trend out there where people say 'It doesn't feel like an MMO!'. They particularly say it if solo play is viable.

What is actually interesting about being in the company of other players all the time?

Is it like a cult thing? The more members your cult has, the more real or meaningful it is?

Otherwise, what's interesting about having other people hanging around? Beyond it being a chat room that happens to have monsters? That's a chat room, not about playing like groups of people get together to do in sports. Though semantically they will say it doesn't feel like a MMO and that doesn't actually contain the word player in the acronym, so maybe it isn't self contradictory. They just aren't interested in playing, they just want a massive chat room?

Though really I'd say it's just classic highschool (and beyond) need to be socially domineering "You play our way (Oh yeah, we'll pitch that not as 'our way' but 'The way the games meant to be played') or you can't play the game at all.......ah......*lights up cigarette*, oh yeah, pay off time...made my idiosyncratic perception a world standard...oh yeah! *puff puff*"