It’s been a while since I last posted and mostly that’s been due to real life stuff. I’m really having a great time in my new job and I have an awesome new apartment in a truly beautiful part of the world but I don’t yet have internet at home. This means that all my personal internet use has to happen at the office during times when I’m not being gainfully employed with actual work.
So, what do we have for you today?
I’ve been following (and sticking my oar into) a debate on Broken Toys about the rights of players ingame. It didn’t start out that way but somehow the to-ing and fro-ing over Blizzard’s new mod policy devolved into an argument about how much control players should have over the game they play.
Jeremy Dalberg posted recently on the subject of supermassive communities. Actually the post is mostly about the relative benefits of official vs unofficial forums but that’s been done the science is in and the deniers have been denned. Scott Jennings mentioned the headline comment and, as is usual, the weird and wonderful came crawling out of the woodwork in the comments section to display some extremely poorly thought out opinions.
Jeremy’s post is mostly a critique of some points that Ryan Schwayder made on the pros and cons of official forums, but amongst all of that she makes some very interesting points on community scalability. Communities, it is very clear work best when they are small. How small? Jeremy brings up Dunbar’s Number as a possible limit but in reality I think the answer is mutable. For a game community, a single server is probably too big to be considered a single community, an alliance or a guild is a better basic unit of community and those tend not to exceed a few hundred. If your alliance exceeds that number then the chances are you have several communities within that umbrella that can be said to be independant of each other as discrete communities. For all that we might talk about ‘the community’ on a particular server, the reality on the ground is a lot grainier than that. Just because we might end up fighting the same battle, we aren’t necessarily part of the same community. It isn’t necessarily limited to the number of simultaneous relationships any one member can sustain – hence why I don’t think Dunbar’s Number applies – but once you start going beyond second degree associations then I think you can start to define a boundary. The smaller a community is (above a certain sustainability threshold) the more tightly knit it tends to be, this is something we see in every aspect of life from geographic location through to international associations.
The basic point of Ms Dalberg’s post is correct. However we are measuring the cohesiveness of a community, 5 million is way too many to be considered as a single entity. That’s crazy talk and is akin to assuming that putting the entire population of Belgium in a room to chat to each other and then trying to manage that would be in some way productive.
So how do you manage a 5 million member community? You don’t. You chop it up and manage a few hundred smaller ones.
How much power is too much to give to your players?
By now the latest EvE dramaquake is old news but the discussions are still happening. Scott Jennings gives a pretty flippant account which then turns into a threadnought in the comments as is usual. The actual story is pretty simple once all the extraneous bits are trimmed away – guy gets fed up with life in one gigantic power bloc, defects to different gigantic power bloc and turns the lights out as he leaves the building.
No doubt the astute amnongst you have noticed the new title for the blog. A little too busy at the moment to make a proper update but, I’m now I’m at least in Germany and gettign stuck in to my new job. Real update with more than just fluff content coming soon!
Don’t worry, this isn’t about the new guy in charge over on the other side of the Atlantic it’s about something far more important than that. Me.
So as you all know by now, I’m off to pastures new. I’ll be leaving GOA on Friday and getting everything packed up to go to Germany next week. Over the past five years at GOA, I’ve filled a variety of roles and experienced some real highs and lows along the way. There have been disasters and triumphs and each of them has taught me something new and important. I would have learned a lot of those lessons in a different way if I’d had the choice but, you take what you’re given and make the best of it.
Seeing as it’s becoming public knowledge, I need to do a bit of rumour control. It’s true that I handed in my notice at GOA yesterday, I am for the moment still employed there and won’t actually be leaving until the end of January. I’ll be tidying up some loose ends here in Ireland and then jumping across to Germany to start a new job which takes me back to a development/design role. If anyone’s interested, the game I’ll be working on is Parabellum and I’m enormously happy to be part of such an exciting project.
For various reasons I’m really not interested in talking too much about the circumstances of my leaving GOA, I will say that I’m going to be sad to leave some really awesome people behind and that I will be taking a lot of very good memories away with me. Anything beyond that is a matter for my exit interview and some carefully written parting emails. I will have been here nearly five years when I leave and it’s been a valuable experience every day. Not always good times but I don’t regret any of my time here.
Finally in my last blog post Belsameth asked if I had more pictures of my Grumlok miniature in progress. I forgot to upload them for ages but I finally got around to it today so here’s a gallery of all the pictures. The darker ones were taken with my digital camera at home while the brighter ones were taken by our studio A/V guy here hence the stark difference in quality between them.
I haven’t abandoned this blog, I’ve simply been in a bit of a grey area as to what I want to do. As many of you will probably know, my work has changed somewhat in the last few months. I’m not particularly able or willing to talk about it here though.
Things are happening, there are bright things on the horizon and some exciting changes on the way which I’ll expand on in time. Meanwhile, read my Grumlok painting guide. I had fun writing it and I hope that people will link me up with pictures of their completed work too.
A proper update coming soon, in the meantime, I’m not dead and I still have opinions to share.
I’ve been a busy little bee over the past few weeks; beta, launch preparations, editorial stuff and the myriad of other tasks great and small that pile up as we march closer and closer to the live release have left me with little in the way of free time. One of the more pleasant items from my in tray was a trip to Valencia with some of my Spanish colleagues for the Campus Party. I’ve been meaning to write this up for a while and I figured I may as well do it here.