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.
So we have these games and they’re called MMOs and the first two Ms stand for Massively Multiplayer. This is cool because it means that we can play a game with thousands of other people simultaneously and we’re all sharing in the same experience, we can team up, we can fight each other, we can chat and talk about the football or roleplay or we can validate our deeply held opinions on the narcotics habits of games developers. Or whatever.
Basically there are people who aren’t us in our game. Sometimes they’re annoying and we want to smack them. Sometimes they’re awesome and we laugh and laugh until our eyes are red, there’s bizarre white goo coming out of our nose and the wife has wandered in to make sure we aren’t having some kind of seizure. Mostly though they’re background, they are an ever changing tapestry of additional content that we can sample and pick through as we like.
Still though we increasingly tend to play by ourselves.
Looks at date.
Looks at datestamp for the last post here.
Yeah I know.
Anyhow, I’ve been super busy and in fact still am super busy. I’m off to Dreamhack tomorrow which will be fun in new and exhausting ways. Then I’m back in the office for a couple of days before gadding off again, this time to a field near Derby where I’ll be on holiday doing much the same thing that I do at work but with fewer creature comforts and without the whole ‘online’ thing.
Anyhow, I wanted to talk today about something I read in a magazine recently.
I know I said I wouldn’t talk about WAR here but this is too cool to share. I’m home sick today but last night we were given a press brief to distribute from today. I hope I’m not pre-empting anything here. The brief is from the EA Mythic studio manager April de Poisson and it’s about the patch system for WAR.
Once again RMT (Real Money Trading) is in the news. First the various lawsuits against IGE – one from a former director and one class action suit which are putting the squeeze on the world’s biggest RMT operator. Then the news from Sony that they were splitting off their Station Exchange service to Live Gamer and finally the settlement between Blizzard and RMT/powerleveling company Peons4Hire.
I recently got a bit of a surge in viewer numbers here and, checking the stats, it seems that quite a few people are coming from this WoW forums thread to visit a link post I made regarding PvP MMO design. It’s a little odd because I didn’t actually say anything on the subject in that post, I simply pointed to a discussion that was raging elsewhere. However a good chunk of people seem to be headed this way to see what it is that I have to say for myself on that subject. Never one to disappoint, here I go.
I should have been back at work today however due to a family emergency I’m still 7 time zones distant from my desk. As a result I’m sort of telecommuting in an unofficial capacity whilst the slack is being taken up by my colleagues back in sunny Dublin. As I was looking forward to returning to work (and most certainly not looking forwards to the circumstances that are keeping me here), I’ve been doing a lot of work related stuff at my in-laws PC.
This enforced absence from actual productive work alongside my regular exposure to game related discussion has had me mulling over a few things recently. I’ve been trying to get things internally consistent before I put them down in writing but I figure that’s what the edit button is for so here, for those who care, are my thoughts on MMOs and why they are the way they are.
Gamasutra has an interesting article about some comments made by Richard Garriott at the recent Independant Game Conference in Austin. He gave a speech about making MMOs and afterwards was asked what, in his opinion, went wrong with his latest game Tabula Rasa. I think it’s fair to say that TR has undersold its potential by a long chalk. I haven’t played it myself so I’m not going to comment on whether it’s any good or not, however for a title like this with a name like Lord British behind it, most people (including NCSoft) would have expected it to make more of a splash than it did.
Rather bizarrely Richard Garriott believes that at least part of the reason for the underwhelming reception is due to beta burnout.