Data Geek

I have yet to see the Tome of Knowledge, but I am excited about it. For years, I have been asking for a game to track every kill and craft, and make that information available to the player. Tossing in titles appeals to my badge whore nature; tossing in lore makes it a Civilopedia. Grabbing my favorite info features from Fallout and Civilization is a good thing. If you can make your game’s data or economic system closer to EVE’s, you probably should.

The Tome is imperfect, I am told. Fair. As noted, this is the kind of thing you want to get right at the start, because you cannot go back and retroactively collect data. Some games have logs they could mine like that, at great effort and expense, but it usually starts counting when they know why they would want to count that. As a small example, the last Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ added deeds to existing areas, to mixed joy and irritation from players who knew those areas well from running them dozens of times. I hope you like BG the first dozen times, because you’ll need a dozen more to get all the deeds done!

What do we want recorded in Warhammer or any MMO? You can work out display and interface issues later, but you must decide what gets kept now. Track every kill and craft, ideally noting if the kills were solo or in a team. Have some detail on the kills, so the game can distinguish between a soloable monster and a public quest-ending monster of the same species. It apparently tracks times that you target yourself, what has killed you, and so on. Stellar. If it can also track things like how many arrows I have fired or how many times I have been set on fire, great. TF2 accomplishments could be a fun place to look for some ideas.

What sounds like it is missing, that might be interesting to have, is robust information on leveling (and, to a lesser extent, quest completion). You only level 39 times, so jot down some information. You leveled on Tuesday, October 14 at 3:27pm, from defeating an Ironbound Juggernaut; you were in a team with Bob the Engineer, xXxShadowAssassinxXx the Witch Hunter, and Elithwyn Graceleaf the White Lion. Please, toss in what details of the moment you would like recorded just then. Stats and items? Tobold talks about recording your personal story, and leveling seems like a relevant time for a journal entry. You could do the same with quest completion, noting that you completed public quest A at date/time X in a group with Y along with Z other players taking part.

: Zubon

7 thoughts on “Data Geek”

  1. It would be so wonderful if every entry in the tome had a spot where we could write our own bits. Especially if other people could look at those bits. There could be some actual communal storytelling going on!

  2. I’m really not at all enthusiastic about achievements like, say, you have killed 10.000 rats. That’s not an achievement, that’s a flair pin.

    “Congratulations, you have free time”

    I’d like achievements to be more meaningful, and to have more meaningful rewards and/or characteristics attached to them. Even if there are less achievements to be had.

    Yes, the cynical in me knows that the whole idea of achievements in MMOs is essentially yet another timesink that appeals to the obsessive-compulsive gamer in us. And that exists as it is, I’m not passing judgement on it. If we must have timesinks, then so be it.

    I’d like for achievements to be more meaningful, and harder to get. Otherwise don’t call them “achievements”. With most of these you’re not “achieving” anything other than showing you have enough time to dump on an easy timesink.

    Besides, what the hell… we’ve been collectively bitching and whining, sometimes very loudly, about hating the concept of grind, however it manifests. And now that we’re given a metric ton of grind are we supposed to embrace it because we get a flair pin for our efforts?

    “No, it’s not ‘grind’. It’s an ‘achievement’. You get a title.”

    Come on now. Make them worthy or don’t call them achievements. Call them what they are, grind tracks.

  3. Something else I forgot:

    We all complain (myself included) about some of the pointless grindy faction rep grinds in WoW, but tell you what: At least sometimes you get a usable item or two out of those.

    I guess it doesn’t matter to some people that on one hand you grind for a total of 20 hours and you get an item, and on the other you grind for 20 hours and you get a title. People are free to like whatever. There will always be compulsive must have all titles possible rawr types. And that’s fine.

    But as far as getting something ‘useful’ or a ‘better, more rewarding’ system, well it’s a tossup. It’s about the same. Yes, the nature of ‘rewarding’ changes from person to person.

    We’re not revolutionizing anything. This is not new. This is not spectacular. Same grind, different smell.

  4. Julian: fair but not entirely on point. I’m fond of grind tracks for reasons I won’t get into here, but this is not about whether there is a title or a bonus at the end. I just want built-in data tools, and data collection is something you need to plan ahead of time.

    Some people will wear a 10,000 rats title as an accomplishment. Others will see that number and re-think their lives.

  5. To be fair about the ToK in WAR, it isn’t all about the grind. Some unlocks are accomplished by killing one thing (a rare or hard to find mob) and there is a lot of fun, fluff, silliness (yes, there is a “streaking” title to be had!).

    A big part of the ToK is the integration of the storyline. Each new area you come upon has a detailed back story of why you are there in the first place, and what special things may be going on in around you you should keep an eye out for. I have enjoyed reading the story behind the game I am playing – really adds to the immersion.

    Last little info-bit – there are useful tools in the ToK as well besides “achievements” and “titles”. There is a tactic slot reserved for special tactics that come from ToK unlocks – what those are, I haven’t found yet (and hopefully it isn’t a “Kill 10K rats to get a +5% damage bonus against rats”)and the fun part for me is the data collection aspect. You won’t find me grinding out mobs to increase my kill count against them, but I definitely like knowing that in my travels I have killed 237 Dark Elves.

  6. I haven’t been on point since 1994!

    But yeah, clarification: I’m dissing the grind when it passes as “achievements”, not so much the ToK itself.

  7. I like collecting data too! When I was self employed my business partner and I both ran a lot, and so we would track everything. What we ate, we’d track our heart rates and workouts. His sister who had diabetes bought a new blood sugar meter and gave us her old one and so we even tested our blood sugars and blood pressure. It was fun! :)

    Actually it was good in a way seeing my blood pressure drop over time. Actually measuring it myself and seeing it go from 130/70 to 90/50 really pushes the point home about aerobic exercise. Of course then I started playing MMOs and it all went to hell.

Comments are closed.