Easy Spring

On the MMO side, I’ve been taking it pretty easy this spring. However, I’ve not been lazy on the game front. Most of my creative juices have been towards revising UNE and also creating two other system- and setting-agnostic TTRPG supplements. One supplement is aimed at quickly creating character histories or downtime stories, and the other one is a GM-emulator. They are nearing draft completion, and I’m going to have art and layout done professionally. The goal is have them up on DriveThruRPG under the pay-what-you-want model.

Guild Wars 2

The only MMO I’ve touched this year has been Guild Wars 2. I’ve slacked off big time since the feature pack. If I sign on it’s either for Tequatl (or the Wurms) or WvW hijinks. I am pretty excited about the upcoming Festival because it seems like a better way to ease back in to the game rather than start Living World Season 2 right away. I do hope that Season 2 starts pretty soon thereafter though. ArenaNet has been silent on that front, except for the mention of potato cooking times and gravy. Continue reading Easy Spring

[WS] Business Cred

I know I’m a day late, but I find that sleeping on touchier subjects usually results in a better post. When I read the news that WildStar was going to be a subscription-based MMO, I too had pursed lips. Like Syp, I pretty much expected a subscription option, but since it was hinted it would be hybrid, I was thinking more along the lines of The Secret World or Lord of the Rings Online.

WildStar’s “hybridization” isn’t really one at all. It is a subscription-based MMO with various ways to pay for the subscription, including CREDD, which is available for purchase via in-game gold. EVE Online does this with PLEX, and I’ve heard mention TERA does as well. A CREDD however costs $5 more to turn it in to a tradable month.

While I personally would have preferred a true hybrid business model, such as The Secret World’s, this decision by Carbine is not one made in default. MMORPG talked with head honcho Jeremy Gaffney (who is one of the most insightful, open devs I’ve ever met) on this very subject. Continue reading [WS] Business Cred

Rebuilding the MMO Theme Park

Ah, yes, the old MMO moniker, “theme park”. A derided term, not worn as a hardcore badge of honor, like “sandbox” MMOs. A “theme park” MMO has rides. These rides are designed by developers to give the player an experience, that will not much derivate from the ride’s rails. This is not bad game design, especially seen with the way gamers line up for the latest console rail shooter. It can be a lot of fun to quick-time event through a game.

However, the term “theme park” gained its dark stain because it was used as a crutch. Repetition turned the rides in to a necessary activity for the reward’s punch card. The rides lost their thrill as players needed a normalized X more rides to get the shiny they so desired. Rides were populated because of reward carrots, and not because they were necessarily enjoyable activities.

What did players constantly demand? More content. Some updates offered a span of new content, but for the most part the significant content heaps were left to expansions. The theme park’s content would remain stagnant until officially expanded at a press-released ribbon cutting ceremony. I felt MMO players assumed this status quo after a while.

A year or two ago, I would have told you that the future of theme parks was incorporation of sandbox elements, such as scaling events or content with some procedural randomness. I did not expect that the MMO developers would actually embrace the theme park nature, and advance it. Continue reading Rebuilding the MMO Theme Park

[WS] A Risky Path

An Epic Drop™ of information has just been launched in to space by Carbine Studios. They cover Paths for WildStar with a humorous “in-game” video, a DevSpeak, and a comprehensive web page on the subject.

Paths, simply put, are a sub-class to the character. The class, such as Warrior or Spellslinger, defines internal playstyle. A Warrior uses greatswords and is very melee based. A Spellslinger uses pistols and warps around the battlefield. Paths define external playstyle by offering specific content to a player with a defined Path. In another sense, WildStar is codifying achievements in to splats. Bartlett Explorers can now enter a niche to ensure that they’ll be doing explorer-type things. Continue reading [WS] A Risky Path

[WS] Dat Double Jump

WildStar has a column going on called “DevSpeak”. The latest clip is about movement. “Movement?” the hardened MMO veteran in you says, “what a silly thing to advertise for your game.” In a way it is silly, but like Mr. DevSpeak says “it plays a major role in every part of the game.” (I will say whoever wrote and voiced this first episode did a fantastic job of keeping it informative and snappy. Definitely looking forward to more.)

Poor movement can harm a game. Take Guild Wars for example. It doesn’t matter how great it was in some parts when gamers couldn’t get past the fact that they couldn’t jump. I admit every time I play Guild Wars it feels like there is a ceiling pressing down. I also do not care for how movement feels in The Secret World, especially when they add don’t-stand-in-the-evil-circle-of-forthcoming-evil effects that I have to dodge out of. In both of these MMOs I can look past it, but some gamers can’t. Continue reading [WS] Dat Double Jump

[WS] Opening Up on a Closed Beta

The Wildstar is now in full-on closed beta. I am not part of this lucky/unlucky group who are seeing the upcoming MMO in true beta form. Hopefully I can sneak my way in to a more open beta with a rogue email or a pre-order pass.

To be honest, I guess I kind of exhausted my thoughts on the game coming from Arkship. I just now realized in writing this post that my Wildstar feed did not seem to make my transition away from Google Reader. I have Wildstar Radio… and that’s it. Weird, I wonder what else didn’t make the jump. Seems I have a lot to catch up on. Continue reading [WS] Opening Up on a Closed Beta

[WS] Warplot Whispers

At ArkShip 2013 I talked with devs about warplots more than any other thing. I mentioned previously about making sure to sit with Jen Gordy, Carbine’s PvP Lead, who has had a lot of experience developing Warhammer Online’s RvR and Lord of the Rings Online PvP . The substance of those conversations are unfortunately under NDA.

“Well, stakes not high enough for you? Then some of you and your most bloodthirsty friends should double-down and buy a warplot. Then outfit with enough firepower to blow a hole in the space-time continuum. When your death fortress is complete, go to war against your enemies, and earn rewards so epic your head will explode like a supernova. Boom.”

(Source: What is WildStar?) Continue reading [WS] Warplot Whispers

[WS] Overview Trailer

Carbine just published their newest trailer for WildStar. The announcer ping pongs in my head back and forth between epic and annoying, but for the most part I like it. The information is light, especially to fans that have been following the game. The important part, for me, is how much of the trailer is made using in-game footage. From bosses to in-game housing, things and mechanics are shown. Oh yeah, and warplots… I need to talk about those.

There are splashes of gameplay, but unlike some other upcoming MMOs, Carbine has not been coy about how WildStar plays. There are already official videos covering that aspect.

Cutting back to brass tacks, I feel like Carbine seems on a pretty good track to launching this year. They show snippits of a lot of systems in that trailer. Obviously they still have to face the tried and true Jacobs’ Rule of MMO Betas (better link here). Hopefully they can push forward with confidence in that regard.

–Ravious

Revolution, Evolution, Variation, Recombination

Before Arkship started, I needed food. I walked until I found a restaurant we did not have back home, which happened to be Fatburger. We do have hamburgers in Michigan, but not that chain, and friends had gushed about the place. It was indeed a quality sandwich and my first time having a hamburger with relish on it. I have had hamburgers and relish before, but not together, and the combination of ingredients was unexpectedly good.

Relatively few restaurants offer anything new. They can offer something new to you, Continue reading Revolution, Evolution, Variation, Recombination