A couple of years ago, a game I’ve been playing for quite a long time had some new content added. As with all new content, there was that short period afterwards where it demands all your attention and you can’t think about anything else. You lose sleep because of it, your relationships are affected to it and it takes a while to adjust to.

My long term gaming companion was far more involved with the new content than I am although I love it too but has since decided that she can’t keep up her tradeskill because of it. She is planning on learning a new one at some stage but for now, she’s devoting her time to matters in hand. I’d love to do the same because I don’t particularly enjoy my profession. It’s not difficult but it’s a total grind and I need to do it because of the heavy costs of playing the game.
Continue reading Freeplay


According to the BBC, scientists are suggesting that the outbreak of a deadly virtual disease might give an insight into the outbreak of epidemics in the real world. In particular, they are invesitgating player reactions to the “Corrupted Blood” plague that took place a couple of years ago.

Researcher Professor Nina Fefferman, from Tufts University School of Medicine, said: “Human behaviour has a big impact on disease spread. And virtual worlds offer an excellent platform for studying human behaviour. The players seemed to really feel they were at risk and took the threat of infection seriously, even though it was only a game.”

So, next time your partner/parent/child/employer asks how you can be spending so much time playing a stupid game, tell them you’re taking part in a medical experiment.

The Guild

I’ve been sitting on this for a couple of weeks (not literally, obviously. That would be difficult. And weird.) and feel it’s time to share if you haven’t already seen it.

Felicia Day is an actress with a problem. (This is already starting to sound like Jerry Springer!) Actually, she doesn’t have a problem (apart from having garnered the attention of the those miniscule minded microbes who use the power of the intertubes to criticise and ridicule others in sentences of less than one syllable) but she has released the extremely amusing first “webisode” of a (hopefully) long-running series called “Watch the Guild” in which she stars as Cyd Sherman, an all-too-true-to-life character that some of you may identify with. Go to the site, watch the video, sign up for notifications and buy stuff. It’s worth it.

Final thoughts: Felicia has since recovered from her addiction to World of Warcraft and recently managed to escape the lure of the bright lights of Blizzcon but the real question is was it a relationship worth saving or leaving behind? Until next time, please take care of yourself and each other.

Why did the chicken cross the Lone-Lands?

As jokes go, the punchline to this is going to be a huge letdown. So let’s make like an goblin raiding party and move swiftly on.

The recent news about the forthcoming “session play” was greeted with mixed feelings amongs the community, not least this one. While the introduction of player Trolls and Rangers in the Ettenmoors PvP zone was understood, there remained a big “why?” with respect to the introduction of player controlled chickens.

In an interview with GameSpy, Creative Director Cardell Kerr gives a little bit more of an insight into the thinking behind this decision, amongst other musings on the games future:

Chicken play is an experimental prototype for the eventual inclusion of other time-limited Monster-play type classes in the game’s PvE zones. “This all started because we were thinking about a monster-play style quest in which the player plays as a wounded orc trying to get back to his camp after the attack on Trestlebridge,” Kerr said. The problem, according to Kerr, was figuring out how to control the presence of evil player characters outside of the Ettenmoors in PvE zones. This is an issue the development team has been wrestling with for a long time and it’s one he admits that the team hasn’t figured out how to solve….Chicken play is the first step in figuring this out.

So there we have it. Let the discussion commence.

Delving into the black abyss

I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.

MMOs based on a literary IPs: Turbine have done it with the generally well received Lord of the Rings (Chicken Play edition ™) and Funcom are in the beta test of their game that is based on and inspired by the chronicles of a certain Conan T. Barbarian esq. by Robert E. Howard. (Nitpickers amongst you may be feeling the need to point out that he was never referred to by Howard as Conan The Barbarian. I know!) Personally, I’m looking forward to Age of Conan a lot although I’m not entirely sure when I’m actually going to have a machine capable of rendering the lands of Hyboria in all their sumptuous glory. What I’m surprised about is that there hasn’t yet been an announcement of an MMO based on the Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos.

Continue reading Delving into the black abyss

Space (I believe in)

Yesterday a BOB Titan was downed by Goonswarm and allies. It’s the first time that a fully complete and piloted Titan (the largest ship in the EVE universe) has been downed while in active service. It is a surprising twist in a saga of online and offline conflict that has embroiled CCP, the developers of EVE, in a maelstrom of metagaming machinations – allegations of developer malfeasance and bias, cover-ups and conspiracies exposed by individuals of dubious reputation and siezed upon as useful propaganda by characters with obscure and highly questionable motivations. It is an epic story that has made headlines and the destruction of this ship is just another paragraph in that story.

I don’t even play EVE – why do I care?

Continue reading Space (I believe in)

“Putting the RP back into RPG”

How better to follow on from Nicodemus than scavenging a throwaway line from post? Well, there are probably a plethora of better ways but that’s the one I’m going to use. But this isn’t going to be an examination of what little we the Un-beta’d know about how Tabula Rasa may or may not be providing players with ethical dilemmas in its quest structure nor is it going to postulate as to exactly how a being “shooter” does not necessarily exclude a game from being an RPG. That’s dull and tedious conversation and just needs exhibit A: System Shock and exhibit B: Deus Ex to make the case.

This is about the lack of RP in MMORPG.

Continue reading “Putting the RP back into RPG”

Sympathy for the Dragon

Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth of taste

Actually, that’s a lie on both counts. Good start there, Dragon, way to go! Let’s try again.

It’s not going to surprise anyone when I say that I play video games nor is it going to be a revelation of biblical proportions to learn that I love playing MMOs. What will make a few of you raise an eyebrow is wondering why Ethic (very kindly) asked such a blatant amateur to join this motley band of adventurers on their rat-hunting exploits. Personally I think he was probably drunk.

Continue reading Sympathy for the Dragon