OMG Who is this girl?

Ok ok ok. This is obviously a departure from my normal rants and raves here, but I just HAVE to ask. Do you know who this girl is? I saw her on Thursday May 11th, outside of the LA Convention Center (E3 2k6!). They were heading towards the subway.

Who is she?

Do you recognize either of the guys with her? I have GOT to find out who she is. She had the most beautiful eyes I have ever in my life seen in person, and she literally stopped me short in my tracks and made me stutter. Ask spot about it.

Yes, nerdy I know, but man, I’m telling you. This muse could inspire masterpieces. She is gorgeous. Anyway, help a fellow geek out. Ask all your friends. Have them ask their friends. Ask your guild. Send out press releases.

Use my email address here if you have any info. Thanks. May your coffers always be filled with platinum.

Nicodemus Does E3 (or “Why did I bother?”)

The Electronic Entertainment Expo: E3. This is, for most hardcore gamers, the Holy Grail. Exclusive to Industry Insiders only (inclusive of the media and press of course) you just CAN’T get in unless you have the credentials or you steal a pass. I should note, for the record, that I have great credentials, and I am a bloody professional in the industry with more than a decade of experience, and I still have a tough time getting in. I know people that have been Guest Speakers at E3, and had a tough time in subsequent years. Go figure. Anyway, I’m just setting my post up here with a little background…the real meaty stuff will come after you click on the “more” button.

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Oh Death! Where is thy sting?

Ok, I just got back from two weeks in LA, and I am headed out to Atlanta in a couple of weeks immediately followed by another LA trip. Whee. E3 here I come. Anyway, while I was hanging out in Hollywood with some friends, we started chatting about my “Designing the perfect MMO” commentary and the conversation sort of took off on a tangent and then went on a long vacation as we discussed death in MMORPGs….

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Designing the Perfect MMORPG (Pt 1)

Ok, you have a reasonable budget and a pretty decent team of programmers and artists. Everything is waiting on YOU to work all the design out.

What I want to know, is what you feel is missing from MMORPGs, or what do you think could have been designed much better in current titles. Does fishing for 36 hours straight to get to level 2 fisher really piss you off? How would you do it differently? Think all magic systems are horrible? (fireball1, fireball2, fireball3 gets old after a while doesn’t it?) How would you do things differently?

I’m not looking for story ideas here, I just want to see what everyone thinks is missing or could be done better from a gameplay and mechanics perspective. Any interesting ideas out there?

Sound off…

The Folly of Free to Play

Free to play online games sounds like such a good deal…after all, it’s free, right? “Free to play” MMORPGs aren’t actually free (yes, it is false advertising when they say “100% free”). The publishers and developers make their money primarily by generating revenues from in-game advertising, and micro-purchases of in-game items and other perks. [Yes, I know there are exceptions, but I’m talking about MMOs in general]

Games in Asia have long been based on a “pay to play” model where gamers usually buy time cards at a cyber café, gas station, or something similar, which they redeem for time in a game. These are usually hourly or daily options. So, going from “pay to play” to “free to play” seems like a logical next step. One of the reasons that the monthly subscription model hasn’t been as popular in the East is the lack of market penetration of credit cards.

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We were promised flying cars!

I’m sure you remember this commercial…Avery Brooks (AKA Captain Benjamin Sisko, Deep Space Nine) is complaining that we were promised flying cars by the next millennium, blah blah. If you enjoy reading a lot of science fiction (the older good stuff!), then by all rights we should have flying cars by now as well as a lot of other cool things. At least the PC is pretty powerful and we have the lovely Internet.

But not only are we missing the flying cars, we don’t have a kick ass Lunar base, man hasn’t set foot on Mars yet, and we certainly can’t teleport ourselves around. The virtual reality craze of the real early 90s was too soon, and fizzled out before computers and VR hardware had matured to a point to really be useful for much beyond making people motion sick and giving them eye strain.

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Ex-Blizzard Receptionist scores MMO Funding Deal!

Well, not really.

So a few guys that worked on World of Warcraft left Blizzard and started their own studio, Red 5, last summer. One was a team lead, another was an art director, and I don’t remember anything about the rest of the guys. I should say here right at the start, that I wish these guys the best and I hope they come up with some really cool stuff. The thing that gets me excited about these guys is the fact that no one knows anything about what they are working on yet. That means there is a chance, albeit however small, that they might come out with something really cool and innovative.

However what I don’t understand is why the hype around these guys is so big, and getting bigger (they announced a worldwide exclusive distribution deal with Asian MMO giant WebZen yesterday)…

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Another 2 cents (well more like 48)

Hey folks! I’m the new guy. My nick is Nicodemus and I will be posting a lot of rants, raves, complaints, ideas, opinions, analysis, theory, practice, and commentary on just about every topic remotely related to the game industry (with an emphasis on MMOs). Apparently I have talked Spot’s ear off so many times that he thinks I should shut up, write it down, and share it with the rest of the world. So, here I am!

“Who is this guy?” you are probably wondering. Well, here is a little bit about me:

I am an old school gamer…I’ve played games on the Ti-99, Atari 400 and 800, the Apple IIe and IIc, the Amiga, the Commodore 64, some weirdo computer called a Schneider (with a tape cassette to load games!), and of course the venerable consoles…Pong (yeah, I owned one) Intellivision, Colecovision, Atari 2600 and 5200, and the usual Nintendo and Sega consoles, as well as all of the recent ones you are familiar with. Oh yeah, can’t forget the Vectrex!

Continue reading Another 2 cents (well more like 48)