Cryptic Responds To Marvel

I wrote earlier about the lawsuit Marvel is bringing against Cryptic Studios. Cryptic has issued their response:

As reported by The Associated Press, Marvel Enterprises Inc. and Marvel Characters, Inc. have sued NCsoft Corporation and Cryptic Studios. The complaint is meritless. Cryptic Studios is confident that the District Court will reject all of Marvel’s claims and fully vindicate Cryptic Studios in all respects.

Do I Know You?

A computer game addict got a taste of the real world when he was reported to police Thursday for allegedly playing an online game nonstop for 438 hours and 38 minutes at an Internet cafe without paying for it. The 22-year-old man, identified only as Mr. Jin, began playing Lineage 2, a new online role-playing game, on Nov. 29 at an Internet cafe near his home in Seoul, and remained there for 18 days. While he was at the Internet cafe, he ate instant noodles that were sold there 24 hours a day or ordered Chinese noodles from an outside restaurant when he was hungry, and only slept for a short time when he was tired, while the game was still running, police said. The Internet cafe’s owner filed a complaint with police when Mr. Jin allegedly refused to pay for playing the game and for the food he ate there. He owed 452,500 won ($380). Police said Mr. Jin never set foot outside the Internet cafe and went to the bathroom as little as possible, never washing himself. “He smelled so bad it was difficult to investigate him,” said a police officer. “I wanted to play Internet games so much. I wish I could just play games without having to think of anything else,” Mr. Jin told police.

Virtual Worlds And Newbies

There was a really interesting article written by Richard A. Bartle over on Gamasutra. It is called “Soapbox: Why Virtual Worlds are Designed By Newbies – No, Really!” and I suggest you read it if you are interested in MMORPGs in any way. I hope the link works. If not, I’ll try to sum it up a little here:

If you have a Virtual World (VW) that people play, people will eventually leave. If old people leave, new people are needed to replace them if the VW is to survive. New people are needed to join at the same (or better) rate than the old people leaving. The new player is critical to the survival of the VW.

Newbies won’t play a VW that has a major feature they don’t like. Even if the old players like the feature, your VW will eventually die as the old players will leave at some point and will not be replaced by new players.

Players compare any new VW with their first one. They demand features from their first VW be added to their new VW, even if those very features were partly responsible for why they left the first VW.

Many players generally prefer a design choice that is good for them in the short term, but bad for the game in the long term. They hate design choices that are bad for them in the short term but good for the game in the long term. Make me happy now!

One of his quotes: “Virtual worlds are becoming diluted by poor design decisions that can’t be undone. We’re getting de-evolution – our future is in effect being drawn up by newbies who (being newbies) are clueless.”

He does offer some possible solutions to this problem:

1. Make a VW so different than any past experience a player may have had that they come into it with no expectations.

2. A good marketing plan or the right license may encourage old and new players to try something different.

3. Take a good look at the VWs being developed in other countries and try to include the good ideas they use. Different cultures have allowed for VW to evolve in different ways.

4. Make the VW so beautiful and amazing that people are drawn to it.

5. Sometimes just the passage of time will allow people to approach VWs in a new light.

6. As VW players mature, they may recognize the bad designs as bad designs after all. They may become more willing to accept a bad short term change in order to improve the long term health of the game.

Well, I think I have covered enough of this. I don’t want to get in trouble so go read it yourself. I think it is a great insight into how VWs have evolved and what could happen to them if it continues. I do not agree with everything he writes (for example I really hate the idea of perma-death, but his observations on instancing is pretty dead-on) but it is worth the read for sure.

Guild Wars

I was playing the free “World Preview Event” of Guild Wars last weekend. I’m not sure if this game qualifies as an MMORPG or not, but I guess it is one. The odd thing is that there is no monthly fee. I’m not sure how that is going to work out, perhaps they will sell expansion packs every few months or so instead.

Anyway, there was one feature of this game I was very happy to see. Occasionally you are given the option to do a mission/assignment/whatever that requires a group. Normally this means you have to start broadcasting for other people looking to do the same mission. However, Guild Wars has added another option. Near the mission guy, there are NPC henchmen standing around that are the same level as the level of people going into the mission. You can click on them and invite them into your group.

I made a group of me and 4 henchmen and did the mission. They have henchmen of every class so it is easy to pick what you want, or if you have a group and want a healer you can just grab an NPC healer. I was suprised by how well they did their job too.

The free weekend was with characters that start at level 15 so I cannot say for sure that they are always as helpful as this, but it sure was a great idea.

I guess I’ll have to pick this game up, if nothing else for something to do when I get tired of other games. No monthly fee makes it worth that alone. The graphics were pretty darned good as well. Certainly there was a few bugs, but nothing overly troublesome for me.

Love/Hate Relationship

MMORPG. That is a concept many of us love. We also hate it. Why?

We love the *idea* of MMORPGs. We hate the *way* they have been developed. Every last one of them is horribly flawed, and they keep making new ones to be just like the old ones (except with better graphics). Everyone is calling for a revolution, but no company is able to do it.

An MMORPG could be so much, but in the end they have all been the same. Hopefully some day we can see the potential realized.

Happy Halloween.

Popping Pills

A friend told me how much fun I would have if I just tried taking some red pills. He was right, it was fun. I had so much fun I couldn’t wait to get home and do some more red pills. Eventually, I started getting sick of the red pills and it just wasn’t as good as it used to be. So I decided to try some of this new blue pill everyone was talking about. Sure, the blue pill was a little different, and it worked pretty well in the beginning. But it didn’t take long to start feeling the same as with the reds. I then tried some purples and some oranges. Some lasted longer than others, but eventually they all ended up with me feeling the same way. Then I would remember how great the reds made me feel and I thought I would try them again. It wasn’t the same so I had to quit again.

I’m sure this new green pill coming out will be the best ever.

Horizons Tries To Lure Me Back By Offering Nothing

I got an email from David Bowman of Horizons the other day, with the intent of luring me back to give Horizons another chance. It starts out like this:

“Horizons just isn’t for me.” “This game has too many bugs.” “There must be something more to do than kill wolves.” Brilliant. Then it goes on to tell me all the changes and fixes that have taken place since the launch.

And then the offer comes…

Here is my proposal to you:
1. Resubscribe to Horizons
2. Activate any of your characters or create a new one
3. Connect with your friends and catch up on the latest news and events
4. Explore the new Istarian landscape
5. Experience the vast amount of changes and additions for yourself
6. Enjoy the game

Umm…. what? Where is my free 2 weeks or 30 days? You are offering me a chance to resubscribe and pay you for another month? Piss off, David.

Even better, I never subscribed to this hunk of shit in the first place.

Boring

Not a lot going on lately. Went to the local ren fest and had fun there. Weather was nice. Haven’t been playing any games lately, but I’m thinking about going back to Anarchy Online since my friend that left City of Heroes is now playing AO again. However, since he started on a different server than my old account, I’m not sure I feel like starting all over.

Bought a computer from my brother. It’s his old P4 3.2GHz machine. Having two decent gaming rigs will allow me to try something I’ve wanted to for a long time; get my wife to try playing an MMORPG along side of me.

She has agreed to try, but I hold little hope that she will enjoy. At least it is a start. But what MMORPG to choose for a first time player, of the female variety? She would not likely enjoy the combat, at least not in the beginning. Possibly a healer class and me a good solo class so I won’t have to depend on her all the time, thus lowering any pressure. AC2? SW:G? FFXI? hmmmmm.

Oh, I just purchased a copy of Elric: The Making Of A Sorcerer #1″. Issue #2 should be out in December. Really looking forward to reading this series.