In my last post I went over my general disdain with the (arguably) RP-enhancing Appearance Tab of LotRO (and possibly RIFT). I like my armor. And I like people watching to find more and better and unique combinations of armor. I like knowing what I have waiting for me in the higher tiers of the game.
In this post, I’m going to go over why an appearance tab in RIFT ultimately won’t matter to me. View full article »
I never actually played with Barbie dolls. My sisters had them, and my family would buy them and the accessories for me, but the instant I learned about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles I was all about the stuffed animals and the various kung fu action fights they could get into. I think the Velveteen Rabbit had something to do with it, as after hearing that story I was traumatized with the thought of my own stuffed rabbit being thrown away because it couldn’t help getting me sick. Ever since then, I’ve been incapable of throwing out stuffed animals, and I have this massive collection of small, adorable plushies crammed into a bag and shoved into a corner of my closet, waiting for the day that I decide to let them out again. Including that stuffed rabbit.
What does this have to do with MMOs? View full article »
There is a game released a few years back. It was intended to parody the style of games that it represented, but I actually took it seriously because it triggered the small part of my brain next to my pleasure center. That “game” was Progress Quest: a self-running program that did nothing but have various bars fill up at various speeds, with pseudo-RPG labels festooned about the stark gray menu.
Progress Quest was the epitome of how I played role-playing games. Story? Who needs it. Friends? They just slow me down. Endless rote killing broken up only by periodic trips back to town to sell off needless gear and equip myself to better slaughter hundreds of creatures in a mindless daze? Sign me up! This is the “one more” syndrome. I’ll kill one more monster. I’ll gain one more level. I’ll gather one more stack of fabric. I can, and have, and will probably continue to do this sort of zen-like, “progression-oriented” gameplay for the rest of my life, and happily.
There are whole genres of games dedicated to the “one more” mentality. Commonly, those are called “Diablo-clones,” action adventure games like the eponymous Diablo, Titan Quest, Baulder’s Gate: Dark Alliance 1 & 2, Everquest: Champions of Norrath, Sacred, Torchlight. These games have stories, but all I remember is that there was an evil something or other, and I had to take my level 1 scrub, wade through hundreds of monsters that exploded into gold and gear upon death, and punch it in the face. And by the time evil face-punching came about, I was usually wearing all sorts of awesome-looking gear with awesome-sounding names, casting awesome spells while swinging my awesome acid/bleeding dual greatswords around like a fricking Scottish Highlander on meth, and so the final boss would literally just explode from my character’s sheer awesomeness. View full article »
If you’re Blizzard with the stupendously popular World of Warcraft (WoW), network effect is your best friend and buddy. If you’re any other MMO competitor in the field, network effect (detailed brilliantly by my friend Invisible Inkie here) is a fickle mistress, as liable to toss you on the side of the road as it is to give your poor, hitchhiking butt a lift to the next hotel.
Network effect can do two things for a game: it can get new people into a game because it’s what their friends are talking about and people like playing what their friends are playing, and, much more negatively, it can keep people in a game for far long after they’ve wanted to leave, because, again, people want to play what their friends are playing.
Six years ago, I finally bought a computer capable of running games made three years prior. Half-Life 2 and Doom 3 were well out of my league, but to my delight I discovered I could run the Final Fantasy XI demo, albeit at the lowest possible graphics options. But even with all the bells and whistles thrown out, I was thrilled. A new Final Fantasy! An online multiplayer Final Fantasy! How could this not be the most incredible game ever? View full article »