Tobold's Blog
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Open Sunday Thread

In what is fast becoming a tradition, this is the open Sunday thread: The place where you can suggest topics for the next week, and already start discussing them.
I would be interested to see what people are expecting for Diablo 3, as it has been rumored a few times over the last few years as still being on Blizzards plate. The next big game coming down the pipe is Starcraft 2 and WotLK expansion, but with the successes of their Diablo series it could be interesting to see how/where Diablo 3 ends up.

What is interesting about Diablo 2, is that they had "boss raiding", loot collecting, and was a very appealing game for alt-a-holics and pvpers. And interestingly, all of these factors are what also make WoW a great game. Blizzard hs a history of taking the successful elements of certain games and bringing them out polished and shining in their new games.

So my thoughts here are:

What could Blizzard do to improve upon the Diablo series by meshing elements from other succesful games?

Some ideas I have pondered are Grand Theft Auto meats Diablo 2, Sandbox quest area's with globally changeable environments. A sorceror burns down a building/trees then the terrain stays changed. With 64 bit server architecture and impressive computer specs (server wise) you can now have much better immersion for more players at a time. Diablo 2 had portals for 8 ppl at a time in a single "instance" of the game. Now imagine say 64 players withing a instance of the game that can be coop or against eachother (gta4 elements) and make it into smaller, funner mini games (such as a zone control, hero arena, ranking system for the match (ie backstabber, best heals, coward, took the most damage). The storymode can be created in a way that is not a linear path, but be able to pick up players as a tag-along to accomplish them). The exciting thing about a game like this is the depth they can apply, make skill tree's and talents that allow very different chars alogether, give lots of fluff as far as gear customization, hiring mercenaries, having NPC's that are helpful to players that beat certain quests and NPC's that will fight against your enemies based off their "player killer" status. Creating some pvp mini games :P :P

not sure who would be doing diablo 3 - blizzard north went to do HG:L

may be they'll come back to blizzard again.

with all respect, HG:L was just wrong on quite a few different levels, on the one hand I wanted the same guys that did D2 to do D3, on the other hand, these same guys screwed up HG:L pretty badly.
Hellgate london is actually a really good game despite its reviews. I didnt like the futury/scifi theme they did, but overall it is just about how I would want diablo 3 to go playwise.

And admittedly, their first few patchs fixed a bunch of annoying crap they thought would work, but didnt.
The next two weeks will be one long discussion about Blizzard's upcoming big announcement.

D3 doesn't excite me unless the game play is vastly different than D1 or D2.
WoW is effectively D3 anyway, so I fail to see why people feel they need another RPG-esque click fest with loot collecting and socketed gems?
Ghost, or some ghost like game, seems another possibility to me (After hearing somewhere the blizzard was looking for someone with physics engine experience, or something along those lines, plus the "ghost isn't dead, just on hold" announcements last year).

New Death Knight information will always be interesting to read about, even though I won't be playing WoW anymore.

New starcraft 2 information will also be nice, just because the flow of new units, screenshots, etc. has dried up a bit since last year, though part of that may be that most game mechanics have already been thought up, so it's now down to testing and balancing.
They made WC3, and the WC3 Expansion, right afterwards came WoW. I wouldn't be surprised if SC2 is a way of testing the waters for a possible World of Starcraft.

A MMO takes a lot of resources, both in development and in maintaining, they probably want to remind people the Starcraft universe with SC2 as a way of preparing people for the mmo, and also to see how people like it after 10 years the original game was released. If SC2 flops miserably (I doubt it) they can rethink what they want to do.

I see a D3 mmo as unlikely, purely on the fact that WoW and Diablo are very similar on a lot of levels already. A D3 game will probably happen eventually anyway, but if SC2 is as successful as they hope it'll be, I expect SC to be their main focus alongside WoW.
just out of randomness I would like to bring out SWG of the shadows and get peoples thoughts, when the changes took place of the CU anf NGE, the customers on the forums were rioting, _yet SOE took no notice at all_, the subscriptions drop from apparently close to 1000000(boxes sold - I heard 400k was a more accurate subscription number) down to now 100000 with 20000 people currently active (all figures taken from

Most of them would probably still be playing that today if the changes were not that severe.

Actually I'll go out of a limb here and say I believe the game would have only have grown as younger people were introduced to the Star Wars genre via the Films.

What makes a company make such a bad decision and then when it clearly failed as everyone could see they would not admit there mistakes?

Were the subscription numbers falling that much that such a drastic change had to be made?

Do companies even listen to there forums?
[Quote]Do companies even listen to there forums?[/Quote]

Some forums are so filled with whining that it wouldn't surprise me if some people mentally blocked a lot of it out, though whether that was true for star wars galaxies I ha no idea.
anonymous said:
"And interestingly, all of these factors are what also make WoW a great game."

You already said it: WoW already has most of the things that made D2 a success. They also would have to improve D2 a fair bit to evolve it into D3. Frankly, I don't see how they could make D3 'different' enough to justify its existance.

Some forums are so filled with whining that it wouldn't surprise me if some people mentally blocked a lot of it out...

If the developers want to know what their customers think about hot button issues, they can have polls that appear during login.
Id love to be able to find the effects of the release of Age of Conan on the subscription base to WOW. Although no numbers have been released on the Wow Subscriptions recently, With the sales of Age conan hitting the 500k mark early on im guessing eventually it might have a bigger impact then some people were guessing.

Although I am currently finding AOC to be a inferior game I know allot of devoted Wow fans are prefer the more adult nature but is it to a level where they are willing to cancel there Subscriptions to wow?

Clearly in my mind a strong comeptition is important to help progress the industry futher but will these inital sales actually have an impact on Wow subscription ?
They could revive WoW by offering an offline WoW that does everything but BGs/arenas/auctions.

I would be curious to see how many and how much time players spent in their 1-70 grind "solo".

I've talked to a couple of friends playing AOC and the way they talk I think they are so desperate for something new they are trying to force themselves to like AOC. They just don't talk about it like they did wow.
How about a "studio-review" fromt ime to time? Going through the information available on a game company and reporting what's new with them, analyzing the (public available) year end statements & results?

Cryptic Studios homepage features a new countdown clock which might indicate the future of Star Trek Online? We will know more in ~41 days.

New MMO by Cryptic:
(City of Heroes lookalike with new cel-shaded gfx).
I posted this on the AoC-forum under a guy whining about lack of itemization (meaning high impact stats aka god-hammer-stuff) of the currently available gear.
Here is my reply:

"DON'T overitemize the game please!

There is no reason for it. No dungeon/encounter in this game requires better gear to be doable yet (afaik). And overitemization imbalences PVP.
And I hope this won't change;

PVE wise:
(unlike "some-other-game"tm) Content will be available to everyone without having to grind through stuff you hardly can't find a group for, to close some absurd itemization gap.
Itemization changes nothing to playerskill or game-intellingence. It is only an artificial segregation between casual and hard-core, NOT good and bad players.
"Fluff" items (with epic/unique looks but no imbalancing stats), mounts or playertitles can easily make up for the glory of beating end-game content.
Even more while getting rid of "epic-whoring" as there is no material gain for doing end-game, except for the challenge and glory
(fighting for material gain in a virtal world sounds a bit silly anyways)

That (unlike "some-other-game"tm)you won't have to balance classes around gear available (scaling etc),
but classes need only be balanced by themselves, itemization not having a more-than-noticable impact.
Make "skill>gear" come true.
PvP in a game with high itemization becomes GvG (gear vs. gear) and is NOT fun but tedious/frustrating until/less you push yourself through that frustration and grind stuff that will be obsolete "next season" and you can start all over again. I hope that's not your idea of having fun.(?)

Asking for itemization is like asking for rep-grinding, it makes no sense unless you got way too much time on your hands.

If you absolutely can't stand the idea of fighting on equal level with everyone else, go gank lowbie regions. It'l give you the same satisfaction/accomplishment without ruining game-balance of the rest of the world.
__________________ "

Any thoughts?
EvE Expansion: Empyrean Age
I think it would be cool to have a sports MMOG. You start off as a recreational player and work your way up to the pros. Raiding gets replaced with games. You can play games where you just sign up and play like battlegrounds or get a "guild" together and make a premade team. Get a contract, buy better gear, etc...
i agree with hugh jass sports MMOG would be the bomb!!!



Heavy Equipment Komatsu Teeth
Football superstars mmo is a sports mmo currently in dev
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