Tobold's Blog
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Open Sunday Thread

The curse of the open Sunday thread is that every time I have to repeat the same explanations, that this is the place for my readers to ask questions, propose subjects, or otherwise discuss without me having given the theme. I'm sure those of you who read this regularly are getting quite tired of it. But as there are new readers every week, I can't just leave this post empty and hope you all know what to do.
Lord of the Rings Online is planning to introduce major changes to the lower level content of the game (Bree and Lone Lands in particular) with a revamp of the crafting system. Considering you have a lifetime subscription to the game, are you planning on ever revisiting the world of Middle-earth again?

Just took up the game again (haven't played a day since I was in beta), and I was generally surprised how fun it is to play something with a story once in a while ;).
So, what are your thoughts about introducing diminishing returns on time investment to make MMOs more fair, Tobold? :)
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I'm mainly curious about what good gaming/geekdom blogs you regularly read.

Do you have any suggestions that readers might enjoy that we might have missed from your various posts or blogs that you think deserve a shout-out?

My iGoogle homepage is always looking for a few new RSS feeds...
Ah, I've been waiting for a chance to ask this.

What's everyone's opinion on the Dungeons and Dragons Online move to F2P?

It seems like a very nice action-RPG hack/slash dungeon crawler with a huge variation of character classes, just like you'd expect from D&D.

Wouldn't pay a monthly fee for it if it were the only MMO on the planet, but it seems they got rid of most of the bugs it had in the beginning, reworked the interfaced, added new areas and adventures/dungeons/raids and probably brought in some advanced technology from LOTRO.

Any DDO veterans with opinions?
What's everyone's opinion on the Dungeons and Dragons Online move to F2P?

I think it's brilliant. If I was only slightly interested in DDO, I'd be very excited about this.

I just don't know how people can play multiple MMOs in parallel, since I've been playing WoW (for 3 years) I haven't touched much else. If I ever played something else (Ragnarok Online, WAR) - I didn't touch WoW in this time. Not any console games either (apart from some quick SNES 2 person matches).

If the MMOs interesting to me were F2P, I could set aside a fixed day every 1-2 weeks, but no way I'd be spending 10+ EUR monthly for just a few evenings in game. And it's not that I'm greedy, got a 2nd WoW acc when I ran out of charslots on my server... It's cancelled atm though, due to lack of time.
Armagon: I think you're not alone, there was some discussion about MMO subscription pricing (here and on Wolfshead etc.) and I think the situation is the same for most people.

I wouldn't pay a fee either. Currently having fun with the F2Ps Luminary, Runes of Magic, Shards of Dalaya and DDO -- when they're free to play, it's no problem to not touch one of them for months and then jump back in for some fun.

I also think this gives you less MMO weariness. Usually after a few weeks of grinding, I just can't bring myself to play an MMO and often cancel the sub since I'm not using it anyway. Not so with F2Ps :)
I've started playing EVE Online and I have discovered a very interesting form of RMT.

The end-game of EVE (arguably) is the great war for territory in 0,0 space. This is dominated by large alliances of whom (arguably) the most successful and interesting is Goonswarm.

They are also one of the largest guilds in Darkfall.

To join Goonswarm or their Darkfall branch you have to first register on the site, which charges an initial registration fee of US$9.95.

This means effectively that to join the best alliance in Eve or DF you have to pay Richard Kyanka $10. Effectively this is player to player RMT.

It's particularly ironic in EVE that not only do the members of Goonswarm have to send Mr Kyanka money but so too do enemy spies wanting to inflitrate.

How long will it be for it becomes widespread for producer type players to charge consumer type players real money for in-game benefits?

After all one of Envidia's players is (allegedly) a Saudi Prince who subsidises the guild with real money. (Source:

Lfm Uld25, any class, $5, paypal accepted.
Armagon: "I just don't know how people can play multiple MMOs in parallel"

I'm currently playing EQ2, EQ1, Vanguard, Neo-Steam (EU open beta), and Rubies of Eventide. By which I mean I have accounts active for all of those and have logged in at least once in the last seven days. During this year I've also played WAR, Chronicles of Spellborn and Runes of Magic.

I am planning on playing FFXI for the first time soon and if DDO goes free in Europe I will play some of that. I also hope to fit in a bit of Ryzom.

Then there's the forthcoming games: I'm hoping to get into the Gatheryn beta and I have my eye on both Alganon and Linkrealms for early summer.

However, you are absolutely correct that, should any new game really grab my attention, I will play it exclusively. The last time that happened was Vanguard, which I played solidly for over 6 months from launch.

It gets rarer, though, that any game can hold my attention completely for more than a few weeks. That's a good thing, I think.
I know this doesn't benefit conversation whatsoever, BUT, am I the only one sick of hearing discussions about RMT? It's almost as overdone as the tedious Hardcore vs. Casual discussion
>>How long will it be for it becomes widespread for producer type players to charge consumer type players real money for in-game benefits?

Despite my being sick of RMT related subjects, what you have linked and proposed is nothing short of amazing and disgusting in terms of what RMT promises for the future of gaming(not just MMO's).

How can one compete, even with a decent income, against the likes of a Saudi prince throwing money around in order to have the best guild?

Also, the Goon Squad effect has been in full swing for a long time now, but I had no idea that they had crossed over into exclusivity where MMO's are concerned. Very news worthy indeed.
Does anyone but me wish that DDO would go to 4e? DND 4e is such a better system than the one that DDO is based on (3.5 I think), and it just seems to be made for a video game....
Well, a well-designed RMT system will not _let_ the saudi prince become all-powerful. Just faster.

The well-done F2Ps allow you to travel faster, suffer less death penalty, get to crafting gear faster (but you have to get your crafting skills up the usual way) etc. They will not allow you to be more powerful than another player.

What games are there (except Free Realms) where this rule is broken?
Oops, I'm posting on this Sunday thread very late, but I'm wondering what would make for a good and challenging skill-based crafting system?

Not Everquest, which simply punishes you for failing.

Not WoW, where there is no skill involved, just money and waiting for the crafting animation to finish.

Not Luminary, which is just Bejeweled over and over again, and caps the item bonus you can get, and doesn't make use of your items to boost your crafting stats.

Free Realms is as close as I've seen (I've never played SWG, though I heard that was very good.) The only additions I'd like to see are a bigger variety in crafting games, and the addition of more non-real-time elements, like collecting odd-size Tetris pieces as mob drops to fit into a crafting puzzle. Naturally, well-crafted items *must* be better than RMT items, or else they are pointless.
Changed, if you want to see the best of the best in skill-based crafting, you need to play A Tale in the Desert, and try you hand at smithing. You start with a block of metal, which you can hit with various hammers at any location, and there is a complete physics engine that shapes the metal. There is a target shape, and the closer your metal block comes to the target shape, the better your item will be.
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