Tobold's Blog
Sunday, April 04, 2010
 
Open Sunday Thread

Happy Easter! My holidays, and thus my casual Facebook gaming period, comes to an end. What would you like me to write about next week?
Comments:
Your posts on Facebook games have been very interesting. Would love some posts of the same kind on iphone/ipad/android games - how much of the same thing is it/can it become? I see several iphone games has things like "brag to your friends" options even when not running on FB.
 
Tobold,

Do you think we are coming to the end of the era where game development studios are comprised of actual gaming enthusiasts, instead of "artists on a payroll"?

I cant help but wonder if we're not close to seeing the death of the "hardcore" game developer who puts out games that are fun to play, and requires actual intellectual abilities beyond the mere "mouse-click fests" that we're seeing nowadays as repetition and questionable revenue generation schemes increasingly derive the bottom line.
 
Dear Chris

Hardcore is not synonymous with fun.
 
Dear Sine,

Try reading his post rather than jumping and screaming at the word "hardcore."
 
I'm glad you're past the facebook phase. Now back to real games please, preferably MMORPG related stuff :)
 
For two weeks I level a warrior now. He is at level 56 by now.

This is the first character I level since the introduction of the cross server dungeon group finder.

While leveling I realized a funny thing: Dungeons and BG are more accessible than questing.

That's a remarkable shift with massive consequences: I find myself not questing anymore, but leveling through dungeons and BGs alone. And I love like crazy that the items you get in BGs via honour can be used for dungeons and the other way round. God damn resilence!!!

Whatever. In my opinon Blizzard has a problem: If they make the Cataclysm leveling game (1-85) like the current one many people, if not most, will not ever see the world they created, or the thousands of quests. They won't know the lore - won't know where the dungeons are. (Already a problem when you wipe and nobody in the group knows the way from ghost to dungeon, because their whole map is blank.)

Even the items in dungeons and BGs are much better.

If Blizzard does nothing, this could be a nail in WoW casket. Therefore I am interested in your opinion.
 
The world they created should be an option, not a requirement. There is still much of Azeroth I have not seen nor will I ever want to.

You need to give people options, not force them to do things they don't want to do.

If they don't... It's their loss.

I want to hear more about crafting, and how we can make it better outside of cooldowns...
 
Chris,

The problem with your question is it based on your opinion that "games that are fun to play" are increasingly rare, being replaced by "mouse-click fests".

I'm not sure I understand the latter term (some of the best games ever made by Lucasarts involved lots of mouse clicking!) but if you've been reading Tobold's blog for a while, you'll know that he points to a number of recent fun games.

So your premise that we are seeing the end of an era in fun game development is surely false?

B
 
Chris, I got into computer gaming round about 1985. Back then, there were horrible games created purely to make a buck (shoddy licensed title mostly in those days, movie tie-ins etc.) and there were games created by actual gaming enthusiasts which required actual intellectual abilities.

As far as I can see, the only thing that has changed over the last 25 years is that the good games are even better, and the bad games are even more profitable.
 
The world they created should be an option, not a requirement. There is still much of Azeroth I have not seen nor will I ever want to.

While I strongly disagree, I know that this is Blizzards approach, so. ok.

But even if we accept that, you need to give people proper carrots in a game like WoW if you want them to explore the world. Blizzard won't want to spent thousands of manhours into creating a world only 5% of the players visit.

And actually I get into a bad mood if I level in a 'inferior way' (much worse lott), because I want to actually see the story behind the AE fest.
 
Hey Tobold,

Given your comments about Easter holiday, I'd be interested in your take on gaming and the family.

You are clearly a very committed gamer, spending most of your leisure time on this activity. Do you find it's a hobby to be publicly proud of, or in your milieu, is gaming still a nerdy, somewhat embarrassing pastime? When people ask you what you've been up to lately, do you tell them your latest accomplishments in WoW, or mumble something else? Does your family know you run this very successful blog? Do people at work know about your hobby, the same way they would if you were into skiing or gourmet cooking?

I was at the doctor's getting a physical a while back, and the doctor (a young woman) was gushing about the upcoming WoW patch. I had to think that even five years ago, such a conversation would have been unthinkable. I still think that today, most doctors would be embarrassed to admit to a serious gaming hobby.

I'd be very interested in your thoughts and experiences.
 
Tobold,

Are you more prone to write about a topic that the readers bring up time and time again, or instead about what's been on your own mind, regardless of whether the readers are interested or not?
 
Are you more prone to write about a topic that the readers bring up time and time again, or instead about what's been on your own mind, regardless of whether the readers are interested or not?

I wouldn't ask for reader suggestions if I weren't willing to write about proposed subjects. Obviously many of my posts are from my own thoughts, but I can't know in advance whether readers are interested or not. Some people were very interested in Facebook games, others not, for example. I don't think I could find a subject absolutely nobody is interested in even if I tried.
 
Chris,

I think the opposite is the case. We have more choice in games and gaming venues now than ever before, and the "quality spread" is also bigger. And "hardcore"... hardcore is just a label.

Hardcore commercial developers will become even more commercial and make games that are even better at getting us to pay ever more for their product, continually placing game "quality" far down the list of priorities.

Hardcore gamer developers will make games harder than Ninja Gaiden and longer than Europa Universalis.

Hardcore film lovers will make games with even longer cutscenes than Metal Gear and that blur the line between games and film even more than Heavy Rain.

Hardcore artists will make games that only a very tiny selection of goatee-equipped men will profess to even understand, let alone like.

Alastair McLean's books never posed a threat to the sales of Camus or Joyce. Titanic's success didn't mean that fewer people would go to see Hal Hartley's films.

I'm breaking down open doors, I'm sure. But those are my two cents.
 
@ Carson 63000

As far as I can see, the only thing that has changed over the last 25 years is that the good games are even better, and the bad games are even more profitable.

Maybe my use of the word "hardcore" is the issue here, and in this current Blogosphere climate it's bound to ruffle feathers when used. But, I cant help but feel that the bar is being set lower as indicated by recent trends with the latest direction that gaming seems to be taken. Entire genres are being redifined by the bottom line and it is having an effect on the quality of games that we are seeing enter the marketplace.

Dont get me wrong, I think it's great that more people are being brought into gaming, but there are a lot of titles out there that shouldnt, in my opinion, be considered games. The lines are being blurred beyond reason in some cases just to make a quick buck, and current games are following this trend with nerfs and the addition of things to make gameplay easier; ala more fun as a result.

I agree that hardcore isnt synonymous with fun, due to fun being such a subjective term, but it seems that making mindless games with no real direction or challenge, -are- fun to play. I take issue with that, and I think others do as well.

I dont have to like the fact that people get up in arms when someone uses the term "hardcore", and I accept that a lot of people feel that way. I just wish that there was a place for us gamers who prefer intellectual challenge, dont mind death or other setbacks, while having the ability to win and stand on a podium above our peers because of our ability to -play- a game better than someone else.

I want games to more closely mirror sports in that regard, and not relegate themselves to time wasters, click-fests or feel-good encounters where I am told I was supposed to have had "fun" because there wasnt a chance of adverse consequences.
 
Chris,

It's not available in Europe and I haven't tried it myself yet, but I think Demon's Souls may be for you.

Also, Europa Universalis 3 (that I mentioned yesterday) if strategy games are more up your alley.

If you want a MMO with millions of fellow subscribers, deeply integrated into contemporary popular culture and increasingly recognised simply as a hobby then I fear you may have to wait a while for development costs to come down or become less centralised in some way.
 
I would like to know what you think about sound and music concepts in the games you play. Are they strengthening the immersion or are they annoying? What games have the greatest sound and why? If you were making a game, what would your sound concept be like?
 
Let's talk about character imbalance in WoW PvP.
 
I'm curious to see an answer to Baldrake's comment/question.
 
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