Tobold's Blog
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Open Sunday Thread

I'm not promising I answer all of them, but this is the place where you can post your questions to me, make suggestions about what I should blog, or just discuss off-topic stuff among readers.
I'd like to know just how far PvP influences your personal Eve-Experience. Do you already participate actively? Do you stay away from it but it doesn't interfer your other activities yet? Did you lose ships yet?
You made a few posts about Allods online in February. Are you still playing it? or maybe waiting the 'official release' (it's still technically in open beta) to go back onto it?
I'd like to know just how far PvP influences your personal Eve-Experience. Do you already participate actively? Do you stay away from it but it doesn't interfer your other activities yet? Did you lose ships yet?

Nothing to report yet. I only lost one ship up to now, and that was in PvE. Didn't do any active PvP yet, and stayed in high security space. I saw some of those ganker traps, yellow containers with a message asking newbies to help themselves, which then flags them for PvP, and the ganker waiting close, but didn't fall for that trick.

You made a few posts about Allods online in February. Are you still playing it?

I only played it shortly in beta, to see how it was. Nice game, but not what I was looking for, being somewhat close to World of Warcraft in general gameplay. I don't think an WoW-like game is good to combat WoW burnout. EVE is much better for that. Or as Monthy Python would say: And now for something completely different.
Monty Python, eh? Wink, wink, nudge nudge, ya know what I mean, nudge nudge say no more.
Do you think that having too many players can ruin an MMORPG (or any multi-player game in general)?
Has WoW peaked?
PvP tends to use a much larger toolset than PvE, do you think that is inevitable?
Sort of in response to Bernard, but not quite... :)

I think WoW jumped the shark when Thorim fights Loken at the Temple of Wisdom. The bit where Thorim sends some lightning in Loken's direction and Loken is bumped back a bit... In Wrath, this kind of NPC-NPC interaction is quite common, and the engine just can't handle it. You have this great voice acting and sound, and then the NPC character does the "/wow" animation or the "/cry" one, and... bye bye suspension of disbelief.

That doesn't mean that the game sucks or anything. All these quests are well done, and I'm sure they couldn't be better animated. I have played through the zones of Wrath more times than I care to think about and I'll do it again.

But having said that: I'm pretty sure if we see these "in-game" cutscenes in a couple of years' time we won't believe we could even bear it. Kinda like looking at the terminator figure from Space Quest III!
PvP tends to use a much larger toolset than PvE, do you think that is inevitable?

That's a very good one in my opinion. I remember reading the MMO Champion comments on class changes and a lot of players commented like: "What is this supposed to give me in PvE? Does it up my damage/healing/survivability ? No."
I wonder what they exspect, acutally, standing behind a boss and rotating clicks..

I'd say the way Blizzard designs PvE encounters, with a very heavy focus on non-CCable, line of sight ignoring, ae dmg doing bosses it is indeed inevitable.

It's why I like BGs (in contrast to arena). It's the only place in WoW, where levitating, water walking, invisibility, sneaking, scouting... etc are actually useful.
Have you tried any market PvP in EVE, i.e. trading?
Have you tried any market PvP in EVE, i.e. trading?

It is difficult to trade before you know what all that stuff is doing. So I'm first getting myself better acquainted with the game before I really try to trade. Of course I bought and sold some stuff, but not in any large scale.
I started playing Lord of Ultima recently. It seems like a lot of fun for the first few days, but then build times get so excessive, that you can really only "play" for maybe a half hour a day.

What formula do you think would work for a "casual" game that would allow people to play as much as they wanted, rather than restrict their play artificially?
Just wondering your opinion on MMOs, addiction and persuasion.

MMOs are games that usually require you to first buy the game, and then pay for a monthly fee (besides the F2P MMOs).

In an MMO, you might have gear with upgraded stats (WoW), or skill levels (EvE). In both games, you MUST keep paying in order to "keep up" with other people, and/or not fall behind what you could have if you played/payed (gear or stats, game money, etc).

Is this a good game model in general? I've been reading your blog for many years, so I know you've covered MMOs as a genre a lot.

But I can't remember if you've ever gone over whether you think the genre itself persuades people to become "addicted" to the game. And if so, do you think it is fair that developers know that gamers will be persuaded to keep paying to play games without a real end for "better" stats. Ultimately, everyone playing WoW, EvE, DF, etc, aren't going to come to an end, so the better stats they chase are DESIGNED to keep them paying for as long as possible.

I compare it to FPS or RTS games where you generally buy the game and then play it if and when you like, with no real loss if you choose not to play it. I.E. with RTS or FPS games you don't necessarily get anything that gives you an advantage the longer you spend playing the game (compared to MMOs where the longer you play, the more in-game advantages you accrue over other players).

Basically, do you think the MMO genre is designed to take advantage of gamers by offering them a game with infinite "progression" that is arbitrarily made...while charging them money (and yes, $15 is not expensive, this isn't about the cost itself).

I'd like to hear your opinion on it.
@n1ck: Every game where you play with others requires a form of investment to keep up.

MMORPGs tend to do so artificially by making you have to level or get gear to keep up.

FPS does so, by evolving strategies and being in form for it (try not playing for a while and see how bad your reaction time gets).

RTS evolve quickly as unit strategies develop, and skill is maintained with practice.

In the end, MMOs are no more addictive than any other game, but they function in a manner where more play equals more success, which we allow ourselves to get into.
I understand that. I played RTS and FPS for years before playing a MMO.

"Skill" can be augmented by practice, which requires playing, but is generally free, in RTS/FPS.

I can log on and play 30 hours this week, or 30 hours over the next 2 months, and it costs the same. $0.00.

I guess that is part of the question.

FPS/RTS games are free (generally) after you buy them. Any skill you gain is made at your own pace, and you aren't losing skill by not playing...just "out of practice". You play, find your skills again, and play at will.

In MMOs, "skills" are often more about the gear or gameskill, which requires that the person be paying and playing to acquire. If they don't pay and play, they don't get the skill (gear or EvE skills, for example).

In that way, while a FPS or RTS can be played as casually as you want without "falling behind", for MMOs, that isn't the case. People feel pressure to keep playing so they don't fall behind.
why do you think people have such need for elitism/discrimination/belonging to "the chosen ones" in wow? (gearscore, the sparkling horse, damage meter) Is it because of how the game is made, or because of how people are?

i haven't played any other mmorpg but i'm amazed that at the slightest chance, they will jump at someone for not being good enough from some random point of view, its like instead of looking for people to relate to, everyone looks for people to be better than (and to dissociate from).
About addiction:
There was a time duing my years at university when I woke up, started WoW and 16 hours later went to bed. (Every few days I'd do some sports.) Was I addicted?

Naturally, I thought about that quite a lot, and while my behaviour might not have been healthy, or improving my future job oportunities in a beneficial way (didn't turn out too bad :), I don't think I was addicted.

I usually compare it to this:
If every moring when you get out of bed somebody asked you if you wanted to go to the caribic, a beautiful beach, your best friends, some sailing, fishing and later at night some Martini at the bar.
Imagine all this was offered to you every single morning and it wouldn't cost a dime. (12.99€/month)

Would you be addicted if you accepted the offer too often?

Beautiful holidays aren't drugs. It's only natural to want to do fun things with good friends.

Eventually my power-playing ended. Partly because it was necessary, party because even the most beautiful beach eventually becomes boring.

Do I regret anything? I cannot know if I might earn even more money now if I hadn't played WoW. But then again, what else in life do we strife for if not fun times and the occasional revelation (great quote, Tobold :).
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