Ramblings

I’m Not Dead Yet.

posted: May 31st, 2006


Just a link to a funny comic concerning Infinium labs, ‘makers’ of the appropriately named Phantom console.

For those who don’t read Woody’s comic on a regular basis he uses the bug-zapper a lot when companies or games are about to go belly up. It’s something of a running gag.

Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Games

What Makes WoW Work.

posted: May 31st, 2006


Mmogchart.com updated their charts a few days ago and there is a Slashdot thread about it. In the thread one of the users made a post the was a bit of flamebait but which also asked a real question, why do people who play WoW like it more than other games? Two of the responses (here and here) that I found interesting.

Just to summarize the two responses it seems to be that what these people like was the following:

  1. The ability to jump on and play. There’s large amounts that can be done without grouping or guilding. When you do need to group it is easy to find one.
  2. Shorter session. Partially related to above but also the ability to knock out a couple of quests in an hour and feel that you’ve accomplished something beyond ‘grinding’. The second poster also mentioned crafting being less complicated.
  3. Everything is very straightforward. I assume this means that quests do not just give you vague hints where to look for things but tell you that to find the missing key you need to kill the orc Throttlegrotz in the tall tower of the Western Wastes. Game mechanics are clear and class roles are well defined without a lot of overlap. You don’t seem to end up with confusion as to whether a Monk is suppose to be DPS or a Tank.
  4. The art style.
  5. More social. Part of this is just the ‘all my friends are playing WoW’ factor but part of it is also the ‘less asshats’ factor that the second poster mentioned. I don’t know if Blizzard actively works to keep people from becoming ‘asshats’ or if it is just the way it is but when you log in the community is less hostile than in other MMO’s it seems. 

Particularly interesting to me was that the first commentator said that there is more depth to WoW but you don’t feel obligated to have to dig into it if you don’t want to.

Read Comments | 2 Comments »

Games

There’s No Place Like Home.

posted: May 30th, 2006


Player housing is something that has been a lot on my mind for the past several years. I believe I first began to think about player housing back when I was playing Ultima Online. Back then the big problem with player housing was the sprawl that would cover the landscape and how to avoid it. Raising the price of houses is the quick answer to that, but as most MMO economies suffer from constant inflation you will still reach a point where everyone and their dog is going to be capable of buying a house (at least in most simple models).

Starwars Galaxies raised other interesting questions about housing.  The economy of SWG was largely in the hands of the players. Nearly all the items in game were created and sold by players, including houses. While it was possible to buy a deed for a house from an NPC merchant that was only a convenience placed in the game so that people would not have to spend hours on end standing around to sell things. The deed was still the creation of a player and the price for the deed was set by a player.  Of course the designers had at least some superficial control over the price of the houses as they set up the list of materials and tasks that had to be done to create one in the first place. By requiring more materials and more work on the part of players the costs of the houses would increase, and that worked, at least to a degree. (more…)

Read Comments | Post a Comment »

Ramblings

It’s Alive!

posted: May 29th, 2006


FrankensteinSo, after a weekend of fiddling about with CSS and PHP and learning at least the basic in’s and out’s of WordPress I think I’ve got the site up and running. I’m sure that in the up coming days and weeks I’ll be making a lot more changes as I flesh things out and I find the various gremlins that have hidden themselves in the deeper pages. I also want to get a search tool set up in the sidebar, but that won’t be really important for a while since at the moment there is one entire post to be searched. Of course a simple search form isn’t all that hard and I set up one earlier. The only difficulty was in trying to make it disappear at certain times, but I’m sure I’ll twig it out.

I’m also sure that I’ll be fiddling about a bit with the layout, trying to tweak it here and there. I don’t really like how I’ve put my email link all the way at the bottom of the sidebar but then I also didn’t like it at the top, under ‘About’. I’m also not wildly enthusiastic over the title of ‘Meta’ in the sidebar, either, but I haven’t been able to come up with something else short and pithy that seems appropriate.


Read Comments | 1 Comment »