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Se7en Tidbits: “The Destruction of My Moral Compass” or “Warden Boner”

June 24, 2010 1 comment

Here are a few tidbits that caught my attention for one reason or another this week:

“I guess the people who wrote the other versions of this quest were napping because this one is a doozy.” Tamarind is devastated by a DK starting quest that breaks his moral compass.

“Lifetime Subscriptions only make sense if you think that people will stop subscribing before the break point. I’m not sure that is a good assumption for anyone with a decent MMO to make.” Coriel wraps up thoughts about LOTRO’s recently announced F2P model.

“The bid ninja cannot end up second, unless either FG or SG make a mistake. Such mistake can be stopping before SGBP. But the 1/3 system strongly discourage it, since if BN is second, either FG or SG is third.” Gevlon elaborates on a spin on the GDKP system, and proves beyond the shadow of a doubt he is addicted to acronyms. Get some help you goblin!

“A MASSIVE multiplayer game needs to be seen from a massive number of views, and most casual blogs also treat foolish press embargoes with the disdain that they deserve.” Spinks mirrors my thoughts on the APB review embargo.

“Without a clear path, I am more likely to fall back on old MMOs with clear, well-trodden paths.” Ravious shares his frustrations with Dragonica’s limitations.

“Thus the Warden treads precariously along the tightrope of overpoweredness, performing a delicate balancing act between survivability and damage output, a fundamental issue with tanking classes in a lot of MMOs, where too great a damage output or too high a survivability means that the developers create a class that is a nigh-unstoppable killing machine.” Melmoth subtly admits that the Warden class in LOTRO pitches a tent in his pants.

“I think by pushing variety and keeping the fun more intimate its having some of the newer members getting more acclimated and more involved in the guild than in previous expansions.” Avatar talks about the pre-expansion slump in WoW.

Categories: Se7en Tidbits

“APB VoIP Fiasco” or “Verizon in my Voice Chat”

June 24, 2010 2 comments

APB was one of the three upcoming MMOs that I was very excited about. The other two being The Secret World, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Notice I said “was”, because I am no longer interested in what Realtime Worlds has to offer. There have been several reasons for this in the last few weeks, but the icing on the cake was a recent post on APB’s forums that hinted at Premium VoIP services for the game. The premium services remove in-game voice ads.

The VoIP Fiasco

Allow me to elaborate in the shortest manner possible. APB, of All Points Bulletin, is an MMO-FPS, or more accurately, an MO-FPS since it is not all that massive in terms of number of players (200 or so per server). VoIP is in-game voice chat implemented in APB. Up until recently (and by recently, I mean four days before the damn game’s launch), no one had any clue that there will be a premium price  for VoIP because the in-game voice chat will feature audio advertisements.

/facepalm

Nope, still not interested.

Can you imagine running and gunning in the game, only to be interrupted by an alien voice suddenly asking you to check out the capabilities of the latest iPhone 4G? If such is your concern, Community Officer Toxico over at APB forums quickly explained how the system works. You can only receive audio advertisements if you are entering a new zone, and that too only if you haven’t heard any ads in the last three hours of gameplay. Whether that is three hours of in-game time or real-world time, remains unclear. Because while both scenarios will disrupt gameplay, the former is much more intrusive.

Other Concerns

This isn’t the only reason I lost interest in APB. As an FPS, APB inherently involves twitch-based, fast-paced, run-and-gun gameplay. Realtime Worlds has stated in the past that players will need servers in relative proximity to their geographical location to play the game competitively at all, and personal experience suggests that the slightest delay in overall latency can be utterly lethal.

In addition, the recent ban on reviews, which I found out about through Dragonchasers, also has me raise an eyebrow and give a quizzical look. APB is enforcing an embargo on all reviews till at least a week after launch. Their reasoning seems to make sense, in that the beta version of the game, one that everyone has tested, is not a true representation of the final product, and the final product can only be tested online post-launch. Sure beta isn’t the same as the release version, but it is pretty fucking close. Despite a seemingly earnest and logical explanation, I just derived a negative connotation from the ban: they don’t want anyone reviewing their product because they don’t believe in its commercial success themselves. If that is true, why on earth would I spend any money on the title?

Sorry APB, our courtship was fun, albeit a bit brief, but you’re too sinister and devious for my liking. Adios!

Categories: APB, Microtransactions

“Two Books Reviews” or “Micro/Macro”

June 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter [Gamer Melodico]

The first is by Kirk Hamilton over at Gamer Melodico (Italian for melodic), and it reviews the new book by self-claimed former intellectual and current video game addict, Tom Bissell. I first heard of Bissell via the same Guardian article that Hamilton quotes in this brief review of Bissell’s latest book. The book is called Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter. Hamilton says:

“There is a lonely separateness that accompanies creativity; the act of building art is often an isolating, consuming undertaking. I can certainly attest firsthand to the powerful role that video games can play in that process, and so too can Bissell. That he does so with such courageous precision inspires in me both relief and gratitude. And beyond that, it simply inspires.”

I bought this book in digital format an hour after reading Hamilton’s post.

The Guild Leader’s Handbook: Strategies and Guidance from a Battle-Scarred MMO Veteran [Too Many Annas]

The second book is one that was released in April, and I already wrote about it sometime back. The book, The Guild Leader’s Handbook: Strategies and Guidance from a Battle-Scarred MMO Veteran, is penned by Scott F. Andrews, one of the authors at the ever-popular WoW.com. The book, which may also be in line for longest-title-ever category was reviewed by one of the many Annas over at Too many Annas.

“The Guild Leader’s Handbook is a solid introduction to guild leading and a good resource for anyone (RP or not) wanting to run a guild. A new guild leader, of whatever type, would do well to read The Guild Leader’s Handbook, and could glean a lot of information from it, hopefully avoiding some of the pitfalls of new guilds. While long-term guild leaders may already have picked up on some of the information, Andrews’ breakdowns, charts, and easy to read examples still provide useful “extra experience”, and having everything in one, easy-to-reference guide is quite helpful.”

I will never buy this book. I have great respect for Andrew’s writing, and I thoroughly enjoy his posts, but given my three years experience as a hardcore, dedicated guild leader, commanding over 300 troops, is all the experience I need. I won’t be doing it again, and as such, I have no need for Andrew’s pearls of Wisdom, useful as they may be to others.

Categories: Bronte