Future Game Development Models

This topic has been on my mind a lot recently due to 2 games now under development.

EverQuest Next Landmark (EQNL)

Star Citizen (SC)

Per my earlier post I am currently in the closed Alpha for EQNL and it has devoured my gaming time.  I get in and start building something and will spend several hours on something and decide that I just don’t like it and start over again.  Not to mention the current grind required to gather some resources to improve your tools and extra pre-made models that you can craft.

Star Citizen was a Kick Starter wonder and the company continued a similar model after completing many times over their initial funding drive.  Now every couple of Million raised by pre-selling ships and in and out of game items and features they add new expansion based content or new ships.

I mentioned this to Lissanna last night while making food and we both agreed could you Imagine what the result would have been if Blizzard had released a tool set pre-cataclysm saying we want to redo the world here are the tools and let 1K if not 100K people building their own versions of different zones and continents, then all Blizzard needed to do was pick the best from those and meld them together into 1 world?

Well that is what SOE is doing with EverQuest Next via Landmark.  It is like the Star Craft 2 tools but for an MMO and not a RTS.  I did tweet about this concept as far at the limits of Twitter will allow but the limits of what game studios could do in the long term is staggering if they could successfully harness the power of their respective fan-bases.  We know old world WoW has already been modeled in MineCraft to a limited extend.

Just a post for future thought, given current Alpha and eventual Beta stages of EQNL, I am sure I will have more posts about it in the future.

By the way if you like the looks of Landmark at all I suggest at least spending the $20-ish bucks to get into the Alpha or Beta and help refine it as well.

Posted in System Mechanics

Games I am Playing – Feb 2014

Final Fantasy XIV(14) : A Realm Reborn

I have enjoyed playing FFXIV, and I am now at a crossroad as to what I want to do in the game.  I have Arcanist (Summoner/Scholar) to level 50 but have not completed the main storyline yet as I am not sure what I want to do in the game other than I know I have no interest in raiding.  I like running dungeons but also have no interest in running Extreme or Hard Mode encounters as some of the normal encounters are hard enough IMO.

So most of the time I am leveling other classes on my “main” character or leveling the 2 alt I have on my main account while waiting for a 3rd retainer or some account wide storage to start and move resources between characters without asking for help from fellow FC members.

 

EverQuest Next Landmark (Alpha)

This game has consumed my weekends and evenings for the past week+ since the start of Alpha testing.  I am keeping most of my opinions to the game forums and arguing with troglodytes that want to make every game as long, hard and grueling a grind as possible because that is the only sense of accomplishment they seem to get in life.  While myself and others just want the damn build tools at the start since that is how the games was advertised.  The grind and progression can come through other methods and hopefully will and this is just an alpha anomaly.

Also if you are in Alpha here are 2 pictures that could be of use.

This first is where my claim is located on the Serenity Server, Isle name is in the image.  (T3 Island)

My Claim on Serenity Server

This second is of someone else’s claim on a T1 Isle that has the most advanced crafting tools available in the open near the central portal. So is a very good place to go to get tools and items without progressing your own forge first.

Useful Tool Location on Serenity Server

 

Hearthstone (Closed/Open Beta)

While I have enjoyed the game since Closed Beta, I am not really playing much of it at the moment. I am only play to complete the daily quests and I am tired of the current Meta game so have not been playing much. If I could complete any quest by taking on the AI while testing deck builds I would probably play more. If I am going to have a 70-80% loss ratio while refining a deck against other players I would rather just not play. Don’t get me wrong I think it like all Blizzard games is a good and well polished game even while in Open Beta. I also just realize that I am not the target audience to any Blizzard game anymore if I ever was.
EVE Online

Well I spun up my primary account in EVE so that it is active on the March 1st deadline.  The deadline being for all active accounts on that day, the highest skill point character name will be recorded and listed on a 10 Year anniversary monument that CCP is building to commemorate 10 Years of EVE Online.

 

Other Games

Also just to list a few of the other games I have logged into for a brief amount of time lately.
Played In the past couple of months.

  • Assassins Creed 4
  • Diablo 3
  • Neverwinter Nights
  • Guild Wars 2
  • Star Craft 2
  • A few other games off of Steam
Posted in Other Games

A History of my WoW Experience Summary into WoD

Hopefully this will be the last post on this thread for a while.  I will continue to post about WoW as an outsider as I know many people that continue to play that game.  Even when I talk about other games like EVE Online and Final Fantasy 14 : A Realm Reborn because World of Warcraft is an MMO that I played for 7+ years and where I really started to dig into MMO terminology so it is like English is to me when learning a foreign language.

Initial Thoughts on WoW:WoD

Now a few months after announcement.

New Character Models: Cool I am ok with new models they are needed for the original races and we have been asking for them for several expansions now.

Level 90 Character Upgrade: Highly needed with the level cap now 90 and soon 100 with the expansion.  When the announcement first came out I was already planning which character I would use it on from the 8-10 characters that were not already 90 that I had left at 87 or lower.

Garrisons: Cool another feature that is something similar to what players have been asking for since Vanilla, Player Housing.  It will end up being more of a mini game like the farm was in MoP but a step in the right direction and needed for expansions now.\

Journey to a Mythic Time: While I like Time travel and I don’t have a problem with it in this case as I understand how the time lines fit into the multiverse, I do think the Orcish Bro-fest that was given as our introduction to the game left a bit to be desired.  As an alliance player I was like great more horde plot.

Dungeon and Raiding Improvements and UI Improvements:  I was excited about these changes and thought they brought a lot to the game in large.

With all of these features, I thought I would be spinning up my WoW accounts again even months before the expansion to build up resources for the expansion.

The the news came in one of the further panels that not only was the leveling experience going to be similar to Mists of Pandaria, which as I mentioned previous post ended up making me hate the game, it was going to be even more restrictive and not allow flying in content while it is current, so flight would be locked until the first content patch.

FUCK THAT.

So not only were we not going to get the books of flying like in Wrath which should have been implemented in MoP but it was locked behind and “Epic” i.e. “Pain in the Ass” quest line which would only become available at level cap after the first content patch.  In very few cases in my life have I had a complete and total change of heart on a subject than I did concerning WoW and starting up my accounts again to play in Warlords of Draenor.

Warcraft Missed Opportunities

FFXIV:ARR Guild Housing, Raids and System Changes

I mention FFXIV:ARR here because I realized recently that Warcraft missed a great opportunity with Cataclysm and the remaking of Azeroth.  In Cataclysm they easily could have made the world larger and had a few instanced zones that were not accessible otherwise to accommodate player housing.

If you watch how much time is spent on Facebook games where you have your own space or other tablet simple games where you can collect items to improve your trophy room or house, I think this one feature could have prevented much of the player loss since Wrath if it had been promised and implemented during Cataclysm.

I remember Lissanna playing Lord of the Rings Online and running quests and playing for hours during holidays just to collect a furniture or cosmetic item for her house in the game. In MoP players would spend similar amounts of time doing various reputation grinds just to unlock the Dog on their farm.   So much so that it is asked that the Dog be allowed/added to Garrisons so it can travel with you.

I hate to say it but whichever executives in charge of steering WoW need to have their heads examined as to why they let this type of feature set be passed on for all these years.  There is casual and hardcore gamer gold here and it was completely written off as not worth our time.

This is not even mentioning an even more important feature that is similiar and that is Guild Housing and spaces for groups to claim as their own.  The ability to have a place of your own and build a community around it is extremely important for MMOs and social games.

FFXIV implemented their Guild Housing and eventual player housing after having a Cataclysm of their own.  The similarities between the end of FFXIV version 1.0 and FFXIV:ARR or 2.0 and WoW pre/post Cataclysm is startling in the story connections.  In simple terms both have a big dragon coming back and wrecking the world.

It was that similarity in how the world was completely reshaped that made me see some of the possibilities that WoW completely missed, which is a shame.

Brawlers Guild
Another time and feature that I was really excited about until I heard how it was implemented, let alone how to get an invite.  It should have been an instanced area so it could have been load balanced better and so that more than 1 person per CRZ could actually do the damned thing.

The Farm
In many ways this was a success, but it could have been so much more.  This of course ties into the player housing subject.  I have beat that to death so I will leave this alone as well since they are so similar.

Mists of Pandaria & Warlord of Draenor Feature Confusion

One of the things that has annoyed me most since Wrath is the inconsistent way Blizzard has dealt with 2 main functions, Flying and Catch-up.

Flying and Flying mounts were a FEATURE in Burning Crusade because that is when it was added to the game.  That is when Jewel Crafting was a FEATURE as a new Crafting Profession.

In Wrath the first expansion after the flying feature was added, they decided that they did not want to design questing with flying in mind and so just locked it out.  This is after players had already spent between 1K and 6K for it in Burning crusade and not only restrict it but put another price tag on it of 1k gold at time and 500 currently.

So now the second expansion after flying was implemented we don’t have to buy anything new and it is available in all zones right off the bat.  This was the best time to level characters as with flying implemented and xp now gained by gathering nodes it opened up mining and herbing as an alternative way to gain xp.

I actually enjoyed leveling in Cataclysm because of this, it is also why by the time MoP launched I had 13 level 85s.

MoP and WoD see my previous rant in this and earlier posts about leveling and no flying in these.

One statement I have made multiple times to Lissanna and others when complaining and talking about WoW is this, “If I don’t have a reason to play the launch of an expansion why the hell would I play it later at a future patch?”.

With how insane Item Levels have gotten and the resultant power spread an expansion is the global reset and allows most/all players to be on almost an equal footing once again.  Unfortunately it does not sound like they are going to fix this problem long term and only doing an item squish in such a way as to be a band-aid for another 2 expansions before we get back to lunacy again.  The problem is that the developers feel that they need a full 13 item levels between tiers of content.  With how War Forged and VP upgrades have worked I think a 4-8 iLevel between tiers of content at most would be acceptable.  Heroic/Mythic geared characters have no reason to be doing 4 times the dps of an entry level geared raider by the middle/end of an expansion.  If each raid tier can be completely contained in 20ish iLevels rather than the 50+ we have now the current item squish may be able to last until Titan Launches which would be a miracle.

So how did that grump about item levels related to my statement about reasons to play at launch of an expansion?  Well it really gets to the catch-up method aspect that I mentioned earlier.  The catch-up mechanism refers to how do you get fresh level cap characters into current content in a reasonable time after the launch of an expansion?  Blizzards current method is to generate a metric fuck ton of content for the launch and then be playing catch up the rest of the expansion given the speed of which some and the most vocal of players consume said content.  A much better approach I am learning while playing FFXIV:ARR is to List everything you want to do in an expansion/major content segment and then be open and honest about how each of the features are coming along.  Then when you hit a cut off point say what you are going to include in the next patch and what is not ready for release and why.   I know Blizzard got burned with this method with the Dance Studio that never released which I why they most likely don’t do it anymore but it really is a much better method.  It also allows for more timely patch and expansion releases as you can early on realize that something is going to take much more time than initially thought and can be moved to a later development cycle.  The key is to be open about the change in the cycle if it was a previously mentioned feature so that it is not a surprise when it hits the PTR, and especially if it was on the PTR and removed for said reasons.

The other big gripe I have about WoW and have for a very long time is how they screw with crafting materials and the as a result the Auction House.  I swear Blizzard is afraid of having an actual functioning AH and Player Driven market in the game most likely due to gold trading concerns which would be mostly wiped out if they would just use the solution CCP proved would mostly work years ago in EVE Online.  That would be to release an in game item that provides Account Game time and is trade-able/sell-able on the AH which is purchased by a player from Blizzard through the Blizzard Store.  Then legal “Gold Selling” could be done where Blizzard is the seller of it via a proxy item which is traded in-game.

Now what would allow for a real market to grow in the game?  It requires 2 ingredients.  The first is craft-able gear that is useful as an alternative gearing/progression path for both the crafter and others who can buy it directly or through the AH.  The second is the lack of BoP crafting materials.  The raw material must always be able to be traded and any BoP crafting material should be a product that is created by the crafter so it is not a BoP item from a world or boss drop.  Additionally the BoP item must not be restricted by a cooldown.  If there is to be a gated cooldown for server balance then it must be on an earlier intermediate crafting material that is not bound and allows for economic transactions to occur.

A final modification to really get the WoW economy and crafting going again is that no pattern can be BoP and any pattern that can be learned via discovery randomly must also be available by normal patterns somewhere else so as not to be completely at the mercy of the RNG gods.

Well I think that wraps up my WoW retrospective from my POV.  WoW was a really good game for a longtime but is no longer a good game for me.  It is a shame and I feel a little bitter about all of the time and effort and thought that I have put into it over the years.  I know it is still a good game for many out there that say they continue to enjoy the game, part of me wonders is it the game or the social group they enjoy but that is another matter.  I hope to see news about future WoW changes and features that will get me interested again but now I know it will not be WoD and what ever new would have to be meteoric in magnitude to get me to start an expansion after launch, so I will have to wait for the expansion after WoD at a minimum.  Also while if it is the expansion after WoD that I get interested in I may re-subscribe while technically WoD is the current expansion but it would only be to prepare for the expansion after it and not the current content.

 

Posted in World of Warcraft

Archives

%d bloggers like this: