Posts Tagged ‘MMOs’

A Rant: Enough Of Single-Player MMOs

By Richard Cobbett on May 23rd, 2012.

Not The Elder Scrolls Online, it's Skyrim. Obviously.
According to The Elder Scrolls Online game director Matt Firor, the series’ online spin won’t be quite as social as expected. At least, not completely. “We have a whole part of the game that’s 100% solo, and that’s the main story,” he explains to an invisible interviewer in this Game Informer video. “Everything you do is solo and the world reacts to you that way.”

Isn’t it about time we just admitted this isn’t actually a good thing?

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Player Interaction Versus Story In MMOs?

By Jim Rossignol on April 7th, 2011.

An unhealthy longing for this kind of interaction.
This article by Secret World lead Ragnar Tornquist, in which he argues that there’s still room for stories that aren’t generated by player interaction, is a bit awkward. I can’t help thinking that it’s a defence against exactly the kind of criticisms I usually make of MMOs – that the effort put into their stories and quests would be better spent on providing players with the kinds of tools that they need to make their own stories. I am thinking here of the years I spent in Eve. But it made me think about the MMOs which actually put player interaction first. Other than Eve and Mortal Online I couldn’t really think of any. The Twittermind came to my rescue, suggesting Planetside – of course, with its lack of anything aside from purely player driven combat – but also Wurm Online, Neverdaunt, Love, and A Tale In The Desert. Which led me to think: What else is there? Could we make a list of MMOs where dev-developed story, fiction, and narrative content is necessarily secondary to the interaction of players? And how would be set up criteria for deciding that in borderline cases? What are the best examples of doing away with story? And what is it that generates the best stories from player interaction in MMOs? Comment peoples, open your brains.

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An Ancient Argument

By Alec Meer on June 18th, 2010.

I’ve given myself 37 minutes to write this post in. You won’t learn anything new from it.

Kieron’s covered the problems with MMO reviews in a reliably masterful way, and there really isn’t much to be said beyond it. All I can do is repeat some of what others have touched on a thousand times previous, with different words at a different time, and with my own sense of awkwardness and upset. I don’t have an answer. That doesn’t make it any less relevant.

Today’s drama has been unpleasant, both personally and in terms of feeling really awful about how the two fundamental sides of the games criticism divide – the creators and the commentators – see each other. That’s (almost) all I’m going to say on that specific matter.

What I will offer is comment on why that kind of situation can ever develop, which unavoidably becomes the eternal bete noir of how games journalists can possibly review MMOs.
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Second Skin: The MMO Documentary

By Alec Meer on August 12th, 2009.

I’ve not had the chance to watch all of this yet, because the idea of observing moving images whilst listening to dialogue seems like a frightening impossibility to me. What will they think of next? If you, however, are convinced you can embrace this ‘video’ medium, perhaps you should watch Second Skin – a 90 minute documentary about how and why people spend so much time in online worlds, and some potential repurcussions of it. Online relationships, for instance – one guy reveals that, upon finally meeting his Everquestian beau in real life, she threatened him with a knife. To counter that kind of thing, there’s the raw, racuous of joy of one couple’s wedding conducted both in the real world (“henceforth you will no longer be two, but one”) and in-game (“from this time forward, you will share the name “Soulslayerrrrrrrr”).
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Fat Loot: The 10 Most Revenuetastic MMOs

By Alec Meer on March 24th, 2009.

Being the arrogant know-it-alls that we all are, it’s rather too easy to make knee-jerk suppositions about the state of the MMO market, but recent research by Screen Digest (via the BBC, via RPS-chum Dan Gril) suggests it’s in ruder health than is sometimes supposed. Currently, the industry is growing, despite last year looking, from afar, a wee bit disastrous for anything that wasn’t Warcraft. In the US and Europe, there was a jump of some 22%. At a guess, that’s got something to do with growing broadband adoption and the increasing take-up of MMOs by formerly non-habitual gamers. Also that not enough people are bored of elves yet.

Coming out of this is also a top 10 of MMOs, and it’s a slightly surprising one.
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The Year In Graphs

By Alec Meer on December 31st, 2008.

Stats about games about stats: what finer way to ring in the new year? GamerDNA and Massively have shoved up some end-of-year research detailing the trending and state of play of the major MMOs, as documented by monitoring X-Fire. Not a perfect sample perhaps, but certainly a reputable one. More importantly, they have graphs! I love a graph, me. Well worth a nose at their detailed and engaging analysis, but some of the more interesting trends are summarised inexpertly below…
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Serve the Servants

By Kieron Gillen on November 20th, 2007.

Since I’m a crazy self-obsessive, I pay attention to the referrals which are cheerfully logged in the machinery of the good ship Rock Paper Shotgun. When I wrote ridiculously lengthily about Travian the Servitor linked to us. This caused me to work my way back through their sporadically updated archives. They’re a community manager for an un-named MMO, and the blog is an archive for assorted observations about managing a mass of humanity which has decided that – y’know – they don’t fancy being that humane anymore. For example, here’s their final point on how to file a complaint…

Don’t make threats. At least, not in the initial few rounds. If you threaten to sue or call the Better Business Bureau right out of the gate, you’re putting the company in defensive mode. At best, the person reading or listening to your complaint thinks you’re a drama queen. At worst, you’ve just gotten your case escalated not to problem solvers, but to company lawyers. If you have a problem that you want to escalate past the person you’re dealing with now, keep asking politely for supervisors. Filing BBB complaints or suing is your last resort, for when all other avenues have been explored. It is the proper place for these things to go sometimes, but it is never a place to start.

Which you may think obvious, but if it were, they wouldn’t feel the need to growl about it on a blog. The tone’s actually generally far less annoyed, however. For example, consider the notes on notes on kids on MMOS and real-life death in the world of MMOs.

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An avatar is for life, not just for Christmas

By Alec Meer on August 23rd, 2007.

This is an interesting piece of futurologist chin-strokery. Yes, it’s fairly redundant posturing about the horrendously over-exposed but under-subscribed Second Life (an abberation of a marketing tool on which there’s something of a moratorium on RPS) beyond the introductory paragraph, but that first statement – soon there will be more avatars than real people – is a fascinating concept.

” Gartner research indicates that in four years’ time 80% of internet users will have avatars – virtual replicas of themselves – working or playing online. Given the pace of internet adoption, and the fact that people often have more than one avatar, there will soon be more avatars than humans, at least in the industrialised world.”
- Victor Keegan, The Guardian

It’s people creating fake shells for themselves, idealised versions to be discarded once they’re bored, or once something with superior technology comes along. Of course it happens – there’s any number of MMOs I’ve abandoned – but the fact that it’s happening with so many people now… It’s means there’s all these digital spectres, partial identities existing only as numbers on a server. They can’t be killed, not yet, because there’s a principle - what if someday I want to go back? I can’t help but imagine a ghost world of floating orcs and wizards and space marines and large-breasted strippers and spaceships – personalities cast adrift, but left in limbo forever.

…Sorry. Bioshock’s making me all fanciful.

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For those (not) about to BioShock

By Kieron Gillen on August 22nd, 2007.

Well, there’s got to be someone out there who isn’t planning on going through Bioshock this weekend. I’m among you, actually. I’m instead going to be spending my time playing Guild Wars, as they’re having a preview weekend for their forthcoming Eye of The North Expansion.

Sexy.

While the game proper goes live on August 31st, they’re giving people who’ve pre-ordered the game 72 hours of running around and generally trying to power their way through as much content as possible from the 24th to the 26th. And, most importantly, all progress and achievements will be absolutely valid when the game goes properly on, so you’re not wasting your time. Clearly, this is an attempt to get as many pre-orders as possible, but that’s just a fine mutually reciprocal relationship. Arenanet get lovely, lovely money. You get to wander around the newbie zones on August 31st and wave your magical equipment at them braggingly.

That said, for Eye of the North, it’s worth nothing that the newbies won’t be newbies. This is the first of the Guild Wars games that is a genuine expansion – in that you need a level 20 character to access it. If you don’t… well, you should. Guild Wars is excellent, and if you haven’t already, I’d recommend you start at Nightfall. But if you don’t, there’s always that Defcon weekend. Or some other game.

Oh, we can’t escape it.

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