The Grouchy Gamer

Yeah, I'm cranky. That's kinda the point...

Month: April 2008

Further Insane Ramblings on Game Design

As has been written here, I’m playing Star Wars: Galaxies again. It’s made me think about decisions that we make as gamers and that game companies make as designers/producers. Here’s what this has brought to the forefront for me;

For Gamers:

– Fun – is king. If a game has problems (and all of them do to some degree) we are willing to overlook them as long as we are still having fun. What makes a game fun? That’s different for everyone but for me it’s having something to DO.
For example, I’m currently working on making my crafting characters able to make useful or fun items for myself and others. To do that I need a lot of resources. I know this, so I am in my active gathering mode. I know I need this or that, so I go to gather it. I’m stockpiling at the moment, so I haven’t actually progressed the target character that much, but when I next sit down to craft I’ll have what I need to knock out several levels. For me this is fun.

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I’m Still Here!

I know it’s been a while since I wrote.  Keep coming back, I’ll be picking back up here in the coming days.


SWG Deserves a Second (or Third) Look, Too

SWGTipa has an article over on West Karana about getting back into EQ, at least a bit back into it.  I’m going to say the same thing about another Red-Headed Stepchild, and that is Star Wars Galaxies.  As we all know, SOE has become the St. Jude (the patron saint of lost causes) of the MMO industry.  Their MMO assortment includes several games, most of which were either considered disappointments at launch or have become long in the tooth.  I won’t run through the gory details because, well, you all know about it already.

Star Wars Galaxies is one of those.  It shipped too early in most people’s estimation.  It was way too large a world for hand-crafted content so there was little of it to be found.  There was dynamically created content (i.e. cookie-cutter missions) and that was how you gained experience as an adventurer.  There were also 30 classes.  Well, not classes because the game was skill-based and not level-based.  The game was a great deal of fun as a sandbox but deeply flawed as a main stream MMO.

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John Smedley, I’m Counting on You

This past weekend, Tarkheena and I started playing Star Wars Galaxies again.  Yes, you read that right.  Before you get too mad at me, I know that in the past I’ve pointed at SWG as an example of everything that is wrong at SOE.  I’m not taking that back.  SOE most assuredly DID screw up with SWG.  The NGE (New Game Experience) was a horrible miscalculation, and their timing (2 days after an expansion) couldn’t have possibly been worse.  I won’t go into all the reasons why it was a bad idea here, as it’s all been hashed and rehashed before.

The thing is, now I’m having fun.

Since I now am the (slightly ashamed) owner of a Station Pass, I resolved to try it out.  Tark and I ended up getting our old accounts out and giving all our houses and stuff to the new guys. So they are slightly advantaged (we had resources, but not a ton of cash, er, credits) vs. someone starting fresh.  Let’s be honest; no one is really starting fresh.  I haven’t seen the game in a box on a shelf anywhere, so unless you happen to be using the Station Launcher and see it, you really can’t buy it.

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Sony Station Pass – The Shame

Desperate times call for desperate measures. This past weekend I actually did sign up for the Station Pass. Now, I’m not going to be spending a lot of time in Matrix online. I do own Everquest, EQ2, SWG, and Vanguard. And I played, or tried to play all of them this weekend at least a little bit. For some reason, I can’t get past the character select screen in SWG. I’ll leave it to the fine folks at SOE tech support to get that straightened out, and I’ll let you all know how that goes.

I can’t believe I have even gotten to this place. You all know I don’t love Sony, but I’m just so bored with MMO at this moment that I feel the need to have access to more than one. Since I recently canceled my WoW subscription I had that $15 in my monthly budget just burning a hole in my pocket. So I figured what the hell. The impetus behind this is really Tarkeena. She gave me one of her guilty looks and asked me “so guess what I did.” Usually that involves a surprise purchase or the introduction of a decadent dessert into the house. I didn’t smell chocolate, so it had to be a purchase. In this case, she had upgraded her account to Station Pass. So of course I immediately did the same.

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WAR to Ship Without Elves?

News continues to flow from EA Mythic about the impending release of Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. Today the most surprising news yet from the Mythic folks; Elves might not make it into the game in time for release.

If you have been following Warhammer Online, or WAR, during its development you know that the RVR combat is all based around 3 pairs of conflicts. It’s the Greenskins(Orcs) vs. Stunties (Dwarves,) Humans vs. Chaos, and High Elves vs. Dark Elves. With the release dates slipping and more still to do in game development EA Mythic had a choice to make; Release the game without the level of polish that they want, or pick 2 of the pairs and polish the daylights out of them and get the game released. Then in a few months, they can patch in the third pair and the game can continue on as scheduled.

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