Thursday, September 25, 2008

Trust me, you are totally evil.

I'm not one to go all squeamish in a game. There are good guys, bad guys, and those in between. And in the end, it's just a game and, as far as I know, no orphan souls are being used to power the servers.

But, the "Evil Elves" in Warhammer Online are pretty evil. And I'm not talking about concerted evil as a crusade against the other side which is good. I'm also not talking about "take over the world" evil. I mean "the script says really really really REALLY evil, so I'm going over the top" evil. We're talking about total chaos. To the point that after I was in the second zone, I seriously wondered how these guys manage to stay together in an organized group. It's rampant chaos and random acts of violence. Does the extra step of sticking heads on pikes really help our side? Or is it just busy work? If I were an evil elf starting up the chain of command, I would think that after a while I would look around and say, "Maybe the good elves are right, I don't need every single commanding officer telling me I'm worthless and I'm a jerk. Especially after I just helped them out and saved their ass or whatever." The defection rate has got to be really high.

I spent time on a low level quest poisoning someone, then covering up the attempt, then taking credit for killing some random dude who is being blamed for the covering up of the attempt. Even the Klingons figured out it was easier to just kill people and say, "He sucked and I have some better ideas" than to try and write plots for a CSI show. Evil for the sake of evil just isn't a good system of governing.

I bring all this up because during my time playing the totally evil elves, I actually thought to myself, "this seems a little too evil for me." I know that these naughty elves, as I like to call them, are supposed to be hedonistic, selfish, jerks. And, at some level I can barely make out the semblance of some desire to reclaim their homeland. I think those can go a long way for motivation as a person playing as a dark elf.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I pre-ordered Warhammer Online. This act of signing up in advance to purchase the game entitled me to a "Preview Weekend", "Open Beta", and a "Head Start". I think there's also some trinkets in the game, but I don't care much about those gimmicks.

The "Head Start" let me get in the game a couple days before the boxes were on the shelf. This was kinda nice. I figured that since I had pre-ordered, I could wait for the box to show up, put the key into the accounting system and keep playing. I didn't realize that a day or so after the grand opening, I would find myself locked out and waiting for my retail box to show up in the mail. I guess that if I had known that in advance, I might have made some different decisions.

Overall, regardless of the quality of the game itself, the entire pre-order, beta, head start deal was a difficult to understand system. I ended up, by pre-ordered, with four keys and no real idea when and where to use them. Most of the times and dates for events to start or end were unknown and unpublished on Mythic's web site. Would it have been so hard to have a calendar with start and stop dates for these events? Or was the game being shoved out the door too fast?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Nugget of Wisdom

If there's one thing being a guild leader has taught me, it's that doing your best will be rewarded by the constant reminder that everyone else cares more than you and does less than you. So don't bother.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The WoW Killer

It wasn't Age of Conan, was it? Puzzle Pirates didn't kill it. How about Dungeons & Dragons Online? Nope. Guild Wars? Nothing is going to "kill" WoW. I hate to break it to the WAR fans, but WAR won't kill WoW. It's not a reflection on WAR at all. It's a reflection on the mediocrity of the WoW players and the "jack of all trades" game that is WoW.

WoW is not a PvE game. It's got the best PvE game inside it, but it's not just about that. It's also a pokemon game. And a PvP game. And an RvR game. And a guild building game. It's chock full of little things to keep people busy. Like my post before, there's no pure focus in WoW. It's all of those things. Little by little, new games will come out and they won't go toe to toe with WoW. They'll offer the WoW player a slice of the WoW pie that is done better and with more intensity and focus than WoW could offer. You just can't come out of the gate against WoW, offering people everything WoW can today. WoW has had a lot of time to bolt on PvP, faction grinds, mount collecting, pet collecting, etc. Trust me, all that stuff was not there from day one.

Now you are ready to take on a slice of the WoW pie. WAR is doing this, and it's a smart attempt to do something WoW can not do. WAR is all about PvP. Even if WoW spends lots of development cycles on PvP, it won't be as good as WAR. WAR just doesn't have the same PvE end-game to worry about unbalancing. But, why should someone leave WoW to play WAR? That person needs to be able to detach from WoW, and they need to like your niche. The second part is easy. Lots of people got their PvP feet wet in WoW (or DAoC), and they have a desire to play a game where PvP is done right from the first day. But can they detach from WoW? Some will. Many will not.

Flash back to Everquest 2 and Asheron's Call 2. AC2 is long gone, yet AC1 is still up and running. EQ2 is finally grown larger than EQ1. Even companies own succession games can not lure people away from their old games. People are attached to the familiar and they count their high level characters as valuable posessions they can not abandon. It can take a long time to get people to move to a new game.

I hope WAR does well. I would rather have WAR as a PvP option and WoW as a PvE option. I personally feel that PvP has done nothing but ruin WoW as a PvE game. So far, my time playing WAR has been above average and I plan to try it out.

If only I didn't need to join a damned guild. 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Purity of Gaming

It's often the case that you don't realize what you had until it's gone. I look back at my time playing Planetside as such an example.

Planetside had purity. There was no gear to farm from a boss. There were no pets or recipes to farm for. There were no quests to complete, money to get, no mounts. There was one thing to do. Capture bases. Maybe you could capture towers, or lay down defenses, or fly planes, etc. But it all was to one end. Capture bases. No one argued over what the game was about. No one ever logged in and said, "Sorry guys, I'm going to go farm gold instead of capture bases." If you didn't want to capture bases, you didn't log in. Now that's what I call purity of gaming.

World of Warcraft has none of this. If you want purity in WoW, you are going to have to build it, and enforce it. That means being a jerk to people. Who wants to log in to work on their Arena Team, only to be told that they should be farming mats for raiding or going on a raid to gear other people up? WoW isn't a game. It's like twenty games, and most of them are solo games. Many of them have requirements on how many people can participate. Impure!

Friday, September 12, 2008

You did what?

We constructed a guild specifically to play World of Warcraft in a reasonable way

That's a quote from today's Penny Arcade. I think that's the problem with World of Warcraft. Guilds are not there to help you enjoy the game, they are there as a tool to help you try and play the game reasonably.

And that is why World of Warcraft has such a socially gut-wrenching guild problem.