Archive for November, 2012

Play, write and die – for charity

November 27, 2012 Comments off

Would you play a game with permadeath? The folks at the site Iron Man Mode is doing just that, although with a self-imposed permadeath rule in various games, including a few MMOs. And they blog about their adventures until they die.

They also have a charity fundraiser for Child’s Play, so there is a good opportunity to do Something Awesome while you have a look at their efforts.

Categories: MMO Games

Close to the end and searching for passion

November 26, 2012 3 comments

In a couple of days City of Heroes will be end as a playable game and I will not longer have that game as a fallback when the MMO space looks a bit bleak at times.

The last months now has perhaps more than before put the spotlight, for me, the importance of the MMO game company’s interaction with its customers and game community. Not only is the presence of other players important, but also the relationship with a game company and the players of their game(s). Is there a passion for a game vision, a willingness to interact with the   players, a mutual respect?

Combined with theme/settings preferences, this has resulted in a few games that I am going to look more into when City of Heroes comes to an end.

  1. The Secret World. I love the setting and what Funcom has tried to accomplish here, so I will most certainly return to TSW in about a week. Funcom is one of those MMO developers that ranks quite high on my list – they certainly mess things up from time to time, but sometimes it works out quite well. They do not try to play safe all the time, but do try new ways to do things and they do seem to be pasionate about what they do.
    I have not come very far in my progress in TSW – my most played character is still in Blue Mountains – a zone which I thought was pretty ok actually, before I took a break to focus on City of Heroes. Not sure what the state of my cabal is at this point, but will see about that later.
  2. Anarchy Online. Another Funcom game and my first MMO. This is a game that probably does not have a huge amount of paying players and only a handful of developers working on the game. But Funcom still supports it and does not just try to keep a status quo and keep it running only.
    The new game engine as well as a revamp of the new player experience is expected to go into beta early next year (yes, I know – the usual Real Soon Now, not holding my breath). Server merges for RK-1 and RK-2 is expected to happen before the end of this year.
    While the new engine is interesting to see what comes out of it, I really also hope there will be some revamp of the combat eventually – it has been to much dependency towards auto-attacks for my taste.
  3. The Repopulation. A Scifi sandbox/sandpark:ish MMO under development. The feature list is quite neat,looks pretty niced from what has been shown so far and the developers behind it seems quite nice and passionate about what they do. I was a backer in their Kickstarter campaign and I will look forward to jump into a beta some time next year. They are amining for a late 2013 release – about a year from now.
  4. City of Steam. Another City of-game, but in this case an MMO with a steampunk:ish flavour. And it is a browser-based MMO, using the Unity engine. I have picked up a key for the closed beta. The game company, Mechanist Games, seems to be quite transparent and willing to interact with the players – I get a definite positive vibe from what I have seen so far here.
    I have only played a little bit in closed beta so far. While I have not seen any any NDAs  I will probably not write much details about it yet, since there is still changes being made and things missing. But I think it looks like a charming game with potential. CLosed beta weekends will continue in the coming month and I suppose an open beta at some point early  next year.

Quote of the Day

November 24, 2012 Comments off

In general, not everyone “gets” MMO mechanics and gaming mechanics in general. But something you only really fully appreciate if you play lots of other MMOs is the fact that honestly, our devs had almost *no idea* how to keep control of the game they developed, certainly initially, and to a significant extent even past that point. Our game engine and powers systems allow us to do so much relative to what other games allow you do to in large part because the game was originally written by people who literally had no idea how to limit performance and no idea how important it was to do so. Most MMOs have combat systems in which things are extremely predictable for the benefit of the developers. Attacks have very specific, impossible to alter DPS curves that cannot be mucked with except in proscribed ways. So the players know *exactly* how much damage they can put out when they use a bunch of attacks, and more importantly the *developers* also know that, so they can actually balance the game.

The notion of the attack sequence, the attack chain, “arcanatime”, and the optimal single target output? These things simply don’t exist in other games, because players don’t have the ability to switch slotting, change the order of their attacks, and *double* their output. They don’t have the ability to superbuff recharge and spam AoE. There’s no soft-cap to reach, and even if there is in theory, no level of effort gets you anywhere near it. Most of the time, you’re fighting over tenths of a percent improvement in performance, using tools everyone knows exactly the benefit of under all conditions.

The bane and boon of City of Heroes is that the devs tossed pistols and hand grenades into a room full of chimps and then charged admission. And we loved them for it.

And amazingly, against all conventional wisdom, it actually worked.

Arcanaville, City of Heroes forums. Original forum thread here.

Categories: City of Heroes, MMO Games

The final ding

November 24, 2012 2 comments

With only about one week left until City of Heroes gets killed by NCSoft, I reached my final goal that I set up for myself in the game. When I started to play the game for real about 6.5 years I created a number of characters, although most of these first did not stick with me. However, one that remained was my Plant Control/Thons dominator – Sarek.  This was also the first character that reached level 50,  after about 14 months.

Since that time I fell in love with the Dominator archetype; it is a hybrid that packs a really nice set of variety – melee and ranged combat, excellent crowd control, debuffs, pets and the supercharged mode of domination – makes crowd control even better and gives mez protection when active. Defense kind of sucks though, which is good I think, because it gives a weak spot of the gameplay that you need to watch out for   – and thus avoid gameplay to become boring. Given that must of the strong points of the archetype is in the crowd control it also requires you to be active to get the benefit – more fun than getting the benefit from some toggle power that just keeps running.

So with my first max level character being a Dominator, I decided about a month ago that my last max level character would be a Dominator as well – and Jotunheimer was created. He is an Ice Control/Dark Assault/Ice Mastery large Dominator and has been quite fun to play. On Thursday Jotunheimer reached that final ding and became my 10th Dominator to reach max level. (22nd character in total to max level).


With this goal reached I have currently nothing left that I feel that I have to do before the end – I played through all my stories I have written again in Mission Architect, taken at least one screenshot of all characters that I have on my main account. Unfortunately I cannot log on to all my characters – when I lost VIP access I lost some access to those and could only unlock 18 of them. That is not the end of the world, although it would have been nice to give each one a run and perhaps save a screenshot of all costumes – not just the one that shows on character select screen.

The character creation has also been one of the enjoyable parts of playing the game – and not just at start, but also adding new costumes to existing characters. There has been more than once that just changing the costume actually made the character more fun to play for me – more emotional attachment to a new custome and powerset design.

Also a great point has been the travel powers. I think my favourite travel power in the end is Super Jump. Not the most convenient one, but it never fails to provide a bit of a rollercoaster-like rush jumping around with great leaps around the world.

With no more goals the rest of the last 7 days will be just hanging around and enjoy the game as long as it is around. I am so going to miss this game.

Categories: City of Heroes