Links, Reviews, Roundups

Last week was a first for me with the blog. First time I’ve written a whole week of blog posts in advance and pre-scheduled them, because I was off visiting Arb (not that I didn’t have net access, we are civilised folks after all).

I’m not sure how other bloggers organise their writing but I usually note down ideas when I have them and write one up either the evening before or early in the morning. So that was my brief flirtation with being organised, I promise it won’t happen again :) And if I was a bit slower with replies then that’s why.

So Champions Online and Aion have been out for about a month now. How are people finding them?

Melf has a great Aion review up at Word of Shadow. I prefer reviews where people list both good and bad things about the game, especially when the reviewer basically liked the game, because that means they probably ‘got’ whatever it is supposed to be about and can hopefully explain it to readers. Evizaer also had a look at Aion and gave it a straight no.

Girl Unplugged posts a Champions Online review, again this is a review from someone who likes the game and can explain why.  And Syp has a solid point by point comparison between CO and City of Heroes. I do find it interesting that people who have bought a lifetime subscription are much more likely to take a longterm view of a game – ie. Oh it’s a bit rough now but it’ll be great in a year’s time. If I’d paid $200 up front, I don’t think I’d be too thrilled about having to wait a year for greatness.

And still on the superhero theme, I have a basic disagreement with Muckbeast in the comments on his post about attracting women gamers, about whether the superhero genre is more popular with women than fantasy or sci-fi. (Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Twilight … I’m just sayin’.)

Other Stuff to Read: Twelve of the Best

  1. Make Your Own Zombie Game – the zombie game experience gives you a chance to throw in $10 and participate in some game design. I’ll be curious to see what they come up with.
  2. Wolfshead explains why scaling content should be our future! Why do we have to stick to group and raid sizes that are predetermined? Couldn’t the content just scale, like it does in CoH or Diablo?
  3. tor.com is a blog that deserves a spot on any geek’s newsreader. This month is Steampunk month and they post a Steampunk 101 guide with an incredible shot at the bottom of a steampunked up laptop that has instantly become my object of desire.
  4. Jaye at Journeys with Jaye explains why his exercise bike is an MMO and the scary thing is … he isn’t entirely kidding. Edited to add: Mea Culpa and sorry Jaye for getting the gender wrong, that should read SHE.
  5. Jormundgard tries to psychoanalyse Garrosh Hellscream and explains why he’s disappointed with how that character has been developed.
  6. Andrew Doull finds Puzzlequest quite traumatic and a lot of his reactions could apply equally to any quest based game. What does it mean if we’ll go commit (virtual) genocide just because an NPC in a position of authority told us to do it?
  7. And although this may possibly be the least subtle link between links ever, I thought it was absolutely fascinating that The Anne Frank House were able to post up an actual video of Anne Frank on youtube this week. This is (obviously) from before the family went into hiding.
  8. Keen writes a sharp, well observed post asking whether MMOs are being designed for too many players these days. And what do you lose when you decide to go for the mainstream?
  9. And two thematically related posts: Tobold wonders how people like their games to be paced – if it’s all excitement all of the time then there’s never any downtime in which to socialise after all. And Andrew@Of Tooth and Claw asks how people feel about difficulty in games, and particularly about ‘cheating’ to sidestep the difficulty if it is getting in the way.
  10. Hudson splits the CO community into two parts, conceptualists who try to stay true to a character concept and minmaxers who design their character concept around whichever powers work best at the time. Which are you?
  11. Larisa wonders if it’s OK to apply to another guild while you are still guilded. After all, it’s OK to apply for new jobs while you’re still employed (at least until your employer finds out).
  12. And another tor.com link, this time to a fantastic report on a reading and Q&A session with Michael Chabon (another of my favourite ever living authors) who is a dyed in the wool geek and proud of it. I’ll end with a quote from him:

… he goes on to describe the way fandom binds people together:

“For in playing, or writing, or drawing, or simply talking oneself deep into the world of a popular artwork that invites the regard of the amateur, the fan, one is seeking above all to connect, not only with the world of the show, comic book, or film, but with the encircling, embracing metaworld of all those who love it as much as you do.”

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13 thoughts on “Links, Reviews, Roundups

  1. “I do find it interesting that people who have bought a lifetime subscription are much more likely to take a longterm view of a game – ie. Oh it’s a bit rough now but it’ll be great in a year’s time. If I’d paid $200 up front, I don’t think I’d be too thrilled about having to wait a year for greatness.”

    Can’t help but think of a post the greedy Gevlon made earlier this week: http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com/2009/10/mistakes-were-made-but-not-by-me.html
    If someone paid $200 up front, they certainly wouldn’t want to look like they blew the money on nothing, right? Now that would be embarrassing ;)

  2. Jaye at Journeys with Jaye explains why his exercise bike is an MMO and the scary thing is … he isn’t entirely kidding.

    her not his. She’s the co-host of Shut Up We’re Talking if you ever listen to that.

    • Oops, thanks for the correction. I’ve noted that now.

      I have to admit I’m not huge on podcasts, I listen to some occasionally when specific content catches my eye but … I guess it’s something I should spend more time on.

      • “should” is a strong word, no reason you should do anything you don’t want to do with regard to your leisure.

        What I like about podcasts is they are very good for filling the mind while the gameplay is minimal or if I’m doing housework or something similarly non-brainy.

        Shut Up We’re Talking is one of the better ones, as is the Van Hemlock podcast.

        Possibly as well as a high profile MMO blogger you ought to keep some ear to the ground regarding podcasts in case someone asks you to be on one.

    • They don’t wear lycra costumes though, do they? So hardly the sort of 4 colour superhero that Champions Online is all about. I think superheroes have some very specific genre convention that draws people specifically to superhero games and comics as opposed to other types of urban fantasy.

      If anything I’d put vampires in as (dark) urban fantasy and possibly include NON-COSTUMED superpowered beings in the same category.

  3. Pingback: Case Of The Mondays Cure – CCTV, Hotties, and Millionaire MUDs

    • I thought both of those were good posts tbh, the ‘no’ one is punchier but (as a reader) I get more of the thinking behind the judgement in the second post.

      My experience so far has been that the most popular posts are not always the ones I put most thought into :) I think I had one where I wrote a couple of sentences saying that I didn’t like the (lack of) clothes options in Runes of Magic, which is one of my most popular. It’s because everyone loves to link to a good feminist rant, even though that wasn’t one! (If I wrote nothing but feminist rants about games, I think I’d be able to double or triple my readership if that’s what I really wanted to do.)

      Or in other words, controversy, especially when you can support your opinions, is always good reading. With Aion, I didn’t have a lot of time to get into a new game when it came out anyway but the real deciding point for me was that although I had beta access, when it came to the second beta weekend …. I couldn’t be bothered to log in. Even though my first impressions had been solid. So I figured there was something missing or I just wasn’t in the mood, but wasn’t sure which.

  4. There are both positive and negative reviews of Aion. I think this shows the diversity of Aion in trying to appease many types of gamers in one game.

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