[Links] Something for the weekend

As regular readers have probably noticed, the blog is in a go-slow period at the moment. This is partly because I’m crazy busy at work (but in a good way) and mostly because my MMO playing is mostly on hiatus until next month when SWTOR is released.

I have been dabbling in MUSHdom again though, so probably more on that some time. The storytelling, player empowerment, and RP support in MUSHes these days is pretty much best of breed of anything I have seen anywhere.

Anyhow, on to the links!

The big WoW debate at the moment is about the possibility of a huge change in item scaling in the next expansion – phrases like stat squishing and megadamage are being bandied around. I’m not even playing the game and I’m already feeling weary of all the potential upcoming changes. lonomonkey at Screaming Monkeys wonders if Blizzard is heading to it’s very own NGE (a reference to huge changes that Sony made to Star Wars Galaxies which destroyed the game for many people.)

I feel like Blizzard has been playing mad scientist with WoW for quite a while.

They’re also down to 10.3million subscribers, so perhaps unsurprising that they’re putting out a huge amount of information about design changes that they’re planning for the new expansion.

Blizzard also published a “day in the life of” blog about one of the WoW QA analysts, a job which sounds about as exciting to me as the time and motion consultant who filmed himself shagging his wife (safe for work) so that he could analyse his own efficiency.

Hexus posts a roundup of Skyrim reviews. I’ve been hearing good things about that game when my friends come up for air, but personally I fear that MMOs have taken the sheen out of any fun I might have with a single player sandbox. I’m sure it’s a cool game (although I never did get very far with Oblivion) but I just don’t know if I like playing on my own that much any more. So for me, this will be one to pick up in a few months time when it’s cheaper and I won’t feel guilty if I don’t stick with it.

It’s been awhile since we had debates about the roles of hybrids in MMOs. Falling Leaves and Wings wonders what role shifting will have for druids in the brave new post-Cataclysm world. But some of us have been wondering for years why druids need to tank as well as warriors when they also have THREE other roles they can fill, so I think you just have to accept that shifting made more sense back in the day and get with the (current) program. (ie. Flexibility ceased to be factored into these things awhile ago, the designers don’t balance for it. Just plan to roll a monk if you really want to hybrid it up, they’re bound to be better.)

TAGN posts on the news that EQ2 is going fully free to play. He also regrets that this will mean F2P newbies don’t all get funnelled to the same server – these games are genuinely very different experiences when the newbie zones are buzzing. It’s one of the biggest flaws of the themepark model imo that players get shunted around so much.

Pete at Dragonchasers wonders why it’s so hard sometimes to pick up a game after you’ve had a break from it. I’ve lost count of the number of games I played for a while, then got distracted, and somehow never picked up again. And some of them were good games.

Green Armadillo discusses the F2P models that various AAA MMOs use at the moment, with recommendations on how to get the best value from them.

Psychochild writes a thoughtful blog on sharing as a game design feature in MMOs, asking why some devs seem so scared of allowing players to share things with their friends.

My new favourite blog is The Warchief’s Command Board, in which Garrosh says what everyone else is thinking. Which also reminds me, why exactly do NPCs not tend to swear in MMOs that are rated for adults?

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3 thoughts on “[Links] Something for the weekend

  1. “why exactly do NPCs not tend to swear in MMOs that are rated for adults?”

    Because reading or hearing swearing makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable, even if they occasionally swear themselves?

    I know that on the odd occasion I’ve come across an NPC that swears I’ve found it quite unpleasant. Allods is quite sweary, probably due to cultural differences between the Russian originators and the very good but not entirely idiomatic English translation. I like Allods, but I’d like it more without the swearing, even as mild as it is.

    One of the very first things I do in any MMO is make sure the euphemistically-named “language filter” is On. Given that I really very strongly do not want to read other players swearing, there’s absolutely no way I would play any MMO that allowed swear words to be used by NPCs, even if it was intended to be naturalistic. Very little else in MMOs is even marginally naturalistic anyway and one of the prime reasons for playing is to go somewhere that isn’t like the world around me.

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