[Links] Diablo III without PvP, ME3 Morality, Journey, LOTRO

Blizzard announced (if announced is the right word) last week that D3 will be shipping without PvP. While waiting till just before release to announce that ‘major’ game features are being dropped does smack of panic (better planning/ management would have involved making that announcement sooner), I don’t remotely see this as a bad thing.

Surely no one was planning on playing Diablo 3 because of the PvP. Were they? The whole point of that game genre is solo and group PvE. Yes, there were facilities in Diablo/ Diablo 2 to have a random punchfest but if you wanted a better PvP experience that involves loot gathering then just about any MMO would offer it. (Yes, that is a reflection on how poor Diablo PvP has been.)

So now Blizzard can get the game released sooner rather than later in a state which the VAST majority of players would have wanted, and then fix up PvP arenas later on. The great bonus though is that PvP does seem to attract the most colossal tossers (nothing personal to PvP fans, just the communities get toxic) so if any of those give D3 a pass then that’s hardly a bad thing either.

It probably will affect the auction house, though. PvP players wanting better gear for PvP without having to grind PvE for it would have been a significant market. Stabs analyses this briefly in his new D3 blog and concludes it’s not a big deal. And meanwhile, Blizzard are making the best of a non-ideal situation by being able to talk up how great the PvP will be when it does come in a later patch – arenas, achievements, matchmaking.

Meanwhile, Blizzard have a new offer for returning players to WoW which involves a free level 80 character, and also a server/ faction transfer thrown in. I have seen this touted as being a great deal, but that really depends on whether you wanted another level 80 and if you have characters scattered over servers and factions that you’d want reunited. Having said that, the Cataclysm levelling zones were quite fun if you haven’t seen them.

I think I am surprised at how popular this Scroll of Resurrection has been. Were there really that many people who hadn’t seen Cataclysm yet and really wanted to? Evidently so, or else people are using the scroll for their alt accounts (why you would need an alt account for WoW is beyond me, but whatever.)

Although let me be the first to say that the new mount that existing players who refer an old one using the SoR get looks extremely dumb when it is being ridden. Ghost fliers sound great until you realise your character will be flying around legs akimbo looking like a tit. Flaming hippogryph forever!

More links

Boatorious has issues with the ME3 morality meter. Should a hardened soldier still feel bad when s/he kills people? I would say yes, it’s basic humanity to feel bad about killing, but then I’m not Commander Shepard. Bioware’s morality choices do tend to highlight when the writer’s values conflict with the players’.

Syl blogs about Journey, the upcoming (as in ‘this week’) PS3 release from thatgamecompany. I have been jonesing to play this game since I saw it last year at conventions, so will hopefully be talking about that later this week. It was a ravishingly peaceful and beautiful demo, what can I say?

Milady watched the recent Big Bang Theory episode that features SWTOR and wants to know why female gamers are portrayed as spoiling the experience for the guys.

Turbine does seem to be dancing with the boundaries of acceptable F2P content at the moment. Player vs Developer looks at a recent feature which fixes an existing design issue … for those who are willing to pay.

If you haven’t read this yet, Apple Cider Mage posts a brave account of her experiences of being harassed in and out of WoW, and also a guide on how to deal with internet harassment.

Gevlon has unleashed himself on EVE and is posting his thoughts and tips as he learns the game. Comments on those posts by EVE vets are incredibly harsh given that he’s a new player and is picking things up quickly. (Maybe it’s his manner, but they come across as utterly despising of newbies.)

Speaking of EVE, this is a piece that The Mittani wrote comparing communities that form in game with communities that form out of game. I think I will follow this up in a later post, but it’s very much a feature of new MMOs these days that many players will be members of existing communities that met outside the game and then formed guilds to play with. It does affect the play experience, since those players have no need to form social links in game. But to more social players, forming links in game and making new friends is part of the fun of playing MMOs…

10 thoughts on “[Links] Diablo III without PvP, ME3 Morality, Journey, LOTRO

  1. > So now Blizzard can get the game released sooner rather
    > than later in a state which the VAST majority of players
    > would have wanted, and then fix up PvP arenas later on.

    We all know how successful they were the last time they released a PvE game and added PvP later.

    To me that sounds like they will add major PvE nerfs (*) later just to “balance” PvP and probably annoy the “VAST majority of players”.

    *) Nerfs to fun. PvP requires characters to be more equal then solo PvE.

  2. I’m only up to Season 4 of BBT since I’m buying it as it comes out on DVD, so I haven’t seen the episode in question. I read Milady’s piece on it and it sounded odd. Long-running sitcoms do change over time, usually becoming more self-referential and less nuanced, but for BBT to have changed that much in one season would be surprising.

    Isn’t it well-established within the show that pretty much any female (with the possible exception of Howard’s mother) is intrinsically superior in almost any way you care to name to any male? That’s how I’ve always read it. I can’t immediately think of a single incident in which a female character hasn’t emerged looking either wiser, more grounded, more empathic, better-socialized or just plain human than whichever guy or guys share the scene.

    On the reading given of the show in question it sounded to me as though Bernadette was approaching the playing of a computer game as most adults would – a silly frippery not to be taken seriously. Raj’s quoted comment looks to be emphasizing how ridiculous the men are for equating what they do in a video game with manhood.

    I think it’s long been clear that the writers of BBT do not like geeks or geek culture. Leonard, the focus of the show, is clearly a bridging character, trapped in his geekhood but yearning to be free of it. Alone of the four geeks he has sufficient empathy and self-awareness to perceive what he is missing. I would also guess that the writers, while they almost certainly must play video games occasionally (everyone does now) are absolutely not gamers and would not expect their audience to be. Getting fine details right would be lost on the majority of their viewers and if getting them (probably deliberately) wrong makes gaming nerds cringe then that wouldn’t be a problem.

    Probably should have posted this on the site that had the piece about it…

    • Eh. It’s an old sitcom plot. Just with a nerdy frame. Dude wants to do dudely thing (Bowling, Fishing, Whatever). Can’t because of Wife/Girlfriend. Shennanigans happen.

      Now, what really, really bugs me on this show is that it only works until you realise that Leonard could probably do a lot better than that blonde girl.

  3. I am also surprised about the popularity of the new Scroll of Resurrection deal. It was so popular that it took down their authentication servers. The mind, it boggles. On Twitter, I still follow a lot of really committed WoW players, who were all over this. A lot of people renewed their second accounts, moved alts to different servers, etc. For me personally, the deal falls short. I don’t want a speed 80. It’s not as if leveling takes long at all whatsoever. But I am not the WoW-playing majority anymore.

    In my US guild, a lot of guild members had multiple accounts. The main reason for this is the character limit per server. I had a second account for 3 months when Blizzard had a sale, because I really really wanted to play a Tauren paladin on my main server, but had all character slots full. I never understood why Blizzard is not selling extra character slots. The ladies on Bronzebeard in my two guilds there would beg them to take their money.

  4. @the piece about big bang theory: I’ve seen the episode, and it is very much not about girls being dumb gamers, and guys having their fun ruined. It is…. at least in my eyes, about how a non-gamer meets a group of gamers.

    And perhaps also about the loss of camaradarie. Doing something with a gang of friends, that you used to do a long time ago, and suddenly they bring their kids and husbands, and everything is weird and not as good.

    Anyway, what I thought was weird about that whole tv show, was that in season 1 or 2 they featured age of Conan, with way more in game graphics and it centered more about the game, than this did. Yet this time every gaming site, and blog writes about it, as if this is a new thing.
    Maybe it is because the show has gotten so much bigger since

  5. Hi. I am one of those people that the Scroll of Resurrection appeals to, speaking up to try and explain things.

    I played the game in college back before there were any expansions, levelling a Priest with a core group of friends. We actually played the game as a group experience, rather than a solo one, and that’s what interested me about the game.

    Around level 40, the group decided to cut ways, and solo because it would be faster. Having played primarily holy up to this point, I had to switch to shadow, and found levelling to be painful at best. The group, meanwhile, levelled effortlessly past me, and just left me behind rather than helping me catch up. Eventually, bad blood just made me quit the game entirely.

    Whenever someone’s invited me back to play the game, I’ve had three core problems with doing so.

    1) The thought of how much money I’d have to plunk down to get the expansions to the game as a cost before I could play the game further.

    2) The painful choice of either buying an (overpriced, in my opinion) server transfer to get a 40 level headstart on the levelling process, or starting a new character on my friend’s server (and spending time instead, something i don’t have as much of anymore now that I have a full time job.)

    3) The fact that either of those choices then requires me to get all the way up to at least level 80 in order to even be able to see my friends’ characters and be able to group with them for real.

    In one offer, WoW has removed all three of my complaints that kept me from wanting to play the game, and made me at least curious to try it again. I don’t think I’ll stick with WoW–RIFT interests me far more–but before these changes, I had no real desire to ever return. Now I can see trying them again, and with the right group of friends, even sticking around for a while.

  6. In regard to the blog about ME3 morality I posted this comment on his site:

    Join the army and go fight a real war. See your comment is stupid and shows you know next to nothing. In a war you must kill the enemy. But they are basically just like you with family, friends, needs, wants etc.

    You took life and had to do it. Its a tough thing to do. There is a difference in taking life because you must vs. rejoicing in the taking of life.

  7. “when the writer’s values conflict with the players’”

    I figure this will *always* be a problem. It’s just inherent in the nature of these beasties. That’s why I don’t sweat it too much, though it does make it easier to see behind the curtain and break immersion when I’m presented with choices that I’d never really consider to be options.

  8. To clarify — I don’t really have a position on whether an actual soldier, fighting an actual enemy should take joy or sorrow in killing. Real soldiers take a wide variety of attitudes about killing.

    However, Shepard is a special case. Her enemies are vile (especially so in ME3), they slaughter innocents without remorse, and for the most part do not even appear to be sentient. Killing reapers is about as morally complex as removing a malignant tumor, and I’d be shocked to hear an oncologist have moral reservations about that part of their job.

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