The imminent release of Diablo 3 this week is likely to be the biggest PC gaming event of the year, which has less to do with any gameplay innovations and everything to do with how slick the Battle.net interface is for helping people to play together. And nostalgia. It’s a good time to remember that one of the biggest factors that drives new game sales (based on unscientific personal observations) is word of mouth – and particularly in multi player games, this means knowing friends who plan to play and want to know if you are too. It’s worked very well for CoD and it will work for Blizzard too.
Anyway, on to the links. Let’s start with some links about Diablo 3 – you won’t stop hearing about it from now on in so may as well get cracking.
Jaded Alt explains the D3 Auction Houses and how Blizzard is taking their cut (ie. charges).
On one hand the entire AH system appears designed to be bad. On the other, I can’t imagine Blizzard leaving money on the table. This is a head scratcher for me. I really don’t know which way it will go. Either way there won’t be large quantities of transactions. $1 is a stupid price point for quantity and max listing of 10 isn’t much better.
Tobold writes some general tips on Auction House strategies in D3. Comments are entertaining because he dislikes paid for guides and discussions entail.
The Internet is full of get-rich-quick scams. And with the release of Diablo 3 next week, a lot of new scams are going to exploit player’s dreams of paying their rent by playing Diablo 3. Selling virtual items for real money sounds like a dream job. So scammers will gladly promise you the secrets of making $25 per hour, if only you buy their Diablo 3 secret gold guide for $19.95.
You could be excused for thinking that D3 was an auction house with a game attached, rather than the other way around. The AH is going to be used by such a huge number of people and I’m not aware of any UI Auctioneer-type tools to help analyse it, which means that any individual will only be able to track a fairly limited range of goods. So unlike Tobold, I could see the value for people in being in a community that wants to share information. I’m sure there will be plenty of free resources and communities around for people who want to do that. But why would you share information that is making you a profit? I think that like the RL stock market, there will be a lot of suspect ‘tips’ around. The surest bet is pick a class and sell magic find or gold find gear for it. (I may experiment with a gold finding farming set, it’s less random.)
The Secret World held an NDA-free beta weekend so there’s a fair amount of feedback from blogs around that. People are generally positive about the game, it’s a modern day urban fantasy conspiracy setting and it’s doing some quite different things, but I’m not hearing people say that they think it’s ready to launch next month. Which could be concerning, because it’s due to launch next month.
Gaming for Introverts has a really big TSW beta post.
Belghast is trying to decide whether the good parts outweigh the bad.
Personally I am looking for games more like EQ2, and less like WoW/Rift/SWTOR. So all the extra fluff this game has, really appeals to me, and I can look past some of the awkward combat and cutscenes for the time being.
And Feliz at MMO Compendium has posted a lot of TSW screenshots.
Kickstarter has been the topic of some more discussion this week. I’m thrilled that Jane Jensen has met her target, and I think the way she has been engaging with the community is pretty much a model for how this sort of thing can work. I get the sense that she’s really enjoying the process, and that’s infectious. There are 5 days left to get in on this one if you are a fan of old school adventure games (Gabriel Knight being the more famous ones she’s written, and the next game sounds to be thematically similar.) They have announced that they will also definitely make a second game this year, making the $50 tier sound like a good deal if you are REALLY into old school adventure games.
But while it’s one thing to throw some money at an established name with experience in the field who you trust (to some extent) to come up with a product, other Kickstarters are more nebulous. The Pathfinder Online Kickstarter in particular is a bit of a head scratcher – they’re asking for backers to fund their tech demo. (This game btw will never get funding to be made – I am pretty darned confident in that prediction.)
Ferrel at Epic Slant discusses his experiences with Kickstarter and has concerns about the Pathfinder one.
What this Kickstarter is really about ismarketing. Getting a tech demo developed on-the-cheap is a bonus, but the real focus is on showing publishers that there is a potential market for PathO.
Ryan Dancey compares himself in his blurb to ‘the Steve Jobs of MMO marketing’. Stopped laughing yet? The folks at rpg.net haven’t. (He’s been involved with large companies and done some good work but I’m not seeing it either.) What this says to me is that this isn’t even so much about marketing as padding out a resume with “have organised a successful kickstarter.” Having said all that, a Kickstarter should be very clear about exactly what is going to happen with any donated funds and backers are at the very least expected to read this and understand it. Caveat Emptor.
There is also an issue with their ‘stretch goals’ (ie. what they’ll spend the excess money on now that they’ve funded the $50k they originally asked for) because they’re not really assigning it to the same tech demo project at all, more to general funding:
Extra funding will allow us to bring more resources to the table faster. We may be able to accelerate our hiring plan, and begin the task of expanding the work we’re doing to create the technology demo into the alpha version of the game. And, of course, the more money we raise, the better Pathfinder Online looks to investors!
Since I play a warrior in WoW, I’m vaguely interested to read what people have to say about where they are going in the next expansion. And the word currently is … not looking good.
Malchome has been playing the beta and is disappointed in active tanking for warriors.
The Warrior, Bear, and Paladin feel like all they did was take some of the survivability that was normally there and removed it and added some buttons to press to give it back on a limited basis with massive resource requirements. Great so now we suck more by default and have to spend all our time gathering resources just to get our previous survivability back.
I’m now looking at a promising expansion in Mists of Pandaria, but wholly disappointing gameplay from my warrior. I didn’t reckon with the power of bad design and the impact it could have on such a good idea. Essentially, as far as warriors are concerned, “active mitigation” is turning into a nasty belly-flop where we’re potentially going to end up MORE passive than we are now.
We don’t think standing there doing nothing, or standing there trying to maximize DPS is going to be fun for tanks, so we want the attacks to translate into some amount of tank survivability. That’s the intent behind active mitigation in a nutshell.
Or people who want active mitigation could just go play another game with a more active combat mechanic style? For me, the best type of active mitigation in standard MMO is exemplified by interrupts. You do your tanking thing and if the boss starts casting its big attack, you interrupt it. Bingo, you take less damage because you used the right ability at the right time. THAT is active mitigation. Anything that doesn’t involve the player reacting to the environment is just a more complex rotation.
But I’d be lying if I said that hearing all these negative things about my favourite class isn’t putting me off checking out MoP.
Dragon’s Dogma is apparently going to have something in it that sounds like huge multiplayer raids.
Rohan wonders if MMO decline, as shown by reduced subs, is driven by the move towards smaller guilds and raids. I’m not sure if decline is the right word when there are probably more people playing MMOs now than ever, taking F2P into account. But I do think he’s right that smaller guilds are less stable, all it takes is one person to leave and the guild may not be able to raid any more without merging, or recruiting, and before you know it, everyone is feeling unsettled and thinking about hopping to the next game.
Black Seven talks about the details of how the guild system works in GW2.
I like Bioware, I like Star Wars, I like “the fourth pillar” of story. Somehow, though, at the end of the day it all came together into something I’m not interested in playing, or at least not interested enough to pay $15 a month to play.
TOR Wars posts some shots of hats in SWTOR – they’re not as bad as LOTRO but …. some of them get quite close. There are some bounty hunter headpieces which are just awful that I’ll try to capture sometime.
And Scary posts the best blogging advice ever.
You’re not going to like it, but if you still want to blog after this post, you NEED to blog after this post.
Yeebo describes how she uses in-game mail as post-it notes. Have there been MMOs that actually gave you some kind of a notepad for this kind of stuff?
Kadomi advertises a Pern MUSH, if you’ve ever been intrigued by the idea of MUSHes this sounds like a supportive kind of environment to check it out.
And now some more lists of links
A few people on my blogroll have been posting lists of links to posts this week. So this is a list of lists of links to posts.
- Matticus posts some WoW related links, including monk tanking information.
- Nerdy Bookahs has a new geekwatch column, this week with some links about the GW2 stress test and clips of cut scenes from Diablo and Diablo 2 if you want to catch up on the lore.
- Huntress Maruka picks out some posts from the NBI