Things to read over the holiday weekend

  1. John Tynes (who is an awesome designer) starts a new column at The Escapist, and there was much rejoicing. Here’s the first installment, where he solves the problem of Good vs Evil in games (ie. games like Knights of the Old Republic)
  2. The Rampant Coyote discusses why most spells in games just blow things up. Where’s the magic? Why is thinking outside the box considered an exploit? (Edited to add: Oops, link is fixed now)
  3. Andrew of Of Teeth and Claws takes some time out from WoW to check out EVE Online and posts his first impressions. Is he a WoW tourist? Well, he’s giving the game an honest chance and pointing out some fairly obvious failings in the newbie experience, how much more can anyone ask?
  4. Ixobelle has been to a Sandcastle Festival in Japan and posts some amazing¬† pictures to prove it. I have sandcastle envy …
  5. Back with the Eurogamer review, IainC ponders why bad reviews are so rare, and the relationship between the gaming press and the developers.
  6. WoWInsider has rejigged itself as wow.com, the all singing,¬† all dancing, blogging, social networking, big brother is watching you, new WoW portal. Larisa is not the only person who says, ‘thanks but no thanks.’
  7. Vectivus discusses whether addons have gotten out of hand these days, and where he hopes Blizzard in particular will go with their next MMO.
  8. Dusty@Of Course I’ll Play It is working on a new MMO and looks at why picking a fantasy genre makes things so much easier. He touches on some sacred cows too: melee is more fun, players want magic, etc.
  9. Tesh wonders about the appeal of raiding. Running the same instance every week just doesn’t sound fun.
  10. Still on the topic of raiding, Belghast has some advice for people looking to get a permanent spot in a raid group. (I’m still not sure it sounds fun when you put it like that.)
  11. James Portnow talks about the challenges (and benefits) of designing a single server MMO in Game Set Watch. Would you prefer to have everyone on the same server, if it was technically possible?
  12. And in a week where people have been talking about analysing games with more of a view to artistry, this is an awesome article in The Escapist about the actual art and visual design of games.
  13. Still on the topic of art, Art Order is the blog of Jon Schindette who is Senior Art Director for D&D at Wizards of the Coast. He posts a lot of artwork, and every Tuesday, he runs a fantasy-themed art challenge that’s well worth a look. This is a link to last week’s challenge.