[Links] Where are the links of yesterweek?

Liore wonders if one of the big themes in the gaming industry this year is animosity between players and developers. She picks out the Day 1 ME3 DLC and the GW2 pre-purchase in particular, but I also wonder if this increased animosity is “a thing.” Maybe it’s down to consumerism – I have seen the enemy and it is the capitalist system, etc. We could also ask “Can players and developers ever be friends?” when the object of one is to make money from the other. Maybe this is part of the appeal of Kickstarters. Zoso also writes about EA being voted worst company in America by some consumer website earlier this month.

Or is it that MMO players tend to really hate their game-of-choice’s developers? Chris@Levelcapped wonders what the real cost of making an MMO is in terms of player relationships, noting that Blizzard and Bioware have both had reputations in the past as well loved companies, before they entered the MMO field. (The history of Bioware’s relationship with consumers in particular is likely to be a case study in marketing courses well into the future. I actually really enjoy their more recent stuff, but there’s some real hatred out there.) Then again, I don’t think anyone really hates Trion.

Werit comments on one of the SWTOR story features which is that bits of your character’s story can happen unexpectedly when you thought you were just returning to your ship or zoning into the orbital station. It is actually really cool when you first see this, and realise that some of your story won’t be stuck in phased instances in the middle of nowhere. It gives things a real sense of omg this really is my story.

Milady wonders if there is anything she can do as a consumer to get the message across to developers that she really doesn’t want to play female characters who totter around in high heels and low cut tops, given that she still wants to play games like GW2 and Diablo 3. Realistically the answer is probably that there is no way unless you are willing to be very selective about the games you play   (eg. you could probably get through Skyrim without heels, Torchlight had pretty cool female characterisation, and not all MMOs use that character style.)

Zubon writes a thoughtful post about balance, discussing whether MMO fights are balanced around everyone in the group knowing the fight, and the difference between balancing for gear/dps and balancing for skill/ knowledge. My personal pet hate are fights that are balanced around using particular consumables  or resistance on gear (Final Fantasy games in the past have been dreadful for this.)

Gevlon has a theory that World of Tanks is rigged. I don’t pretend to understand the details of this since I always assumed the point of matchmaking was to be able to field reasonably matched teams, but you don’t expect your own stats to also be stealth nerfed/ buffed. He’s also thinking about what to do with all the ISK he’s making in EVE, and I think struggling a bit with the notion that there are lots of different viable goals and win conditions in decent MMOs, and there may not be a single right way to play.

Stropp wonders why you never hear about anti-PK corps in EVE.  My experience is that it’s very difficult for guilds which form to maintain the status quo/ law to keep momentum, plus there’s nothing you can really do to stop gankers coming back later or logging alts to keep griefing.

Rampant Coyote has some thoughts on crowdsourced funding and what it means for indie developers.

Should publishers be worried? Short version: Yes. Long version: Yes, and if I were them I’d be scrambling to redefine myself in the new paradigm.

Ardwulf explains things that frustrate him about Guild Wars. It’s a game I have never really been able to get into and I think he’s hit on some of the reasons why. In fact, I think I hit my head against that exact same mission in Nightfall a few times, and put the game aside. You know how sometimes you know something is a decent game but don’t feel very motivated to play it?

Kotaku report that the PS Vita is doing really badly on sales in Japan, which was probably predictable given the predominance of cheap games on mobile phones. Do you spend your cash on a specialist handheld games system or buy a smartphone and load up on cheap games?

Keen asks readers “what is your one MMO must-have?” and I’ll get in first with ‘must be able to run on my machine’ or ‘must be a price I’m willing to pay.’

Massively asks “Do kids belong in guilds?” which can be quite a sensitive topic in family friendly games. I imagine a lot of adult gamers would prefer not to hang with other people’s kids during their gaming time. Having said that, I’ve played in guilds with some smart, reponsible 15 year olds and as long as everyone is patient and sensible about things, it can work.

8 thoughts on “[Links] Where are the links of yesterweek?

  1. Thinking on it, I’m beginning to suspect that Mass Effect 3 is mostly catching flak for the sins of it’s forefathers. I mean, the ending isn’t great (No. Seriously. There is no need for anything ever to include *SPOILER*A glowing child dumping exposition on you*SPOILER* in anything. It’s just a terrible, terrible thing to do.) but it’s perhaps out of proportion with the actual issue.

    Biowares problem is that they horribly misread their market in the case of Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 is still catching some of the aminosity from that.

    Blizzard on the other hand suffers from having too many players. At any point, a siazble proportion of them is going to be unhappy and, it being the internet, they’re going to be very loud about it. And given that said minority of unhappy players are going to be more numerous than the entire player bases of most other games, it’s going to be seem like there’s rioting in the streets.

    • DA2 was certainly a very polarising game. For me, the good points outweighed the bad, but even without that I’m sure I have played worse games that didn’t engender the same level of fan hatred. I can’t remember if Bioware was in the firing lines as much pre-DA.

      • I think it was more a matter of expectations. Dragon Age was a step back from Mass Effects movement towards crappy action games (Mass Effect is a not terribly good cover based shooter) with RPG elements and towards an older school Bioware style rpg. A lot of people were annoyed that Dragon Age swung towards the Mass Effect end of the spectrum. Which they might have survived, because Hey, Mass Effect 2, except Dragon Age 2 was also a really mediocre example of the genre they were trying for. So the two effects kind of piled on each other and the overall effect was the extended rage over Mass Effect 3.

        Also, RPG fandom tends to be pretty terrible and overinvested. So that didn’t help.

    • Bioware plagiarized heavily from an old sci-fi novel called The Armageddon Inheritance. The plot twist at the end involving Catalyst happened in Mass Effect because it happened in the book and the writers at Bioware stuck to the source material far too close.

  2. I’ve often thought that the MMO industry went wrong early on with the whole listening to customers thing. In the games of my youth there was no opportunity to protest: if you complained during a chess match your opponent would simply gaze back impassively while your clock ticked down, if you complained during rugby the ref would penalise your team a further 10 yards.

    On to MMOs where if you and enough of your friends do the MMO-equivalent of “you need glasses ref, that was never offside” the refs buy themselves glasses and give you the ball back 5 yards ahead of the last defender so you can run in and score.

    In psychology there is a wealth of literature on how bad decision making becomes when someone is in a state of arousal. They use the word arousal not to mean anything sexual but to mean excited and engaged which of course is exactly the state irate “you nerfed my paladin” MMO players are in when they visit the forums.

  3. When I played WOW I had both my sons playing. They were pretty young aged 13 and 10. But they held their own. The problem with many guilds is that 20-30 year olds think using the F word every second word somehow makes then strong/smart/cool/wahtever. Not to mention the topics. Those were the big issue for me as a father.

    I amde sure they were geared correctly had the buffs/food and they knew their toons well. The problem was finding a guild that was more mature than most guilds and realized that cussing or talking about doing drugs and their sexploits (mostly in their dreams) was not the way to go.

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