Monthly Archives: February 2010

The Mahirim Race of Darkfall

Apparently, writing about Darkfall from a theoretical or hypothetical standpoint is quite a relaxing activity for me, as I enjoy the feeling of introspection. Therefore, I decided to go lurk in their forums and on Syncaine’s blog some more for an idea to strike me.

One of the things that resonated with me was how some people were going above and beyond the call of duty in making the game a safer place for newcomers. I mentioned the NEW guild previously, but I didn’t get to discuss the fact that they’re going to try to make the NEW guild also work for trial users. I feel this would be a great step for making the game more accessible for people trying to get a feel for the game.

Anyway, here are some things I was thinking about when it came to starting in Darkfall. I’ll probably post this on the open forum in DF as well, but I want to at least keep a record of what hesitations and fears I have upon entering Agon, as well as how these are being remedied or how I wish they might be remedied.

1. I am afraid that Agon will be a harsh, unforgiving environment, filled with player killers and a decided lack of morals. – While this is probably true to some extent, the community is stepping up to the challenge this image brings, not only by offering people starter kits and advice, but also by fighting the known griefers who want to make life hell for the trial players.  According to Inside Agon, the NEW guild city was even attacked once by some rather malicious folk, and people rose to the occasion, not only by fighting back, but also by teaming up to repair the tower the sieging enemy broke in the fracas. There is also New Player Protection, which exists for 24 hours, if I’m not mistaken.

2. I am a quester by nature, and I am afraid of a decided lack of intriguing quests to undertake.- I’ve got nothing here.

3. I am hesitant to subscribe to Darkfall not only due to the possible lack of a questline to enjoy, but also the inconvenience that is normally associated with grinding skills to become a viable PVPer. – Soloing may take a while to do, but I hear that finding a group to support you may be worthwhile, if you can make enough connections before you start the trial. Then again, a dedicated trial forum for finding groups to join or newbie-friendly clans may alleviate this problem somewhat, if it were implemented.

4. I do not know where to go, both literally and figuratively. – Now for me, this seems like a complaint that some people might gloss over. Maps do exist for the game, and this game isn’t supposed to be played in a themepark style. The thing is, some people don’t even know the difference between a Theme Park MMO and a Sandbox MMO, much less read the forums.

At the very least, there should be some kind of in-depth downloadable primer (beyond the FAQ, which is actually quite good) on the website AND the forums to inform people that Darkfall isn’t aiming to be played like other, more well-known MMORPG’s in the market, and should probably include links to the well-known mapmaker sites and info sites (this is an idea I picked up from EQ2′s website). In other words, I feel Aventurine should take some time to better integrate its information with the community that supports the game, so that the information can be more easily accessed by less savvy newcomers.

I don’t really have any other or concerns at the moment other than the four above. Some of them are being addressed, while others are not, but I suppose it’s the prerogative of the devteam to go and take care of their playerbase in their own way.


Category: Darkfall, MMOs, opinion

I had a thought experiment after writing my previous Darkfall post, and decided to go search for more information about Darkfall, as well as reflect upon the matter more. In my haste to write about my fears, I realized that I neglected to fully think about the reasoning behind putting a mild price barrier to the game.

Previously, I had noted a fear that the possibility of paying for a trial might become commonplace if people saw that it could be done to great success. There are some possible counterpoints to this idea.

One would be that most MMO companies already have a strong, established fan base that would hurt them in the court of public opinion at the idea of paying for a trial.

The other counterpoint I had to this was what I call the “obligatory Allods reference,” in which I casually mention a free-t0-play game that costs more to play if you were to buy something there for general use than for paying for a trial to Darkfall.

Another thing to note would be that free or paid trials for certain types of games would have vastly different effects on the game world depending on the economy the game world uses. Agon uses gold, a lot of it, and a game like this may require some amount of grinding to get the resources you need. The price barrier keeps all but the most dedicated exploiters and gold farmers from making the leap to Darkfall and spamming or harvesting their way to success.  Not only that, but the credit card check, while a bit annoying personally, makes it so that they have a record of who is making the purchase and can find potential exploiters or gold spammers accordingly.

As Fat Sun of the Darkfall forums explained to me,

It would be very easy to ‘exploit’ the trial system if it did not cost a dollar or have some kind of protection. Gathering skills up very quick, so in a matter of hours, you could have a pretty good miner or lumberjack. People could just make a bunch of trial accounts and get a ton of lumber/iron fast. They could also just make an army of low-levels to zerg hamlets or whatnot. A lot of things could make the system go awry if it was free and easy.

My last point with regard to Darkfall’s trial pricing is that it isn’t actually too restrictive in the general sense. A dollar for seven days of game time isn’t too bad when I compare it to a few years back, when a game didn’t come out with free trials to begin with. Now that trials seem commonplace, we kind of forget that they simply ways to entice us into the game, and there are different ways to entice people to try a game out.

To that end, I will say that their new player community is quite mature, and very helpful. In addition to links to helpful videos and overall advice, they mentioned that some of the clans in the game have actually banded together to create NEW, a neutral guild for newbie players to try the game out with helpful folk and like-minded players. The game might have open PVP, sure, but it takes civilized folk to make a haven in a sea of chaos, and that’s something that Darkfall tells me will entice new players coming in for a trial. Heck, the fact that I’m writing about a game I haven’t even begun to play, based solely on introspection and a few hours on their forums is already a sign that something is different in the way I view Darkfall.

Whether Darkfall ends up being the game for me or not will be a discussion for another day. For now at least, these ruminations on Darkfall’s trial pricing have left me open to the game and to the world of Agon, and that can’t be a bad thing, can it?


Category: Darkfall, opinion

Darkfall for a Dollar

Aventurine announced earlier today that its MMORPG Darkfall would be allowing for the creation of trial accounts to commemorate their first year of business on Agon. It’s not an free trial, however, as folks are asked to pay one dollar (or Euro depending on the server they wish to access) for seven days worth of play time.

This to me feels kind of weird. I’ve not experienced a game having a trial that asks people to pay first, unless you count Gran Turismo 5 Prologue on the PS3. This feels like a slippery slope, where my fear would be the rise of an impending massacre of the free trial system, to be replaced by an army of paid trials for games I want to test. Also, it feels weird because I’m stingy as heck.

Tasos, one of the Darkfall Devs, explains the price point thus: “We’ve chosen to include symbolic pricing as a minimum commitment, to protect the existing user-base experience.” In other words, this should keep the gold farmers out, as well as the people who aren’t fully intrigued or unaffected by the idea of Open World PVP.

Overall, the step taken by Aventurine is probably more positive than negative for everyone involved. The price generates some additional revenue, keeps gold farmers and trolls out (which in turn keeps them from hiring more people to combat trolls and spammers), and introduces the game to people like me who want to test their connection out against the game.

In any event, some additional information follows below.

- The Announcement Post on their official Forums

- You can download the client BEFORE you pay a dollar, so there’s no need to worry about wasting a buck just to download the game. Check the announcement post for the Download Information on US and EU servers.

-The Account Creation process requires the dollar to be paid.

- The Darkfall Client is approx. 7 GB in size, but you’ll still need to patch it up to actually play. Be warned now.


Category: Darkfall, Trial

The MAG Boxart

It was only by a stroke of luck that I found myself with a copy of MAG. Some relatives from the United States had come over to visit and, not knowing what I liked, bought a US copy of MAG for me to play on my PS3.

So I fired up the sucker, and after around 40 minutes of updating (had to ever restart the update so it would complete, for some reason), I was ready to play MAG. However, I don’t think the game was ready for my triumphant arrival.

The connection to the server kept getting lost (with a 13:5 error message), and I was only able to get into three games, with two games actually keeping me out of the action as if I were kicked out anyway. The one game I did play, I was slaughtered mercilessly, but did manage to kill one person.

As it stands, I’m hoping my connection can handle MAG, because if not, then I’ll be disappointed that either my connection sucks, or the American server wasn’t prepared for someone halfway across the world to come out and play.

Anyway, time for some research on the issue to see if I can get into the game.


Tags: , ,

If you write well, think clearly, and love MMO’s, Massively may very well be looking for you.

They’ve put up a call for bloggers on their site, and they’re looking for people who feel they can write a great deal about Fallen Earth, Champions Online, Star Trek Online or Runes of Magic. Just make sure you read all the instructions on the blogpost I’ve linked and on the linked post in the actual entry.

I’d apply myself but, alas, my eyes are set on EQ2 and not on any of the four games mentioned.

Good luck to all the applicants!


Category: MMOs

Apparently, this fellow is Eric Lam

Whenever I think of entities, whether it be those that offer goods and services for our use, or governments, or game companies, I have this image in my head that isn’t of people, but of a monolithic building housing said people.

When it comes to thinking about Evony, for example, my mental image is of a dingy office building in China where hypothetical people work on scamming other hypothetical people out of their money. Well, Bruce Everiss, the blogger who is well-known for his writings about Evony on the Bruce on Games blog, dropped a comment on my humble blog, and he basically gave faces to the people we want to hate.

The above picture, for example, is supposed to be of Eric Lam, the guy behind Evony and some other assorted gold farming activities. I write “supposed to be” because of an important caveat in Bruce’s original write-up. He writes,

The people involved are spread all over the world and there are a number of companies and organisations involved in running the game. So this article is just the best information that I can surmise and gather. So everything here is either “probably” or “possibly” the actual facts. I have done my best to make sure this is all correct, but there will obviously be errors both of commission and omission.

As it stands, however, if even some of this is true, then we have faces to the people behind the screen. Some of them are low-level members of the group, and as such are working to make sure that they get paid and can provide for themselves or their families. Some are there to strike it rich by any means necessary. Of course, some are there to sue Bruce, and it’s the people in the latter two categories that we need to be aware of most of all.

As much as I hate to say it, I’m afraid of what’ll happen when some of those people who are working there don’t have work anymore. I want them to have jobs, but I also want them to find jobs that pay well and have some kind of ethical or moral standard at the very least. I don’t condone what they do, but I understand why they work.

For those who gave them the work, and who are perpetuating the weirdness that is Evony, however, I have no words.

Feel free to head on over to Bruce Everiss’ blog for more pictures and a pretty thorough write-up.


Category: PC Gaming

So over on Google Buzz, Tobold found a nice bit of blogging over at louisgray.com. Basically, we’ve now got a set of  faux FTC Disclosure Icons that’ll allow bloggers to express their material relationship with a company without the need for long-winded text.

Just slap on an icon and you’re good to go!

If you’re wondering who drew these wonderful icons, you can thank Jeannine Schafer for the whole lot of them.

And no, I did not have sexual relations with anyone mentioned in this blog post.


Category: humor

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mxSBU9UsVQI]

MMO players can now completely forget about the idea that a Holy Trinity exists among the tank, healer and DPS roles, because in this upcoming game called World of Tanks, it’s all tanks all the time. Not just the piddly little squishy people tanks either, but the ten-ton monstrosities that fire shells and run over innocent civilians.

World of Tanks is a massively multiplayer online action game that has players assuming the role of tank operators inside tanks (unless you’re actually the tank, which would mean this is a WWII-era inspired technological scenario in which warring nations are ruled over by machines). You’re charged with teaming up with like-minded individuals to decimate the opposition, picking up upgrades to strengthen your tank and completing objectives to assure victory.

All in all, it sounds like a pretty interesting idea for a massively multiplayer game. Best of all, it’s supposed to be free to play.

The game’s supposed to come out in autumn, which should be a good time to try another free MMO once we’re tired of playing elves or dwarves or what have you.

STEEL COWBOYS UNITE!

——

News Source: Destructoid.


Category: MMOs, video

So, Pitrelli won the blog war. Mostly because I couldn’t stop crying at night, thinking about how much it hurt me deep in my heart. So I decided to look for something that represented the entire timeline of our exceedingly short blog war, and found this video. Note: the white guy crying would be “me” while the Indian looking guy would be “Pitrelli.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iON5tExtkHw]


Category: Personal, video
Tags:

I’ve had this in my mind for some time, and I felt like tonight would be a good night to discuss something of this sort. I’m taking up Grad School to become a teacher, and one of the things I’ve had in mind for the future would be to try and create my own club. The club I was thinking of would be a Video Game Appreciation Club aimed at high school students.

The thing is, I’d like to know what input my esteemed fellow bloggers might have regarding building up a High School club steeped in video games. What is the big idea you want to impart to the students about video games? What games would you feature? What, essentially, would you “teach” students about video games that would help them to appreciate games as they play them, and make them responsible gamers?

Here are some of my own thoughts to get your thoughts going:

1. The history of video game consoles.

2. A look at the issues and controversy surrounding video games and what the student’s role might be in changing the views of others.

3. Are video games art? A discussion of both sides.

4. How to look at a game critically (definitely needs to be subdivided into smaller parts; help doing this from people who review stuff would be useful).

5. Structures in gaming (Social Structures, Economic Structures… essentially, looking more at MMOs here from the context of their underlying systems)

Honestly, ideas here for discussion would be most appreciated. I’d like to see what ideas the blogging community can come up with.

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