Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Not a whole lot going on

Haven't blogged in a while, as I've been busy with work and stuff.

There hasn't been anything really that interesting to talk about really.
(still haven't gotten back to replying to comments yet)
It's all been, really uneventful to say the least.

Read a blog post on massively the other day about sex in gaming, or rather boobs in gaming.
I couldn't be any more indifferent if I tried.

I don't really care whether characters in game are boobilishous, or whether marketing using girls in skimpy outfits in order to sell more copies. I don't care, nor does that angle of advertising affect me so.
I know they work on other men, but advertisement just doesn't work on me, plain and simple.
I don't watch TV, because ad's drove me nuts rather then anything else.

I guess it's because I have no desires, or rather no desires anybody else can fulfill.
Yeah, I like T'n'A as much as the next guy, but give me some credit.
I'm in it for the gameplay and social interactions, and that's it.
If your mechanics suck, then I don't care if you have the hottest bootstrap pair of titties the world has ever seen, I'm not buying.

Hench, I saw a video of Soal & Blade shortly after reading this blog...... and it seems to have more in common with Dead or Alive then an MMO.
Tits and Ass all the way with this game. Which begs the question, how shallow minded do these people think I am?
From what I could tell of the gameplay, it looks fake and superifical, like all the implants in this game. It seemed so..... scripted..... idk, weak sauce.

And also, with all the over abundance of T'n'A in this game, it just rubs me the wrong way.
I don't go to MMO's for this kind of thing. If I want porn, I get porn. If I want a game, I want a game. No need to mix the two.
Esp if it will piss off female gamers. I'd rather not hit that beehive, thankyou.

Besides that, did comment on a blog post over at Kill Ten Rats, on soloing.
Where I agree with what Ravious said, go check it out.

Might blog later in the week, depends on how busy I am.


Friday, August 21, 2009

A Formal Deconstruction of Levels

Consider by most MMO players to be a lynch-pin of the genre, or at the very least a perfectly working game mechanic.
But is it really?

I say no. Why? Because I never stop hearing complaints about it, that's why.

I listen to a lot of podcasts, and read a fair bit of gaming blogs. And I can tell you, some of the most common complaints stem from levels.

Can't play together with your friend because your at different levels?
Tough, sucks to be you.

Got your arse handed to you at a starter zone because of some ganking dipshit at max level?
Get used to it, your in for one heck of a ride.
Been brutally murdered by NPC mobs that were a couple of levels higher then you?
Get a ticket and stand in line.

Some people say it's a symptom due to the actions players take, and that levels aren't to blame.
I call bullshit. Because when you break the problem down, levels are entirely to blame.

I'm going to crack open levels and see what makes them tick, and as a result find just what, and where the problems lay.

The Level Equation

Ok, how do levels work.
Sounds fairly obvious. Kill things, finish quests and gain XP, which in turn grants you a level after a certain amount. Then rinse and repeat. As a result you become gradually more powerful.

But to find the root of the problem, we have to dig a little deeper.
It basically works like this:
Time --> Kills/Quests --> XP --> Levels --> Power

Or in short, Time = Power.

You see, the very point of levels is as a progression system.
And this progression system increases your overall power relative to each level you have obtained.
Which in turn allows you to take on stronger enemies, quests, and the like. In essence, gives you access to more advanced content.
So, business as usual then.

So why is that a problem? You might ask.
Because when it comes to social interactions between players, it becomes a barrier, preventing players from sharing the same content, or competing on a fair and balanced playing field.

As to how this is the case, lets move on to the next section.

The Breakdown

Now it's one thing know there is a problem, and another thing entirely to elaborate why there is a problem.
This is my attempt.

As I see it, there are two main problems with levels as a progression system in MMORPG's.

1) It becomes a barrier between players sharing content, and competing fairly.
2) It's association with grind when in conjunction with other mechanics.

Please keep in mind that levels do in fact do many things right, of which I am keenly aware of.
The consistent reward for effort is among the best out there for progression systems.
This however doesn't remove the fact that it still has problems.

So lets tackle the first one first. (duh)

How do levels become a social barrier?
First as I mentioned earlier, as you gain levels you gain power, and with that power you gain access to more content.

And it is this sharding of content relative to levels (ie, time spent) which causes the first part of our problem.

If Player A is at level 10,
and Player B is at level 20,
both players cannot share the same content.
And as such, cannot play together. (regardless whether they want to or not)

Because Player A cannot scale up to player B's content, because their too weak.
Player B can scale down, but then they are no longer sharing content, but rather Player B is doing the content for Player A, as Player B is far too strong for said content.

How do you resolve this problem? You can't.
Unless there is another mechanic built in to allow the higher level players to dumb down, so that they can play with lower level players, then your totally screwed.
But even then, that only solves half the problem. (well, not even that)

And that's only sharing content.

In terms of competition, the problem is much the same.
Because Time = Power, whoever spends the most time, becomes the strongest by default.
And the larger the divide between levels becomes, the more apparent this becomes, until it is no longer a contest anymore, but rather a slaughter.

Again, if Player A is at level 10,
and Player B is at level 20,
then there is not a hope in hell of Player A beating Player B,
regardless who is more skillful or knowledgeable.

Now this can be mitigated by the level cap, this however does little to nothing balance competition when there are variating levels between players.
(unless everybody competing are at the same level or level range. ie, look at Guild Wars)

Anybody that values fairness and balance can appreciate why this is a problem.
The metric for success in competition shouldn't be time, money, or gear, but rather personal skill. Because by winning via skill alone, you not only reward thous truly deserving of it, but make the act of winning far more valuable.

It's not winning if everyone and their dog can do it.

And surprisingly enough, were only half way there...... oh joy!
.... I'll try to keep this part shorter.

How do levels cause grind?

Grind being the act of any repetitive, and monotonous activities.
And in the case of levels, it's comes as a result of it's interactions with other mechanics, and in the absence of content.

Say you have to level from level 1 to level 20 without a single quest in the lot.
All you would have is killing the same mobs, often being different creatures but all fighting, and dying the same way.
I'm sure anybody would agree that would be a grind.

But what if it was to level 30, or 40, 60, 80, 120.... so on, and so on.
The greater the gap, the greater the grind. Most people would give up around level 30 or so of this crap.
But what is worse, is that the nature of levels is of a exponential cost requirement.
Each requiring more and more XP, and thus time. (and usually diminished returns)

So how can this be resolved? Easy. Break up the repetitiveness of it, with quests, social interactions, and other events.
However, the problem here is that quests are often very similar, and thus prone to repetitiveness. (hench quest grind)
Forcing social interactions (such as forced grouping), is always a disastrous idea.
And events tend to be few and far between.

By in large, the higher the level cap is, the more likely it is that you will repeat similar content.
(this is not always the case thou)

Now normally this isn't so much a problem, on your first way through.
But when your on your 4th or 5th time through or more, the act of leveling can get very old indeed. (esp so if the level cap is high)

But what can cause you to go through the leveling process all over again?

Another mechanic that is usually in close proximity to levels.
Classes in essence attempt to define your role, what you do within game, often in quite a strict sense at that. But what if you want to try some else out? What if your bored of your mage, priest, or warrior?

Tough, you really have little other option then to re-roll, and run the whole gamut all over again.
(or take a break)

Now some people really don't mind doing this, as a new class offers different experiences.
And the first dozen times it may be. But the problem is, that if you've played a class once in one game, then you've played it in every other game as well.

It's only a matter of time before this new experience, is not longer new experience.
In time this too becomes a grind. And all because you wanted to do something a little different.
What an awfully cumbersome way of doing things.

So much for keeping that part 'short'.

In the last part I'll go over what can be done to resolve some of these problems.

Problem Salving

As I've shown, the key problem is levels equating progression with Time = Power.
However, progression doesn't not necessitate an increase in power.
All you need is 'a' gradual increase of some kind.

And it starts with what your measuring success and separating content with.
If that measuring stick is say, skill, rather then power. Then you can avoid most of the problems, and build a more cohesive community as a result.

If I beat someone because I knew how to use a particular skill better the them, and the fight was balanced to begin with, then it was a fair fight. They might beat me next time. We each are able to learn from our mistakes, improve ourselves as a result, and thus we progress.

If I beat a mob or boss monster, simply because I knew what it was going to do, before it did it and avoided it, then me and a buddy of mine can still enjoy the same content even if they don't know.

A couple of good examples are Guild Wars and EVE Online.

In Guild Wars, the level cap was not only low (lvl 20 cap), but also didn't directly increase your power. Instead you gained attribute points that you used to power up skills, which could then be withdrawn and used again elsewhere.
And due to the amount you got, and the nature of their skill system, you do a lot with very little.

Once you hit level cap, which was very easy to do, everyone was on even ground, both in competition and
collaboration. What separated who won, and who eats a dirt sandwich, was none other then knowing what to use, and how to use it.

Progression by in large came down to collecting all the various skills, and learning the best way to use them. (on top of which you had a lot of ascetic progression, that didn't impact your performance)

While EVE Online, also has an interesting (yet exceedingly boring) skill system of it's own.
Instead you spend real-time to gain skill points in any particular skill you wanted.
In short, you got good at what you wanted to.

This is good because it is non-linear, and it also does away with the need for classes.
But what is most important, is that gaining these skills will have a minimal impact on power, but rather give you more options to work with. (skills give you access to other ships and equipment)

So as a result, it doesn't really matter how many skill points you have, it only matters what your doing and how you are doing it. (ie, it didn't matter if you have 50 million skill points, if your in a frigate..... your still in a frecken frigate)

Interestingly enough, because you can have one character do any given number of rolls, you can stick with one single character, and thus avoid any repetitiveness with re-rolling.

Wrapping Up

As such, it is possible to have progression without it causing problems with the social interactions of the player base. Nor does it have to be repetitive either. As you can have situation where you only need one character, and yet can do any job or roll you want to do at any given time.

Can levels be work in such a way to avoid all these problems? Sure, look at Guild Wars.
(although it still suffered from some repetitiveness of re-rolling)

But is that likely given it's history? No, not really, no.

I think the best solution is to build around a preferably new progression system, that not only avoids these kind of problems by being skill based, but also retains all the good parts of levels.
(ie, the consistent reward to effort thing.)

Of course, there isn't really anything you can do about the games in which it has already been implemented in. Once it's there, it's there for good.

But the first step in avoiding these problems in the future, it to know their even there to begin with.

Which brings us to the end of this..... colossally huge blog post.
Not exactly light reading.

But I hope it helps to some degree in understanding just what and where the problems of levels in MMORPG's are.
Given my track record for clearly explaining things, not a hope in hell I'm sure.

PS: I may very well in the future come back to edit this post, and try to make it shorter and more understandable. It's just too long......


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Guild Wars 2 - Light my Fire

Well, as I've stated before I had lost interest in this game as it has been 2 years since I had heard anything on it. Consider my flame rekindled.

Arenanet just released a 4 page preview and a 5min trailer.
Way to put up. It seems they've been busy little bees.

Color me impressed.
The trailer itself was quite appeasing. Not only gorgeous in that stylized kind of way Arenanet does, but it actually shows gameplay graphics as well, which are very, very nice. On par with Aion I'd say.

And the preview gave us a glimpse into how it will work. However of course they didn't reveal anything too specific, they did note that it will be more soloable then before, have open world persistence, have a new quest/event system, and possibly improve their skill system.
Oh, and you can jump too. ^^

So, nothing but gold so far.

While I admit that I am still a bit skeptical, as they did state originally that they will look at the level system, and their news about the skill system is a tad troubling.
But it seems they've learned they cocked up a fair bit in Guild Wars, so they may very well make things even better rather then worse.

And they did say they were keeping to the central tenants of GW. So that's reassuring.

Still, their not out of the woods yet, but we can see daylight.

So consider yourself at they top off my 'must buy' list GW2.
Don't disappoint me now.

Now if you don't mind, I'm going to go watch that trailer again.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On my game radar

Ok, what MMO titles on the horizon am I interested in.

Well, first I'm more attracted to skill based or action based games. I don't give a rats ass about hype, or graphics, or any of that other crap they try to sell you.
I'm only interested in how it handles.

1) Guild Wars 2 - As a long time fan of Guild Wars, I'm interested to see how this turns out. However, I have lost most of my interest in this game as it's been 2 freaken years, but whatever.
I think tomorrow they are going to release some more info, so we'll see if they are going to move forwards or backwards.
Given Arenanets history, I expect great things from them.

2) Dust 514 - Sounds epic. While I don't have a PS3 or Xbox360, nor intend on getting one, I'll probably won't be playing this game.
But even still, it's a stellar move by CCP. It's got epic win written all over it.
Still, I reserve judgment until they show the beef.

3) Final Fantasy 14 - At first this sounded like, and looked like a remake of FF11, but it seems to be only skin deep. Much like Guild Wars - Guild Wars 2.
Them losing the level system gain instant gratz with me. However it could also be disastrous, depending on what they put in it's place.
So far it's in alpha, and what little I saw of combat was...... well.... shit.
Good graphics, but that's par for the course these days.

4) Jumpgate: Evolution and Black Prophesy - Now these games I like.
I'm quite into space sims (EVE doesn't count), and they look quite fast paced and fun. Not too sure about some of their mechanics. I think they have a level system.... which of course I dispise, but it depends on how they do it.
Could be very, very good for the industry. Or they could bomb horribly.
It all depends.

5) Champions - Not terribly interested in this game, but it does have some nice features.
The customization looks epic. Looks like you can do just about anything you want.
But in saying that, the combat looks shoty, it still uses levels, and I just don't like superhero games. (never got into comics)
I might play it for a bit, but I don't expect it would hold me in the long run.

6) Aion - At one point it beeped onto my radar, until my bullshit-seeking ground to air missiles blew it out of the sky. It's pretty, has good customizations, and has some mildly good lore.
But the combat, skill system, and damn near everything else is vanilla.
Nothing I haven't seen before.
It looks like any other inventory management game I have ever seen, and I'm just not into that.
Bite me Aion.

And that's really about it.
Not a whole lot interests me atm. Some might do good should they put out, but until then, I reserve judgment. Could be good, could be business as usual.
We shall see.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Pay 2 Play - from left field?

After yesterdays blog, and after a comment on Virgin Worlds, it came to my attention that Global Agenda is also using a P2P business model.

This kind of snuck up on me, because thats two recent upcoming MMO's that are utilizing this system. And I got to say it sounds bloody wonderful!

As you can tell, I'm in favor of this type of business model.
As to why, well it goes back to my Guild Wars days, which also used an interesting business model - initial box cost only = free to play.
And what they were going for was flexibility, where you could pick the game up, drop it, and pick it up again without losing money over it.

And while RMT free to play mimic this, they take it out on gameplay as a result. (see last blog post)
But this wasn't the case with GW. They had all the stability of any subscription MMO, but had far greater flexibility for they players. (however they ended up having other problems as a result)

And what is great about P2P, is that it takes all that flexibility and stability, and yet gives the developers the financial returns they need to run and develop the game. Win win.
(it also allows them to avoid the same traps GW fell into)

However, the developers will likely not get as much money from this alone, which is why it should, and seems is (in the case of GA and Aion), supplemented by an additional revenue stream. Namely either initial box/download cost, or RMT. (not done in the same manner as RTM centric games thou)

I would go for the latter, as box/download cost makes the game less accessible.

I'm not above paying for a game, but I want to play it on my own terms, and not lose money should I decide to put it down for a week. And this business model exemplifies that.

Nice going Global Agenda and Aion. Way to stay on the ball.
Now it's down to the quality of the products. (sry Aion, you failed my test)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

RMT in the Future of MMORPG's

After a comment by BeauTurkey on the Massively Speaking podcast, episode 64, it provoked me to write something on my views of RTM now, and in the future are.

BeauTurkey is in favor of RTM's, as they have gained some ground in MMO's over the last couple of years, and are becoming more accepted. (why they were looked down in the first place I can't get my head 'round)

RTM are they way of the future, in essence is what he advocates. I don't agree.

Is there money in it? Counter intuitively, yes it seems.
Does 'free to play' bring in people? Clearly no argument there.
Can an RMT model game be a big budget AAA MMO? I don't see any reason why not.

So where is my point of contention? It has to do with gameplay.

The RMT model centers around being free to play, and getting you to spend money on their online store for 'stuff'. Now this doesn't necessarily mean content, but it does almost always involve ascetic items.

So how do you get people to by your online stuff? Easy, make things either difficult or dull for them, or both, in order to gently force their hand. Of course you can pander to their sense of greed, but that doesn't work on everybody.

Runes of Magic for example: Considered a full fledge MMO by most people.
Traveling in this game can be a pain in the arse at times. While you can teleport to major cities, you still spend an awful lot of time running around.
And of course the game has mount to make things 'easier', if your willing to fork up 10$ that is.
.... Not exactly what I would call micro, but ok.

Then there is the gear, which for the most part if fairly generic. Some if it is nice thou, don't get me wrong. But should you dare want to customize it, hahahahaaa.... no. Fork up please.

And on and on it goes. Either fork up, or things are going to feel like cardboard for you.
It feels like they are always holding back on you, doesn't it?

Well as you can tell, this way of running a MMO doesn't jive well with me.

I say full throttle. Either do it and go all the way, or don't. Don't hold back.
I want my customized gear, I want every scrap of content at the get go, I want to feel like the game isn't playing favorites by who has the deepest wallet.

Now that isn't to say RMT doesn't have a place. Sure it does. Just not as the main means of payment.
Otherwise it the game just feels second best.

I see the future of RMT working as a great supplement to subscription-like models, such as the P2P model Aion is currently implementing (massive kudos btw), as it is far more flexible and overall cheaper then the run-of-the-mill subs. This way the game can go full throttle, and have extras over and above as nice little bits and pieces, sort of like how Guild Wars handled it.

But the first step to getting people to use RMT, besides getting them into the game, is getting them to ENJOY the game. And that doesn't really work when you water down the game, and almost go so far as to coerce them into it.

Just my take on it.


A quick Update

Well, I haven't posted a blog post in a few days, but then I might not do much blogging on the weekends anyways, as I prefer to spend my time elsewhere.

Not much going on. Mostly spending my time working on my art, trying to figure out Corel Painter 11, as it is no walk in the park. Getting there thou.
Made my first picture in it the other day, just a sketch that I did with a single brush, but ok non the less.

Based on Koakuma, from the Touhou series, which as I find is quite the internet phenomena.
I'm only really been playing Touhoumon, a rom hack of pokemon: fire red.
And as you could guess, it's replaced all the pokemon with Touhou characters, as there is and insane number of them.
Reasonably fun.

Nothing all that interesting going on otherwise. I think I'll listen to some podcasts today, and maybe today or tomorrow watch that Second Skin doco people are on about, and give my commentary on it I suppose.

Well, I've got art to do.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Corel Painter 11

Downloaded a trial of painter today, after reading about it from a guy on DeviantART, named Elsevilla. (superb artist btw)

And for the longest time, I've been using an old version of Photoshop.
What a difference.

Now Photoshop is not bad, but it is a jack-of-all trades, giving you limits to just what you can do with your brush. It is quite easy to learn and use thou.

Painter on the other hand has an enormous amount more options for you to mess around with.
If your a serious digital painter/artist, you have to use Painter. Because it's a specialist product, built for digital artists.

The only real drawback I can see, is that it's a bit difficult to get your head 'round. It feels a lot different to what I'm used too, and there are so many more options that I get confused.
So I think I'm going to have to go over tutorials as to how everything works, and to create the brushes that I want.

But once I get the hang of it, it should significantly improve my art.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Rose coloured glasses Dilemma

Now this is an argument I've been wanting to flesh out for awhile now, and while I have touched on it once before, I never got there because it fell into an unproductive argument instead.

It came to me after listening to Paul Barnette, a creative director for Mythic Entertainment with Warhammer Online. (I swear I have nothing against the man, promise)
And I wondered, do these people not get it?
Did they not see the signs of failure?
How could they not see what seemed so obvious to me at the time? (and I'm not the only one)

I think we can count out being incompetent, because their not.
Nor do I think they're being deliberately deceitful either, churning out a product they know is no different, in order to try and make a quick buck. (cough, 'Nintendo' cough)

Then is it the consumers who are at fault? Are we too fickle?
No, I don't think that's it either. I believe there very much is a definitive thing we want, and it wasn't meet in the case of Warhammer Online.

I think there is a disconnect here, where Mythic really did think think they had a winner on their hands, given the information they had.
Which begs the question, was the information they had correct?
Could it have been skewed in anyway?
Did they see something as a positive rather than as a negative?
Possibly..... lets compare notes.

Lets use the case of the quote "core" mechanics of MMO's, also known as the status quo.
Now from my perspective, I have no inherent loyalties to any given mechanic, their all free game. A mechanic of a game stands or falls on it's own merits.
If it doesn't work as well as I'd like, then I'm more then happy to lose it in favor of something better.

So as far as levels (progression mechanic) and classes (skills system mechanic) goes, I think they work perfectly well in single player games, because it's all about me in that case.

But in MMO's, the goal changes. It's the social interactions that a key, and both levels and classes restrict these interactions and cause unnecessary strife as a result.
Needless to say, making a game painful to play is just poor game design, so in my mind, levels and classes have to go. (and be replaced of course)

So why is it that year after year, these 'broken' game mechanics get recycled?
Maybe it's because they can't imagen anything better, but that makes them look a bit stupid, and I don't think that's necessarily the case.
Or could it be that they don't see them as broken?
And as such, don't fix what isn't borken. (bork bork bork)

This is where I think the rose colored glasses comes in.

From my understanding, people like Paul Barnette and his colleagues (esp lead designers), were born in a generation that were introduced to the bedrock of modern RPG's and gaming, pen & paper RPG's, model painting, and the dawn of MMO's - MUD's.

And this is where a lot of these 'core' mechanics as you will, were invented. And they probably have very fond memories of these older kinds of games, even thou by todays standards, my generations standards, these are boring relics of the past.
In their time, they had to like it or lump it, they weren't as spoiled for choice like we are.

And as such, it is this attitude towards these long held mechanics, seems to be what is now causing this saturated, everything is 'vanilla' status quo, problem of the modern day MMO industry.

Whether they are oblivious to the problem, feel that people should just put up with it, or just can't bring themselves to let it go. These rose coloured glasses are getting in the bloody way, and somethings got to give.
Otherwise, get used to the status quo..... it's going to be here for awhile.

Which is why I hinge my bets on the younger demographic of developers. They in my mind, are far more likely to go against modern conventions, and try something new.
And it's this 'pushing the boundaries' attitude that will lead MMO's, and quite possibly games in general, into a whole new era of gaming.

Nothing improves by accepting medocity.


Losing respect

Ever have a conversation or argument with somebody which made you realize that the person in question wasn't as friendly or as rational as you had first thought?

Yeah..... I'm at that point.

Had an argument with sister Julie Whitefeather from Virgin Worlds, on her No Prisoners, No Mercy podcast thread today. And after a few exchanges, it quickly went downhill.

The entire time, I was trying to herd the conversation to something actually constructive, while I did lose my temper a bit at one point, but I get like that when people refuse to acknowledge points, and ask asinine questions that have little or nothing to do with the subject at hand. (strawmen)

Towards the end there, she seemed more concerned with my profanity, then any point I had made. Which is fine to some degree, as it was her show thread, which I promptly conceded that point, but even still, way to derail the conversation.... again.

But in the end, this wasn't good enough for her, and decided to throw a comment back it me when I pointed out that she (and one other bloke that was part of the discussion) didn't get anywhere near what I was talking about, and seemed to me, to be day dreaming. And thus put a end to the discussion.
How mature.

After all was said and done, all I can say is that I'm disappointed in you Juile, I actually expected more from you. I give you no points for rational discourse.

Now I'm just waiting to see if she'll attack me on her show when I'm not there to defend myself....yeah...... this should be fun.....


Monday, August 10, 2009

Developer in the Making - Episode 1

This will be my on-going series, that will chronology my efforts to gain employment in a MMORPG development studio, and in this case CCP. (Crowd Control Productions)

First, a bit of history about myself.
Ever since I was a wee lad, I have been a gamer, and since I can remember I have been interested in the production of said games.
I often dabbled in modifying code and level design to see what would happen if I switched this with that. I was a very curious lad, which would often lead me to breaking the game one way or another.

I was never satisfied. I could always imagen things better.

Flip forward to today, and I'm as insatiable as I have ever been.
So what to do, what to do.

Well, over the last couple of years, I've gotten right into MMO's, with Guild Wars being my first love. Now, even in the beginning there were aspects of the game that just irked me so, and as I looked around the MMO sphere, I saw overwhelming lack of innovation. Just the same game, reinterpreted.
I thought it might get better, but it hasn't. Any progress made seems to be made with equal helpings of fail, and fall backing on the status quo. It's, disheartening to say the least.

So what am I going to do about it? Well, I've never been one to stand on the sidelines and look on helplessly, so they only real option to jump into the machine and rip it apart from the inside.

So at the beginning of this year, I began planning to get my foot in the door of a development studio. Now there are several options available to you at this point. You can:

A) Broad brush your resume or portfolio and send it out to any development studio you can spell, and hope for a bite. But I found this to be a colossal waste of energy, so I went with something a little more..... direct.

B) Goto a meet-and-greet MMO/gaming expo, in order for networking and try and develop connections with developers. This may also incidently help narrow your selection criteria, so you can focus your resume/portfolio. I found this undoable, as I'm poor, and live in fucking New Zealand, and airfair cost is a bitch.

C) Select your favorite development studio, or one which gives you the most probability of success, and cater your resume/portfolio specifically for them. (ie, don't try to get a job at a development studio that has recently had layoffs)
My pick.

Now, at first I was going with option B, and I was thinking of saving up so I could go to PAX in September 2009, and try and make connections with Arenanet, as I love them so.
But at the beginning of March, I saw some insider videos put out by CCP, and decided on them instead for several reasons.
They were independent, carefree, and most importantly of all, growing. (meaning they were hiring)

So I made plans for how I would get in their good graces, and hopefully gain employment, mean while putting away whatever money I could to pay for airfares and other travel expenses should it come to that.

My plan, research CCP and subsequently Iceland and figure out what makes them tick, and build a portfolio catered specifically for them, and set a workable deadline for all this.
Now all of this happened back around March or so, as to the results..... well I'll get to that in another episode.
Waffled on for long enough already.

Until next time.... I am the lord of waffle.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Why I hate Aion

Now if you troll around Massively and VirginWorlds, then you may have noticed on articles involving the game Aion, that I have a less then favorable stance towards it.

But why?

Well first it's important to point out, that I have not played Aion as of yet, nor do I ever intend to.
Which some might say "you can't criticize Aion if you haven't played it, wah wah wah!", which I in turn say, 'I don't need to play it you fucking moron's! I don't need to drive a car to see that it is a lemon, similarly, I don't need to play a game that is so self evidently crap to say so'.

So why do I think Aion is crap?

Because it is the embodiment of the status quo. It does NOTHING new. It's tries to sell you the same damn experiences that you've already had, in a new wrapper.
I call this phenomena, painting the turd.

Where companies try to sell you the same product, by renaming, marketing, and a new paint job. But at the core of it, it's the same damn thing.
Because if they can get away with selling the same product to you, then they will.
That's capitalism for you folks.

Sure, in Aion's case, I can give it some credit, for being stable and stylish - but at the end of the day, that's not going to carry it. It's still got the same old classes, the same of levels and motherfucking grind, the same old pointless goddamn moronic quests and mindless whack-a-mole monsters.

Sorry, sell it to some other sucker.
I've already been there, done that.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Die, Bunny, DIEEE!!!

Been playing a indy game lately that really is not half bad, called Bunny Must Die : Chelsea and the 7Devils.
Now, it's a castlevania/metriod like 2D-platformer game, with an anime style.
And it is really, really bloody hard. Kind of takes you back to the bad old days on comodor64.
But at the same time, it's quite fun, a very damn funny. The people that made this game have a very good sense of humor.
Some of the bosses will make you piss yourself laughing.

Now you start of as Bunny, a bunnygirl who is actually a bunny, with a cat curse, who is very, very flat. And with her you'll litery be bouncing off the walls, running very fast, and jump-kicking all over the place. She uses castlevania like weapons such as daggers and boomerangs.
Oh, and she can manipulate time. Very useful.

After beating the game with her, you play as Chelsea, a elf princess.
With her you will be slow but steady, floating around, and blowing shit up.
This girl is a walking terminal nuclear warhead. Later in the game, you can walk in a room, and make everything die, painfully.
She is also surprisingly mobile.

But don't take it lightly, you will die a lot in this game, and some rooms and bosses will make you scream in agony. (the nice kind of agony)
Prepare to buy a new keyboard.

I highly recommend it, as it isn't very big, and is completely free. Can't argue with that price.
Good game to play for five minutes while you put the jug on.
Here's a link to it - Bunny Must Die.

One thing thou, is that it is in Japanese, so you will not likely understand the plot (not that it makes any sense anyhow), but then you don't need to. The game is straight forward, and easy to understand.

But if you really must know, you can watch this walkthrough on youtube, which has a translation overlaid the text, with full on commentary from the bloke playing it.

Now go out and play it, and have fun dying. :)


Moron writes article for The Escapist

Yeah, if you've been to Massively or The Escapist already, then you probably know where this is heading.

Read the article earlier today, and my first impression of this man, Jeremy Monken, is 'frecken moron'.

Now first, I do feel for the guy, as he did lose his job and all, and it sucks to be him. (lifes a bitch, didn't you know?)
But his whiny-ass reasons, as to why he thinks Warhammer Online became a failboat, shows me one thing...... he didn't know a damn thing. Nor did it seem like he learned anything from the experience either.

'Gold spammers and cheaters killed the game I was working on', get off the fucking grass noddy!
Warhammer didn't fail because of outside interference, it failed because it was a steaming pile of shit. It was built on a foundation of crap, and when it sinks you complain it's the fault of the flies.
I have no sympathy for someone that thick.

However, it could have been avoided if EA weren't a bunch of corporate thugs, that fired far too quickly and far too much, as soon as their shitty product ran into turbulence. That way, they guaranteed that the faults that caused War's demise would never get fixed, and thus send it on a one way street into the gutter.
Stay classy EA.

But to fair, it seems like he was only there for 6 months or so. So he couldn't really do that much in that time span, and most of the fail was already baked in at that point, so I give him slack on that point. But FFS, grow a spine.
Mythic built a piece of crap, and EA ran it into the ground.
Get a clue, and be fucking honest. Even if you burn your bridges, they didn't deserve you in the first place if that's the case.


About me, myself and I

This is a story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down,
and I'd like to take a moment, just sit down James,
and I'll tell you how I became the undisputed king of card ga
--- wait, hang on, wrong intro....

But enough with the skit...
I'm Yoh..... or I'd rather people call me that.
My real name? Well, I ain't going to tell you that, because I'm an anti-social bastard...... and I prefer using my online identity anyways, cuz it makes things easier.

Now, I'm a gamer of 25 years. Always have been, always will be... well, until I'm maggot food anyhow.
But for the foreseeable future, that's what I do. I'm also a skeptical, cynical prick to boot.
If somethings stupid, I say so. If something good, I say so.

I've played a wide arrangement of games over the years, from side scrolling shooters, to FPS and fighting games, to RPG's and MMO's. Hell, I've even played the odd hentai, dating sim once in a blue moon.
So I'm well versed.

I'm also an artist, specializing mostly in anime styling, and digital art in general. A lot my inspiration comes from games and anime, well, esp anime as I am profoundly addicted to it, since it has been the only real teacher I have ever had.
Now I'm not bad, been doing it since I was around 16.... or in other words, that horny time in my life. My style has varied over the years, but I'm slowly coming to grips with my own, unique style.

Got a DeviantArt page,, so go take a look if you give a crap. Also, I take requests, so if you want something in particular, I'm willing to hear you out..... just don't expect it too quickly. I'm a lazy sod.

As for this blog, well unless your thick, It's about gaming generally, maybe heading more towards MMORPG then anything else. Occasionally I might talk about my art, but I'm of the opinion that there isn't really much to talk about, it is what it is.
I'll also keep a record of my efforts to get employment in MMO development. Yes, you heard it here first, I'm going to become a developer.... cue applause.

But seriously, I'm going to take a note of just how I go from being a not particularly skilled person, with almost zero higher education, let alone a degree of any kind, working with little more then my self taught skills and knowledge about a wide variety of games, to a full-time employee at some development studio somewhere. Likely CCP. I like CCP.
I'm coming for you.....
Although I still want to kick them in the face on some issues.
My steel-capped boot's are coming for you.......

But anyway, enough inane rambling.