Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Things People Say After A Couple Pints

Overheard at the water cooler in regards to Warhammer Online, "EA is going to shut it down later this year I know that for a fact, the entire team is being retasked and the dead weight is being laid off, GW is quietly taking the license to a new company I have it on good authority that THQ will get that as well as they are working on a yet unannounced WHF RTS similar to Dawn of War. But don't expect it till 2015 way after the fail of WAR has been forgotten. And no links no way to prove any of this I just know folks at GW who like to talk after a couple pints."

Yeah I know...people say all kinds of things on the internet, and this one is a bit hard to believe. But something is definitely going on over at Mythic as I posted before. Still though, shut down completely? While not necessarily a reliable source, MMO Data thinks Warhammer has around 125,000 subs. Definitely not close to the million they were expecting, but other MMO's have been running for years with less than that. But then again, there's word of merging their existing US servers into one, which would indicate a much smaller subscriber number.

The fellow above linked a blog article which seems to be his own regarding what Warhammer was initially intended to be like and eventually ended up as. I thought was a pretty good read which I wanted to share. His final paragraph summed up much of my own thoughts of why I've not been enjoying the latest batch of MMO offerings:

"I also hope that one day they will sit down and look at the train wreck they helped create in a realistic way, and that EA will understand that you can not have a subscription based MMO that is basically Halo with swords, that you need to appeal to a broad base, of players PVPers, Crafters PVE players and socializers, etc. the companies that got it right and are successful (as in will still be here in five years) understand that, the companies that don’t produce harebrained catch phrases, and pour zippo fluid on a game that is already burning…. I think the last nail in the Warhammer Coffin is when at the Febuary Baltimore Gamesday Erik Mogensen more or less apologized for the game, and assured people that would never happen to another Games Workshop License again, he seemed more than a little agitated as he spoke those words..."

Final Fantasy XIV - September 2010

Looks like FFXIV has announced a North American release date of September 22, 2010. There will also be a collector's edition, which along with some fluff items, includes eight-day early access. The subscription start $12.99 per month for one character slot and an additional $3 for each extra character.

With so many in an MMO slump and release of the other big name MMO's not yet announced, I would expect they'd at least have a decent number of box sales for the NA version. But unless they change the awful keyboard controls between now and then, I wouldn't expect it to be widely accepted here. Not sure if anyone caught that painful combat demo at E3, but the player was obviously having trouble moving. But there's still a couple months yet. If I don't have to go out and buy a controller in order to play comfortably, I'll definitely be trying it out.

Monday, June 28, 2010

If Facebook Indicated Subscriber Numbers...

As someone who is anticipating Rift: Planes of Telara, I have it added to my Facebook page to get the latest news. Seeing how many fans they had on Facebook, I was curious to see the fan numbers for some of the other upcoming MMO's. And while I was at it, I then took a look at some of the existing MMO's.

So with no facts whatsoever backing this up and strictly for fun, assuming that Facebook fans represent 10% of the subscribers, here first is a list of current MMO subscriber numbers.

2,465,000 - World of Warcraft
810,000 - Aion
515,000 - Star Trek Online
498,000 - Eve Online
476,000 - Lineage2
420,000 - Guild Wars
317,000 - Lord of the Rings Online
229,000 - Dungeons and Dragons Online
185,000 - EverQuest2
162,000 - City of Heroes
153,000 - Champions Online
146,000 - EverQuest
135,000 - Final Fantasy XI
115,000 - Age of Conan
75,000 - Dark Age of Camelot
63,000 - Warhammer Online
53,000 - Anarchy Online
35,000 - Star Wars Galaxies
17,000 - Fallen Earth
14,000 - Asheron's Call
8,000 - Darkfall
7,000 - Vanguard: Saga of Heroes
2,000 - Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted

Some of these numbers are actually believable, but obviously others aren't. But still was interesting to see how many fans these games have. Looking at the Final Fantasy number, Facebook definitely doesn't represent a world-wide interest, Asia in particular. And in more recent MMO's such as Aion and STO, those numbers make me think members added those games to their profile early on and then left them there. But I was more curious about the hype surrounding some of the upcoming games. If fans would subscribe today using the same 10% figure, here's what we'd have:

1,203,000 - Star Wars: The Old Republic
660,000 - Guild Wars 2
213,000 - DC Universe Online
170,000 - Secret World
94,000 - Final Fantasy XIV
14,000 - Rift: Planes of Telara
7,000 - Tera Online

I would have included The Agency, but they had only a very small fan-generated page. Rift and Tera definitely have some work ahead of them to generate more interest. I truly hope Rift doesn't get lost in the crowd of more recognizable names.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DAOC - The Day The Guilds Died

Things just don't seem to be going well over at Mythic. They had that billing snafu where subscribers were majorly overcharged. The past couple months they've let go of several major devs; some have been part of DAOC since nearly the beginning.

And today was a patch. While there were some nice loot updates to old dungeons as well as some mysterious content in which the world is now covered in darkness, everyone on Gaheris server logged in to find all guilds had been disbanded. All the guild homes are without owners and homes have been randomly assigned various guild emblem designs. I can't imagine this can be fixed without a roll-back.

I have to be honest that while there's so much that I like about DAOC, the game in its current state is a bit depressing. I was one of the few players that didn't have an army of bots following me. When you see ten people online in guild, it usually means there's really only three players on. And there's no communication at all from anyone at Mythic except for the occasional "here's the patch notes". Players never know what they're working on, if anything at all. While they caved on their stance of not having official forums for Warhammer, the DAOC community has had to rely on VN boards which isn't always a friendly place to be. I guess the reality is that they're done with this one as EA continues in their pursuit of million+ subscriber MMO's. And what a shame that is.

I've let my subscription go, and it runs out in a couple weeks. Looks like I may be without an MMO home for awhile. *gasp*

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Reliving the Past

If you've ever checked out the links to the right, you've noticed one particular blog called Being Bahama. The writer is always in character and tells stories of her life in SWG, her business there, her guild's town, and the comings and goings of its citizens. Although I no longer played SWG, I would read the wonderful stories and couldn't help but feel an occasional tug wanting to relive what once was.

So it was with a mixture of sadness and excitement to read about the closure of their guild's town and a dream sequence in which she finds herself with her friends in the same place, but a different time. That story, coupled with another old acquaintance also stepping into the past, motivated me to do the same.

I wanted to just have a bit of fun and ease into things slowly so I went with an entertainer for my first character. As someone who always loved Naboo, I made the poor choice of starting in Theed. There were only a few people in the cantina and no trainers in site. Fortunately, they started me off with a small sum of money, so I caught the first ship out to Mos Eisley. I spent a little bit of time here, learned some languages so I could understand what the non-humans were saying and struck up some conversations. As nicely populated as Mos Eisley was, I was told Coronet was the place to be, and I'd have better luck finding other entertainers to train me. So spending the last bit of money I had for a ticket, it was off to Coronet. And it was packed with people.

It's been very much like the old days, both good and bad. Ninety percent of the entertainers are still afk and macroing their *winks* and *tips appreciated*. But also like the old days, lots of nice people are to be found and I really had a great time. Lots of things still aren't implemented and I can't speak yet for how well the combat side of things works out. But with the other half looking over my shoulder, I got him interested enough to start the download. There are no character slot limitations this time around, so I'll likely be starting up a Teras Kasi with him again. For anyone who enjoyed the game before the CU, it's definitely worth a look. And if you find yourself in the Coronet cantina, look for the dark-haired human in the dingy brown starter clothes.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Brad McQuaid Hiring For New Company

Per his blog:

"I am pleased to announce that I am a co-founder of a new company based here in the San Diego area. We’re starting small and growing as needed. Our focus is going to be on bringing some sophistication to casual/social gaming. At some point we will also return to developing MMOs.

After a needed 3 year break from 11 years of working on massively multiplayer games with the large teams, budgets, and 3-5 year development cycles I think this will be a nice change of pace. I’m also very excited to be involved in a genre that is relatively new to me. I look forward to bringing MMO design principles to casual/social gaming.

More information on the specific jobs can be found at his website. If I understand correctly, it seems he wants to somehow merge MMO ideas with Farmville type games. Regardless of some past mistakes, personally I've had a lot of enjoyment from games he's been involved in. So I wish him the best of luck and look forward to seeing what the company team come up with.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

TERA - E3 Update

I learned a few more tidbits about TERA from an interview posted at theGamerVg. One of the more unique concepts will be targeting/aiming. If I understand correctly, where you first aim is where the attack or spell will land, even if the mob or player moves. So groups will need to keep the mob steady so that all ranged attacks will actually land. And this will apply to healers as well. If the tank keeps running around, they will not be able to heal. There will be collision to prevent mobs from running through the tank. This sounds like it could really offer a fun challenge for groups and I'm curious to see this in action.

There was also definite confirmation on PvE/PvP. The PvP servers will be open world PvP, while the PvP on PvE servers will be strictly consensual either by dueling or entering their battleground system. But they have stated their focus will be on the PvE experience much more so than their Korean counterpart, and they are adding enough quests from 1-60 so there will never be any grind required. And while there is a strong focus on group play, they are adding additional skills and areas so that soloing is a viable option as well.

There was also vague mention of crafting where you'd be able to take regular gear and craft it up to be epic gear equivalent to what would drop from dungeon monsters. But given where the game was original developed, I'm not expecting an involved crafting system such as EQ2 or LotRO.

Their trailer can be found here.

I Don't Think So, Tim

Well that was a good chuckle. But stranger things have happened so you never know.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

E3 Excitement

It's always exciting to see and hear the new stuff coming from E3. Most of you are probably already on top of what's going on there, but for those wanting all the details, there's a live stream at IGN, as well as continuous updates at E3Feed.

SW:TOR released a pretty amazing trailer. While I'm still not sold on playing this one and the trailer isn't in-game footage, it was really well done and worth a watch. Rift: Planes of Telara also just released a trailer. I'm already a bit excited over this one and the trailer only reinforced that. And finally, Final Fantasy XIV released a trailer as well. After having seen the other two, this seemed a bit boring and was a disappointment. Definitely nothing in the video inspiring me to play. But still going to keep my eye on this one regardless.

Friday, June 4, 2010

CItadel of Sorcery - Guild Halls/Housing

Although they are still early in development and no official forums up yet, Citadel of Sorcery does update the developer's blog on occasion. The Memorial Day weekend update included this juicy bit of info:

Our Art Department has been busy with upgrading the in game User Interface art. Our goal is to add this new art to the game within the next month. In addition our modelers have been building castles, lots of castles, big castles, massive fortresses and tall fantasy castles. With a world as massive as CoS we wanted to make sure that the castles were equally impressive. I know you would like to see some screenshots of these castles, but we are holding off on those until the new terrain system is far enough along. Be patient, it will be worth the wait.

Design has been working on our Guild system. This is very important to the game and the designers have been revisiting the Guild system to make sure that it has everything we want. Guilds will have a physical Guild Hall that Players build out in the Reflected Worlds. They can build them, improve them, add new halls and ramparts and they can keep improving their Guild Hall over time. In addition Players may purchase land around their Guild Hall (from the Guild) and construct their own house and business. Eventually they will construct their own village or town around their Guild Hall. Only Guild members may enter the actual Hall, but other players (non-guild members) can visit the village / town and make use of the various player run businesses.

There can be a whole economy setup and run by the Guild in these locations and we are trying to give the Guilds many options on how they want to run their Guild.

First, I can't wait to see those fantasy castles. But I love the guild hall system where members can build houses and businesses around the hall and construct their own villages. Reminds me a bit of SWG's guild towns. And last I heard, there's no forced PvP or even any sort of PvP-focus, so another "yay!" from me.

They have stated the world will be the size of Earth, so that you could play for over a year and still not have seen everything. This also guarantees there will always be real estate available to guilds.

And equally interesting was this comment, "CoS is a new kind of Quest world, not a PVP mmo or typical cheesy PVE game. It contains no time sinks, no farming zones, no typical crafting. In fact, it has very little to do with any MMO game you or anyone else has played in the past. This is an entirely new system of game play, not another rehash of the same old system. Citadel of Sorcery is about quests, but not like what you may have seen in other PVE MMO games. The depth and quality of our Quests are what set this game apart from other MMORPGs. Each quest in CoS is the equivalent of a multi novel fantasy book series. It is about involved game play content with no time sinks, grinds, repetitive play or any of the other methods MMOs have traditionally used to keep from adding rich content."