Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And I Write Like...

Joining the I Write Like bandwagon, I took a two blog samples and came up with:

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

and then:

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

To get a different perspective, I took a sample of some fiction I wrote elsewhere and came up with:

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

So I suppose Dan Brown it is.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EQ2 Extended - FTP Option

SOE has announced they will soon be offering their own version of free-to-play for EverQuest 2.

They will continue to offer the subscription model; however the Extended model will function separately on completely different server lists. While you technically can play completely for free, your options will be limited to two character slots, two backpacks, eight classes, and four races. Free players also will be unable to upgrade their spells and gear, and will have restrictions in gold and broker usage. There will also be a subscription model available on these servers. As far as I can tell, the difference for subscribers between the Extended and Regular servers will be a more "robust" cash marketplace including the ability to purchase stat armor, buffs, and cutting your spell research time.

While initially, I suppose current players opposed to ftp or this type of cash shop will rejoice that they're not on the same servers, I don't think in the long run this will be a good thing for the population of the current servers. New players trying the game will automatically start on the other servers now and are more likely to stay there than have to start over on new servers, especially knowing the option to purchase certain perks will be available. Researching a spell currently takes me 30 days to complete...who wouldn't want to pay to speed that up? Also players from normal servers will be able to have their characters copied to the new servers for a fee and minus their gold and many of their items.

I realize they've done it this way to not chase off their current subscribers as they've done in previous MMO's, but in the long run I don't think this fares well for the old servers and is more a way of getting players used to the idea before merging the old servers with the new.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

EQ2 - Direct2Drive Special

For the next week Direct2Drive is offering EQ2's latest expansion Sentinel's Fate (including all previous expansions and content), along with 25% bonus experience flasks and some sets of appearance armor, all for $14.95. New accounts also get a 30-day subscription.

This deal was too good for even me to pass up.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Final Fantasy XIV - Possible UI/Mouse Changes?

After reading that Rift interview a couple blogs down regarding customer being king, I couldn't help but think about FFXIV. If anyone has been reading or FoH forums, it's clear that the controls are worse than FFXI and can be a huge road block for attracting new players to FFXIV. With release supposedly just two months away, I couldn't help but wonder why they'd be so stubborn with this one issue when every other mmo out there is playable with a keyboard/mouse.

Now Gamer released an interview yesterday with FFXIV's Hiromichi Tanaka. Here's a couple responses:

Do you fear that some MMO players, unfamiliar with Final Fantasy, might feel like they’re coming to the franchise too late to join in?

There may be some people who are unfamiliar with the series, and it’s very important that we communicate the game well to them. But our main target is Final Fantasy XI players who have stuck with us for eight years and want to proceed into the next generation of MMO.

How has your approach to MMO development changed alongside the market?

We had an alpha test for Final Fantasy XIV and received a lot of feedback from players in Japan, Europe and America. A lot of them said that ‘because World Of Warcraft works in this way then we also expect Final Fantasy XIV to play in the same way’. We heard that a lot and though we’re not trying to imitate any other games we are taking player feedback into account.

I think it's great that they want to keep in mind their loyal fan base for all these years. You often don't see that as companies only see WoW dollar signs/WoW game play to strive for. But I'm sure they'd love to find a way to keep that base and bring in new folks. I'm not sure specifically what sort of World of Warcraft feedback they've gotten, but have to imagine it's UI or control related more than anything.

I just could not get the hang of the controls in the old Final Fantasy. And when I heard it was the same way or even worse in the new version, I just had no plans to even bother. If this article is an indication they might consider making it playable with keyboard and mouse combination, and it's actually playable on my system (not looking good if the benchmark is correct), then I'd definitely give it another look.

Friday, July 16, 2010

VIE - August Beta

Virtual Island of Entertainment is now accepting beta applications. Per their website: "Like a lot of resorts, the emphasis is on fun and making sure our guests have a good time together. It's not just some giant island chat room where you are left to your own devices in order to make and build friendships. Our planned activities bring people together," said Steve Coallier, Executive Director of Product Development at enVie Interactive. "We are developing a multitude of games to play, an assortment of adventures to puzzle through, a plethora of parties to attend, lots of things to earn and buy, and all sorts of fun miscellaneous activities to facilitate interaction. First off we will have several customization options for your avatar, clothes to buy, and things to decorate your house," adds Coallier. "Then there will be characters to meet, mysteries to dig into and ways to connect to your fellow players that you just don't see anywhere else. "

I'm curious, but cautious, particularly when I see a statement like this: VIE's stunning 3-D realistic virtual world includes episodic adventures with multiple storylines. It provides the only realistic virtual environment where it is safe to take part in a variety of desirable activities for adults. Players can explore, experience and indulge in activities they have only been curious about in the real world. If it's in your face "adult", then it won't be for me.

But I do have to say the screenshots look quite nice and realistic, assuming these are actual in-game shots.

Rift - The Customer is King

MMO Gamer released an interview yesterday with Trion's Russ Brown (VP of Development) and Cindy Bowens (Sr. Community Manager), and this has to be one of my favorite interviews to date. While they're not releasing much as far as game features we didn't already know (except for dwarves!), the article mainly focuses on their views of the customer and community.

Cindy discussed the value of community feedback and that major changes may in fact be made as a result of polls. While I love the community there now and the polls to date have been more representative of my play style, still I hope they use their best judgment on some decisions rather than us fickle forum posters. Rift does have a relatively small forum community compared to other MMO's on the horizon, with a good lot of us seeming to be EQ/Vanguard refugees.

This portion of the interview, however, was what really had me cheering:

Russ Brown: I also think it’s important, as I rant against other companies sometimes, I never understand why companies change things that are popular.

The customer is king. If they like it, encourage it. If your game has something else, oh well, they like it!

So many times I see companies say, “Oh my god! Millions of people are exploiting this! Or doing this in the game!” And yes, they like it, they’re enjoying it, encourage it. They’re the customer. You are a service, that’s what an MMO is.

The MMO Gamer: That’s very similar to the position of Craig Morrison, the game director of Age of Conan.

We had a very long conversation last year, revolving around the question of “Why can’t MMOs just be fun?”

His position was that designers generally spend the bulk of their time trying to keep people playing the way they want them to, as opposed to just letting players find their own fun—even if some might consider it to be “not as designed.”

Can I assume based on that answer that you’re more of the let the players play the game the way they wan—

Russ Brown: Damn straight.

The way I’d like to see it work, the way I want it to work, is that as long as players aren’t griefing, or totally making it terrible for other players, let the players play the way they want to play, as long as they enjoy themselves.

As long as they make it a fun place to be, and a fun place to play.

I love these guys.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Player Housing in FFXIV?

I missed this article from a few weeks ago, particularly this snippet:

Mr. Tanaka mentioned that players would be able to create and join groups called "Companies." Similar to player guilds in other games, Companies can themselves "level up," presumably offering additional benefits to the members therein. When asked if Companies would have shared housing or other group-owned assets, they smiled and said that players would have real-estate to call their own, but "weren't ready to announce anything more at this time" - sounds like a "yes" to me!

Since it was lumped in with a discussion on guilds or "companies" as they call them, not sure if this will be in the form of guild halls, player housing, or maybe both. For an MMO scheduled to release in a couple months, they certainly are tight-lipped. But maybe that's not a bad thing. Sometimes we tend to do so much reading and studying up prior to release that there are no surprises. My past vacations tended to be like that. I spent all year looking up information, seeing pictures, and planning everything out, that by the time I got there, I felt like I'd already seen everything. Here's hoping FFXIV has some amazing surprises.

Friday, July 2, 2010

TERA E3 Video

Just caught a condensed version of a video that was shown behind closed doors during E3. It's looking great in my opinion...except why does that girl have to run all bent over?