Category Archives: Design
Yes, I’m still playing WoW — coming up to 3 months now — and yes, I’m still enjoying it, though cracks may be appearing in the facade. I have a feeling that in order to keep moving in the game, because WoW is just what it is, I’m going to end up having to do dungeons… and I’m not sure I want to, for reasons I’ve covered many times before but may yet cover again in a more up-to-date whine.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. Today, we’re going to talk about killing 10 rats and how not all rats are the same.
For the last few weeks I’ve been doing dailies in the Twilight Highlands, and not really because I need to. Sure, I still need to hit exalted with them, but other than that I’m pretty much done with anything I could buy from them. There’s not much there for hunters. But the dailies are a hoot, and I tend to do them with friends in the evenings because they’re just so appropriate for winding down.
The thing to know is that these quests are given by dwarves, and by dwarves who value the finer things in life — to whit, food and beer. So the first thing we do is the Beer Run, which involves protecting a bunch of dorfs with kegs as they go from A to B. It’s hardly difficult, but it is fun, especially when there are 6 different convoys going and everyone’s all bunched up on the road. That’s a lot of beer! PROTECT THE BEER!
The next thing we do is to find more beer — because, well, one can never have enough beer. Only this time, every time you pick some up you also have to drink some, so you end up completely smashed — and you also pick up food along the way because finding beer is hungry and thirsty work.
Okay, so you also kill shit and smash a boss’s face in and all that, but the BEER is what matters. As it should be.
Before you accuse me of being a lush — which may well fit but isn’t the point under discussion — I’m just saying that there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with killing 10 rats, or guzzling 10 beers. What’s bad is when 90% of what you do is literally going out and killing 10 foozles. Inject a little humour, make people’s screens go a bit squiffy for 10 minutes, and suddenly the 10 rats become a social occasion and not a chore.
As with so many other things in MMOs (and life, come to think of it), it’s all relative.
Sometimes I love the blogosphere: it binds us together, it enables us to share and circulate ideas, and it allows us to have far-reaching and far-branching debates about all manner of gaming things under the sun.
Sometimes I loathe the blogosphere, for exactly the same reasons.
So as I read the various posts and discussions spawned by Eric of Elder Game’s original post — including my own (Eric link at top, everyone else at the end of the post) — I end up wondering: do we actually read each other, or do we just use each other as opportunities to bang on our own drums, grind our own axes, and stand on our own soapboxes?
I’m bemused and almost irked enough by it to be doing one of these petty, self-justifying set-the-record-straight posts, which in itself irritates me even further. (Doesn’t help that I’ve only had one cup of coffee, come to think of it.*) On the bright side it’s the weekend and nobody reads blog posts over the weekend, so I can mutter quietly and mostly to myself in my corner.
Record–straightening #1. I never said classes were better than not-classes. I said Eric said skill-based is hard, and I agreed with him based on my personal gaming experience. Actually, I do believe I said once or twice that classless is very rewarding, but it’s a lot more work — granted that my only “development” experience of that is for tabletop games, but while I didn’t mess about with million-dollar budgets, I do have some idea of the relative amount of work-time required between managing a classless, skill-based campaign and managing the opposite.
(For those who like this kind of thing underpinned by “evidence,” the tabletop game I ran for the longest time — about 8 years — was Ars Magica, which is pretty much a skill-based game with incredibly messy and open-ended rules, at least the ruleset we used, which was mostly 3rd ed with a smattering of 2nd, 4th and house rules.)
Once again. In a purely theoretical sense I still don’t see what’s so contentious about “skill-based is harder to design and balance than class-based” — I really don’t. As an extremely general statement, it seems pretty straightforward to me. Given the perils of speaking for others at this stage, I won’t — but I certainly never said that just because something is more difficult to design, nobody should bother with it.
Record-straightening #2. I never made any comments about easy/hard and choice/not-choice. Other people’s drums. Sure, I have stuff to say about those things, but I didn’t say them in that post.
I’m still boggling at how this has, once again, become a debate about easy-mode versus iron-man Mr. Real Player, even in terms of development. If you like structure, you’re a sheeple. If you like to be able to screw up your character without hope of recovery, you’re a brave pioneer forging ahead into the wilds of game adventure.
Yes, I’m paraphrasing rather inaccurately. I felt it was my turn.
I’m definitely starting to think it would be useful for the gaming community as a whole to lose the “if it made me want to chew my arms off, it was BETTER” elitist attitude we’re dragging around with us whether we notice it or not. There are arguments to be made for both simplicity and complexity and they’re a great deal more, um, complicated than simply saying one is better than the other, which is a pretty meaningless assertion without context, actually.
I’m done griping now. Move along. Nothing to see here, classy or otherwise.
* Please. No advice on how I should quit drinking so much coffee if it makes me that grumpy. Can’t a person even use hyperbole on her site anymore without being adviced-at? I’m really just grumpy by nature and coffee has nothing to do with it. Now get off my damn lawn!
A few years back we had EA Spouse.
Now we have EA Louse on why Warhammer Online failed.
I haven’t had time to read my RSS feed and see how long this has been causing ripplets across the blogosphere and forums. To be honest, I’m not sure I much care.
For one thing we have no idea if this is legit, but the rant is entertaining. More importantly, however, it’s the by now oh-so-familiar threnody of the worker bee in the gaming and MMO industry. They’re treated for crap and most people who read blogs or are even slightly informed (go read Scott Jennings) know this. The vast majority of gamers have no clue and probably wouldn’t care if they did, being like the vast majority of normal people, to whit: selfish and self-absorbed.
Sadly, this probably will not change the culture of exploitation and managerial self-interest that’s rampant in the MMO development industry – a culture that happens to be rampant in most industries and would be called, by some pundits, “good capitalism.”
I’m not going to get into my feelings about capitalism and exploitation here, this is a gaming blog.
Anyway, go read it. It’s entertaining. It may be eye-opening. It’s biased, of course, but aren’t we all?
This “grind” thing is something I think about now and then on my very own, but recent internet teacup storms and my own no-quests experiment in LOTRO have pushed it to the forefront again.
A little context won’t hurt. First there’s the reported “ZOMG I WON”T BE GETTING ANY XP THIS IS FUCKING UNFAIR!!” fatigue system that’s apparently going into FF XIV. Lots of people have commented on that in various places and, for the record, it’s not the first time such a system has been mooted. Just Google it if you want some links. The Shwayder, however — he of Nerfbat fame — wrote something this morning that hit a nerve with me and that I’ll quote here, because I’m more interested in the concept of grinding right now than in whether there will or won’t be an xp-shackle system in FF XIV.