Monday, July 27, 2009



A young highborn noble who wears black and many more weapons than you can see. Becomes a fugitive by freeing Anton from a dungeon. Once freed she treats Anton as though he has an unpayable debt to her. Assassin Hero Class, with a special power to turn herself invisible. Most like the Ranger Generic Class otherwise.

"I'm going to let go of you now...I have just one request--Don't Scream like a little girl."
*She takes her hand off his mouth*
"Because I'd make fun of you for the rest of your life."
"No, no...I mean...why did you risk coming to save me?"
"Oh...We'll discuss later, come on!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Little King's Story: keep an eye on this one

I think I may be able to convince my wife to let us buy this for my dad for his birthday... maybe. The reviews are certainly interesting, a strategy title that is surprisingly deep, deceivingly cute and well done storyline, etc.. Read up here:

Sounds like Pikmin and Fire Emblem on steroids. I'm in.

Lastly it launches in the US today (according to Wikipedia, its been wrong before, but its usually right)

Update: I'm not just full of hot air, I DID actually buy it for my dad and he IS getting it for his b-day next week. Details of our experience together will be added in a further post if its worthy of one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Boo! Hiss! The Bad Guy!

Here's Maylek, the villain--
A charismatic, hotheaded aristocrat who thinks everybody loves him. Secretly practices sorcery. Uses hexes to absorb the powers of others.
"Soon, I'll dominate everything, everybody, anyone, anywhere! Oh yeahhh!"
"All right, porkchop, listen...I'll say it the old-fashioned way: I'm going to take over the world. Did it settle on your cranium that time? ...Nevermind, don't hurt yourself."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Time-Saver Paradox

I'd like to discuss something ... I'd very much like to hear what others have to say about this. It seems to me that just as our lives get easier by having so many time-saving devices, like faster cars, dish-washers, and faster pcs, we feel like we have less and less time to do things, and we enjoy the simple pleasures of life less than our farmer ancestors who churned their own butter, and made their own bread, and ice cream, though sometimes we still do that.

Anyways, I won't delve into the real world too much, I just wanted to give an example. So in MMO design, this paradox holds true still in many many ways. If you give people something that's easy to do, say for example WAR's battlegrounds, they enjoy it less than say something that's hard to do, like finding the action on your own. Allow me to explain. In this game called WAR you click a queue button. You can do this from anywhere in the world. Blizzard had battlegrounds you could queue from any major city, well, WAR has it even easier. Just queue up for them in your UI. Its almost a separate little game/world you can sign up for. And when your turn comes, you are whisked away to go fight.

Thing is, this kind of thing has a price. It breaks immersion, it breaks the world feel a little more every time someone does it. Immersion aside, even though these things are incredibly fun, they eventually get boring and become grinds, unless there's actually a lot of strategy going, instead of all out assault. But my point is, you don't want your whole subscription experience to devolve into battlegrounds, you just want them for occasional pvp challenge usually.

So what's the solution? Frankly there are lots but I dunno if everyone would agree to any of them so the developers gotta pick. One solution is keep the battlegrounds accessible only as an extra game that you can only access via an external to the game UI. Or another option is to go sit in the actual area of the game where the matches are supposed to be and wait until your turn (and 10 or more other people) comes up. But getting whisked away to go fight in the battleground when you are already fighting in a dungeon, or doing a quest with friends or "gasp" fighting pvp in the persistent world, is just ridiculous. It needs to stop. (IMO, yours may vary)

Convenience cheapens experiences. It make them faster and easier and more accessible too though. So where do you put the slider bar? If you put it towards accessibility tons of people will east your cheap candy and have fun and then get sick. If you put it too far towards immersive experiences you have major difficult times finding exciting action in the world, and usually people just assume there isn't that much going on unless they belong to some organization that has eyes and ears everywhere and knows there's an Undercity raid or whatever. Lord of the Rings (Ettenmoors) and WoW tried to solve this by having an area (Wintergrasp?) where stuff is always (well, almost) going on. You can just head there and brawl and leave when you are done. This involves keeps and some strategy but mostly zerg pvp which is intense.. and becomes quickly a grind where the individual doesn't matter as much as the average capability coefficient of a large group of individuals multiplied by their leader's intelligence and lastly their raw numbers.

Some battlegrounds actually have had solutions to this. Alterac Valley originally worked well but later was broken and became a place where half the population sat afk in the tunnel at the beginning slowly getting rep, and the other half charged straight past the enemy to kill their keep lord, since the rewards for actually fighting the opposing team were insignificant compared with killing the keep Lord, and fighting the enemy just made the whole thing take longer, and win or lose you still get something. Buuuuuut an army versus another army, mixed with npcs and pcs has a certain fun appeal to it, and taking strategic positions is kinda neat. Arathi Basin probably does the best job out of the WoW battleground ideas though of being fun but requiring some intelligence and allowing small groups to make a big difference against the zerg, since the small groups can keep the zerg from winning by re-pinning down resources locations after the zerg leaves. Some combination of the two might be best. I dunno. I personally think pvp development is still in its infancy, and until we get better AI's, pve is too.

What do you folks think? What would make the best all-purpose battleground and what would make the best specialized pvp experience?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Introducing...Thallian And Anton!

Some character introductions are in order! Of course, the first characters are...Us!
Hey, if we're going to make a game...We get to be the stars if we want to, right?

Thallian-A Dragon Rider whose special bond with an ancient dragon has granted him immense power. Thallian doesn't take things very seriously which can get him into a lot of trouble. Especially with the dragon who shares his lifeline. Most Similar Class: Knight.

Anton-A Holy Knight with the power to fight off the servants of Death that take souls to the underworld. With the enemy coveting his great power over death, he has become a target for capture by the evil wizard Maylek. Most Similar Class: Priest.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

DDO Unlimited launches Aug 4

Its official! DDO launches Aug 4 for US and the 6th for everyone else! I'm stoked. Hopefully Anton will play with me since I cant seem to connect to his Arelith server...^%$$%^8@#!!! firewalls! I hate em, but I know we need em, just wish we had something that worked better and didnt block gaming. Anyways if anyone is interested in playing DDO with me lemme know, we'll set up an instance group or something with my bro.