Saturday, January 17, 2009

MMO Glitches

At last, free of the linear prison of flight paths! FREEEDOOMMM!

Sometimes those millions of lines of code fail us. Then we are suddenly unplugged from the rules of the world and are given free reign to wreck havoc. No I'm not trying to start a post about the Matrix. Any post that adds the words Matrix and MMO usually has me wanting to projectile vomit toward the creators of that farce of a game.

Of course I'm not trying to say it's a BAD game. I'm trying to say I would rather have a rabid cat become attached to my spine then play the Matrix Online anymore. But hey that's just my opinion.

I want to talk about glitches! Not just ye normal "Gears of War 2 Morons Crab-Walking" glitches but MMO glitches. Why? Well I was just goofing off in everyone's favorite addiction World of Warcraft when my griffon decided he was tired of his years of bondage to the tyranny of dwarves. So I find myself suddenly controlling the magical little beast and take him for a stroll down into Darkshire. After a few moments of joy I find myself suddenly disconnected and booted for ever showing the poor creature a moment of joy.

It got me thinking though of all the little glitches I've seen that made me pull my hair from frustration or made me laugh hysterically as I'm prone to do.

He is not suppose to be purple...

There is one glitch in particular that I wish I still had pictures of. Some time ago in World of Warcraft the instance server kinda shut off. So everyone in an instance or a battleground suddenly found themselves teleported several hundred feet about the Arathi Mountains. I cannot show my own personal demise in this cataclysmic event, I did find a video that demonstrates what happened...

While the glitch was pretty frustrating as the entire raid "wiped", the outcome was worth it for sheer laughs. However glitches are not always fun. What about if you wait a few hours for a named monster to appear in EverQuest only to have him "fall" through the ground somewhere else in the dungeon? If you've ever played EverQuest before and camped a mob you can have a glimmer of what type of rage this can produce.

So, what are some of the glitches you've come across while mindlessly stabbing monsters in the gut? Tell me about some of the more memorable glitches that you've come across, be they simple graphical crashes or gargantuan shattering of the game. It's the weekend, so I'm avoiding any serious discussion or work. So come bask in my procrastination this weekend. Also I'll update the poll for Round 3!

Round 2: Peg Leg Warrior vs Lagging Enchanter

The last bout took the form of a small short story. This one however will be a bit different. Enjoy!

Peg Leg Warrior v.s. Lagging Enchanter

Grodius the Wooden Fury: *Gazes at his opponent* This will be over in a few seconds..Noob.

Foghorn the 56k Enchanter: Loading...Please wait...

Grodius: LOL, say something before I pwn you.

Foghorn: *Appears suddenly, and simply stands there* ...

Grodius: *charges in, and starts flailing away with two swords and a peg leg* Rip Frag time!

Foghorn takes no damage.

Grodius: WTF? *continues attacking, taking out his huge 2-hander that is easily 3x taller than him.*

Foghorn takes no damage.

Grodius: ok what the ....

Foghorn phases in and out of reality due to gargantuan amounts of lag, which apparently bends space and time. Appears several yards behind Grodius.
Foghorn begins casting a spell..

Foghorn casts Gravity Flux, dealing 300 points of damage and shooting Grodius several hundred feet in the air.

Grodius falls back down, falling down a ravine hitting every rock on the way down, taking 500 more points of damage.

Grodius: WTF?! Noob you hax!

Foghorn casts a spell...

Grodius: ...

Foghorn casts Gravity Flux..

Foghorn the Lagging Enchanter wins!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Interview with Eskil Steenberg, Maker of Love MMO

I've recently emailed Eskil Steenberg, the one man development team behind the game Love. Since we're still waiting for the eventual Interview, I'm going to sit down with Eskil and talk about his game You can watch a brief video of Love in it's pre-alpha stages and read what I had to say about it here. I hope to get this interview up in a much more timely fashion than the one with Thom. I don't blame him however considering how busy he is with lawsuits and all that jazz.

Also sometime tonight I'll post the Round 2 bout in a format that EverQuest fans will enjoy. Stay tuned! Enjoy your MMOs!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wheel of Time MMO: EA Signs Up

I've talked about RedEagle Games' The Wheel of Time MMO some time ago.(You can read that very brief article here.) However, now the Dragon Reborn's virtual avatar will be backed by more than just Saidin, he'll be backed by EA.(Yeah I know my Wheel of Time.) As I mentioned before, RedEagle Games will be releasing much more than just an MMO, but also standalone video games for a variety of consoles and handhelds. The deal with EA will allow other third party companies such as Valve, Harmonix, and id.

If all these blockbuster names get together for the virtual appearance of so many WoT games, my skepticism over one of my favorite fantasy worlds being turned into a virtual world for the masses lessens to a degree. However I can't help but remember the evil that is Warhammer.(I'm sorry, I detest it.) For those who enjoy words, here is the press release with all the gooey details I was too lazy to put here.
Malibu, Calif. – January 15, 2009 – Red Eagle Games today announced they have signed a strategic distribution agreement with Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS) for games based on Robert Jordan's beloved fantasy series, The Wheel of Time.

Red Eagle Games will develop and publish a line of stand-alone games on all major videogame platforms, including consoles, personal computers, handheld systems and wireless devices. The games will be distributed by EA. In addition, Red Eagle will launch and operate a massively multiplayer online role-playing game that encompasses the themes, characters and world of The Wheel of Time, which will be distributed at retail by EA.

"The Wheel of Time is a blockbuster global brand and our relationship with EA Partners will ensure that Red Eagle Games' products are made available to consumers around the world through familiar retail channels," said Rick Selvage, Chairman and President of Red Eagle Games.

"EA Partners is excited to team up with Red Eagle as their global distribution partner for games based on The Wheel of Time series," said David DeMartini, senior vice president and general manager of EA Partners. "The Wheel of Time series has a massive worldwide following and we're excited to help give Red Eagle Games' interactive products a blockbuster launch on the global stage."

The rich details of Jordan's meticulously crafted series have captivated readers since 1990, when The Eye of the World, the first book in the series, was published. Eleven additional books, including one prequel, have since been added to the series and have consistently appeared on the New York Times Bestseller List with the last four of his novels in the series debuting at No. 1. Jordan passed away in 2007 at the age of 58, but a final book, A Memory of Light, will be finished by fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson using notes and a partial draft left with Jordan's wife and editor, Harriet Rigney, and is expected to be published in fall 2009 by Tor Books.

Jordan's wildly popular books have been translated into 24 languages, and have sold about 44 million copies worldwide. In addition, the series has a vast global on-line community of tens of thousands of dedicated fan Web sites.
As a huge fan of the late James Oliver Rigney, Jr (His pen name was Robert Jordan) I hope these companies do their best to both remain true to the series and make the game entertaining. It wouldn't be the FIRST wildly popular book series turned MMO that turned out to be mediocre at best if it didn't however.(I'm so subtle...see what I did there?)

Also I'm very sorry for the lack of a post today concerning the victor of the Round 2 Event. I'll get that up as soon as possible tomorrow where I'll showcase the epic struggle between a peg-legged warrior and a lagging enchanter.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An MMO Subject: What class are you?

There has been a large number of articles lately that are a bit TOO serious for my taste. I have no one to blame for this situation but myself as I wanted to give my personal opinion on a lot of hot subjects.(Such as RMT, how the financial situation will affect MMOs, the sudden migration of moose, and other fine subjects.) However today I wanted a more light, casual, and hopefully interesting topic. I have an urge to talk about classes. While for some reason I think it's hilarious to use the word urge in this context(I'm weird.), I really want to get into the subject of classes or archetypes if your game of choice doesn't use a class system.

For the most part, many MMOs follow a pretty standard set of classes. You have the Tank, the DPS melee, the DPS ranged, and the Healer. Of course sprinkled within these lonely archetypes there are abilities and/or spells that are other categories onto themselves such as support, crowd control, buffs, debuffs, and other unique features. Some games have entire classes focused on the "Support" niche in a group such as EverQuest, while others simply pass a few of these to the standard 4 archetypes such as World of Warcraft. So what does all this information make me?


I'm at constant odds with the class system mechanic used in MMOs. On one hand it's a salute to the games of yore such as Dungeons & Dragons. On the other hand it is a very structured and limiting system that has me switching classes constantly because I get so bored remaining in one fixed niche in the game. When you pick a class in most MMOs you spend your entire time from level one onward to what ever level cap exists doing practically the same thing, using the same abilities. While there are different uses for abilities depending on if you're soloing, grouping, or raiding generally speaking you're pressing the same buttons, using the same ol sequence of moves that you've "TheoryCrafted".

"But Danshir! Just make another character! Make an alt!" You say to me.


You're telling me to cure tedium I should go back and start at level 1 and repeat the entire process with an entirely different niche? Why? That's a snake eating it's own tail. The feeling of deju vu will come over me in a tidal wave and I'll realize I'm back at square one. Still confined in a overly structured class system that refuses to let me play EXACTLY what I want to play. As much as I love Dungeons & Dragons I really think the class system that we have used for so long has got to go. (While I love D&D, I have yet to learn the new 4.0 rules...Down with the new! Bring back ye ol 2.0 rules! Huzzah!)

So....what is an MMO player to do?

There are a vaccines for this disease, a treatment that have been used occasionally. The "point" system. To put it very basically, the point system lets you put skill points or what have you into different abilities. This can range from weapons to healing to fire spells or whatever. You make a custom class that is perfectly tailored to your playstyle. Want a Fire slinging priest? You got it. The freedom to powerfully control the "destiny" of how your "class" proceeds makes me giddy like a school girl. Sadly the only MMO I've played that used this system was Asheron's Call.

A great example of how versatile the system is and lackluster a class system is in comparison comes to mind when I think about Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. I personally enjoyed this game for my PC, however I detested the Xbox360 version. Even though it ran a lot smoother on my console, there was one fatal flaw between the two. The PC version let you get skill points and distribute them between three skill trees. The first was more of a Fighter type, the second a Mage, and last a Rogue or stealth character. In the console one you were stuck with picking one of these three and that was it.

That was your character.

You couldn't make a strange hybrid between the two that fit your style of play.(Mine was Stealth/Fighter, I felt very much like Artemis Entreri from R.A. Salvatore's novels.) You were instead a very boring cliche class that you've more than likely played so many times before. Yet almost every single MMO follows suit. A review of Silent Hill: Homecoming by Zero Punctuation mentions how Americans HAVE to have a love story somewhere in their media. I know that the book "Ender's Game" has been in the works so long to become a film because every director wants to force a love interest in the story and the author of the book refuses for the main character to have one.(If you haven't read the book, it would make NO sense for him to have me.) Why add useless cliches such as a love story when you don't need it or it doesn't need to be there in the first place?

So why continue cliches for the sake of "That's how it's done?" Why should we use a class system just because "That's how it's done?" It makes no sense. So WHY do it?

*dramatic pause*

Maybe I'm bitter. Maybe I'm spoiled. Maybe I'm just tired of playing the same exact game with abilities that are under different names and different graphics. Offer me something unique or just offer me the chance to MAKE something unique for myself. Please?

So what class am I? I'm Danshir the Holy demon summoner that throws rabid pigs filled with explosives and knives. What class are you?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

An MMO Called Love

One of my fellow authors over at NegativeGamer found an interesting semi-MMO game being developed called Love. I dub it "Semi-MMO" for the fact each server will only hold about 100-200 people. The game boasts an environment that will be fully editable in game and also fully destructible. So anything you can see can be built AND destroyed. Something that may turn people off (or may not, depending on the MMO "generation" you are.) is that your character's perspective is first person.(If you don't know what this means, its where you don't see yourself. The screen is your character's eyes.)

According to Love's website nearly everything can be created. Terra forming, building cities, everything. While this in itself is amazing for an MMO to boast, this game that uses a more "artistic" style than most MMOs. (Think like the game Okami.) All of this is being done by one man.

Eskil Steenberg is developing the project all by himself. While I could go on how this indie title is shaping up to be major news in the MMO world, I'll just show a brief video of the game in pre-alpha stages. Enjoy. Please tell HalfLeft over at NegativeGamer thanks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

DC Universe Video - More People in Tights

I got to watch this neat little video over at It's about a game I've not even bloody mention so far on this MMO site of mine.(Though not because I dislike the idea, I actually want to play it. There are many things to talk about *insert sad face*) It shows off some of the aspects of character creation, some attack animations(which look very smooth and pretty), as well as the new movement mode acrobatics. Acrobatics is basically " Super Jump " from NCSoft's City of Heroes, except with a few neat additions like "air dash" and climbing walls.

I'll try to keep better tabs on this since it's one of the few MMORPGs coming out that will also be available for consoles. Most MMO games released for consoles generally crash, burn, break an arm, and crawl out of the horrible accident only to have a shark fall from the heavens on their head.(The image is now in your head..isn't it?) However DC Universe may actually pull it off and be a truly successful MMO on a console.

With The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction inspiring SOE to incorporate such interactivity into game play, hopefully this game will bring out the inner comic book nerd in all of us.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Put The World of Warcraft Needle in Your Veins.

What is the first thing you think of when someone says "Addiction"? Generally the first few answers you'll receive are smoking, drugs, alcohol, and a variety of narcotics. However there is a growing epidemic (dramatic word) that is increasing drop-outs in school, ruining marriages, ending friendships, and putting people out of a job. What could this mysterious malady be?


While the hype about the effects are recent (Read Massively's article about Chinese game addicts here.), the actual problem has been around since the late 90s. The most notable occurrence was made by SOE's EverQuest. Given rise to such "pet names" such as EverCrack, EverQuest has had a share of stories where the "addiction" caused horrible incidents. A man killing his son because his son interrupted him playing. (You can read about it here.) A woman leaving her two babies in the car while she went inside to "quickly" talk to some guild members. She left them in there for several hours..( You can read about this tragedy here.) The list really goes on for EverQuest alone.

This isn't even counting World of Warcraft, which has a population several times more than EverQuest ever had during it's peak years. Suicide Pranks, Death by Exhaustion, Neglect of Children, and so many other stories. All of these can be linked to a single solitary word.


Now before you go raid SOE and Blizzard, know that these companies are NOT at fault. To blame them, or any type of media, for someones actions is childish and plain stupid. " Does the blame belong to the one who made the gun....or the one who pulled the trigger? " is an analogy I think that fits here. Regardless however of whom you think the blame belongs to, it doesn't change the fact that people let "virtual progression" take over the need to have "real progression". ( I've decided I will try to make Virtual Progression one of those useless words that seem to gain popularity on the Internet. Like Blogosphere or Innovation. Help support the movement!)

What do I mean by virtual progression and real progression? I think PART of the formula that makes MMORPGs so addicting is when we play them, there is a near constant growth with our virtual selves. Constantly improving your standing as you level, gear up, and raid, which is the direct opposite of how "Real Life" treats us in terms of pace. Any type of growth that can be measured and monitored (IE Job promotions, raises, buying a house, etc.) occur over a period of months, even years. However in an MMORPG you can experience "important" achievements at an accelerated rate. I won't go into the possible psychological reasons of why these games are addicting.( In real life I'm just a dork, in Norrath I'm an epic paragon of awesome.) I want to talk about addition itself.

While I wish just saying "Gaming Addiction is bad, m'kay?" would suffice and be the panacea to the problem it won't. The biggest obstacle is simply realizing that you ARE addicted. I found out personally a few years ago that I was addicted. I would avoid hanging out with my friends simply because it took time away from gaming. Movies, social events, work, everything was just a side note in my life's goal. (Which was leet purple gear) I would wake up a few hours early just so I could play without any interruptions.

Sounds bad eh?

I'm not so arrogant to assume that my brain is capable of producing the perfect answer, or any answer really, that would remove this venom from the psyches of others. While my own personal answer worked for me, which was simply realizing what a piece of crap I had become and becoming resolute to reverse the process through Twinkies (The Twinkies part isn't true.), it would more than likely not help everyone else.

I'm going to step down and let you talk. What do you think about gaming addictions? What are the causes and the solutions? You can go as detailed into the psychology of it as you wish or simply give a more personal comment about it. Do you think it's the developers fault? Could part of the addiction come from the simple fact people want to justify their money being shoveled into great vats these companies hold? Could it simply be human nature to be addicted to positive reinforcement? The floor is yours.
The MMO Experience © 2008 Template by: