Archive for the ‘Chronicles of Spellborn’ Category

MMOADD = Not Real

I was just reading through the comments on Cuppy’s page, and The Hiram Key thought that the reason lots of us bloggers constantly fall in and out of love with EQ2 was due to the fact that we all have MMOADD. Bildo countered this by saying that there was some intangible flaw with EQ2 that doesn’t quite grab us the way that WoW and other games might. I’m more inclined to side with Bildo here, not just for the relation to EQ2, but any MMO in which we find ourselves losing our desire to play. I believe that one of the most important things that makes an MMO what it is is this idea of loyalty. Every MMO out there is striving to gain your undivided time and money. They don’t want you jumping around spending half your time with one and half your time with another.

Remember when AC and EQ were THE MMO’s on the scene, and how loyal each gamer was to whichever they chose? You hardly ever saw one playing the other. The problem is that now that there are many different MMO’s to test, when we see flaws in the one we play, we try something else out to fill that void. Ultimately, if we found one we were content with, we would stick with that for a couple years or so before we moved on to something else, not flopping around like a fish out of water.

I played Asheron’s Call for four years, and it was my full intention to find another MMO after I tired of it that held me that long again. Granted, it was like the first time with everything, you are always seeking that same gratification, and you aren’t going to find it, but I always intended for MMO’s that followed to be long-term games that I played. I found that with WoW, which I have played on and off (mostly on) since release, but since then I simply haven’t found something I wanted to dive into with the same passion as the first two. Honestly, I don’t know that I will in the near future, with the possible exception of three games (Spellborn, Warhammer, and Stargate Worlds.)

I’m starting to get a little side-tracked, though. The point is that I, and I believe most other MMO gamers, have no intention to spread themselves out over three or four games (unless it is somewhat journalistic in nature) but would much rather be completely happy and content with one game that satisfied all of their wants and needs in an MMO.

~Kanthalos

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Building an MMO for the Future — Suicide or What?

I just can’t help but wonder what Sigil was trying to do with Vanguard building it for specifications that won’t even be possible for another 12-18 months. It’s true that technology doubles very quickly, I believe it’s 18 months, but still… is that any kind of way to advertise your game?

“OK everybody, we are going to have an awesome game for you to play 18 months after we release it! I know this doesn’t make any sense, but we actually need that 18 months to fix all the bugs that we failed to take out in the longer-than-usual production time we had to build this game. So even though there will be more than a dozen new MMO’s for you guys to play, we feel confident that you will be ready to try our game once you can buy a computer than can run it at more than 20 FPS”

I don’t know about everyone else, but that to me seems like exactly the message they should have slapped on the box of this game before it shipped. My only question is this; How many gamers are actually going to stick around for a year and a half waiting for this game to become playable, when there will be new games coming out left and right (LotRO, WAR, AoC, Spellborn, Huxley, Tabula Rasa just to name a few) that surely won’t have such high expectations of its players bank account to buy a top-of-the-line PC? It seems like this is the problem with EverQuest 2. I have a pretty decent computer… 2GB RAM, 2.8 Ghz Pentium 4 processor and a Radeon X600 256MB graphics card. It’s a decent computer and I can’t even play EQ2 on high settings or else my graphics card shuts down every 5 minutes or so. I’m not going to play a game that I know could look good with a great PC if everything looks blurry and faded on my PC, especially when the game came out over 2 years ago. Just use common sense Sigil. Sure, you will get a few new players when tech rises, but it won’t be anywhere near the 1-300k you probably lost by a) releasing too soon and b) asking far too much of your customers. Get it together, and hopefully other companies will realize that they need to build their game for today, not for three years from now so they can retain customers better.

-Kanthalos

Response to "The Evolution of MMO Politics"

I went over to virginworlds.com today as I usually do and found this article about politics in MMO’s. I found this to be very interesting, and started to consider the issue myself. What I came to realize is that, while the author, Collin, states that “there’s more to success than just warring,” I believe that in an MMO, there won’t be any sense of politics without PvP. If you are not willing to fight against other characters for certains beliefs or items, then there will be very little sense of politics.

Harkening back to my days in Asheron’s Call, on the full PvP server even today I remember how intense the sense of politics were. There was one guild which far and away dominated all the others and for the vast majority of dungeons and mobs of any importance, they would block the entrances to dungeons or constantly farm certain mobs, preventing the weaker guilds from ever having the chance to get such things. This creates two different mindsets. One, you can join them (if they will let you) and reap the benefits, while alienating yourself from all the others and making yourself a target for everyone else, or you can stick with a smaller guild and “fight the good fight” making it extremely difficult to experience the game to the fullest.

As you will see in a lot of my future posts, I am an advocate for the Chronicles of Spellborn. Collin mentioned that there needs to be a scarcity of goods in order for there to be a real sense of politics. In Chronicles of Spellborn, this will be a very large aspect of the game. As there will be five houses, each with different beliefs and benefits, they will have the ability to gain control of “shards” which are land masses. These shards will contain certain goods that can only be found in specific areas (or so I have come to understand) forcing you to choose a side to fight for, and hopefully gain control over these goods, as you will be able to sell them to others or keep them for your house/guild to make and use for yourselves. With the way these houses work, it sounds as though guilds will be able to form strong alliances with other guilds of the same house and work together towards a common objective. As for the “rights, freedoms, and beliefs” you also talked about, this will all be bundled up within the house idea.

As for other games headed our way, I have very little idea how they plan to incorporate a stronger feeling of politics and its importance, but I know that if Chronicles of Spellborn comes through on their plans and pulls it off successfully, I believe that it will have the strongest political system we have seen to date. That said, I have not played Dark Age of Camelot, which looked like it had an impressive Realm vs. Realm system set up. Anyways, that’s my two gold on the topic.

~Kanthalos

Immersion in MMOs

I’ve recently been looking at reviews about Vanguard and most people’s severe disappointment in it, and was wondering what the term “immersion” actually means to an MMO. While it means different things to everyone, some of the things I find to be important are exploration, history/lore, and a sense of importance.

Back during my 4 years of Asheron’s Call, I would simply spend hours exploring the continent of Dereth, discovering landmarks that I have never seen before. Dilapidated bridges, old sanctuaries that are no longer being used, shrines, or the hundreds of dungeons that had virtually no use, except that they were fun to explore. I loved seeing just random little landmarks that made the world seem like it had some real history and depth. I have played a half dozen MMO’s now, most for at least two weeks, and I have yet to find one that rivals AC’s sense of immersion. Sure WoW has tons of stuff to keep me busy and lots of eye candy, but I still don’t really get a sense of history or a sense of exploration. I am simply going somewhere to complete a quest or to get to an instance. I like the idea behind Caverns of Time, but it still isn’t really what I’m looking for.

Another aspect of immersion that I think is important it having an impact of the world. Again, CoT is scratching the surface with this, but Chronicles of Spellborn sounds like this is going to be a much heavier element in their game with the ancestral quests. These really give you the since that history is important and that you have made a difference, whether you have or not. They also have the shard exploration aspect to consider. Players will be able to discover new “shards” which are landmasses within the Deadspell Storm. This adds an element of adventure, and also gives players the opportunity to truly discover something that no one else has seen yet.

Another aspect Spellborn wants to implement is control over these shards. There are five “houses” in Spellborn each with different doctrines, which will be able to control certain things in the game, like parts of shards, mines, etc. This is huge in immersion as you and your fellow house/guildmates will actually be able to help keep/gain control of certain things in the world.

Anyways, there are a few things that I find to be important when thinking about immersion in an MMO. It sounds like the Vanguard dev’s promised a lot of these elements, but due to a rushed release or for other reasons, have left most of their players wanting, which has caused many to leave. Perhaps they will be able to turn it around after a few months, and regain these players, but for now, it sounds like a bug-ridden, most unoriginal, MMO. One thing that I am looking forward to is LotRO. While I haven’t seen much, I have seen most of the Shire, which I think is amazing, with the landscapes looking similar to Asheron’s Call 2, only slightly improved. This is one game that I have hope for in terms of a sense of immersion, but I’ll post more when I have seen more of the zones.

~Kanthalos~