Sunday, April 29, 2007

So It Begins, SOE Taking Over Vanguard

Brad McQuaid has all but confirmed the transfer of Vanguard into SOE's hands.
It's all ultimately good news, but complicated enough to justify one of my verbose postings I should have my first Sigil/Vanguard update up tomorrow and then look for regular updates as to the future of the game here and on the affiliate sites (probably weekly or so, depending on what's going on). I will post here first and then immediately copy the post to a set of the Vanguard affiliate sites.

Thanks,

-Brad


Update: 30 Apr 2007 - Link updated. Brad has posted a more in-depth post with more details.

Friday, April 27, 2007

A Nerdy Poem

Shell Scripting die
K thx bye!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Death of "The Vision"

I helped propagate the rumor that SOE was poised to purchase Vanguard from Sigil that was started at EQ2Flames.com. Some people doubt the rumor, and some people agree with me that it is a very likely outcome. If I was a betting man, I would be putting money down on this one. There is no way in financial heaven that Sigil can foot the bill any longer, even with SOE's help. Vanguard is just not pulling down the subscribers that Sigil needs to survive financially. Vanguard was not a cheap title to produce, unlike some other second-rate MMORPGs that have managed to survive with few to no subscribers.

Over at Cuppytalk, the question is being asked: SOE TO BUY VANGUARD? BIG WHOOP. Actually it is a very BIG WHOOP; one that seems to be ignored by a lot of casual observers of the situation.

On an immediate level, SOE purchasing Vanguard most likely means that two things will happen to Sigil. First off, Sigil will most likely dramatically downsize their company. Secondly, a small segment of lead developers will most likely be picked up by SOE to transition Vanguard over to SOE. I suspect the MMORPG industry will be having a sudden surge of resumes floating around sometime soon, and it will signal the start of the truth behind this rumor.

What this means for Sigil's head man, Brad McQuaid, is yet to be determined. Most likely, this signals the end of "The Vision". I seriously doubt SOE would hire McQuaid back with his now proven record of "not getting it". Even if SOE hires McQuaid to stick with Vanguard; it is very unlikely that his "vision" for the game would be followed. Vanguard needs to change and if SOE is going to throw down the money, they are going to do things their way.

As "The Vision" dies in the mess that is Vanguard, I sincerely hope that it signals the death of the old way of doing business in the MMORPG market. We really needed a big, AAA title to fail miserably trying to follow the old "release now, fix later" mentality. World of Warcraft slammed open the door on this market, but the old standbys just didn't believe that anything had changed. People like McQuaid believed, and probably still do believe, that there are just more MMORPG gamers in the market looking for "The Vision". World of Warcraft proved there was a massive market for MMOGs. Vanguard proved that the expanded player base was not a fickle coagulated blob looking for the next great game. Vanguard has shown that the days of Everquest are gone; forever.

I hope that people realize how big a of a deal this really is. Games require money, and having a multi-million dollar title fail miserably is not encouraging in the least for any perspective venture capitalists out there. Less investment, means fewer games and less innovation (aka risk). At the same time, this grand failure, cements the start of a new line of thinking that all MMOGs of the future will benefit from. There is a template to be followed for success, but it is still up to the developers to deliver on the product. BIG WHOOP that SOE is buying Vanguard. BIG WHOOP that Sigil is most likely done. BIG WHOOP that the business of MMORPGs is changed forever.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I Am Sick of Seeing the ™ ; Lord of the Rings Online Launches!

The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ Launches! It's about damn time. I still have a p/review to write up, but I just don't have the time to be grumpy as of late.

What irks me most about this press release is that Turbine once again overstates Lord of the Rings Online with the quote: "The Most Anticipated MMO of the Year Now Available".

First the bullshit ONE MILLION BETA TESTERS spam e-mail and now this. Turbine needs a reality check.

NOTE: I am sick of the damn ™ in The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™

100,000

Sometime last night, this blog's odometer rolled over the 100,000 unique visitors mark. Not bad for a mere two years of blogging. I had originally hoped to reach this milestone by the end of my first year, but I learned a few lessons along the way that slowed the pace.

Lesson 1: Spamming blog links on forums earns you a bad name, but it brings in the hits. It is a great tool for pissing off a few people; not that I would ever want to do that. In a vain attempt at recognition, I spammed away early on, but I think I've grown up a bit since then.

Lesson 2: Slashdot and Digg hits are great for the visitor count and for lengthy comment sections. However, they really open my opinions -- that I most likely posted while half asleep -- to criticism from the Internet at large. The average Internet user doesn't understand that an opinion is a person's own belief in something, and that it doesn't change just because someone has a different one.

Lesson 3: It is return visitors, and consistent comment leavers, that make me sleep better at night.

So, a big THANK YOU to everyone that has helped make this blog what it is... which I'm sure we'll figure out sometime soon.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This Is Me

Friday, April 20, 2007

SOE Poised to Purchase Vanguard?

As I mentioned yesterday, something's afoot! SOE has been in the news as of late, so I figure they probably have something else in the works. What could it be though? A new game? Another complete rebuilding of Star Wars Galaxies? A purchase of IGE? A new acquisition?

The evidence points towards the latter: a new acquisition. SOE is definitely ramping up it's business operations globally. They have recently modified the Station Exchange service. Plus, SOE is certainly not afraid to snatch up flailing, on the verge of death MMOGs, like The Matrix Online. Also, they have shown the ability to keep low-population games going. For example, Planetside.

It just so happens that Vanguard: Saga of Heroes isn't doing very well, as evidenced by this in depth population analysis on Silky Venom. SOE has already financially bailed Sigil out, allowing them to launch the game. SOE currently is Vanguard's publisher. Over at EQ2Flames.com players can even "help SOE make a business decision." LFG, EQ2Flames.com admin, has the rumor on the down low that SOE plans to purchase Vanguard from Sigil.

Vanguard, as Sigil's flagship, determines whether Sigil remains a financially viable company. Now is the time to sell, before rock bottom is hit. The facts just don't look good for Vanguard. There has been a sort of mass exodus as of late. Server merges are most likely in the works. I hear it is really (and I mean really) hard to find a group on most servers. Speed hacking seems to be running rampant. Vanguard is being trashed.

And who better to save it, again, than SOE. SOE wants to be the big player in this market, and whatever number of b-rate, down and out MMORPGs it takes to get there is more than worth the price of admission.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Something's Afoot!

Have you ever had the feeling that something interesting is going on, but you just can't see it yet? Or, that there is a party you weren't invited to? Well, that is the feeling I am having right now. There is something afoot, but I don't know what it is. I know who it may involve, but I am unsure of what it may involve.

Perplexing cryptic riddles aside, I will put my journalistic prowess to the test and uncover this mystery at once. To the mother f'n bat mobile!

Not A Gamer

Warrant reveals no games in Cho Seung Hui's possession. A quote from the article:
"Cho's dorm room revealed the following items to authorities:

• Chain from top left closet shelf
• Folding knife & combination padlock
• Compaq computer from desktop
• Assorted documents, notepads, writings from desktop
• Combination lock
• Dremel tool and case
• Nine books, two notebooks, envelopes, from top shelf
• Assorted books & pads from lower shelf
• Compact discs from desktops
• Items from desktop & drawers: winchester multi tool, 3 notebooks, mail, checks, credit card
• Items from 2nd door: Kodak digital camera, Citibank statement
• Two cases of compact discs from dresser top
• Drive: Seagate: 80 Gb
• Six sheets of green computer paper
• Mirror with blue plastic housing
• Dremel tool box with receipt
• Dell Latitude service tag

So there you have it: at the moment, there is no evidence whatsoever supporting the theory that violent video games played a part in this horrific tragedy."
There is the possibility of some video games hiding somewhere on the PC, or hard drive, but according to Cho's roommate, he never played any games.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Limbaugh Lays it Straight

Limbaugh: Games Aren't To Blame

CALLER: What I really think is an issue is video violence, video gaming. I will guarantee you, I'll bet my last dollar in my pocket, that this shooter will be found to have been a compulsive video gamer, and when people are living that kind of lifestyle -- and college students do this a lot.

RUSH: (sigh) Let's say you're right. Not every video gamer goes out and murders 33 people on the college campus though. There's more to this than that. We can find all kinds of societal problems and ills, but the fact of the matter is that whatever you would look at as a bad influence -- video games as you mentioned -- it may desensitize people, but it doesn't turn everybody into mass murderers.

I know it's natural that everybody wants to throw their theories into this, and perhaps come up with perhaps a unique explanation or to understand, and I think it's natural, because people have a tough time accepting a relatively simple explanation for something of this scale. But how many people are playing video games out there? How many millions of people play video games, and how many millions of people have guns?

If you start blaming the video games, you may as well demand video game control because it's the same thing when you start trying to blame guns for this. You have here a sick individual, an evil individual who committed a random act. But if you want to start blaming the video games, this guy was this or that, weeeeell, then you've gotta maybe talk about banning them because that's the same tack that's taken with guns. You got one guy who used a gun that's it. You're falling prey to the same way the Drive-Bys propagandize, and that's, "Well, we need gun control! We gotta get guns out of the hands of people."

Rush rounds up his argument by issuing the following concern to avoid knee-jerk reactions from those hoping to profit from the tragedy.

So you gotta be real careful here not to paint with broad brushes on these things. You gotta be very careful not to plug this into your own individual political prism, because then you become no different than what the Drive-Bys are doing. If you just wait, eventually we'll find out more than we want to know about this guy, and you're going to have to listen to what's reported about this guy with keen ears, and you're going to have to read with sharp eyes out there, because the Drive-Bys are going to report about this guy in ways that will advance their political agenda because that's what this story is to them.

-----

I agree 100%. People are afraid to believe that there might be something outside their control, or more importantly, the control of the community at large. Therefore, they blame their personal dead horse and whack away.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Bloody Kos : Chapter 1 : The Arrival has been posted.

I have posted the first chapter in a series entitled, The Bloody Kos. Chapter 1, The Arrival, can be read here.

I like to write, so stay tuned for more :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

SOE hires IGE, Part II

Cuppycake over at Cuppytalk has a problem with what I had to say about SOE in my previous SOE hires IGE posting. Apparently I am not looking at the situation from a business point of view? I must admit; she caught me red handed. I am not looking at this as a business person, because I'm not.

Don't get me wrong here, I am a firm believer in game developers being a business first and a developer second. The companies that fail to adhere to this principal have fallen by the wayside, a great many vaporware titles being left in their wake. However, believing this principal, and talking about it, does not mean I look at developments within companies with a business eye.

I am a gamer. I am the customer. This is where I draw my opinion from. But, for a moment here, let me turn a more analytical eye to this.

Once again, the main issue, is the fact that SOE already operates Station Exchange servers. They are trying a new business model. Cuppy may applaud them for the effort, but I do not. As I've stated, it legitimizes a practice that directly effects the game and more importantly, it's community. As long as I know that a developer does not support RMT, I can dismiss the actions of the RMT participants. As soon as a developer starts dipping their hand into the RMT cookie jar, I as a paying subscriber, can no longer justify anything I achieve.

The next point of contention is that SOE didn't just hire this guy. They created a position for him! In the business world that usually means they hand picked the person well before the hiring. If that isn't a red flag, then I have a car you might be interested in buying.

The basics of this situation stink, and we all know what they say: if it stinks like fish; it's fish. SOE created a position for a former IGE big-wig. SOE has been exploring RMT business models for their games. If any players want to avoid developer-sanctioned RMT, avoid SOE games at all costs.

SOE hires IGE

David Christianson, former Vice President of Business Development for IGE, will now be the Vice President of Business Development & International Operations for Sony Online Entertainment. SOE's official press release states that "prior to joining SOE, Christensen served as Vice President of Business Development for IGE where he drove the company’s relationships with the massively multi-player publishing community."

This news is beyond interesting. SOE already runs Station Exchange servers, which basically legitimizes the practice of Gold Farming, Power Leveling, and Real Money Trade(RMT). The ramifications of such are heavily debated, but I have yet to find a non-SOE voice that actually believes services such as Station Exchange are good for a game and it's community.

This may seem like just a RMT issue to most people, but a little research into IGE will show a slew of unethical, and questionable business practices. It would not be surprising to wake up tomorrow, and see IGE being investigated on money laundering charges. Why would SOE even think about hiring a former IGE employee; let alone an employee so entrenched within the company? This hiring speaks volumes about the business politics of SOE and their money first mentality.

This strongly supports my opinion that SOE just wants your money. Everything they can charge you for; they will. They don't give a damn about you as a player, and I doubt they ever will. Sorry Grimwell, I had to say it.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Bye-bye Labels

I have removed the label section in my sidebar. It was getting a bit unwieldy to look at, so I removed it. If anyone absolutely can't live without it, let me know and I can bring it back. You can still click any label attached to any post to browse other articles with the same tag.
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