Showing posts with label Warhammer Online. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Warhammer Online. Show all posts

Monday, June 03, 2024

May 2024 In Review

May has come and gone.  Here is a look back (late delivery due to vacation).

The Blog

 I still owe a larger post about my findings with "spam" abuse of my GA4 (Google Analytics) tags that made me realize most of my traffic tracked to my blog was not real.  With that said let me present two numbers for blog traffic in May.

 First; the Blogger provided number (last 30 days graph / May count over the top)

 Second; my much filtered Google Analytics number.

 Those pictures tell two very different stories.  16k+ visits according to Blogger but only 875 per Google Analytics after I apply traffic source filters to get rid of spammers abusing GA4 tags.

 So May saw between 875 and 16,000+ visits to the blog. I'll pretend the latter is correct because... reasons.

 In other metrics:

  • Posts:
    • Target: 15 (at least one per week day; except vacation)
    • Posted:17
    • Difference: +2
      • Woohoo!  Back on track this Month
  •  Search Trends
    • "best battlefield game", "best battlefield", "best battlefield games" blew up this month directing folks to my post: Best Battlefield!?
    • New World dominates the rest of the search queries across Bing and Google.  This month the champ was "new world roadmap 2024" which makes sense as May was the original timeframe for the 2024 roadmap to be provided (that has now been pushed to June 7th for the big news)

What I Played

 New World continues as my main game.  I spent a lot of time in 3v3 arenas (100+ wins this season).  With vacation I won't be able to make top 10 though on the leaderboard but hoping my main playing partner makes it in (he has a shot at #1).

 I also spent some time in Jedi: Fallen Order.  I really like the visuals and Star Wars story of the game, but the "on rails" corridor levels totally ruin the feeling.  That is why I am looking forward to Star Wars: Outlaws to give me an open world experience.

 Fallout fever died off as I gave up Fallout 3 (the game is too dated at this point for my tastes) and I didn't bother to grab Fallout 4/76/NV/whatever.

 I was accepted to the Combat Champions playtest but didn't get a chance to play due to vacation.

Years Ago

1 Year Ago

 In May 2023 we got the first news of Amazon Game Studios (developers of my beloved New World) were starting working on a Lord of the Rings MMO.  In kind we began digging New World's grave.

5 Years Ago

 May 2019 I was looking at Magic the Gathering and reminiscing about the guild I helped run for a while: Casualties of War!

10 Years Ago

 In May of 2014 I was running around Guild Wars 2 and decided to document where traits could be obtained.  How much that game has changed!

15 Years Ago

  May of 2009 was a busy month on the blog and in retrospect some important things happened.

 20 19 Years Ago

 Technically I have 20 named years on my sidebar, but mathematically 2005 is only 19 years ago.

 In May of 2005 I started a blog so I had that going for me :)

Monday, September 26, 2022

MyMMORPG: Let's dream one up!

 Listening to various podcasts about Ashes of Creation and listening to folks overlay their hearts and dreams on the game has made me think about what I'd want out of an MMORPG.  Combined with my recent "a post a day" commitment to get back into blogging I figured it was time to start my long awaited series on "My MMORPG" and the game I'd make if I was Steven-rich.

The question is where do you start this quest?  Do you come up with a long list of things to do?  An outline of the entire thing?  Define the business model; is it free to play or a subscription?  Write the story first?  

Personally I have a saying I like to use in my career "If something is worth doing it is worth doing WRONG." What does that have to do with where to start?  Fair question. I bring this up here because I want this to be a start but not the only start.  We may be back here again in the near future.  Maybe feedback makes me change course.  Maybe a brilliant idea later down the road requires something earlier on changes.  Regardless I have a couple goals to get started here.

  1. This first post has to set the framework
  2. Keep it simple

So where do we start?  Simple: the world and setting for the game and to keep it simple and set the framework for future conversations this post would be better titled as "The Not-Star-Wars MMORPG". Follow along to find out why.

When I look back on any MMORPG I've played (or wish I could play) the first thing that always catches my attention is the world and setting.  Ultima Online?  Basically took every medieval text MUD I had ever played and put it on screen.  World of Warcraft? Warcraft where I get to play that orc on the battlfield!? Count me in!  Warhammer Online Age of Reckoning?  Duh (and sigh).  Star Wars Galaxies?  Ummm; duh x2!  New World? A cool setting that hooked me before I ever hit log in.

So why "Not-Star-Wars"?  Simple: Star Wars has everything in a setting that I'd want in my dream MMORPG, but I would never want to put my chips into a game that can be ended on the whim of an intellectual property owner.

Let's work through what "Not-Star-Wars" brings to us:

  • Melee combat
  • Ranged combat
  • Magic 
  • Not-magic
  • Mounts
  • Vehicles (aka multiplayer mounts)
  • Houses
  • Spaceships (aka space houses)
  • Varied planets (i.e. zones and instanced content)
  • Multiple races
  • Multiple classes
  • Crafting

Probably the biggest benefit of this setting that pays off the most is the "varied planets".  Planets and space travel between them is the ideal contextual reason for zones and instanced content to exist without turning the game into hub and spoke and thus losing the M for Massive.  While the world setting doesn't need to explain everything the more it is able to justify for mechanics to exist the better the game will feel.  It would make immediate sense to a player that they are jumping in a space ship, zooming through space, and ending up on a unique alien planet that only they and their group are present on.

This also allows this MMORPG to target the "mega server" model instead of "single server" and have it all make sense with the way the universe is set up.  All players need to be in one single universe with the chance at any time to interact with any other player.  This eliminates problems such as scaling up single servers to deal with population growths and eliminates the follow on problems of having to merge servers down.  The universe just exists and it makes sense when you jump in a space ship and fly off to a planet that you are off by yourself and then joining back on a busy core planet with thousands of other players.

Another benefit that some old school MMORPG players will welcome is that space travel, inside a fully customized player ship, can bring back the social aspect that has been missing due to the "get you directly into a group and into content" model of "group finders" in most MMORPGs.  Don't get me wrong; I want games to connect players via in game tools but what I also want to ensure it drops players into the opportunity to socialize and not just at the starting point a sprint.  Sitting around in a space ship, making preparations for the content, and socializing with your fellow players is huge.  Scale this concept up to core planets and ideas like space stations: the core of setting should be places for players to interact socially.

As my bulleted list shows there is a lot of pieces that fit with Not-Star-Wars and give context to game systems and mechanics MMORPG players are familiar with.  Again the most important aspect is that the setting gives context to many MMORPG staple systems such as zones, instanced content, socializing and more.

More to come on MyMMORPG!  Have thoughts?  Think I am starting in the wrong place or heading in the wrong direction?  Leave a comment.  I love to argue socialize.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Casualties of War!

Just caught one of the cards in the most recent Magic: The Gathering sets was "Casualties of War".  This flooded my memory banks with the time spent organizing and helping steer the formation of the "Casualties" guild for Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR). 

The original idea was to call the guild "Casualties of WAR" (CoW) but that was eventually shortened to just "Casualties".  The concept being we were a group of mostly "casual" players coming from other games to WAR.  Casual from the perspective of "CoW is a casual by force of Real-Life guild" as noted when we were a featured guild of the week on TenTonHammer.

At the time this was a big deal in my virtual life.  The guild featured a who's who of the MMO blogging world at the time and I was right there in the middle of it.  We had grandiose proclamations in our guild charter (too which I cannot find a copy unfortunately) and plans to become THE REAL DEAL of guilds. 

In the long run the guild fell apart.  WAR was NOT the game we had all hoped and that quickly resulted in actual casualties of WAR... ha. 

Anyways; always fun when something brings back fond memories of gaming past. Maybe I need to queue this up as a "Games Made Me" post... hmmm.

Enjoy a couple recruiting pictures I had put together for the Casualties guild.  This is some of my finest work!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Out with a whimper

Warhammer Online is no more.  I have mixed emotions and debated over the end of this week what to post.  There is no game that I have ever invested so much time in prior to it's release only to give up playing it a short few months after release.  I never felt ripped off by WAR.  My money was well spent for the experiences I had.  However, the game just never lived up to any of it's potential.

In reflection I look back on my first level 40 ding from WAR:

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

WAR, finally free 2 play

WAR is finally going free 2 play.  Unfortunately it is only until the game will be shutdown come December.
"To give Warhammer Online a proper sendoff we are opening the game to anyone free of charge that has or had an account in good standing starting October 31st, 2013," said the Warhammer team in an announcement on Friday.
I don't have much to comment on at this point.  I will probably have more to say once the game shuts it's doors for the final time.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Silent on Guild Wars 2

A week doesn't seem to go by without someone buzzing me and asking why I'm so silent on Guild Wars 2.  Some have gone as far as to scream in my general direction that "IT IS EVERYTHING WARHAMMER ONLINE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE!!!".  To be honest, and to admit this for the first time publicly, I'm still a little butt hurt over Warhammer Online and it's epic shortcomings.  I've sworn off caring about big-name MMOs until I get my hands on them and the NDAs have dropped.  With that said, I do agree that GW2 is shaping up to be what Warhammer Online should have been, but with so much more going for it.

While I don't believe I ever blindly bought into the hype of Warhammer Online, I am certainly a victim of foolishly believing the game was more finished than it turned out to be.  I still maintain to this day that Warhammer Online put all the pieces together for a great MMO, but forgot to add the glue and nails that would keep it all together.  Band aids could only hold that sinking ship together for so long (surprisingly it's still not Free 2 Play).

Warhammer's failures put GW2's features into perspective.  Simple things such as allowing instant access to end-game PvP zones, PvE content in the PvP zones, and having PvP objectives outside of just killing other players would not mean as much (to me) had it not been for Warhammer Online's complete opposites.  Warhammer Online allows me to smile a little bit inside every time I watch or read a new bit of information about GW2.

Another small area of pleasure is looking at GW2's World vs World (WvW), most directly comparable to Realm vs Realm from Warhammer Online. Unlike Warhammer Online; GW2 took an interesting path to get to its WvW system.  Instead of distinct races/areas dividing the "teams", GW2 simply pits server against server. Each server has the exact same world, characters, and classes that the other servers have.  This instantly strikes a balance and the conflict comes down to numbers and grand strategy to decide the victors.  Throw in a bit of match making to re-balance equally skilled servers together and the forumla looks solid.

Matter of fact, GW2 looks solid as a whole (even in it's beta stage).  And this is why I am silent.  This is why I've stopped clawing to watch every new video or story that is released. I have yet to even pre-order the game. I want as much of GW2 to be fresh to me as possible.  Hopefully that will limit the butt hurt this time around on another promising MMO.

Monday, January 02, 2012

2012, the first post

2012, the first post.  Where in lies a reflection on predictions of the year that was: 2011.  And maybe some prognostication of the year that's just begun: 2012.

I kept the predictions light for 2011 and I'll tackle all five of them in one go:
1. World of Warcraft will maintain its dominance.
No doubt World of Warcraft is still top among MMOs, but to say its maintained its dominance is ignoring the fact that WoW took a significant hit this year and had to break out the pandas to keep people's interest.  In the larger genre of persistent online games, League of Legends has soundly trumped WoW's numbers with over 30 million active users and concurrent user numbers well beyond that of WoW.
2. Free 2 Play will continue its march forward and many will consider 2011 the year that F2P becomes the dominant business model not only for MMOGs, but for any online game (MOBA, FPS, etc.)
There is no doubt that Free 2 Play has landed with most major publishers having already published or considering to publish a F2P title(s).  2011 also marked the arrival of F2P on Steam; the premier digital distribution platform for games.  The subscription MMOs fell like flies to a flyswatter this year as several joined the F2P ranks and enjoyed immediate success.
3. "the game that shall not be named" will NOT launch this year.
OK, it squeaked into 2011, but just barely.
4. The "next generation" Xbox will be announced by Microsoft. Nintendo and Sony will stay with their current generation.
I was way off here.  Xbox 360 is marching strong and Playstation 3 is still playing third fiddle.  Nintendo, of all companies, is the one out front with news of their new Wii U console.
5. This blog will be completely different and may actually feature commentary and experiences from games I'm actually playing.
Proof: I posted about Fallout: New Vegas and I actually played that game!

Now onward and upward to my predictions for 2012 and beyond

1. The world will not end.  (just wanted to get that one out of the way)

2. I will post more than I did in 2011.  (just wanted to give ya'll something to look forward to)

3. "the game that shall not be named" will have a tough year, but will survive.  The argument to take the game Free 2 Play will begin around July.

4. Warhammer Online will be shut down this year.

5. DOTA2 will launch, but fail to make much more than a drip into the MOBA scene.

6. League of Legends will hit 50 million players and still be flying under the radar in the online gaming market

7. A major game will "surprise launch" this year with little to no notice and possibly be Free 2 Play

8. Indie games will continue to creep into the spotlight and we will see another Minecraft-level indie break out this year

9. At least 4 of these predictions will be right :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wrath of Heroes is wrong, how I would do WAR Free 2 Play

I’ve tried my hand at thinking up a Free 2 Play (F2P) model for Warhammer Online (WAR) before, but I fell into the trap of making a model that was too confusing.  WAR COINS was a bad idea.  Bioware Mythic also has an idea for F2P WAR in the case of Wrath of Heroes (WoH).  Unfortunately, WoH heads in the wrong direction by making an entirely seperate game, so I'd like to take a few minutes to propose a new F2P model for WAR that would still be the same game we all wanted to love so dearly before having our dreams crushed.
One of my biggest problems with WAR has been the lack of content and action within the tier four RvR lakes (aka zones).  The lakes are more like deserts, devoid of content and people except for the oasis of an undefended keep.  The lack of content can't be fixed over night, but the lack of people certainly can.
Instead of building WoH, Bioware Mythic needs to be bringing the tier four Realm vs Realm (RvR) action to F2P.  Over night, populations in the RvR zones and scenarios would double (if not triple).  Undefended keeps would turn into knock out, drag out fights.  People would be interested and focused on RvR again.
And why would they be so locked onto RvR?  Because the F2P model would gate them from the PvE content. RvR zones and scenarios would be 100% F2P.  Players would start off with a rank 31 character that was restricted to travel only within the tier four RvR zones.  Through RvR they could level up to 40 and gain up to Realm Rank (RR) 20 (adjustable through testing).
That would not be the only change.  As it is, WAR's best gear lies within RvR gameplay.  In my model, the best gear would be pushed towards the PvE aspects of WAR.  Tier four Public Quests and the Land of the Dead would be where the good loot was to be had.  Access to the PvE zones would be available to subscribers willing to pay a monthly fee.  The gear would only be useable by those that are active subscribers or active within the last month (aka players get a one month grace period to use their gear after going strict F2P).
Other benefits of subscribing, which I am calling "becoming a Citizen of the Realm" include the ability to exceed realm rank 20, capital city access, increased experience and RP rates, and prestigous battlefield titles (basically, the F2P zergs will recognize who is a paying player when on the RvR battlefield).  All except the titles would be retainable when switching back to F2P (yes, thats basically a month subscription price to access the capital cities, including sieges).
Which seguays into the downsides of being a "member of the Free Companies", one of which is being able to help push zones towards a capital city siege, but not being able to participate in it.  Those within the Free Companies would also be restricted to to only one character slot, prevented from using PvE gear, recieve lower priority for scenario queuing, and gain experience and RP at the standard rate.
This approach achieves almost exactly what Wrath of Heroes is attempting, but with the benefit of still supporting the main WAR and providing a little flavor differentiation.  Also there is strong evidence that this is exactly what freeloaders would want out of a F2P WAR.  We only have to look at the current limitless trial for WAR where anyone can play up to the top of Empire's tier one for free for as long as they want.  WAR's Empire tier 1 is always bustling and the RvR zones and scenarios filled.  Why Mythic then abandons any of those poor souls who decide to subscribe to the barren wasteland that is tier two and three is anyone's guess, but after playing Wrath of Heroes a few hours, I'm not at all surprised.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Warhammer Online going MOBA

Warhammer Online: Wrath of Heroes was just announced at GamesCON.  It is a 6v6v6 multi-player online battle arena game (MOBA).  Oh and its free to play (F2P).

This has me mildly interested, mostly because its F2P.  I enjoyed Warhammer Online for what it was: a RvR game.  I didn't enjoy Warhammer Online for what it could have been: an instance-heavy RvR game that was consistent with it's path from start to finish.  Unfortunately WAR split it's focus and by the time launch rolled around, it was a bucket full of holes that held water for only so long before being drained.

Wrath of Heroes extracts the RvR and compacts it into an action-oriented mash up.  It is a play for the MOBA market that League of Legends currently dominates and that DOTA2 is currently doing a money grab for.  Fortunately, there is plenty of demand and I cannot fault Mythic/EA for putting their foot into the door.

I will give it a try when it comes out or if I get invited to Beta.  That is unless it requires Origin.  Not really interested in getting involved with yet another digital distribution platform.  Sign up for beta on their site.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Arsenal of WAR goes live

Just a quick note to help promote a fellow blogger's new project.  Werit's Arsenal of WAR (that'd be WAR as in Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning) website has launched.  Blurb:
When playing Warhammer Online, it is important to know what tools you have at your disposal. The Arsenal of WAR is a new item database to help you find the right piece of armor or weapon for your character. There are other item db's out there, but I wanted the Arsenal to be easy and up to date. Read on for the details.


* Over 8,200 items in the database
* A simple and quick interface
* Easy commenting, no need to register
* Search by name or by stat
* Links generated for each item from the WAR community
* Updated regularly, includes scenario weapons and the new sovereign armor sets

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Oh, Fuck You Mythic and those dirty Skaven too

Warhammer Online is getting a three-stage "RvR" pack as outlined in this letter on the main site.  Skaven, realm rank increases, and magic, fucking magic (ok maybe no more magic is being added, but it sounded good).

My initial reaction: cool. 

My reaction after reading the entire letter and thinking on it a while: fuck Mythic.

The first issue I want to bring up:
WAR is not going Free 2 Play: We’re not considering this option right now.
Just by the mere fact that they mention this (first thing they mention interestingly enough) I am convinced they've recieved a ton of feedback requesting a Free 2 Play model for WAR.  That they are NOT considering at this point is indicative to me that WAR is doomed within the dark dungeons of EA.  There is plenty of evidence out there showing that Free 2 Play models can be successful after subscriptions failed the first go around.

So instead of a F2P model, WAR is going to split it's RvR pack into three seperate purchases.  Splendid!
Additionally, we will continue to offer that buffet of services by offering the entire RVR pack purchasable in three segments.
Next, we have some talk about the lessons they learned from Dark Ages of Camelot:
We are increasing the RR Cap to 100: This goes hand in hand with a rework of the Renown Ability system. Our goal is to make the Renown Ability system less restrictive, more customizable and closer, in spirit, to the RA system from Dark Age of Camelot. In the past ten years, we’ve learned a lot of lessons from DAoC, and we’re taking our inspiration from this. At the same time, we’ll be easing some of the grind from 1-80. RR 100 will be a challenge, but we will take responsibility for making sure that the power gap between lower RR’s and the higher RR players isn’t an insurmountable obstacle to overcome.
Read that again:
In the past ten years, we’ve learned a lot of lessons from DAoC,
No, I don't think you are understanding what they are saying:
In the past ten years, we’ve learned a lot of lessons from DAoC,
FUCK. YOU. MYTHIC. What honestly did you learn from DAoC? That waiting until years after to release to fix fundamental problems is a disastrous idea? Honestly, had Mythic learned anything from DAoC, WAR would not have suffered the embarrassment that it did at launch. Sorry Mythic, you ignored what was learned from the development and lifetime of DAoC and its too fucking late to go back and try to fool us into thinking you did.

I'm done. Finished.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guild Wars 2 Will Succeed

For a primer, read my Guild Wars 2 Will Fail post from yesterday.

Guild Wars 2 (GW2) starts with some strikes against it, but it also starts with some potential.  First and foremost is GW2's business model.  The game will be free to play after purchasing a retail copy similar to the first Guild Wars.  This alone separates the game from the throng of games that will be dependent upon monthly subscriptions when GW2 comes to the market.

Secondly, GW2 is changing up some of the foundations of the Diku model.  The biggest change here is the removal of dedicated healing in the game.  Each individual player will be given self-healing skills that will account for the majority of healing in the game, both in solo and group play.

Next, GW2 is easing the limits on how a class defines a player's characters. The various classes will have a core mechanic, but their available skills will be based on equipment, race, and a set of personal healing abilities.  For example, a warrior wielding a 2-handed axe will be played much differently than one wielding a 1-handed sword and a shield.

The third change that comes to mind is the fact that death will not be immediate in GW2.  If a fight is winding down and a player is struck down, they become disabled.  During this disabled period if the player manages to kill a creature, they receive a second wind and can go on fighting.  Anyone that has played Borderlands will be familiar with this mechanic.  This lessens the sting of death and builds the perception that the player is a hero, not just some schmuck that was wiped out by a giant rat that added into a fight (a rat the player could cleave in two with a single blow!).

Guild Wars 2 is also aiming to shake up the game world with live events.  Think of this as Public Quests version 2.0.  Public Quests were easily the best feature of Warhammer Online and GW2 is taking them to another level by building the entire world around them.  If a player is in a village and see's all the villagers dieing due to poison that was dumped into their water supply, they can investigate and find the water pipeline into the city is being attacked and poisoned just outside of town. Beat the bandits causing the problem and save the village.  This is just an example of a couple stages of a "public quest" that will be featured in GW2.  This system has great potential and its only weakness is that the events will recycle themselves, so at some point it may feel like the players accomplished "nothing".

I've outlined some of the changes GW2 is attempting, but the game is still very much a traditional affair.  The core of the game will be familiar to anyone that has enjoyed MMOGs over the past several years.  Arena Net is being very careful to make this clear.  They talk a lot about changes, but also concentrate on making sure everyone knows they are not rewriting the book.  They don't want to rewrite the book and are being honest about that fact.  I wish other developers, creating very similar games, could follow Arena Net's lead in this regard.  Adding one new feature doesn't make a AAA MMOG "ground breaking". 

Looking at the reasons I've presented for failure and success, its interesting to note that they are in two very distinct categories.  The reasons for failure are all conjecture: its a 2, its making changes, and its got heavy competition in the fantasy setting.   The reasons for success are almost all related to the way the game will play: healing, death, and a living world.  I'll let you be the judge, but the reasons for success sound a lot more worthwhile than those of failure.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Warhammer's Billing Debacle

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR) recently had a little 'oops' moment with their billing system that caused many players to be billed several times for their monthly subscription.  Some players were charged for over $500 dollars.  Normally this is an isolated issue, but the most recent update on the Warhammer Herald confirms it was widespread:
As you may be aware, recently some customer accounts were billed multiple times unintentionally. We regret any difficulty this event may have caused you, and we remain dedicated to resolving the issue with our vendors and customers.
This is about as bad as it could get for WAR, a game still considered down and out in the MMO industry.  WAR has enjoyed some success thanks to their endless free trial and I suspect that is where the majority of their new players come from.  This faux pas won't inspire anyone interested in subscribing to trust Mythic with their credit cards and not everyone is willing to enter game time cards every month to keep on playing.

However, I really don't want to talk about WAR right now.  More interesting to me is how rarely we see such a problem as this.  Off the top of my head I thought about the things I have on "set and forget" payment methods online:

1. eBay fees
2. Phone bill
3. Cable and Internet bill
4. Netflix
5. Donations to favorite websites

None of these has ever had a billing issue with multiple charges.  And if one did, I doubt it'd be to the magnitude that was seen with the WAR charges.

Also, I wonder how long it would take me to notice.  I certainly wouldn't see it right away as I use credit cards mainly and my credit limit is high.  At the end of the month, I would notice on my credit card statements, but if it wasn't several identical charges I may glance over it.

This is a wake up call I guess to online payment methods and keeping an eye on charges.  It's easy to say "its your own fault for not paying attention", but how many of these services make it an inconvenience to customers who do NOT use automated online payments?  To me, its half customer ignorance and half trends towards automated systems in favor of human powered systems.

With automation comes consistency and speed, which reduces some errors.  With reduction in error, comes reduction in support requirements.   This really puts everyone in a bad place, because when it comes to money its not acceptable to hear "it'll take 3 days to fix" which leads to lost customers.  Yet, the costs to have better support isn't justified for the 99% of error-free time.

I'm wandering now.  I'll forget all of this once the WAR billing fiasco is over and done with.  But just maybe I will pay more attention to the next credit card bill or when my wife is reviewing it, I won't just go "sounds right to me honey!" before staring back at the computer screen.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Warhammer Online and Bioware K I SS I N G

Warhammer Online and Bioware in a tree, K I SS I N G, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the expansion from Bioware.

"BioWare talks Warhammer Online's forthcoming expansions" is the title of an article over at Massively.
In a recent GDC 2010 interview with UGO, BioWare's Dr. Ray Muzyka said of Warhammer Online, "Right now it's [a] really profitable business unit within my group." Muzyka went on to say they've actually seen more people come into the game since enacting the free-to-play model on the game's earlier levels, and that he personally felt they were working.

In fact, by the sounds of it, Warhammer Online is due for some interesting announcements in the future. Another of Muzyka's comments on the title was, "We have new content planned and all kinds of cool expansions for it." We don't know how much more clear cut a message can be than that. And hey, it's good news! We're looking forward to our playable Skaven and Lizardmen, Mythic and BioWare.
I know Mythic and Bioware merged to create an "MMO group" within EA, but up until this point it was portrayed as though Mythic was responsible for Warhammer.  It is very strange to see Warhammer Online and Bioware mentioned in the same breath and have Bioware's talking head dictating where WAR is headed.

If Bioware is becoming more involved with the game, this may be the breath of fresh air that WAR needs.  Any expansion will have to rely on work from some of Bioware's development teams as the layoff train hit Mythic pretty hard.  With new developers, new ideas. But, new ideas need restraint.  We don't want another of the infamous "New Game Experience (NGE)" from Star Wars Galaxies all over again. 

Another question is whether the money-handlers behind the game will approve sweeping changes that may affect the bottom line in the slim hope of increasing it over the long term.  There aren't many success stories of MMOGs coming back from underwhelming launches.  Change is always met with resistance.

Now, in the past I've had my own ideas for changing WAR:
I would start the year by pulling a Chronicles of Spellborn and announce that Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning is 100% free to play. However, development has been frozen as the game is prepared to be launched as a Free 2 Play game supported by micro-transactions.
From the original quotes in the Massively article, the success of the free trial is touted.  Could this be a signal that more free 2 play is in WAR's future?  I would welcome the idea.  Even with Allods Online's cash shop debacle recently, I still like the fact that I can log in whenever I want and play for a few minutes.  I've thought several times about return to WAR, but have only been able to do so during a recent 10-day freebie.

I am interested to see where Bioware/Mythic/EA can take WAR.  At a minimum, it will serve as a case study of how Bioware's development practices can influence other projects.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Self-Serving PC Gaming Wish-List

It's not my birthday, but I was inspired by Alec Meer's birthday post over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.

I want these things.
  • A Free 2 Play Warhammer Online.
  • A fantasy-based EVE Online (where is World of Darkness anyways?).
  • A Shadowbane that doesn't make me want to vomit on my keyboard.
  • Battlefield 1942 recreated in Battlefield: Bad Company 2's engine, destructible environments and all.
  • An announcement from 38 studios on what their MMOG will be.
  • To figure out what ever happened to Project Offset.
  • Some sort of hypno-therapy that makes me incredible at FPS games overnight.
  • To never see or hear the phrase “dumbed-down” again
  • A loaf of bread.
  • My kid's two front teeth (teething sucks btw)

NOTE: Yes, I stole a couple of Alec's ideas and changed or did not change the words slightly.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Challenge, a Free idea, and Warhammer Online

Bootae has issued a challenge:
A challenge for my fellow bloggers!

First take the assumption that the game isn’t in the alleged maintenance mode and there’s not only money for new content, but you have access to new content that’s been in development over the last year. So we’re writing this in a happy place. Now then, if you had control of Mythic what would be your plan for WAR in 2010?

Broken down into Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, what would be your strategy for changes, improvements and expansions to the game?
Follow on past the jump for what I would do if I were Mythic in 2010.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Game Developers Should Play Games :The Lesson Learned From Reading George RR Martin

There's a great post over at Suvudu: The Lesson I Learned From George R. R. Martin. The author explains how they've taken lessons from exploring some of Martin's smaller works:
The lessons I learned from reading three straight George R. R. Martin novellas played into my own short story writing process, George a silent mentor whether he likes it or not.
The lesson to be learned from this: Most authors, when giving craft advice, tell hopeful writers to read almost as much as they write.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Looking Back on 2009, Heartless' Predictions Reviewed

Its that magical time of year where I get to review my predictions for the previous year. Read my original predictions post here.  My commentary is after the jump:

Thursday, December 31, 2009

In The Year 2010, Heartless' Predictions

Its nearly 2010 and without further hesitation, here are my predictions:

1. Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning will be sold or shut down by EA.

2. Star Wars: The Old Republic will NOT launch this year.

3. Already launched MMOGs, not named World of Warcraft, will have a rough year.

4. Newer, quality F2P games will storm the market and one will challenge WoW for the mainstream playerbase.

5. WoW will remain the king cash cow as the subscription model continues its dominance.

6. Digital distribution will start being taken seriously by market analysts as Steam proves the platform's power on the PC market.

7. Digital distribution will quietly replace boxed sales completely for PC games.

BONUS REAL LIFE PREDICTION: A political uprising will shock the world and the mainstream media will only find out about it after checking their Twitter accounts.  Three days later, they will realize it was simply a mis-spelled #hashtag and re-purposed Youtube videos.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

10 Days of WAR: Day Ten

The final day of my return to Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning ended with a resounding thud as my bright wizard ate dirt for the thousandth time at the hands of a Choppa.  To some, the last ten days may seem like an excuse for me to bitch about a game I once supported wholeheartedly.  I want to say up front that I wanted to give WAR a fair shake, even if I didn't have plans on returning to a subscription.   Unfortunately, at the end of the day, WAR is still the same sub-par game I left months ago, even if it has a new zone and better technical performance.

The new positives begin with the endless trial.  This has brought new blood into the game and the newbie zones were hopping.  Whether this is translating into subscriptions is unknown.  My fear is that the experience in a well populated tier 1 zone leaves an impression that can not be held up by tier's 2 and 3.  Players that come off the free endless trial may become bored quickly as the population hits rock bottom once outside of the trial zones.  My suggestion would be to extend the free trial all the way to the end of tier 3.  Yes, that's a lot of game for free, but tier 2 and 3 are a general waste of resources as it is.  Allowing trial players into these tiers will spice life up a bit and give them a glimpse of what the end game of WAR offers in tier 4.

The new positives end with the Land of the Dead.  As I stated, LotD is the model which all tier 4 zones should follow in WAR.  The concept of separate RvR lakes does not work and actively hurts WAR's community as players do not mingle across play styles.  If the principals of LotD (minus the gating mechanic) were to be applied across all tier 4 zones, WAR would be a better game.