Archive for 2012

Why I Don’t Like Raiding

Wintergrasp raid

I have no idea what's going on in this screenshot

I’ve never been a big fan of raiding in MMOs and it’s certainly something that I talk about fairly regularly. For me, raiding offers a pretty disjointed experience, counter intuiative to the whole leveling game in itself. Indeed, just like we now have games like League of Legends that offer what equates to essentially full-time PvP battlegrounds, maybe we should have completely separate games for raiding instead of trying to tack them onto a leveling game?

Perhaps I’m a ‘traditionalist’ in the way that I like my MMOs to be about leveling up and questing or fighting through static content. Not to say that I don’t appreciate the appeal of raiding, I do, and if it’s something you like then who I am to disagree. In fact, although it’s not for me, I can fully understand the thrill and enjoyment people get from activities such as competitive raiding and the like.

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Why Females Are Oversexualised In Video Games

Female Demon Hunter

Pre-Victoria's Secret concept art from Diablo 3

Update: A lot of this article has been misconstrued either through confusion or in the name of melodrama. To be 100% clear, I’m not condoning sexism or oversexualisation in video games in any way at all. Indeed, if anything, the purpose of the article is to highlight the history of inequality that has existed between the genders and try to answer why it not only happened but still continues today.

For the sake of consistency, I’ve left the article unmodified even though I’ve been sorely tempted to correct areas where I’ve perhaps been unintentionally flippant or insensitive. Still, the post is merely a theory based on some interesting and plausible conjecture and I’d encourage everyone to read it carefully and thoroughly before passing judgement.

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Play World of Warcraft, Become A Mass Murderer

World of Wacraft wallpaper

Didn't you know? WoW will turn you into a sociopath

Or so some of the press would have us believe. I don’t know how much it’s being reported in the US but in Europe the media are having a field day reporting that Anders Brievik, currently on trial for the murder for 77 people in Norway last year, played World of Warcraft 16 hours a day for one year solid. It’s the old “video games are evil” debate all over again except this time the Internet is being thrown into the mix too.

Now I can’t say for certain that computer games don’t impact our mental state but I do find it rather depressing how the press leap all over them at every available opportunity, usually representing them with ill-informed facts. Case in point, the article by The Telegraph linked to above describes WoW as a “a virtual world where 10.3 million players attempt to achieve the position of ‘Justicar’”. Justiwah? Since when did a PvP Achievement title the main focus of the game?

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The Real Key To Player Retention

WoW Pet Battles

Behold, pet battles! The future of all MMORPGs.

There’s little doubting that the long-term financial success of MMOs is in player retention. Box sales alone don’t count for much and I could easily run off plenty of examples of games that sold well on release then took a nose dive after a month or two and now languish in low popularity limbo. However, when it comes to what matters most, few developers actually seem to have been able to unlock the secret player retention.

BioWare for one looks like it’s suffering and if their latest awful promotion is anything to go by, they seem to be having trouble holding on to players that have hit the level cap. Personally, I’m not surprised. SW:TOR is a lot of fun and the story mode stuff is interesting but ultimately it doesn’t have the long-term hook that other MMOs have (at least for me anyway). The similarity between classes, the limited storylines, the overall lack of things to do… eventually people are going to get bored.

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Feeling Hungry For World of Darkness

World of Darkness

I hope World of Darkness vampires sparkle in the sunlight, just like in Twilight.

I don’t know much about World of Darkness other than it involves vampires, politics, political vampires and a very loyal, slightly scary fanbase. It’s also, as far as I can gather, nothing like Twilight .

Far too many years ago, when I still a teenager, I remember being quite intrigued by the whole World of Darkness setting even though I understood little of it. All I knew was that it made vampires cool (in a dark and Machiavellian way) and was often enjoyed by Ann Rice fans and Goths alike. In fact, I had the pleasure of meeting some Vampire The Masquerade roleplayers when I was about 17 and they left quite an impression on me. Even to this day I still have a fuzzy memory of pale bosoms, fake blood and some melodramatic banter.

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How much time have you wasted on alts?

Goblin Warlock

Another alt bites the dust.

Today I rolled another three alts in WoW. Alts of alts, in fact. Yep, I deleted my level 15 Warlock Goblin alt and started a Warlock Blood Elf alt-alt. I also deleted my Worgen Rogue alt and started a Goblin Rogue alt-alt. Finally, I also created a new Warrior who’s an alt of a level 15 Warrior I have who’s an alt of a level 67 Warrior I deleted who was an alt of my level 85 Warrior main. And if you followed any of that then you surely deserve a place in Mensa.

I’m actually starting to think I have a problem. I had this weird moment this afternoon when I was playing through the Blood Elf starting area for, oh I don’t know, the 100th time, and had a flashback to a vivid memory from about two years ago. In it, I recalled playing the exact same class through the exact same starting area. Two years ago. I’m starting to feel like I’m either stuck in some sort of warped MMO Groundhog Day or my attention span is that of a hyperactive four year old chimpanzee.

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Are You Ashamed Of Playing MMOs?

Race To World First

Being the first out of 10 million people to achieve something is nothing to sneeze at

Last year I watched a fascinating documentary called Race to World’s First which followed the struggles of an American World of Warcraft guild called Blood Legion in their attempts to becoming, surprise, surprise, the world’s first guild to down raid bosses in WoW. I don’t know the exact details of how the rankings work but, essentially, you get scored on how quickly you progress through the raid system, all in attempt to be the first guild in the world to take down new bosses as they are made available. I guess it’s like a high level macro game that makes the raid component of WoW far more competitive, all with the top guilds in the world battling for that special number one position.

The documentary is very good and I’d definitely recommend shelling out the three bucks it costs to watch it as it not only offers a real insight into the types of people that get sucked into this ultra competitive sub-world of WoW raiding but it shows a lot of the human side to it all. Just like some of the best documentaries out there, it doesn’t labour too much on the mechanics of the game but instead takes a detailed look at the people who play it and how it affects their lives.

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