The Canadian Lynx is an interesting predator. It lives almost solely on the snowshoe hare - and is very effective at catching, killing, and eating them. While that is not particularly interesting in itself (a cat predator eating a bunny for dinner) what is fascinating is the lifecycle the Canadian Lynx is doomed to repeat.
Because the Lynx is so effective at catching and killing the snowshoe hare, and as the Lynx breeds and adds more to its family, they end up almost hunting the snowshoe hare to extinction. At this point the Lynx population start dying off because of the scarcity of food. There ends up being a tipping point where the Lynx has almost hunted itself to a dangerous level of near extinction - at which point, the showshoe hare starts repopulating. Rinse repeat. Every 10-14 years or so.
Nature works in such fantastic ways - ideally, if Nature were sensible she would introduce another predator to hunt the Lynx (humans can hunt them, but they are typically in very remote and unseasonable locales) thereby keeping the lynx population fairly consistent, also keeping the snowshoe hare consistent. This does not happen.
In gaming terms I do not believe the population of gamers is growing to the extent to support the companies that make the games, and the excess of titles that are on or coming to market. We are the snowshoe hares and companies are the Lynx. I think we are seeing the result of the nature of the market adjusting for this realization though as games are funded in other ways and the profileration of the indie genre as a viable way of game making once again. This creates different payment and cost styles and overall is healthy for the environment. It is a positive adjustment.
This Lynx metaphor is also a good one for our economy which requires being in a perputal state of growth. Eventually that growth will not be realized and things will reset. Hopefully we are smart enough to not be doomed to repeat like the Lynx.
No, the headline isn't even a half ass metaphor for the emotional state of the typical MMO veteran player right now.
It's about the movie/musical/video game (wait - what?)
Les Miserables is one of those instances where I really am reminded how little I know, and how uncultured I am. The movie is the first experience I had with Les Mis (that's the trendy short form, right?) and of course was driven by my wife's desire to see it more than mine. She had participated in the school play when she was a kid.
I just thought Les Mis was a play, and always was. That is certainly what it was to me. Cue instant Wikipedia interest article to learn that:
- It is a book written in the 1860's
- The English version is 1500+ pages
- Has a really engaging and interesting plot line
- Is ruined by singing
Maybe that last line isn't fair, since Les Mis is most famous for that - but after reading the plot summary of the original works - damn, that would make a really deep and disturbing visual feature. The singing part feels like it ruins what could have been completely amazing movie if they focused on the plot and character development.
Due to the time period I am sure the book doesn't read so smoothly.
Besides being utterly embarrassed I didn't realize the musical stemmed from one of the great literary works of all time (arguably) is that completely my fault or the fault that modern day society only consumes it from broadway?
Chat Script with a recent 'chat with a representative now'. It was with a bank.
Chris, I'm just going to check with our Technical Department.
Can you hold on a moment please?
ok great - thanks!
thanks for your patience Christ.
Oh my gosh.. I'm so sorry about that Chris!!
its okay - nice laugh in the morning =)
I can't believe I just typed that, I'm so sorry!!
its ok - I get that all the time.
Good times. =)
I can't believe I started this blog in 2008. Yes, it only has 184 (often misguided) posts, and no, I haven't really checked in in a year and a half. And yes, I do miss you.
'You' having two contexts, of course.
One, is writing. I think critically all the time for work, and write all the time for work - rarely for enjoyment. That was what I accomplished here. I had a ton of fun.
Two, is actually you. You who is no longer reading this, but used to. And who would comment, and challenge me, and link posts back.
While I still follow the community for the most part, I stopped participating. Not only, not participating (by not writing), but also, by not commenting. Not supporting the online community I was once part of. Yes, I am feeling a bit old and tired and once again waxing nostalgia.
When I stumbled upon the news that EA's CEO was retiring due to revenue issues and remembered that I lead a revolution (ahem) to stop buying EA products. It made me want to post. I thought I remembered making fun of him for being a terrible blogger, but that was some other EA dude. So, like many things that go as you age, I blame it on being a natural loss of general facilities.
So here I am writing, and it feels good. I played a lot of League of Legends on my own, ditched it because of the community. Played GW2 for a while, ditched it for lack of community. And oddly enough, against everything I ever fought for in computer games and posts here, I am a WoW subscriber again (albeit only a handful of hours a week). Why? Community. My friends are still there. Many never left.
Which circles back to blogging - for a few years I was tight with blogging, and regardless why or how I lost my desire to be a part of the community, I assure you it was me (not you). So I am back. I am not changing the title of the blog but the format will cover more about life in general with a gaming slant here and there - I am not on top of the gaming news, trends, or fads anymore. Good thing there is far more to life than gaming (and blogging about it).
Sad to see Wolfshead hasn't blogged in a while and I think the whole blogging idea wasn't about expecting or implementing change in our online universes, but sharing ideas about how those might look someday.
So, going to poke around and say hi to you in your corners of the blog-o-verse, and stop by here once in a while to share stories and thoughts, when the need and if the desire arises. My therapist recommends it.
Nice to see you again.
I don't post nearly as much when I am playing. One of those funny things - when I play a lot, I don't post. When I'm not playing a lot, I post. With limited gaming/personal time, it just works out that way.
I am in, and there is, a SWTOR beta. That's all I am allowed to say (NDA wise). No no, not sharing any impressions either way, just sharing what I am allowwed to share. And that's it.
I have done a lot of beta tests at various stages, and the amusing part always is the disconnect between customer expectations based on released information, and what you see know when you are 'in the know' - hands on, so to speak. This observation is completely unrelated to my sentence prior, but is a pretty consistent and common theme in the beta tests (in general) I have participated in.
On a side note, I am somewhat shocked at the lack of World of Pandas/Pokemon rage. When I read the announcement I started going to some of my favourite blogging sites to enjoy reading pages upon pages of hate and anger. Perhaps it was because Blizz's next step down wasn't a surprise to anyone (anymore), or that bloggers just tend not to care about WoW anymore. If I missed any good posts on it, please link them.
I actually like the idea of the monk class (a personal favourite in EQ) but everything else is both unsurprising and uninspiring. I will tip my hat to Blizzard for fighting to the end, trying to break the standard-ish MMO growth curve and climb then slow decline. On a somewhat unrelated note, Zynga's IPO is due soon. Not sure why that popped into my head when writing this section.
Best blogging post I read this week goes to the BBB, and it's not even game related. JP sure has a way of tackling a polarizing topic in such a way to encourage thoughtfulness on the subject. While many may not agree with him, he hits the nail on the head, and it's a brave post considering his normal subject matter. (It's also a sad statement to qualify a post about human rights as being courageous - but you know what I mean. Right?)
Have a few posts I have been plugging away on in the background that I'll get to this week. Time permitting, of course =)
I did say ramblings, after all.
Mild mannered bloggers over at Are We New At This? and High Latency Life are tackling an important issue in blognation. Why all the hate on WoW? I mean, it has eleventy (.2) billion subscribers! Something must be going right over at ActiBlizzEnron. It is a curious (and good) question in many ways. Chris Cavelle tries to calm the masses and instead suggests we all enjoy some Mila instead.
Thing is, I hate Mila.
I mean, she was talented in that 70's show, but her newer work in film has just been so much shallower.
I always have preferred red-heds to brunettes
I think she is losing weight, and I prefer curves to stick-women
The kids these days may like her, but I prefer a classier ladies - like Kate Beckinsale
Too much photo-shop
(See what I did there?)
All joking aside (and I really don't dis-like Mila) and light-fun-poking at the topic - personal tastes leads to criticism - constructive or not. While I prefer to read opinions that are constructive, people are going to write what they feel like. WoW is held as the 'standard' in MMO'ing, love it or hate it. Their design decisions, as proven by the whole failed-wow-clone design cycle syndrome, has impacted the direction of the genre for many years. Current and Ex-players like to wax their opinions on that impact, and the secret desire for every gamer to have every game "made just for me" (tm).
Just like everyone critiques every speech, decision, and outfit worn by the POTUS due to the perceived impact it has on people's lives, they do the same with things that impact their hobbies. Perhaps that isn't an entirely relevant analogy, but you wouldn't be able to guess the difference in importance reading some of those constructive criticisms (including some of my own.)
I played WoW for many years through the ups and downs, and had my fun with it. I'll no doubt pop back in next expansion to see if it's improved (for my tastes - important qualifier - I know many like it just as it is, even if sub numbers are shrinking). I think personally, I "hate" on WoW because the experience doesn't work for me like it used to. And because I still secretly want to play it, I complain about it. So I can still be involved in the discussion somehow.
Of course, if you wade through the mass of WoW 'bashing', you'll find some great gems in there that would indeed improve the game - and not just for whomever the author may be. You can see Blizz pushing for some (perhaps) real big changes (dissolving the holy trinity?) and adding features they swore up and down they never would do. Who knows, maybe Blizzard will Transmogrify their development. Will be fun to see. And bitch about.
Never fear my friends, I predict WoW complaining will drop to an all time low on December 20th.
Going to a new blogging style. The exciting 'when I can/feel like it'. When I blogged regularly I blogged pretty hard, 3+ posts a week, keeping on top of current events and all the "excitement". I took an extended break once, and in the same breadth kept lurking and reading my favorites without posting. I haven't posted since December and plan on making it more regular (without any firm commitments!)
Now I'll just have the odd meal, enjoy the writing part, and keep blogging for no ulterior purpose but to enjoy myself on much needed breaks.
So, what have I been up to gaming wise?
b) Long after Cataclysm was released, I did my WoW dance once again, enjoyed it for what it is, then left when all I could do was done. Un-subbed prior to 4.1 with little interest returning. Maybe next expansion for a 3 month ride to remind myself why I unsubbed in the first place =)
c) Played more of Minecraft - although given up on creating something completely awesome, I am strip mining to hollow out under the world but making all resources renewable - anything I take from the ground I have to reuse above ground. Will someday end up with a rediculous cavern underground and floating islands in the sky. It's definitely Zen grinding down blocks then finding uses for them elsewhere
d) Played Rift until level 15, quit, much for the same uninspiring reasons the current-gen MMO mechanics I often lament
e) Trialed AION for the free 20 levels, enjoyed myself a bit, not buying.
f) Less excited than ever about SWTOR and their marketing giganticnous of the title, and looking forward to not buying it on release while waiting for the reviews to pour in from trusted like minded bloggers. I still expect to play it someday as I am a fan of the DA/ME conversation wheel choices, but everything I have read about it from the CE backward has me in pure holdout mode.
Work wise we are expanding into Asian and South American countries, so that has been interesting and exciting. My family and I (odd to make the distinction, heh) are moving this week to a new home 7 hours away for work.
How have you been? =)
I was surfing EA sites to find anyplace to complain that they stopped their major sports title development for the PC. Yes, I have complained about it a couple times already. I really want to play some football.
1) Most of the comments on that blog post I redirected you to is spam. I mean, Askimet is free. It blocks hundreds to my site a week. Even if your blogging software doesn't have a spam checker, hire someone for minimum wage to keep an eye on it.
2) The posts that aren't spam, are your customers who seem infuriated that you suggested the game you are blogging about is a big hit - their impression is complete trash. While that may not be the case you should probably address their issues.
There is no excuse for that level of an executive to not keep the blog clean. If you don't want to manage it, turn off commenting. If you want it to be a place where you can connect and engage your customers, do so. If you want to start selling Gucci, Coach, and Ed Hardy knockoffs just leave it as is.
There is so much lazy and so much wrong with it. I am embarrassed for Mr. Moore and the EA brand. And I already don't support your products anymore. (25 days and counting!)
Fun thing about being 'successful' and making contacts - I was asked, and agreed to, sit on a board of directors for a film fund.
I just signed back the paperwork today. It sat on my desk for a week, and to be honest movies aren't any more of my forte than games - I have a lot to learn about the industry. I know they asked me for both my track record of raising funds, and my growing contact list - not my movie expertise. I think it will be a great learning experience and that I can bring some business experience to the group. I am probably most excited to get on the inside of another industry and learn the ins and outs.
It is as simple as it sounds - a group that raises money from investment sources to make movies. We raise funds, and find good projects to apply them to.
Give me a year and I'll figure out how to get the group to put some funds towards gaming. =)
While our MMO companies battle for the mainstream dollar, I can't help but wonder if any are forward thinking to the premium dollar customers - or if that market even exists in the gaming world. In the simplest of comparisons think Price Chopper vs Whole Foods. The first provides basic food at cut rate prices. The second provides food that is better for you but costs a lot more. The first tends to be less clean, more crowded, and more basic. The second is a better overall shopping experience, if you are willing to pay for it. Even looking at their websites you get the impression of the difference in quality and the markets both are trying to capture.
I drive a Lexus. I don't say that in any snooty way, or think that makes me special by any means. In fact, it barely cost more than the GM I drove before it. My experience with domestic car makers over the years has been a major let down on such a major purchase, and after getting a $1500 bill to repair my windshield wipers on my 2006 GM, I had had enough. While the entry price for the GM was more manageable (and I was supporting the local factory as well), every time I went into scheduled service after the warranty had run out it cost me an additional $500 to the aforementioned $1500. Beyond frustrated I did my research and bought the Lexus. I now have bumper to bumper warranty for 200,000 km, a safer, more comfortable drive, and something that will hold it's value much better. Back to my GM for a second - it cost me $38,000 and was a 2006 model (with 128,000 km driven - yes, I drive a TON for work), and when I went to trade it in this year the black book value was $2500 - $5500. Compare that to my brother's Toyota, that he has had for 9 years, has 300,000 km on it - still holding a black book value of $16,000.
Last car point before back to gaming - I drove over a nail on the highway two weeks ago, and was awful nervous what it was going to cost me to replace that tire (Pirelli). When I took it into Lexus for service they informed me my tires were covered for 36 months, and I got the tire replaced for free. I was very happy with this - afterall, the tire didnt fail from the manufacturer, neither they or myself could have controlled how that nail ended up on the highway at the point I was bombing down the highway. That surprised value has created a definite customer loyalty and satisfaction I haven't had in my lifetime of owning domestic vehicles.
The point of talking about grocery stores and cars is to illustrate the point that as a consumer I will pay for value. My wife will argue that I am actually 'cheap', although I argue I just hate throwing money away. Investing in something that holds extra value isn't cheap to me, its sensisble consumerism.
Most industries work this way. There is always a more expensive version of whatever you own, and savvy companies capitalize on this through branding and value and make their profits on margin vs units sold. In the gaming sphere, am I alone in saying that I would pay more for a better experience?
Easy gaming examples - I would pay more for WoW for an adult only server with extra features (with housing, for example). The server would most likely be less populated which would allow for housing in the first place. Other features that would be worth paying for for me including removing mechanics that artificially elongate content (dungeon lockouts, dailies, etc) and additional customization options. Blizzard has those items flagged as things that don't add value to their current subscriber base, so they don't allocate their scarce resources to build on them. They may be fluffy examples, but I would pay more for them. There are better ways to build the premium product, but those are just off the cuff.
In a gaming world where companies are going the other way - where they are easing entry barriers and going Wal-Mart in design instead of Boutique, surely a company out there can recognize that by making a better game they can position themselves not as 'niche', but 'premium'. It makes the most sense for an existing company to build on their existing success to test this market. Back to cars, Toyota owns Lexus. They have thier base affordable car for the 'masses' but have that premium option. They sell far more cars branded Toyota than Lexus, but Lexus is very profitiable - because they build up from their base models and offer more. It takes far less effort to enhance the basic offering as the guts and basics are already there.
Instead of not paying $15 a month right now for a shallow and basic gaming experience, I'm willing to pay more to get something better. I would be surprised if there isn't a growing consumer base willing to do so - when I started gaming the monthly sub was a lot to swallow, but as I matured and became more gainfully employed games didn't grow in the same way. I bet that many people who grew up in the MMO marketplace are in the same position as I am - and are ready to invest in a premium MMO if so designed.