Latest Posts

Beta Fatigue

I am a very busy guy lately. Work is rediculously busy, family is busy trying to enjoy the summer, and a lot of games are getting closer to release. Since when was summer beta season? I am in 5 right now.

With little time to play any.

I manage to do a little in each each week but nothing I could dedicate in the past. This problem stems from two separate issues, real life being one and beta fatigue the other.

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A Survey request from EA/Bioware

I know a lot of people hate EA. I am in the small minority who have really enjoyed their products, and haven’t been dissappointed when purchasing their games. Of course I do a lot of research before buying games, and never buy a game by who it is from – but rather on the merits of the game itself.  I received an online survey request from them through Massive Effect, so figured I would oblige. Survey after the break!

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Building Blocks

grinders0018_06-19-09

Comic created by Masssively.com. Funny Stuff!

The Cities XL closed beta started last week (I cannot confirm or deny being a part of aforementioned beta) and it has brought a lot of attention back to one of the great PC staples of the ‘building genre’, and ties a little MMO into it. I loved Sim City (le original). I stopped playing at Sim City 4 (although I still boot that up now and again – great solo play game) and unfortunately the Sim series hasn’t really moved past that. Sim City Societies was a whole new ball of wax. I am surprised at the following of the game still from genre enthusiasts. Last time I checked, Simtropolis had over 350,000 registered users – who still mod, create skins, and are passionate for the Maxis Sim City series.

Interested to see how Cities XL turns out. Will be one of the first MMO’s of it’s kind, albeit in a typical complex gameplay format – will it be dumbed down to appeal to the masses or will it provide that “just right” challenge? Will City enthusiasts enjoy the core gameplay? Will it be the natural next step in builders – building online planets, instead of just single player cities – and why didn’t the Sim City folks – the creator of the genre – think of this step first?

Regardless, looking forward to this one (although it is only being launched in Germany and France first, September 3rd).

Lighter Topic

I am part of a WoW guild. I have spoken briefly about it in the past in a few topics, but nothing major (you know, the one I used to be GM of, yadda yadda). It’s going through a change right now, and the people that founded the guild are mostly gone. It was a great guild and will be interesting to see as a “casual” player what happens with it. They are working on their 4th GM right now. I have a Guild post lined up for the future. This is of lighter fare.

I still read the boards, and Clawdia/Orvie updated a thread that was/is kinda cool. It’s in private guild forums so I can’t link it.

Since the guild was formed at the beggining of Burning Crusade, we have had 12 kids born into guild members. Hell, that’s a solid 10 person raid group (with rotations, even). It’s a fun thought – a group of adult gamers grouped by an in game tag sharing parenting tips for newborns (after they read the Yogg-Saron strats, mind you)

Puts things into a fun perspective when gaming and real life collide.

Don’t Be a Hater!

The lawyer-in-training is coming out (heh, no pun intended) in me today. In law school, professors hammer into us the fact that “words matter.” A lot of time and effort is spent poring over words and their meanings; often disputes will turn upon a word that you and I think has a fairly settled definition. Over on wow.com there is a post about the fact that a GLBT guild is planning a “pride parade” in a couple of weeks. At the end of it is a little note that got under my skin, though. it says “NOTE: All hateful comments will get deleted and repeat offenders will be banned.” I know that the post made there is a bit of a charged subject and riles emotions on both sides of the issue. It’s the irony that while celebrating one group’s freedom of expression, they immediately turn around and warn that “hateful” speech will not be tolerated. But what exactly is the definition of the word “hateful?”

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Forswearing Greed – Developers take Notice

This post is inspired by the article of the same title in the June 6th to 12th edition of the Economist.

A group of Harvard Business MBA students have made attempts to turn management into a formal profession. Doctors have their oath, so do Lawyers. CEO’s have always had one too – except it isn’t nearly as flashy or encompassing as the other formal professions. “The only responsibility of business is to maximize profits” is hardly a mission statement to live by.

“..the students promised they would, among other things, ‘serve the greater good’, ‘act with the utmost integrity’, and guard against ‘decisions and behavior that advance my own narrow ambitions, but harm the enterprise and the societies it serves.”

About half the class took the pledge. The purpose, of course, is most likely to distance themselves from the  current gen of MBA CEO’s who have lived off the backs of consumers and are the root of the problem of the current economic crisis. Of course, detractors from the oath indicate there is no “bite” to it, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

“Defenders of the oath reply that the goal of maximising shareholder value has become a justification for short-termism and, in particular, rapid personal enrichment. They are concerend about managers doing things that drive up the share price quickly at the expense of a firm’s lasting health. Management gurus such as Jim ‘Good to Great’ Collins argue that shareholders are likely to earn better returns in the long run if firms are led by managers with integity and a desire to play a constructive role in society”

Loved that line in the read – because of it’s obvious truth. Jim Collins not only ‘argued’ the point above, but was able to demonstrate it over a long period of time through some great research that followed the top public companies that went “Good to Great” in comparison to those that did not. Of course, applying this to real life is still a ways away. I used to be heavily involved in Politics when I was younger – I dreamt of all the changes to yet another failed, redundant and inefficient system (goverment/party politics system) and worked my way into the Federal party and found out there were a lot of people like me. What becomes apparent though – quickly I might add – that in order to get into that position of “power” that would enable you to make those important changes you have to sell yourself off along the way. Once you get that power, you quickly learn that if you don’t listen to lobbyists and the guys funding the whole thing you will be out before you have the chance to make the change. What that boils down to is this – by the time you get into “power” to make positive change you are often a shadow of your former self. You will never be in a position of power for long enough to enact the changes that are needed – no matter how strong your vision is.

My point with that, while the MBA student’s pledge is definitely a step in the right direction, let’s see what happens when they have to go out, get a job, and have to make tough choices of doing the right thing for the company, or doing the right thing for their career. Will be a tough pickle.

So, all that being said – anyone care to draft up a MMO Developer’s Pledge Forswearing Greed?

It’s All Just TOO Difficult!

Pope here. Today Blizzard announced major changes to the mount structure. Most notable amongst the changes is that flying mounts will now be accessed at level 60. Normal flying will be 150% speed instead of 60% like it has been since flying mounts were launched. Wow.

What’s more: Blizzard is now including a portal from SW and Orgrimmar to the Stair of Destiny (aka the Dark Portal). As the folks over at wow.com point out, it will certainly reduce “downtime” for traveling back to the major cities to train after leveling.

Yes, that’s right. Downtime. Because it just took far too long to get to Shat, take your preferred portal to the city of your choice, then activate your hearthstone to get back to Outland. Of course, if you’re a Death Knight, you don’t even have to go to Shat, you can simply conjure your Death Gate and you’re back in the loving arms of Mograine and the rest of Death Knightdom.

What really makes me chuckle about this though is that they feel the need to speed up leveling through the use of flying mounts. Back in the winter, I leveled my Death Knight up to 65 before setting WoW down to focus on school. Last Thursday I picked him back up and started leveling again. I was out of Outland on Saturday night. I dinged 70 on Monday evening. I didn’t play all day each day or anything like that. I simply did the chains of quests that I received, skipping any instance quests and things that would take me horribly off course. All of that without a flying mount. In about three days.

Oh but really, that was too slow. We need to speed things up! Let’s give players flying mounts at 60, and up the speed on them. Forget all the work that Blizzard put into the zones, the detail that they added to it. Let’s let them navigate above the fray, pop down on the one mob they need to kill, then take back to the skies. Maybe Blizzard is more embarrassed about the Burning Crusade content than I thought.

On the other hand, at least players will be able to fly around before hitting level 78. It’s too bad my Death Knight missed out on that.

Repetitive Monetization Theoretics

Newsflash: MMO’s make you grind.

(That new, informative and ground breaking statement should win me a blog-pulitzer, or blog-nobel, I am certain of it.)

Follow Up: People tend to not like grind.

MMOment of Truth: Grind equals profits for companies (both in the form of longer sub fee collection, and minimizing development costs)

Sad Truth: Inclusive of the above statements, MMO companies don’t treat their customers very well. [insert any analogy here that shows the longer a company forces a customer to wait for something, or to receive their item, or charges more to one customer for the same item than another customer, etc etc – the poorer the customer feels]

Solution 1: Develop a fun game that doesn’t have grind as it’s core, “innovating” feature (not going to happen anytime soon)

Solution 2: Enhance the experience with Real Money Transactions (community has a hard time accepting the current iterations of the model)

Solution 3: After the break! (oh, how I love cliffhangers)

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What is Hurting WoW’s Polish?

Warning – Fanboi’s may attack!

WoW has changed. Change is sometimes a good thing, and I’m not going to belabor the obvious changes (less challenge) or industry misconceptions (subs are needed to cover ongoing costs) instead, I am going to look at two things I have noticed the most since my foray back into WoW.

First, to stave of the flames – WoW is still a fun game. It presents well, plays well, and yes, we all know how many subs they have. They are obviously growing still, but there are two nagging things that jump out at me that aren’t typical Blizzard “style”, every time I log in and (try) to play. Confusing conundrums, after the cut.

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Un-Expectations

I took my 4 year old son and my wife (or did they take me?) to the movie UP! over the weekend. First off, I am loving the glorious 3D action that is making it’s way back into theaters. It is good to see the industry figuring out that if you don’t enhance the experience, it’s far easier/cheaper to just download the movie and/or wait for Blockbuster to release it. The 3D experience is one worth paying for, and seemingly only available in the theaters. [Note to self for future post: Why can’t you have 3D at home? And is it possible to have it in games?]

I didn’t start this post to talk about 3D though, but a small surprise about the movie – which led me to thoughts about gaming, kids, and all that jazz. Does the expectation of certain entertainment mediums skew our views on how it is perceived? More after the break.

*Warning – Spoilers follow for the movie UP! – Don’t read if you don’t want to know*

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An Idea…

First off, big thanks to Chris for letting me post here.  I had this thought rolling around in my head, but no real spot to post it (my regular readership on my blog wouldn’t really get it).  Unbeknownst to him, Chris actually touched on the problem I’m looking at in this post in his “welcome” post.

While doing some reading on various blogs, I read several different posts that got my brain working on the subject of guilds and raid teams.  Guilds typically form as social constructs, ways for players to stay connected to friends in the game.  Guilds also form as a means to connect with other players for a common purpose; the most common of those purposes being raiding.  There are plenty of guilds that are purely social guilds and do no raiding whatsoever, but how many guilds do you know of that are purely for the purpose of raiding that don’t have a social element?  Beyond the big famous ones, guilds almost always have a nonraiding, social component to them.  After all, the raiding component of the game is only a subset of the endgame.

In his last post, Chris referenced the struggle of balancing the needs of the guild and the needs of the raid team.  Unless the guild is built as a hardcore raiding guild from the start, the goals and needs of a guild are often in conflict with the goals and needs of a raid team.  With a raid team, you know the numbers you need, the types of roles you need for each encounter, and a certain competence and commitment level from each individual raider.  There’s a clear goal in mind when a raid team is formed: progression through raid content.  In BC, nobody formed a raid team to go and wipe on Moroes for three hours a night.  Whatever the pace, the goal of each and every team was success.  Guilds, on the other hand, can either be as exclusive or as accepting as the leadership wants it to be.  Regardless of its level of exclusivity, a guild, at its most basic level, is a social instrument.  Success on a guild level can be whatever the guild wants it to be.

The mere existence of a guild invites drama.  I’d venture a guess to say that the biggest cause of guild drama and guild implosions comes from raiding, and there wouldn’t be many who would dispute that.  The nature of raiding drama has evolved as the landscape of raiding changed with each expansion.  In vanilla WoW it was the pressure on a guild of maintaining a raid team capable of fielding 40 raiders.  In BC, Blizzard lowered the raid cap to 25, but put a ten man instance as the entry-level raid.  It took a long time for most guilds to make it over the hurdle of Karazhan.  Now in WotLK, it’s the pressure of having both 10 and 25 man teams.  While having the bifurcated system for all instances facilitates more raid progression across the board, it’s allowed raiders to jump guilds more frequently; in short, the guild as a raid-organizing body is becoming obsolete.

Though I haven’t had the luxury of experiencing the current endgame raiding content, I’ve kept tabs on friends raiding experiences and watched them be more or less successful in the content.  One friend organized a group of individuals into a set team for the sole purpose of defeating endgame content on a time-limited basis.  The team wasn’t created out of any single guild; instead, the team was formed independent of guild tags and was set by one person.  Once the team completed its stated objective, the team disbanded and a new team formed with a different objective and different raiders.  Though I am not sure exactly how well they’ve done, I’m fairly certain that they’ve been able to complete most of the 10-man content in the current endgame.  This with high expectations and only a few raid nights per week.

Back when they launched Burning Crusade, Blizzard introduced a new gameplay element in the PvP Arena system.  With it came a new organization method in the Arena Teams.  As you know, Arena teams consist of two, three, or five players fighting a time with team rosters allowing for twice that amount (four, six, or ten) for the sake of versatility.  The beauty of the arena team system, though, was the fact that the arena teams weren’t limited to guildmates; an arena team could consist of members from completely different guilds.

I think you know where I am going with this.  What if Blizzard were to implement a system for raiding similar to the Arena Team system?

Instead of using the guild structure to organize the raid team, a raid leader acquires a raid charter from the “Raid Master” just like an arena team would visit the Arena Master to sign an Arena Charter for the preferred size.  A set number of raiders sign the charter and become members of that raid team.  Perhaps the allowed number could be double the size of the raid, like Arena teams, or it could be some other reasonable number.  The raid leader could set the timeframe of a raid team, or perhaps there could be raid “seasons,” similar to the current Arena seasons.  Just like Arena Teams, the raid leader gives the Raid Team a name.  Just like an Arena Team, the Raid Team is not bound by guild structure; raiders from multiple guilds can belong to the raid team.  Additionally, once formed, a raid team could have a dedicated chat channel through which to communicate (say, /rt or something?), even when not formed into an actual raid group.  I have thoughts on other mechanics, but I’ll save them for a possible later post, since this one’s running long.

This would provide distinct advantages to the current “ad hoc” system WoW currently has implemented.  The biggest advantage would probably be the segregation of raid organization from guild organization.  With an Arena-style system, raid teams could organize and be tracked independent of a guild system.  Guilds could focus on being social entities without worrying about the competing interests of the raiding component.  Raids could organize around their goals free of the concerns of guild management.  If a raid team wanted to be all in-guild it certainly could organize that way, but it wouldn’t have to.  Additionally, an Arena-style system would allow tracking of raid accomplishments by Blizzard.  The Armory system already tracks Arena Team accomplishments and progress.  Instead of having websites that scour the Armory and produce data and “rankings” for raid teams, the armory itself could remove the guesswork from the system.  We could easily see who was a world- or server-first for a specific kill.  Who knows, Blizzard could even implement some personal titles or competitions for raiding, just like they have for the Arena system.

Well, there you have it.  I welcome your thoughts.

Introducing (the) Pope

A friend of mine is going to start adding a post or two, here or there on this site. The thought came by in a discussion – he reads a lot of gaming blogs and wouldn’t mind sharing his thoughts. I thought it would be fun to give him an outlet.

I have known Pope for many years – back when I was a GM he was the RM. It was a fun relationship – often the ‘struggle’ of the needs of the RM and GM were on different wavelengths with what the guild needed. Took a lot of communication and compromise, but in the end we struck a dynamic balance of a hardcore raiding environment in a casual friendly guild. We hit most of our goals, and tackled most of the the things we had to. It’s funny how fast you can respect and rely on people you have never met.

We didn’t talk about what he was going to write about, or his writing style. Whatever it may be, I welcome him into the blog-gaming sphere and looking forward to reading his stuff.

I hope you do do.

Valve Announces L4D2 – Fans Rejoice/Hate

Exciting news for fans of the game for sure!

A sequel so close to the original – (Left 4 Dead launced last November) seems to have the fans of the title confused. Some, who have spent tons of hours in zombie guts glee are extactic that the new game, with new features and improvements, is coming out so quickly.

Others feel ripped off – and that in typical Valve style they would be playing free upgrades and mission packs for a long time from now (a la TF2).

Read the comments in this blog announcement to see the ruckous.

I can understand the fret from an economics point of view, but the fandom in me from a title I logged 100 hours playing for the box (through the single player, co-op, co-op versus and recently free released survival mode) and loved every minute. A game with set play, limited levels, and replayability isn’t going to hold me much longer than that. I am ready for something new.

So it comes as no suprise, that I am pretty excited about the announcement.

In Valve’s defence (if it’s needed) or additional cheering (which camp are you in this announcement?) they haven’t said the pricing structure, future support for L4D1, or anything of that nature. One would suppose that the majority of the fan base of L4D1 will pick up the new title, leaving less games for people who stick with L4D1. You could also make the argument that by next November, a lot of people will be tired of the original title and ready for new anyway.

Will be interesting to see how it all pans out. Whatever Valve has touched lately turns to gold – hopefully that translates into gold zombies, and not upset L4D1 fans.

Bing Vs. Google

Bing Search: I has PC

1.       Lack of consistency on offence, defence has PC’s Welsh in bind..

2.       Dell’s All-in-One PC Has the Guds, Design to Compete with iMac…

3.       I HAS PC

4.       Property: HAS PC member – semanticweb.org..

5.       Motorola’s Renew has PC Magazine’s GreenTech Seal of Approval..

Google Search: I has PC

1.       I HAS PC

2.       Property: Has PC member – semanticweb.org

3.       Renaissance chambara | Ged Carroll – Samsung Windows Mobile has PC..

4.       Motoroal’s Renew has PC Magazine’s GreenTech Seal of Approval..

5.       Kotaku – The Chronicles of Riddick On PC Has a Rediculous Install..

Google is still the champ, for obvious reasons.

Can the End Game be the Game?

MMO gamers seem to be lamenting the fact that everything starts at the “endgame” in current mmo-land. The grind/level mechanics exist mostly to slow you down to getting to a point where you can start having fun. While that sounds back-ass-wards, the common argument in support is traditionally “Developers can’t create enough content to keep up with the players”.

I don’t disagree entirely. Developers can’t create the current type of content to keep up – or can they? I am not going to get into alternate schemes (where players are the content) or anything crazy or off the wall – I’m just going to look at our good friend WoW and understand where all their content – and developer hours – went into their game. After the break of course.

World Building: End Game in WoW, to narrow it down to the final two instances, are indicated in the map below.

If you are generous, you can expand around those dots a bit, but honestly the entire game is funneled into those two spots (which are really just entrances into instances, anyway). That is an awful big waste of programming dollars, don’t you think? Especially for a game whose 95% of “end game” content exist in instances anyway? (Depending if you count Wintergrasp as “end game”, or the Argent Tournament).

Quests: The WoW quest system, while mired in mediocrity (typical escort/kill/collect) is a HUGE part of their development costs. WoW currently has 8027 Quests (searchable at wowhead.com, at least). How many of those are “endgame”? 223. WoW has 7804 planned obsolescence quests. While you could argue the quest system is just a means to an end to GET to the endgame – how many 5/10/25 man instances could you build in place of the 7804 one off quests?

Instances: WoW has ~80 pre-cap instances, (when you count instance wings and heroic modes) and only 22 targeted for max level. Isn’t that split in reverse? Shouldn’t there be 20 instances before the cap, and have 80 instances when you hit the cap – wouldn’t that make it harder for players to “run out of content” fast when the game truly begins?

Arenas/BG’s: Pretty much all instanced except for a few world ones – but think about how many we could have if resources were allocated to play the game for fun from the outset, not just burn 5 days /played to get to (slim) endgame.

I could link to various posts of mine and others who believe the level and time to level gap needs to close, keep the relative power closer from first level to final (so everyone can play together, regardless of how long each have been playing) and there are still plenty of carrots to dangle if you like grinding through achievements, etc. I just can’t help but wonder of developers focused their time and resources at the true “endgame” how much content would we really have there – especially if the majority of content that we just use once per character and throw away, was spent on end game materials.

Just a thought.

Continuing My Excellence in Game Breaking News

Tyson winking at you was scary back then, too

Tyson winking at you was scary back then, too

So much to get excited about, I’m not sure where to begin.

With that in mind I will begin here.

Released in the late 80’s (1987?) Mike Tyson’s Punch Out was a game on the SNES that my friends and I played for hours on end. It was a classic. Ah the memories.

The 2009 version, besides fun new Wii controls (disclaimer: I haven’t bought this yet.) Enjoys an expected graphics update.

I don’t even like boxing as a sport – but the game was so much fun. Sadly, without playing the game I am not here to review – just share in my excitement for the upgrade and then ponder a question that has been asked many times before: What games would you love to see “updated”? And as a follow-up – can the magic of a couple decades old game be recaptured with today’s tech and design differences?

Time for my top 3? Glad you asked.

3. Privateer (1994)

Be your own Han Solo, run missions, fight in space sims, buy/sell/kill? Yes thank you. Missions felt oft-repeated, but with today’s tech and design I would like to think this would be the easiest of games to update and make super cool. Could probably even Multiplayer it – or, (shudder) Massively Multiplayer it. Great part was there was a main story line, but you could freely stray from it to do an endless stream of side missions

 

Where is Chewbacca?

Where is Chewbacca?

2. Star Control 2 (1992)

I didn’t ever know, or figure out, how to win this game. I just explored and played and played and played. Diplomacy, gathering, and combat components as I ventured out to save the earth from slavery. I don’t want to include any spoilers here, in case you are thinking of picking it up to give it a whirl.

 

The fate of the earth is in on your highly pixelated ship.

The fate of the earth rests on your highly pixelated ship.

1. X-Com (1993)

‘Nuff said.

Resource, Research, Team Managment and turn based combat. Pure Joy – and a great challenge.

 

All ur base are belong to you

All ur base are belong to you

I know those are easy picks, but I wonder how Punchout (2009) will fare both on it’s own merits and the nostalgia merits. I wonder if PC gaming will go the route of Hollywood and start remaking old classics for revenue. I certainly wouldn’t complain – Although I am half afraid to pick any of these titles back up for fear of let down. What was great 10-20 years ago, may not feel so spectacular now.

What are your favorites?

Yay Spam?

Oh, the joys of Askimet.

After the break, I’ll show you my latest and greatest last 10 spam messages which were caught by the automatic filter. I “de-linked” them but kept everything else in tact (yes, there are some URLs in there – plenty, actually) so if SPAM makes you sick, or you do not have the capability to NOT copy and paste a link after the break, don’t go after the break.

I don’t fully understand spam. I just don’t understand how anyone would be even remotely interested in clicking links, especially when they are framed in the context as they are. I am sure there is some other point to it all – and even by posting them maybe I committed the ultimate evil. Anyway, if you dare, go read what our spam-friends are putting out there – albeit a very small sample – after the cut.

EDIT – i did mess up the URL stuff just in case listing them as is will help them on search engines, etc.

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More From the Mine

Not of Moira. Sorry LOTRO fans.

I hope Zardoz doesn’t end up getting sick of me linking to his posts, but data gets me all hot and heavy. WoW data is always fun, and a couple weeks ago he posted his Minority Report outlining level 80 class allocation at 3.1.1. His sampling methods are reasonable so let’s look at who is playing what.

 

Class Popularity
Death Knights 15.0%
Paladin 14.2%
Druid 10.3%
Warrior 9.7%
Mage 9.6%
Priest 9.5%
Hunter 9.3%
Shaman 7.6%
Rogue 7.3%
Warlock 7.3%

 

It’s actually not a bad spread, when you take out the top 2 and bottom 3. I would suppose the goal, with 10 classes, is to have each around 10% of the playerbase. That would be a great indication of balanced and interesting classes. 4 of the 10 are +/- .5% from that equal mark, with a couple glaringly high and 3 glaringly low. 

If you were a developer I wonder how they would take that info to adjust the classes (if they even thought it was needed) – Would you try to Jaxx up the Shaman/Rogue/Lock to pull from DK’s and Pallys specifically, or just work harder to make sure those classes are more fun, interesting, and useful on their own merits?

Not going to dig too far into it today, perhaps if discussion arises – just putting it out there as fun information to look at.

Skills Baby

Suzina over at KTR posts about a couple recent gaming experiences in LOTRO. It’s a good read for several reasons, but mostly because it captures the essence of what is great about MMO’s – success and failure. I shared a snazzy yet true golf analogy in the comments section about “hooks”. MMO’s live on hooks. 

Psychochild made a comment in the thread about the beauty of Suz’s post (we are tight like that where I can nickname her unashamedly.) and that those are experiences you can’t have in single player games – and my first reaction was that he was right, followed up with a “wait, is he?” The answer is yes and no. Suspense suspended after the cut.

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How My Alpha Game Testing is Going. Check.

Cool premise? Check. Decent art direction? Check. Story and Lore? Check.

WoW treadmill/quest hub/kill ten rats style gameplay? Check.

I suppose developers still don’t understand what “different” is. If every other entrepreneur didn’t figure it out either, we would still be cranking our cars with a handle out the front grill to get them started.

I know. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right? What if a large group of consumers actually thought it was broken?

Losing will to help out said developer by seriously testing the alpha stage? Check.

Safari

I have switched my browser from good ol’ MSIE 8.0 (the new version) to Safari. I know many out there Firefox it, maybe even Google Chrome, but I just like basic functionality (and not having to learn new things all the time.)

I didn’t download it purposely, I am a big fan of the iPhone and it kept prompting me to download it. I also have a ME.com account (great for the iDisk alone) and since it works better in Safari, and everytime iTunes wanted to download an update to work with my phone it prompted me for Safari. So I finally downloaded it. 

I am pretty impressed.

Something about the font and color choices they use make every webpage POP. It just presents so nicely. I am sure that is why long time users love it – visually it is just so darn impressive. I only run a couple things that require AX, which I hear Safari doesn’t do, but I have good old’ MSIE to use that with.

MSIE just upgraded to 8.0, and not only does it seem to take forever to boot up but it just runs slow. Plus it feels it is necessary to open 2 tabs everytime (the main page, and a LIVE search tab) which also makes it run slow.

Now, I have little experience with other browsers (I did beta Chrome, but didn’t bother with it afterwards – I don’t mind minimalistic as long as full feature functionality is available) so here I am making my first blog post in Safari and it looks real pretty.

Any of you have experiences with Firefox, et al? I half feel I am cheating on my wife with an evil Apple application, but I can’t get over how good she looks, and how fast she works.