By “beef”, I mean “data”. This is a dream world post. I often dare to dream. Mythic is very proud of their meta data collection and hey, I would love them to throw some of that our way. Developers are always very protective of their data. Gamers are always very hungry to understand more. When I go to the server selection screen and see Order population: Low, Destruction Population: Medium – what exactly does that mean? Where is the magic line between low and medium? Is low 399 characters, and medium 400? Or does that mean there are 10 order and 900 Destruction? Why can’t we  know this?

MMO’s do a great job of collecting, displaying, and using data in every click, keyboard press, and number crunch. Send some of that love our way! MMO’s are a big time investment and I want to make decisions when choosing my server and class on hard data. I know, I know – “play what you like” – and I do, but hey, what if I like four different classes and want to play “what my realm would like”. Spit out the numbers for me : Order has 100 tanks between levels 1-10, 50 tanks between 11-20, and 1 tank between levels 21-30. I don’t see why it would hurt to tell us this. (Admittedly, this information is pretty useless at the launch of a game, but once you get a couple years in it can be very valuable for me as a gamer to make choices!)

During beta there was a great command in game – /count. This would show how many Order and Destruction were on the server at any time. It was a tool to encourage beta testers to make sure both sides were balanced for testing purposes. It would have been even better to have it break down the /count per Tier, and /count per pairing, but still a fun tool to look at things. Obviously they took it out – bring it back with a vengeance, a useful, fun little command to see how your server looks at any given time. Gamers hunger for data and full websites and mods are created to gather and display it. MMO companies, lend me your ears. I imagine a world of piece and data sharing. Gamers holding hands accross the nation. Developers, producers, programmers, players – all set toward a common goal. (You can leave the marketing department at home. Their data is probably insulting to us.) I remember in DAOC on the private boards players would have to “guess” at how certain things were calculated in game. When big changes were being discussed Mythic refused to release the calculations and players had to make “best guesses” on how the mechanics worked and then suggest “best guesses” ways to improve mechanics. This usually lead to “best guesses” fixes, and all DAOC players knew how that turned out. Thankfully there was an incredible number cruncher (gosh.. what was his name, Wiurd? Anyone remember?) who would pretty much prove the only way a mechanic could be calculated, then based on that assumption posted how to fix it to normalize (other fancy math words, etc), and make a conclusion. Even when showed the only possible way something could be mathematically calculated Mythic still wouldn’t say if it was right or not. Blarg.

Of course we know why they don’t tell us – that doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t want to know. Having hard numbers to backup what side wins scenarios the most, who is playing what classes, etc. just gives complainers gamers more ammunition to say “see? you failed! I told you this would happen!”, and releasing how damage/healing formulas are calculated could open up weaknesses in code for hacks, or allow competitors to take that information and apply it to their own game. Add to that that the way data and statistics are interpreted by the common person makes me wonder if there is any really good conclusions to draw from even a full disclosure data situation (besides simple things such as whoa, no one plays Witch Elves. Maybe we should add more clothes, surely that will increase their popularity).

Despite that, and knowing there isn’t much chance of it changing, I still want the beef.

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