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  • styopa
  • Member Since Jul 12th, 2007

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The Soapbox: Mechanical buildup {Massively}

Mar 30th 2012 11:58AM I don't object to the simplification of systems, and you're right in the sense that update after update eventually results in overcomplicated systems that need distillation.
My objection (to WoW, specifically) is that while I can concede that there's no way they could have projected the popularity of the game in the first version, they should have "gotten it" in the second.
What I'm saying is that while they had every excuse to have non-future-proofed mechanics in vanilla, by the time of TBC they had equally NO excuse.
Moreover, it's not like there was a dearth of combat-simulation mechanics out there - certainly, any rpg gamer worth his salt could have discussed at length the particular vulnerabilities and strengths of table-based hit mechanics, scaling, power inflation, etc. and helped them come up with systems that scaled properly.
Add to this the long-promulgated assertion that "Blizzard plans several expansions in advance" and you have either a) a propoganda-based lie, trying to portray a company 'winging it' as actually acting with great foresight, or b) a company acting with foresight that has then even LESS of an excuse for things like the great stamina buff of TBC, the arpen stupidity, and hard-capped ratings that get constantly tweaked as gear inflation makes their existence increasingly irrelevant.

I truly don't get it. Again, I'll grant them the benefit of the doubt in Vanilla - that wasn't reasonably predictable. But TBC/WotLK/Cata have been littered with broken mechanics, a drop-scaling that can only be described as cancerous and utterly dissociated with challenge level - how can people reconcile this with a company that allegedly is looking years into the future, and believe it?

The Queue: Professor Oak {WoW}

Mar 27th 2012 3:17PM @John

Not really, I mean sure IF was a common hangout, but (on the few Alliance toons I played in vanilla), SW was often busy too.

I know that on the Horde side, *most* people were still in Org (man, I remember how hard it was to PUG a group in those days), but lots were also in Undercity.

In any case, yes, even in Vanilla TB and Dalaran were ghost towns, and (later) Exodar and Silvermoon even moreso. I find that sad.

FWIW I've always thought Blizz would be well-advised to steal a page from WAR and allow the ongoing PVP-capture of control points in the world to open (perhaps an instanced-version, so as not to interfere with PvE levelers) a PVP fight using the maps of various capital cities for big fat loots.

The Queue: Professor Oak {WoW}

Mar 27th 2012 2:02PM "Players are going to always need a central location to spike out onto the rest of the quest hubs."

That's the current design, sure. Does it need to be so? I'm not sure. I mean, isn't that the logic behind GW(1), DDO, and a host of other "you exist in the main city, but everything else outside is instanced" MMOs?

Personally, I *didn't* like the drift from Vanilla to the subsequent expansions (TBC "everyone hang out in Shattrath" model, and WotLK's "everyone to Dalaran!"). Cata was a slight improvement, but still pretty much made it necessary for everyone to hang out in either SW or Org.

I prefer I more realistic world that feels alive, huge, and often inconvenient to the "blink" autotravel anywhere games. I like that Blizz locked out flying for leveling in Pandaria, I'm one of the luddites that wishes flying-mounts never hit WoW.

Drama Mamas: The love triangle strikes again {WoW}

Mar 20th 2012 7:54PM Being a man, I'm not quite sure why women put up with men.

I mean, seriously, we're a-holes. Maybe not all, but the ones I've met that aren't jerks are wussy pantywaists. Not a great set of alternatives.

Seriously, ladies: men think about one thing from oh, age 12 to perhaps late 20s-early 30s. Some men never grow out of it. Depending on where a girl hits his hot-or-not meter, adjusted for his own self-image, a boyman will say or do nearly anything. Buy a puppy? Sure. Spend himself poor? Sure. Risk his life? Definitely.

By and large, the arc of the first couple of decades of a man's life are determined by his search for the opportunity at that. Obsessed with his job? It's because the status, power, and wealth will attract women better. Honest, sweet, and kind? Because he's figured out those are easy buttons to push, but you have to be credible. As a good friend said once: "If you can fake sincerity, you've got it made."

Women - even the jaded, cynical ones - have NO idea what that drive is like.

And in case people think this is a man-bashing thread, let me point out that (largely) women have controlled the mating of the species for the last couple of million years. Men behave in the manner most likely to ensure our success with...you guessed it, women. Sure, there are plenty of instances where she didn't get to chose the first bit (to put it delicately) but there's no way the offspring of the monster that would do such a thing would survive childhood without the mother's consent.

So ladies, we're what you made us. And there is the final irony.

No, the final irony is having a daughter, and knowing that no matter how much you try to warn her, she's swimming in a pool of sharks and it's almost impossible that one or more of them won't break her heart.


Re the fellow referenced in the letter, he's an ass. He's totally playing you, without risking the relationship he's in. I know, believe me, I know. Just walk away.

GDC 2012: Watch Funcom's full The Secret World presentation {Massively}

Mar 19th 2012 11:47PM I'm so glad that Funcom has persisted with the "all women have giant pendulous breasts" thing. It's awesome especially when you interact with aged or young npc who have great globular, swaying udders.


I love it!

What do you want to know about the next Guild Wars 2 beta? {Massively}

Mar 19th 2012 4:18PM To submit yourself for the next wave of beta invites, you had to 'like' them on Facebook. Fairly trivial, really.

Pasha apparently doesn't understand what "MANDATORY" means. Don't want to be in the beta? DON'T CLICK LIKE.

It's pretty simple, really.

Mists of Pandaria: Cool class stuff we found {WoW}

Mar 19th 2012 10:35AM IIRC the stag-travel form was actually the original night-elf druid travel form...in fact, as I recall, the cat-form even left stag-hoof prints for a while after launch. Maybe it still does.

Funny it finally makes it back.
Maybe Taurens will get plainsrunning too. /ducks

3 things that need to change about WoW's auction house {WoW}

Mar 16th 2012 11:40AM The third point is technically not something wrong with the AH, it's wrong with the economy, but it's a good point nevertheless.

So let's look at it in terms of basic economics. It's obvious why there's an inflationary economy - money isn't zero-sum. Essentially, you have an infinite input (essentially, it's player effort (hours) * reward factor) that's been increasing steadily - some would say grossly - in each expansion as that "reward factor" has overscaled costs, which pretty much have remained fixed.

Sure, costs have inflated slightly, as each tiers' mats are a wee bit more expensive, and repair costs have also slightly increased, but nowhere near the comparative income players are making in dailies and instances today.

So cash increases, costs don't = inflation. It's pretty basic money-supply stuff.

I know, as this column is focused on the AH, the impact here is always about "that darn inflation is making stuff expensive" but any AH-directed repair is only treating a relatively trivial symptom, not the actual disease.

For the (obviously) perfect view Blizzard has of their economy, they've really not spent much time implementing money-sinks to offset this, which could have been pretty simple (lots of data and calculating, of course, but computers are rather good at that):
- at the most basic level, they could simply scale input/output to drain out the excess tomorrow. (Yesterday, 4.2 billion gold was rewarded in PvE drops; 2.1 billion was spent in sinks, so tomorrow all sink costs (repairs, vendor items, will be increased 100% *or* drops cut in half, or some combination of the two). Of course, they could be more sophisticated and segment this by a 10-level bracket with a single segment for lvl 85 cashflows (as I suspect that the huge imbalance really is only there).
- I've always thought that banking was an opportunity to drain out cash from players. No bank in the world says "sorry, we're not going to store your stuff, we're full". (OK, then, not many would let you store a bear carcass, either). I'd dispense with the 'bags' mechanic, and simply say that every bank space costs you a copper a day (ie 100 spaces for 100 days = 1g). (Personally, I'd make it even more interesting, and make players pay in advance for secure storage like a real business, and if your "bank account" runs out, the items get AH'd for 20% below market-average in LIFO order...also then working to keep commodity prices down. :) I'd also let anyone pay for anyone else's storage charges, if they want.)
- tax: there are benefits to being part of a society, and we pay for them with taxation. Maybe every faction has a tax rate; if you don't want your standing to decay to neutral, you have to pay their periodic taxes - whether they be income-based, transaction-based, or property-based. Higher reputation might give you a discount, but it would be more ephemeral and also fade faster. I haven't talked to the dudes in Ogrila for 4 years, why would they still love or even remember me? "Welcome to Stormwind, ser. I see you are clad in mighty epics? Please understand that Stormwind costs money to run, and we try to keep these costs scaled to ability to pay to help the poor, so today's entry tax for you will be 10g."
- life costs: we all have all sorts of life costs that our toons don't have; rent, food, etc. these could be rationalized as sort of a simple cost/day to be alive. Mighty god-slaying lordling can't/won't pay it? He can live in squalor, sure, but his reputation is going to suffer when he shows up smelling of dung from the barn he slept in to speak with the king. Maybe he won't get the sorts of rewards he's used to, since obviously he's willing to work cheap?

I think just building more shinies and hoping people are willing to drop the cash for it is, well, a fairly lazy and ineffective solution that shows no real understanding of the economics at all. It depends on people making all sorts of choices that nobody can control AND is in itself subject to extremely steep value-fade directly proportional to the success of your sale! Ie: if you're going to be one of 10 people with a sparklepony it's cool and might be worth a lot, if you're one of 10 million, not so much.

GDC 2012: The Secret World's crafting, combat (and cutscenes) revealed {Massively}

Mar 15th 2012 4:35PM @(Unverified) Yeah, but MOST games starting stuff is pretty linear. I don't know that really reflects on the rest of the game. I'm not a big fan of 'lead the player through the story we want him to play' MMO design, but I'm suspending judgment on TSW for now.

GDC 2012: The Secret World's crafting, combat (and cutscenes) revealed {Massively}

Mar 15th 2012 4:33PM @fallwind meh, your basic point is overwhelmed by your atrocious example.

Gas is an absurd measuring stick; you use gas? I'll use housing prices and claim that costs have DROPPED in the last 5 years.

Using CPI, $15 sub in 2000 = $20 sub in 2012. So please don't use ludicrous numbers like $50/month.

And for what it's worth, I'm pretty sure you're mistaken - sub prices in 2000 were TYPICALLY $12/mo for the few games that required them. And take a wild guess at what $12 in 2000 would equal today? $15.80

So my point still stands - buy game PLUS sub PLUS cash shop is absurdly greedy, and if Funcom believes that people will accept it, well, Secret World will be as empty as AoC. (Personally, I don't expect they will; economically they'll be forced into a LotRO f2p model or a sub fee, not both.)