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Posts with tag negative

The Lawbringer: Positive value creation from the negatives in the games industry

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Running parallel to the games we love and enjoy is a world full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

The no-win situation is, at its core, a sad state of affairs. Seriously, no one is winning in a no-win situation. In fact, everyone could be said to be losing.

Piracy has been long held to be the dire no-win situation in the video game industry because it represents a perfect culmination of utter loss -- an infinitely copyable product that took millions of dollars to produce being distributed for free. No profit means the studio gets its windows shuttered and no one goes home employed.

Last week, I read an article on PC Gamer that talks about Runic Games's Torchlight. The game is a fantastic spiritual successor to the Diablo series that the company's CEO, Max Schaefer, served as lead designer for. Runic Games was essentially bought by Perfect World, a Chinese MMO company that seeks to release an MMO version of the popular game.

Schaefer has some different views and conclusions about how piracy effects his game. In a nutshell, Schaefer sees no problem with the millions of illegally downloaded copies of Torchlight in Asian markets. When the MMO is released, the brand recognition and audience building that piracy affords will bring in new customers for the eventual MMO, where it is harder to pirate a service. With so many games going online these days with multiplayer components requiring authentication or even a license purchase (as with used versions of PS3 and XBox 360 games), is this the right attitude to have in world where a game's success is made or destroyed based on sales? Is this line of thought able to coexist with the fickle dev studio and publisher system in place now in the industry?

Ultimately, we can learn something from Schaefer's comments, especially about audience building. And, potentially, we can see the future of World of Warcraft's distribution as the game gets a bit heavy in terms of barrier to entry.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

How reputation governs the game

Ravius over at Kill Ten Rats ruminates on the importance of reputation in these very social games that we're playing with each other, and it resonated with me in terms of a few different things going on in World of Warcraft right now. We've talked lots before about ninjas and how that back-and-forth works -- in that case, karma is directly driven by what other people think of you, and of course that's seen more weakly in lots of other places around the game, including guild recruitment, your friends list, and just the general server at large.

Ravius talks mostly about the negative reputations we earn, and certainly that's a powerful motivator for a lot of people. But positive reputation is also a strong force in this game -- I'm interested to see how we deal with earning and keeping positive reputation in the new Dungeon Finder and eventually the Battle.net system. Gone may be the days when you build up a good reputation by saying "remember me if you need a good DPS" at the end of a run. It'll be interesting to see what methods we replace that one with.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds, Instances, Raiding

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