Category: Community

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Travel log: Orsinium sights

Tonight, our guild group has been to Wrothgar, again. I have to say, i love how we can simply set off out of the city and go exploring. We tried to follow quests, but were soon distracted by stuff we saw in the landscape- and also, because Edu is one difficult boss to kill.

On our travels we saw a museum, fought and were killed by Edu, maybe a Goblin boss, i don’t know, because we didn’t see him for all the ogres he sent our way, an arena where Orc clans settled their war, a giant statue of Malacath and Coldperch Cavern, a delve in Wrothgar. And also, a lot of beautiful sights.

Overthinking social

Back when the Massively team started the Kickstarter to launch their own site, i spent some money on my favourite MMORPG-related website. That enabled me to provide a question for the team to tackle in their “Massively Overthinking”-column. Yesterday, it was published and today, i’d like to share my thoughts on that.

The Question

This is what i wrote:

We criticize MMO devs for making our MMO experience less social, but are they the only ones to blame? I think our (the players’) behaviour to others and within the games themselves has also changed. I’d like to know if you can think of ways we players could improve that situation – from behaviour, less game or guild hopping, ways to grow our friends lists – to make our MMO experience more social again.

I knew from the beginning that some answers would suggest behaviour that i’m struggling with myself- for instance, i expected an answer along the lines of concentrating on one or two games.

Now, i’ve thought on how to formulate the question for a long time- i think i’m one of the last backers to have their question posted. Reading the answers, i wonder if i did phrase it correctly, because staff and commenters alike mention genre-developments and “forced grouping” as solutions or problems, depending on their point of view. I’d have liked the answers to concentrate more on the player-side of things- what can we do to make our MMORPGs more social again, grow our friendslists.

Thankfully, the staff and most of the commenters didn’t forget about that part and so i still think the answers are great and- in context of the guild/community i might be starting with an online friend- inspirational.

The answers

You can read them in their entirety on Massively Overpowered, of course. And you should. Here’s my take on the staff’s answers. They suggest to

  • focus on a few games, if it has to be more than one
  • building your own guild/community or actively take part in your guild
  • think about your own behaviour
  • just be! (Syp, my personal casual-superhero)
  • be the change you want to see

All of them ring true, but i think in Bree’s answer there’s a sentence that basically tells it all without being too general.

[…]attend events, host their own parties, put together their own painstaking groups, promote guilds and forums, form alliances, work around the game’s limitations. Does it suck? Hell yes. It’s work.

Handiwork. Do it yourself. That’s something i read on a forum these days, as well. The author pointed towards the /who feature to build groups. That’s a really old-school way to build groups, but truth be told, i’ve always found it to be one of the most effective. Dungeon finders “improve” on the efficiency, but the social part falls by the side there. When i played WoW and needed a group for a dungeon, i started by asking for others in guild chat. Then i tried to fill the gaps with my friendlist- if i couldn’t do it, i’d ask in general chat but would simultaneously seek out players of missing roles by searching through the /who list and sending them a tell. Usually, the ones that joined the group were those who i talked to directly. They’d also join the guild from time to time and if not, some of them made it on my friendslist.

There’s another comment, again made by Bree, that’s significant to me:

Social once existed in the cracks between the game, and those cracks have been sealed up.

That’s on point on where i wanted the discussion to go- i’m totally against forced grouping or some kind of “hardcore” mentality and i don’t want to be surrounded by people who only care for ingame progress. So this is it- “social” isn’t really a part of game design, it used to be a lack of game direction that possibly made those “older games” and/or the players behave in a more social manner.

So in part, it is a matter of game development these days, but let’s not forget that it’s us, the players, who drive development- that’s where Larry was going with his answer- customers feed devs who feed customers. Nobody is really “wrong”. If the cracks are sealed, though, i’d like to think about ways to open them up again.

The other day some commenters here were stressing/agreeing that to enjoy Wildstar you have to force your pace on the game. I guess this is one way to open the cracks back up.

All staffers on Massively have a point, and of course, as is usually the case, i’ve found myself agreeing with Eliot. It’s strange, because his opinions also make me feel guilty most of the times- but he’s still right- you can’t expect to make social ties when you only use other players as a means to an end (which i rarely do) and guild- and game-hop like a crazy frog (guilty on all charges- or at least the second part). I have to say Eliot’s answer surprised me the most, not in attitude but in execution- it’s a great and unexpected point-of-view. I expected him to concentrate more on continuity.

Syp is just…well, Syp. I really don’t know how he does his thing. He’s casual, he’s got three kids at home (and a fourth on the way, i think?!?), other responsibilities, plays like a thousand games at the same time, with hundreds of characters in each of them and yet….he’s got maxlevel characters in most of the games he plays. He also has a really good track record of finding nice guilds, so i wasn’t surprised by his answer. He still has a secret, because there’s talent in finding and engaging those. My guess is that he is quite outgoing himself- combined with his positive nature i can see why he doesn’t really struggle to create social bonds.

Jef and MJ concentrated on the “play one MMORPG and create the community yourself”-part. I really like MJ’s way of putting it.

In my ideal gaming universe, folks would settle in a virtual world (or two) and spend their time, effort, and resources on building up their community. There are many ways to bolster a community, from running guilds and events to joining said guilds and attending those events.

Jef’s opinion is similar

Do that by being an active guild leader, organizing server events, constantly communicating the need for more social gameplay to devs, and basically spreading the gospel of MMOs by showing people how and why MMOs should differ from single-player games.

Brendan focused on the technical part, unfortunately, but he also states that you should

deliberately seek out guilds of likeminded individuals

So what did it accomplish?

Maybe i’ll take on the comments one of these days, because there are some very note-worthy comments below that article, but this post has already gotten very long. It’s a coincidence in timing, really, but what these answers achieved was to strengthen my resolve of founding, co-leading and maintaining that guild we’ll probably create.

All staffers- magic Syp aside- agree that it takes some considerable effort to create and maintain social bonds in the genre. We can’t do that in a passive way, “social” won’t come to us anymore like it used to when we were all flabbergasted by the fact that we could play games on the internet. We have to build that part actively.

I honestly can’t and won’t believe that we can’t have social (gameplay) elements and ties in MMORPGs anymore just because we’ve gotten more casual. And honestly i think this blog proves that assumption wrong- not because of its contents, but because i’ve made some ties this way already. And i’m a casual blogger.

If you have anything to add or suggest on topic, i’d really appreciate if you’d comment on that- still looking for input!

Being supportive

Yesterday, Trion Worlds teased a new game. If you go and take a look at the comments on Massively Overpowered, as well as on mmorpg.com, you’ll see a lot of negative comments for a game that’s only been teased as of right now. We don’t know anything besides some art piece that serves as a background for a homepage. Of course, these comments don’t attack the game, they attack Trion Worlds- and it makes me sad. Compare that to the positivity we saw when it was announced Trion would publish ArcheAge and you’ll see Trion has a problem on its hands there.

trion_worlds

But it’s not only Trion. Daybreak can’t get a break, as well, especially since it was announced that the dev priority is now in EQ Next and not Landmark anymore– but it’s been negative ever since they went from being SOE to being Daybreak and a few high-profile employees left- or had to leave – the company.

Of course, Blizzard is making us pay subscriptions and for mounts in their cash shop while delivering content at a very slow pace and taking away flying for most people. We don’t like Perfect World because of their monetization schemes. We dislike NCSoft for closing City of Heroes and/or Tabula Rasa (this is the one i miss dearly). Carbine is quite bad for delivering a raid endgame, ArenaNet has lost goodwill, as well, maybe since the perceived lack of delivering something akin to their design manifesto, maybe for overprizing HoT or something else entirely. Bioware turns SWTOR into a single player game and uses a f2p model where they make the customers pay and Funcom overpromises and does launches bad.

I think, right now, the only company who’s somewhat seen in a positive light is Square for closing and reopening Final Fantasy XIV. While i think they deserve the praise, i think we shouldn’t behave like that.

In defense of ArcheAge

I don’t really see Trion at fault here- i mean, one could say that they should have looked at how exploits, hacks and so on work in that game- but in the end, they delivered a product we were wanting very badly. I think the hacking/exploiting was the main problem in AA, this is what sucked the fun out of it for me- because i felt that crafting and so on was made worthless if someone else could just cheat his or her way out of the system, especially with housing spots. But this stuff isn’t really in Trion’s hands.

Something tells me i'm going to take another look at this game
Something tells me i’m going to take another look at this game

As for the cash shop? I don’t know. Yes, selling Labor point potions might be a bit much, but i don’t see it as critical- first of all, the labor point system was in place since before the game went free-to-play. Personally, i like a system like that, because there’s a stop gap on what one account can do each day. It allows dirty time casuals like myself to not lose contact to others so quickly and it also makes players prioritize what they spend their LP on. You can learn and level all crafting professions in AA- labor points is used to maintain interdependancy in the game. If they didn’t have that, crafters could just craft everything by themselves instead of trading with other players. This might be what we want, but in my opinion, this takes away some of the fun that is to be found in MMORPGs.

In defense of Trion

Myself, i really like Trion. I still do, even if i was quite disappointed at how ArcheAge turned out to be, as well. But if you’d take a look at their other games- you know, those they actually developed, namely Rift, Defiance and Trove, i think they are doing a decent job, especially with Rift and Trove. If you think Trion is a company desperately trying to “steal” your money, you should take a look at Trove. Regular, meaty updates that take player feedback into account and a monetization that is quite fair. I don’t begrudge anyone trying to sell me something, i simply decide whether the game is fun to play and if what is offered/the prize it’s asking is worth it to me.

We are customers, not fans

Massively Overpowered had this article about MMO terms that should just go away- for me, there are two terms that rub me the wrong way- first, it’s when someone calls playing an MMO “work”, as in “i worked so hard to get gear x,y and now they’re nerfing it”- you’re not working, you’re playing a game. The second one is “fans”. While it might be true in some ways, i think it creates a slightly off mindset. If you think about “fans”, the first thing that comes to mind are sport teams- for us over here it’s soccer/football, for north americans it might be american football/baseball and so on.

Now, fans of teams get passionate, they do. When things aren’t looking so good for their team, they’ll look for someone to blame, will probably find someone and will want him or her gone. But these fans always want the best for their team.

In the other direction, i think it makes devs feel to safe when they think about us, the players, the customers, as fans- there might be some fans to each games- i think all those who create fan sites should be considered fans- but the main body of us? We’re customers- devs/publishers will have to offer a product that’s worth its prize.

We should be more fan-like

I’ve stated before that in my personal opinion, MMORPGs are in a decline. It’s not the license for printing money everyone thought it to be in 2006 to 2010. MOBAs used to be it, but i guess that time’s over now, as well. Maybe survival is next (i think we’ve only seen indie survival games up until now). 2015 turned out to be a better year for MMORPGs than i thought when it began, but this is for existing MMORPGs, mostly. There are quite a few indie MMORPGs in development, and some of them might even be great (Repopulation and Shroud of the Avatar, looking at you here), but if we are honest about it, few of them, if any, should be considered Triple A. Those times seem to be gone.

I think we should be more positive with the people/devs who provide us with games from our favourite genre. I think especially developers, so those guys actually creating these games for us, are very enthusiastic about what they’re doing- because frankly, i think there’s more money to be made elsewhere with the skillset they have. I have little doubt, as well, that people like Scott Hartsman, Joel Bylos, John Smedley and so on love what they’re doing. Maybe sometimes they’ll make tough decisions we don’t like, but they’re doing this with the best intentions for their company, even if it might seem that it isn’t in our- the customer’s – best interest. But i don’t think we can blame them for that- making games is also a business.

We might not be “fans” of certain games or certain companies, but we are fans of the genre and would benefit greatly if the genre was doing fine- in quality and quantity.

If all these companies we “don’t like” are gone- who will provide us with the games we love to play?

So i’m looking forward to seeing what this new Trion game is, give them credit for what they’ve done with Rift and Trove, at least, and just hope it’s something ambitious- either self-developed or published- we need that.

By the way, the best guesses i’ve seen so far seem to indicate it’s possible that Trion might be publishing Lost Ark in NA/EU.

Edit: It looks like Devilian Online is a better guess.

So we meet again, TERA

I wanted to give TERA a Backpacker post next week, and i’m surely still going to do that, but there’s news for EU/Russian players i’d like to get out there and give a short comment.

TERAs new server

Tera NA seems to be quite successful, especially since they released the game to Steam. It is so successful that they opened up a new PvE server yesterday, and of course, yours truly went in to make a report on that.

I wasn't alone
I wasn’t alone

To get some quick impressions out: there were other players. Lots of them, as well. It wasn’t exactly like the normal launch day, but close enough. It’s really good to see an MMO doing well for itself once in a while- and TERA seems to do just fine….the north-american edition, that is.

Tera is one of the most beautiful MMORPGs you can play- if i remember correctly, this beauty extends to the 10-20 zone, as well. I don’t know what zones look like after that, but the first two are green, there’s villages, trees, animals, everything. The character models look great, as does the “armor”. Yes, it’s skimpy, but the way your armor fits to your character is simply very good looking (my english is leaving me here: think the opposite of the hair-through-armor-thingie).

Fighting is fun, although it also is a bit much for my tastes- i think TERA would do better if there were fewer, tougher fights, but maybe that comes later on. The questing, though? Oh dear, the questing. It seems so generic, the lore a bit lifeless- of course, i can’t really know, since i never read even one piece of quest text in that game, but it feels a bit like Rift, which is also a very nice game in and of itself, but lacks a cohesive world and lore design, in my opinion. With TERA, i feel the same way. Still, it is fun, it is beautiful and it isn’t a bad game at all.

You’re successful with OUR game

So here come the news: starting tomorrow, june, 11th, players from certain EU countries and Russia won’t be able to download En Masses version of the game through Steam anymore, a decision made by En Masse because of the, and i quote, “influenced by external pressure from the publishers of TERA in these regions”. So Gameforge. Don’t know who it is in Russia. And now i’m going to take a deep breath.

TERA_ScreenShot_20150609_211520

See, whenever a german company is involved in publishing an MMORPG, i roll my eyes and count that game off. And so far, i haven’t been wrong on a lot of cases. Sometimes i feel the internet is still some kind of magic box to german companies- a place where you can still do marketing the old way, behave as though there is no competition, ignore what customers really want and just try and feed them what you want them to want. Also, protectionism is big in germany. Instead of thinking “hey, let’s see how we can bring our version to Steam, as well, and be quick about it”, the first reaction is to make sure that other guy- selling and distributing the same game Gameforge does, making it known, bringing it to the attention of new players- stops doing just that.

Yes, there’s the possibility, and a huge one at that, that Steam’s TERA will “steal” customers from europe and bring them to the US. But why is that, exactly? TERA is a game some players avoid because of the european publisher and the fact that lags can hurt your game experience in a significant manner. These players choose not to play the game because of the publisher. Now, i haven’t made my research, but i can make some guesses: Gamerforges f2p model is more restrictive/pay-2-win/expensive than EME’s version, customer service, including general communication, will be close to being non-existant, game updates will come slow, as will the news about game updates and the servers won’t be high-end. These are just guesses, of course, but i have my own experience.

The launcher. I downloaded TERA europe not too long ago and when you install the game, it will, of course, update itself. Then something strange will happen: it will seem to be stuck at 0%, the launcher will give no sign that it is still working and you are going to wonder why that is. You’ll do research, of course, and you’ll find out that, maybe, your launcher isn’t stuck but is still working in the background- all the while showing 0% and an error message during a GB big download. You might find out that there’s some kind of console command to enable you to watch the launcher’s activities in a DOS prompt. If you are patient enough to do that, you’ll be able to determine whether your client is updating itself or indeed hung up/crashed. I repeat: the gameforge launcher will show 0% progression and an error message during download/update. This is bad.

So my advice to potential TERA players from europe- lag doesn’t matter that much, do yourself a favor and download EME’s version either through Steam or through EME’s website. The former won’t be available anymore come tomorrow. The latter should work just fine, even after that. By the way, if you downloaded the game through Steam as a european, it will continue to work, but it won’t be showing itself in the shop anymore. So if you uninstall it, you might be unable to reinstall TERA through Steam.

My advice to Gameforge: you know, putting restrictions on players and/or forcing them to pay you (and only you) and restricting your “competition” (in publishing the same game) is not really a thing that works out very good. Try good customer service, community management, a fair shop, quick updates, communication with your player base and fixing your launcher.

Trove doesn’t count, right?

Project Trinity isn’t doing too well these weeks. I wrote about having far less playing time than i’d like to have- it’s summer, so even if there’s nothing else real-lifey going on, our 2 yr. old sleeps late. When he’s finally sleeping, i still have some chores to do, so i haven’t been able to sit in front of a pc before 10/10.30 p.m. At that hour, what game do you launch when your usual bedtime is around 11.30 p.m.? In Final Fantasy 14, an hour is basically almost nothing. Sure, you could do a quest or two, but that’s about it. In SWTOR, you could do something in an hour, but my subscription lapsed and while i plan to continue the sub, i won’t restart it on an evening when i know i’ll only have an hour to play. The Secret World would be possible, as well, but it needs attention- the strong points of that game don’t come to light when you’re just “playing around”.

Maybe i just chose “wrong” for this month- or maybe, just like the guild project i’m doing where we play a free-to-play game for a few months, Project Trinity should have a summer break. Of course i won’t give up so easily, but there will be cop-outs. Another one is going to happen tomorrow, when TERA launches a new server. Can you believe that? A 3-year old game opening another server? This is great news and TERA isn’t so bad- it’s not on my usual rotation because of the european publisher and the quite generic questing. The Steam version is the NA version, as far as i know, and i’ll join the masses for the new server to take a look- is lag really that bad? And also, launch hype- and a new server is one kind of “launch hype” makes me curious. I’ll justify that by creating a new “series” for this blog….oh right, Trove.

So Ironweaknessseries of posts regarding Trove made me curious and yesterday, when our son slept surprisingly early, i gave my possible selection of games a thought, but i also knew i was tired- so going for a story heavy MMO didn’t fit the bill. Also, i kind of hoped- it was sunday, after all, that i could meet Ironweakness in game- it would be a first. He’s my partner in writing the Dual Wielding series which proved to be great fun with the small caveat that we seem to have similar opinions on a lot of topics. Sometimes, there’s enough differences to make the reading of both posts interesting- or so i hope- sometimes, like with our 12XP post, it seems as if we were talking about the posts beforehand. We don’t.

And luckily, we really met up! He invited me to his cornerstone and we talked a bit before heading off into an adventure world and did some dungeons while he explained some of the games’ mechanics. Because, to be honest, i don’t understand Trove.

There seem to be multiple gameplay elements on focus here: the building, although your cornerstone is quite small and doesn’t really offer a lot of opportunity to build. The adventuring and exploring, where the point seems to be to enter one adventure world and explore the heck out of it- which is good, because really, there are impressive sights to be seen, but with the early worlds, you do outlevel them quickly, so maybe the exploring stuff will become more interesting later. Of course, one could explore an adventure world anyway, even when outlevelled- mobs don’t grey out, you’ll get xp just like before and of course, exploring is its own reward. And finally, there’s the crafting component. The problem is, i don’t really know where to start- there are many craftable objects which is a good thing- but it isn’t that easy to know what one should build first and where/how to get the materials for building something.

But fun it was, especially going out as a team and finally meeting up with someone who i’ve been in contact with since…well, is it four months already? Crazy! Of course we e-mailed, but chatting is a whole different thing- remember, this was the wonder of MMORPGs- that you could meet up, chat and play with people from all over the world. Thankfully, Trove doesn’t seperate players by region, so you can meet pretty much everyone without it being a hassle for someone. Usually, when you try to meet people from another continent, you’d have to join another server, which might lead to lag or time-zone issues. That’s not a problem with Trove, though. I’ll continue to give it a look and i promise to take screenshots next time- it seems there’s no keybind for that yet, and i haven’t made use of the chat command.

NBI talkback challenge: the seven gaming sins

Let me start off with a personal note: strike in the kindergarten/nursery hasn’t stopped, so expect my game and blogging time to be very tight in the forseeable future. I’m not going anywhere and thursday’s “Dual Wielding” is set to get published in time. Now let’s take a look at something totally different.

Despite my lack of time, the newest NBI talkback challenge seems fun, so i want to touch on it. Of course, there is a chance to offend- it’s deadly sins, after all, and i’ve commited some of them. Maybe all of them. So let’s begin, shall we?

Lust

Do you enjoy games more if they have scantily clad and “interestingly proportioned” avatars? Do you like playing as one of these avatars? Why or why not?

No for the first part. The game is the game- the virtual appearance of the avatars doesn’t raise or lower my enjoyment of the game (the graphical appearance does, however).

But oh boy, here it comes. Yes. Yes i do play as these avatars. There are a few reasons for choosing female avatars, myself. The big one, i’d have to confess, is attractiveness. I think female avatars are prettier than their male counterparts and i do like it when their clothing is “attractive”- i choose this word, because scantily clad doesn’t equal attractiveness to me. Female avatars usually have more options, as well, when it comes to cosmetic outfits.

Funnily enough, the “attractiveness” of male avatars is the last reason why i choose to play as female avatars. I guess the male avatars are designed to be “attractive”, but i find them hollow. I understand that many female players feel the same way about female character design and it’s well within their rights- in my opinion, more options are needed either way.

 

Gluttony

Do you have a game backlog of unfinished games but still buy new games regardless? Why or why not?

It’s like Izlain/Joseph Skyrim doesn’t read my blog, at all, isn’t it? 😉 I have to confess here, as well. Lots and lots of unfinished games. In fact, i think i haven’t finished any game, ever. I’m also not much of a player, myself. But i am interested in games nonetheless. In my youth, when we used to hang out and play games together, the greatest joy for me was to have a new game and sit besides one of my friends who played it- ideally, there were ways to play together- like a city-builder, discussing what to build where next and so on- but it was rarely me shouting “let me play next”- i was very content to just watch.

Unfortunately, streaming and/or let’s plays don’t do it for me, either- or maybe i just haven’t found a streamer/player i like yet. So in the end, it is about wanting to see these games; more often than not, i kind of lose interest when i think to have understood how the game “works”.

Greed

Do you enjoy hand outs in a game? Have you ever opted to NOT do an action / in game activity because the rewards were lacking? Why or why not?

No. Hey, that’s a first. I don’t think in “rewards” in regard to gaming- gear/xp/levels and even ingame-gold don’t mean much to me. But wait, i don’t do grey quests, so maybe that is a “yes”, after all. But i have to say that’s mostly because by the time zone quests go grey, i’m quite ready to move on to the next zone. More often than not, i enter the newer zone a level early.

I think in part, this stems from my available time for playing, the length of sessions and also the amount of games i’d like to play at the same time. A dedicated player who plays a lot might finish a zone in one or two evenings- for me, this could be one or two months.

Sloth

Do you ever leech or AFK in a party? Do you discourage others from attempting things that you feel are difficult? Have you ever seen someone that needed help, but decided not to help them? Why or why not?

No, why would i do something like that? If i don’t want to play, i don’t play. Simple as that.

Wrath

Ever get angry at other players and yell (or TYPE IN CAPS) at them? Have you ever been so angry to stalk a person around in game and / or in the forums? Why or why not?

No. For the ingame part. I’ve had a fight in the very first MMO i played, World of Warcraft. It involved one other player and it got ugly…up to a “he leaves or i’ll do” shot at our guild leader.

So again, maybe yes. In the last guild i helped create, a great german multigaming community that’s hopefully still active nowadays, circumstances were bad enough that i thought the other big leader wasn’t very interested in my opinions, my view of things and kind of dismissed my lengthy posts as “foobar”. I felt she’d let me do the “hard work” while receiving most of the praise, herself. And if you are a guild leader, you know there’s not a lot of praise to be had anyway. After a while, i decided to “return the favour”, gave dismissive answers to questions she asked, didn’t take part in some guild activity stuff and, well, after doing that for a while, she stated she didn’t want to lead a guild with me anymore. I left the guild in that very instant. We talked, maybe resolved our issues, but maybe not, since i haven’t heard from her in almost 3 years.

Thing is, to this day the party we were in when i met this co-leader, 2011 in Rift, was the best experience i’ve ever had in MMORPGs. We were a great party and had loads of fun. We became friends, almost. Me and her, maybe we were on our way to friendship. To this day, i still regret my behaviour (while still thinking it was kind-of-justified, if not a very adult way of doing things) and from time to time, i think about contacting her. In the meantime, i’ve found two others of that Rift group in another community, but to be honest- at that time i was closest to her.

I really hope the guild/community is still doing fine, though. While i might have done a few things differently, when we played Guild Wars 2 together, we had a great time.

So i guess this is a “yes”.

Envy

Ever felt jealous of players who seem to be able to complete content you can’t? Do you ever suspect they are hacking or otherwise cheating? Why or why not?

I’d really like to answer one of these things with a firm and resounding “no”, but i can’t, even this one. While i don’t envy someone for being able to complete content i can’t (in MMOs it’s a matter of time more than anything else, anyway), i envy people who are able to “finish” one game/MMO before moving on to the next. I think they’re experiencing something i have a lot of trouble with myself- they’re delving deeper in their respective game. As i said, i don’t care for gear, minmaxing my class or something like that, but a player who stays with one game gets many, many benefits- like intricate knowledge of the game world they’re in, growing roots in a game’s community as well as in their guilds and so on. This is something i’d really like to experience and if you are experiencing this, you’re really lucky!

Pride

Are you one of those people that demands grouping with other “elite” players? Do you kick players out of your team who you feel are under-performing? Why or why not?

There are no underperforming players- well, except those who afk. In this sense, i could answer with a “no” here. I think i can stick with the “no” in this case, because wanting to play and socialize with others who share the same goals/interests and perspective on the game in question isn’t “pride” or “snobbiness”- it’s simply the way things are; you can’t like everyone and not everyone is going to like you.

See, that Rift group i mentioned earlier? We were doing a thing many would call “rude” nowadays: nobody read any guides. We went into the dungeons and tried to clear them by ourselves, without outside help. Mistakes were made, but it was great fun and to this day, i think this is the way dungeons should be cleared.

NBI talkback challenge: early access and kickstarter

So do i support unfinished games? Why, yes i do; at least if you asked my wallet. I ‘bought’ Shroud of the Avatar, Landmark, Divinity: Original Sin, ArcheAge, Skyforge, Neverwinter and Elite: Dangerous before they released. To be fair, only the first three were actually unfinished when i bought them.

If you look closely, however, you’ll find that none of them needed my money when i “kickstarted” them- SotA’s Kickstarter campaign was well finished when i bought into it via Steam, Landmark was started by SOE, a company who didn’t really need my money and D:OS was bought via Steam.

Reluctant backer

The reason for this behaviour is that i’d actually like to see if the product they put out to ‘testers’ resembles the design goals outlined in the Kickstarter campaign- i’m not a huge risktaker when it comes to the product- it’s more my fickle nature i’m taking risks with, so i want to at least know that i’m interested in seeing the product as is when i ‘buy’ it.

A spiritual successor to Syndicate? Yes, please!
A spiritual successor to Syndicate? Yes, please!

And there lies the key, in my opinion: you should be interested in the product that’s available when you buy it, because there’s actually a chance that it will never really see the light of day. Granted, i don’t know of many failures, but still. If i wanted to promote an idea, i’d also do Kickstarters. For instance, i’d have backed Satellite Reign if there would have been signals that it wouldn’t make its Kickstarter goals. There weren’t, so right now, i’m waiting to become interested in the product that is available- when i am, i’ll buy it.

You should know what you’re spending your money on

Don’t think you buy a game when you’re supporting an idea by kickstarting a game, because what you do is give money to the devs so they know someone is interested in seeing their vision come to fruition. Right now, if you’re buying a 200$ starship for Star Citizen, you won’t help make the product better, become available quicker or make it happen at all. You’re buying a virtual ship in a game that might release at some point and that you know virtually nothing about. Would i do that? Oh for sure i wouldn’t.

This could become a great game- it puts the RPG back into the MMOs.
This could become a great game- it puts the RPG back into the MMOs.

If a release date is set, you’re actually not backing but pre-ordering a game. You might get early access, too.

Is kickstarter / selling early access bad?

No, i don’t think so. The thing is, if we’re spending money on it, we deserve what we get. It’s quite the same as with lockboxes in MMOs- if that is what the devs make their money on, they’re well within their rights to sell them and make them attractive. I don’t think adults need help in getting their spending habits under control- and if they do, it’s on them to realize the problem, not on the devs.

A spaceship for an unfinished game? No, thanks.
A spaceship for an unfinished game? No, thanks.

In free-to-play-land early access is similar to a box sell, in my opinion- and that’s especially true if you get to play a longer period after the final wipe in that game. Everywhere else it’s selling a product- an unfinished product, at that, but it is a product.

Now, if we, as customers, should tag along in this venture, i don’t know. I don’t think there are many products that made a 180-turn in terms of product design between early access and release. There are, however, some products that were left behind by their devs. This isn’t a problem that’s unique to early access titles, though- just remember how Hi-Rez, a dev team i used to respect greatly in the times of Global Agenda, treated said title and Tribes afterwards. Or remember Vanguard. Or Champions Online.

On the other hand, sometimes, Kickstarter can be the only way for ideas to become products. I think we should back ideas we like to become reality- if we can afford to. I don’t think we should spend money on spaceships in a game that isn’t released yet and got 60,000,000$ already. But in the end, it’s your money and how to spend it is your decision to make.