mmorpg

The perfect MMORPG

“Genius” by MaroBot

The following story is entirely satirical. Chindividual is no semi-divine being, capable of creating a video game, let alone programming an Excel sheet. 

Dear Guild of United Game Developers,

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to develop the perfect MMORPG. Not are you just giving me a gazillion dollars of funds, but you have also decided to leave the entire design, production and testing process in my gifted hands. Though I should not be surprised about how much trust you have towards a gaming demi-god like me, I do want to voice my honest gratitude for providing me with this chance.

You might have given me dictatorial control of this project, but I would like to keep you informed about my plans. I might not allow any of your untalented employees in my office (which I want to be referred to as the “Immaculate Dome of Enlightenment” from now on), I do want to provide you with a peek into my brilliant thinking procedure. Not that you mere mortals are able to comprehend it, but I take pleasure in seeing you try.

First of all, the savior of MMORPG’s would have fast-paced, positional combat. The fools behind Guild Wars 2 have created a good source of inspiration, and I will make sure to integrate a similar system into my creation. The idea that skills are weapon-bound is fascinating, allowing some interesting tactical options. Though GW2 has its flaws, the combat system is almost perfect. Of course, once I have molded it, it will be perfect.

Once the combat has been fleshed out, I will provide players with ample chances to explore a vast cosmos with their own vessel. Though the obvious reference here would be EVE Online, I draw my inspiration from Star Trek Online. Space travel is more abstract there, but the crew management gives life to your ship and your adventures. Why sail alone from planet to planet, when you can spend your time micro-managing henchmen?

It’s good though that I have mentioned EVE (then again, what is not good when done by me?). My perfect gem will offer a deep, complicated player economy, focused around scarcity of resources and remote trading posts. In my virtual world, you will have to peruse the markets far and wide for that +3 vorpal blade of ogre-slaying. Quality will not be found in dungeons, but in the hands of a skillfull tradesman.

Finally, the soundtrack will be written by Jeremy Soule and Nobou Uematsu. If those two fail to cooperate, I will send out my winged monkeys to snatch them in their sleep. My research has shown that humans grow more cooperative when…motivated in the right way.

I would say that this is enough information for now. Once I have created a succesful game (don’t even bother with a beta, I succeed on the first try), I will write you from my throne paid from the bizarre profit I’ve made. Of course, you will reap some rewards too. Do you prefer a red or black Lamborghini?

Signed,

Chindividual, He Who Saves The Genre.

NaNo Prep: what is a “digital dragon slayer”?

What did I get myself in to?

First, I decide to participate in NaNoWriMo. That’s no biggy. I mean, I’ve done it before, so what could happen right? Right?

Well, ambition happened. Planning to write an informative discourse about the lives of MMO gamers turns out to be more work than I expected. Researching the history of the genre and trying to get some gamers to share their stories with me is taking more time than I had estimated, and so I guess I’ll be going into November (and thus into writing the damn thing) ill-informed.

Oh well, NaNoWriMo is meant to create drafts, not finished books. Right?

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Your avatar and you: where does one begin and the other end?

Let’s be honest, folks: James Cameron’s Avatar was a disappointing waste of time. If I wanted to see Pocahontas, I would have just dug through my parent’s VHS collection. Of course, the visuals were stunning and we can blame it on Cameron that nowadays every movie requires you to put on silly glasses, but the movie had an interesting element: transferring to one’s avatar, becoming an entirely different physical being with new capabilities and looks. It’s a thought many gamers can relate to, since it’s what we do every time we pick up our controllers or log-in to our game of choice. But just like the protagonist in this mostly boring piece of visual ecstasy, some of us don’t simply put on our avatars: they become their alter ego, and the more time they spend in that skin, the hard it becomes to shed off.

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NaNo Prep: of rebels & dragonslayers

Sometimes, you just gotta give in and start a revolution. It worked for the French (kinda), the Americans (sorta) and, more recently, the Egyptians (well…), so why shouldn’t it work for me and this year’s NaNoWriMo? Eff yeah, I’ll be what they call a “NaNo Rebel”!

So, how does one rebel during NaNoWriMo? Well, while all the other abiding participants write some fictional story about dragons and the people who slay them, I’ll be busy writing a non-fiction tribute to the real dragonslayers: MMORPG players. That’s right, this year’s project will be a written look at the history of these games and the people who play them.

Working title? Digital Dragonslayers – when office clerks become fantasy heroes.

Why am I not going for a novel like many other participants? Simple: this fascinates me. I’ve been a part of this hobby for years now, and I would love to mix my practical experience with more knowledge about the evolution of social games and the thoughts and motivations of fellow gamers. It’s gonna be an exciting experiment in many ways!

There’s research to be done and people to be spoken to. If you have some fascinating insight into the history of MMORPG’s to share, or if you would like to share your story, hit me up in the comments below or send me a mail at the.chindividual@gmail.com

Go now. Those dragons won’t slay themselves!

The endgame that (possibly) is no endgame

Above is the tweet I received from ANet after tweeting about the fact that I’ve achieved level 80 on my brave Charr Elementalist Akinja. Though it might sound silly, hitting the level cap in a MMO that isn’t World of Warcraft is something entirely new for me. As the experience bar approached the end, I was feeling anticipation building up in me. Then, everything went so fast: I walked right into a chain of events, and while fighting together with four other people somewhere in the Bloodtide Coast, the golden bar reached the other end of the screen and I saw the words “Level Up!” appear above my character. I had finally made it. The leveling process was over, and I could start…

Hang on there…why am I already collecting experience for the next level? Is there a next level? The GW2 Wiki clearly states that the maximum level is 80. Why do I still gather experience?

Well, turns out that you’re never truly done leveling in this game. The moment you hit 80, nothing tells you to dive into some raid or high-level dungeon. If you want to, you can just continue what you’ve been doing for the past eighty levels: explore the world, help people and just be heroic. No ones forcing you to do anything new now. Relax, and choose what you want to do!

It’s hard to explain how this realization has blown my mind. I knew that Guild Wars 2 approaches the endgame differently, but knowing that I don’t have to participate in some gearing treadmill, running through the same dungeon every week while praying to the RNG gods, was a big relief, almost akin to an epiphany. Truly, I’ve been playing the endgame since I started playing the game, seeing how the two are not different from each other. But…does that mean that there is no endgame?

When ANet promised to deliver a different type of MMO, I thought it was just marketing bollocks. Seeing how I’m enjoying this non-existent endgame right now, I think they might have been telling the truth.

Damn you, ANet, for making me enjoy an endgame that might not even exist!

Guild Wars 2 – love on second sight?

ArenaNet celebrated the first birthday of Guild Wars 2 past weekend. Around this time last year, I also started my first character in the game, leveled him like a madman to level 63, and then vanished from Tyria. Now, a year later, my new character is level 64, and I’m not leaving yet. Might Guild Wars 2 be my new MMO home?

I won’t dare saying that just yet, but I’m amazed how the game keeps me captivated. The Living World updates are interesting, the gameplay doesn’t feel grindy or all that repetitive, and I find myself enjoying PvP in this game! Could this be a case of love on second sight?

I don’t know.  I just hope my Tyrian bliss lasts longer and that I can really get settled in this fantastic world. Maybe I should start looking for a guild…

 

Discovering Tyria

the sun behind akinjaIt’s been a while since a GW2 related post, right? No wait, you got some fancy pictures just two days ago. This game really has me in its grips it seems. And why shouldn’t it? So far, my journey through the lands of Tyria has been really enjoyable.

One of the things GW2 just gets right is invoking a feeling of discovery. The zones feel grand and are full of hidden nooks and crannies. Also, by ditching the classic quest log and replacing it with these “renown hearts” on your map, you’re actually encouraged to roam around the map filling up those golden hearts. And you know what happens during those trips? Discoveries! No matter if you discover a hidden jumping puzzle or a dynamic event, you’re not simply walking from quest hub to quest hub. No, you’re actually experiencing a heroic journey full of unexpected twists.

Talking about those dynamic events…I just can’t get enough of them. True, many of them are rather simple and feel like your traditional quests, but some of them are just presented so damn well. Today, I came to a place where there should be a bridge. Thinking I had found the fastest way to the next renown heart, I had to discover that the bridge had been destroyed, and a group of traders couldn’t cross a gaping gulch to deliver their goods. Fortunately, some of the traders decided they would venture into the forest to gather wood, and I decided to follow them. As we arrived in the forest, it turned out dredge (communist mole creatures using sonic weapons and drills) were chopping down all the trees, and so I had to help the merchants to drive off the blind baddies while making sure we would also gather enough wood. Of course, we succeeded, and after a short construction sequence, the traders and I could cross the new bridge, parting ways once we made it to the next crossroad.

Did I expect this to happen? Definitely not! I just wanted to go to the next marked spot on my map, but the random and “breathing” nature of GW2 put this little story in my way, rewarding me with some extra gold and a chunk of XP. This is what makes every session of GW2 so damn enjoyable: knowing that, no matter if you want to or not, you’ll be surprised by a cool discovery.

Sure, the game has its downsides, but so far, I just love to play it for about two hours a day, exploring Tyria with babysteps. How long it will last? I’m not sure, but as long as I can discover something, I think GW2 will not get rid of me…