Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Quote of the Day

“The current Design challenge in games…Understanding that Quantity of information from users is not the same as Quality information from users.” – Paul Barnett, Bioware on Google+

LotRO Tidbits – Good, Bad, and Ugly

I’m deliberately choosing not to engage in the whole difficulty debate. I enjoy difficult games (and will still play MMOs, Spinks!) up to a point and I don’t like much of what has been done in that regard in recent MMOs. That’s all I’ll say about the topic, check all those other awesome bloggers for some in depth discussion. Instead I’ll talk about three tidbits from LotRO – one good, one bad, and one disappointing.

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Single-Use Special Items

The other day I got a funky quest reward in Lord of the Rings online: A one-time use item that can be used to snare a monster (supposedly for easy killing.) I don’t know if these are commonly available elsewhere, but I’ve only seen this one so far and find it both curious and problematic.

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Quote of the Day

“No. I am legitimate. The only thing I looked up is that I couldn’t find the last two golden watermelons in the Rio version. I couldn’t find them. I was like, ‘Where are the watermelons?!'” – Yvonne Strahovski, on collider.com

Principles vs the Need for Entertainment

The other day there was a small discussion over on Google+ concerning Orson Scott Card, his homophobia, and the question of whether or not one should still buy the books even if one has a great distaste for the author. This extends to other products, including games as well. Me, I might seem torn on the issue. I have bought books by OSC since I know his views on homosexuality but on the other hand I’ll refuse to buy Apple products because I don’t like the company.

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Playing with Friends

So I occasionally play League of Legends, one could even say that it is one of my major games at this moment. (Not that that means much.) Most of the time I play with friends though not all of us are on the same skill level. And that causes issues. Syl (of Raging Monkeys fame, who will definitely appear on my blogroll as soon as I get to reworking it) recently noted how you have to pick your online game partners depending on their gaming interests and not on real life connections but I don’t really want to give up on playing with friends due to skill differences.

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Quote of the Day

“My complaint isn’t really with multiplayer. It’s with the fact that I can’t stand teenage dipshits.” – John “CheeseDavid” Wong at cracked.com

Apparently I’m not too old for video games just yet. Getting there though, some of those points hit pretty close to home. (Then again, the author seems to be mostly a console gamer.)

Censorship

Today’s news of the day is about Apple banning the game Phone Story from their App Store, for depiction of violence and excessively objectionable or crude content. Or that’s what they say, the more likely story is that they didn’t like that it showed the real world evils of smartphone production.  Forced labor in mines and workers jumping from windows apparently were not what Apple liked to see shown to their customers. Whatever the reason, I don’t much like censorship and especially not if it comes from a privately owned company.

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On Sets

Collecting sets of items has a certain undeniable appeal to gamers. Whether you are collecting artifacts in Rift or trying to complete the latest tier set in WoW, there is a compelling quality to the system that makes you want to keep collecting. This is good in so far as it keeps players interested in loot and I consider interesting loot to be an important part of modern (MMO)RPGs. The thing is though, that it is really hard to get rid of a set of items once you have it. Set bonuses often make subsequent gear improvements pointless because swapping out one piece of gear would cost you those bonuses.

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Quests can Ruin Exploration

The traditional (by now) questing model in MMOs doesn’t leave a lot of room for exploration and surprises. Things get even worse when players (like me) decide not to read quest text and blindly follow the pointers of some built-in quest helper system. The other day, LotRO surprised me when I encountered a line of watching stones in Angmar.  Modeled upon the two watching stones Sam encountered at Cirith Ungol in “The Return of the King”, these stones blocked access to the eastern parts of Angmar completely (by killing me when I got near.)

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