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About
I thought I would restart this blog and write a littel bit about the news I run across and my thoughts on the state of the industry. Also I may do game reivews and rant from time to time. Enjoy!
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I found a tasty interview with Sam Lake the lead writer of Alan Wake where he talks about the story of Alan Wake at a little more length. Teh interview is about 30 minutes long and he talsk alot about the internal struggles of the main characters as well as the major influences for the story. He then goes into more detail about the symbolism in the game talking about key set pieces in the game. He breifly discusses the Dark Presence a greater length and alludes to how Remedy may want to do more than make games with the IP. Lastly he talks about developer cameos and Nordic themes that you may find in the game if your looking. All in all it was a pretty interesting interview. Here's the link to the show.

Sam Lake Interview
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Hi all and welcome back to the grand re-opening of my blog. It has been awhile and the landscape here has changed a little, but all in all it is great to be back talking about one of my favorite gaming genres the MMORPG. So without further adieu here we go.



Perma-Death

Ok so I've been on my fair share of forums for MMOs in development in my day, and one theme that always seems to find its way onto the forum is the idea of perma-death in the game, or at least on a server of the game. Part of me wonders if this is the singular effort of one man to see this argued on every MMO forum, or part of a group effort campaigning for this idea until one day a Dev out there somewhere says in a meeting "What if when a character dies their really dead!" and everyone in the room replies "Brilliant!". I think it is time to break down why the whole perma-death idea is flawed and why it just doesn't work in the MMO space.

First off the idea of having to reroll my character everytime I die sounds a little frustrating in my opinion. What masocist wants to build up a character in a game only to die for any reason be it a PvE or PvP related incident and then have to reroll that toon and start over from scratch. I personally would go nuts having to play the same content over and over again hoping and praying I could make it to level 20 this time before my number comes up if you will. I wouldn't feel very enouraged to PvP either as one wrong move means *ding* I start all over again. I guess I fail to see how this type of system encourages players to keep up a script to a game.

What if we took this concept to a single player game? Let's say I'm playing "Bioshock" and I get to the very end without dying once and get killed by the final boss only to have to start all over again. I would be tempted to throw my computer out of my window with the obligitory profanities being screamed at the top of my lungs. While this would be great for the computer manufacturers I can't see any other benefit other than large populations of gamers on antianxiety meds.

How would content updates look in the perma-death MMO? Would you even bother adding more endgame content if over half of your palyer base kept dying before they got to it? I guess you could add more races and starting zones so as to break the monotany of having to start over at the same spot over and over again.

Soloing in the game would probably be nonexistent as the prevailing logic of safety in numbers would most likely prevail. Which maybe isn't all that bad. :) But thats for another post altogether now isn't it.

The biggest flaw I see with perma-death though is simply that it lends itself to exclusivity rather than acessability. If WoW teaches us anything it is that the more accessable the game the better. In a perma-death world we would probably see an exclusive group of payer that would make it to the end game and either attempt to hinder others progress or make money helping it. The Massive in MMO gives us a look into the priamry goal of these games which is to have alot of people playing them, and when you sacrifice accessability you lose population plain and simple.

Now don't get me wrong friends you are not reading the remblings of a carebear here. I still have emotional scars from "Ascheron's Call" getting killed and respawning in nothing but my undies knowing that some a-hole is looting all my great gear. I am all for a death penalty. Heck part of me keeps thinking about playing "Dark Fall" simply because of its death penalty, but even that is a drastic yet entertaining example. The idea of the death penalty to me is sound which makes me not want to die very much, but doesn't completely ruin my experience if I do.

In the end I'm sure that person or group of people will keep hitting up the forums with the perma-death argument. Maybe one day a poster will find solutions to my issues with perma-death, but I doubt it. This genre jsut wouldn't do well with it. Now one idea I do like is if I decide I do not want to play the game anymore to be given an option to do a perma-death scenario with my toon which would allow me to cancel my account with a bang. Now that I could deal with.

What are your thoughts on perma-death in MMO's? Feel free to comment below I'm a huge fan of feedback.

And that's all I got.

Eric
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Jack Emmert recently sat down with MMORPG.com's Keith Cross at Gen Con to discuss the upcoming Star Trek Online mmo. If you don't feel like watching the full 7 minutes here's a quick recap.

Factions-Yes you can play a memeber of The Federation or the Klingon Empire. Factions will compete for resources as well as PvP.

Acqusition of the IP Jack discusses how they got the IP from P3 fomerly known as Perpetual. Jack also talk about not really taking anything from the previous designer although he admits that there may be some aspects of the game that mirror the previous developer.

Player made races Jack talks about alien race creation and that the player will have a variety of tools in which to create your own race, but admits at launch you will only be able to make "humanoid" type aliens.


Customizable Ships Jack reports that the player will be able to customize their ships both interior and exterior, but you will be limited to better keep the look and feel of your faction.

Speedy Production Jack discusses how Cryptic having an exisitng engine allows them to produce STO very quickly since they mainly have to worry about the in-game assests rather than engine development or porting first. Jack hints that Champions Online will launch next spring.

Combat System Jack reports that ship combat will be slow and tactical where the ground combat will be much more action oriented.

STO for the Xbox Jack says there is nothing preventing the development of the game for the Xbox save the business end of things. Jack also states that they are always looking at moving games to consoles since they have the technology to do so.

Will STO be a more traditional mmo? Jack says that he wants this to be a Star Trek mmo not just a mmo that happens to have a Star Trek back drop. Jack ststea that they have looked at game mechanics from Mass Effect, Hellgate:London, abd Tabula Rasa for inspiration.

Well that's about it for this ST:O update. Stay tuned I'm sure there will be more to come.
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Featured by Amy Tucker on the website Simsgamer.com and created by player Ver Marina you can now have the gorgeous celebrity tatto artist in your very own Sims neighborhood. And who wouldn't want a hot chick with ink hangin with thier favroite Sim.

For about a second I thought about playing just to have her in my hood, and then I thought about some ice cream and the ice cream won.

To compare the two here's Kat Von D in real life.




Until Next Time

Eric
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John Carmack wieghed in recently on the Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3 at Quakecon 2008. If you don't feel like watching John get his geek on I'll recap briefly his points on each system.

John blabs about Megatextures and how he came up with the game.

John says its easier to develop for the Xbox 360's architecture. John thinks it sucks that Microsoft will not require a hard drive for thier game as it may cause graphics glitches, and mentions possible quality sacrifices for the system if they can't use 2 or more DVDs for the game.

John finds the specialized cell architecture of the PS3 annoying. John likes Blue Ray as it has the space to allow them to present the game in the quality and compression ratios for the game. John mentions that PS3 works well for the big games.

And thats about it. If you want to hear it from the horses mouth watch the video.

Also if you are a fanboi of either system feel free to use the comments section conveniently located below this as your battleground. :)

Laters

Eric








I found some gameplay footage of Sony's new action mmo The DC Universe Online on Gamespy The footage features the speedster travel power, shows off some combat, and shows some of the versatility in using the enviroment as a weapon. Take a look and tell me what you think.