Battlechicken’s Challenge: I am a Collector. NOT !

Posted by on Aug 4, 2012 in Blog, Everquest, Everquest II, World of Warcraft | 2 comments

Battlechicken’s been challenging her fellow bloggers for a while now with a monthly request to post about an issue suggested by her. This month it’s “I am a Collector”. That’s a subject I can contribute to, because I am not a collector. I am just not that well organized, not at all.

You see, in real life, I just can’t divide a stack of things into different piles of about equal size by classifying them. I usually end up with something like 5 piles, two with 45% of the items each and three with 5%, 3% and 2% of the items. Which in the grand scheme of things leads to a big box of  goods that resist classification. Let me correct this right here: My piles are more likely distributed  80%, 15%, 3%, 1%, 1%.

Since I can’t sort items, I end up throwing them away or selling them. In real life not as much, since selling is often cumbersome, but in an MMO there’s an auction house and there are vendors ready to take your junk. Of course, a little discretion is needed, otherwise you end up in the debtors tower of WOW.

Here’s how I deal with various in game goods:

Harvested Materials and Tradeskill Items

I keep those around either in my bags or in the bank as long as they are usable by my current tradeskill level. The same is true for intermediary products like copper bolts and pipes used in WOW engineering. As soon as I have no immediate use for these goods, I sell them on the auction house. If I need them again for some reason one week later, I just buy them again. I even sell the rare harvesting materials, since in the end, they aren’t really that rare. They usually are on sale in the auction house.

Tradeable Gear

Here’s a lesson I learned a long time ago in Everquest. The Luclin expansion had just gone live and one mob in the Netherbian lair dropped a breastplate called “Netherbian Chitin”. Great item to outfit your characters as well as twinks. I sold the first one I got. For something like 1000 platinum. At the end of the first week the price had dropped to 200p, because the mob was farmed like mad. Lesson learned: sell it while it’s hot.

Thus, I sell tradeable gear, as long as I, an alt of mine or some of my friends can’t use it immediately. I won’t keep an item if an alt of mine can use it 20 levels from now. I usually don’t know when the alt will gain those levels and expect him to be able to buy that gear or get it through quests or loots it himself. I expect to buy the same gear cheaper 4 weeks from now than I can sell it today. Mudflation counteracts the price drops somewhat, but I figure by the time I’ll notice mudflation effects, I’ll have benefited from it as well and will have more money in my pockets. In short, I’d rather have 10 gold pieces today than 15g in 6 weeks.

Nostalgia Items

I keep a few of those around, like a pair of rolling pins from the Deadmines or a brass cannon from Stratholme. I keep a couple of pimp hats on my EQ 2 characters, even though I find them to tacky to actually wear them. There are also a couple of clickable items who have outlived their usefulness, but it’s hard to say goodbye to them.

Transmog and Visual Slot Items

I’ve never gotten into transmogging or into dressing up my characters like it is possible in other games. Which makes me relatively unencumbered in that regard. But even if I did, there’s a good chance I’d apply them same rules as above. Sell it while it’s hot.

Why’s my Bank Full Anyway?

Because most of us are lazy. I usually have a selloff fit when I start having to destroy things to have bag space. And I mean bag space, not bank space. Thus, as long as I carry it, I collect.


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Battlechicken’s Challenge

Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Blog, Everquest, Everquest II, Fallen Earth, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Vanguard, World of Warcraft | 2 comments

As part of the Newbie Blogger Initative Battlechicken has challenged the bloggers to tell her Why We Do What We Do, preferably in pictures. Here’s a small collection of my characters, the result of 12 years playing MMOs, who is answering the question.

Feliz: I am a yodel bard Sambaugh: Watching your back
Dimo: I heard they had cheese and pimp hats Minsk: Barfights and barmaids! Plintenegger: I’ve got Death Touches
Plinkocommie: Goblins of Azeroth unite! Dimkski: The Lich King is dead
Shamble: Looking into a radiant future Dime: There’s a vision, always was, always will Shambles: I am your father, Feliz

 


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Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2008-2011 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. BioWare and the BioWare logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. You may not copy any images, videos or sound clips found on this site or "deep link" to any image, video or sound clip directly.
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Why Still Have Shards or Servers

Posted by on Mar 9, 2012 in Blog, Everquest II, Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Uncategorized, World of Warcraft | 0 comments

Some of my posts are triggered by the blogs I read, but end up looking only remotely related to the original content. This is one of them. A couple of blogs started to complain about WOW’s revamped “Scroll of Resurrection” (Bio Break, MMO Quests, Corpse Run). Among other things, players returning to WOW can get an instant character at level 80.

Which leads to the question, why would it be advantageous to have an instant, content skipping, nearly painless level 80? Of course the assumption is that players, and in this case returning players want to play with their friends. And an instant level 80 might just be the solution for some of the returning players, some of them having gone through the content way to many five times.

Multiple Servers

Others would love to go through the WOW-Cataclysm content, but fear they will face empty or low populated zones on their mature servers. Of course new players face the same problem if they pick a mature server. WOW offers the LFD tool as a partial solution, where it matches you up for dungeons with players from other servers. Which doesn’t help in non-dungeon areas, especially if the zone is structured in a way where it is advantageous having multiple players adventuring nearby. For instance, to quickly drop a tougher NPC together and continue soloing. Rift’s zone events and open grouping or WAR’s area quests are similar, since you will need more people in the same zone. Disclaimer: I haven’t been playing Rift lately, so I don’t know if there is a solution in place.

Competitive players and guilds face also problems with a multiple server environment. The major one being recruiting. A server is usually to small to sustain many high end guilds and recruiting often happens cross server. A server transfer costs money, but is usually not that much of a problem. Cross server communication is harder. It usually happens offline on forums and can become clumsy, if those forums are spread out. The EQ/EQ2 cross server chat is nice, but you still need to know on what server you’ll find your partner.

Single Shards

If WOW puts already player from different servers together temporarily, why not drop the shard concept all together? Why did we have them to begin with? Part of the transition from multi user dungeons (MUD) into Massive multi player role playing games was the need to spread the players out across multiple servers, simply to handle the need for server capacity. The games architecture just couldn’t handle more. The ability to multiply the name space and have multiple versions of “Chug Noris” was nice to have as well. And lastly, new players could be sent to newer servers to get a better social experience with people in the same level range.

But, as EVE and the zone instancing of EQ2, Rift and SWTOR shows, modern architectures can handle more than 2500 players online at the same time on a single server. (2500 used to be a common assumption for server capacity). Zone instancing, were a zone gets duplicated once a certain number of players is reached, was introduced with EQ2. This eliminates one big problem, the number of interactions between multiple players. It just won’t work well if your graphics card has to draw 200 characters around the bank in Stormwind and it causes similar problems on the server side as well.

On a single server all players in the same level range can play together in a zone appropriate for this level. They will be split into multiple instances of the same zone as the number of players increases. New players, returning players, and players leveling an alt would all be together and could certainly achieve objectives meant for more than a single player. The highest number of instances I’ve seen was 10 for the New Halas area on the Freeport server in EQ2. It can still happen that a zone is empty at the wrong time of the day, or, what’s worse, if the game is in full decline.

Player Chat

Which leaves the problems with chat. Multiple instances of the same zone should share a chat channel, otherwise it becomes harder to find groups. This will meet limitations, once the chat channel becomes an unreadable scrolling stream of text. But at that point, it is probably fine to have multiple instances of zone chat as well, perhaps mapping 2 chat channels to 5 zone instances each.

There shouldn’t be global chat for the same reason, it will just become a huge scrolling wall of text, populated with attention seeking trolls, looking for the widest audience. Guild recruitment and other recruitment for social activities will need a different medium. Again, look at EQ2’s guild recruitment tool and the LFD and LFR tools in WOW.

Another effect which I have become aware of just recently are native language chat channels. Especially in Europe, the chat on the English servers is actually international: for instance Russian, Hungarian and English all together. Which makes things complicated. People have declared certain servers as unofficial Russian servers, which causes problems for the remaining native English speakers. A single server concept helps, since it just needs to create chat channels for each major group. And with a single server, it is easier to reach critical mass for a single new language channel.

The World is Round and Technical Realities

There is one limitation to the single server concept: Geography. Just to throw out a number, a latency of more than 200 ms becomes unplayable, less than 100ms is desirable. Internet architecture and physics make it nearly impossible for an Asia Pacific player to have less than 200ms round trip time to an US based server. Thus, if the subscription numbers allow for it, there should be at least one server in each major region: EU, NA, AP. Brazil is also an option to place another server.

And finally, WOW, with 13 million subscribers at peek has 4 data centers in the US and 2 in Europe to handle the load. I don’t have any hard evidence, but it’s hard to believe that a single server architecture could handle 13 million subscribers. Thus, some division is needed in the end, but not at 2500 online players (wild guess: translates to 20,000 subscribers), but at a much larger number >300,000 subscribers.

PVP is different

One problem remains, but EVE  has a solution for it: fleet battles or epic scale PVP with thousands of participants. I don’t have much technical insight how it is being solved, but I am sure there will be certain hard limits as well. Space battles are probably easier to handle, since the ships won’t get to close to each other, but your graphics card still has to draw at least some dots and laser beams.

However, a multi shard concept won’t even attempt fleet battles.

Conclusion

I just don’t see why the MMO makers stick with the multi shard concept. They face the challenge of long queue times during the opening weeks, and empty servers thereafter. I googled a couple of questions to research this article, but there wasn’t much of an answer to “Why multi shards”. I have only one conspiracy theory to offer: the game companies make money with server transfers, but I just can’t bring myself to taking it to serious.


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This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with LucasArts, BioWare, or Electronic Arts.
Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. LucasArts, the LucasArts logo, STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © 2008-2011 Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. or Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved. BioWare and the BioWare logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of EA International (Studio and Publishing) Ltd. You may not copy any images, videos or sound clips found on this site or "deep link" to any image, video or sound clip directly.
Game content and materials copyright LICENSOR. All Rights Reserved.

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A Goddess Risen

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 in Everquest II, News | 0 comments

EQ2 has a new behind the scenes video up for a live event starting tomorrow: “A Goddess Risen”


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EQ2 beetny.com

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 in Everquest II, Guides | 0 comments

Beetny.com is an Everquest 2 AA calculator. It helps planning and visualizing your AA distribution. Currently there is only a GU61 version, pre-Age of Destiny available. You can assign AA’s for all 24 classes and in all 5 talent trees. The tree can be exported and stored in a bookmark or printed with skill levels and descriptions.


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EQ2interface

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 in Everquest II, Guides | 0 comments

EQ2interface.com hosts UI mods, skins and addons. The site has been around since release and is a spinoff of EQinterface.com. It is the prime resource for mod & interface authors and the download and information hub for users.

 

The most prominent project is EQ2MAP, a full set of maps with user maintained waypoints exceeding the waypoints that come with the standard EQ interface by far. It comes with an automatic map updater. Expect a separate entry for EQ2MAP.

 

Among the fully featured UI’s, ProfitUI is used most frequently and well maintained. There are other UIs like Fetish, eXtreme and Drums.

 

UI compilations, which might not complete rebuilds of the existing UI, Skins, which just change looks and interface pieces like Autoattack timers are available as well.

 

 


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