A Gameplan

Posted by on Aug 16, 2012 in Guildwars 2, The Secret World, Vanguard, World of Warcraft | 1 comment

Civil War Strategy 4 by Avinash KunnathIt seems to me everybody needs a gameplan for the months of August and September. I am looking at all the options the game starved player will have in the next couple of weeks. Guildwars 2 is due roughly in a week, World of Warcraft will publish their 5.0.4 patch at exactly the same date and Vanguard went free to play this week. Of course there’s my current favorite game “The Secret World”. Aside from that, I am also working on getting my business as a website and blog designer going, which indeed takes the majority of my time. I also have a one week trip to Rhode Island coming this weekend.

Civil War Strategy 2 by Avinash Junnath/With me working hard, I don’t have that much energy left to play. I’ve played in the earliest GW2 beta weekends, but skipped the last one and the recent stress test. There was the fear of spoiling my fun, but also dwindling interest. It looks like I am not the only one with this dilemma.

Ever since it became obvious that Vanguard was bleeding subscribers, the majority of us have waited for it to go free-to-play. Now it’s here and I feel no desire to play. Obviously the same reason applies here as well. So many things to do, so little time.

Civil War Strategy by  Avinash KunnathWhich leaves the Pandas. I unsubscribed about 5 months ago, planning to return when MoP goes live. I’ve pre-ordered my wive’s copy of the game, but had no desire to order one for me. (A couple of weeks back she expressed some interest in Guildwars 2, but all offers from my side to let her play in a beta weekend were rejected.) Thus, this will remain a divided house when it comes to gaming. However, I am still fully involved in WOW when I hear the occasional blow by blow account of her raids or other exploits.

And there we have it, my gameplan:

  1. Form a strong, stone wall type defensive game of website, blog and plugin development. No prisoners.
  2. Once the defenses are secured, liberate yourself with an easy passing game full of riddles and puzzles. Show your opponents the secret world. Add some running plays to mix it up a little.
  3. If things get boring or the front lines are dug in deep, try to open things up with a reverse run by Guildwars 2. Don’t hesitate to use the tight end.
  4. WoW and Vanguard remain benched until somebody gets hurt or once couple of weeks have passed.

Now that I think of it, the football season starts in three weeks, which could slow me down, too. — Not really. I am German and I have no idea what I am talking about when it comes to football. The above gameplan is complete fantasy and I apologize to all true fans of the game.

In case you haven’t seen my company’s logo, or aren’t subscribed to Scarybooster’s Scary Worlds. Here it is one more time:

Websites, Blogs, Plugin Development

 

I got those nice football strategies through flickr from Avinash Kunnath. Find the originals here, here and here.


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© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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Free-to-play or how to Spread Around $15 per Month

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in Blog, Rift, SOE, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Warcraft | 4 comments

How to split moneySo we are talking again about the free-to-play model, after SWTOR has announced they’ll be using it soon for their game. Syp started this with a simple list of various free-to-play models and others have thrown in their opinions. Ocho elaborates a bit more on the various pay models and Sente looks into the cost side of the business.

Guess I’ll throw my opinion in as well. If I look at my own gaming habit I see a couple of things, and I can assume being the average Joe, that many other games will do exactly as I do. I more or less have a gaming budget, as I have already dissected a while back. So does everybody else. That’s the MMO market, the sum of the budgets of all players.

Back in the days of Everquest and Ultima Online, that market was small, since so many people

  • didn’t know about MMOs
  • didn’t have the hardware
  • didn’t have friends who played
  • just found the game to hard.

Along comes Blizzard and blows up the market size from a wild guess of 1 million players for EQ and others to 13 million at its peak, say 15 million to add in the other games, hell make it 18 million. They were able to do this because they pulled in the player base from other Blizzard games and at some point it started to snowballed.

It’s different nowadays. Remember, each player has his budget. And there aren’t that many people left who don’t know about MMOs. There are probably only hardcore MMO deniers left. Each new game, in order to gain traction has to chip away from other games’ player base, or has to find a way to bring in their own fans. But that gets them usually only 1-2 million subscribers like Rift’s and SWTOR’s numbers show. SWTOR actually pulled in the Bioware fans, many of them solo offline gamers, while Rift probably had to steal their subscribers elsewhere.

So what’s a smart company to do if it’s so hard to get new people to put down $15 each month and other players hand their money to Blizzard or Sony? Answer: what every business man does, they ask for less. I think there was a company who actually had $9.95 subscription rates. But that didn’t fly. And even smaller rates won’t work to well, because the cost of handling those transactions eat up the money.

And that’s why the folks running the business end of the MMO’s had to come up with a way get their share of the market. Instead of having somebody play 30 days for $15, they end up with somebody playing 10 days and paying $6 (see what I did here?). The players love it, since they have so many games to pick from. By the way, that’s what it looks like from the players point of view: So many games, so little time. And many want to play them all.

In the end all those free-to-play models are business vehicles to be able to offer smaller pieces of the market to the buyers. Sony’s 3 day pass comes to mind. With F2P you get somebody to pay $20 for in game currency now and recharge 4 month later. However, one reality seems to be that many players have a main game where they are subscribed to, and many others were they drop by every now and then, leaving traces of money behind.

Makes you wonder if F2P is the right way to divide that market into more equal pieces. Plus, the $15 a month Blizzards have to let them chip away.

 

Photo by: Images_of_Money


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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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The Dimski Rule

Posted by on Jul 25, 2012 in The Secret World, World of Warcraft | 3 comments

Over at the Secret World Forums people are starting to complain about the elitist attitude of some players when it comes to creating groups for their dungeons. “QL10 only !” Most MMO players know this as “must have gearscore >5000″. A couple of people just don’t want to fail in their dungeon run, or just want to rush through it, because they are farming this or that.

What they fail to see is that they make things harder for themselves by having to wait so much longer for a matching candidate. Plus gearscore, or whatever measure your game of choice offers is just a single measurement out of a lengthy list of parameters. On top of it, it can be easily falsified. Who hasn’t fudged their gearscore by equipping that piece of purple PVP armor, or dps gear when running as a tank or healer? And of course it leaves one major component untouched: a player’s skill and knowledge.

Which brings me to Dimski, the shining beacon of light, aaaahmm, death. Dimski was the second death knight I had leveled. We had transferred servers and my wife had been raiding with a guild for a while. In the meantime I brought Dimski up without much haste. Eventually I joined my wife’s guild, mostly in purple dungeon gear plus a piece or two from the Wintergrasp vault. That guild certainly took their raiding seriously, fielding three 10 man raid teams and of course 25 man raid. Of course they had gear requirements for raid participation and of course I didn’t qualify by a good amount.

But rules go out the window when a raid is one head or two short and I didn’t have to wait for long to be a part of the my first 25 man raid. They modified the raid rules afterward. Have a gearscore of 2700 or generate 4600 dps.  (number’s are made up, i really don’t remember the exact numbers). 4600 dps was the number my little death knight had created in inferior gear beating 2 other guilded and geared deathknights. And all I had done was reading Elitist Jerks, using the proper specification and a good spell rotation.

It certainly wasn’t that much work for me to learn what was taught by the players at  that website. But it was already enough to overcome weeks of raiding for better gear. I don’t want to show off with this post what hot shot I am. I am certainly not. But it shows me and now hopefully a few more people, that a pure gear or experience requirement, like it is requested in many games, just doesn’t cover everything.

In fact, players should be happy that our games of choice aren’t gear dependent in a way that it blocks a player with less time invested, but that it allows to make up for this time investment by deploying smarter or more skillful play. This actually broadens the base of players to pick from for any one dungeon or raid, or any other undertaking for a group.

Of course there is a “downside”: A min/max player doesn’t have choices, or only a very limited number, since he can only pick the best choices. Which lead to Ghostcrawler’s decision to limit the number of talent choices in Mists of Pandaria to, in the end, allow for more choice.


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"The Secret World" is a registered trademark of Funcom GmbH. All logos, images and names are intellectual properties of Funcom GmBH unless otherwise noted. This site is not endorsed by or affiliated with Funcom GmbH.

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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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OCD? Don’t Play Guildwars 2

Posted by on Apr 29, 2012 in Guildwars 2, World of Warcraft | 3 comments

Is that bag to the left making you nervous? Do you think something is odd about it? Do you you consider 22 an odd number? Have you ever scaled back to 20 slots because you just couldn’t stand having them in your inventory?

Does it make you nervous that we are talking about bag size? Maybe it helps if I come out of the closet and admit to my sins. I haven’t downgraded to 20 slots, but I have been annoyed by the number of bag slots since I saw my first 10 slot bag. For the 6 slot bags, the availability of slots far outweighed my OCD impulses. Besides, the pain didn’t last to long, since you could upgrade them with relative ease. Eight and 12 slots made me happy, but I used 14 slots for way to long.

And here comes trouble. Guildwars 2 has a main bag with 20 slots and allows for 4 more bags. The first ones you can loot or buy from a vendor are 4 slot bags. Except… If you get “lucky”, this will happen to you. When I picked it up, I saw the 5 slots in the tool tip. “Woohoo !” And then I put it in the inventory. I told my wive that ArenaNet will make a lot of players very unhappy with 5 slot bags. How dare they? They are programmers and geeks ! They ought to have the same problems and preferences as their players. Perhaps they can blame it on somebody from marketing.

And then I’ll find a 7 slot bag. Somebody please tell me I can resize the bag window.

 

(Edit) That’s what I am left with, if I untick “bags”. Still hurts.


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© 2011 ArenaNet, Inc. All rights reserved. NCsoft, the interlocking NC logo, ArenaNet, Arena.net, Guild Wars, Guild Wars Factions, Factions, Guild Wars Nightfall, Nightfall, Guild Wars: Eye of the North, Eye of the North, Guild Wars 2, and all associated logos and designs are trademarks or registered trademarks of NCsoft Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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