Wednesday, October 2, 2019

I'm tired of the garbage state of the MMORPG industry being blamed on my nostalgia



I don't play MMOs much these days. Most recent was a couple of days in WoW classic and a week or two in FFXIV before that. I read the posts on this board and I swear I could go back in time ten years and the posts would look exactly the same. I'm not going to bother ranting about why MMOs are shit or what they need. I've had that conversation. You've had that conversation. We've been having that conversation for the last fifteen years.

I'm here to talk about the blame.

With modest frequency I'll hear this idea that it's not the industry that's changed, it's me. I'm just, these old bones you see. I'm cranky and grumpy and my old hip isn't what it used to be and by gosh maybe the true misery was inside me all along and I just need learn to love again. But maybe it's not possible, because well, those youthful days you see. My time has clearly passed and I need to move on for the next generation of no Fuck You

I'm 32 years old. I am not short on free time or money. I've sunk hours and hours into various games. Dota, Star Wars: The old Republic, Factorio, Breath of the Wild, Terraria, Space Station 13, recently Streets of Rogue and Heat Signature, God even Graveyard Keeper held my attention and that was a miserable insufferable mess. Isn't it interesting how the only kind of game that fails to hold my attention also just happens to be coming out of the industry that's been regurgitating the same shit for the last 15 years. It really makes you think. It really gets those fucking almonds going doesn't it.

And you know, even MMOs haven't been a complete wash. I started complaining about the state of the industry back in like 2005 when I noticed every game coming out of Korea was the same game (before WoW hit one million and every game coming out of every country became the same game), but since then, I've brushed with games that, even if I don't like very much, I can at least respect.

We're all familiar with Eve's reputation as being a persistent deviant in the face of WoW clones. I hear Old-School Runescape is going strong, though frankly I've never played it myself. I really enjoyed Wakfu for its combat, crafting, and political systems, if not for the monotonous late-game grind. Wurm I barely touched but I can respect it for trying to be a genuine sandbox, if not for its monetization model. Haven and Hearth had me for quite a while several years ago, but the meta got a little obnoxious. But you know what? At least those games tried. At least there was a fucking attempt at something novel and interesting. If I could rip every dollar I've ever given to Blizzard out of their accounts and throw it at some of those indie devs I'd do it in a heartbeat.

FFXIV was a fantastic example of how nothing has changed. This is a game I've seen get a lot of praise. But I'd already played it. I played it fifteen years ago. I know these systems. I know that this plotline has no mechanical consequence. I know these quests. Oh, a vaguely interesting crafting system. Okay, credit. I know these large impressive looking cities that are little more than some pretty set dressing for a bunch of static colliders.

There's no depth. There's no involvement. There's nothing original, or novel, or appealing. What are these people even selling anymore? Besides microtransactions, I mean.

But, again, we've had these discussions. What I'm sick of is having it blamed on me.

This is not my problem. This is not my inability to have fun. This is not the winds of time crushing my spirit. This is creative bankruptcy. This is incompetence. And you know, maybe I shouldn't even blame the developers who are probably just pinned down by risk-fearing publishers. But this is not me. I am not the problem with the industry.

I just wish I knew how to become the fucking solution.
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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Online Bingo: Appealing to the Younger Crowd in 2019


Bingo is a great pastime for many; it’s often played in school for fun as a part of learning numbers and letters. Later in life many people get back into playing bingo for fun. For a long time, when people would think of a bingo hall they would think of elderly men and women streaming in for their weekly social outing with their peers. It’s a stereotype for sure, because people of all ages enjoy bingo, but the stereotype is proving more and more untrue as millennials fall back in love with the game. That’s right, the 20-30-year-old crowd is rediscovering bingo and falling in love all over again, remembering what a good time the game was, and now as a benefit, they can win money playing.

Who is Playing Bingo?


The over 50 crowd has long been the demographic streaming into bingo halls every night to play a few cards as it was a social outing. This hasn’t changed much, but in the last 10 years bingo halls seemed to be attracting fewer and fewer people, so much so that in the UK there were many reports that bingo may be breathing it’s last breaths as it just didn’t have the draw that it used to.

Not so fast! The game has had a resurgence in its popularity and the demographic may be shocking to some people; the 20-30-year-old demographic has rediscovered the game they played in their youth and they are falling back in love with it. In many areas today when you visit a bingo hall you will see that the older demographic is still there having a good time, but sitting side by side with them is a younger, perhaps more hip crowd and it is a welcome site to bingo hall owners who had seen such a downtrend in bingo players.

What’s changed?


What has changed is the younger crowd looking for good, clean fun. This is perhaps the most health-conscious generation in some time, so they are often looking for ways to have fun that don’t always involve drinking and smoking and being out all night. This generation seems to be going in the opposite direction; trying to slow down and get back to basics.

What is better and more basic and fun than a game of bingo?


It’s a game that doesn’t involve skill or a lot of training or instructions so big crowds of friends with diverse interests and backgrounds can get together for some rousing games of bingo. While other casino related games are typically reserved for high rollers, or those who have skill or knowledge about cards, bingo is a game that everyone can play and enjoy with no stress but a lot of excitement. Friends who do enjoy other casino games can still get together with others who aren’t as skilled in those areas and still enjoy gaming because the game can be played and enjoyed by all gaming experience levels. And, for those looking for a bit more involvement, multiple cards can up the ante and make it more of a challenge.

Add to that, this is perhaps the most tech savvy generation of adults, so they have taken to the internet. Bingo opportunities are not just in bingo halls around the world, they are plentiful online. So, this tech savvy generation has found that not only can they stream into local bingo halls with their friends, they can play the game from the comfort of their own home, or even from their mobile device when they are on the go. Online bingo games offer a variety of themes, different ball count games, and the ability to cash in on some big jackpots so those who have started at a brick and mortar bingo hall will have their bingo horizons broadened even more online.

The game is also a great option for this crowd because it doesn’t require much money. Of course, players can spend as much as they like, but it’s not necessary and the excitement of the win still exists and depending where the game is played the winnings can be substantial. Whether or alone or in a crowd, those who are playing bingo can do so relatively affordably as far as entertainment and gaming goes.

Bringing Back a Favorite Pastime


Bingo has always been fun, has been enjoyed for generations and while the numbers of people playing had fallen overall, numbers is on the rise again. This younger generation has effectively breathed new life into the game and is bringing back a favorite pastime, ensuring that future generations will also enjoy this game. While this generation is embracing bingo now, it will be interesting to see how they continue to play as they age and if they do in fact introduce the game to the next generations.
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Sunday, June 30, 2019

EVE-Online NPC's Threatening Player Owned Assets & Invading


In 2015, CCP, the developers of EVE-Online started dropping clues of something ominous that was coming. This would later fizzle out as a new NPC faction that didn't have much interaction beyond some Incursions that were mostly ignored. This trailer was dropped by CCP for the event -





In 2018 we were introduced to another new spooky faction named the Triglavians. Not much was known about these NPC's, however, we have had new shiplines added to the game from this NPC faction. Some of the parts gathered from the TriglaviansPvE encounters are used to build these ships, items, and structures that major alliances use in the game to streamline their sovereignty. The Triglaviansalso have invaded high security space and have their own incursion event. This trailer was dropped by CCP for the event -








Yesterday, the long forgotten Drifter NPC faction began roaming around nullsec space (lawless space where players are able to conquer and take control of it). I was actually roaming around in nullsec trying to get some kills and was killed by a roaming pack of Drifter NPC's. I was completely baffled and was one of the first victims of this. Nothing like this had ever happened before.

Next, players started reporting Drifter fleets attacking structures. Surely this had to be a bug right? Players petitioned CCP, and were met with a GM response of "working as intended" or along those lines. Here are some shots of the event.




So far I've seen them warp to numerous structures for reinforce, but they seem to take breaks around the asteroid belts as well. So miners beware!


This is a bold move by CCP, and we will see just how bold depending on whether or not these Drifters show up for all three timers (the new structures in EVE have shield, armor, and structure, each with their own respective timer that the attacker has to show up for. Once the structure HP has been destroyed, the actual structure is killed).

EVE is in a desperate need of a shakeup. Currently there is a clear winner in Nullsec, and no one is able to contest them. They have won the game through strategy, guile, industrial might, and perseverance. While what they have done is impressive, it is creating a stagnant game, and EVE has been hemorrhaging players since around 2016/17. There are 3294 nullsec systems in EVE, yet the majority of players are packed into only a few systems. Nullsec in EVE used to be dozens of alliances that were mostly unaligned fighting over space, and sometimes warring with their neighbors. Now most of the map is friendly to each other resulting in the lack of action in the game. Here's to hoping CCP continue this event with the boldness that they started EVE with, as a hard game with true consequences.
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Saturday, June 29, 2019

Malaysian gaming cafe chain returns to cryptocurrency mining after 2018



One of Malaysia’s largest gaming cafe chains has returned to cryptocurrency mining to fill in the idle hours on empty. The gaming cafe industry is common in Asian countries where gamers prefer to gather together and play in teams.

Cryptocurrency mining boomed mostly after 2017 when Bitcoin price had hit twenty-thousand dollars ($20,000) the all-time-high and people across the globe came pouring into the business. 

Over the years, cryptocurrency mining operations have been suffering across the globe. Between September to December of the year 2018, major mining farms were forced to shut down operations in various countries including South Korea, Malaysia, the United States and China. 

The gaming cafe owner Jun was among the many who had shut down operations in December 2018 but not for the high costs of electricity since his problem was a little different. 

Jun’s chain had implemented a miner on their computer that would allow them to make money on computers already using the electricity. Jun’s customers, however, were not as happy as Jun since the miners would slow down gaming experience if not attended properly. 

The chain has now implemented a mining solution provided by the firm Cudo Miner that would not only allow Jun to meet his revenue targets but would not slow down the gaming experience. 

Jun explains that the custom solution that was made possible in collaboration with Cudo Miner automatically shuts down the miner when the computer resources are in use. The miner only starts operating when the computer is in idle mode.

It’s given us a very welcome stream of extra income, takes very little maintenance, and just quietly gets on with its work, without getting in the way”, Jun the cafĂ© owner 

Cudo Miner team reveals that the mining system can bring the cafe owners about thirty to forty dollars ($30-40) per device, while lower spec gaming systems can generate somewhere between eleven to fifteen dollars ($11-$15) every month.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cudo Miner Matt Hawkins, explains that their company took the challenge with excitement since it gives them an entry into the multi-billion dollar industry and mining can provide extra support to this industry.

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Warhammer Online: Return of Reckoning - PvP/PvE



I wanted to provide some info and get the word out about Warhammer Online: Return of Reckoning. It's a free to play, private server MMORPG, with a heavy focus on realm vs realm combat, open world persistent PvP, and instanced battlegrounds. All this takes place in the rich and detailed world of Warhammer.

Many tried the game back when it launched in 2008. It initially sold over a million copies, and at one point had over 800k subscribers. The live game eventually closed down due to more reasons than I can list here. The private server started shortly after as a way to keep the game alive, and has been growing and improving with each passing year. Many of the issues that plagued the live game have been resolved, due in part to advances in server and internet technology, and in part due to the tireless work of the completely volunteer dev team and community.

I've been a long time player of Warhammer Online, starting in the beta in 2007, and this is honestly the best, most balanced, and stable iteration of the game ever. I've played practically every MMO that's come out over the last 20 years, not one if them holds a candle to the PvP and open world RvR this game provides. I think I'm in the same boat as many MMO players, waiting for something new to come out and reignite that old passion for the genre. I plan on playing WoW Classic, diving into Camelot Unchained (if it ever releases), and I always keep an eye out for new and up and coming releases. Unfortunately, so many of these titles are months, years, or longer away from releasing. This game can not only hold our attention while we wait, but it can be damn fun at the same time.

Now some important stuff you might need to know:
  1. The game is completely free to play, no cash shop, no pay to win, and no donations required, or even accepted.
  2. There are updates to the game every weekend, including new items, dungeons, quests, balance changes, events, and bug fixes.
  3. There are two factions, Order and Destruction. Each faction has three races, and there are a total of 24 unique classes in the game split between the factions. Each class also has 3 distinct specializations, leading to 72 class subtypes. These classes range from things like the Human Bright Wizard to the Dwarven Ironbreaker, the Goblin Shaman to the Chaos Marauder.
  4. The game has a full open world PvP system with battlefield objectives, keeps to attack and claim, giant fortresses to siege, and endless battles throughout the world. The campaign moves as one side wins and the areas you fight in will differ greatly. These battles can have as many as 500 players at the same time. There are also dozens of instanced battlegrounds for smaller scale fights with the usual MMO objectives (flag capture, king of the hill, bomb run, etc.)
  5. Fear not if you have a taste for all things PvE. The world has thousands of quests to complete, there are currently 7 dungeons, epic quests, 24 man public quest raids, and they are all full of detailed Warhammer Lore, and quite good gear to obtain.
  6. Finally, the community is probably the best I've ever been in. So many people are helpful to new players, guilds are forming every day, and since there is only one server, you get to know both your allies and enemies quite well. This game has legendary figures, and they truly earned their reputations.
The only issue this server really suffers from is a lack of advertising, and that is where this post comes in. The next few months are going to be huge for this game. They have a new dungeon, Bastion Stair, coming out in the next week or so. They have City Sieges being added to the game in June. There is going to be a double experience/renown weekend starting on May 17th. These are just a few examples of what's coming.

The game is easy to find with a simple web search for Warhammer Online: Return of Reckoning (not sure about rules linking the site here), and you can download the game and everything you need from there. There are even guides on YouTube to walk you through the download, and getting started with the game.

If you do decide to try it, I look forward to fighting with you, or against you on the battlefield. I have characters on both sides, and I'm always happy to help a new/returning player out with some gold, gear, or advice.

tldr: Give Warhammer Online: Return of Reckoning a try if you are looking for a fantastic MMO that is free to play and PvP focused. It is the perfect time to join up.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Revival of Online Casino Gaming



About 5 years ago, online casino gaming had impacted the gaming industry in ways people never imagined possible. At first many were concerned about the negative impact gambling with real cash could have on the economy but then, after controlled and regulated gambling became the norm, people began to realize the full potential of online casino gaming. Countries began to evolve with the times to bring in more money into the countries and things were looking bright regardless of those who had their reservations. But then, slowly the fire dwindled and the hype died down.

It has only been through recent technology and the additional efforts of gaming developers, casino providers and the high demand of futuristic gaming that online casino gaming has been revived and is back in full swing. Looking at www.novibet.co.uk proves just how successful casino gaming has become and we take a look at the factors which has had a positive impact on the revival of online casino gaming.

The Introduction of Online Sports Betting

Betting on sports has been a past time of many fans, but this was, not so long ago, only available at land based sports betting houses. Only recently has online sports betting become legal in selected states and countries. Modern technology has provided a portal where punters can bet on and watch their sports teams in action whilst changing the odds throughout the game. This has reeled in a new kind of gamer and the market is impressive.

Virtual Reality Gaming

VR gaming is already in a league of its own. It has been designed to open a platform for online casino enthusiasts to explore and experience a 3 dimensional realm of unexplored possibilities.

Live Casino Dealers

Before VR gaming there was live casino dealer options. This was a service provided by online casinos which allows the player to interact with the dealer through live streaming technology. This form of online gambling not only revived the online casino gaming industry but it also brought a personal touch to the gaming realm and allowed players to experience the same enjoyment that one would experience at a land based establishment.

Mobile Gaming

Mobile users do everything on their smart devices. From answering work calls and responding to work emails to setting appointments and organizing social events, mobile users have access to it all. So why should online casino gambling be any different? If you can access the online world you have access to online casinos. Now apps have been developed for mobile casino users and through the same modern tech that has enabled modern gaming, players have access to bonuses, promotions, sign up deals and more.

As you can see, there are a number of factors that have brought back casino gambling and the way the industry is booming today, we don’t believe there is any concern regarding the pat time falling back into a deep coma. Online casino gambling is only progressing and as technology evolves so does casino gaming.
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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

7 Ways to Prevent Wrist Injuries while Gaming

Gaming is not necessarily an endeavor where the body can break down due to the stress imparted upon it, but there are certain parts of gaming that can leave players feeling achy, and a big thing all gamers should be cognizant of is wrist pain. There are a lot of things that can occur with the wrists;therefore, it is imperative that gamers work to prevent wrist injuries including the dreaded carpaltunnel syndrome. Keeping your wrists healthy is the same reason you look up gaming chair prices when thinking about your back.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed in the wrist. The nerve travels from the elbow into the hand via a pathway called the Carpal Tunnel. When the wrist is in a constant position of the hand being raised above it – the way you would for typing and other types of activities – then there is pressure put on the nerve itself and the tunnel becomes constricted and compresses the nerve. This leads to a feeling of numbness and tingling particularly in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. This numbness could lead to atrophy of the muscles in the thumb and in the worst-case scenario, necessitate an invasive surgery to correct the condition.

Preventing these types of injuries is key, and when you do proper wrist care, you won’t need to worry about having carpal tunnel issues. The good news is there are not many complicated ways to prevent these injuries. Here are some of the best ways to prevent wrist injuries while gaming.

Good Posture

Make sure you sit properly. Don’t slouch and keep your legs splayed apart while gaming. There are some tricks that will help you achieve proper posture. The first is putting the mouse farther into the desk. Your arm should rest on the desk itself, not hover. Another thing to do is make sure the top of the screen is 2-3 inches below your eyeline – this will prevent you from looking down and straining your neck. All of these posture tips will help keep your wrists properly positioned while gaming.

Stretch

Like all muscles, you need to stretch those in the wrist so that they don’t become tight and compressed. If this is the case with your wrist muscles, then carpal tunnel may be on its way sooner than you would like. Make sure to take roughly 5 minutes to get some good stretches in. There are lots of resources showing you how to stretch your wrists. Never stretch so much that you are in pain from the stretch, you want to feel the tightness alleviate and it should be relaxing, not painful.

Use Ergonomic Tools

Though some medical journals dispute the applicability of ergonomics, there is a clear connection between using a mouse that is ergonomically sound and using a traditional one. This allows you to keep your hand in proper position without having any pressure on the wrist. These ergonomic tools including a wrist rest are great for letting people experience the comfort of gaming without exposing themselves to the different wrist issues. If you are using a controller for console games, one of the best practices is not to hover with your thumb, but if there are ergonomic controllers, purchase them because it will pay off in the long run.

Don’t Squeeze your Equipment

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome derives from pressure on the median nerve and when your muscles are contracting, this applies more pressure. Don’t squeeze the mouse or the controller – instead make sure that you have a soft, firm grip. You need to be able to move your hand around and to squeeze and unsqueeze the equipment is a very easy way to make the job far more difficult than it needs to be. This stress will cause your muscles to tight and the nerve to be constricted. If you are feeling pain in your wrist, it’s probably from squeezing.

Take Breaks

One of the keys to keeping your wrists healthy is to take breaks. For every hour, you should take a 5-10-minute break. Don’t spend several hours at a time gaming with the idea that you will make up for it with a long break after. This is not proper. Instead, be sure that you take breaks in consistent intervals. An additional benefit – besides the health of your wrists – is your mental energy. When you have breaks what you have is time to collect your thoughts and work out any glitches going on in your gaming. Your wrists and your mind will be refreshed.

Keep Your Wrists Warm

One of the easiest ways for your wrist muscles to contract and apply pressure to the carpal tunnel is to have cold hands. If you are gaming, make sure that your hands are warm. This is important because it will increase the amount of oxygenated blood heading into your hand and nourishing the muscles. The other good thing is warm muscles are loose muscles, which means that your hands are not applying too much pressure to the carpal tunnel.

Care for Wrists When Not Gaming

A great way for gamers to prevent wrist injuries is to keep your wrists in braces at night. This ensures that you don’t sleep in a bad position and exacerbate anything going on. Other things to do would be to wear braces when you feel pain. Avoid gaming when feeling some pain as well. Remember – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Conclusions

Taking care of the wrists is actually quite easy when you apply the seven tips listed above. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a very serious issue and when you take the time to do activities preventing its onset, you are allowing yourself extended time to game. It is imperative that you understand if you are diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you won’t be gaming for a while. Take the measures needed to care for your wrists the way athletes care for their bodies.
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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Why no MMO feels right for you anymore


The Distance

We've all been around for a while, I'm willing to bet.

Maybe you started playing in a multi-user dungeon; somewhere you could congregate and RP with similarly likeminded pioneers of online gaming. Back when playing an incredibly technical genre of game required a technical mind to access. Requiring imagination and reading ability to process the shape of the world around you, how your character looked, how other characters looked, even.

But I'm willing to bet most of you didn't. Like me, you probably started at the dawning of pop-internet, a couple of years either side of the turn of the Millennium and the years that followed. The time where internet was infiltrating households with ringing dial-up tones and kids/teens were flocking online after 6pm, with explicit guidance not to tell anyone your real name lest you be kidnapped through your beige CRT monitor.

There, we found worlds online filled with people like us. Fledgeling MMOs like Rift, Ultima Online, Aion, Phantasy Star Online, Star Wars: The old Republic, Knight Online, World of Warcraft, FFXI, Neverwinter Nights, Ragnarok Online and City of Heroes. Just to name a few of the big titles.

At the time, much of the appeal to these games was in the enormity of the worlds as well as the ability to play with complete strangers with whom you would quickly form relationships with. It was new, it was exciting, it was vast, it was engaging, and to be honest, it was a little daunting. The huge scale of the worlds combined with the active trade chats and bustling cities and the prospect of growing stronger beside the friends you made along the way.

You didn't really have many responsibilities IRL and every day at school you were excited to get home and log on. Perhaps you even got some of your RL friends to join you if you were lucky.

I guarantee you feel nostalgia for this time. You miss being able to experience those first experiences again, of finding your way around and trying tons of different MMOs to see what you liked and the worlds that they brought.

The Near

You might call it a kind of golden age, somewhere in the years starting 2005/2006 onwards. I think the end of this golden age depends on the person, but it starts around here. Games like Guild Wars, WoW TBC & WotLK, LotRO, Runescape (still), Aion, Maplestory, Flyff, Trickster Online, Wurm Online even.

MMOs are booming - undoubtedly at their most popular and for good reason. You're probably in your teens or twenties, it's easy to make friends because the servers are packed full of people enjoying themselves, plus you've still got no real commitments but have greater autonomy on your bedtime and weekends or whatever.

Your technical ability has improved. Concepts like health, mana, strength, dex, int, spirit/wisdom, damage, mobs, bosses, dungeons, all come as easily as breathing. You perhaps try and be more competitive and clear dungeons and raids with your friends, join a guild, really immerse yourself in your game of choice. Set yourself goals like getting a piece of equipment or a rare mount and really invest the time and energy into achieving these goals.

You miss the sense of companionship, taking on challenges and trials to test and improve your ability, and the vibrancy of the servers throughout with similar voices of your own.

The Turn

When did you first notice you weren't... reaaaally ... having as much fun anymore? There can't be a set date here as we no doubt felt it at different times. But at what point did you log-on, wander your character round a town for a bit, before getting off? Spin your ship in-station (as they say in EVE) and log-off?

You've felt it before no doubt, when a game has stopped being fun - so it didn't feel particularly abnormal at first. You write off a game as "done" or "done for now" and uninstall it. Go to look for a new MMO. Maybe download one or two, feel ehh, a slight lack of interest in investing time towards it. Maybe it's the combat system or the storyline or the class design that doesn't feel quite as fun as you're used to. You give something new a try like Black Desert Online, Guild Wars 2, or FFXIV, enjoy it for a bit but something just feels kind of. Different.

You retry games you played countless, countless hours before - the latest WoW expansion for a given year or the new Runescape (or the old Runescape) and it kind of tickles that urge for a bit from the nostalgia and getting to replay your characters again and conquer new content with your proficiency of the game mechanics. But then your goals like getting to the new end level or completing all the quests are done, and the game drifts from your heart again.

In the industry, MMOs have fallen out of favor and the old audience is looking to new horizons - MOBAs or FPS are what you find your friends playing and you join them and genuinely have fun. But it still doesn't quite scratch that itch you have of wanting to find yourself in a deeply entrenched story - your story - with the sense of adventure in your heart.

You miss the optimism of new MMO prospects, the enjoyment of revisiting old shores, and doing it all with the longstanding friendships you have cultivated.

The Current

You're sure of it now - something's changed. What happened to being able to pull all nighters and set goals for your own enjoyment or explore the world genuinely? Or getting a rare drop, making a new friend, completing a hard quest - where's it all gone and why do I feel like this can't happen anymore? I have a job and/or a family suddenly? I left college how long ago? Wow.

You decide to research titles before committing to the time investment and read up on Steam reviews and check the N4G and the community forums - and are met with negativity. Imbalances in game mechanics, P2W, spyware masked as anti-cheat systems, deaf community teams, toxic communities themselves, or even lack of community entirely.

You give a few new titles a shot anyway but it doesn't work out. You're a seasoned MMO player and you know how minmax your stats and push the most DPS or keep your tank(s) alive. You can very efficiently level and have wikis to look up any quests which don't already hold your hand and make every quest object glow - once your quest helper has pointed you in the right direction.

It's begun to feel like a chore to log-on. You realize you're applying a significant amount of your effort, previously spent exploring and learning in naive wonder, into theorycrafting and maximising the return on your effort. You set goals to get a piece of gear but either your own ability or the game's tuning to a more casual crowd has made obtaining the goal trivial, and you're quickly at a loss on what to do next. Each game you play has some kind of logon reward or timegating to help you continue logging in but after that it's... No longer fun.

You don't think about the current game you're playing all the time at work, like you used to back in school, as you have other responsibilities to worry about. Your coworkers, unlike schoolfriends, don't really understand what you do in your free time and every Monday you admit you didn't really do anything on the weekend because explaining that you sat in Lion's Arch hopping on different fences whilst watching Netflix can't even be made to sound like fun.

Desiring community, you might revisit old titles, for the 7th time, see an old guildie online and decide to shoot them a message but they don't even reply. You know you don't really have the time for them either after that initial connection; you just miss the feeling of sharing such a connection in the virtual world you used to enjoy. You're forced instead to accept that you're passing ships in the night to a sea of responsibilities and adulthood.

Summation

Changes in IRL circumstances, the need to minmax and prioritize efficiency over fun/community, reduction in players (including your friends) in favor of other genres leading to subsequent changes in game design to focus on player retention/generation, and the communities are jaded & critical towards developers, are the reason no MMO feels right for you anymore. Probably in that order.

End note: I truly hope you are all still having fun and I hope we met at some point in-game!
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Monday, March 4, 2019

MMOs adding new expansions that raise the level caps is a double-edged sword



All my point here is more of a talking point to emphasize some discussion. I've been thinking about it more and more lately that levelling feels... Pointless. It feels like either 1. a slog to reach max to experience end-game content which ends up just being a journey to the highest gear level (or whatever system the game uses) to just wait to pay for another slog into the same situation (expansions, higher level content), or 2. so easy that it may as well not exist and should instead be a different system of earning talents and specializations to play end-game content straight away.

I can't be the only other person who feels this way and I feel that the reason this relates back to level caps is because old incarnations of MMOs started with a higher challenge and forced players into cooperative play which was incredibly enjoyable (if a bit unbalanced at times) and levelling was an enjoyable experience which wasn't about hitting end-game, and once you did hit end-game felt more like owning a complete toolkit (rather than having finished a boring journey dotted with pointless dungeons you could skip). After this MMOs needed to push more content to contend with other MMOs so they do this and raise the level cap so people can level longer, cool, sounds good to me but the problem begins when you realise that the levels are getting a little TOO high and now instead it takes too long to level, and to counter-act this what do you do as a company? Make it easier to reach max level.

This requires you to skip even more content (dungeons become less important, you can skip entire zones and because it's easier now, your class can solo more, meaning you don't need cooperative play as much anymore). This causes a second problem among a lot of others (including losing original players after the game has dumbed-down); the end-game is reached faster and so requires either more challenge or it requires more content. If you can't add more content fast enough you end up making what are essentially upgraded versions of the dungeons where enemies have more health and more damage (,and if the company isn't too lazy, more/different mechanics). Other ways to remedy this is to add content that is completely new (cough, battle pets) that further alienate older fans. This presents other problems such as old zones being all but skipped and forgotten about, losing lore of those areas in the mean time, as well as the flaw that rushing so much content can mean that fans hate new lore decisions, or changes in characters that don't quite max sense and end up being hogged down to rushing out story that nobody really catches now that they're leveling too fast.

Among new mechanics (again, battle pets) they can end up arbritary in the new expansions, if we look at WoW again, garrisons became useless (not that anybody liked them...) and that can be ugly for people trying to enjoy the game, if you join the game or find yourself in a fantastic place with good combinations of complexities and silky-smoothness in your class, next expansion you may find yourself missing old raid gear or old mechanics that are held back by your gear level.

Now, this problem essentially just becomes a feedback loop, soon you get really high level caps that would take too much of a commitment, so they become soulless (but faster) and your questing experience is a easy "grind" (mindless speed leveling) and so the game continuously just adds more expansions that eventually just become new zones that, while are pretty, end up being uninteresting after a month or two, and are essentially just annoying areas requiring you to complete pointless achievements in them. These new zones are homes to raids that are at the whim of an old engine that ends up reskinning and adding semi-new ideas to raids but ultimately get uninteresting after 10-15 runs and because of the lack of randomness to each raid, they just feel predictable once you learn mechanics. (I never feel like I'm going to get randomly boomer'd on, yes a Left 4 Dead reference, who knew that'd be here.)

Realistically, I think that the fact that games can raise level caps BUT they have to handle it better than a lot of games have in the past.

That's a SUPER brief and ramble-y version of my points, give me your thoughts on this and some things you feel are wrong with how MMOs have handled keeping their game alive.

Of course, a lot of what I'm saying is in support of my points, there are other reactions and forks in thinking that you can go down, I'm naturally playing the devils advocate and solely agreeing with my own points mainly to try display this one view of the situation, otherwise this post would be 10x as long... And that's just boring.

TL;DR Games rely on simplifying their mechanics so that reaching max levels in character, crafting , etc. is easier so we can hit end-game but the end-game is uninspiring in a lot of modern mmo's and rely on reaching other level caps (gear caps) to playing what are essentially just higher number'd versions of everything with different skins. Instead games could not even raise level caps and attempt to introduce different ways to challenge players.
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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Funcom Announces Development of Open-World MMO set in the Dune Universe


Today, Funcom announced that it has entered into an exclusive partnership with Legendary Studios to develop games based on the works of Frank Herbert’s DUNE Universe.

This is a six year partnership to release at least three titles on the PC/Console platforms, with one of the games planned to be in the “Open World Multiplayer” genre that will enter into pre-production in Funcom’s Oslo studio during 2019.

Funcom, as you may know, owns and operates the MMORPGs Secret World, Age of Conan, Anarchy Online and the multiplayer survival game Conan Exiles. 

While I hope this is new game being developed is more along the lines of Secret World there is also the possibility it is a game in the same vein as Conan Exiles.
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