GW2: Elite Name on Elite Specializations Misleads Players

GW2 PvP Lobby
In PvP the “Elite Specializations” are available for viewing right in the PvP lobby. Players can access all of the talents for PvP from level 1 and not even bother leveling a character to 80.

OK now before you flame me, here’s the TLDR:

They should be called Sub Class Specializations NOT Elite Specializations.

Here’s my reasoning:

They change the way you play a class that you have, giving it more of a sub class feel.

They are not MORE powerful or more difficult to play in any way than the vanilla classes.

The problem with giving ANYTHING the title”elite” in gaming is that a small subset of rabid players assume that if something has the elite tag on it that only they should be able to have it. They also assume that it should be very difficult if not almost impossible to obtain.

The Guild Wars 2 (GW2) Elite Specializations are not THAT elite let’s face it. They are VERY fun to play, but they are not so over powered that they should have the elite tag OR the original super high price point.

Maybe some of the ITEMS they hid in with the Elite Specializations are. That of course is subjective.

The items could have been part of an ‘elite’ story line. They could have been only obtainable through raids. These could also be items that could only be obtainable through a hefty grind like the iridescent armors, some GW2 back pieces and legendary weapons.

The sub class skill lines DID NOT need to be gated.

If the PvP’rs do not have to unlock these sub-classes, then they cannot be THAT elite otherwise too many people would be complaining of a PvP pay to win situation.

With that being said, if PvP’rs do not have to unlock these sub-classes why does the rest of the game have to?

Because like that one kid in the front row of the classroom who always reminds the teacher to assign homework, there’s a subset of gamers who say they want ‘more challenging content.’

Though what they REALLY want, is some special snowflake item that is super rare and hard to get. This way they feel like they can stand out among the masses as someone that has truly accomplished something.

Come on kids, getting a fancy helm in a video game is not an accomplishment, it’s an unlock. Curing cancer, preventing wars, or even finding time to play games while holding down a full time job and keeping your squealing, projectile pooping, newborn alive are accomplishments.

 

The downside is that these kids are the ones that have more time to haunt the forums. They get their entire twitch channels to log into x, y or z game and demand whatever it is they want.

Sadly a lot of developers capitulate to this because they think that it must be what the players want.

The truth of the matter is that the silent majority is too busy with real life to bother looking at the forums. They’re spending their precious free time actually playing the game not roaming the forums bitching about it.

As one person states in the GW2 forums, it’s not the casuals that ruined GW2. It was a casual game from the start and was advertised as such. It’s the purportedly “hard core” gamers that are trying to ruin the game for the casual players by complaining that they want more difficulty.

IE, trying to turn the game into World of Warcraft.

Developers are willing to make these changes because hey, they want more players.

The problem is that then they piss off ALL of the players that have been paying for the game the whole time.

An actual compromise is the best way to go and honestly ArenaNet did a good job with this. Leaving the actual grind of the masteries but reducing the hero point cost for people who just want to try the sub-class specializations on more than one class.

Now however the “hard core” gamers believe that the entire game is ruined. Not because there’s easier access to the sub-classes, but because other players will be able to wear the same helm.

I am dead serious, that is one post in the forums at the moment. I mean really, did this guy assume that NO ELSE was going to unlock the Reaper, EVER? Now that is naive.

Keep in mind that these are probably the same players who blindly follow commander tags, stand on top of one another for buffs and always, ALWAYS use whatever build is the meta at the moment. All of which leads to getting the most done in the least amount of time possible so that they can stand around complaining that they don’t have enough to do while watching “let’s play” of 6 different games. This is the GW2 “hard core” player.

These “hard core” people are also stating that they can obtain all of the Hero Points in 2-3 hours. Now has anyone posted screenshots, how to’s or videos on how to complete the masteries, stories, content AND obtain the Hero Points in 2-3 hours?

That I’d love to see.

To wrap things up let me just state that while I agree with ArenaNet’s changes I can’t say that I fully agree with gating skill based content in games. I get that they have to do it to a point for players who get the jibblies when things aren’t just so. Thing is though, I really hope that in the future they don’t try to force the point cap to huge quantities. Hopefully they keep in mind that they built a game with a lot of fun classes and that the bulk of their players like to play more than just one at a time.

Making challenging content is one thing. Telling people who WANT to play more than one class that they better have a crap ton of time on their hands or just choose one toon is not challenging. It’s a slap in the face to people who enjoy experiencing the game using more than one class and who have invested the time in those classes.

Not to mention the people who have invested the MONEY in additional character slots.

After all, who is going to be worth more cash over time. The handful of people who have one main that they push through the content at release and then bugger off to the next new game as soon as it’s available, OR the people who take their time and play an army of alts through the content.

It was a smart move on ArenaNet’s part. Seriously.

 

Category: Game Biz, Gaming, Guild Wars 2, Guild Wars 2, MMORPG | Comments Off on GW2: Elite Name on Elite Specializations Misleads Players

Kickstarter – Invest Like a Boss

LikeABossWe all know that games need money. Start up games are no exception.

Sometimes they get cash from private investors, sometimes they get cash from publishers. Sometimes they crowd-fund cash through projects like Kickstarter.

Crowd-funding through companies like Kickstarter lets average gamers like you and me pledge cash to a game project. Kickstarter helps a lot of independent developers get that little extra cash their project may need to pick up art assets or maybe hire professionals that cannot afford to volunteer their skills.

Not all of the projects people pledge for on Kickstarter make it off the ground. This is a sad reality of start-up companies. Not all start-up companies make it in their first year. People who invest money in start-up companies know there is a risk. Even with that risk, investors still work with start-up businesses, but they do a little extra research about the product and the company before they invest. This helps investors minimize their risk.

Most of us gamers that pledge on Kickstarter are not professional investors. We just want to put in a little cash to play a new game. When the company fails to deliver the game for whatever reason, we’re all disappointed. When putting money into Kickstarter, we all should know that there is a risk. The money we pledge does not guarantee that a game will be made.

While we can’t guarantee that the game will make it, we can minimize our risk. We can invest wisely, or like the title of my post suggests, invest like a boss.

Investing like a boss means thinking less like a gamer and more like an investor. If we invest like a boss, we don’t rely on the Kickstarter page alone.  Just like those start up investors, we do additional research on the company and the product we are investing in. We take a look at the game’s website and forums. We watch their videos. Also, where we can, we look at third party websites and see what other players are saying about the game.

Read the game’s website and forums asking yourself:

  • Is there a lot of information about game play and in game systems?
  • Are screenshots available?
  • Are the same things highlighted on the website, the forums and the Kickstarter page?
  • Do they have regular updates on how the game is progressing?
  • Do they have links to interviews and other press statements?
  • Does the team give a professional image?
  • Does it look like the game has a solid plan for game production and a timeline for  release?

Watch the game’s videos asking yourself:

  • Does the game have videos available to watch?
  • Are you seeing the features talked about on Kickstarter and on the game’s website?
  • Does the game look like it will be fun to play?

Reading 3rd Party Websites asking yourself:

  • What are other potential players saying about the game and are they raving fans or do they have solid interest in the game?
  • Are there any postings by the game team and do they have valid statements and sound professional (sound like they know what they’re talking about)?
  • Are people flaming the game without good information or do they have valid concerns for the game that are not being addressed?

Bottom line:
Keep in mind that you are taking a risk. Sometimes the game you are pledging for will not be exactly the same at launch and sometimes it will not launch at all. There are risks.

You can minimize that risk by doing extra research. If the game and the company building it look solid there is a greater chance the game will release. That is investing like a boss.

I want to thank Victor Barreiro Jr. (aka iamstillwater of http://www.gamesandgeekery.com) for this post’s inspiration via his article on MMORPG.com When Kickstarter Works. I also want to thank my hubby for the graphic, he linked that over to me.

Category: Game Biz, Gaming | Comments Off on Kickstarter – Invest Like a Boss

Quick Look at the Hero Engine 2

The Repopulation on Hero Engine 2
The Repopulation on Hero Engine 2

So here we see The Repopulation on the Hero Engine 2. The big deal about the Hero Engine 2 is a large update to the graphics engine.

The Repopulation looked good under Hero Engine 1 as far as I was concerned. The pre-alpha videos displayed graphics that were similar to those found in Fallen Earth, a game I played and enjoyed for some long time.

Other additions to the Hero Engine with Hero Engine 2 include a new middleware called Awesomium® which is a web UI browser framework.

From a player perspective it’s an interesting addition since it allows players to see web hosted content in game. Developers could post in game news, or post upcoming in game events to a web host such as the game website. Then the content would be visible to players both in and out of the game (without using the alt+tab option). I’m not 100% sure about how it’s implemented, but it still sounds like a fun addition. I know I wanted to use something like this when working with the OpenSim project for web driven story lines.

From a developer perspective though Hero Engine states that the integration assists with micro transactions and subscriptions. Hey, games have to make money or they don’t stay live.

Another middleware addition is SpeedTree® for Games 6. This middlware addition makes it quicker and easier for developers to add animated trees and foliage to a game. From a player standpoint, it’s not a huge deal, though it is nice seeing wavy grass in game. From a Developer standpoint though, something like SpeedTree® would cut down the back end work of adding custom animations to trees and foliage. Kind of a bonus in my book.

Despite some random MMO forum rumblings, it looks like the Hero Engine 2 is solid. It offers some very interesting features for building games, monetizing games, and giving games the ‘polished’ look that MMO gamers demand. It will be interesting to see what happens with games created on the Hero Engine platform.

Personally, I’m just looking forward to playing The Repopulation.

Resources used for this Post:

Category: Game Biz, Game Building, Gaming, MMO, MMORPG | Comments Off on Quick Look at the Hero Engine 2

Sandbox Game or Emergent Gameplay

aug13-300x1432
The Repopulation Gallery Screenshot

If you look at the MMORPG forums, SANDBOX is all the buzz.

Whether you love them or loath them, Developers are turning their eyes toward Sandbox game development.

Why? Because it’s much more cost effective than trying to cycle through content that players will plow through in a matter of hours.

Instead of looking to World of Warcraft and trying to emulate that design, it looks like more and more Developers/Producers are looking at EVE online and yes, even Mine Craft.

Mine Craft is no MMORPG, but in multi-player mode it is an MMO. Massively Multiplayer and Online. It sucks people in and doesn’t let them go.

Now why do people go back to playing Mine Craft instead of enjoying the shiny gems that are the current Themepark MMO’s?

Mine Craft gives you the ability to build your own structures. It even lets you build your own dungeons. I mean come on, how cool is that?

Even if you don’t have the patience to build you can explore, mine, then find other people and trade for anything else. There is even an economy in Mine Craft with respect to Emeralds. They’re only useful as currency (and very American, it’s green).

There are no levels in Mine Craft (there is experience, but that is only used for enchanting goods). You don’t find armor or weapons lying around. If you want to equip yourself, you’re going to have to build it yourself.

The thing is that even Developers/Producers are catching onto the fact that while players do love the super fancy roller coasters in Theme park games, you can only ride that so many times before you get sick of it, or from it.

In a Sandbox, you build yourself a castle. Yeah that by it’s self can be boring.

  • What if a creeper walks up, freaks out, and blows it away. Now you have to repair your castle.
  • Say some guy comes up and starts hacking away at it. You have to kill him, and repair your castle.
  • Now your gear is worn down, you have to make new tools and armor. TO THE MINES!!!

There’s just SO MUCH to do, and it doesn’t end unless you walk away.

Game companies have listened to the folks who play single player games for some time now. These people expect that every game they walk into will be like Diablo, Dragon Age, Skyrm.

You start out as the wandering hero to be, you gain strength and fight monsters for the best gear you can get your hands on. Then you get to the level cap and you go off to defeat the evil masters.

This is great and all, don’t get me wrong. I’ve played through Torchlight II and Diablo 3. It’s fun building the character and getting the loot. Thing is though, after the first couple play throughs  random dungeons or not, it starts to get a little old.

When you are producing new single player games, say one project at a time. It’s cost effective. You produce the game, you sell the title. You offer DLC for the previous title while working on the next.

MMO’s don’t work that way. If you want a steady revenue stream, you need a game that will get people interested and KEEP people interested.

In a recent Wired.com article it looks like even SOE is getting into the act by building a new  MMO with more sandbox elements. Thing is though, I’m going to keep an eye on the independent developers. I have a strong feeling that the success of the independent developer projects will set the tone for how many of the big names pick up the idea and run with it.

The Repopulation is my main focus. It looks a lot more like the kind of game I’ve been waiting for. And yes, still no more elves.

Now fun reads for the day :

Wired (Thanks to Trixie in The Repopulation forums) – The Future of MMO Games

MMORPG Forums – We want worlds not games

Category: Game Biz, Game Building, Gaming, MMO, The Repopulation | Comments Off on Sandbox Game or Emergent Gameplay