Archive for December, 2009

Hardcore Casual

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , on December 15, 2009 by howtoloseyourlifetoanmmorpg

(Haha, yes I swipe it and turn it into a titular blog post.)

I’ve been thinking about Hardcore Casual while reading a lot lately on raiding.

I may be wrong on different nuances here, please feel free to correct me.

Raiders(hardcore if you will) usually find an instance to farm, loot, gear up, and raid it again. It’s a cycle full of adrenaline junkies, I suppose. It’s fun. I found it fun, intense, and rewarding.

But what seems apparent to me is the ones that only do this, or subscribe heavily to the idea that all an MMORPG is made for, or the pinnacle that an MMORPG can provide, is for high level, end game raiding- even the unknowing player that hasn’t even realized until after 100 instance runs that they are in this cycle. Yes it comes with various forms of baggage. You’ll have elitism, etc… but at its core it’s a very simple pattern that easily excludes many other parts of an MMORPG. Socializing? I don’t think there’s much room for that. Not when you know you’re needing to run 20 raids in the next week and you have X hours to spare. It’s a min/max hardcore world right?

When I look at what these hardcore people are doing, I see something similar to what the majority of the gaming world would call casual.

Casual game play. All those little games on Facebook immediately come to mind. I have a sneaky suspicion that all you Mafia War fanatics tend to love Halo and MMORPG Raiding. And within just MMORPGs, you probably socialize little, just enough to not be overly selfish when that’s all you want to get to the top, because the top is where everyone has to be, right?

That’s almost exactly the definition of casual games. All the Bejeweleds and Peggles of the world, they provide a singular purpose, a cyclic repetition of increasingly harder levels, and expanding time doesn’t fit into the equation either. Reducing time is the only logical step. Getting to the top as quickly as possible is the efficient logical way. Even if fun does not equate to logic, people derive fun in many different ways.

So are you hardcore? or are you casual?

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Runes of Magic Lore – Factions: The Eye of Wisdom

Posted in lore with tags , , , , on December 12, 2009 by howtoloseyourlifetoanmmorpg

The Eye of Wisdom is a group dedicated to gathering wisdom about magic and artifacts from the Old Times.

On the old continent “Kolydia” they were on good terms with the emperor’s domicile and other political factions, which brought them significant influence.
When the Time of Discoveries about 100 years ago began, the Grandmaster decided to move the whole organization to the continent of Candara and focus their exploration on the relics of ancient times.

This time is also referred to as “Withdrawal of the Eye of Wisdom” since they broke most of their contacts with Kolydia back then. They gathered many magical artifacts, which helped them to develop powerful spells since the creation of Varanas. The meaning of “Withdrawal” may refer less to the withdrawal from political involvement but rather the establishment of an independent power. In the beginning everything seemed to progress nicely, until 20 years ago when the Grandmaster Ancalon and his elite of their organization disappeared without a trace. For a couple of years the Eye of Wisdom was nearly rendered incapable of acting. Only with the assumption of the post as Grandmaster by Yarandor, the leader of Rune Magic, they returned to activity.

But the influence within the city of Varanas had already been cut radically by the Council and their power and influence in the world was no longer as strong as previously.

The Eye of Wisdom has now overcome the alienation of the world and is anxious to help the people of Varanas. In addition they resurrected multiple research projects and recruit mages from all over the world to push their academic position back to the top.

My Mighty Steed

Posted in RoM Diary with tags , , , , , , on December 11, 2009 by howtoloseyourlifetoanmmorpg

It’s been 1 year since I stepped foot into the land of Taborea.  I’ve mined my heart out and continue to do so.  Braving the tundra of Ystra, climbing the Mtns and hills of Dragonfang Ridge, all to find the sparkly shiny ore that I long for.  Content to hike or rent a drab horse no longer, I have finally purchased a mighty(permanent) steed.  I couldn’t be happier.

I don’t really have too many issues one way or the other with how I spend my money.  I think RoM has a very nicely run Item Mall.  I find it well balanced and fair.  On top of that, I have fun in so many drastic, and sometimes weird, ways that spending $14 and some change(I’m on the international server set, requiring me to pay Euro to dollar conversion rates which makes things cost slightly higher than US Item Mall counterparts) on a mount is nothing to me.

This is a charity mount where part of the proceeds go to Save the Children.  I also did the equivalent in-game work to earn the diamonds before spending real money, so I really feel rewarded for the work I put in, and I know money I spent will go to help Save the Children.

If you see Mobly jumping around spazzmatically through zones for inordinate amounts of time, you’ll know why.

P2P and F2P Communities

Posted in Editorial with tags , , , , , on December 9, 2009 by howtoloseyourlifetoanmmorpg

Are they fundamentally different? or fundamentally the same?

I started playing MMORPGs over 2 years ago with F2P.  My first impressions of MMORPGs in gerneral could only be based on the F2P variety.  At their core F2P have not only been similar to each other, but identical.  For the most part, it’s why they get the name “Asian Grinder”.  They’ve primarily been much smaller MMORPGs imported from the Far East, using a micro-transaction business model, with killing mobs in a non-situational environment as the main mode for leveling.

Do players weened on F2P develop differently?  Do they have a different mind set?  and Is the core group of F2P players fundamentally different than subscription based MMORPG communities?  We know that F2P MMORPGs tend to be smaller and thus have smaller communitites.  We also know there will be overlap between many different types of players.  To some extent or another, you’ll have ex-WoW’ers, crafters, raiders, sandboxers, casual, longterm, etc… touching on F2P.  Lately I have been considering the idea that the majority core group of F2P communities are different.  To be more specific, I think F2P games in the past, have lacked communities at all.  I think once the game is turned off, no one cares.  There seems to be a huge void that isn’t explained by the communities just being smaller.  I believe we may find that the majority and core group of F2P players, that are also the majority bouncing from one new F2P to the next, are primarily tech savvy min/maxers with tendencies toward raiding.

In F2P games, mechanics-wise you have a system where there isn’t a whole lot in the way of options in-game.  The light shines brighter on level cap because there is no crafting and in many cases no auction house, to name a couple reasons.  So people are clicking away and upgrading gear using random tables and drops, plus EXP and other potions purchased with real money via micro-transaction.  Sure you can chat and have other forms of fun.  I played an older F2P for almost a year and had a great guild where we had loads of fun, but it was through us creating that fun.  The game left us with just kill at our level, and chat.  This limit of options leaves the focus on upgrading and becoming as strong as possible.  I believe this either cultivates or attracts a significant number of min/maxers to F2P MMORPGs.

You also have a smaller game in general, that tends to have a quicker gameplay.  It’s not an argument to say “But you have to grind forever, so it’s not quicker”, because they add the grind to try to slow down the experience.  If all you did in WoW was quest and nothing else, you could reach level cap in probably a week or two(depending on your play time).  But there is also so many more options, that just as many players(if not more) take much longer to reach level cap.  In F2P games, you may have PvP, server war, or another similar option, but the only thing keeping you from it is level, so the majority of players spend all their game time doing that one thing-leveling.  In response, F2P games have been “plugging” in systems that consist of smaller bite-sized chunks of fast game play elements.

Another significant filter, that I think determines the personality of the player, is actually how you access the game.  Accessibility and approachability.  Out of over 30 F2P MMORPGs I have had only one of them that had a perfectly smooth process.  I was able to download, install, update, and register on the website without a hitch, but I’m guessing that wasn’t the case for everyone playing that game.

We end up with smaller core groups of players.  Within those smaller groups, a higher percentage of min/maxers/raiders based on the core design of F2P MMORPGs.  The games can cultivate the mentality that the most important thing that provides the most fun, is to reach level cap and that is only obtained by min/maxing and getting more drops quicker.  In some respects when players move to a game that actually has more to do, they may simply ignore it, because they’ve never known anything else.  On top of that, the games are a lot quicker.  These players reach level cap and try all the content very fast and then want more, exacerbating the mentality that these games have an end, at which point the player needs to move on to another game.  All of this usually happens in quicker bite-sized chunks which has players tending to get overly annoyed when moving to WoW, EQ2 or other MMORPGs where they need to devote more time in different in-game systems.

All of this translates to an out of game “community” that, to me, looks very similar to online forums where players discuss single-player console games.   It’s primarily asking how to do something, where do I get more of X, and how can I get it faster,  some guild recruitments, and the rest is how the game sucks because players didn’t have 100% success rate in one part of the game or another.  The game is free, and quicker to jump in and out of in lieu of other new F2P MMORPGs.

Am I wrong? Do I see a skewed side of some imaginary numbers?  I wonder?

As a side note: This conclusion I’ve come to will be interesting in light of two F2P games that break the F2P mold.  Runes of Magic, and Allods are very western style games, that are breaking F2P molds.  I already believe that this F2P core group have hit a brick wall that is confusing to them, when they delved into Runes of Magic.  There has been a lot of complaining over the past year in the forums, followed by how the game is just another Asian Grinder.  Which anyone would tell you anywhere online that it breaks that mold in different ways.  Yet, I don’t think I’m only seeing a minority.  I think I’m seeing a segment of this core group that has only known the F2P animal, and is trying to find how something new to them equates to what they know.