Prime Incentives

I lightly participate in Prime’s forums, but I do lurk fairly extensively. One thread did entice me to respond, as it was a wide arching discussion on a subject that interests me: game incentives. Here is my post.

PvP incentivization is a very hard thing to get right. Hard core PvPers just want everyone to go out and fight, for the sheer thrill of pitting wits and talent against an opponent. That wish is a (pleasant) fantasy on the whole. Creating wide open fields, devoid of any compelling objectives will not entice conflict. What draws people into battle is a scarcity of resources required to complete an objective. The resources don’t need be tangibles, but they are usually the easiest to implement.

Examples help clarify.

EVE online is arguably the most succesful PvP MMO currently. Beyond just a sandbox game, its distribution of rewards and resources compels players to seek out dangerous and unsafe regions to get the greatest acquisition of goods, wealth, and control. WAR got players out to fight at first by placing vertical progression rewards in the world,but as expected, once the community achieved that goal, conflict dropped – the impetus for going out was gone. This shows us something else, whatever incentive is used as the driving factor, should need to be continually renewed/defended to encourage constant participation across all spectrums of the player base.

It’s important to recognise the motivational differentiatiors between PvP MMOs, and other PvP genres. FPS’s, MOBA’s, and RTS’s don’t have the persistance and long term progression to contend with. So the need to make a renewable motivator does not exist. Creating a PvP system that requires players to partake for no other reason than to fight won’t work in the MMO model long-term.

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Passing thoughts

Gamescon is over, and I missed a lot of it. My interest in the new and upcoming stuff is waning, or at the very least, not pushing against that wall of excitement the industry attempts to construct from hype and mystery to ensure a continued revenue stream (except for Battlefield 3 – that shit looks crazy yo). Sure, a few things were bound to catch my ear, only by sheer volume of the social circles I run around the perimeter of. Wrath of Heroes and Wildstar seeming to be the two that with the biggest foundation in place amongst my cliques, and I’ll admit – the giant robot that was fought in the raid of SW:TOR perked up my ears. I wouldn’t say that I have ennui towards the institutions or developments, more of a contented disinterest, as nothing really (again, except Battlefield 3) grabbed me by the genitals and dragged me down to the floor with it for a romp in the hay. I am at peace with my current gaming distribution, and calmly waiting for the few objects I see in the hazy distance. I understand now why a placated population is so much in demand by some, and can be so dreadfully dangers to others – then content make no demands, and demands drive innovation.

There’s the portion of my brain, nagging me to research and delve, and find out what all went on. The portion that craves knowledge and information to analyze and decide. To call judgment and declare that THIS is the side of the line that my opinion falls upon. Immediately afterward, the portion that controls the actual doing then points out InFamous, Wipeout, BioShock, and a stack of other games that I still have yet to play through and suggests to me that perhaps the new and exciting can wait, and that an opinion doesn’t always need to be formed early on, as if some type of posterity is at stake.

So, anything you think I should take a look at? What piqued your interest? What do you think I should keep my eyes on?

Oh, and seriously, go watch the Battlefield 3 trailer.

Demacian Protege

I had a good time with her last night. Others may play her more aggresively, but I can’t help but feel like those 21 assists were appreciated. May be she’s the next champion I buy, and the good news is, I’ve already got all the reds, yellows, and blues I need for her rune build!

WoH: What I want to know

Just a list of questions I’d love to get some answers to.

  1. What is the projected length of each match?
  2. What is the projected length of combat interactions?
    1. I.E. in LoL, a fight between two people can last seconds to a minute or so with feints, baits, etc.. Group fights can also be similarly diverse.
  3. With multiple maps, will the objective of each be the same?
    1. If no, what are the different game-types?
  4.  How many maps are there planned to be?
  5. Will there be leveling within a match?
    1. If so, what will leveling provide?
    2. Will all five powers (skills, abilities, w/e) be available from the start?
  6. Will there be any “neutral” mobs, or “creeps” similar to other MOBAs?
  7.  Any plans to include a match-only item shop as seen in other MOBAs?
  8. It was stated there are 40 levels to each account, what comes along with this advancement?
  9. With six possible team members, are you planning on adhering to typical MMO archetypes?
    1. Are you planning on sticking with WAR’s archetypes?
  10. WoH appears to be using the same engine as WAR, can we expect similar control schema?

That was enlightening

Gamescon is going on, and a lot of the people I follow on Twitter over at Mythic were reminding me of the EA segment that was going on today. I figured that something interesting may be coming, but more importantly, I wanted to see the new info on Battlefield 3, which I had also been getting pelted with tweets about. So, I happily followed the link, and watched the proceeding panel on my palm-sized phone screen while a software install of Revit processed on my work computer. Good timing!

The small community I’m injected into, and spend the most time with, is probably those who play(ed) WAR, and who still keep tabs on it pretty heavily. So, it’s no surprise that the announcement of Wrath of Heroes is the one being most talked about amongst them. There’s rote reporting, excitement, justification, ambivalence, cautious non-committal speculation, and further disappointment. Suffice to say, the emotional gamut is being run. My thoughts on it are probably not as emotionally swayed as some others at this point, having stopped playing the game with any enthusiasm months ago, and only returning on the rare occasion when I get an itch. My last days in WAR were primarily spent in scenarios, and that craving is almost entirely satiated by LoL. So, while I may agree a bit in part with Rancid’s above-linked post on the de-evolution of ORvR, I also keep in mind, that way-back-when, probably before most of you remember this, WAR was a PvP game of SCs. Keeps, fortresses, and all that wonderful “openness” was not in the picture. The franchise has come full circle, sort-of. Lum said it right when he wrote The engine was just sitting there.

What I’m seeing of WoH, is that Mythic (BioWare, EA, whatever) is trying to dive into the MOBA market. Only in a different way. They seem to be blending TF2 style play with MOBAs. Pre-designed heroes, with a small set of powers, and an account-leveling system that any LoL fanatic will find just like home. Only, apparently you can swap out heroes in mid-match. Which means there’s not likely to be an in-game leveling system (Edit: According to Werit, in his comments section, there is leveling in each match), which means your skills are what they are from start to end. This also means there’s not likely to be any creeps, or item buying that helps make the MOBA style of game work. So, perhaps this is going to be just a fantasy version of TF2, with 3 sides. The three sides thing isn’t to be discounted though, as that is something pretty new to the genre of gaming, and sadly, still rare in PvP MMOs.

I’m curious to see how it will all turn out, but there is no fire lit under me to jump onto the game. I literally know next to nothing about it. It may just be WAR with a bunch of three-team scenarios. In which case, for players like Rancid, it symbolizes a disturbing trend. Players like Mykiel, it just gives them more areas to potentially play around in. For players like myself, WAR became antiquated with one announcement, as all of the notes WoH seems to be trying to sing at first blush, are being pleasantly rung elsewhere in my world.

Impressive

Best video I’ve seen to date for the Eve is Real campaign. This was insanely well done.

Left-overs

After getting home from church yesterday, my wife and I killed the last of the Italian Beef we had made. I understand why some religions worship the cow after eating that. More than just left-overs for dinner though, I had some station-cash points still remaining on my EQ2 account from when they had the 3x sale back around Memorial Day. So, I got browsing through some of the stuff for sale, and found an amazing combination that would look great on my Shadow Knight. One thing you got to hand to EQ2, they know how to make some attractive vanity items.

Follow the jump for the images.

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Panorama

There’s a lot going on out there in the circles of the gaming world I put interest into. Everyone seems to be doing something, getting ready to exit out of that summer slump that seems to hit every year. Interestingly enough though, very little of it is really revving my engines. For the LoL players, we have Dominion. For WAR we have the 1.4.4 patch (and 1.4.5 after). MMO players in general are in a tizzy over the SWTOR preorder. Prime:BFD is running on all cylinders finishing up development. Lastly, I recently joined up with fellow-blogger Rer’s corporation in EVE.

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Fucking Stupid

“Drag bubbles”

I was making a trip to hi-sec to work on some faction for Minmitar. I’m sure to encounter gate camps, so I’m very careful in my travel, and I was flying a fast frigate to make sure I can get out of any bubbles that might be in the way. So, about two-thirds through, I encounter a gate with three bubbles around it, warp away to a planet PAST the gate and bubble so that it’s not in my way on the turn around.

Well, low and behold, it turns out that if a bubble would be in your vector, whether PAST your destination or before, it pulls you into it anyway. So, never mind that the target I was shooting for was 25km behind the bubble itself, I still got pulled into it, and then summarily killed.  Shit like that pisses me off, I’m told about a mechanic, told how it works, and then find out to my own detriment that there are other little extra rules that I knew nothing about. I could care less about losing the frigate, but the time for travel and the bullshit logic behind it doesn’t even work as far as the description goes. Is there a limit to the range of the drag bubble? Fuck, infinite vectors shouldn’t be possible, it would fuck EVERYTHING up.

Bah, terribad fucking way to end a weekend. I went and played LoL instead, at least that shit doesn’t come up with a new rule every week to surprise you.