Mr. Meh Status Update

Quick update on the future of this site. I am alive, thanks for wondering. I’m going to take some time to answer the emails I received.

Why have you not been blogging?

I have had some major life changes. Moving, new life, things. Work and life have just been a bit too hectic to allow the free time for blogging. Downtime that I have, has left blogging far at the bottom of the list.

Originally my blogging started during the downtimes at work. Waiting for emails to do the next step and the time I spent cruising the internet resulted in ideas. These ideas needed to be written. Without downtime at work, blogging goes with it. I’ll try to be better … maybe.

 

What are you playing? Have you given up on MMOs?

No, I’m still playing. 2012 have mostly been about SWTOR, EVE, then GW2, then EVE again and now SWTOR again. 2013 is going to start with SWTOR and EVE. I think DUST 514 is in there for me.

Yes, I have come back to SWTOR like many others. I have been here for about a month. And I’ll probably be here another couple of months if not for longer.

I’m on Prophecy of the Five with some classic guildmates.

 

What is your take on the Fiscal Cliff?

Why this would be asked of me, I don’t know. But it was too hilarious not copy to all others.

I think it’s crap. And I pretty sure I’m just basically going to be paying an extra 3% in federal taxes next year. I’ve reserved myself to that.

 

I’ve started blogging and I don’t see the point. What’s the point of the Echo Chamber?

The point is to hear your thoughts. You aren’t writing to the readers, you are writing to yourself. It’s like an idea not said out loud. You really will never realize how stupid it was to ask that of your girlfriend until it leaves your lips and you are in the dog house. Same with gaming ideas. Until you write it down and come back and read it, do you realize what it is that you were formulating. The point of the Echo Chamber, which I love the coining term, Karne, is exactly that.

Lucas Gives Final F*** Off to Fans

By now you should have read that Lucasfilms was sold to Disney for around $4 Billion. About the same Marvel sold out for in 2009.

http://movies.msn.com/movies/article.aspx?news=771595

And with that purchase, Disney has immediately slated 3 new Star Wars movies in the next few years to follow the story after Episode VI. That’s no shocker. Disney buys Lucasfilms to make money. No shocker there. The big shocker, to me at least is that Disney will be able to release the first film, Star Wars Episode VII in less than 3 years. How? You may ask.

Because apparently the fat asshole that proclaimed no more Star Wars films would ever happen, just happened to be working for the past 4 years on new 3 movie saga in secret.

How can someone that brought us so much joy, continue to be the biggest devious liar that ever apparently lived? Who knows?

Lucas is like your one Uncle that gave you a cool toy at some point in your childhood. And as you age it becomes more and more apparent that this Uncle is a flagrant asshole each time you meet him during the holidays.

The nerd world awaits Disney’s move. Surely, looking at how much the previous films made with massive criticisms, Disney has a great deal of room to improve. The next 3 years of news will be interesting to say the least. Can Disney make us love Star Wars again, without us just fondly remembering the originals?

We can look at their history with Marvel so far and take a gander at the process we might be seeing.

Disney’s first Marvel Film was actually The Avengers. Which I think we can all say, was really entertaining. Disney does know how to make us laugh. And it wasn’t all Iron Man that made us happy either. It was as good as you could make that movie. Because, let’s face it, grouping a bunch of heroes together is usually cause for disaster. We can just watch the evolution of Batman films in the 90’s to prove it.

So +1 to Disney’s ability to improve what looked like a guaranteed train wreck into something memorable.

Disney’s next approach will be Iron Man 3 next year in 2013. Iron Man 1 was fantastic as far a comic hero movies go. But really, the movie was made due to Robert Downey, Jr. really just being able to play himself. Disney buying out Paramount’s rights to continue the Iron Man Saga they had first means Disney is ready to take the full helm.

Sadly, the first Thor wasn’t bad enough. Disney will be making Thor: The Dark World also in 2013. For which only I can’t imagine it could actually be worse than Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. But hey, Thor’s fully capable of being the worst hero ever.

Then it’s on to running more major characters in the ground half heartedly as the next project is Captain America: The Winter Soldier. The first go was pretty anti-climatic. Here is hoping they turn that around.

None of the terrible X-Men recreations or redos in the next couple of years is Disney’s fault. The blame will go to 20th Century Fox. The first Wolverine wasn’t enough for the community to completely fall out of love with Hugh Jackman, they have to do again with The Wolverine in 2013.

Marvel apparently likes to confuse every ones girl friends. 3 Spider-mans and then Amazing Spiderman, left every poor deep hearted nerd to face palming as they each have to go into 15 minute explanations of why Mary Jane isn’t in the movie.

The rebirth of 2 Hulk origin stories didn’t bother anyone though. Not sure that 2 Wolverines will either.

If the whole dozen odd movies for the same super hero was getting old for you. Never fear, Disney thinks the same way. Be on the lookout in 2014 and 2015 for (NO FUCKING JOKE):

Guardians of the Galaxy

Doctor Strange

And … Ant Man.

EVE Online: Actual Math for Faction Warfare Changes

Here’s the problem with Math by these guys:

http://themittani.com/features/factional-warfare-nerf-bat-straight-face

http://greedygoblin.blogspot.com/2012/09/fw-nerf-and-future-of-highsec-missioning.html

They don’t know shit about FW. Well, goons should have a better idea. Being they were first in the Minnie Front to do the first cash out and brag about it. But if Gevlon has an idea then you know you aren’t in the right direction. Pinky lost me just as soon as he linked him. Implant buying? No dude, no.

This one knows her shit, probably because, I don’t know, she is in FW, maybe:

http://www.gamerchick.net/2012/09/the-math-behind-faction-war-30.html

However, her analysis is on the overall expected effects based on the historical changes. And she goes into the side effects and issues involved to make the conditions viable.

But, the Question that the EVE world wants to know is simply:

“I hear this FW thing is a broken ISK faucet. I want this to change because I’m too lazy to either A) Jump on That or B) Stubborn and Stupid. Have you nerf batted the problem? And by how much?”

Here is the answer as simple as I can put it, yes, and minimally by 41.12% of what Inferno paid out by simple comparison of the best case scenario.

Tier LP Bonus LP Gain LP / Hour LP Item Bonus LP Costs ISK Costs Market Value (Est.) ISK Profit ISK / LP Profit / Hour
OLD                      
1 0% 10000 60000 Datacore 400% 200 $200,000 $300,000 $100,000 $500 $30,000,000
2 5% 10500 63000 Datacore 200% 100 $100,000 $300,000 $200,000 $2,000 $126,000,000
3 10% 11000 66000 Datacore 0% 50 $50,000 $300,000 $250,000 $5,000 $330,000,000
4 15% 11500 69000 Datacore 50% 25 $25,000 $300,000 $275,000 $11,000 $759,000,000
5 20% 12000 72000 Datacore 25% 12.5 $12,500 $300,000 $287,500 $23,000 $1,656,000,000

As basic as possible as I could keep it:

Old system plexing assumes 10K per 10mins. We aren’t considering FW missioning, which is a higher payout, but Plexing in Inferno meant little risks and viably easier consistency. We are keeping the item the same at the highest sell point in major systems. These actually fluxuated between $220K and $350K depending on your patience. We assumed you Plexed at Level 5 and Cashout at level 5, meaning highest possible LP to ISK ratio, which isn’t possible, but we look at highest possible.

Perfect world, your ISK payout in profit was as of Oct 22, 2012 a max of $1.656B per hour. Which again assumes all level 5, you could constantly plex and you sold your datacores at near max costs.

The reason why Gevlon and others numbers are a bit off, is because it was Datacores that drove our wallets up. If you were trading BPOs and Implants on the cashouts, you probably fucked yourself by a good 70%. The bitch was handing out free sex and you wanted a hand job. Simply put. That’s why some worked hard to gain $5B while some of us were able to gain $10B on LP gained from kills alone. You didn’t keep it simple. Ammo did well for a time, but … datacores are datacores.

In the new world coming Oct 23rd:

http://community.eveonline.com/devblog.asp?a=blog&nbid=73491

Our item costs will be static again and the tier change is our LP gain bonus. In a perfect world:

Tier LP Bonus LP Gain LP / Hour LP Item Bonus LP Costs ISK Costs Market Value Profit ISK / LP Profit / Hour
NEW                    
1 -50% 5000 30000 Datacore 0% 50 $50,000 $300,000 $250,000 $5,000 $150,000,000
2 0% 10000 60000 Datacore 0% 50 $50,000 $300,000 $250,000 $5,000 $300,000,000
3 75% 17500 105000 Datacore 0% 50 $50,000 $300,000 $250,000 $5,000 $525,000,000
4 150% 25000 150000 Datacore 0% 50 $50,000 $300,000 $250,000 $5,000 $750,000,000
5 225% 32500 195000 Datacore 0% 50 $50,000 $300,000 $250,000 $5,000 $975,000,000

 Assume we are somehow able to gain LP under level 5 conditions. And saying items hold at the old market values, you can at best turn $0.975B per hour. Again, best case, which is not possible, but best case.

So apples to apples, the nerf is by at least 41.12% (1-0.975/1.656) at best case one versus the other.

But it’s further than just that:

1)      CCP eliminated stabbed/gun-less frigs offensive button spinning. Which means, riskless, brand new alt making LP with ease died.

  1. NPC must be destroyed to win plex.
  2. No offensive plexing in a vulnerable system.
  3. These were both obvious changes. CCP could have probably stopped just with those. But hey, let’s go change a bunch of things.

2)      There is a small window for stabbed/gun-less frigs to stay in FW with new Defensive Plexing. But with a 75% payout against contested percentages. This is likely to be negated.

  1. To get the 7.5K LP defensive gain you would need to find a 100% contested zone.
  2. Saying that these 100% contested zones were all that available, would probably mean that you are against the dominant Faction. Which means you are probably in tier 1. Which means that 7.5 just got cut to 3.75LP per 10 mins.

3)      Zone upgrades were quadrupled in costs.

  1. What’s the likelihood that FW players will donate 4X more LP of theirs not for a Cash Out (1 time deal) but for a sustainable LP gain for others? Pretty much a chance of fucking zero.
  2. At least they added slower degrading.
  3. Prediction: at best Factions will try to maintain the Tier 2 with Tier 3 being a good day.

4)      And a couple more non-factors to coming in the future about plexing NPCs and Counters.

Overall the plan is a good change. I’m not a big fan of the 50% negative factor at Tier 1, but in the end, what the fuck do I care. We are already rich out our fucking nose. So … whatever.

The biggest change that needs to come into play is simply the system upgrades. LP driven donations is not the right way. System control, system levels and sustainable control should be driven by plexing alone. Simply put the level of the system should coincide only with the system control, not LP donations.

System Level Minimum Contested Level Maximum Contested Level
- Vulnerable 5.99%
1 6% 24.99%
2 25% 49.99%
3 50% 74.99%
4 75% 94.99%
5 95% 100%

 But hey, obvious answers to obvious questions:

“How can you continually offensively plex a system that is vulnerable?”
and
“How does a button alone control a plex completion?”

Seemed obvious to, I don’t know, everyone.

So we ask ourselves:

“How does LP donations make any sense on System Level/Control?”

And … I assume you will come to the basic answer, I don’t know, everyone else has. Just in case it was lost on you.

This Got Me Riled – TSW vs. EVE

Title is a bit misleading. I was over at Gamasutra.com last week and a headline just drew me and I read the article up and down:

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/179347/funcoms_vision_for_the_future_of_.php

For those of you that can’t be bothered to read the article, here is the jist:

It is an interview with Craig Morrison, who is the Creative Director in charge for Funcom. This is basically his thinking out loud of what went wrong with The Secret World and what direction they think they want to head. Throughout the article you will notice that Craig Morrison is obsessed with EVE Online. He’s quoting what’s right with EVE Online and how that needs to translate to TSW. From a broad stand point, this type of news should be amazing. Players should see ‘Big Title Developer wants to Bring EVE Elements to Game’. But no, you actually get to read the thought process of this man, and you get to find out, that while he keeps name dropping EVE Online, he doesn’t seem to grasp what the fuck the games about.

Apparently he read a couple of articles on EVE and went “Oh sure, I get it, we need to be like them. Because they are growing, and we are not. Now, what elements of EVE can I guess about, without actually having to be bothered to actually play the game.”

And this, this sets me off.

“And that’s exactly the key. You need to build an ecosystem. You need to build a collaborative set of systems which give the players the ability to tell their own stories alongside yours.”

First part is right. EVE is structurally sound because of an ecosystem. But that ecosystem is stable because of a negative style penalty system from ‘dying’. Players always need to buy their ability to play. And since all stuff is basically player made, you have a sound ecosystem. A Hack and Slash (as we EVE players refer to your games) can only have an economy in the beginning. Eventually you can’t lose you best set of gear, and it’s definitely not purchasable, so you can at best make your economy potion based. Unless of course you make your crafting system so easy a caveman could do it, then you have no chance of an ecosystem after one month.

The second part doesn’t even refer to EVE. You think EVE has a story and as a sandbox the player is making theirs happen within that. There is no story. There is a broad overview of major political ideals that are neat. But as for you user name <Jambalya Renyolds>, you have no story. What so freaking ever, you have none. And there is no interface story ever. Unless you think an overplayed mission agents description you have seen 1,000 times before is story, it’s not story based in the least. EVE’s PVE side is the most criticized completely repetitive un-immersive hunk of junk ever produced. But because the game isn’t focused on PVE, no one cares.

“And then the question is how do you do that? How do you bring it in so that your story can sit alongside the player’s? And then build the systems up that allow the players to express themselves and be part of the system. That’s the beauty of a game like EVE, is that the players are kind of this organic wheel in the middle of all the systems that the designers have made.”

There’s no fucking story in EVE! Stop using EVE as your basis for story or PVE. Yes, EVE works. But no one has a story.

“And that’s really where I’d love to see the genre go, is taking all the best bits. So you can have a quest-driven game, but it doesn’t have to be linear progression. I think games like The Secret World and Guild Wars 2, to an extent, were kind of pulling at the edges of that, to see if we can bring it back to being more virtual world-y rather than a single player game where there happens to be other people doing the same thing as you at the same time.”

You lost me when you brought GW2 in. GW2 did exactly the opposite of what you are saying. They took a step back from trying to give players a personal story and said “you all have the same exact single player story. Sure we have given some sight-seeing routes depending, but that changes nothing about the end story what so ever. But we eliminated side questing and bonus questing all together.”

You refer to a single player game where everyone is doing the same exact thing. This is in fact what GW2 is doing. You all are doing the same exact thing as a single player, but here, since you will be stumbling over each other, we won’t give negative results from hitting the same mob.

“And that’s the problem that a lot of these games face now. You build up progression and you get to the endgame and it’s only raiding, or it’s only PVP, which is completely different to what they’ve done to get there.”

You realize that is EVE’s model right. Just basically PVP. If you don’t think the PVE generated Incursions or Mining OPS aren’t raiding, you are crazy. The difference is, it was never end game. It is the game. But yes, its only PVP truly only PVP. Maybe the answer is PVP is a viable end game, if only we developers planned to make it more than something other than an afterthought.

“And EVE is really the only one that’s constantly done updates, but even then they’re like one or two a year. It’s like a big push — this is Inferno, and it comes out and then that’s it for the year, or nine months. Personally I much prefer to kind of maybe do something every month. I think every game goes through it right at the beginning — you’re kind of pushing out updates all the time when you launch. But I think actually having — you know, it’s not a new thing.”

This is how I know you don’t jack about EVE. EVE doesn’t release one or two expansions a year. They release 2 major expansions a year. TWO always. Other than the first year of release in 2003. These aren’t updates. These are expansions. In between these Expansions, which are free by the way, they do normal updates for balancing and some times features that just can’t wait. Neat idea right? Look what’s ready. Let’s release now. Trivial to EVE players. Extremely frustrating the rest of the MMO industry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expansions_of_Eve_Online
Linked just because the interviewed doesn’t seem to know shit about EVE. Stop guessing! When Wikipedia is a reference you are out of the know.

So it’s not just about updates, it’s about constant features and expansions that aren’t boxed. It’s about being plugged into your community and focusing on your project. You lose sight of that though, and your community will make you suffer. As CCP found out in Summer 2011 when an expansion wasn’t in line for new content and a leaked letter internally about greed is king went public. So while CCP and EVE are great examples. It also is an example of needy players that are king and are vocal about it.

I want to respect TSW. I really do. And I think saying ‘we wanted to start out small and grow’ is exactly what players really do want to hear. And from a broad stance, you looking at EVE and admiring it would normally earn you a thumbs up. The problem here is that you are referencing EVE, but don’t seem to understand the beast. You can’t say we are starting out small like EVE and we will grow, because in the end EVE has a plan to its players for the next few years. We know we have an expansion this December the 4th with 2 updates in between with major changes and additions. And then we know we have another round of that in 6 months after that. Oh … and then guess what in the next 6 months? That’s right some more.

Hell, CCP is releasing DUST 514 on the PS3 F2P with 5 years planned content updates at launch with 20 years of ideas to sustain.

http://news.mmosite.com/content/2012-10-14/dust_514_five_year_roadmap_and_live_for_another_20_years_plan.shtml

And saying that they plan to be able to sustain the game for 2 decades. A decade on a platform that may not eve exist in 2 years. Let alone 10.

Admire all you want, but your player base doesn’t even know what you have planned for November, let alone 2 years. If you truly want to admire EVE and CCP and want to start making it right, you need to feel the pulse of your community and commit to the content. Saying I want to be like that is not very hard.

Food for thought from the player’s point of view.

Free To Play in Retrospec

There is a great deal to admire when it comes to Free 2 Play MMOs. It’s being called the new standard. While big releases seem to move towards the model of Free to Play after launch, the latest release of Guild Wars 2, said to the community, building games to be Free to Play should now and should have always been the standard.

While the benefits are overwhelmingly obvious. The basic lack of losing $15 a month seems all too enticing. The overall effect doesn’t seem to be any different for me. Whether GW2 released as a subscription model or it released as a F2P does not change its position to me any differently. In the end, no matter which model they went with, they only ever would have been receiving $60 of my money. The box comes with a fee month in a subscription plan. And this game doesn’t have the content of a month in it. It doesn’t really have a week.

There in lies the advantage of always being a F2P model. We don’t get to call it a failure. When GW2 sold 2 Million copies it was a success and the story stopped there. Less than a week later GW2 sales fall to unexpected lows, as ArenaNet worked to sabotage their own sales. Their sales went down 84% in week two. But no one cares. Apparently that is not worth noting when deciding whether an MMO is a success. SWTOR sells 2.1M overnight and holds 1.7M extra in sales over the next 3 months. But we call it a flying failure for not holding our subscriptions for more than 3 months. GW2 sells 2M a couldn’t move another box to save their life, and on purpose as well, and it’s a flying success?

An 84% drop in revenue the very next week and it’s still a success? I don’t get the community. They are either truly mathematically illiterate or simple easy to please people. I don’t believe the latter to be true. EA’s expansion for Sims 3: Super Natural kicked GW2 sales in the face. That’s right. A bullshit expansion to a 5-year-old game kicked GW2 balls in numbers. You think EA is afraid of GW2? Not in the least.

So while the community, for some god forsaken reason, wants all other producers to see GW2 and hope that we never see subscriptions again, I very much doubt it. I would much rather companies see the value in actual game upkeep to the community.

I think the wrong lesson is being taught in the MMO world. There is this Subscription Versus F2P Model battle. And they are both wrong. The F2P model fails to deliver us sustained playability and customer support. It lacks the very intent of MMO, which is an ever evolving world. The Subscription model in essence works, it just hasn’t seen the fruition it intended. It wanted the subscription to uphold Customer Service, to pay for continued Monthly additions, to provide wide arrays of free content. And each game released with this intention. Only to find the running the game and producing were far in different scopes. It’s sad to see the companies that wanted to provide this, felled face first. The unforeseeable failure has left us with F2P as our only option?

It’s hard to tell what is on the horizon at the moment. But I hope for better things from the future. GW2 was not the answer, in many regards.

GW2: The Story … Part 2

I wrote originally on some of my intitial impressions on poorly written story in GW2 here.

http://mrmeh.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/gw2-the-story/

I meant to write on this early, but the more and more I run the Arah dungeon, this continually upsets me. If you ever going to run the Arah Dungeon in story mode, for all that you can respect, skip the story. It’s unbelievably upsetting.

So you are fighting your way through the dungeon and guess what? All of Destiny’s Edge is back together.

Oh it’s so amazing. They hit like paper and die like lemmings, but hey, story.

So you get to the point where you need to escape. A flying ship has come, but somehow, like all of GW2 story, some poor sap needs to stay behind to defend to make sure the escape happens. Spoiler alert, this is the entire backbone of GW2 story telling. Gandolf style, I’ll hold them off but I will refuse to pull myself back up even though their is no longer a reason I shouldn’t just leave with everyone else.

Firstly, you are climbing a rope to board the ship and taking off. No one needs to stay behind. But sadly and thankfully, Logan the Human does it. We all hate this guy. If you have a soul, you hate this guy.

You leave Logan behind, everyone cries. You then take to the skies with somehow 15 other flying ships and battle in epic proportion hordes of undead dragons. Your ship flies screaming through the skies as fast as possible trying to outrun the dragons as you fight them and take them out of the sky. You triumphantly kill mulitple dragons and meet up with a giant more poweriful flying ship, since yours in broken.

Logan is piloting the new ship.

NO ONE QUESTIONS WHY LOGAN IS PILOTING THE SHIP AND NOT FUCKING DEAD INSIDE THE ARAH TOMB.

You go to talk to Logan to try and make sense of this. All he wants to talk about is how much better he and Dipcharr are doing in their feelings.

Why GW2 Will Fail

Oh no, controversy.

Let’s go ahead and put the real facts about GW2 and ArenaNet out. I like to first off tell you, despite the title I do like GW2. But … I can say upfront as well, that if it were not a F2P model, I would not be happy in the least. This is not worth $15 a month. And since it’s literally not $15 a month, I take it for what it is. A $60 box game that just so happens to be a MMO.

The reality is, if this were a subscription MMO, we would be leaving, we would be kicking and we would be screaming. If you deny this, you are either so far up the rectum of ArenaNet, no one can help you. Or you have a level 30 character and somehow have decided to have full opinions on a game early.

Here’s the reality of the GW2 MMO, with brutal honesty as best as I can give it:

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