Looking Ahead: Gating in MoP, 50 Reasons for GW2, and balancing the two

It’s all about the future right now in the MMOsphere – at least for Guild Wars or WoW enthusiasts.

So here’s the latest discussion and debate on That Which Is Coming Up, from the news that Mists of Pandaria’s raids will be released one at a time, to the question that a lot of us are facing – how the hell we’re going to manage to play both games…

  • Beruthiel at Falling Leaves And Wings considers the news that MoP’s raids will be released in stages, and doesn’t see this as a bad thing at all“I’d ask “What’s the rush?”. If you are worried about rankings, aren’t you in the same boat as everyone else? I’m curious what is so wrong with getting through the first zone before the next is released?”
  • Sunnier at the Art Of War answers the question “How the hell will we fit MoP and Guild Wars 2 in at the same time?”“So what’s a GW2 and WoW lover supposed to do? I can’t be a progression raider in WoW if I’m (shudder) casual, but I can’t become a PvP superstar in GW2 if I spend all my time dying to the disconnect boss in Mogu’shan Vaults.”
  • And Syl at Raging Monkeys looks back on her “50 reasons to look forward to Guild Wars 2″ and considers which of them have been borne out by the beta tests“For direct comparison, I will go with the list of 50 reasons I presented this April 2012 with no first-hand gameplay experience whatsoever. I expect to see few changes but not to get ahead of myself, let’s rather examine each point once more.”

Are you annoyed by MoP raid gating? Shuddering at the thought of fitting both games in? Or do you have 99 reasons to play GW2 (but a raid ain’t one)?

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Four Bloggers Discuss The Endless Fight Against Griefing

How do you handle griefers and other undesirables in an MMORPG?

It’s an eternal discussion, and one that is once again in the minds of the blogosphere. Particularly given that many MMORPG companies are more concerned to limit our abilities to kick and otherwise use reputation as a tool in our online lives, just what can we do?

  • Stubborn of Sheep The Diamond found himself in a particularly difficult group recently, and since has been experimenting with ways to work against griefers even given his “Vote Kick” function is effectively disabled“Almost every time, the other players will vote to kick him, proving that the otherwise silent majority do find the bad behavior irritating, but not enough to do anything until directly prompted to do so. Only once did that tactic fail, in an Azjol-Nerub run. It failed because everyone’s vote to kick was on a 4 hour cooldown.”
  • Milady at Hypercriticism responds to Stubborn’s writing with a stirring call to arms to defend the civility of our online worlds“I prefer tools that encourage us players to deal with the trolls with some effectiveness, such as LoL’s tribunal. But since we do not have such tools available to us in our MMOs, we will have to make do with what we have been given: reports, tickets, and being loud about respect and rights. “
  • Azuriel at In An Age, by contrast, takes a more cynical view, arguing that the only real solutions to unpleasant community members come from the game developers“And, let us be serious here, social ostracization only works anyway when both A) the entire community acts as one unit, and B) the target even cares. Your “xxIllidanxx is a ninja” spam might have inconvenienced xxIllidanxx for the 30 minutes you posted in Trade Chat², but what about the rest of the time? Chances are that he still got a group eventually, either because someone was really that desperate or they simply did not know. “
  • And meanwhile, Klepsacovic tells a slightly shameful story of a tank who was an ass, and the ensuing “yup, he’s DC, honest” votekick…“I panicked. I lied. I acted. I ain’t sayin I was the good guy or even a good guy. Not then. No one was then.”

Do you think we can or should stand up to uncivil behaviour? Or are the developers the only ones who can effect real change?

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“It’s Just A Game”, Sandbox Constriction, and more

It’s been a busy couple of days for the blogosphere! As a result, we’re going to break with our normal sequence of events today, and start with a few great posts from the last day or so that you might have missed!

  • Adam at The Noisy Rogue points to a great comment from the Pathfinder developers, explaining that just because you’re playing a sandbox game, there’s no reason you’ll be able to play whatever you want“You can’t play your character “any way you want”. You have to play a character that is constrained by the internal logic of the game world.”
  • Lewis at Stynlan’s Musings comes up with a particularly powerful comparison point against the old “it’s just a game” argument“I am also fairly willing to bet that many EVE players who are part of the Alliance Tournament teams – not all to be sure, but many – probably spend a not dis-similar number of hours practicing their craft as any professional sportsman or woman.”
  • Spinks at Spinksville writes a fascinating discussion of the ways in which we learn whilst playing MMORPGs“Learning in groups. You join a group, watch what they do and copy it. This is also known as social learning. Now, human beings will tend to learn all sorts of things in groups as well as boss strategies, such as how to behave towards other players.”
  • And Klepsacovic of Troll Racials Are Overpowered leaps into the “realism” argument, pointing out that most of the time, arguments about “realism” are actually discussing plausibility instead“Given the fantasy setting, fire may simply have different rules, so that it can be easily dissipated or the armor itself may have a very high specific heat, meaning that it takes a great deal of energy to raise the temperature of it. There are many possible reasons.”

Got a second? If you could tell us what you think of the Melting Pot we’d be much obliged!

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Please help us out! Tell us how the Pot’s doing!

In just a few days, the Pot will be 2 years old.

We’re planning a few things for our birthday, but before we get there, we thought this would be the perfect time to ask one very simple question:

How are we doing?

We all try very hard here to be valuable, useful and entertaining to anyone who is interested in discussing MMORPGs and massively multiplayer gaming – and it’d be really useful to get your input on how that’s going.

So, if you fancy helping us out, please fill in this quick survey to let us know what you think of how the Pot’s doing in 2012! The survey’s completely anonymous, so don’t worry – your answers won’t come back to bite you. It should take about 5 minutes to complete, and feel free to only answer the questions you want to answer!

Please do be as honest and forthright as possible – we want to know what you really think! Thanks!

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Should You Play The Secret World?

The Secret World has launched – but if you’re not already playing, should you be?

With so many MMOs being released this year, and so many others on the market, one thing I tend to look for at the Pot are easy-to-follow differentiator posts – posts that explain exactly why you should, or shouldn’t, play a particular MMO.

The Secret World is out, and the blogosphere’s alight with the news. But if you’re not already enjoying the Lovecraft-tinged mysteries of the game, is there something in it that’d really make your day? I’m delighted to say I’ve found not one but three posts that spell out all the many reasons TSW might be for you:

  • Play with anyone, irrespective of server or faction! Enjoy a friendly community! Rowan at I Have Touched The Sky offers a fascinating list of advantages you may not have realised TSW posesses“OK, remember how when you played WoW and you wanted to be a an Orc or Tauren, but all your friends were rolling dwarves and gnomes? So you had to roll Alliance, or you wouldn’t be able to play. It sucked. Not so with The Secret World.”
  • Jeromai at Why I Game explains some of the particularly awesome-sounding, non-traditional quests TSW offers – which sound really quite interesting, and unique“Seriously, wow. I was NOT expecting any other MMO than A Tale in the Desert to make me even attempt triangulation (lemme tell you about frog catching in ATITD some other time.)”
  • And Ysharros at Stylish Corpse lists a more personal take on the unique things that make TSW appealing. I’m impressed that NPCs use natural, colloquial language“I’m not advocating swearing like a sailor. It’s not really the F-bombs. It’s the fact that, so far, the adults in the game talk like… well, adults, and not like… well, MMO NPCs. “

Personally, I haven’t started TSW yet, but that’s thanks to a crippling lack of time right now. It sounds like a fascinating MMO, and if I get a chance, I’m certainly intending to check it out.

Why do you think we should – or shouldn’t – check TSW out?

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WoW LGBT Pride, EULAs and Personal Stories

And finally for the week, a selection of interesting posts that didn’t fit into the main day’s topics!

  • The Lorehound brings news of an LGBT/Gay Pride event happening on the WoW Proudmoore server tomorrow Saturday June 16th – very cool.
  • Doone at T.R. Redskies looks at the several lawsuits Blizzard are facing over Diablo 3’s online problems, and asks if Blizzard have really gone too far this time“Games isn’t going to be the industry that reverses history on DRM. It will simply crash and burn on it like the others did while we, the gamers, get crap products and poor service. And as is the case with Diablo 3, we may not even get that.”
  • Vrykerion has a simple, pictorial response to anyone saying that SWTOR needs its outfits to look more like classic Star Wars“Yea. Operation after operation to get what amounts to roughly the same outfit over and over with varying shades of brown or black.”
  • And Dulfy writes a lengthy piece with a lot of useful info on the difference in storytelling styles between SWTOR and Guild Wars 2’s “Personal Stories”“GW2’s story is not exactly predefined. All the characters get a chance to fight the main antagonist at the end but how you arrive at that is molded by the choices you made at character creation and the choices you make later on as you journey further into the story. Put it another way, you can take two human Mesmers and there is a good chance that they each have a totally different personal story. “

See you all next week, and enjoy!

Enjoyed today’s posts? Please consider sharing them with others!

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Geocaching, Esports and Metacritic

Meanwhile, there are interesting things happening in the MMO world that don’t have to do with Monks and Demon Hunters – at least, mostly…

  • Doone at T.R. Redskies wonders whether we should be so quick to dismiss the “protest” reviews at Metacritic“Placing additional criteria on this feedback, such as playing the game before rating fails to see acknowledge the main issue: The player is only voting because they *can’t play the game in Diablo’s case. Bought and paid, the game is unplayable. A 0/10 seems fair.”*
  • Syp alerts us to a new MMO-like game – it’s persistant, player-design-driven, and, erm, involves running around outside with a GPS system and a map…“Each geocache site is a quest unto itself. And here’s the thing: No two are alike. Some are exceedingly easy to find, some are so difficult I’ve stomped out of locations after a half-hour of fruitless searching, and some have fallen prey to weather or vandals. You really never know what you’re going to get. “
  • And Reliq ponders the potential of live raiding as an e-sport“What you see, instead, are groups of highly-skilled individuals working together as teams through game encounters that are, at the basic level, easy to understand. And, it’s a simple race: which team gets that boss down quicker; how far behind is that other team, and OMFG THEY’RE CATCHING UP HOLY SHIT.”

What do you think of live raiding as a spectator sport?

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The Reality of the Diablo 3 Auction House

We know that the D3 Auction House will be revolutionary, mixing real-world money into a virtual economy. Some people have even suggested it could lead to murder. But as we approach its launch date, what’s the reality looking like?

Today we’ve got a supremely interesting article from Brunpal at Jaded Alt, examining how the Diablo III AH has eventually shaped up, and what you can expect from it in future

“The Diablo 3 AH interface is TERRIBLE. It’s hard to make something worse than the default WoW AH but Blizzard managed it. There’s plenty of interface ideas they could have used from WoW addons but instead they made it worse. Blizzard is taking a cut of everything which stunned me. The AH also has a limit of 10 simultaneous listings with no ability to cancel a listing. It appears to have been purposely designed to be awful. It fails in every conceivable way.

Given all the problems with the AH it will encourage people quickly to find other ways to trade. Since you can trade gold/items directly to other characters (exactly like in WoW) that “other way” is instantly obvious. Enter the grey market.

I expect that a website will pop up to facilitate trades between individuals. Even a simple forum of WTS/WTB listings would be enough. It won’t take long for something more complex to pop up even if it’s just a Craig’s List clone… (Only if there is real money to be made.) Blizzard has no way to stop that short of banning trades all together which obviously will piss off a lot of people so Blizzard won’t do that. My personal guess is that all the discussion around the $AH and how it affects the industry will be moot.”

OK, I will admit I’m an economy junkie. But this is really fascinating stuff – both the raw information, and Brunpal’s analysis. Much of it is waaaaaaay away from what we expected, and it’s all really interesting. Brunpal’s done a great job here.

It may be worth noting that it’s also looking like D3’s economy will be extremely interesting in much the same way as a major motorway pile-up. The combination of virtual hyperinflation, the already-existing D3 gold guide market, the heinous fees, Brunpal’s prediction of a rapidly-emergent grey market, and all the rest means that whilst it’ll be fascinating to watch, I wouldn’t want to be involved in the economy directly in anything but the most casual way. (If you are likely to get involved, Brunpal also gives some tips for avoiding the most heinous of the fees!).

I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more about Diablo III’s economy in the coming weeks – but for now, if you’re interested at all, this is the best analysis I’ve seen of what’s likely to shake out.

What do you think will happen with Diablo 3’s economy?

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Pot resumes tomorrow!

It’s a public holiday here in the UK, so the Pot will resume normal transmissions tomorrow!

See you then for a bumper roundup of the Easter weekend.

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Guild Wars 2 Collector’s Edition – is it worth the $150?

Anyone feel like it’s last summer again?

Yes, as with SWTOR before it, Guild Wars 2 is making headlines by announcing a Collector’s Edition – and not just any CE, but a bloody expensive one, at $150 for the game, which comes with a statue, soundtrack, and a book about the making of the game.

The blogosphere’s been poring through the details – and so far, it seems to be a bit of a damp squib:

  • Kill Ten Rats’ Ravious admits that the CE was pretty much a sure buy for him – but even he’s a little unsure about a couple of details“I’d personally have preferred a more cosmetic effect, like a special dance than a deluxe skill, especially given that the deluxe edition’s elite skill will likely see much less use than profession-specific elites.”
  • Syp at Bio Break doesn’t hate the CE extras, but none of it screams “must have” to him“The book and the soundtrack are nice, but an extra $70 worth of nice?”
  • And Pewter at Decoding Dragons is skeptical about quite a few of the features, including the very short early access period“As someone living in rural England, the early access for SW:TOR was practically over by the time I had gotten the game downloaded. 3 days seems incredibly short from my perspective, and even for the general populace.”

Does the $150 Collector’s Edition of Guild Wars 2 seem like a good deal to you?

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