Friday Links: Female Appearance, Stupidity, God Mode And Community

There have been some great pieces in the blogosphere in the last week or so!

In fact, the entire ‘sphere seems to be waking up a bit at the moment – there’s a lot of quality writing and ideas out there. Very much enjoying it.

Here’s your dose of thinking to round out the week:

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Controversy Watch: “Welcome To WoW”, grinds, randomness

Community! Lost Shores! SWTOR F2P! There are so many fascinating discussions going on in the blogosphere right now that this issue of Controversy Watch is actually slightly thin – because we’ve already been featuring entire articles on each debate.

But nonetheless, there’s more interesting discussion out there, so here’s the latest on three issues that everyone’s been talking about:

Community

  • The Grumpy Elf reports on a new and unwelcome development in WoW’s griefer community – the “Welcome to WoW” comment“When did this happen and why did I not get the memo? I was not aware that these types of actions were now the expected way to play the game. “

Grinds

  • Contrary to the reports of endless grind, Dinaer reports on how he was able to get a freshly-90 alt raid ready in just 3 days in WoW“Personally, I’m tired of dailies. However, I see that in my gaming style they are not mandatory so I simply stopped doing them. “
  • And Bravetank takes a humorous look at how dailies and rep grinds would look in real life“Funny old day. When I arrived at the job depot (it’s all very official this “becoming friends with the Joneses” lark) they told me that I had to become adored- absolutely adored- by their relatives the Smiths first. “

Randomness

  • Rohan weighs in on the “do we need more randomness?” debate, giving us two very solid arguments against more random encounters“Often, a fight with random elements contains one set of elements which is significantly easier or significantly harder than the others. This encourages guilds to reset the encounter until the “easy” combination shows up, or wipe it early if a hard combination appears.”
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What is a gaming community, and how can we preserve it?

There has been a fascinating discussion about gaming community and how we can preserve and promote it, of late – and it’s only gathering steam.

Today we’ve got three fascinating posts looking at the problem from a variety of angles. It’s really starting to feel like this debate is going somewhere important, perhaps toward new ideas of how to create a less stressful gaming environment – here’s your chance to catch up:

  • Genowen takes Stubborn’s suggestion of asking problem players to “Honour the game”, and writes a manual for just how that can be done“The comments that follow these stories paint an interesting picture on the state of our community, and highlights that the majority of people are sick to death of fun suckers, that they mostly feel powerless to do anything about it as Blizzard haven’t provided the appropriate tools to deal with them, and that long-term players look back with misty eyes at the ‘good old days of WoW’.”
  • Stubborn expands upon his idea of “honour” and explains why he feels it serves as a positive call to action, not a rebuke“And as I said, it’s likely to fall on deaf ears a lot of time, but rather than having a nasty row that leaves everyone feeling excluded, you instead made a quick gesture of redemption and moved on. “
  • And Doone looks at how game communities are shaped, form and develop their core values“the tone and interaction of any given game forum is extremely reflective of the game itself. Visit Something Awful, Mount & Blade, Civilization, Torchlight, Secret World, or the Diablo forums and it won’t take long to see the connection between player behavior and the way the game plays/is designed.”

What do you think? Is it possible to change an entire game community?

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Roundup: Ingress and Monetising Ourselves To Death

It’s the end of a busy week in the MMOSphere, and that means roundups!

First up – there have been some great posts from around the community that don’t relate to any game in particular:

  • Chris at Level Capped offers some initial thoughts on Google’s MMO/ARG/thing, Ingress“The main problem with these games is that you can only stay in one place for so long before the “game” becomes entirely reactionary. You fire it up, tap some buttons to make stuff happen, and that’s about it. “
  • Stubborn looks at what would be needed to improve the sense of community in WoW or any other MMO“Dunbar’s number – between 100 and 230 – is the average maintainable size of social relations. Each community, then isn’t going to get much larger than that.”
  • Game Delver worries that in the pursuit of “monetisation”, game developers are killing gaming“DLC specifically seems a lot less harmful. Of course, it killed off the entire idea of an expansion, which has led to most game publishers pushing for less meaningful content. “
  • And Diane at TL:DR writes about a difficult subject – how casual use of the word “rape” in MMOs affects people who have actually been raped“I think a lot of these comments – not just the word “rape,” but anything nasty that any troll says – are due to ignorance. I wonder whether that person would have pushed it with me as far as he did if his mother or sister had been raped.”

Is monetisation killing gaming? Could we improve our MMO’s community?

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What Other Games Are People Playing?

It’s a time of rapid change in the MMO world – but who’s playing what? Do the numbers really mean what they seem to mean? And will we still be playing the same games in a month?

Today’s blog posts attempt to answer all that and more:

  • Tobold looks at the gameplay statistics posted by XFire, used by many bloggers, and asks how accurate they really are“I think XFire exaggerates trends, as it is mainly installed by people who switch a lot between games. If you’d only play one game, what need would you have for software which tells you what game you played how long?”
  • Keen reports back on in-game experiences in a project I’m particularly interested by – SWGEmu, the unofficial server emulator for Star Wars Galaxies” SWGEmu is a SWG emulator recreating the game at the point it was at before the infamous combat update. Since the real SWG was shut down, just about everyone who still wants to play the game is playing on SWGEmu — about 3,000 people online at any given time.”
  • Syncaine looks at player numbers for every MMO but WoW, and asks why people call EVE Online a “niche” title“So I ask, what ‘mass-market’ MMO are people talking about when stating EVE’s 400k subs is ‘niche’?”
  • Ardwulf, meanwhile, is returning to EVE, his first MMO, and contrasts its play offerings with that of WoW amongst other games“in a sense EVE drops you into its endgame almost immediately, at least upon completion of the (now significantly expanded but still ultimately optional) tutorials. You have to be setting goals for yourself right away instead of getting many dozens of hours to explore the game.”
  • And Ocho asks whether the honeymoon’s already over for Guild Wars 2 – building on the “social or not” debate to ask whether the Guild Wars community has already soured“This was met with a resounding “lol whatever noob. dear diary, nobody cares.” and led into flames of how I was apparently playing the game wrong.”

I must admit, having spend some time in the Guild Wars 2 subreddit recently, I’m a bit concerned about how the community’s developing too – but I’m hoping it’s just growing pains.

What are you playing? What do you think other people are playing?

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Community, More Old Gods, And All The Bodies

And finally today – some reportage, some reviewage, and some discussionage, as we go from more Old Gods (what is it with those guys?) to the timeless question “How the hell do you use all those buttons on a 12-button mouse?”

  • Kelpsacovic is contemplating the Old Gods. Not in an “ia, ia, ftagn” way, more a “why don’t we think of them as more important in WoW” way“But let’s face it, how much importance do we give to the Old Gods in WoW? Oh sure, the lore nerds can tell us of the various nefarious schemes and their parasitic nature which corrupts everything, but who listens to them? My point is that they too often seem to be behind the scenes, despite being present at all times. It’s strange to me.”
  • Azuriel at In An Age musters some scary, scary statistics. Did you know that the top MMOs combined have lost nearly FIVE MILLION players all told this year?“I think we may need to start entertaining the notion that the entire genre – as we know it – has peaked. Not just the hot topic of F2P vs Subs, but the whole damn shebang. “
  • Stargrace talks about “community”, and what she feels we can do to rebuild and maintain it“People play video games for multiple reasons and you never know what a persons real life stance is. They may be a complete asshole in game, but are dealing with multiple things in real life and they have no method of coping. “
  • And Dulfy gives us an in-depth review of the Logitech G600 MMO gaming mouse – interesting stuff if you’ve ever wondered about getting one“Having a MMO mouse will allow you use abilities with your right hand while moving your character with your left hand on the WSAD keys. This way, you don’t need to stop to press a button on your keyboard to fire off an ability, you just keep on moving. “

Enjoyed today’s posts? Please let other people know about them!

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Should We Abolish Loot?

No, really. Purple pixels. Boss drops. Should we dump ’em?

Sounds crazy? Well, it’s actually The Grumpy Elf doing (one of) the things he does best – making Swiftian Modest Proposals about MMORPGs that are actually far less obvious than they appear.

You see, Grumpy’s been considering the cause of strife in game communities – the topic of the week – and he’s identified one common factor in nearly every shouting match. Yes, that’s right – he’s arguing, in a 10-point plan, that gear is the reason MMO communities – specifically WoW – tear themselves apart

“2) People ripping on people for wearing PvE gear in PvP.

We have all been there. You’re in a battlegound and someone start yelling at the noob in all PvE gear because he sucks and is getting killed in three seconds. Words get exchanged, things get heated, and someone could even find themselves banned if someone reported any of that crap.

It causes animosity within the community.

3) People ripping on people for putting out low numbers.

The huge stat inflation on gear has skewed every ones perceptions. They see their raid hunter doing 40K on ultraxion and go into looking for raid and blast another hunter for only doing 30K. I’ve seen it. As a hunter I know what hunters can do and I saw one getting ripped for doing 30K. I looked at his gear, he was doing exceptional. I would say near perfect for the gear he had. But like I said, the gear skews perceptions. He was a baddie for doing only 30K and I was a baddie for pointing out that 30K for his gear was great because I was playing a shaman and know nothing about hunters, he should have been doing at least 45K in their opinion.

It causes animosity within the community.

4) People ripping on people rolling on off spec.

In random dungeons or raids we have all seen this haven’t we? There are no main spec > off spec rules in those outside of the few buffers the game throws in that do not really work all that well anyway. So people can roll on anything they want for any reason but that does not stop people from flying off the handle because of it.

It causes animosity within the community.”

Guild Wars 2 is already addressing this issue to some extent, of course, with the promise of an endgame that isn’t focused around grinding for gear at all. But I’m still intrigued by Grumpy’s thesis – and his proposed solution, making all raid gear trivially easily available. There’s a lot of truth to the “gear is the root of all evils” argument – you just need to have lived through the Gearscore era to realise its malign power.

Could it work? Could WoW wean itself off the loot treadmill? Is it time for a loot intervention?

What do you think?

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Massive Math, Missing Community and Jumping In Whirlpools – Friday WoW roundup

The MMO community’s in a calm before the storm right now, with numerous titles – The Secret World, Diablo III, Guild Wars, and of course Mists of Pandaria – all looming ponderously over us, threatening to drop at any minute.

As a result, I think, it’s been a quiet week after a busy start. Still, there are a few cool pieces out there today, from a scary, scary demonstration of what top-end theorycrafting actually looks like, to a tip for Something Neat To Do In WoW you might not be aware of…

  • Theck has released a series of uber-mathsy posts on Paladin block values in MoP – and it’s interesting reading just to get an idea of the scale and complexity of the work that goes into theory guides“With 10,000 minutes of combat, the Monte Carlo manages to match G and S to the analytical model to three decimal places. R_{\rm HPG} differs slightly in the fourth decimal place, but T_{\rm SotR} is a little bit higher than the 6.4 predicted by the analytical model. “
  • Cyndre at Kill Ten Rats looks back at the roots of server community in Ultima Online, and how things have changed so much between then and WoW“Now as it stood, my friends were present in both Guilds, and many of us played both sides of the fence, but we stayed true to the roleplaying of the fact and there was never collusion. It felt real, it felt geniune and every choice, every action, even your name, mattered.”
  • And finally Cymre of Bubbles of Mischief points out a neat little feature in Darkshore – the whirlpool that teleports you away“Jumping into it starts a short cutscene of your toon being sucked into the whirlpool. You end up in the Bashal’Aran Collapse where a lone Cenarian Circle druid sits by the waters edge.”

Have a great weekend, and if you’ve enjoyed these posts, please do share them!

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Should Auld Aquaintance Be Forgot? Plus Landscape Gardening and other things…

Today we’ve got a great balance of links to round out the day – two controversial standpoints, one example of fantastic craftsmanship, and one call to a cause I think a lot of people will want to rally around…

  • Syl of Raging Monkeys is seeing many MMO communities fall apart as people leave for various other games, and in a stirring editorial, she exhorts us all to not let our friendships go so easily“Today, take heart and reach out to some old online friend or guildmate. Today, choose to be the one who takes initiative, never mind how long it’s been quiet. “
  • Moxie of the Wild Boar Inn has been designing a new deed in Wurm Online – based on the historic Medway Plantation in South Carolina. Impressive landscape gardening lies within“I typically like to start my deed designs from the token in the middle and work to the outside. In Wurm, your deed token looks like a sundial, so when I saw this picture of a sundial in the middle of a formal garden area, I knew I had my perfect starting point. “
  • Beruthiel of Falling Leaves And Wings would like to stop seeing players use lack of gear as an excuse for poor play“For me, I look at having lower gear as a challenge. It’s the true “hard mode”. When you don’t have the same resources as someone else, it forces you to think outside of the box and be more creative.”
  • And in contrast to Anafielle’s impassioned post last week, Lono of Screaming Monkeys explains just why he doesn’t want to see a combat log in SWTOR“If you give me a choice between performance and building community I will always chose the latter because I believe it will give us a better game in the long run. “

Enjoyed these posts? Want to share the call to reach out to old guildies? Share them!

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Is there still a WoW community?

Pretty much everyone who plays WoW has had the “WoW stranger” experience, right? You’re at a bar, or a cafe, or a work conference, and you’re talking about WoW. Or you’re wearing something WoW-related. Or you overhear another conversation.

And the next thing you know, someone’s asked you if you play WoW, or vica versa, and you’re engaged in a long, detailed conversation about the game.

I know it’s happened to me many, many times – at film festivals, in cafes, when I’m speaking at conferences. But Big Bear Butt’s asking an interesting question today – does that sense of being a single community still ring true? In the era of the Corpsegrinder debacle, is playing the same game still enough to hold us together ? –

“The game appeals to many diverse interests. Lots of different people play WoW. I’ve seen a lot of outrage at the interview being shown at BlizzCon without previous attention being given as to the attitudes portrayed by Corpsegrinder, and whether they would offend anyone in “the Community”.

What I haven’t seen is any acknowledgement that a large part of the actual WoW Community, at one time or another, probably would have seen the video interview and said “Hell yeah!”

Let’s be honest. I’ve seen trade chat. You’ve seen trade chat. While there are certainly awesome, responsible mature people like Gnomeaggeddon or Cynwise in battlegrounds, can you really say you haven’t run into Corpsegrinders too? Enthusiastic as hell, but also profane and dropping offensive shit into their language like ‘homo’ and ‘retard’ and you name it.”

It’s an interesting point, and a tough nut to crack. At the same time as we’re all joined by a common interest, there are plenty of things that divide us – everything from politics to hardcore/casual divides. Do I, a very liberal 30-something living in the UK, really have that much in common with an extremely homophobic 14-year-old in Russia, for example?

On the other hand, it’s not like we’re the only community with this divide. The roleplaying and science fiction worlds manage to hold together despite having everyone from extreme-right gun-toting fundementalists to pacifist gay activists in them. There’s no political party on Earth that’s not barely holding together its different opinions with glue and duct tape. Why should WoW be different?

Do you think of WoW as a single community? Do you have anything in common with the people on the far side of the Azerothian debate?

Article Source: Big Bear Butt .

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