Definitely not about Guild Wars 2, honest

Hugh is taking a few day’s break, so instead of the Potmeister you know and love, the Pot is being curated by Johnnie, who you vaguely recognise and just about tolerate.

I have some tremendously exciting, Pot-exclusive, breaking news for you all today. Apparantly, there’s this new MMO called Guild Wars 2 and it’s going to launch in a matter of days! Why we’ve not heard anything about this until now is beyond me, but I’m breaking the silence and bringing it to your attention now. MMO Melting Pot: First for news!

Yes, the GW2 anticipation has been dialed up to 11, with many bloggers barely able to contain their excitement (the Pot staff not least amongst them, we must confess). Unsurprisingly, GW2 has been the topic of conversation across the blogosphere recently, but I thought I’d buck the trend slightly by drawing your attention to a couple of non-Guild Wars topics.

First of all, Beruthiel at Falling Leaves And Wings writes a funny and telling piece about how hard it is to move on to a new game before finishing a game in progress. This will ring true for a lot of us, I think. A lot of gamers have a completionist/perfectionist streak, and this is one of the times when it can be a hinderance rather than a help.

” “Well, if you aren’t having fun with that game anymore, you’ve finished it to the extent you wanted, you played through the fun, and you can move on. There’s no rule that says you have to complete it”.

But, but…I’m not DONE. I have a couple of more levels in the upside down world, and I haven’t BEATEN it yet. How can I be FINISHED?! What about Luigi? What about Peach? WHAT ABOUT TOAD?!?! How can I simply leave them to their peril and not complete the game?”

Secondly, if you haven’t been following the shared topic of ‘collectivism versus individualism’ that’s made its way around the blogosphere recently, I’d strongly suggest you take the time. The topic was originally proposed by Stubborn at Sheep The Diamond, who provides a good list of the different bloggers who have so far responded. We already featured Apple Cider‘s article, but this shared topic has prompted many other great posts as well.

Spinks discusses the topic from a sociologist’s point of view:

“I have always enjoyed the frontiersman, independent playing style in a virtual world. But actual interdependence with real people also makes for a very exciting gaming experience. Your social skills will matter. And having other people being dependent on something that you can do does a lot to make a player feel ‘needed’. A lot of players enjoy this; for example I know I get a kick from being one of the few players in the guild who has some desirable craftskill recipe”

Over at Raging Monkeys, meanwhile, Syl gives a detailed post examining the extent to which cooperation is incentivised by the game itself:

“Back in vanilla WoW, we didn’t just group up because of some notion of social altruism, curiosity or friendliness; at first, we grouped up because we needed each other in rather existential ways. We grouped up in order to survive or to progress faster, to access better loot or more content. There’s a common purpose of many individuals come together and each of them wants something – and that isn’t even a bad thing. What it certainly is not though, is some chapter in a romantic novel on social bonding and making friends for life. In fact, the classic MMO standard is the most incentivized realization of cooperation I can think of”

I really love shared blogger topics like this, and seeing the community engage in discussion that spans several blogs and covers several different viewpoints. Kudos to Stubborn for starting this latest round!

Have you heard anything about this exciting new Guild Wars 2 thing? Let us know in the comments!

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Helping indie games avoid the cliches, and helping your guildies through the school of hard knocks

Professor Hugh is still on a break, so Johnnie the substitute teacher is taking the class. Please don’t throw things from the back row.

After yesterday’s discussions of great indie games taking on the big hitters, Rampant Coyote sounds a note of warning today, bemoaning games that rely too heavily on old non-innovative gameplay ideas.

“Guys & gals… indies… I love ya. I am thrilled to see new life injected into an old genre. But I want to see “new life” there, not just a budget “best of” rehash. As a guy who has played a lot of the games that you have drawn inspiration from – and a retro-gamer who still plays some of these games, often for the first time in all their retro glory: as far as I am concerned, you are absolutely competing against the past.”

Screaming Monkey praises the alt-game darling, The Secret World:

“… despite loving puzzles and giving them a lot of thought, I have cheated on at least one step of each investigation mission I have done save one. … But yesterday, I finally managed to complete an entire investigation quest from start to finish without looking at any guide or cheating in any way and it felt incredible. I really need to do this more often because it was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in an MMO, on par with server first kills and the like”

Finally, two posts which I felt complemented each other very well. First of all, Vidyala at Manalicious provides a very thoughtful post (itself a reaction to a WoW Insider article) wondering whether it’s right to use PUGs as a ‘baptism of fire’ training ground for new raiders.

“The comments on that article are interesting because some of them say, “We tell our new healers to go practice in pugs.” Other people reply, “How can you DO THAT to your friends? I would hate to be in your guild,” etc. I’m actually 100% behind the first guy. You all know I’m not a stranger to pugging. Pugging is one of the best environments to learn to heal. You have an element of chaos and unpredictability that you’ll seldom find in a “safe” guild or friend run. Yes, it can be taxing and frustrating. Yes, you may leave some groups. But you will leave those groups a better healer than you went in”

This is a nice read alongside Apple Cider‘s contribution to Sheep The Diamond‘s Collectivism Project. Apple gives a very throughful and detailed discussion of to what extent the game motivates us to help our fellow players, and to what extent that motivation comes through friendship and community. It’s a long post, and well worth a read.

” A lot of player achievement can be attained through personal goals and thinking of oneself only; the bastion of group resources has been and will always be a guild. Ever since Blizzard introduced guild perks and rep, this has become much, much more apparent as well. Many of the structures that the game has introduced to make guilds important emphasizes collective thought. However, much like my feelings on hate language and respectful guild culture, I believe that collectivising your guild (and my guild) takes some work.”

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