Archive for the 'Gaming' Category

Social Gaming pt.1: L’enfer, c’est les autres

“Hell is other people”, wrote Sartre. He missed the rise of electronic entertainment as a social phenomenon by a few years, dying in ’80. Too soon. Still, one wonders what he would’ve thought or said had he lasted a couple more decades and witnessed this age of purples and fora.

The cynical in me thinks he would’ve said exactly the same thing.

There is one nebulous constant in these things we call MMOs, PEGs and MPGs. That is, the ultimate quality of the game – how many imaginary units of pleasure we extract from it when we play it – is directly tied to and controlled, willingly or not, by the other people who also play it. It’s difficult to put a finger on, on one hand because it’s not contemplated at all in the game design, on the other hand because it’s an intangible we’re generally not very comfortable dealing with.

This is the first one in a series of posts that will dive into the murky waters of social gaming. Maybe even come back with a pearl. Read on. Continue reading ‘Social Gaming pt.1: L’enfer, c’est les autres’


Biometrics to the rescue

As I was browsing the web today – at light speed and without being able to pay attention to anything, as usual – a little blurb caught my eye.

Talking about gold farming, it said something a bit scary. Not scary in itself, perhaps, but scary how we should have seen it coming earlier. Mentioning the new ‘trends’ in RMT and gold farming, the blurb said how some professional gold farmers were turning into hacking and mass raiding of accounts instead of the dirty daily business of collecting gold the hard way. Some farmers were finding this to be faster and more ‘efficient’. My thinking is that if it really is faster and more efficient, it’s only a matter of (short) time until the rest of the farmers catch on.

How to combat this? Biometrics.

Continue reading ‘Biometrics to the rescue’

My own little hall of shame

Well, maybe not so much a ‘Hall of Shame’ proper, but it’s definitely a list of blanks in my gaming history. ‘Hall of Shame’ is just more catchy.

I’m not a thorough gamer, and I can admit that without problems. I haven’t played every game ever made by humans, and I’m fine with that. There are some games that I just naturally avoided without even touching them as if they were an antimatter enema. See, I don’t need to know which doctors can perform the procedure, or if my insurance would cover it. I just avoid it. I know there’s nothing there for me, other than the elemental forces that make up the very universe, clashing and releasing a vile torrent of subatomic pain – a burning cosmic feast in my exhaust.

Some others I just never got around to play because I was playing something else/better at the time. So even if I could have gotten around to do it, I probably wouldn’t have cared much.

But, the problem is that everyone else seems to have played them, and I’m reduced to being some sort of a pariah when the subject comes up. It’s not that I feel bad because people dismiss my expertise in them – I know I don’t have any experience with these games. It’s different. With some of these titles, the mere mention of having never played them kicks me a couple of steps down the unspoken gaming hierarchy. It usually starts with “Eeewww… you really never…? Eeewww!“. It ain’t pretty.

Some of them, top of my head:

Continue reading ‘My own little hall of shame’

Leveling – Not just for players

I recently got tangled in a tasty, albeit short forum discussion. We were discussing LOTRO, and at some point one of the participants said, quote, “Is this another game that unless you play with your friends as much as they play you’ll be left in the dust?”. To which I naturally felt the urge to reply, “Why shouldn’t you be left in the dust if your friends play for a week and you don’t?”

It went from there, and I got more or less dogpiled (but in a very good way), which gave me the opportunity to think a little about this. Meaningless musing follows.

Continue reading ‘Leveling – Not just for players’

Memory Lane

(…is in my ears, and in my eyes)

This delightful rant by Nicodemus over at KTR got my failing brain cells firing. I was sure I had written something in the same vein a while back, but couldn’t find it. Well, after braving ars’ search for a while, it came up. Well, here you go, reposted three years later in its entirety. I don’t know much about these things, but it seems to be as valid today as it was back then. Not much has changed at all.

Continue reading ‘Memory Lane’

Will Wright’s Wonderful World of Words

Will’s keynote at SXSW is up at Kotaku. He talks about Spore and… well, not really just Spore. He talks about it and a lot of other things.

Very much worth the read if you like Will or if you’re interested in what’s going on in his head. Which is an Herculean task on any given day.

And I’ll be damned if he doesn’t like a mix between David Carradine and Kevin Sorbo in that pic.

Crafting woes

I was recently skimming the LOTRO boards, and a post caught my eye. Rather, a post that shouldn’t have caught my eye, did. I should have just read the topic and kept going, simply because I have seen posts like that, with subtle variations, a thousand times already regarding different games.

It was a post complaining about crafting.

Why is it that, way more often than not, crafting systems all across the board feel hollow and unrewarding? Why is it that, going by that nebulous thing known as the opinion of the gamer in the street, we can only point at one or two more or less common examples of acceptable crafting systems (DaoC seems to come up usually), while the rest are generally determined to be crap? Just what the hell is it about crafting, and why does it seem that no one apparently can get it right?

Continue reading ‘Crafting woes’