Archive for December, 2010

[Betas] Am I Missing the Boat?

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Misc, Web

Edit: I missed APB.  Holy smokes.

What’s up with the MMO Community and Beta Amnesia?  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, odds are you have it too.  It seems that every time a new game is up for Beta, the world takes notice.  People start sipping the Kool-Aid of concept art and testifying and re-preaching the developers’ posts as gospel while the rest of us sit in a stupor of wonder and amazement.  “Is this really going to be the next best MMO???”  “My friend Drizztdj is in the beta and he loves the game.” “Oh man, I need to get in that beta, it sounds awesome.”

Why do people continue to get so excited without taking into consideration the string of MMO failures over the past three years?  It’s not an auspicious trend, people.  Hey, let’s shake the dust off the past three years and see where we’ve come from:

Age of Conan – May 08

Age of Conan was ALL the rage in 2007 and 2008.  Holy shit folks, a beautiful game that shows boobies.  This MUST be the game that ends all games.  It has a unique combat system that’s sure to entice and absolutely no content beyond level 50.  Walk. Don’t run through this one, Drizz.

Warhammer Online – Sept 08

From the makers of DAoC….a game that is nothing like DAoC.  A hybrid between DAoC and WoW that picks up the shiny interface of WoW, the Gear-drive progression of WoW and the raids of WoW.  I’m not sure why it’s called a hybrid, if it didn’t pick up anything from DAoC.  At any rate, you can get to level 40 faster than you can get a server transfer.  Something about losing 68 of your 100 servers within six months, and 23 more over the next eight months.  If the server population scales appropriately, with the 750,000 subscribers touted at launch spread across 100 servers, that’s 7,500 players per server.  With that same player to server ratio, you’re looking at about 67,500 subs.  Not sure anyone would agree there’s 7,500 people on the servers, save maybe Badlands.

Champions Online

Champions did some really neat things.  Cell-shading for the graphics is probably the best look in an MMO I’ve seen.  I just love the feel of it.  It felt like this game was a bit of a rip from City of Heroes, which is still going strong.  I’m not sure what Cryptic was thinking though, with only releasing five areas for the entire game.  By comparison, WAR has 16 (including Land of the Dead).  It shouldn’t have been a shocker that after two years in the wild, CO went Free 2 Play.  That’s not necessarily a kiss of death by any means, but anytime you have to rearrange your business model, things likely aren’t going how you planned.

Fallen Earth

I’m glad someone did a post-apocalyptic MMO.  There’s a metric crap-ton you can do with the premise that life is changed as we know it.  It’s a pity that Icarus did a crap job developing it.  From the get-go bugs were rampant and the overall experience was lack-luster.  Hell, I couldn’t even stomach the beta, and I have a HUGE tolerance for buggy games.  I managed to live through Shadowbane before it got the axe.


This game was released in Korea long before it was released in the US.  Touted as not being “overly grindish” in order to cater to the grind-intolerant North American audience, it took about four hours of actually playing the game in order to realize that “overly grindish” statement was horseshit.  Sure, it wasn’t Lineage 2, but then again…most games aren’t (thank God).  Once you managed to swallow that load of crap, you had to deal with bots and farmers.  Oh were these bad.  They were SO bad, NCsoft was considering putting in a resource-farming debuff that could only be removed by validating againt a CAPTCHA.  Really.  I’m not sure if it went in, since I booked it out of there.  Something about not being able to log in for hours due to players setting up the ever-lasting Private Store and going to bed.

Star Trek Online

I actually didn’t read anything about STO.  I hate the ST universe as a whole and wish it would just go away.  If that doesn’t please you, you can go beam a fist into you…nevermind.

All Points Bulletin

This writeup is likely longer than the life of this game.  It sounded neat on paper, but was offline faster than There aint’ much that hasn’t been said about this game.  Poof, there it went.

Final Fantasy XIV

Trying to play off the success (if you’ll call it that) of FFXI, FFXIV released just earlier this year.  FF14 did for the MMO world what FF13 did for the Console RPG world.  It punched it in the nuts and took its money.  That’s the feeling you get from FF14.  With a Metacritic score lower than Mary Kate and Ashley, it isn’t a shocker that Square Enix apologized multiple times for the rubbish people paid for.  The shocker is that they feel so bad, they won’t be charging people to play it.  That’s some deep pockets, Square.  Your game is in the tank, so you might as well squeeze customers where you can.  I mean, that’s what all the others above are doing.

This all sounds a lot more bitter than I intended.  Maybe I’m bitter.  I don’t think I am, though.  If anything, a burden has been lifted off my chest and I’m playing a game now that I’m having fun with.

But the question remains…with all the craptacular MMO releases in the past, why do people still get so overly excited about a new MMO?  Do they really think it is going to “win” the internet and the MMO genre and redefine life as we know it?  Maybe it’s just wishful thinking.

I for one am off this boat.

[WAR] Goodnew and Badnews

Posted: December 27, 2010 in WAR, WARdrobe

Well, which do you want first.  Oh you can’t answer.

How about the bad news:  I’ve unsubbed from WAR.  This really isn’t as big a deal as you might think it is.  Truth be told, I’ve not played much at all since I started working on the WARdrobe.  It is a pretty intense project.  I’ll have my free trial account, but I’ll no longer be a part of Core.  That’s not a big deal though, really.  Anything I knew about in there, I couldn’t share, nor would it influence the WARdrobe.  Besides, being part of Core really didn’t elevate the status of WARdrobe and get me any sorts of insider information to help me develop for it.  That was good ol’ digging on my part to pull in all the pieces of their API.

The good news is that fortunately for me, I don’t need to be subbed to WAR to work on it.  With the endless free-trial, I have access to everything I need to continue to maintain the addon and the site alike.  I remain committed to developing for this game, even if I don’t play it. I like the community (even Testpig), and feel an obligation to help them out wherever I can.  I hope to have the uploading issues worked out over the next week or two.  Things have been…arduous.  (First time development is easy, as you can start over if you want.  I need to triple-check things to ensure I don’t fubar existing data now).

So there you go.  That’s the big news.  Hope everyone had a good holiday, and I hope you don’t hate me for jumping off the WAR wagon.  I was pretty burned out on the existing experience, and tacking 20 more levels to the end and a randomly playable Skaven wasn’t enough to entice me to keep on truckin’ to 100.  Sorry Mythic.  I kept on keepin’ on longer than I should have.  Maybe that was wishful thinking.  Maybe it was a feeling of dedication from all the fun I had in DAoC.  Who knows.  Anyway, I’ll raise a glass to hoping you pull the nose up before you hit the water.

See everyone after the new year. 🙂

Merry Christmas!

Posted: December 25, 2010 in Misc

Just wanted to wish everyone reading this a Merry Christmas.  I hope you both have a great day and if you’re on vacation…hope you have some good game time.

May your Zergs be small, may your numbers be purple, and may your bags be Gold.

[WARdrobe] Talk it up!

Posted: December 22, 2010 in WARdrobe

Development has been a bit slow lately.  Holidays will do that to a guy with a wife and two kids.  Coupled with the fact my kiddo’s birthday party (he’s now 3) was this weekend… and yeah I’ve not had a hell of a lot of time to do anything game related.

I did however get a good chunk of time over the past couple days to add in comments.  Now you can add details around each item on the WARdrobe.  See some busted stats? Comment.  Know how to get the item?  Comment!  Anyone can comment, even those without an account.  If you are logged in, however, the comment will be associated with your account.

I also did a little bit of revamping on the homepage, so I could add in a “what’s new” for comments.

As always, if you notice any wonky issues, let me know!


PS:  This is probably going to be the last major dev release for me until after this whole holiday season.  We’re quite booked through the end of the year.

Merry Christmas in advance! (yes, I don’t say “Happy Holidays”)

[WARdrobe] Builder Updates

Posted: December 12, 2010 in Misc

I figured I might as well wrap up the functionality of the Renown Builder this weekend.  It wasn’t “too” much more work.  I’ve also wrapped up a couple extra issues:

  • Career Builder: Renown Abilities should no longer show up in the “Core” section.
  • Career Builder: You’ll now have a digest of your current spec available in the “Summary” textbox below.  It’s ready for copy/paste into a forum post. 🙂

Now for the list of changes to the Renown Builder.  These are mostly “finishing touches”, but here they are :

  • It’ll now check to ensure you don’t go over 100 points.
  • If you select an active ability, it’ll set the min-rank to 20 for you.
  • Added the total stats to the Stats row (thanks for the idea, Syrioq)
  • Will show how many points you’ve spent
  • Added a Text-box summary that you can use to paste into the forums.

There ya have it.  Check it out and let me know what you like, love or hate.

[WARdrobe] Renown Builder Beta

Posted: December 10, 2010 in WARdrobe

I’m only calling this beta, because I’m not 100% sold on the layout.  It functions for the most part (with three exceptions, detailed below).

Give a look. I’m heading for a minimalist approach, just like the the Career Builder.  I want you to get in, find your info, and get back to the game.

Outstanding issue:

  • Won’t cap you at 100 renown.
  • Won’t mandate 20 renown if you spec in the “active” abilities.
  • Doesn’t keep track of how much you’ve spent.

Those changes should go in within the next day or so, but I wanted you guys to get a look at this and let me know what you think.  Do you hate it?  Love it?  Don’t care?

Let.  Me. Hear it!

[WARdrobe] Updates – 12/4/2010

Posted: December 5, 2010 in WARdrobe

During the “great downtime of 2010”, I had some time to work on the tooltip system as well as fix a handful of issues with the site.  Read on for some patch notey goodness.

New things:
  • Tooltips
    • Now there are tooltips for Armor and Weapons now exist on the site.  Hover something for more info without having to view it.  Anywhere there’s armor, you should see the tooltips.  The exception is the ArmorBuilder page.  That has some “other” stuff coming to it. 🙂
  • Main Menu
    • The main menu has been replaced.  It was flashy and neat, but damn did it piss a lot of people off.  The new one is quite a bit more tolerant to the hovering off a menu item for a second.  Feedback welcome on this (as it is on anything else).   Props to Charlotte over at WHA for the suggestion.  Was a snap to swap in!
  • Career Builder
    • The Career Builder will now tell you what Level and Rank you need to be for said build. It previously only showed Rank.
Bug Fixes:
  • Career Builder
    • Career Builder should no longer default to the Shaman is no class is specified.  It will instead direct you to the class-selection page.
    • Career Builder should no longer cause you to go back to the Abilities listing when you are directed back from the class-selection page.
    • Career Builder is now case-insensitive when specifying a class via the URL
  • Searching By Attribute
    • Search will no longer allow you search with no stat selected
    • Search will no longer display empty named items
    • Search will no longer display multiple copies of the same item
    • Search will now sort by stat and then item name
    • Weapons are now included in the search.
  • Weapon and Armor Lists
    • The Filters for the Armor and Weapon listing will no longer break when sorting by rank
  • Tooltips
    • Tooltips should no longer float off the bottom of the screen.  By default, the tip will display above the mouse.  In the event the tip is too close to the top of the window, it will display below.

More changes are coming, so don’t forget to keep checking back. If you find any wonky issues, let me know!

Have a good weekend!

[WARdrobe] It’s Been a Long Day

Posted: December 2, 2010 in WARdrobe

It’s been a rough one, too.  The short of it is: I’m still locked out.

<tech talk to follow!>

The long-term ramifications are more troubling, though.  In the development cycle, some things work, some things don’t work.  That’s the whole point.  Find what works best.  Currently, the WARdrobe works well how it is now.  Every time you view an item, the database is called and a few sets of data are returned.  You have the base stats, the classes that can use it, the item set information and the bonuses.  That method works great when you’re pulling one item at a time.

Flash forward to one of my initiatives though:  Off-site Tooltips (this was called “Syndication” by WARdb).  Say you’re on a page at WHA and there are 20 items linked.  Do you sit there and wait for The WARdrobe to do 20 database calls to load those items up before returning the data to WHA?  That could get a bit clunky over time.  The option at that point is to load up everything before hand and stick it in a cache.  That works well actually.  I’ve been experimenting on how to do that.  The current version isn’t pretty though.  It takes roughly 57 minutes to load up all 17,000 items in the database.  Ouch.

That’s where I was starting to get creative.  I was trying to find some way to speed that up.  I’m still pretty upset that all it took was one errant SQL query to have my entire account shut off, and that even when it was re-enabled, they decided to shut it off again.  It’s even worse that it’s almost been 24 hours, and they STILL haven’t gotten it back online.  My followup calls to support haven’t helped, either.

And now back to searching for a web-host again.  I hate this part of the game.