Archive for the ‘Web’ Category

[Web] The Numbers Game

Posted: January 18, 2011 in Web

Yesterday I took part in a bit of masochism.  I argued on Twitter.  Quite frankly: Twitter sucks for a debate.  Organized thoughts are often truncated and cut into multiple snippets, which are often interrupted and interjected.  You have to be insane to try to carry on a meaningful conversation on Twitter, but here we are.

At heart of the lively debate was whether or not X-Fire stats mean anything.  Some say they do, but I disagree.  Sure, they mean something to the users of X-Fire.  More people using X-Fire means just that, and only that:  more people using X-Fire.  Anything other than that is merely inference.

The crux of that opinion comes from a single word: Representative.  In order for you to be able to extrapolate bigger numbers from smaller numbers, the smaller numbers have to be representative.

For example:  If you know that 3,800 people using X-Fire play WAR, it is impossible to infer the number of WAR players unless you know what % of WAR players use X-Fire.  3800 = Y * X (where X is the percent of players and Y is the total players).  The problem with X-Fire is, you don’t know what X is.  X varies from game to game. X varies from month to month.  X can even vary from day to day.

The fact that X can change without adding/losing a subscription makes it hard to rely on those numbers as fact.  The “Number of X-Fire users playing WAR” simply represents…wait for it…. the “Number of X-Fire users playing WAR”.  That’s it.  If that number goes up, it may mean more subs.  It may not.  What if an entire guild is told they should be running X-Fire?  They all install it.  That number goes up. Does it mean more people are using X-Fire in WAR? Yep.  Does that mean more people are playing WAR?  Nope.  See where I’m going?  The same argument can be used for polls conducted on the forums.  Do they represent the players on the forum? Yep.  Do the represent players overall? Newp.  Quite a few developers have outright stated that a majority of players don’t use the forums.

Now let’s get back to the word “representative.” I used the Nielsen ratings yesterday in my argument.  They’re a truly representative system, if not a very small subset.  What they lack in numbers, they make up for in accuracy.  While everyone has different viewing habits, the fact that they proportionately depict the overall makeup of the US and A makes it a meaningful statistic.  Sure, you may not like or agree with the results of the Nielsen ratings, but they’ve proven to work in the past, and are overall reliable.

How X-Fire differs though, is that you don’t have equal representation.  You have a particular sect of gamers. While albeit 17 million is a beefy subscriber base, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the casual gamers out there.  It may, it may not.  It may not reflect the players who have crappy machines and don’t want any overhead running.  It may…it may not.  The only thing X-Fire accurately depicts….is the number of players using X-Fire.

[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.

Last week I did a whole “Where the Hell have You Been” and babbled on a bit about everything. This week, we’ll spice it up. I’ll sum up each entry with only five words. Since this week was all about GamesCom, I figured that’s as good a place to start as any. Here we go:

Crysis 2 Trailer Revealed: Shiny Rooftop kills my FPS.

Diablo 3 Artisans Revealed: I want one at home!

Mass Effect 2 Comes to PS3: Is the Wii next, Reggie?

Torchlight 2 Trailer Revealed:  Must…finish…first one…first….

XBox Live on Windows 7 Phone: Mobile BSOD comes shortly after.

Dragon Age Origins 2 Trailer: Surgery won’t fix that, bro.

Gran Turismo 5 Demo:  Still better than my Kia.

Bioshock 2 Trailer: Big Daddy still kicks ass.

Portal 2 Gets a Street Date: Cake is still a lie.

Guitar Hero blah blah blah:  Five good songs; rest suck.

Michael Jackson: The Experience:  Dangling baby is not included.

EA Pressconferences: “Title Win” within five words.

WAR RvR Pack: Someone left out the content.

There you have it folks.  That’s the majority of what went on.  Of course there was some WAR drama.  There’s always WAR drama.  Maybe we just care that much.  Or, maybe we’re trollish assholes looking to find bad news.  Either or!

[Web] Game On!

Posted: August 6, 2010 in Web

I was a big fan of The Guild‘s music video Date My Avatar.  I kinda wrote it off to a one-hit wonder though, as I’d never even heard of The Guild before.  It’s quite a gem though, I might add.

Turns out they just released a new Video called Game On.  It too though, is quite catchy. Check it out:

I told you it was catchy.  I cracked up at the Benny Lava reference though.  Hope you can spot it, too.  What?  What’s Benny Lava?  Oh…you didn’t.  Watch.  This.  Now.

If you missed Do You Want to Date My Avatar, check it out here, or click to go to Youtube.  Either way, it’s pretty sweet.

You can follow The Guild on Twitter.