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  • Oh look death threats these are the people you guys defend?

    Iselin said:
    Iselin said:
    SBFord said:
    Interesting that this whole kerfuffle about death threats may be a hoax?
    Nice find! Quote form the article:

    I’ve become convinced that he does not actually work for EA. In fact, since I sent him several messages yesterday and this morning, he has changed his Twitter profile to remove all mentions of EA.

    So in fact just someone acting as an agent provocateur in an attempt to discredit those who are complaining.

    Hmm... that tactic sounds oddly familiar :)

    So people making death threats to a person who they thought was an EA  employee is ok if that person turns out to not be an employee of EA?  Hey you justify it anyway you want I guess.  

    Talk about a desperate tactic.  
    Do you think it might be possible that if he lied about where he works he might also have lied about receiving death threats? Maybe?
    It's very possible but it's just as possible people thought he worked at EA and sent those threats.  Which you obviously don't seem to have an issue with. 
    I just want to quickly point out that at this point there is no evidence that the guy has received death threats (though I imagine now he's been exposed as a fraud, he will probably start receiving them...). 

    Also, the way I read his tweet originally was that he had received those death threats through his work (i.e. people emailing his work email address, or sending him mail at work). I never once thought he had received those threats via twitter. 

    This seems to be backed up by the fact that at the point he made his tweet about being threatened, he only had 5k followers. You'd have to be a pretty vile person in order to convert 5,000 people into 7 death threats and 1500 abusive messages! I doubt that even Donald Trump has that sort of conversion rate!

    On the subject of death threats and abuse in general.....meh. Death threats are stupid and I do not condone them. If you really, really want to kill someone, just do it, don't threaten them. If you don't actually want to kill someone, don't threaten them. (for clarity, I am not condoning murder, I'm simply saying that death threats are pointless)

    On the abuse front.....the word gets overused. Actual abuse, yeh, thats wrong, but simply calling someone an idiot does not constitute abuse in my mind. For example, throughout this thread your arguments have been pulled apart and shown to be false by numerous posters, yet you've stuck to your corner. That means you are either trolling, you're too stubborn to admit when you are wrong or you are not intelligent enough to comprehend the subject matter. 

    Now, if you are trolling or simply being stubborn, you deserve a bit of "mild abuse" - you should expect people to call you out on your bullshit. If you are simply not intelligent enough then that is totally out of your control and thus would contribute abuse. The fact that you are using complete sentences, straw man arguments, references etc tells me you are capable of understanding the subject at hand, thus the only conclusion is you're either trolling or being stubborn. 

  • What would it take to be one of, if not the greatest mmo?

    This is such a great subject, in part because it's unlikely we'll ever find the answer so we can just theory craft all day long  :p

    I'm going to ignore mechanics completely for this post as I don't think its particularly useful to discuss them - it is the underlying goal of the mechanics that is much more important. Instead, I think it's better to focus on human psychology in terms of how it relates to gaming and communities. 

    Also, before we begin, its worth defining what I think being one of the greatest would mean. For me, to boost it above everything except WoW, the game must achieve a stable, active playerbase of 1m+. By stable, I mean it must sit at 1m+ players for 12months or more. By active, I mean playing a minimum of 4 hours a month. (yes, i know only WoW achieves this, but that's what we're aiming for right?)

    So, what must an MMORPG have to take it to the top?

    1) Expression of self

    Only applies to MMORPGs, rather than MMOs in general. The game must allow you to express yourself. This is the fundamental building block that can often get overlooked. Firstly, as players, we need to be able to create a character that we feel connected to. This means having things like a great character creator as well as great class / armour diversity. Your character is a virtual expression of part of your personality. 

    If you are unable to express yourself through your character then you will lose a vital connection to the game. It is integral for immersion and a strong connection will keep you coming back to the game because you are, in essence, watching a part of you grow and that is satisfying. This is a very strong reason not to do things like gender locking or having only a limited number of classes. Whilst you can get away with such things in single player games where average game time may be 50 hours, you cannot get away with it in an MMO where the desire is 1000+ hours played. 

    2) A sense of purpose

    If the game is able to instil a sense of purpose into the players then it can keep them playing longer and harder. Some games use the story to give purpose - helping the fellowship reach mordor to destory evil - some use the background lore, some rely on social structures, some on financial, some just use loot. Whatever method used, a sense of purpose can be a real strong motivation to keep playing. It is also important to remember the vast array of people playing the game, so whilst story might motivate one player, it may not work for another. 

    3) A sense of achievement

    When we achieve something, our brains release nice chemicals that make us feel good. So, your game must give players a sense of achievement on a regular basis. This is done in such a wide variety of ways. You have the traditional RPG tropes of levels unlocking skills as well as gear. There is also gameplay - I got better so now I can do this. There is social - achieving recognition from others or simply being able to measure yourself against others. 

    Again, the problem here is to do with the wide variety of humanity that we're dealing with. Bigger numbers through levels and gear provide a false sense of progression which players quickly tire of, so you must back it up with something more fundamental. Can players actually play the game better? Does your game allow for creative solutions to tough situations? How do you create a game which provides a suitable challenge for both complete idiots and hardcore elite gamers?

    4) Social connections

    This is the thing that gets overlooked most often with modern MMOs. Other players are a resource. 1000s of other players is this genres only unique selling point. Yet it has been ignored almost completely!

    I often use the saying "friends don't let friends quit". Its an easy way to explain how increased social bonding within a game can dramatically increase retention. So, design your game around social bonds. You don't have to force grouping, the solo player should always be supported especially in the modern era of MMOs. But, you should aim to build social bonds. This can be done through group content, player housing, player-driven economies, class inter-dependency, guilds or whatever else you want. The key is to build a game where repeated contact with other players is common (can't build a bond with someone you never see again!) and where there is a clear benefit to the social bonding. 

    5) A sense of belonging / place

    This is all about making the player feel at home. A large part of this is going to come from the IP - do your players actually want to live in this virtual world? - but a more important part once players are in is that no one playstyle is supreme. In the modern MMO world, the killer reigns supreme. The overwhelming majority of content is designed for killers, the main activity is killing stuff and the main rewards help you kill stuff better. 

    A truly great MMO will create a place for a much wider variety of society. There should always be content for killers -because the minute-to-minute gameplay is simply more fun than many types of gameplay - but a proper MMO will equally value crafters, roleplayers, builders, card players, socialisers etc. Remember, WoW achieved it's success by attracting non-MMO gamers and keeping hold of them. You can't keep hold of such players if you make them feel like second class citizens. 

    Where I feel a lot of modern MMOs fail is that for each of these psychological gaming pillars, they only focus on a very narrow interpretation. Western MMOs are heavily focusing on story, so your sense of purpose is derived from the story. But, if you are like me, you hate stories in your games and so that sense of purpose is gone. So, why am I playing? Often there is no further reason beyond grinding some loot or playing with a friend, hardly compelling reasons to stick around. 

    Or, the games are too narrow when it comes to expressing yourself. What if the game uses the trinity, but my personality doesn't fit with the trinity model? 

    As a designer, you also have to make a choice as to where you are going to draw the line. You cannot please everyone. The more people you try to please, the worse each individual feature is going to be. But, narrow the focus too much and your target market shrinks and the lack of variety reduces retention. It is a very fine balancing act. 
  • Is Destiny 2 an MMO:Poll

    I have plenty of games to play and I'm not fussy on the age of the game either, so I have decades worth of AAA to play through. Currently going through FF9 again, before that I went through GTA5 again, before that Mad Max. I don't struggle to find games to play. 

    However, I struggle to find MMOs worth playing. I don't like shooters as a general rule and I didn't like the Halo games, so Bungie were always going to struggle to attract me to Destiny and Destiny 2. 

    You just said "I have decades worth of AAA to play through". So why even bother to struggle finding a good game in a niche genre like MMO?

    Just enjoy the decades worth of AAA (despite you do not like Destiny, which of course is your right and i totally respect that), and if a good (to you) MMO comes along, enjoy. If not, i doubt you need to even bother to notice.

    MMORPGs are my favourite genre of games. No other genre I have ever played has come close to the enjoyment I experienced in both SWG and LotRO. So, whilst I can still get enjoyment from single player games and I still game 2 or 3 nights a week, that enjoyment never reaches the heights experienced playing MMORPGs. 

    Imagine you are a massive fan of burgers - they are your favourite food and you eat them all the time. There is a restaurant in your town that does the best burger you have ever tasted in your life. Then the restaurant shuts down. So do all the others. For years, your only choice of burger is McDonalds and Burger King. They're still tasty and enjoyable, but you know that it could be so much better. 

    That is what my gaming life feels like - its still enjoyable, but I know the industry has the potential for far greater things than it is currently producing and I would like to see it reach that potential. 
  • Celebrity Raid Boss (prizes not included)

    Following on from the great thread started by @ConstantineMerus, I thought I'd follow on with something similar, purely for fun. No prizes included, I'm not drunk nor do I really care that much!

    Your challenge: design a raid boss based on something from real life, preferably something that we all know or can easily look up. 

    Please explain why you've chosen your particular person or group to be the raid boss. Explain any particular special abilities they might have, the sort of environment you are fighting them in and any special tactics required to beat them. 

    I'll start you off with an example. 

    Boss: The Anchorman Team - Ron, Brick, Champ and Brian
    Adds: Random other news teams 
    Location: Alley outside a strip club (yeh, I'm basically recreating the movie scene)
    Special Abilities: Too dumb to die, short term memory (aggro resets every 20 seconds), wide variety of weapon attacks
    Tactics: These guys are literally too dumb to die. During the fight, you can pound away at them and their health will drop, only to randomly regen to full. With aggro resetting frequently, combined with the amount of adds, this fight is chaos! Kiting is the order of the day. 

    To win this fight, you must locate / collect / cc the following - a fit woman (brian), a lamp (brick), a signed piece of sports equipment (champ) and the dog Baxter (ron) - and then kill/destroy them all within 5 seconds of one another. This demoralises all 4 bosses at the same time, causing them to cry like little children and destroy their public credibility. They will then concede the fight to you. Should you get the timing wrong and leave one boss up, that person will quickly lift the spirits of the downed bosses, bringing them back into the fight. 

    Over to you guys :smile:

  • Gear Dependency Vs. Player Skill (Poll)

    First, I disagree with your definitions. 

    Games that rely on gear dependancy use gear as a gate to content. If your gear is below this level, you cannot complete it. If you gear is at this level, you can do it at the intended difficulty. If your gear is above this level, you can do it at a reduced level of difficulty. 

    Player skill simply means that the outcome of the fight is based off of the player's actions. All games require player skill. I know of no game where you can initiate combat, do nothing, and still win because your character is strong enough. They might exist, I don't know, but I'd imagine they'd be extremely boring. 

    There is a very close relationship between gear and player skill in typical mmorpg mechanics. Usually, gear is used to determine the level of player skill required. Got great gear? Player skill required for success is minimal. Got poor gear? Player skill required is a lot. 

    There is a further issue at stake in a conversation like this: do the combat mechanics allow player skill to shine? I would argue that very few MMOs really allow player skill to shine. In my opinion, player skill is a combination of the physical and intellectual capabilities of a player. 

    The physical is your typical twitch-skills: do you react quickly? are you observant? can you aim accurately? can you concentrate for 10 minutes in a row? These are skills that anyone can learn (baring disabilities) and simply require time to acquire. The move towards action-combat has placed a greater emphasis on physical player skill than past games. 

    Intellectual player skill is all about problem solving: do you know the tactics? do you know the correct rotation? do you know what to do when shit goes wrong? are you choosing the correct skill to use next? are you able to support your team mates properly? can you predict the other players actions? The move to action-combat has massively reduced the need for intellectual player skill. When you only have movement + 5 skills to choose from, how hard is it to know what to use next? With hardly any inter-class dependancy left in modern MMOs, plus the trinity class design reducing possible tactics, there is very little opportunity left for a "smart" players to shine. 

    Personally, I love games with deep combat systems that allow intellectual player skill to shine. The last one I played was LotRO before I left for SW:TOR in 2011. Between the resource management, inter-class dependency, large amounts of skills to choose from and the inclusion of 3 dedicated support classes, LotRO really let player skill shine. My captain (support - buffer) had a standard rotation of 6 or 7 skills, but about 30 situational skills (short duration buffs, triggered skills, defensive skills on long cooldowns etc) as well as a large array of consumables. It meant that at any given moment, I was having to make a decision about which skill to use next, a decision that was not easy given the large amount of variables. The decision was also meaningful - use the wrong skill or target the wrong person and it would have a profound effect on the outcome of the fight. 

    I was hoping SW:TOR would be similarly deep - each class had just as many skills as LotRO and there were 8 classes, rather than 7. Sadly, SW:TOR turned out to be really shallow. Resource management was ridiculously easy. Inter-class dependency was non-existent beyond threat and healing. You only had a few emergency skills. Every fight just became "execute rotation, avoid the crap, if below 20% HP use emergency skill". No brain power required. 

    My personal preference is that difficulty should be balanced around 80% intellectual difficulty, 20% physical difficulty. We should be winning fights because we understand the tactics, know how to work together in a group, fully understand our classes and thus choose the right skills at the right time. There still needs to be some physical difficulty - we should still require quick reactions, we should still require good observation of our surroundings and we should still be required to concentrate for extended periods for the hardest content. 

    From there, gear (and general character setup) should alter the difficulty by much smaller amounts. I am a big fan of horizontal progression, meaning that overall power level of any character stays the same throughout the game. Progression in a horizontal system is all about specialisation. Start off an all-rounder, then steadily unlock crit builds, burst versus sustained, AoE versus single target, glass cannon versus tanky etc. 

    With that in mind, I believe that content should start to be balanced around the absolute worst setups (bearing in mind everyone has the same overall power). 

    So, lets say you were going to do a raid with 20 of the worst setup characters you could imagine. All the DPS have specialised in burst aoe, but it's a single boss with masses of HP. Healer's have opted for HoT builds instead of big heals, despite the boss dealing burst damage. 

    In such a situation, that raid should be able to complete the content if all 20 players hit 100% of their capacity. This means everyone avoids as much damage as possible, never misses a skill in their rotation, never chooses the wrong skill, kills any adds in the right order, pulls levers / moves at precisely the right time. A single mistake and they fail. This is basically saying they'll never complete it as there is no way in hell that 20 players will play perfectly for the duration of an entire boss fight. The sorts of players that are capable of that would not be using the worst setups. 

    Then, take 20 players with the absolute best gear / customisations / setups. In such a situation, I believe they should succeed if they hit 50-70% capacity. As the customisations they've chosen should be best suited for that boss, they'll be able to hit DPS levels easier, they'll be able to soak up a few more mistakes and stuff.