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  • U.S. Copyright Office considering exemption for abandoned online games

    Third thread on this same topic.  Third time I'll give my opinion on this idea.

    It's a horrific idea.  Services (and that's essentially what games are) aren't guaranteed to last forever.  Change happens, and some products simply go away.  Opening up 'retired' video games to 'revival' is totally contrary to the common usage for 'ownership' and specifically 'control of an IP' and the existing laws relating to IPs.  The owner of the IP says that Game 83 which uses their license needs to stop, then that game needs to stop.  I really don't want governments having any input into the IP owner's ability to control their IP.

    Essentially, this would allow people (very much undefined as to who this is and who determines this) to operate the game service without regard to the IP owners wishes.  This would circumvent almost all principles underlying IP laws.

    This is very suspect lawmaking, and could set a very dangerous precedence.

  • Visionary Realms Wants to Know Where You Draw the Line on RMT, F2P & More - Pantheon: Rise of the Fa

    I've always wondered why the game industry (and especially players) assume that a Subscription is $15.  That's the same price as it was in 2000.  Movie tickets were about $5.40 (average) in 2000. General inflation across the board suggests that a Subscription should be about $21.30 just to have the same value today as it was then.  (42% increase between 2000 and today, about 2.09% per year).

    What is so magical about a game Subscription that it seems to avoid interest entirely?

  • The Importance of Story and Lore in the MMORPG

    Story as it has been used in MMORPGs only serves a few basic functions that I've seen.
    • Lore.  Much of the world's backstory is told via NPC's talking or in-game documents.  These relate some aspect of a historical event that happened.  Generally, the player doesn't directly interact with the Lore; it's used more to establish atmosphere or encourage immersion.
    • Direction.  Quest text is usually used to direct players to adventure areas.  These serve to encourage players to visit remote places.  There's something big happening over at the Miller's farm.  You should go and have a look.
    • Rewards.  Quests are also a way to introduce valuable loot into the game world, and these invariably come with some kind of story, told via the Quest NPCs.  These rewards can be Items, Experience, Buffs and Services like fast travel.
    • Linking.  Frequently, the story aspect of the quests link various Rewards together or chaining multiple story tasks together.  This is especially true for Items in a set.
    I've found that developers tend to write quests in these terms.  Rarely, do we see NPCs speak to express joy, sadness or other emotion unless there's some task for the PC buried in there somewhere.  Few, if any, are simply there to entertain people, and entertainment is a key element to storytelling.  Occasional snippets can be entertaining, but that never seems to be the sole purpose of an in-game story.

  • Caspien clarifies that there will be no support for 1000 player battles

    Pardon me, but I'm still skeptical about where they're going to get anywhere near 100,000 players per server that will over-stress their system.  Realistically, I think there might be 2,000 total people playing per server, so a 'Kingdom war' might only represent around 350 per kingdom.  That's doesn't count those that are scattered around all time-zones.  That number starts to dwindle quickly once you factor in the need for RW sleep and other reasons for not being online.

    Another game-in-development with a "build it, and they will play" mentality concerning their customers.  Scaling for larger battles seems like solving a problem that doesn't exist and may never exist.  How much are they planning to spend on developing this?

  • Investigation into Paragon Institute Raises More Than a Few Red Flags - Marvel Heroes Omega - MMORPG

    The most concerning thing to me about the MMO Fallout article is the mention of a movement to revert a game to public domain when it shuts down.  That's put my mind on overdrive.  At the very worst, it's an attempt to circumvent laws governing Intellectual Property.  I wonder how the music industry is going to react if that law comes to pass.  And Lucas Arts is going to go ballistic at the idea of putting the Star Wars IP into the public domain (via Star Wars Galaxies, which is a perfect example of what the base law seems to be attacking, i.e., no longer operating video games).  Someone give George a poke and let him know this kind of stuff is in the works.  Oh, and Disney now owns Marvel, so this law would also put the Marvel IPs into public domain, too.

    If I had money, I'd bet on Lucas and Disney keeping their money.  And possibly mine.