Filler requests

Todays topic shall cover blind invites and invites to be a filler.  Now I see this as more of a problem on City of Heroes, I’ve not seen it as frequently on Villains. But then there are higher populations on the Hero side.

The other day Rach and I created* brand new heroes on Union (* The creation process last anywhere between 15 and 40 minutes). Once created we spend two minutes setting up various windows and options it was time to complete the Outbreak tutorial.

With in 10 minutes of making the characters we had recieved two team invites followed by a message the following lines:

Hey, do u mind filling in my farm for 2 mins, you dont have to enter mission or even come to this zone…just stay put !!

So here is a question for existing players of the game, how soon do you populate your “Search Comment” box?
Is it on creation of a new character or after the first annoying blind invite you get?

As a rule I now enter the following statement as soon as the character is created:

Blind invites, filler and farming requests will be ignored.

Straight forward and to the point, but even armed with this comment I’m frequently approached to be a filler. Now I’m not getting into a farming good-or-evil debate over this, my bugbear is that veteran players of the game are too lazy to even read players comments. I don’t care if it’s on a bind or macro, it don’t take more than 5 second to read a search comment.

When this occurs I use the new in-game features, adding a note to every person that tries to invite me to be a filler.

I feel really sorry for anyone starting the game, having to juggle learning about powers and zones combined with numberous invites to be a fillers for some farmers.

MMO User generated content & MMO/website interaction

world_cyber_games_finals.jpgThe future of MMO games in the social networking arena, will it happen and how?
With the number of MMOs released each month on the rise, what does the future hold in store for the typical PC gamer.
This entry will cover the promised future content that has hit the headlines recently and also what new goodies will play a major part in retaining those 5 year veterans or seeking out new blood in the years to come.

Upcoming ideas
Only recently SciFi has gone into talks about making an MMO game to generate content for a TV show. OK so it's a little off the wall but thinking of recent advancements in this area, could it be a viable source of continued content?

scifi.jpgGames like World in Conflict allowed a clan to edit their details either in-game or via their website, using the website also allowed the upload of a banner image. The image is not only shown on their clan page on massgate but also on their clan page in the game.

This is a prime example of how companies can tie in a website to the game and vica-versa.

cov.jpgIn a recent post by the CoX developer Positron, there was mention of user created missions and story arcs. Having the ability to generate maps and storylines (including all the NPC banter) will hopefully be a massive milestone towards the future of MMOs and user generated content.

There are many points that I feel should be considered and form the core functionality of such a system. One big point is power-leveling/farming. Now if we imagine that a power-leveling service were to build their own maps with a high level of spawns surely this could cause issues within the balance of the game and it's in-game economy.

Points to ponder but I think it's a topic to revisit when there is a definitive process in place for vetting user submitted content.

paper_people.jpgDatabase/website tie-ins
Now considering that MMOs use databases (frequently custom made) to store all the statistics and information about a character and clans, the interaction between these has been on a very small scale so far.
Examples of this have been statistics pages that update every X hours, or player information normally seen in signature form generated from XML feeds.

Admittedly there have been profile pages that have content generated, but these have been mostly limited to the realm of FPS games where-as MMOs have some areas expanded on like with the WOW amory(sic).

But just displaying the information is it enough?

What the future holds
With MMOs wanting to cut themselves a bigger slice of the gamer-base, user driven content and linking into websites will be a method to ensure their game stands out from the crowd and keeps the gamers new and old coming back for more.

What type of information will you want to see?

I'm a data feind and I want all of it, but in the real world this won't be possible so here a few simple ideas that we will perhaps see appearing in the next few years that cover game driven statistics and user generated contributions.

Months/Day/Hours played
Rather than displaying the date you created a character/account, the interesting/saddening information is how much time have you spent in front of the PC levelling.

Count of enemy and character defeats
How do you tend to fair? Having some simple information will easily boost popularity in website content.

Level graphs
What's better than showing off how your character is progressing? a simple graph showing the last 5 levels you gained and when you obtained them. A simple but informative tool.

Character screenshots
There is nothing quite like capturing the moment your team got wiped or the time you face-planted into a stream, but sadly only you and maybe a few others will see these images. Having the ability to upload a gallery for your character would certainly give you the opportunity to show off your screenshots.

Web to game messages
Say you where planning to meet up with some friend to tackle that quest you've been stuck on, but at the last minute you find you have to go out without access to a computer.

What do you do?
Jump in the game and hope someone is online to tell?
Email all your friends?

calendar2.jpgOr could a simpler option be visit the game website and email your friends (selecting them from your friends list) ensuring they all get the message.
Simple but effective tools that enhance the overall game integration with the real world. Is the way forward to blur the line between the in-game and out-of-game worlds?

Event management
Additional functionality that could enhance MMOs is the structured organising of events. A system in place that could allow people to create events and other can indicate if they want to attend.

Events could be simple things like clan meetings/help sessions or more advanced plans like raids.
Functionality like this could be enhanced with in-game messages and out-of-game game emails to remind players of an upcoming event.


As you can see with user orientated functionality existing between games and their websites the possible options in the future are endless. Enhancing games to integrate user-driven content is a big direction for any company to step into but one I hope to see more of in the next few years.

Well I think that concludes the second longest (*) post I've ever made on my blog, and if you have read it all, thank you.
(*) Admittedly is nothing compared to Stephen Frys Blessays but then I believe I've managed to exhaust my complete vocabulary in one attempt.

Licensed image sources:
Gamer image from stock.xchang
Paperpeople image from stock.xchang
Calendar image from stock.xchang

Birthday albums reviews

Seeing as it was my birthday today I thought I'd write up a quick review of both albums I recieved.

Dresden Dolls : No Virgina
novirginia.jpgThis is the 3 studio album offering from the Bostons Amanda and Brian, although not it's not a completely new abum. It comprises of recording left over from the recording of Yes, Virgina, additional it contains b-sides and songs released on complalations.

All that said it's a damn fine offering including a few new tracks from the Punk Cabaret duo. Also on the album is a cover of Psychedelic Furs – Pretty in pink which is very different and also very good.

This album isn't really one to pick for anyone that wants to start listening to the band but for fans it's well worth getting.

Track listing:
1 Dear Jenny
2 Night Reconnaissance
3 The Mouse and the Model
4 Ultima Esperanza
5 The Gardener
6 Lonesome Organist Rapes Page Turner
7 Sorry Bunch
8 Pretty in Pink
9 The Kill
10 The Sheep Song
11 Boston

Cavalera Conspiracy : Inflikted
cavaleraconspiracy.jpg I hadn't heard that this album was out so it was quite a suprise when dok starting playing in his car asking me to guess the band. So he grabbed me a copy as my birthday present.

This debut album by the Cavalera brothers Max and Igor and was interestingly produced by Logan Mader. It was indicated as being similar to Sepultura's earlier work but with heavier undertones.

I've just spent the last couple of hours with it playing in the background and I have to admit it's bloody good. The whole album feels very new and raw but at the same time very familiar. This albums captures all that good about the brothers earlier work and takes up a lot of notches.

If you liked early Sepultura then seek out this album.

Track listing:
1 Inflikted
2 Sanctuary
3 Terrorize
4 Black Ark
5 Ultra-Violent
6 Hex
7 The Doom Of All Fires
8 Bloodbrawl
9 Nevertrust
10 Hearts Of Darkness
11 Must Kill

Annoyingly I just spotted that the band is going to be at Download and doing one show in London ont he 17th of this month. Too short notice sadly as I've like to have caught them live.