Gaming in 2008

Sadly over the past few months there appears to be a massive problem of cheaters in my all-time favourite game Planetside. Sadly the problem hasn’t been combated as SOE first indicated it would. There are a few reason that for this, maybe it’s difficult to track those using software to cheat, or perhaps the revenue from these players is in the end money and why would they want to ban accounts of perhaps half of the remaining players.

A saddening fact but one that me and my fellow clan members feel is the most likely.

What for our clan in online games in the future.

It seems alot of people are waiting for Warhammer to either send them a Beta invite or be released. In the meantime there are loads of different games that has drawn my gaming friends attention.
These has included Dark age of Camelot/ Everquest 2  and more recently Lord of the Rings online.

Can Warhammer be the title that can take and existing game type and and existing highly detailed universe and combine them into a Multiplayer RPG game succesfully. But how can this success be judged?

Do we judge based on the number of accounts like WoW does? Surely indicating active and inactive accounts isn’t required, right?
Do we match it up with Tabula Rasa? Sadly the would be flagship for scifi/mmorpg games of the future didn’t quite live up to the hype.

I think that WAR will be judged by comparisions to existing games and that is the important point, Is the game able to provide something that can pull in hundreds of thousand of players yet still remain original and unique in the ever-changing world of Online gaming.

As for me I’ve been quite happy playing the City of games as I feel there is enough diversity for my attention not to wander too much, I also like to jump on Planetside/ World in Conflict or Guild wars if i want a change of pace.

There are a few promising titles in the pipelines sadly none of them aimed at replacing planetside, but they look good all the same.

MMO Games limited to Orcs & Spaceships?

Earlier this week I visited the Guardian website, and I found this post by Aleks Krotoski.

Now I've been playing online games for many moons now and have tried many of the game offerings that are on the market and I don't argee that all MMO games are Orc and Spaceship based, many are but not all. Also I feel that the reasons for so many fantasy-based games originates in the model, the gaming industry inherited.

thumb_planetside1.jpgFirst let us look at the alternatives that are about on the market for people to play:
Planetside is a 'true' MMOFPS, admittedly a bit long in the tooth now, yet it doesn't use instanced maps like many of the recent games plus it's not full of orcs or spaceships (yet).
Also under SOE are Star Wars galaxies and Matrix online, again these games aren't swimming with Orcs, although elements of SWG have space combat. SOE's Everquest and Vanguard cater for the fantasy genre.
There is also the 'City of' games (heroes/villains) that are based around a comic book theme.
About to arrive on the scene is Tabula Rasa, while not everyone's cup of tea, it uses the tried and tested missions & kills = xp = levels, plus it's got guns and aliens. A break from the normal fantasy genre to Sci-fi but the underlying game structure is the same, just with a different skin.

It's apparent that many MMO games are based around the old D&D style of play. Hence it was an easier progression from turn based (paper and pencil) to real-time (mouse and keyboard) play styles. World of Warcraft captures the imagination of the old D&D players, while EVE expands on that old classic 'Elite'.
Old games become new games just with prettier graphics and newer interfaces but the basis of the games remains the same, become the best.

I believe there are 2 types of MMO game, those based around progression/levels and those that are not.
The level based games are the most common as the publishers can ensure a player is likely to remain playing for a long period, thus generating more money, because lets face it, it all comes down to money at the end of the day.

cov-coh-pack.jpgThe other type of game is going to be the easiest to fit into multiple genres. As there is no progression it's not going to be something people are going to part with money to play on a subscription basis, nor is it likely to retain player interrest for a long period.
Ok, I know there are some exceptions to this grouping, like level based Guild Wars which is not subscription based, yet still retains a large player base.

Levels should be easy to start and get progressively harder the higher you rise. The top level shouldn't be too easily obtainable to keep players in a state of progression for longer.
The game developer has be careful not to make progression too taxing, making players 'grind' up the levels, can destroy any good feelings towards the game from players and they will end up swapping to another game.
On the other hand make it too easy and the top level status has less appeal when a new player can obtain max level by continued playing.

So in conclusion, until new methods of leveling are realised and tested, there is unlikely to be a massive break from the traditional methods used to retain players (leveling). Additionally the fantasy genre works exceptionally well with this format and I think that until the former changes the latter's dominance over MMO's won't budge.

Planetside Reserves

As you may or may not know Dok and myself play a MMOFPS/RPG called Planetside, it has been running for nearly 3 years now (launched May 19th 2003). Until now has always been a subscription game with the odd 14-30 free day trails floating about the place. Set to launch today (23rd) is a Planetside Demo named Planetside reserves (FAQ). 



If you want to see what planetside is like before downloading the client then check out this video (8mb/16mb – MS Media Player 10) created by player MarcoPolo as part of the UK fans guerilla marketing campaign.

Lightning Tank EventIf you are going to play then drop me a line chaoticdecimation[at] or pay my outfit (ChaosNC) a visit at our website, we will be glad to show you the ropes, answer any questions you have and run a teamspeak server for use in game.