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Re: [gamedesign-l] Kicked off the Carousel of Content

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  • David Lamb
    ... I was going to download it on a 2nd computer and balked at the predicted 4 hours. For those of us who started LotRO from the beginning, it was a lot easier
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 1, 2012
      On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 11:37 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>wrote:

      > **
      > On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 2:24 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>
      > wrote:
      >
      > > Hmm I forgot about the Free-To-Play stuff I started investigating
      > > earlier. Had too many demos in front of me. Maybe it's time to see
      > > what LOTRO is up to.
      >
      > LOTRO weighed in at 7GB and took at least 6 hours to download. It's
      > 11 pm and I've been waiting for it to install for at least 1 hour.
      >
      I was going to download it on a 2nd computer and balked at the predicted 4
      hours.

      For those of us who started LotRO from the beginning, it was a lot easier
      since we got it in chunks. Shadows of Angmar was a CDROM for some of us,
      followed by 20-30 minute downloads for patches and expansions. It's an
      interesting technical question whether it could make sense to download the
      starter regions, let you start playing, then add the expansions. I suspect
      it's too complicated, plus there's the issue of WHEN you'd download the
      expansions. Two of them, Mora and Siege of Mirkwood, are blocked by intro
      quests in smaller regions, so you could start downloading the bigger chunks
      when you started the intro quests, but the other regions you just walk into.

      If you're starting LotRO I'd be happy to talk about it more. There's a lot
      of solo content, but some requires a fellowship, and pick-up groups are
      notoriously variable in how fun they are to run with. I imagine the same is
      true of any other MMO, so you may already know the problem. The trouble is
      I have the impression you're not fond of the social/group side of
      multiplayer games. You can get a good impression of the game in a few hours
      with the solo content, though.

      You should probably pick one of the simpler classes to get started.
      Champions and Hunters (archers) are the two high-DPS classes and IMHO are
      simplest to play. Warden and Runekeeper are deliberately complex, with
      combination moves (gambits) the others generally don't have to worry about.
      Minstrel (healer) is a bit less complex but still has some standard combos
      you need to learn if you're soloing (in a group minis have fewer options to
      worry about; a few group bufs, but mostly watch for who's getting hurt).
      Guardians (tanks) have the lousiest DPS and so generally level slowest.
      Captains are oriented for fellowship play, but they have a bit of
      everything (including pets, which most classes don't ever get).

      I discovered rather late that humans make the best minstrels and
      loremasters because the other classes lose out a bit on the "fate"
      statistic that governs their "magic". Some of my kin think they make the
      best champions, too. Hobbits make good burglars, and dwarves make good
      Guardians.

      My kinship (guild) is on Elendilmir and I could arrange to get together
      with you some evening (Eastern time) if you want to try some of the stuff
      that requires multiple people -- or just want some good equipment my
      crafters could make for you. Unfortunately my schedule is pretty
      unpredictable. If you get an on-level escort quest (which IIRC start around
      levels in the high teens or early 20s), bear in mind that most escortees
      are either suicidal or noncombatants and you need either a fellowship or to
      learn how your class copes with multiple bad-guys at a time. LMs and minis
      stun or scare one, guards aggro them all, champs kill them too fast for
      them to hurt the escortee much.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Brandon Van Every
      ... Every MMOG used to download content on demand, out of necessity. Maybe you d wait for a whole pile of patches the 1st time, but it was an order of
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 1, 2012
        On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 10:21 AM, David Lamb <david.alex.lamb@...>wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > For those of us who started LotRO from the beginning, it was a lot easier
        > since we got it in chunks. Shadows of Angmar was a CDROM for some of us,
        > followed by 20-30 minute downloads for patches and expansions. It's an
        > interesting technical question whether it could make sense to download the
        > starter regions, let you start playing, then add the expansions. I suspect
        > it's too complicated, plus there's the issue of WHEN you'd download the
        > expansions. Two of them, Mora and Siege of Mirkwood, are blocked by intro
        > quests in smaller regions, so you could start downloading the bigger chunks
        > when you started the intro quests, but the other regions you just walk
        > into.
        >
        >
        Every MMOG used to download content on demand, out of necessity. Maybe
        you'd wait for a whole pile of patches the 1st time, but it was an order of
        magnitude less waiting than what I just did for LOTRO. I think the
        difference is broadband is ubiquitous now, so people have gotten used to
        downloading very large chunks of content. A baseline is probably how long
        it takes to rip off a movie, 4GB. As long as that's where the public's
        expectations are set, who's to quibble if it takes twice as long? It's
        surely easier for the game devs to just dump it all at once. But despite
        the consumer expectations, I think game devs are missing the fact that
        these downloads are taking an awfully long time. Of course the casual and
        smartphone markets aren't missing it, so it's like a bifurcation into
        segments of tolerance.

        Frankly LOTRO took so long that I didn't play the game yesterday. I have
        the additional barrier of resolving whether my Turbine account is still
        active after all these years. So, LOTRO has been pushed to the back of the
        Carousel of Content because I've got plenty of other life pressures to
        contend with. Between going up the LOTRO learning curve and finishing the
        Crusader Kings II learning curve, the latter sounds easier. In fact, if
        you weren't here talking LOTRO up, there's a good chance I would blow it
        off entirely. I'm a bit demoed out. Haven't swallowed this many games in
        such a short time since I was an IGF judge.



        > The trouble is
        > I have the impression you're not fond of the social/group side of
        > multiplayer games.
        >

        This is true. Social RPG = glorified chat channel, in my book. I rate
        MMORPGs based on the quality of the soloing. Which drives some people
        crazy, who think an online game could only inevitably be about dealing with
        other people. To which I say, lobbying doesn't guarantee you'll run into
        anyone you like, or who has the time. "Massive" and "Online" are ways of
        delivering content; if it proves more interesting than smaller and
        standalone, so be it. The primary competition for me is against games like
        Skyrim and The Witcher 2. Which don't have demos.



        > You can get a good impression of the game in a few hours
        > with the solo content, though.
        >

        DDO had reasonable intro solo content. I did play long enough however to
        see where their business model was going. "So you wanna get past that acid
        floor at the bottom of that tediously long dungeon, huh?"



        >
        > You should probably pick one of the simpler classes to get started.
        >

        Yeah no kidding. Forget all that blocking and dodging stuff. It kinda
        bugs me: how much of a game would some of these titles have, if they didn't
        insert the button mashing mechanics? Not much. I don't think button
        mashing is the virtue of a RPG. Never has been.


        >
        > My kinship (guild) is on Elendilmir and I could arrange to get together
        > with you some evening (Eastern time) if you want to try some of the stuff
        > that requires multiple people -- or just want some good equipment my
        > crafters could make for you. Unfortunately my schedule is pretty
        > unpredictable.
        >

        Heh! I'll keep it in mind, but I bet in 2 weeks I'm back in the forests
        anyways.


        Cheers,
        Brandon Van Every


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • David Lamb
        ... Lobbying means pick-up groups? Like I said, I ve not been fond of many of the PUGs I ve engaged in, but I lucked out with a good kinship whose people I
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 1, 2012
          On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 10:58 AM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...>wrote:

          > **
          > On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 10:21 AM, David Lamb <david.alex.lamb@...
          > >wrote:
          >
          > > The trouble is
          > > I have the impression you're not fond of the social/group side of
          > > multiplayer games.
          > >
          >
          > This is true. Social RPG = glorified chat channel, in my book. I rate
          > MMORPGs based on the quality of the soloing. Which drives some people
          > crazy, who think an online game could only inevitably be about dealing with
          > other people. To which I say, lobbying doesn't guarantee you'll run into
          > anyone you like, or who has the time.
          >

          Lobbying means pick-up groups? Like I said, I've not been fond of many of
          the PUGs I've engaged in, but I lucked out with a good kinship whose people
          I find fun to talk to. Most of them play max-level characters, though, so
          the group content mostly gets done at level 75 (the level cap), with the
          high-levels helping out the low-levels on those few quests or instances
          that can't be soloed.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Brandon Van Every
          ... Kicked LOTRO off. Also kicked off Magicka, without any further investigation. It simply didn t make an impression on me, that it was something I wanted
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 2, 2012
            On Sun, Apr 1, 2012 at 10:58 AM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...> wrote:
            >
            > I'm a bit demoed out.  Haven't swallowed this many games in such
            > a short time since I was an IGF judge.

            Kicked LOTRO off. Also kicked off Magicka, without any further
            investigation. It simply didn't make an impression on me, that it was
            something I wanted to bother with. If I do any more demos, I'm going
            to be exceedingly ruthless about it. There just isn't time in my life
            to spend hours and hours and hours going up learning curves for games
            that are "maybe sorta ok."

            I am somewhat intrigued by Crusader Kings II's kinship system, because
            I've never played a wargame that was about kinship before.


            Cheers,
            Brandon Van Every
          • Brandon Van Every
            ... Kicked off Crusader Kings II, King Arthur: The Role Playing Wargame, and King s Bounty: Armored Princess without any further play. This is mainly because
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 6, 2012
              On Mon, Apr 2, 2012 at 5:47 PM, Brandon Van Every <bvanevery@...> wrote:
              >
              > I am somewhat intrigued by Crusader Kings II's kinship system, because
              > I've never played a wargame that was about kinship before.

              Kicked off Crusader Kings II, King Arthur: The Role Playing Wargame,
              and King's Bounty: Armored Princess without any further play. This is
              mainly because of the amount of time King of Dragon Pass and World of
              Warcraft used up (both also kicked). Secondarily, I think they served
              their intended purpose. I was trying to decide what kind of game I'm
              writing, and after playing many different games, I've concluded it
              will be much more of a RPG than a TBS or wargame. I wouldn't rule out
              trying these demos in the future as I didn't reject them per se, but
              my game playing mood would have to be swinging back towards the 4X TBS
              end of things. Who knows whether "the future" will happen though. I
              think if you're gonna demo something, try to make as much of an
              impression as you possibly can. Everybody's busy, life marches on,
              and people have limited attention spans. To the extent that anyone
              has any discipline or desire to put a lot of time into something,
              it'll be some game that makes more of an impression and keeps the
              player going. Not a marginal demo.

              I've been interested in Skyrim as a matter of due diligence. Instead
              of pirating it for demo purposes, I looked at YouTube videos and read
              the worst player reviews I could find for it. Sounds like it's weak
              in the narrative dept. One player described the game as "hollow."
              Maybe some people feel that assessment is in the realm of debate, but
              having played previous Elder Scrolls games, I'm inclined to take it at
              face value. I think telling better stories is a market opportunity;
              unfortunately, it has to be balanced against a number of other game
              development concerns.

              I plan to do a similar due diligence on The Witcher 2. I did not like
              the Witcher 1 demo overly much. It was purported to be this great
              narrative game, but what they showed in the demo was pretty flat.
              Some have said that the dialogue was butchered when translated from
              Polish to English. Purportedly they fixed that in a later release of
              the game, but I don't know if they ever redid the demo. For #2 they
              should have all those production kinks worked out, given their success
              and larger budget.

              Rift is the last one standing. Waiting on a 10GB download. Maybe a
              key to Warcraft's popularity is they're not dumb enough to make you
              wait half a day to start playing? WoW was up in 20 minutes.


              Cheers,
              Brandon Van Every
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