MMO stuff

I missed some news of this stuff but thought it interesting enough to post about it. Sorry if you already saw it.

Horizons has contracted with author Peter S. Beagle (Last Unicorn) to create backstory and quests for the game, and I believe he’s going to be in the game himself for some events.

Horizons also has a reseller program now. Download their kit and sign your soul away or something and if you recruit a player into the game, you get $1 per month for that player. So when a friend tells you Horizons has really gotten better and is a great game, be careful.

Also, that RYL game that undoubtedly flopped withdrew their $1M contest, or at least the underwriter withdrew the prize money, claiming the game developers were unable to prevent cheating. I guess the publisher was counting on the contest to generate sales and subscription numbers.

RYL wasn’t much worse than other MMORPG’s.
You could play for free if you did surveys each month, and the characters and classes each had a pretty good unique feel. Sure the numbers game was the same old same old, but I had a good time playing to 30.

It was a lot like the free RPG Knight Online. Also not a bad game.
Neither is Maplestory.

I read a review once for Horizons where the reviewer couldn’t find anybody else while he was reviewing it. My friend Tim tried it when we heard it was fun from people in DAOC, and he said he only saw, like, four people.

After reviewing MMOs for a couple of years, I finally found someone that had a positive review of Horizons. Later, it was revealed that she was trying to get a job at the company and move out of journalism, and that this review came out a few weeks prior to her sending in her resume. Journalism ethics FTW.

They second they add Goblins or any of the very cool shit they had worked out in the concept stage, I will play. It’d be neat to have someone writing quests, but they should still go to a fantasy convention and hire some “on the run” content people.

That was David A. Horizons belongs to David B. now. Do NOT hold your breath waiting for anything to happen with Horizons.

Risk Your Life is a horrible name, no wonder it flopped.

I played Horizons for a while. The crafting was kind of cool. Thats about it.

olaf

Bad MMO’s and their desperate gimmicks to stay alive.

The way crafting was integrated into the game was interesting – it was the only way to get better gear – but the process of crafting itself couldn’t have been more dull.

Is there a way for crafting in an MMO to be exciting?

Is there a way for crafting in an MMO to be exciting?[/quote]
I had fun writing my own UO script.

Beagle? Peter S. Beagle? You’re kidding. You have to be kidding. I mean far be it from me to wish any author not to have secondary income sources, but really, they must have kidnapped the unicorn again or something… I guess he’s going to make that MMO a fine and public place. Heh heh.

Is there a way for crafting in an MMO to be exciting?[/quote]

No. So what you do is make it painless. WoW does a good job of removing the grind from crafting for the most part. The only governor used to slow down the skilling up process is scarcity of goods.

The gathering skills level naturally as you level. The finished goods skills will also work that way if you keep at them from time to time as you level. Conversely, if you are level 60 you can level a crafting skill to 300 very quickly if you have some cash to spend. I dropped enchanting and took up engineering with my hunter a couple of months ago and went from 0 to 300 engineering in two nights.

Horizons actually implemented a crafting system that was like fighting mobs. You’d go to a special zone designated as mob-free and find nodes all over the place, and whack them over and over to gather raw goods. Then you’d combine them to make semi-finished goods. Then you’d combine various semi-finished goods to make more refined goods. The combination process got lengthier and required more raw and semi-finished goods the higher you got in skill. To me it was incredibly tedious.

Actually the higher level resource fields were sometimes protected by mobs, so that crafters would have to be protected by fighters in order to harvest stuff, in theory at least. The really high level resources were scattered at random in high-level areas (to make gathering exciting and dangerous, I suppose).

And yes, Horizons crafting was (is?) extremely tedious in practice.

My experience with Horizons ended with the release of the game, so perhaps things have changed.

Is there a way for crafting in an MMO to be exciting?[/quote]
I dunno, does Puzzle Pirates get it right? They actually manage to contain both the game-crafter (craft for teh lootz) and the social-crafter (craft for teh org chart) in a single system.

–GF

No. So what you do is make it painless. WoW does a good job of removing the grind from crafting for the most part. The only governor used to slow down the skilling up process is scarcity of goods. [/quote]

I think crafting could be made exciting, if they turned it into little mini-games that were entertaining all on their own. The problem with all the current crafting systems isn’t that it takes too much time–it’s that you spend that time in boredom. WoW improved on that by removing the time constraint, and while that’s an improvement, it’s still just an incremental one. It makes crafting less of a chore, but it doesn’t make it any more fun.

The gathering skills in WoW are better–they require exploration, which is fun in and of itself.

I can understand why designers might want to limit how quickly players can craft things, but as a general rule of game design, if a game is going to make you spend time doing something, then it has to make sure that you are entertained while you are doing it. This seems so self-evident to me, it boggles my mind how many MMORPGs ignore this rule. Clicking on stuff in your inventory and then watching a progress bar fill up over and over again is pretty much the opposite of entertainment. How hard would it be to come up with some little crafting-themed mini-games (like the sort of games that PopCap does) to represent that act of crafting? That way, even if you have to spend time making things, at least you spend the time doing something interesting.

I mean, that sort of thing should be obvious to game designers, right?

That’s an interesting idea, but I think it’s probably too much work for the return. I think waiting for crafting is the most ridiculous idea ever. Not everything in the game needs to be a time sink, we’re not paying per minute, why does it take a couple of minutes to make 20 bandages? why does it take up to 30 seconds to make one item? All I’m gonna do is tab out and read a web page or something. It removes the player from the game and becomes more of a chore than a rewarding activity. It has no bearing on limiting the item as even in the worst case it’s only a few (annoying) seconds. The rarity of the materials and plans is what limits the items not how long they take to make.

Paying by any unit of time is the same as paying for every unit of time. If you’re paying a monthly fee to play a game, you most certainly are paying by the minute. The time you spend crafting is time you don’t spend levelling up, which means it will take you longer to go through enough of the game content to get bored. That’s why crafting is a timesink.

Edit: but I do like Ben’s idea.

The amount of time I’ve spent crafting is ludicrisly small in relation to my overall game time. I doubt I would have gained a single instance run in my 25-30 /played days on my main. On top of that virtually all of my crafting was done in non-crafting related down time, such as spamming LFG messages or waiting for BG queues. I’ve probably spent more time collecting the 8 devilsaur leather it takes to make one pair of gloves than all my crafting time since the birth of character, those last 30 seconds after spending 3+ hours finding and killing devilsaurs are inconsequential.

Is there a way for crafting in an MMO to be exciting?[/quote]
I dunno, does Puzzle Pirates get it right? They actually manage to contain both the game-crafter (craft for teh lootz) and the social-crafter (craft for teh org chart) in a single system.[/quote]
Yep, Puzzle Pirates gets it totally right, or at least points the way toward making crafting engaging and fun. I really wish other MMORPGs would take a cue from PP and apply a similar approach to non-combat game activities. It would be awesome, for instance, if the ever-on-the-horizon skills system slated for Co* integrated minigames for things like detection and lockpicking. The better the character’s skill level, the easier the minigame. MMORPG designers desperately need to broaden the “game” part to include aspects other than combat.