Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Microtransaction in Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is one of those games that I've known is coming for what seems like a decade. Now that it seems like it is just around the corner, and game play details are becoming clearer and clearer, I keep getting more excited.

Yesterday Mike O'Brien revealed details about microtransactions and currency systems in a blog post over and ArenaNet. There will be gold, karma, and gems. Gold is regular in-game currency, karma is untradable, earned currency for special items, and gems and purchased with real money. Here is the beautiful thing. You can trade gold for gems and gems for gold with other players.

This doesn't seem like the kind of announcement that is going to get the fans hyped about the game. But it does have that effect on me. You see, I played Runes of Magic for quite a long time and they have a nearly identical system that I love. RoM allows you to list diamonds on the auction house for gold, or gold for diamonds where diamonds are purchasable for real money and gold is the in-game currency that you receive from completing quests and selling your junk to vendors.

For me this allowed me to farm a bunch of random stuff from mobs, sell it on the auction house for gold, use that gold to buy diamonds from other players, and then get access to cash shop items for "free". I had a great time doing for several months is RoM, and I can't wait to see how fun that is going to be in Guild Wars.

Been a Long Time

Wow. It has been a very long time since I wrote anything. In the last 3 years I've played a lot of games. My last couple of posts from 2009 mention Hi-Rez Studios and Guild Wars 2. Ironically, these days I find my self playing Tribes:Ascend by Hi-Rez and anxiously awaiting Guild Wars 2.

I ended up never playing Global Agenda despite how excited I seemed to be for it. The new Tribes is a great game though. I love their F2P model for that game. The game is obviously free to download and play, but you only have access to certain classes, weapons, and abilities. Additional configurations can be unlocked with XP or Gold. XP is earned in each match you play while Gold must be purchased with real money. So basically you can pay with your time or with your disposable income. It is important to note that you don't really need to unlock any of the weapons, grenades, packs, or perks. None of these options are more powerful in all situations. Purchasable skins are planned for the future which will add some cool customization as well.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Where is Global Agenda?

I'm getting a little curious about why there has been no Global Agenda news for the last couple of weeks. Before and after the first closed beta test (CBT-1A, 7/24-27) there were a couple of interviews with different gaming sites and a some information was released. But last weekend there was supposed to be another closed beta test (CBT-1B, 8/21-23). We're gotten absolutely nothing since then.

Global Agenda was shown at Quakecon 2009 and is scheduled to be shown at Dragon*con and PAX in September. So maybe they are just in a news blackout until those 2 conventions, but I'm really itching for more info on this game!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

One thing I don't get...

One of my pet peeves is when people talk about a certain game, or game design idea and flatly declare that it won't work because of some obvious technical or game design issue. Consider Dust 514 for example. Suzina over at Kill Ten Rats declares that because Planetside wasn't designed very well Dust 514 is going to fall into the same trap.

To which I simply ask, "why?" Why can't the progression be horizontal, allowing you to use different types of weapons, and giving you more options. Why can't players of similar progression levels be automatically matched against each other so that whatever vertical progression there is will be mostly irrelevant anyway? Oh wait, the people over at Hi-Rez studios have already come up with those solutions for Global Agenda. Who is to say that CCP won't come up with even better ways to meld the FPS and MMO worlds?

Again, this isn't to say that the developers will do a good job and avoid the many obvious and subtle pitsfalls of their idea. But to declare the idea not fun because another game didn't pull it off seems silly.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Guild Wars 2

Wow. We finally have news about Guild Wars 2. I have to admit that I never played the original Guild Wars and I really feel like I missed out. They have a 14 day free trial which is awesome for a game that doesn't have a subscription fee. I might check that out.

Really though, I feel like its too late for me to get into GW1, and there simply isn't enough information about GW2 to get me excited at this point.

Update: Okay, after reading this article over at IGN I have to say I'm a little more intrigued. Before WoW came I out I really thought that MMO games would become more and more dynamic. Even in DAoC there were quests where you would talk to NPCs and a whole bunch of monsters would spawn and you'd have to help a couple of guards defend a bridge. I thought things would evolve in that direction. WoW seems to have stalled the hunger for dynamic persistent worlds. WAR brought public quests which brought a tiny bit of dynamic content in a persistent context, but it sounds like Guild Wars 2 will take this to the next level.

I'll quote Eric Flannum from the article I linked above to explain:
Imagine for a second that you're strolling through the local military garrison when you hear a scout start shouting about a centaur column that has been sighted approaching. The soldiers are quick to action, shutting the gates and ordering archers up onto the walls. You and some of your fellow players watch as the centaurs batter at the gates with axes while their archers clear defenders from the walls and shots from their catapults arc overhead. It's a tense moment until the gate falls, and as you rush into the gap to fend off the centaurs you are joined by other players and guards who are all intent on saving the garrison. If you succeed, the garrison will hold and may launch a counterattack on the trading post where the centaurs came from. If you fail, it's a desperate fight as soldiers pour from the nearby town and attempt to retake their fortress. Scenarios like this are exactly the sort of thing that allows our event system to shine and we think players will be really pleased with how it has turned out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Weeping Coast Trailer

Runes of Magic has released a new trailer for the elves and the Weeping Coast zone. It looks like we'll be seeing some raid bosses out there including Naga, Rock monsters, and Ents. Looks cool.

On a side note, the elves don't look like they are going to very visually distinguished from humans. I think we'll be seeing some new armor visuals though.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Game Within a Game

Every once in a while an idea comes along that blows your mind. It has your head spinning around the newly expanded possibilities it represents, yet it is so simple somebody should have thought of it years ago. That doesn't mean whoever came up with the idea will implement it perfectly, but you can be sure that the idea will survive, evolve, and be thought about by developers and armchair designers for years to come.

Warhammer Online's public quests were one such idea. CCP's Dust 514 is another.

Dust 514 is going to be a console FPS game that connects with EVE Online. Planetary control in EVE will be determined by the outcome of Dust 514 matches.

My initial thoughts are about how the two communities will interact. Talented FPS teams and players will be recruited by the richest and most successful EVE corporations as the "ground team" arm of their organizations. If FPS fans decide they like Dust 514 they will no doubt create accounts and subscribe to EVE. But the the FPS players don't have to subscribe to the larger MMO at all. This gives the matches in the FPS a heighted importance and purpose. You are fighting battles in a war being waged by powerful corporations in a universe you can barely understand. But the larger war isn't theoretical, or just made-up lore that only exists in single-player missions and in game trailers. Those powerful corporations are run by real players in another game, on another platform.

I'm less certain about the impact on EVE players. They could look at the FPS players as peons in their quest for domination. "The fleet does the flying, the infantry does the dying." Or it could be a source of frustration as your battles could be determined by the outcome of another game played by other players.

In any case the two sides would be interested in what the other is doing. FPS players would have a whole community interested in the outcome of their matches, and EVE Corporations would have even more people looking in from the outside in awe of the politics, deceit, and meta-gaming going on in the interstellar power structures.

Do you think that Dust team could be bribed to lose a match if the price were right? Might they be paid, not in ISK, but real money? Like I said, my head is still swimming with the possiblities.

You have to give CCP credit for not being afraid to let their game change and evolve in new directions.

Other links: CrazyKinux, Broken Toys.