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VirginWorlds MMORPG News
Host: Brent
VirginWorlds is a weekly news podcast covering Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, EverQuest, Guild Wars, City of Heroes, Eve Online, Vanguard, Lord of the Rings Online and many many more. The VirginWorlds MMORPG Podcast is the flagship podcast of the VirginWorlds MMO Podcast Collective found at http://www.virginworlds.com

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VirginWorlds Podcast #79
Thu, 26 Jul 2007 03:11:00 GMT [download/play]



The show you've surely been waiting for all year, this year's top ten list, has arrived. Last year we ranked the top ten MMOs of the past decade (much to the dismay of some) and this year we decided to flip it over and look forward to the top ten most anticipated/important/cool/innovative MMOs on the horizon. This year Brenden and I decided to let a couple more guys in on the secrets of our scientific methods. Michael from MMOGNation and Darren from SUWT and The Common Sense Gamer joined us for the fun.

And now I must do something I've never (ok, rarely) felt compelled to do before. Apologize for a little audio snafu. Turns out that when the talking to 3 other people at once and trying to record my part of the conversation - I should NOT use a crappy old laptop. This resulted in a little skipping on my tracks now and then. Really sucks. If you're wondering what that game we're talking about is that got blurred out - it's Age of Conan. Other than that you'll find the audio quality to be pristine.

Enjoy.

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Episode 79 Discussion Thread

'Does Raph love his game ?' by Dathmar
Submitted on 2007-07-26 05:20:11 CST
I am not sure how succesful the game developered by Areae will be - but I am a little confused.
Let's say Raph is an artist of sorts in the same sense a musician is an artist.
Raph is making a game that he probably wouldn't normally play but he is looking to get lots of people to play it.
Its like a musician playing in a band, playing a style of music that he doesn't like to listen to normally.....is his heart in it ? for me NO - but perhaps the $$$ keeps him driven ?


As to the PS3 thing - you think they have been a little dumb in the past ? - you should hear what SCEE President David Reeves is saying at the moment - apparently its a in the best interests of the UK consumers that the PS3 will not have a price cut in Europe similar to the US price cut.
So in Europe, you get a PS3 which is inferior to the rest of the world's version ( no Emotion Chip), you pay more for it and now you will not get a price cut ...so you end up paying even more.....and that's in the best interests of the consumer
?

Sorry about the non MMO Rant !



'Pirates....' by Dathmar
Submitted on 2007-07-26 07:51:19 CST
I forgot to say - PotBS
Even though I come from the part of the world where a lot of pirates (Devon, England) sailed from (not relevant at all !!)
;)
I hadn't really been interested in this game until the MOG Army GDC Video Review
The more I hear about the game now the more I am interested in it.
I haven't seen the whole game and I get the impression its more based around ship combat with avatar combat added later....but I personally would have put this one in the top 5

but as you said last time you did a top 10......
Science is Science.....
and also some of you have probably seen a lot more of the game than I have
Nudge nudge wink wink.




'PS3 and Audio Quality' by Michael
Submitted on 2007-07-26 13:26:32 CST
Audio: I should note that it's freaking amazing Brent got it as good as he did. There were a bunch of times in there that we weren't sure how it was going to turn out, but he's done a really great job of cleaning things up. Very nicely done, sir.

PS3: I guess I should equivocate by saying 'it looks like they're going to be less dumb than they have been in the past, in general'. Sorta.



'a puzzle' by Brent
Submitted on 2007-07-26 13:40:10 CST
Heh, thanks Michael. I must say that while the individual tracks (aside from mine) were darn flawless (after some noise gating) the synchronization issues caused by the ultra laggy Skype connection resulted in a podcast that had to be a assembled like a puzzle - literally. Every single time anyone spoke even if is was just a "yeah" I had to try to figure out where that belonged in the sequence of events. 5 minutes of editing for every 1 minute of audio. It was a treat. I should do a screen cast of the edit process when I piece together part 2 (which had the same issues) because it would be highly educational for up and coming podcasters. Or it might as a deterrent.


'Different comm programs' by Akely
Submitted on 2007-07-26 14:52:26 CST
Brent: Since there are more than one program to use (Ventrilo, Teamspeak, Skype (and more?)) I wonder what the process of choosing which one you use. Are they good at different things, or what? Personally I've only used Teamspeak, so I'm a newbie concerning this (too).


/Akely



'A few comments' by Scott
Submitted on 2007-07-26 16:08:01 CST
I have to disagree about Tabula Rasa which will probably be more clear later, but it will not redeem Richard Garriot, nor will its gameplay impact the market. There's a few small elements to it that are unique to the title but your average MMO gamer is just going to gloss over them and race for the "end" as they've been trained to do in every MMO before it. Frankly I think Garriot's style of game design hasn't kept up with MMO gamers over the last 10 years, he puts way to much faith in game elements from his UO series days that gamers simply ignore in their rush to click "accept" and race to complete the quest for their xp and item reward. He's is a good guy, but as Brent put it this game is an albatross around his neck, and he really needs to push it out the door and get working on a new title to prove himself once again.

I'm also not as impressed with Sony's HOME title. I see merit in it as a virtual Hub to as one of the guest hosts pointed out to meet with friends, but that's only as an alternative to other features common on consoles like voice chat and instant messages.

It definately isn't going to set the world on fire anymore than pointless virtual spaces like Second Life have, and even Sony isn't trying to live up to even an iota of the expectations of virtual worlds like SL. Sony is being very modest about HOME and I think they're very right to do so, chalk it up to a 3D IM program with some in-world portals to run Sony game titles.

As for Raph he's truly a designer I respect regardless of his detractors, he's one of the few game designers that has the guts to push ahead with his visions, especially true MMO's world simulations in a sea of EQ clones. I just hope his new title at Areae doesn't take him away from the mainstream MMO market for too long, I think we'd be poorer for it. As for his unnannounced title? Given his track record and appeal (or lack thereof) to the MMO gamer masses, you certainly wouldn't find me placing any real money bets on him at this point. ;)

Great podcast, I like the group discussion/roundtable format alot.



'PS3 and HOME' by hallower
Submitted on 2007-07-26 17:11:49 CST
PS3 will start picking up sales now, but less due to the price drop (temporary or not) and more due to some of the recent Blu-Ray news. When Blockbuster announced they were going with Blu-Ray, my brother took that as the final bell in the format war. He'll be buying a PS3 soon because it's a Blu-Ray + game console which is no more expensive than other Blu-Ray hardware without game functions. I'm sure there are plenty of people like him who are looking at the PS3's value as a Blu-Ray player as much as its value as a game console.

Part of the reasoning behind PS3 HOME may be supermarket-style marketing. Supermarkets are designed so that the most commonly bought items (milk, bananas, cereal) are spread out through the store, forcing customers to walk by other items and hopefully see something they want to buy that wasn't on their shopping lists. It sounds like HOME will similarly force PS3 owners to window-shop on their way to the items they're really interested in.

It also shifts word-of-mouth marketing from environments away from the console and into the console playing time. If you hear or read about something you can buy on your PS3 while you're away from it or it's turned off, then you're less likely to buy that item on impulse. If advertising catches your interest while you're already on the console, there's less likelihood that you'll take time to step back and consider the purchasing decision more objectively.

I think Xbox Live is a better online model than PS3 HOME, but HOME does seem to have some sly marketing sense behind it.



'Kudos' by darrenl
Submitted on 2007-07-26 17:32:16 CST
I'm also going to give Brent-man kudos for the edit. The lag was awful that night. It was the same night I recorded SUWT#5, and we had the same issues with Alaph sutting in and out. We had Michael drop twice I think. Good job B.

Although I am positive that Michael is right regarding the PS3 price drop and it being ok, I'm still going on the assumption that the company has it's head up it's ass until otherwise proven wrong.

I'll reiterate my comment for PS3 Home...I don't care ;)




'Areae and pirates' by hallower
Submitted on 2007-07-26 17:33:31 CST
Until only a week ago, I used to have a link to Raph's blogsite on mine. The reason I chose to remove the link is the same reason I don't hold much hope for Areae (though I won't discount their game yet).

Raph was a major designer on SWG, which remains one of my favorite overall MMO memories. But if you read the stuff he writes these days, he seems far less interested in games than in products. I get the impression that he's become increasingly the marketing analyst and statician, less the fervent gamer; increasingly looking at things in dollar signs, less in terms of fun and meaningful immersion.

I might be wrong, of course. Maybe was the same way back when he designed that game I loved. Maybe he has become more focused on facts and figures, but is still able to balance that stuff with creativity and deep attachment to his games. I'm just saying he doesn't talk like a gamer, so it's hard for me to believe he can design like a gamer.

On another note, the pirate impression made my day. Arr, matey!



'Does Raph have Web 2.0 envy?' by Scott
Submitted on 2007-07-26 18:12:52 CST
You might be onto something hallower. I'm left wondering if Raph as talented as he is but only having small (relative) success with his respective titles such as Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies is having a bit of WoW or Web 2.0 success envy?

Just like the DotCom or Web 2.0 success stories of the companies that made millions in their IPO's or sale, and success of MMO's like WoW making cash hand over fist, is he just looking for his 15 minutes of fame? Is his focus on analyzing the market and constant talk of his yet to be named title to reach the mass casual market his attempt to realize that missed opportunity back when he helped pioneer the MMO market?

It just leaves me to wonder if he's wanting to cash in, and then go back to sandbox MMO games at a later time on his own terms with a hefty war chest, hell if it was me, that's how I'd do it.



'Does Raph have Web 2.0 envy?' by Scott
Submitted on 2007-07-26 18:13:45 CST
You might be onto something hallower. I'm left wondering if Raph as talented as he is but only having small (relative) success with his respective titles such as Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies is having a bit of WoW or Web 2.0 success envy?

Just like the DotCom or Web 2.0 success stories of the companies that made millions in their IPO's or sale, and success of MMO's like WoW making cash hand over fist, is he just looking for his 15 minutes of fame? Is his focus on analyzing the market and constant talk of his yet to be named title to reach the mass casual market his attempt to realize that missed opportunity back when he helped pioneer the MMO market?

It just leaves me to wonder if he's wanting to cash in, and then go back to sandbox MMO games at a later time on his own terms with a hefty war chest, hell if it was me, that's how I'd do it.



'When You Do List Shows...' by Wilhelm2451
Submitted on 2007-07-26 19:16:06 CST
Make sure you re-cap the list at the end. I listen on the freeway and I find it awkward to take notes so I can put the whole list together in... well... one list.

Other than that, I look forward to hearing the rest of the list!