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Shut Up. We're Talking.
Host: Darren and Karen
Darren and Karen present this commentary podcast covering recent topics found within the MMORPG Blogging and Podcasting community.

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Shut Up. We're Talking #52
Tue, 28 Jul 2009 16:35:00 GMT [download/play]



  • Introductions
  • Listener Mail/What we're playing
  • Cheating
  • MMO Travel
  • Blog of the Week

  • Hosts:
  • Darren - Commonsensegamer.com
  • Karen - Journey's with Jaye
  • Andrew - Teeth and Claws
  • Bill - Innter Sanctum of the Ninveah

  • Blogs of the Week:
  • Tranquil Abyss
  • Massively Max

  • Login to post a comment
    Previous Episodes
    Episode #77 - Duration: 2925 - Released: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 06:16:01 +0000
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    Episode #52.5 - Duration: 00:04:12 - Released: Wed, 2 Sep 2009 19:43:00 GMT
    Episode #52 - Duration: 01:04:24 - Released: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 16:35:00 GMT
    Episode #51 - Duration: 01:17:30 - Released: Mon, 13 Jul 2009 23:49:00 GMT
    Episode #50 - Duration: 01:35:33 - Released: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 16:15:00 GMT
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    Episode #2 - Duration: 01:09:48 - Released: Wed, 6 Jun 2007 05:20:00 GMT
    Episode #1 - Duration: 01:08:21 - Released: Mon, 28 May 2007 02:12:00 GMT

    Episode 52 Discussion Thread

    '10 Years from now...' by Seritaph
    Submitted on 2009-07-28 20:15:04 CST
    It's difficult to predict what a MMO will look and even play like 10 years from now, but if I look back historically I see a trend of evolution that seems to make sense. Just as the earlier side-scroller games (like Contra) have evolved into a whole new breed of action game (God of War), the pen and paper RPGs of the past evolved into CRPGs, which branched and evolved into MUDs, which evolved into what we know as MMOs today. The continuing evolution of the MMO may spark such a change that we no longer view the "10 year from now" MMO as an actual MMO, but something completely different. Perhaps a whole new genre of game. Even working out the logistics of making an MMO more viable on console systems like PS3 and XBOX could spark all sorts of changes and really challenge our current ideas of what makes an MMO, and at that point do you still call it an MMO? Or has it evolved into something new? Only time will tell.


    'I concer Karen' by Yoh
    Submitted on 2009-07-29 03:01:30 CST
    I agree with your anaylise of modern questing, which are very much designed in such a way the players doing them basically have their blinders on, and as such do not pay attention to their surroundings, wether it be the beautiful enviroments, other players, or just so much as to enjoy the experience.

    People just rush from point A to point B, and don't (for the most part) stop to look around and smell the flowers. And too many games catter to that, and it erks me so.

    There has to be a better way of doing things.

    ~Yoh



    'Thank you' by MassivelyMax
    Submitted on 2009-07-29 04:37:00 CST
    Hey Darren and Karen, just wanted to say a huge thank you for the Blog of the Week mention and for giving some encouragement to a new blogger! I'll try to keep those posts coming.

    Once again, another great show, although it makes me sad to hear that you won't be back till September. :(

    Have a good holiday!

    -Max



    'The early bird got better worms.' by Nosferum
    Submitted on 2009-07-29 19:26:15 CST
    -Boy am I glad I got into MMOs early (circa 'UO). I'd much rather pay $10 per month (inflation, meh) to just play a game than try to play in the middle of McDonaldland Online for free. Plus, while I'm jabbing at modern MMOs, "back in my day each game was at least somewhat original!"


    'entering a dangerous era!!!' by rocknerd
    Submitted on 2009-07-29 23:10:13 CST
    listening to the talk of "RMT, 15$ monthly subs etc..." they are seeing how far they can push this and if we dont stop buying this garbage it might be the way of the future...

    free to play games are like public transportation!!! sounds like a good idea, but you miss your own car/music and every once in a while u get stuck sitting next to the douche bag who is gold farming/booger farming...

    remember when you could pay 50$ and get a whole game?
    now were just buying pieces of of a game over and over. maybe thats fine for people who arent gamers but not me.

    hell i remember when DLC used to be called an expansion packs and you could just pay 20-30 bucks and get a complete experience!!!

    it all started with that god damned horse armor. when it happened i bished, and ever since i bished about every little thing that gets hacked off the end of a game and resold to us 2 months after a games launch. look at fallout 3, you mean to tell me now every developer isnt going to say, gee were already charging an extra 10$ per game and selling at 60 a pop, but now we can basically sell a game for 60 then re sell the hind quarters for another 20 and so on....

    are we paying 100$ for games now and we just dont know it???



    'Experience vs Challenge' by Jaxom92
    Submitted on 2009-07-30 21:38:45 CST
    It's interesting that you all have a discussion about experiencing games versus playing games because last week's show inspired me to make a post about experience on my own blog.

    I don't think that desiring experience and desiring challenge is mutually exclusive. That's probably because "experience" can be so broadly defined. We can experience a game passively (watching a cut scene) or actively (engaging our brain around a puzzle/quest/ect). I think all of us game for the experience, it just depends on what kind of experience we're looking for.

    I also don't think certain types of game experiences can't be brought together. Like tourism and challenge. I'm not exactly sure what this kind of marriage would look like, but if I look at my own choices in games, I see in myself a consumer who would probably pick up a game that sold both rich "tourism" as well as rich challenge. I played all the Myst games. They were very heavy on experiencing the world, but they had a lot of challenge too, being puzzle games. In MMOs, my game of choice is LOTRO, and one of the leading reasons I picked up the game was to experience, explore, and be a "tourist" so to speak of that world. At the same time my favorite moments in the game aren't just exploring Middle-Earth but also completing challenging content with a group, particularly my kinship.

    Maybe I'm just one of those odd-man-out gamers who aren't part of a discernible demographic. I'd like to think I'm not the only gamer who values both types of experiences. I'd be awfully lonely out there if I was.



    'Your not alone' by Yoh
    Submitted on 2009-07-30 23:16:18 CST
    I completely agree with your sediment there Jaxom92, that experience and challenge are not mutually exclusive. There is room to be awe stricken by the journey, and yet have genuine challenges along the way.

    The problem I see is that at the moment it's hard to find both these aspects at the same place at the same time. Experience tends to be reserved for the often very linear storyline/story telling. Which is mostly comprised of you having to wipe out every indigenous creature that gets in your way. And they by in large are little more then speed bumps, which offer little if not no challenge whatsoever.

    And real challenge is often left towards endgame, and is also often conflated with difficulty. As challenge is something to overcome by learning how it works, ie, reading a strong foes movements, so that you know what its going to do, before it's going to do it.
    Where difficulty is usually just a foe or event that just tries to overpower you. No strategy, no plan, it just hits hard. And the only way of beating it tends to be, to wail on it and try to overpower it instead.
    A foe that 1 shots you is not a challenge, it's just lazy programming.

    Some of the best experiences and challenges that I've even had in a game, usually come from single player games, like some of the Castlevania series, FP puzzle games, some horror games, and a whole lot of RPG's. (like the new Devil Survivor)

    And this is one of the areas I wish MMO development studios would pay more attention single player games for.

    ~Yoh



    'How about a road trip?' by inktomi
    Submitted on 2009-07-31 03:34:26 CST
    Hello guys and karen,

    I really enjoyed SUWT 52, it brought up alot of old memories from past gaming experiences. On the subject of travel, I feel that the game developers are trying to make travel easy and everything accessible to satisfy the larger audience.

    Since MMO's are primarily a socially driven game (or at least I like to think they are). This might take away the major social aspect of the game, which was the bonding time while you were traveling somewhere by mount with a group.

    I remember long rides to leveling spots with members of my Linkshell (clan/guild etc) in FFXI and the jokes we would tell along the way to pass the time. I had alot of laughs and now it just seems that travel is a button click away then, ok let's get down to business. A good old fashioned road trip always provided great bonding moments, in real life and virtual.

    Sadly, I feel that in order to limit downtime and keep pressing the magic reward button in gamers brains, they are making the travel more of a aesthetic aspect with all the fancy, shmancy mounts.

    "Wayyyyy back when I was a young gamer, we rode chocobos, and every chocobo looked the same. And we rode it up hill, in the snow both ways to grind for hours on end.



    'Route 666?' by Seritaph
    Submitted on 2009-07-31 15:21:05 CST
    Travel is one of those dicey mechanics. Make it too slow, people get annoyed. Make it too quick and you lose potential social interaction. I'd rather it be too slow with options to make it faster, because then there is a choice. If I'm by myself and I need to get somewhere quickly, I can. If I'm grouped and I want to slow down to the lowest common denominator and get my social on, I can. If I want to really slow things down, become immersed in the scope of the virtual world, I can. I don't think it's about catering to one specific camp, but offering choices.

    I really like how WoW handles travel. For me, the world never really felt small, like it should with faster forms of travel. And I like that, because I like feeling immersed in my gaming world.

    I also like chocobos. Getting that chocobo in FFXI was a wondrous achievement. And running around as a pack was great fun. Though some would consider FFXI too hard-core by today's standards, I loved that game. I was a Taru white mage, with summoner as my second job. I loved those cool looking pets.

    I'll be watching the progress of FFXIV with much anticipation.



    'Travel times & raiding "cheating"' by FraidOfTheLight
    Submitted on 2009-08-01 10:55:37 CST
    Hi Darren & Karen and colleagues. I haven't posted here before, so just wanted to say how much I enjoy the pdocast.

    ===

    Re travel times: comparing games like WoW, where you can fly from one end of a continent to another, to games like WAR where the regions are much smaller, I found that WAR's approach is less immersive.

    A long flight without any loading screens really makes the world seem large and continuous, and IMHO provides a more immersive experience -- as opposed to a series of small, separate zones which could be next to each other or miles apart.

    Also, a long flight from a major town or city to some backwater helps places to feel remote. One thing I've found with Wrath of the Lich King is that nowhere is that far from Dalaran, so nowhere feels remote. Conversely, back in old WoW, Silthius is a long flight from anywhere, so adding to its feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.

    ===

    Re raiding "cheating": as you mentioned, it's all but expected that you learn the tactics before you turn up to raid. As such, I interpret the challenge of raiding to be _applying_ the tactics, not figuring out what they are (though some tweaking is inevitable).

    It sounds like the emphasis has changed since the early days of MMOs, but this new focus is still a challenge. Given how hard some of the raid fights are in WoW even when familiar with the strategy, it might be virtually imposible for all but the most hardcore groups to succeed if this information wasn't publically available.

    And it doesn't lessen the achievement. Downing a boss for the first time still feels good, because it means that your group of often disparate individuals has worked together.



    'A couple replies' by Andrew
    Submitted on 2009-08-02 17:03:56 CST
    @Seritaph:

    "I really like how WoW handles travel. "

    That's something that I had jotted down, but never found a good way to interject into the debate - one of the big things that WoW nails is travel.

    The first time out you need to walk/ride from point A to point B, and you get to experience the scenery and face the environmental challenges along the way. Once you arrive at your destination there is usually a flight point which then allows you to taxi from A to B much more quickly, and avoid the intermediate obstacles (not to mention get a nice bird's eye view of the place). You're still able to travel by land if you want, but another option is available to you.

    Eventually you get a flying mount which provides another mode of travel - but the mount is kept from you until you are two thirds of the way thru the Outlands/Northrend so that you get to appreciate the size of the areas on foot. Very good choice here.

    On top of this, there are the options for mage/warlock instantaneous travel, as wll as instance summoning stones, which facilitate group play by cutting travel out of the equation.

    WoW nails travel.

    -------------------
    @Fraidofthelight:

    Regarding "cheating" in raids: one thing that really drove it home for me was that when Ulduar was released my guild was ready to go, and for a very precious few weeks there were no solid strategy guides available. Because of this we had to learn the fights on our own, and figure out the tactics without having a guide spit them out for us. This was the best few weeks of raiding that I ever experienced, bar none.

    After a couple of weeks all of the big sites had guides online, and we were back to blindly following a script. Everything felt so much cheaper.



    'Wall of text. But hey that'll be it for a month :(' by Gnova
    Submitted on 2009-08-03 05:13:56 CST
    A couple of great topics on the latest show.

    Travel in MMOs
    Not sure where I think a good happy medium is.
    WoW flight is too slow for my liking. Any form of transportation where I might take a 10 minute AFK in the middle of it, or play a bejeweled addon is too long. Not sure how fixing a snack in the kitchen doesn't break emersion more than a wizard teleport /shrug.
    EQ2 has gone too far the other way. You don't have to run anywhere anymore. Either there is a portal from you guild hall or you wait for someone else in the guild to plant a rally banner. If the place is a real pita to get to (ie 5-10 minuts of travel) someone will have a alt parked there so someone else in your group can call of tinker to them and plant a flag.
    I think Lotro has it about right with a mix of normal and quick travel.
    EQ2's world is pretty massive but with all the travel routes it feels really instancy and small atm.

    Raid/Instance Strats
    I will lump group instance stats in with raid stats on this. When TSO released for EQ2 the dungeons had a lot of scripted boss fights. They first thing I did was to figure out the scripts and post long explanations on each zone for my guild. In hindsight maybe I shouldn't have but it beat explaining the same fight over and over in tells and /gu.
    Maybe, in the day of online strats and log parsers, that is why raid encounters are getting more and more script heavy. The latest raid dungeons in EQ2 are so heavily scripted and dependant on people calling out timers, curing or running through hoops, that the fun has been sucked out of the encounters. Since everyone knows the strat the only way to add challenge is to make it stupidly whack-a-mole dependant.

    Quest helpers
    Do you think that developers are adding quest helpers into their games solely to aid players or also to make it so that they can be lazier on quest info text? They don't really have to give directions on how to complete a quest if a big X shows up on the screen to show where you need to go and big halo surrounds the item you need to click to advance it.
    AoC is very guilty of this and I pretty much guarantee that when the next LOTRO expansion comes out it will be nearly impossible to complete the quests with the helper turned off.
    One of the biggest complaints I hear about AoC is that the voice acting stops after Tortage and the game gets boring. The quests are still very good but people likely just revert to their option 1 click, option 1 click, option 1 click, quest added noise, run away and follow the big X playstyle and don't read the quest text. Hard to find the game engaging when you don't read any of the background.



    'Wall of text. But hey that'll be it for a month :(' by Gnova
    Submitted on 2009-08-03 05:22:46 CST
    A couple of great topics on the latest show.

    Travel in MMOs
    Not sure where I think a good happy medium is.
    WoW flight is too slow for my liking. Any form of transportation where I might take a 10 minute AFK in the middle of it, or play a bejeweled addon is too long. Not sure how fixing a snack in the kitchen doesn't break emersion more than a wizard teleport /shrug.
    EQ2 has gone too far the other way. You don't have to run anywhere anymore. Either there is a portal from you guild hall or you wait for someone else in the guild to plant a rally banner. If the place is a real pita to get to (ie 5-10 minuts of travel) someone will have a alt parked there so someone else in your group can call of tinker to them and plant a flag.
    I think Lotro has it about right with a mix of normal and quick travel.
    EQ2's world is pretty massive but with all the travel routes it feels really instancy and small atm.

    Raid/Instance Strats
    I will lump group instance stats in with raid stats on this. When TSO released for EQ2 the dungeons had a lot of scripted boss fights. They first thing I did was to figure out the scripts and post long explanations on each zone for my guild. In hindsight maybe I shouldn't have but it beat explaining the same fight over and over in tells and /gu.
    Maybe, in the day of online strats and log parsers, that is why raid encounters are getting more and more script heavy. The latest raid dungeons in EQ2 are so heavily scripted and dependant on people calling out timers, curing or running through hoops, that the fun has been sucked out of the encounters. Since everyone knows the strat the only way to add challenge is to make it stupidly whack-a-mole dependant.

    Quest helpers
    Do you think that developers are adding quest helpers into their games solely to aid players or also to make it so that they can be lazier on quest info text? They don't really have to give directions on how to complete a quest if a big X shows up on the screen to show where you need to go and big halo surrounds the item you need to click to advance it.
    AoC is very guilty of this and I pretty much guarantee that when the next LOTRO expansion comes out it will be nearly impossible to complete the quests with the helper turned off.
    One of the biggest complaints I hear about AoC is that the voice acting stops after Tortage and the game gets boring. The quests are still very good but people likely just revert to their option 1 click, option 1 click, option 1 click, quest added noise, run away and follow the big X playstyle and don't read the quest text. Hard to find the game engaging when you don't read any of the background.



    'In regards to traveling' by DaFatalGigabyte
    Submitted on 2009-08-12 23:52:48 CST
    What about traveling faster, outside of battle, if you are on a common travel lane, or a road? Or in a travel lane that you frequent? Or a lane that you have a map for if it's a more wild region? I think it would bring in a good map crafting function.

    Personally, I hate travel, but I also love it. I'd seriously enjoy warping to a point close to a quest area if I had an in-game map to it.



    'New episode' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2009-08-20 23:08:28 CST
    ..coming with the next week or two.

    Thanks for waiting all.