Through Simple Eyes I Say HI!

I have been thinking a lot about what Professor Delwiche said about keeping fresh eyes, I know I have some jaded eyes myself from years of gaming but it can be hard to keep a “zen mind”. But just because we know a lot about something does not mean we can not see it with new eyes, and thinking about this made me think of the Winslow, a creature from web comics and how even through its appearance and its behavior it is not a simple creature but seemingly one that just enjoys any and all things in a way we can not. For most people the amazing creature that is the Winlsow is something that you not come into contact with, odd since he is featured in 3/4 of the universes religions. So here for a quick, nerdy laugh is the explination of the Winslow parts 1, 2, and 3. So anyway what Im trying to say is, we should not always take everything we see and compare it to what ever we can think of. When we are looking at games, and players and game mechanics and even story telling mechanics we should take a moment to appreciate them on their own merits as a stand alone entity without any biases and baggage. Because everything is different, and isn’t it the differences that make everything interesting? So prehaps we should all take a note from the Winslow and just for a second, no matter what it is just be an observer and enjoy what you see.

….
…..
Honk.

-MT

PC Gamer’s top 11 MMO’s

PC Gamer puts out the top 11 MMO’s in their April 2010 issue. Each game is accompanied by the basic plot, problems, improvements and tips on how to get started the right way.

The top MMO list:

AION: Tower of Eternity

EVE Online

Fallen Earth

Everquest II: Sentinel’s Fate

Wurm

Champions Online

The Lord of the Rings Online

Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning

City of Heroes

Dungeons & Dragons Online

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures

Each of these games “dare to be different, bringing people together in new and unique ways; games that encourage players to branch out a bit and broaden their horizons.”  I think this quote from PC Gamer accurately describes the reasoning behind our research.  These games enable people from all around the world to connect in a fun way while also learning some interesting things along the way. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this community??

Happy gaming!

Shelbs

Console Vs. Computer MMOs

I was looking through video game news recently and came across a very surprising fact. In the list of upcoming Xbox 360 titles Star Wars the Old Republic pop up and started an article here on massively .com: http://www.massively.com/2010/03/29/is-the-old-republic-heading-to-xbox-360/. Which got me thinking, how do companies and players deal with PC to Console MMO’s. In the past I was a massive player of FFXI, i started out on PC and later picked up the game on Xbox 360 but it never seemed to have that same immersion. I may have a bias in this case considering I started the game and learned it on the computer so I was used to those controls. But when I played it on the Xbox it never drew me in like it did before, even though the screen was much bigger and prettier than it had been before. Communicating was the largest difficulty I had, alternating between a keyboard (either on screen or in my lap) broke the flow of the game and made playing and typing at the same time rather difficult. Which makes me wonder how will Old Republic over come this same break of immersion that I found FFXI to have. I also wonder if there are any games out there that do this right, that make playing on a console no more of a hassle than playing on the computer since many future releases are promised to come out in both formats.

I am also trying to look into the region locking strategies for both console and computer MMOs since I find region locking a very interesting if inelegant and futile process. Are computer games and console ports region locked the same? Could someone in America play with a console player in the Congo and not one on the PC?  Are the rules for interacting across regions different forreasons such as the good of our children, since by and large consoles have a tendency to be targeted to youths and nearly everyone you meet either owns or has access to a computer. Inter console play offers up a very interesting set of circumstances for region-locking I should ask my friend in the industry and get back to ya’ll.

Good Luck and Good Hunting

-SmilinTanner

JStor goes to Padre

Spring Break ’10 is already here, hard to believe I know, but time flies when *you’re having fun,* however that may be!  Anyway, I have been thinking about how to approach the WRI for the rest of the semester (in order to fulfill the class credits!).  I have been researching on Jstor articles and studies on the effectiveness of video games on education.

I was surprised by the initial JStor results.

At first, I was expecting to find and begin reading testimonies for and against the usage of video games for education, which I did find.  But what was unusual were the articles that referenced the effectiveness for games to be used in the professional setting to teach skills or train professionals in areas that they should already know.  From this, I am beginning to draw my initial hypothesis that games for education are not only helpful in adolescent primary education, but also in the professional workforce.

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Chasing the Dragon…

MMORPGS as we all know are notorious for their “addictive” game-play. But we as MMORPG gamers know from personal experience that while some games draw us in and never let go, others never seem to interact with us that deeply. In my case it started with my first MMO: Final Fantasy XI. I was a resident Elvaan on the Carbuncle server for four years playing nearly everyday for multiple hours. My Senior year in highschool I finally quit the game, the drama inside had become too much and was beginning to bleed over into real life. I met people in there that are still friends of mine to this day in virtual worlds. My life in Vanadiel was just as important as my real life because of the people I met and the communication I had with people all over the world inside Vanadiel (Boy did that Elvaan like to talk!). But could this be one of the driving factors for what takes a hold of gamers in certain games and not others? Since leaving Final Fantasy XI, I have tried a myriad of different MMO’s and never had that same draw and desire to keep playing as I did with FFXI. There is no desire to grind out to the next level, to get that next tier gear, to make it to that new zone. What I have noticed is that there is less engagement with me personally in these other games with the games and players themselves. While admittedly at first I was a silent solo player in FFXI, Sandoria would not let me be solo for long. I needed help killing sheep and learning how to get better gear, a Red Mage is kind of difficult to solo for a guy not used to spell casting. This is especially with casting being interrupted so easily in that game( at least it was at launch ). But this leads me to my point, how do game development companies try to foster this “addiction” to keep people playing there game, to keep people coming back for more. How is it that they quantify and categorize something that the gamer’s themselves have trouble expressing at times. To this day I am still not exactly sure what kept me wanting to come back to that Samurai/Dark Knight (only when I was goofing around you had to be sub THF in a party). I knew I just wanted to get back online, grind out that next level, get the money for the new piece of equipment or kill that NM. I wanted to chat with my linkshell, and the players in Jueno, and meet new people in parties. But why? Did I want to do that? Or were these actions a justification in themselves? I do not know, but I would like to hear from other people about what kept them coming back to their games of choice and kept them playing day after day. Maybe we can find a common vein something that links all MMO gamers together in their MMO experience that can help Game Developers refine the game making process and make better MMOs, because I have played some poor games. Now in know way am I advocating or promoting gaming addiction, or that developers are looking to cultivate it. I am just looking for common threads that made games appealing to different gamers. Because generally people dont get pulled into something based on the things that they don’t like.

Ya’ know?

-Good Luck and Good Hunting,

SmilinTanner

Bad Company 2, the FPS, & participation

Who’s played it yet?  C’mon, it’s pretty cool, let me say… but what I think is interesting about the new Battlefield is that this FPS, i think, is furthering the bounds of its own particular virtual world.  The first Call of Duty (remember back to before xfire & punkbuster were implemented!) set the stage for Activision (and then subsequent developers) to create their own virtual representation of the WWII battlefield.  In this case, as are many others, the developers used realistic recreations of sites, events, and battles to stimulate the realistic effect on the gamer.  The long series of Call of Duty games all seem to consist of similar attributes of game design and world design: guns are modeled the same, textures are similar, body movements, sounds, fonts, etc.  We may think little of this because it’s obvious: same game, same developer (well, sorta), same stuff.

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Beta-Testing Blues

Hello All!

This is Smiling Tanner, the Irish guy on the World Play Research staff here to talk to you about my recent outreach. Lately I have been trying to get the word out about the World Play Initiative in Beta games to see if getting information in on the ground floor would help enlarge our reach. I must say though it has been tough. Currently I am engaged in the Allods Online Beta trying to get the word out but I have run into the problem that I seem to hit with every Beta testing MMO, what I like to call the “walking ghost” phenomenon. When ever I try out Beta’s of games no one is really interested in interacting, even in NeoSteam and Atlus fans are usually such a talkative bunch (projecting too much?). Anyway, these Betas have people too focused on pushing the envelope of their characters as far as they can before the inevitable character resets or actual start of the game. But it looks like that this just makes players anti-social in general and too focused on grinding through the game instead of enjoying it. No one gives you the time of day in Betas which is rather chaffing. Looks like I will have to start getting a little rowdy in the Beta bowls to drum up some more support for World Play. I hope this works.

Peace, and Happy Hunting,

-Smiling Tanner

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