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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 #140
Mon, 23 Feb 2009 01:46:00 GMT [download/play]



Topics:

Roper Defends Warhammer

Jumpgate and Champions on the doorstep

Aussies are baffled by MMORPGs

Aion is getting localized

Re-branding Free to Play?

Star Trek Online, the hardcore questions

Vanguard vs. EQ2

Fallen Earth update


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Episode 140 Discussion Thread

'EQ2 vs. Vanguard' by Nosferum
Submitted on 2009-02-23 18:23:30 CST
-I didn't interpret the essay as "a very, very good 'thumbs-up' for Vanguard", but I can understand how a reader unfamiliar with Vanguard might not realize the apples-to-oranges comparison of the two.

-Throughout the essay, EQ2 seemed to win each step, but when the reviewer explained the reasons for the overall win for Vanguard, I, as a former player, understood. I wish the writer could have been more long-winded. I *will* say, however, that considering Vanguard as more polished than EQ2 is PURELY the result of Vanguard's new NPE. I wonder if the writer knew that the rest of the game was ramshackle, because he kept giving disclaimers about the rest of the game.

-As someone who found EQ2 "too cookie cutter", I would rate Vanguard on top as well, but in the end, I play neither game.



'Darkfall' by PeZzy
Submitted on 2009-02-24 06:40:41 CST
I don't know about the rest of you but I am tired of the Medieval theme (Vanguard vs EQ2). Been playing since the days of text MMOs and this theme has been beaten to death. Bring on Jumpgate, STO, SWtoR and ER.

BTW...Darkfall is launching on Wednesday and not a peep. I guess no one cares.



'Darkfall' by PeZzy
Submitted on 2009-02-24 07:08:50 CST
I don't know about the rest of you but I am tired of the Medieval theme (Vanguard vs EQ2). Been playing since the days of text MMOs and this theme has been beaten to death. Bring on Jumpgate, STO, SWtoR and ER.

BTW...Darkfall is launching on Wednesday and not a peep. I guess no one cares.



'It's all about the lore' by AlikSteel
Submitted on 2009-02-24 12:15:02 CST
forgive me I am writing this as I start this show not even 5 min into it yet.

PeZzy,
I get what you are saying, but Medieval or as I call them fantasy will allways be a big part of our mmo games. The reason I say that is the lore that is built into them. (going to try and keep this short) We all grow up with the fantasy world. It's in the storys we are told, the books we read, and even on the shows we watch. Fantasy is every where and when you see it in a game you all ready know what types of race and class will be in it. You know how the orc will act and where a eff' will live. This is a big pull on people, Over having to learn (and I know learning new lore is fun) new lore. That may or may not feel right to each player. Even lore as great as say star wars or star trek can't touch the lore of the fantasy world. I have friends (true they are all girls/women) that has never watch any star wars movie. I din't even know that you could do that.

Sorry never played or followed any thing about darkfall, and am I understanding you right that you are wanting a MMO based off of the show ER?

Alik Steel



'Choosing "not fantasy".' by Nosferum
Submitted on 2009-02-24 15:10:15 CST
-I would assume medieval fantasy is preferred simply because of the large and wide basis of familiarity we have with the era that is also not a sufficiently DEEP familiarity. This allows fictionalists to make up quite a lot, which fits in easily with the pseudo-real backdrop.

-The problem with science fiction is that our understanding of science has grown exponentially in the last century, leaving the remaining mystery too shriveled to keep our interest. Now, when we watch science fiction, we roll our eyes at the fantastically bad science. We can't do that nearly as well with fantasy because (1) historical records are only partial and (2) because most people are vacantly unfamiliar with historical details.

-I've played Anarchy Online, SW:G, Earth & Beyond and Eve. The only one that didn't feel like a huge empty universe was AO. There's something to be said for visual landmarks. There's something to be said for a backdrop that is more intuitively understandable. Try to draw some futuristic items and some ancient items, and you'll find that simplicity and recognition is easier to achieve with already-familiar design. Please save me from the pages and pages of futuristic brushed aluminum.



'Nacelle' by Sanjuro
Submitted on 2009-02-24 18:06:33 CST
Nacelle (typically pronounced 'nay-sell' or 'nah-sell') is "a streamlined enclosure (as for an engine) on an aircraft." In Trek world these are usually the engines on a starship - so the Enterprise has two raised, outboard, engine nacelles.

- Sanjuro



'ER' by PeZzy
Submitted on 2009-02-25 05:23:56 CST
@Alik Steel : ER is actually Earthrise by Masthead Studios.


'Contractors' by Pufnstuf
Submitted on 2009-02-27 01:46:02 CST
Brent,
remember many US states require contractors become full employees if they are employed a certain length of time (often a year)

also many people do not want to be contractors in specialized fields (like engineering or software) since they want the benefits

so mythic may have wanted contracters but really that is probably not realistic

i think it also makes you cound draconian....

thanks



'really?' by Brent
Submitted on 2009-02-27 06:25:34 CST
How is contract labor draconian? Please fill me in.


'Contractors' by Pufnstuf
Submitted on 2009-02-27 22:12:16 CST
Contract labor can only be used for limited purposes and short term projects. They often cannot be brought into the deep IP but kep to task oriented functions. They are not as driven unless (a) they are being paid ungodly amounts or (b) there is a lure for full time labor. Contract labor is not good long term for the employer, permanent employees or contractors themselves.

People want to belong and contractors never will be a part of the company and they know they are outsiders. I think hiring top talent as permanent employees then laying them off if it is an industry standard is better since they as top talent invest in the project and if necessary can move on with full benefits to the next big project and truly be a part of it. I know I prefer a vested employee to a short timer anyday.

Most people (not all) want to be full time employees so thus my concern about your statement for more contractors from a PR standpoint (which you disdain anyway).




'Contractors' by wraith808
Submitted on 2009-05-13 16:20:55 CST
I'd disagree wholeheartedly. I've been a contractor for 15+ years, and while some of these statements may apply to some contractors, they don't apply as a whole to most that I know of- if they did, those people wouldn't be contractors.

First, I don't know of a location where contractors are required by state law to become full time if employed for a certain length of time, and I'd not believe it unless proven. Some employers have those restrictions, but they are pretty much arbitrary and usually can be maneuvered around if the situation requires. Most companies don't want knowledge that's needed for maintenance and upgrade to be solely in the hands of labor that might disappear. On the other hand, I know of several people who have contracted for 20+ years in a location; it again depends on the company. BellSouth used to employ contractors almost exclusively at the lower ranks, as do several other large companies. Why? Because they don't have to report labor levels and can get rid of dead weight without HR concerns, and can lay off massive amounts of people without having to report it to stock holders. There are also those companies that make a living off of satisfying a project need with a contract in place- many that span many years. BearingPoint, Ernst and Young, and several others come to mind. This allows a company to use a firm that has experience on taking a project through the software development life cycle, and not have to worry as much about the failure risks. A very large percent of software projects fail, and in many cases, that failure can be directly traced to a lack of experience in developing projects. So people mitigate this risk by bringing in a firm that is experienced in doing such, and that can advise them and mentor them in bringing in a maintenance team to continue after the project is deployed.

" I think hiring top talent as permanent employees then laying them off if it is an industry standard is better since they as top talent invest in the project and if necessary can move on with full benefits to the next big project and truly be a part of it."

This might be a personal choice, but most high powered companies bring in contractors as needed on projects all the time. Some people are more geared towards being permanent employees, but this also limits them in their exposure to new ideas and technologies. Contractors have a skill and mind set that makes them more able to come in and get the job done, using skills that a person that has not been exposed to different environments may not have. And in most cases, because of this, contractors are the high powered and highly talented part of the work force.

" They are not as driven unless (a) they are being paid ungodly amounts or (b) there is a lure for full time labor. Contract labor is not good long term for the employer, permanent employees or contractors themselves. "

A very general statement, that has depths of wrongness that are hard to convey. If a contractor is only lured by the money, then soon the contractor will be out of a job. In fact, full-time employees tend to be driven more by the slog through the day mentality because 1) they tend to view their position as more stable, 2) working on the same thing day in and out to many people while it does give stability also engenders a certain level of comfort with mediocrity, 3) politics is very draining to a full time employee, and 4) they don't have to be concerned about where there next job is or maintaining a high level of value.

A contractor has to show his mettle every day, or risk being terminated for cause or without cause. They are not wrapped up in the internal politics because they *are* outsiders. They work on projects for limited time in most cases, so that sense of comfort/apathy never has a chance to sink in. They have to keep their skills sharp to be prepared for the next contract. If they are only motivated by the money, the quality of their work will show it, and they'll soon be burnt out on the whole thing, at least from what I've seen.

And in many cases, especially in the current climate, the only differences between a contractor and a permanent employee are the benefits (of dubious value in many cases) and the pay that those benefits reduce. Contractors are paid more money because they have to make up for those benefits and because of the uncertain nature of their position, and because they can bring a certain level of skill into a situation that might not otherwise be available. They can also be hired and fired without the HR nightmare that an employee brings along with him.

I think that a contractor would make more sense for a lot of reasons (many of them Brent detailed), but won't for the same reason that the companies won't give MMOs the space they need to breathe and grow- money. The lifecycle of development for an MMO is in general longer than for a shelved game. Game companies are not used to employing contractors for that period of time, so go along their way with the same ideas and methodologies that they utilize for standard games. There is going to have to be a change in mentality eventually for the MMO industry to grow up from a corporate perspective. This includes labor, project management, marketing, and ROI. I have a certain faith that it will happen eventually- MMOs won't 'die' as long as WoW is there as a brass ring, so (perhaps over the corpses of some good games) the industry will have to grow. At least that is my hope.