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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 #47
Sun, 10 May 2009 21:21:00 GMT [download/play]

  • Introductions
  • What we're playing
  • Darkfall and Eurogamer
  • Avatars. Players, Characters - The Gap
  • Blog of the Week

  • Hosts:
  • Darren -
  • Karen - Journey's with Jaye
  • Openedge - Dichotomy of the Gamers Blogosphere
  • Genda - The Grouchy Gamer

  • Topics:
  • Review gets better
  • Worlds most accurate Darkfall Review
  • Darkfall Online Review
  • Darkfall Forum Comment #1
  • Eurogamer Blog
  • Darkfall Forum Thread #2
  • Avatars are not Tokens

  • Blog of the Week:
  • Grinding to Valhalla

  • Login to post a comment
    Previous Episodes
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    Episode #1 - Duration: 01:08:21 - Released: Mon, 28 May 2007 02:12:00 GMT

    Episode 47 Discussion Thread

    'Find a group, how novel.' by Yoh
    Submitted on 2009-05-11 01:56:06 CST
    ... Honestly guys, do you think I'm not in a corp?

    Probably still am, but I haven't been playing EVE for 8+ months now. I only popped in after Apocrypha because it piqued my interest, and as such gave my impressions of it from a new player perspective.

    I am actually apart of (or at least was) Star Fraction. So I'm well aware of the community EVE has.
    But I find it amusing and almost distressing that whenever complaints about the player experience come up, especially the new player experience, the almost automatic response is 'find a good corp, that'll fix it'.
    Well, no actually, it doesn't 'fix' it, it patches it and covers up the problem, but the core faults still remain. And this goes down to the fundamental flaws of the game.

    Basically, ANYTHING can be made more fun when you add more people into the mix.

    What I'm more trying to get at is that for the game to be consistently giving newer players generally poor experiences, there must be something fundamentally faulty with the core design, or at least with the NPE/tutorials.
    And while many will point to EVE's learning curve being primarily at fault, this is just being naive and uncritical, it's only a part of the problem.

    If you think about how much traffic EVE gets, you might grasp the size of the problem. EVE advertises EVERYWHERE. In addition, it cost you nothing to download and play it for 14 days, as many times as you want. So its safe to assume that it gets a lot of new people regularly passing through it. But then why is its community only just hitting 300k after 6 years of release? Because its not retaining the vast majority of players the walk through its doors. Duh.

    It's not the learning curve that is keeping me from playing EVE, and its not the community either. (that in fact tends to keep people instead) But rather two other huge faults that rarely get any attention. Yahtzee touched on one of these in his review. But basically their are three major failings of EVE:

    1) Steep learning curve and being generally unaccessible due to complexity. This however is getting constant attention, and is as such gradually making EVE more accessible and comprehensible.

    2) Almost total lack of the 'ding'/next carrot next carrot, driving progression and character development. Because of the skill based system and its particular implementation, there is really nothing to drive you to the next point, or the feeling of accomplishment that comes with that.
    As a result, many will feel 'lost' as such, not really knowing, or feeling like going anywhere or doing anything, as there doesn't seem to be much point besides grinding for isk.
    In addition, the total lack of character customization, players don't have the option to play 'barbie doll' with their character, or creatively express themselves in any meaningful way within the confines of the game. Or at the very least, not within a ascetic sense anyhow.
    (the latter of course being largely addressed with 'Walking In Stations', which is in development)

    3) The ascetic and mechanics of both combat and crafting(mining and trading) is inheritally uninteresting. In other words, combat is boring as hell to do and especially to watch, and mining is catatonic.
    While combat is open-ended enough for players to make a wide array of decisions that is directly linked to their performance, and as such its an extremely good forum for personal skill to rule when there are multiple people engaged.
    However, this is mostly due to pre-combat fittings and tactics, not the actual combat itself.
    From a new player experience, and especially from the outside in, combat is little more then popping in and targeting, and kicking each others shins until one of you falls down. Rarely if ever, can you tell what is going on from ascetic alone, let alone bringing interest or enjoyment.
    And while EVE is set in space, there is zero simulation as one would normally expect of spaceship, contrary to CCP's claims on the matter.
    (normally one expects dogfights commonly found in flight combat sims, and single player space sims such as Freespace and X-wing)
    (look up Black Prophesy gameplay videos to get a visual idea)

    So as such, many players going through EVE will likely find it difficult, pointless at times, and generally very, very boring. (the last being the prime reason I'm not playing ATM)
    And while I freely concede that in return EVE has some extremely potent mechanics for social and economic gameplay, which are its main selling point, they only retain certain kinds of people. (namely highly social, goal orientated people, which I am not)
    However, because EVE evolves and changes, it is only a matter of time before all of these major faults will be corrected or greatly marginalized. Which is why I dedicate myself as much as I do even though I am not currently a player.

    However, in saying that, these faults are too large to be fixed from the outside in, and no manner of high pitched squealing from myself is going to change it for the better. But at the very least I can raise community awareness of the problems while I go abouts my attempts to get into CCP and fix it from the inside.
    (I have been interested in getting into MMO development for years now, but this gives me a good excuse)

    With any given luck, in the next few years I should hope CCP clues onto this and actually makes EVE a space sim, before Jumpgate: Evolution and Black Prophecy claim that chunk of the market and never lets it go.
    Even if I have to go there and give them an almighty bitch slap.

    ' the TUNNEL' by openedge1
    Submitted on 2009-05-11 15:00:56 CST
    Better get me out of that tunnel. lol...didn't realize it was so tinny..

    Anyways, wanted to thank you guys for inviting me...was great fun.

    Good subjects also..


    'Clarification on the gender thing...' by Raph
    Submitted on 2009-05-11 19:31:28 CST
    Great discussion there! :) I am glad my blog post led to such a great conversation. Just to be clear, I wasn't saying that the psychological effects of these avatars are necessarily something you can't get past. But subconscious reactions, first impression-wise, and so on, that's the part that you cannot get past. Of course our conscious minds can go further. But you still have that instinctive reaction.

    A lot of the discussion seemed to be around how you are shaped by your own avatar choices, but in the blog post I am not talking about how you react to your avatar, I am talking about how others react to your avatar. Think about it this way -- we can't help but react to how someone is dressed in the real world, but we can definitely get beyond it.

    Similarly, the Wizard101 anecdote -- yeah, that's the normal reaction. People do tend to subconsciously take the avatar gender at face value unless they constantly get reminders otherwise, such as voice.

    'Now I'm glad...' by Genda
    Submitted on 2009-05-11 21:15:10 CST
    I didn't make a snarky comment about Raph. I'm afraid I already offended him on my blog before. ;)

    Seriously though, was a pleasure being on the podcast.

    Raph, I know that the initial impression an avatar makes can be made, just not sure how profound that is. If they are extreme, it makes a big difference I'm sure, but within certain parameters (what we expect to see between a whimsical art style and a more photorealistic look,) I think the vast majority of us soon see them as tokens.

    I'd be interested to know the differences in how people that are younger and older, male or female, etc, are impacted by the differences in these avatars.

    'So Disappointed' by Anjin
    Submitted on 2009-05-12 15:29:39 CST
    Another great show from the SUWT crew. But I'm taken aback by your discussion of the Avatar As Token issue. I'm not going to beat you up over it here. Instead I did so over at my blog. Make with the clicky if you want to see.

    '@Anjin' by openedge1
    Submitted on 2009-05-12 19:43:14 CST
    Now check out my rebuttal.

    I do wish the world could be different, but it is the developers who makes it the worse for wear...


    'Don't be...' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2009-05-12 22:52:29 CST
    @ Anjin: Interesting read on your blog, but I think it would be a bit unfair to concentrate on only part of what was said in that particular section of the podcast, i.e. that its an "immature" position. It was, I hope, a bit deeper than least as much as we could in a 20 min conversation.

    One thing that stood out in your argument though:

    "Dismissing points of view as immature because they differ from yours is counterproductive and potentially dangerous."

    ..there are plenty of arguments that are immature and I think it is completely valid to dismiss them if you think they are as such, but our main thrust wasn't about that.

    What do you mean by "dangerous"? I think this is a healthy discourse with no "danger" involved here...and we are talking about gaming here, so let's keep some context.

    I appreciate the article...good stuff.

    'Beware My Hyperbole' by Anjin
    Submitted on 2009-05-12 23:44:42 CST
    Although I did not explain it clearly, the thrust of the dangeous statement was assuming your own viewpoint is arrived at due to maturity where the problem lies, not that an immature viewpoint should be accepted as valid. There can be many mature positions on a matter. I saw intellectual danger in diving into that logical fallicy and came at it from the other side. Maybe not a fair way to put it, but I had been thinking about it all night and got worked up.

    My main problem, and I fully intent to listen to the podcast again to check myself, is that I heard a lot of personal statements about how each of you looked at your own avatars without consideration that another might view their own avatars differently. There is such a plurality of opinions on this that your quick consensus sounded to me like a stifling of contrary opinions.

    By the way, SUWT is one of my two favorite podcasts (along with GWJ). You are the only ones that make me think and want to respond to you. :)

    'Beware My Hyperbole' by Anjin
    Submitted on 2009-05-12 23:55:07 CST
    Although I did not explain it clearly, the thrust of the dangeous statement was assuming your own viewpoint is arrived at due to maturity where the problem lies, not that an immature viewpoint should be accepted as valid. There can be many mature positions on a matter. I saw intellectual danger in diving into that logical fallicy and came at it from the other side. Maybe not a fair way to put it, but I had been thinking about it all night and got worked up.

    My main problem, and I fully intent to listen to the podcast again to check myself, is that I heard a lot of personal statements about how each of you looked at your own avatars without consideration that another might view their own avatars differently. There is such a plurality of opinions on this that your quick consensus sounded to me like a stifling of contrary opinions.

    By the way, SUWT is one of my two favorite podcasts (along with GWJ). You are the only ones that make me think and want to respond to you. :)

    'Good show, once again' by Akely
    Submitted on 2009-05-13 08:29:31 CST
    Points on Game Reviews:
    I can see use of a points system. But only for a non-mmo game, or at least for a game that has months/years of game time and often have drastiv changes in gameplay as you level/progress.

    I'll go even further. Reviews of MMORPGS seems wasted to me. Perhaps after some years a review can do the game justice. And perhaps nt even then. After years in EQ2 I still have very little raiding experience. That said: total transparancy on the reviewers behalf can give the review credebility, if nothing else.

    Avatar Discussion:
    Good, fun discussion. I both agree and not (as usual). Posted some comments on both Anjins and openedge1s blog. Bah, must get my own blog up soon - I sure type enough to fill one...

    'eurogamer / darkfall' by rocknerd
    Submitted on 2009-05-13 10:07:25 CST
    i think you guys made some great points, but arguing the system in which this game was reviewed is like arguing the name of a bird. it has a function and changing its name may change the way we view it, but not how it flies...

    ultimately, a person played a game that didnt have a reason to play more than 2 hours. if i was the darkfall mod i would almost rather lie and say "yeah the guy played 10 hours" because its even worse that the game failed to ensnare this reviewers attention and keep him playing past the initial beginning. i think that ultimately darkfall and the community are the "losers" of the springer bout because 1 does someones opinion of your work/craft alter your intentions or defeat your purpose? if so, then you were never genuine.
    and 2 the band helmet said it best in a song "i would rather be insulted by you, than someone i respect".

    if you believe in your game then all you need do is stand behind in with dignity. complaining about a bad review makes me think "thy developer doth protest too much..."

    and as far as what i have been playing, ive been back into age of conan and i think im done with lotro/WAR (my old flames), until the next bacth of MMOs are out. AoC is a game in which you can solo all the way to 80, but when you group theres more adventure to be had. i love the visual style of the game and the characters fluidity and lush environments really keep me interested in the world and hungry for its mythology.

    funcom has been really working hard on the content patches and bug fixes to a degree that i can near max the GFX settings and play with a smooth framerate.

    and when i need a little break from this in the future my gal and i still enjoy EQ2 the only problem is we always buy the new X-pack and start new accounts cause were too cheap to pay for a month after paying 30-40 bucks every 6 months when a new X-pack comes out... how do you upgrade karen?

    anyways, love the podcast. too few podcasters stay humble being podstars while playing their MMOs of choice. so heres to a swell bunch of folks @ shut up, were talking!!!

    PS- you guys watch sit down, shut up??? i think your due some royalties...

    '\o/' by FarSpace
    Submitted on 2009-05-13 16:18:00 CST
    I think EVE is what it is sapposed to be today,

    the only thing is that somehow they got this incredably great story and Lore to EVE

    and I skipped ever wanting to play the tactical EVE and really only ever wanted to play the actual lore, but it just is not happening.

    oh well.

    'Guys playing Female Characters' by Alces
    Submitted on 2009-05-14 13:39:20 CST
    I've been playing MMORPG's since the UO online beta, and I learned early on that playing a female character seemed to have more advantages in game than playing a male character. If I asked for help, if I needed someone to make something for me, or if I needed something small (say I was one material item short of being able to makes something) I would get it with no problems. Male characters who ask for help - etc. tend to get grief instead of what they need.

    Also, unless you are playing some type of Tank (which I rarely do) the female characters look more like the class they are suppose to be representing. Even In LOTRO, I find that the Female Elf looks more "elven" than the Male Elf.

    That is my two cents worth.


    'Reviews' by animagnum
    Submitted on 2009-05-19 05:56:27 CST
    I once attempted to jokingly review an MMO which I disliked for a video game review site. The whole video was ad-libbed so any humor in my review was purely accidental. Anyway, despite the site being horridly unpopular at the time, the review quickly became our most popular because A) people discussed it furiously and B) guilds posted the video and sent their goons after me. Hell hath no fury like an MMO gamer scorned. The comments on my review were absolutely appalling, but I suppose I deserved it -- after all, I viciously attacked a fan favorite. I wish I could claim that the review was part of some grand scheme designed to draw more visitors to our site, but it was not like that at all. Of course we wanted a larger audience, but not uncontrollably angry people.

    Excuse the extensive personal anecdote, but back to the topic at hand. Having been through a similar situation, I think the reviewer should have either declined the interview or explicitly stated his frustrations beforehand. It's a tired comparison, but it would be hard to take a movie or music critic seriously if he or she did not watch a whole movie or listen to a whole album, and I think the same can be said of games. And this is why reviewing an MMO is very hard work... and you must be intimately INTIMATELY familiar with the game before publishing unless you want people sending you dead cats in the mail or harassing your friends and family on the phone.

    '@ Yoh' by Token
    Submitted on 2009-05-19 16:33:52 CST
    You are absolutely right about EVE, it's not a fun game and all the wannabe EVE players seem to have trouble seeing that. Maybe because it seems hardcore, or it's very slow and non twitchy making it popular with the middle aged bloggers. I've tried giving the same exact speech to the Nuns but I guess time will have to prove us right. In a couple of years all the bloggers will be fed up of calling EVE a steep learning curve and start calling it a boring turd.