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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 #6
Mon, 6 Aug 2007 01:13:00 GMT [download/play]



Agenda:
  • Introductions
  • Listener mail/What we're playing
  • Blizz and the Bizz
  • Bethesda, I love you long time
  • Staying on the Level
  • We have to talk Chickens
  • Why can't MMO's be more like this...
  • Blog of the week

    Hosts:
    Darren - commonsensegamer.com
    Adele - adelecaelia.wordpress.com
    John - tagn.wordpress.com
    Craig - damianov.wordpress.com
    Dennis - potshot.wordpress.com

    Topics:
    WoW: Next Expansion Incoming?
    WoW Expansion Tidbits
    I Refuse To Post About The Wrath of the Lich King!
    World of Warcraft : The Next Expansion
    Fan Faire vs. Blizzcon, who will deliver?
    Bethesda Heads Online
    Squeee! Bethsoft MMOs, INC!
    Alternatives to XP-Based Leveling
    Interesting idea from mud-dev
    Is the honeymoon over for LOTRO?
    Why did the chicken cross the Lone-Lands?

    Blog of the week:
    Anyway Games - http://hallower1980.blogspot.com/

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    Episode 6 Discussion Thread

    'Enjoy' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 09:07:22 CST
    I hope everyone enjoys #6

    Couple of things:
    - I think Adele did a great job on her first show as co-host. Hope everyone welcomes her in her new role.
    - the guest hosts were outstanding...thanks guys.

    Big "oops" on my part though. For some reason, I did not pimp the blog articles that we got our topics from this week....sorry guys. This show, I wanted to pimp our guests more (success...yayyy) and I apparently had a brain fart in doing so.

    Heh...the "perfect show" eludes me still.



    'Another great episode!' by Keenandgraev
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 11:10:08 CST
    Hey guys! I really enjoyed this latest episode and notice that you're really coming into your own out there in the podcastosphere - I guess that word works. Bringing Adele on as a Co-host is a smart choice. You have a great blend of talented minds that should launch you all way past your 10th show milestone.

    Keep up the great work!



    'Blowing own trumpet' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 12:07:59 CST
    Blow your own trumpet, why don't you...outstanding guest hosts....bah...

    Well actually they were very good:)

    The guests were very varied in their opinions and played different games and types of games - not just the boring FPS my gun is bigger than yours crowd.

    Adele needs to be a bit more confident and take more limelight. Her insights and anecdotes are well worth hearing and well done for making sure she had her say, Darren.

    The mp3 seemed to be corrupted so I didn't hear the whole thing (after the XP bit)unfortunately, but the episode was pacy and I do like the way when a subject comes to a close, we get a bit of music and then the next section. I guess this is borrowed from Brent, but it makes all the difference to the professionalism of the podcast.

    What there is perhaps is a lack of consistent structure from podcast to podcast, but the subjects are interesting enough for this not to be much of a problem.

    And you're getting better at not echoing what your guests say too:)

    Jolly good show.



    'Good Show!' by Xavious
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 12:16:01 CST
    Another fun show, liked all the guests, I also think Adele is a fantastic replacement for Cuppy! One thing I was suprised no one mentioned was on the "non leveling" discussion. Did anyone ever play the original SWG? Yes, before it was destroyed and changed into a leveling grind? It use to allow skills to be learned by-passing the level grind and allowing complete customization. It was very similar to what you guys suggested letting you spread your tree's out and become very unique.

    Anyways, looking forward to the next!

    -X



    'stuff' by hallower
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 13:55:13 CST
    One of the things City of Heroes did right was encourage movement. I can understand how a gamer who's more into turn-based combat might not like it, but for the more action-oriented it makes combat a lot more engaging. As I've said many places before, the rooftop battles are what I most remember from that game, because they encouraged a lot of strategy in regard to character movement.

    I do like SWG's hit-point system better in that your character grew horizontally more than vertically. I've always hoped a game will eventually go back to that health model.

    A fun and varied group. The fact that Adele isn't a lifelong gamer and only reallys plays MMOs should adds an interesting perspective to the show.



    'City of Heroes & A Welcome' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 14:09:37 CST
    Was City of Heroes really that special when it came down to movement? Seems like everytime somebody mentions it, they confuse travel movement (which was innovative at the time) with combat.

    You're still 'rooted' to the ground or spot in the air everytime you attack just like any other MMO, so I never found that aspect dynamic or engaging.

    Welcome to the show Adele, always great to hear a new perspective, sometimes that gets lost to many of us who've played for so long.



    're: Scott' by hallower
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 14:29:15 CST
    DDO allows attacking while moving, which is great. But yeah, CoH really is special in regard to movement.

    I made a post explaining it just the other day on Heather's site, so let me just link you there.



    'no hyperlinks, huh?' by hallower
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 14:30:24 CST
    Well, that didn't work. =/ Here's the link I was referring to: http://www.errantdreams.com/thoughts/2007/08/03/city-of-heroes-city-of-villains-first-impressions/#comments


    'Thanks!' by Adele
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 14:34:11 CST
    Thanks for the warm welcome everyone:) The show is a ton of fun, and I'm happy to be here:)


    're: CoH' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 14:45:10 CST
    Ah ok, I see what you meant Hallower. Yes, the combination of using effects like knockback and being able to utilize the environment around you to your benefit in combat was very well executed in CoH.

    The problem when MMO's claim to add movement while attacking is it's only a visual effect and has no advantage over the stand in place "whack a mole" gameplay we currently have.


    Unless Brent switches over to Wordpress or a system with top notch spam protection it's probably better he doesn't allow hyperlinks. ;)



    'Experince Points and Levels' by Akely
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 17:12:40 CST
    As an experienced (pen and paper) role-player I'm used to systems with and without experience points, levels, and whatever you may call it.

    Adele hits the nail on the head when she points out that progress is progress. No matter how one do it, skills only and chance of raising skills used, levels, pick-and-chose, rewards.... it is all centered around reward and progression.

    Granted, the level concept is one of my favourite systems - except for how it was done in the old game Powers & Perils.

    What levels is great for is knowing your place in the world. Regarding monsters the game would be totally unplayable for most of us if there was no way of telling if the monster was an easy or impossible kill. Unless you did it some other way (color coding, text hints or whatever) - which is almost like levels anyway.

    I agree that LOTROS trait system is a good idea, more of this and a complete drop of classes would be my cup of tea.

    /self centered rant



    'XP & Progression' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-06 18:21:21 CST
    I think the point in the discussion about Experience points and advancement was missed.

    Why do we always end up talking about XP/Level based systems? Because they're typically not a great system for MMORPG's.

    You simply cannot just look at them pure as a way to measure progression, they go beyond that and affect much more in a MMO. How XP/Levels are done affect how you're allowed to group with others (such as lower levels, higher levels), they affect how players approach content (least path of resistance, grinding mobs to advance, ignoring quest storylines).

    A few MMO's tried to break the convention in various ways like skill based UO, EvE, D&D Online (didn't play this enough but I think it was quest based), and on a smaller scale how games bypassed certain elements like CoH's buddy/sidekick feature.

    You don't need a XP/Level system to be THE reward to players for progression. You can get the same effect by the player feeling more powerfull in skills/stats, or new abilities gain by other systems that aren't so restrictive or rigid.



    'Coming into its own' by potshot
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 03:44:32 CST
    Great job pulling it all together, Darren! The hallmark of a good show is one that leads to more coming out than going in. Lots of good stuff to think and write about and amazingly enough not nearly time to talk about it all on the show.

    I dub thee "The McLaughlin Group" of MMO podcasts. Seriously fun to have so many voices.

    Thanks for the invite!



    'The game nobody thinks of' by Fuzzmaster
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 11:45:12 CST
    I'm surprised you guys didn't hear me while you were discussing the XP/levelling issue, I was screaming at you after all :) I'm surprised nobody mentioned the game that (I think) "cracked the levelling nut" as it were. Less of an emphasis on levelling? check. A card-game type of skills progession? check. I've got 2 words for you Guild and Wars! IMO, I think GW has achieved the perfect balance between levelling/grinding and a skill-based metagame. The game was designed from the ground up to DE-emphasize levels by setting the level cap waaay down at 20. Basically creating a game that by the time you learn your way around and leave the "noob-island" you're at max level and can start the skill-based portion of the game. Just like a card game, you aquire a "deck" of skills but can only take 8 into battle with you, creating a greater focus on combining effective builds rather than just who's got the higher level.

    I think they also did a great job addressing the point Adele brought up about actually having to plan out which classes make up a group and not being able to just head out with any combination of skills and start whacking moles.

    So anyway, just wanted to point out an oft-overlooked game that I think addresses the issues you were discussing. Love the podcast. Great job Adele! Keep up the good work!

    --Fuzzmaster



    'Guildwars not a nutcracker' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 12:23:05 CST
    Guildwars is a PvP game and the levelling just serves a "learning curve" process, so basically it hasn't solved anything. People basically play it until they get to 20 and then ditch the game or try another character class. I think I made it to L12 before ditching and I expect to do the same with Eye of the North shortly.

    The key to the xp problem is to have several varied experience lines - preferably 15-20, so you can grind for a bit on one, then grind for a bit on another. Because you're not grinding on the same thing, suddenly you're not grinding at all. And agreed LOTRO's trait system is super - expect to see this duplicated in all games soon.



    'You're only playing half a game' by Fuzzmaster
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 12:54:06 CST
    If you think GW is PVP-only, then you're only playing half the game. Plus if you're bailing after hitting level 20, then you're not even getting half! You're basically getting the intro noob-island experience and quitting just as the real game starts. I don't know who these people are who you're claiming are just ditiching at that point, but there's a LOT of people still playing. Sure, the PVP game is excellent, but they haven't sold 4 million copies by making life after level 20 no fun. GW has a rich PVE game, and if you bailed at lvl 12, you probably didn't see a quarter of it. Granted, if the game just wasn't your cup of tea and you dropped it that's fine, but don't say that all those millions of people felt the same way.


    'Guild Wars PvP ONLY????' by RichGarner
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 14:59:46 CST
    What demo did YOU play? I (and about 4 million others) play this game every day and MOST play in PvE. How do I know that? Because the PvE towns and outposts are always bustling with life and players seeking parties, making trades and forming groups.

    When you say "People basically play it until they get to level 20," you really should preface that with " I THINK" because out of the thousands of 'peoples' tags I see on a daily basis, about 90% of them are all lv 20.

    Just because you didn't like it and bailed at level 20 does not mean every other fun-loving player did. Please try NOT to judge a game or a community based on your several hours of play.



    'Sales numbers aside' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 15:45:33 CST
    I don't see GuildWars leveling system as one MMO's should strive for, nor am I a fan of this big push or idea of "skill decks" or "card games" pervading MMO's. Call me crazy but I want an immersive MMO, if I'm going to train up skills, I want real skills that I can train up over time to make my character unique.

    I don't want everyone to just grind out all the possible "skill cards" and swap them out on the fly to suit any situation as it presents itself with no consequence.

    GW certainly wasn't my cup of tea either, too many annoying and nagging details for me to enjoy my gaming in it compared to a traditional MMO, but then again I'm glad for that. I'm glad people that didn't like MMO's or their subscription fee's had it as a alternative and it filled that gap well.




    'Interesting comments' by DamianoV
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 19:17:51 CST
    Thank you all for the kind words and interesting comments.

    @Xavious: I played SWG for quite some time. The reason I didn't bring it up, at least, or UO for that matter, is that it was already a complex topic/issue and we had lots to cover. Those games had some lessons to teach on the topic as well, though, I agree.

    @Scott: the rooting to the spot in combat of CoH/CoV wasn't really the focus of the topic, per se. There is an incredible amount of freedom and value to simply being able to leave the ground, as per EQ2 and CoH. I still don't know if that was really Brent's intent with his post, either... I didn't even get a chance to spring my patented "if I wanted art, I'd buy tickets to the Louvre" quote, guaranteed to piss off 80% of the gaming world...

    @potshot (Dennis): "The McLaughlin Group of MMO podcasts"... I'd say you destroyed my keyboard, but it seems to have survived the spit-take you prompted... (good one)

    Re: Guild Wars. Skipped it for the same reasons as SWG/UO above... simply not enough time. I'd agree many of the basic concepts are there, more than most other games. I personally don't like some of the details of the implementation, but that is a personal thing (specifically, the stilted nature of the "pick X" mechanism bothers me, both here and in Vanguard's diplomacy subsystem. Again, a personal limitation.)

    Anyway, again, thank you all for the kind words. For me, it was a blast.






    'Oblivion MMO' by mrluigi
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 20:25:51 CST
    Remember Oblivion is a sub title for the game. The story arc is that of Elder Scrolls. So it can be an elder scrolls MMO not oblivion.


    'New "level" or rank system.' by TranquilAbyss
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 20:44:55 CST
    I saw where you were going with the level system needed to be replaced or upgraded. I like to think of how games can be improved as im not able to code or make graphics, but what I have came up with is a learning system based off of interacting with NPC. Using Vanguard's combat system or like a old fighter where you can learn hidden combat combos that get easier to use once you unlock them. For crafting you can get rid of recipes based on levels and just use more material types to make the weapons stronger or weaker. You still need numbers to make these thing work so I would use something like attribute point system in Oblivion. These would control damage and percentages of learning something new.




    'Brent's Post' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 21:02:43 CST
    My earlier comment about CoH was in reponse to Hallower. Brents post which I actively discussed with others was his lament that MMO's weren't more like present day action/adventure games, with fluid/freedom of movement, interaction with the environment, and better graphics.

    I can definately see how there wasn't enough time to cover that discussion. Just between myself, Moorgard, a couple other posters and Darrenl and Brent we could've gone round' that topic many times over.

    It did seem confusing to bring it on the podcast when there wasn't time to fully cover it anyway as its intent was lost.



    'Reading comprehension is not my friend lately...' by DamianoV
    Submitted on 2007-08-07 22:08:08 CST
    Went back and re-read the _entire_ thread on brent's post... my mistake, it was clarified early on to be more about movement than "art". Oh, well... I hadn't looked stupid yet today (much), now I can rest easy til tomorrow...

    I find it more difficult to delve deeply into any topic verbally as opposed to in writing. You don't want to interrupt, but if you don't, a point you wanted to make gets lost because another point pops up 5 seconds later. The verbal/audial format, on the other hand, makes it easier to express emotional tones and emphasis.

    The real intent on all these topics during the SUWT podcast, I think, should be not to discuss them in detail, but rather to bring them to the attention of others who may have missed them first time around, especially topics from newer/lower-traffic blogs.

    All that said, a podcast where we take one sacred cow of design and get a half-dozen different people online to discuss it in detail might be an interesting addition to the collective.... an intriguing thought, that...



    'Guildwars lost 90% of its players' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 05:26:55 CST
    My simple comeback on responses to my comments is "just because you like it, don't presume that everyone else did." Ok, I'm guessing, but my guess would be that 90% of the people that have ever played Guildwars are not playing it now. Compare that to WoW (which I don't play any more either) and I suspect the figure would be more like 60%. This simply shows that Guildwars have not solved the experience issue and, if they have, they haven't solved it any better than WoW. My figures are guesswork, but if Guildwars sold 4m packs, then they would need to have 400,000 current players to meet the 90%, that I suggest.
    I would suggest to you that, as its name suggests, Guild Wars success lies in its guild system; if you manage to find a guild of like-minded players, then it works and you like the game. If you don't, then soloing is a hard slog, even with the people you can recruit, although they are working on this issue, to solve it, as any good game designer should.
    I'm not criticising Guild Wars much, but I am contending with your response that it "solved" the levelling issue.



    'Missing Data' by RichGarner
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 11:20:35 CST
    So, where do you pull this "90%" and "60%" figures from? You state that you are "GUESSING" which implies you do not know the actual facts. Then you cannot add to that, "This simply shows that..." because those numbers how nothing. You GUESSED at that.

    The fact is that Guild Wars is growing in popularity more today than it ever has. While I agree the game may not appeal to everyone, even a small percentage of today's online gamers can represent millions, even billions of dollars.

    You want facts? Check out what MSNBC says about Guild Wars: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17820122/



    'WoW and GW Stats' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 12:14:47 CST
    I went through about a years worth of XFire stats showing average hours played on top MMO's (including WoW and Guild Wars).

    http://www.xfire.com/cms/stats/

    Interestingly enough WoW has increased from around 280,000 to 366k - 455k (455k as of last month). Guild Wars declined from around a peak of 60,000 stabalizing to 50k - 55k.

    Interesting statistics with a pretty significant increase in WoW player activity. I'd prefer a unique user count, but this is much better measurement than box sales, or registered users as those get inflated by non-playing users or of free users with no fee's.

    Still it's not showing any sort of growth trend for GW among xfire users yet.



    'Good Stats' by RichGarner
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 12:19:16 CST
    It's good to see some people can actually do research. Thanks for those stats. Very interesting.

    However, you must admit that those reflect xFire only and do not reflect the total growth. I actually have never heard of xFire and while I cannot speak for others, I wonder how many gamers use it. I seriously doubt it represent a majority of worldwide gamers.

    But at least you can bring good solid facts to the table. Thanks.



    'Vague numbers' by Fuzzmaster
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 12:29:00 CST
    I agree that the pertinence of the xfire numbers is pretty questionable. They only appear to represent the number of players who just happen to have this separate software installed. If you DO want to take their numbers as some kind of measurement though, check out their top 10 MMO numbers, which also show that GW is second only to WoW. Obviously however you want to slice it, this is a massively successful game.


    'Numbers' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 13:21:30 CST
    X-Fire is a popular gaming IM software program with an installed base of 7.8 million gamers and about 200,000-400,000 active unique gamers running it daily. That's a pretty good representation of the market.

    Unless that group of active unique users is grossly mis-representing the cross section of gamers we're looking to analyze the stats are probably the best you'll find in the public short of getting a publisher to disclose their internal numbers. That kind of sample size looked pretty decent to me for this purpose. The trends with WoW appear to match up elsewhere with the published MMO charts too.

    I believe GW had North American box sales pretty close to WoW's NA sales (Between 2-3 million). I see GW sold around 3.5m but no breakdown for region.

    http://www.gamespot.com/news/6175811.html?sid=6175811&part=rss&subj=6175811

    Yet we still have a huge difference (55k vs 366k) in the amount of hours played. Definately a significant difference in time played between a non-subscription MMO and a subscription MMO. You'd think a fee-free game would be more active, but it isn't. Unfortunately we don't have a breakdown on uniques and game session length to make any further analysis.



    'GW a MMO.' by mrluigi
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 13:22:48 CST
    I still have a hard time even saying the words in one go. Guildwars is a MMO? The only difference between that and Diablo 2 when it comes to fundamental design of players and lobbies is that Guild Wars has an interactive in game lobbies and then a handful of players in an instance (aka hosting a multiplayer game on battle.net). But anyways guildwars will have great numbers due to it not costing any money to purchase. But I still don't consider it a MMO.


    'Over-defensive on GW' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 13:41:00 CST
    I'm sorry I don't have access to the data - itf MMOs had the trade association that is so needed and which I advocate, we wouldn't have to guess.

    However, being defensive about your favourite MMO is no way to judge the market. I used to head up the Marketing Data department for a UK blue chip company and often one has to make estimates based on known facts. If you don't think I have estimated right, then prove me wrong - I'll enjoy access to some new data and I'd love to see that Guild Wars is doing well and then we can make judgements like whether they have solved the levelling issue.

    There are some pointers which indicate that the makers are less than satisfied with it, though, including the production of the sequel.



    'Missing the point' by Fuzzmaster
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 13:42:18 CST
    "Yet we still have a huge difference (55k vs 366k) in the amount of hours played."

    I think you're missing the point. Nobody is saying GW is bigger than WoW. Bigger than WOW? No. But bigger than any other MMO currently active? The numbers say yes.

    "But anyways guildwars will have great numbers due to it not costing any money to purchase"

    BZZZZZZZZTT!!!! Wrong answer. More mis-information. All three GW chapters are full-cost to buy (~$50US). The upcoming expansion (their first actual expansion) will retail for $40. The only cost savings is in the lack of a monthly fee.



    'Re: GW a MMO.' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 13:42:30 CST
    I've always had the same difficulty in calling instanced multiplayer games with MMO style gathering/town areas MMO's. For some reason the gamers that play those games always want to refer to them as MMO's too, and the marketing folks also can't help but to call them massively multiplayer.

    Because of this the line has blurred so much on what's an MMO and what's a multiplayer game we have what traditionally would have been called a multiplayer title with a matchmaking lobby, being called a MMO now. Many of those have even gone on to morph into free game downloads with a monthly subscription or micro-transaction model instead of a box fee along with their MMO title.

    To me a MMO game has always been a virtual world simulation allowing for thousands of users to interact at the same time in the same virtual space.

    Any game that has no actual MMO "world" beyond a matchmaking instance or lobby, and instances all game activity in areas with no more than the range of players for a multiplayer title of 1-64 players shouldn't be called a MMO.

    You could even go as far as basing it on the server infrastructure as well, as any game that doesn't host the world locally, but rather makes the player(s) host the instances definately isn't a MMO.

    So yes, you're not the only one with that pet peeve, but I don't think we're going to ever win this fight. ;)



    'What is your point Fuzzmaster?' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 14:17:32 CST
    As scytale2 said you do seem rather defensive of GW, can you be objective about it? Do you think Guild Wars is the perfect online game, hence why you guage it against other MMO's?

    Can we even call Guild Wars a MMO? It has about as much in common with a multiplayer RPG like Neverwinter Nights 2 than it does with a true MMO like WoW. At least in NWN when I ran a dedicated persistant server I had tens of players PvP'ing or adventuring in a seamless world, not instanced.

    The only reason stats were brought into this is to eliminate the "guessing" and show actual figures such as no, guild wars doesn't appear to have a growth trend, and there doesn't have to be a point when noticing something as significant as equal installed player bases having drasticly different investments in time played.



    'Final word on GW' by RichGarner
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 14:35:09 CST
    There's a lot of comments being tossed around here, let's get back to basics about what started this discussion.

    Fuzzmaster want to share his thoughts on what he feels is the perfect game regarding leveling and grinding. He stated that it was his OPINION that the game does a great job combating issues common in these areas.

    Then scytale2 decided to speak for all gamers everywhere by saying: "People basically play it until they get to 20 and then ditch the game or try another character class." THAT is the only thing that started this heated debate in my mind.

    Is WOW the leader? Of course. Noone here is arguing that. Is there a larger portion of people that play WOW than GW? Again, indisputable. Is GW an MMO? According to the very creators of the game, ArenaNet, "absoutely not." None of these are issues that have been questioned and, therefore, there really has been no defensiveness on my part or, as I can only see, anyone else's.

    The ONLY offense I take is when uninformed, arrogant people try to make themselves look smarter by stating facts that are untrue AND claiming everyone thinks the same as he.

    My opinions are unique to me and I have no problem defending them. But I would never dare speak up for a community. That's idiotic and I have no tolerance for idiots. And since this discussion is devolving towards that mentality, I will bow out and end my involvement in this now.



    'xFire' by RichGarner
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 14:43:28 CST
    Now as far as NON-GW discussions go...

    xFire may have an installed user base of 7.8 million users. But that is a fraction of the online community that play games. According to the PEW Internet and American Life Project (http://www.pewinternet.org/trends.asp), as of Dec 2006, there were an estimated 141 million people online. Of those, about 35% play online games (as of Aug 2006). This translates into over 49 million people playing online games as of a year ago.

    So, this is why I question the validity of the 7.8 million xFire users.



    'Skewed?' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 14:48:45 CST
    The sample would be statistically significant, unless it was skewed somehow. It is a very very large sample, but it might be skewed. it certainly is on the whole on-line gaming market, of which only a bit is MMO.


    're: xFire' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-08 15:15:34 CST
    Yes, but PEW's survey's stated 35% is a self-reported figure by internet users that includes any types of online activity they would feel is a "game" (flash games, online poker, solitaire, fantasy football, etc).

    We don't need to sample the entire portion of online gamers to get valid statistic, unless of course like I pointed out the ratio of users for a specific genre in the active users was under or over represented skewing the values.

    You can just look at the xFire Advertising Media Kit (outdated by a year), and you'll see the demographics are right on.

    http://www.xfire.com/cms/xf_mediakit/

    I'm pretty sure when Viacom bought xFire for 102 million dollars they vetted the user count.

    Anyhow, I agree the discussion has run it's course. I'm probably gonna have to go read up on Guild Wars 2 as I'd like to see what the changes the developers decided to make in it compared to the original Guild Wars.



    'Darren Pulls Another Rabbit Out of His Old Trick Hat' by Shalimar616
    Submitted on 2007-08-09 16:50:54 CST
    Awesome episode Darren! I really like the combination of hosts, and I believe each have their own unique set of skills, expertise, and opinions.

    As for your segment on Experience grind, I would like to add my two cents. I had a similar discussion on Voyages of Vanguard, during its special episode called TMOG. Joe and I discussed ways of divorcing the MMOs from the typical paradigm of experience = level system. As several of your hosts pointed out, there are table top systems that have been used for years that do not use the antiquated experience system.

    I developed a game called Phantasm Adventures, which had no levels. When you created your character you had all the hit points you would ever have. It was only through the development of skills that proved your character was "older" than another. This system allowed a new player to adventure with a player that had been around for a long time easily. The older, albeit more experienced, character had better equipment, spells, better mounts, and a rich set of tertiary possessions (manors, titles, lands, vassals, etc) but was really no more physically tougher than the new guy.

    Instantly, one can see that their would be no grind, and that new players could have fun with the veterans. Even further, it proved so easy for the designers, not having to worry about level constraints, to create far better adventures and quests.

    Troy



    'Blog 101' by Shalimar616
    Submitted on 2007-08-09 16:54:33 CST
    Have you ever thought of making a podcast on How to Create A Blog. Brent has had terrific response from the community on his show about making a podcast, and I am sure that many people would like to know how to create a blog.

    I know I have often thought of making my own blog, but have no real skill in web development, and to be honest, wouldn't even know where to start. I often hear people talk about wordpress but it would be nice to have a show simply devoted for someone who would like to set up a blog, how to build it, and how to promote it.

    Troy




    'Blogging 101?' by Xavious
    Submitted on 2007-08-09 16:57:09 CST
    Very easy to do, if you can figure out how to post here you can make your own blog. Go to www.wordpress.com and register. Its free and easy. There are templates all ready for you to use. All you have to do is select "Write" and make your first post click publish and your done!


    'blogging 101' by Brent
    Submitted on 2007-08-09 17:00:43 CST
    Thanks to Cuppy:

    http://www.cuppycake.org/?p=127




    'GW' by Talyn
    Submitted on 2007-08-12 17:29:58 CST
    Just to add to the GW commenting, I'll submit that a good percentage (I'm not gonna pull a number out of my arse) of those who tried and quit did so because of ignorant expectations. I've been playing GW casually since beta, so I'm firmly in the "GW is *not* an MMO" camp. It's a great online action RPG though, both PvP and PvE. So I don't mind that I can't jump, swim or climb mountains. It's not that type of game. But at the various E3's and other industry shows, the magazine and fanboy sites saw a 3D fantasy game with WASD movement and skill bars. "ZOMG a new MMORPG with *NO FEES*" they cried. Players see the box in the store and think the same thing "cool, an EQ game for free!" But I digress. GW is not about leveling at all. In fact, they could have just skipped having a level, plopped you into the world, and let you go on your way to collecting skills. I'm use the analogy that GW is more a marriage between [insert any generic fantasy MMO here] and Magic: the Gathering. You have your 3D character running through various environments doing quests, whatever. You can collect hundreds of skills. But much like MtG, the object is to build a "deck" of skills to use for whatever you'll be doing. Some "decks" are useful all-around, some are for specific zones or bosses. Some are for PvP only, some are specifically to deal with other PvP builds. That's where the strength of GW's gameplay lies. Having the levels at all just adds to the new player's confusion of what the game is. The only thing that "20" over your head does is it shows the rest of us that you've completed the noob content and you should have enough skills, armor, health and mana to be useful to the group to complete the *real* content.

    Otherwise great show as usual. I've been enjoying the past few "roundtable" style shows with various guests.

    My only other comment is that given the timing of this show, most of the details on LOTRO's upcoming content update as well as what session play will accomplish both for players and Turbine had been published, so most of the commentary was outdated by several weeks. That was really my only disappointment, usually you guys are on top of everything out there with current commentary.



    'Nice' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-08-12 18:00:27 CST
    ...back from vacation.

    Thanks for all of your comments guys. I'll talk about this whole thread as best I can in the next show.

    @ Shalimar616: We actually already did a segment on how to become a blogger in show #3...go take a listen. The post that Brent put up is basically the text version of that.