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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 #7
Mon, 20 Aug 2007 04:05:00 GMT [download/play]



Agenda:
  • Introductions
  • Listener mail/What we're playing
  • We be Social
  • Justifying MMO fees
  • The Revolution
  • End Game Sucks!
  • Go MMO, you don't go back
  • Blog of the week

    Hosts:
    Darren - commonsensegamer.com
    Adele - adelecaelia.wordpress.com
    Nick (aka Pixie Styx) - strangelands
    Troy - Voyages of Vanguard podcast

    Topics:
    Social Research
    Dr. Phil
    Lonely and Social
    Social Gamers
    Taken to Task
    Talking with a Console Gamer
    Jusifying MMO Fees
    The Revolution
    End Game Sucks!
    End Game Haiku
    End Game and Real People
    Stupid is as End Game Does
    Go Massive or Go Home

    Blog of the week:
    theserverisdown.com

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    Previous Episodes
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    Episode 7 Discussion Thread

    'Couple things' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-08-20 06:19:44 CST
    Hope everyone enjoys the show.

    I had to take out the entire listener mail section for this one. It somehow got cutoff half-way through and the half we did have did not sound very good. So no, we didn't ignore the monster discussion that followed show 6 :)

    D



    'Thanks!' by Adele
    Submitted on 2007-08-20 12:50:24 CST
    Thanks again Troy and Nick for coming on the show! It was a blast!


    'Damnt, Doc! You're making it worse!' by Akely
    Submitted on 2007-08-20 16:11:47 CST
    I *really* liked this show despite the poor sound quality at times. Especially in Nick's case. At times I could not make out what he was saying at all although I did get the sense the other podcasters did hear him fine. Perhaps it is my non-english ears. Perhaps these sound problems is related to the Listener Mail problems`Just out of curiosity: what VOIP software are you using? I'd like to know so I can stay away from it. ;-)

    The old gaming is bad, m'kay argument bores me to tears. Not the discussion on the podcast, I think you mentioned just about every counter argument there is. From what little I've seen with Dr. Phil I actually was a bit surprised. The man seems intelligent and down to earth. But this old "lets blame something" is really getting tiresome. Weather it is gaming, role-playing, Marilyn Manson or golf I find the notion that said activity would make people flip out is far-fetched and statistically unproven. The most common fact of violence is inability to cope with society and other people. And trumpeting out the beliefs that gamers, role-players and metal-heads are practically pshycopaths already do not help! Actually it just teaches the weaker that they ARE different, they are strange and they will become violent. The argument and society repeating it molds them into being so. Tell a lie long enough, etcetera... Way to go, Doc! /rant

    Excellent moderating, D. Like a pro! And Adele still impresses me with her clear thinking. Except for that raid thing.



    'Love it' by varka
    Submitted on 2007-08-20 23:00:10 CST
    I had to laugh on the comments about the world being static, about players all getting the same quest, and NPCs not really responding to the world.

    It reminded me of the Secret Lives of Mob comic about WAR.

    The current strip (about factions):
    http://www.secretlivesofmobs.com/index.php?strip_id=27

    and this older one (quest givers):
    http://www.secretlivesofmobs.com/index.php?strip_id=19



    'Another good show' by DamianoV
    Submitted on 2007-08-21 08:18:48 CST
    Kudos to everyone on another good show. The only disappointment... I was really looking forward to the opinions on the discussion on the last show. Ah well, such is life.

    On the topic of "Revolution": I suspect that brand new ideas will come exclusively from indie developers with small budgets. The marketplace, for whatever reason, has already decreed that the majority of the cash spent on an MMO will need to go into graphics and animation in order to yield "massive" levels of success. Indie shops with limited budgets are where the experimentation in terms of "game" will take place, and they will largely do so out of necessity... much the same as in publishing, movies, and so on. In other words, the bigger the budget, the less innovation, because innovation equals risk.

    On "Go Massive or Go Home": not sure I agree in toto here. I agree that online play in general is a must-have feature, but I'm not convinced that it always has to be "massive", especially for types of game outside the realm of the RPG. I'm really not interested in the various "massive RTS" games that are out there, for example, despite loving the RTS genre in general. 8-16 players is more than enough in that type of game... although if the "player lobby" concept throws it into the realm of MMO, then I guess it's a matter of definitions...

    Anyway, another good show. Gratz!



    'Another Job Well Done' by James
    Submitted on 2007-08-21 09:23:17 CST
    As always, I really enjoyed the show. Each episode you folks always hit on a slew of great topics. I enjoyed hearing Troy and Nick's perspectives this week too. Regarding the subscription fee debate, I'd have to say I'd take a monthly fee over in-game advertising anyday. I do see in-game advertising as a legitimate route for devs to wave expenses in free-to-play games, but if it's free-to-play to begin with, I don't feel we have much of a say how the game goes as consumers to begin with.

    As Nick pointed out, advertising could probably be incorporated subtley and somewhat tastefully into games set in a modern or futuristic world, but if my subscription fee keeps advertisers out, I'll happily pay them until the end of my days. If the time comes when I'm looking at Starbucks ads or watching Burger King commercials on load-up screens in pay-to-play games, that'll be the day I abandon the genre and find a new pastime. Your tongue-in-cheek speculations were both hilarious and frightening (elves running around in Nikes, golden arches bursting through the air as a mage casts a spell). I just hope you didn't give any greedy marketing execs any ideas.

    Keep up the great work!



    'Oh, another thing.' by Akely
    Submitted on 2007-08-21 12:06:23 CST
    You're to full of ideas, Troy! If I ever see a Coke swirl or some Golden Arches when I cast a spell I'm coming for you! Just so you know!


    ;-)



    'Follow-up' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-08-21 12:25:42 CST
    As if reading my mind, Jeff Freeman displayed those charts that I was refering to in the show:

    http://mythicalblog.com/index.php/gaming/videogame-violence-debate-finally-over/



    'On the topic of FPS games' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-22 13:09:01 CST
    I'm only about halfway through on my iPod, but noticed one of the speakers kept refferring to FPS's as 'frames per second' by mistake, instead of the correct 'first person shooter'.

    As for DamianoV's comment on "go massive or go home" I do agree on his point. In a lot of games a smaller more concentrated group of players can often achieve a more immersive and fun experience than a larger massive group could ever achieve. At some point the scale and amount of players no longer contributes positively to the experience anymore and can even detract from it.

    I've seen this in a few games like WWII Online where the sweet spot for me was around 50-75 players in the same area, anymore than that and tank battles were like fighting on a congested LA freeway at rush hour.

    You could also see the same thing in games like Planetside.

    It sort of follows my ongoing argument that not all games are suited to be MMO's, too many companies want to jump on the bandwagon and get rich by converting their genre over to a MMO when it adds nothing to the game itself but a monthly fee and some persistant stats. Most FPS's with 64 players a server work perfectly fine and could incorporate MMO persistance or campaign action without ever being a true MMO.



    'good stuff' by hallower
    Submitted on 2007-08-27 13:56:20 CST
    This one really got my mind working, though I've of course already forgotten most of my responses. I'm gonna have to start jotting down notes in Notepad before you move onto the next topic in the show.

    I've got no problem with new payment models being tried, but I agree that the subscription model's not bad. As I said in a blog somewhere, free-to-play models have a lot of potential, but I can see them being implemented poorly in some cases...crossing that line between "encouraging" and "forcing" microtransactions. Microtransactions will probably prove more profitable.

    I'm not a fan of endgame scenarios. An MMO that has only one or two gameplay avenues at the high end is poorly designed. It makes sense that there are some things that can only really be done when the player has progressed, and some thing that slow or cease eventually. But there should never be only one or two avenues of character growth or little room for exploration. If enough dynamics are placed in the design, then exploration can be never-ending and players can alternate between multiple goals even at the high end.

    I still love single-player games, but the social aspect of MMOs is definitely important. As someone said (I think it was Nick), even soloing in an MMO is different than single-player games, because other players make the world feel alive. I don't group nearly as much as most people, but I enjoy having others around all the same.



    'I didn't read the rest of the comments but...' by notyou
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 16:26:50 CST
    I had to turn the show off because the audio quality was so terrible. I couldn't understand what people were saying with the distortion, someone kept tapping, children were screaming in the background. I love the content of your shows but I registered just to say that I will probably be listening to one more only if the audio quality doesn't improve.

    Either that or fix the problem right away if there is one. It is much more annoying for you all to ignore the issue and let someone keep tapping or let someone keep talking even though you can't understand anything they are saying than to just tell them to wait and try to resolve the issue then.



    'Oh well...' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 18:11:02 CST
    Notyou...

    I appreciate the comments, I really do, however you've got to understand that the bloggers that I have on my show are NOT podcasters. They don't have sound rooms, expensive mics are audio packages up the ying-yang. Some have kids, pets that are in the same room as their computers...can't be helped. I clean it up as best I can and that's all I can do.

    ...up to you if you want to listen or not but the show is what it is. I for one think this show was very good and the guests stood up very well with the content....audio issues not withstanding.

    Thanks,
    D



    '...' by notyou
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 19:00:04 CST
    I agree this show was good.. at least what I heard until I had to turn it off.

    I do see your point though. Perhaps just trying to step in more quickly when something that will be obviously annoying starts to happen. I was very happy when you did step in when one of the people kept on tapping.

    I have listened to 6.5 shows and I enjoy the content. I just hate to see it crippled by fixable audio problems.

    If I'm the only one that thinks this then ohhhh well. :)



    'heh' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 19:07:20 CST
    No worries.

    Some of them are fixable, some you can't. We had multiple visits from Nick's 3 year old daughter, and that stuff can't be helped and, of course, she was just adorable. Don't expect the high audio that Brent gives you every week, expect some good conversation with an occasional blip.



    'blips' by hallower
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 19:30:49 CST
    Oh, so you're going to throw in some blips now? And here I thought this was a family show. ;)


    'heh' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 19:33:49 CST
    No worries.

    Some of them are fixable, some you can't. We had multiple visits from Nick's 3 year old daughter, and that stuff can't be helped and, of course, she was just adorable. Don't expect the high audio that Brent gives you every week, expect some good conversation with an occasional blip.



    'What no bloops? creeps? or bleeps?' by Scott
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 19:45:09 CST
    I know everyone takes the criticism in stride but I'd really like to remind folks to just enjoy the non-commercial podcasts for what they are, seems everyone expects professionally produced podcasts and often forgets it fellow fans and hobbyists doing the engineering with an already significant amount of time invested to coordinate, produce, and record them.

    I'm always for trying to do your best, but if its a matter of either making do or not having the content at all, I think we'd be at a loss for not having great commentary.

    Plus, there's something to be said for people caring enough to complain. ;)



    'ugh' by Brent
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 20:10:04 CST
    Every time someone refers to my audio as "high quality" or "professional" it makes me cringe. There is so much to that needs to be fixed in the standard weekly VW show that I could go on for paragraph after paragraph about it... But I'll take the kind words to mean: It isn't' annoying you or hurting your ears. Thanks.




    'sigh' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-08-31 20:23:19 CST
    ok....compared to mine, Brent's is "high quality" and "professional".

    ...cringies all gone now :)



    'Any money changing hands?' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 05:08:23 CST
    Once again you Americans think that just because no money is changing hands the show doesn't have to be professional.

    Darren - you should have tested the audio quality of the participants in your show before you invited them on. If they don't pass an "average" grade, then don't have them. If they want to be on the show and publicise their podcast, then they can go get themselves a decent microphone and maybe ensure that someone looks after their 3yo while they are "working". If you let them get away with it this time, then you'll find future bloggers won't "bother" to treat your podcast seriously either...you might even give your guests some "standards" or "guidance" to adhere to...

    If the bloggers were on TV, then this type of "accepting sub-par broadcasting" simply would never be aired. If you can broadcast from the moon in 1969, you can get decent sound on a podcast 40 years later.

    I'll post on the content of the podcast in a bit...



    'Woah' by varka
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 05:27:52 CST
    Chill out dude. Maybe it's annoying, but it's better then no content. I for one appreciate having something to listen to that I find interesting.

    This is also the seventh episode and the first I have heard that is this bad, so its hardly systemic. We all learn as we go.



    'Any money changing hands?' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 05:33:01 CST
    Once again you Americans think that just because no money is changing hands the show doesn't have to be professional.

    Darren - you should have tested the audio quality of the participants in your show before you invited them on. If they don't pass an "average" grade, then don't have them. If they want to be on the show and publicise their podcast, then they can go get themselves a decent microphone and maybe ensure that someone looks after their 3yo while they are "working". If you let them get away with it this time, then you'll find future bloggers won't "bother" to treat your podcast seriously either...you might even give your guests some "standards" or "guidance" to adhere to...

    If the bloggers were on TV, then this type of "accepting sub-par broadcasting" simply would never be aired. If you can broadcast from the moon in 1969, you can get decent sound on a podcast 40 years later.

    I'll post on the content of the podcast in a bit...



    'Losing a bit of balance again...' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 05:57:46 CST
    Well congrats for belittling Dr Phil, the biblebashers and rehashing all the old "Tom and Jerry" violence arguments. It IS interesting that Japan's apparently "ordered" culture that Troy describes seems to enjoy violent films above all other types - is this true? - but in itself this proves something. Violence is an "escapism", perhaps even a "rebellion" about being told what to do. Escapism isn't a positive thing. Why can't gamers accept that the non-gamers have an argument here?

    Agree with the comment on the dangers of free play. It will just be the usual money buys anything capitalist culture, that certain nations seem very fond of. In contrast, I would favour a low price "Pay as you go" system, where people pay more for more play. This would mean that you can play a variety of games at the same time and just pay to dip in, when you feel like it. In this format, niche games which don't bear consistent play could make money. £1 for 24hrs of play seems reasonable to me or the 25c/hour that Troy suggests.



    'I'm not American' by Dathmar
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 06:05:21 CST
    Wow Scytale2 - are you really trying to upset people ?
    ...and I sense a Anti (North) American feeling here ?
    Why ?




    'Anti-capitalist' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 06:24:27 CST
    I guess I mention this, because I sense a societal culture change in the UK and to a lesser extent in the USA and to a far greater extent in other parts of Western Europe rebelling against the traditional self-indulgent capitalist values of the 1980s.

    The idea of micro-transactions is to earn more money by "stealth", by enticing players into a game which might well be enjoyable and then use "peer pressure" to get people to spend money, possibly more money than can be afforded. This peer pressure is the equivalent of "keeping up with the Joneses" and playing on this human weakness is imho unethical and can only be explained through captialist ideals. It is a shame that we lost the goldfarming discussion, because it presents very similar issues.

    Anti-American - no, but I will try to highlight where the bite of American (and UK) capitalist culture ill-informs debates. Anyway, a few biting comments from opposing views don't hurt, do they? You Americans can take a bit of criticism, can't you?



    'Away with the Pixies' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 06:27:15 CST
    Despite, Nick, you saying you had no background reason for your name, this was quite interesting. How many of us historically had the same description levelled at us when younger?


    'Non-American' by varka
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 06:51:16 CST
    I'm struggling to understand where nationality fits into all of this or why it came up. Ideology seems like a bit of a stretch too. The old fashion distinctions along the various ideological axioms seem a bit blurred in whatever culture you go and look at.

    Ultimately it is the choice of the masses. If lots of moronic tools SMS their answer to "What colour is the sky?" into the late-night game show thinking that they are one of three callers and stand a good chance of winning, then every channel will start a late-night game show and reap in the cash. (And yes, that has happened here in Australia... it's quite sad).

    I see micro transactions as the same thing, no matter how many ways you cut up the cookie. But then again, I see monthly subscriptions the same as well. I resisted for a very long before I realised that is where the games industry is headed and if I want to play the games I have to follow. Sadly I think it will only get worse, that's where the money is and the vast majority of players don't care, so the game companies will do what is profitable. Anywhere, not just America.



    'Nationality is irrelevant' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 08:58:35 CST
    ...despite the fact that US ideologies do tend to lead "the market", which can often be perpendicular to the thinking and ideologies of other countries. Take the Middle East, for instance...

    Sure, one can sigh and whinge about how the world is now and how it will never change. Alternatively one can envision and formulate a new world that one would like to live in...

    I would also add that proftiability is not always short term. Clearly, the "pay as you go" option on mobile phones was not initially an option. Nowadays, the majority of the global market uses this system...



    'Ummm...no' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 09:39:09 CST
    Scytale, I won't be putting my guests to an audio test.

    Don't like it, don't listen...its a very simple solution that for some reason escapes you. I won't be wasting my time wondering why you choose to bitch about it instead or killing myself appeasing someone who is, obviously, a very grumpy person.



    'Your podcast - your choice' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 09:51:27 CST
    It's entirely in your hands, Darren. I am quite happy to allow you to vent your anger on me, who represents the 90% of people unhappy with the sound quality on this podcast.

    Don't blame me, when you're still bringing out poor sound quality podcasts with good guests and Brent kicks you out for not taking the Virginworlds brand seriously.

    I shall continue to listen and pick you up on when I feel your podcast is sub-standard and belittling of others and praise you when you do well, naturally.

    If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. I'm sure Brent can find other people to make professional podcasts on this exact same subject for the Collective.



    'deep breath and count to ten' by Brent
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 09:55:37 CST
    Time to relax, gentlemen.

    It is Saturday after all.



    'heh' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 10:00:55 CST
    ...you're bitterness amuses me dude.

    Find a woman, you obviously need one. Hey, maybe you can make a podcast of the first time you kiss one.

    ...just a suggestion. I'm sure the audio quality would be stellar.



    'Dude?' by scytale2
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 10:11:34 CST
    Resorting to personal attacks is somewhat indicative of the way you have shown you respond to most constructive criticism. What I was suggesting is "common sense", not a deep affront on your own virility.

    Anyway, I shan't post again until the next podcast, which I suspect will be better. By then maybe you'll be in a more receptive frame of mind. I will read if you decide to post another scathing attack, but I won't respond.



    'sound quality's fine' by hallower
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 10:26:00 CST
    Every one of these shows that catches hell for sound quality is easily understandable to me, be it SUWT or Brent's podcast.

    Occasionally, there's a hiccup, but the hiccup is long enough to garble 2 or 3 words at most, and is no more irritating than a moment of static on the radio or a momentary blurring in a satellite TV signal. The "in a box" sound (reverb) of some guest speakers is found just as commonly on national network TV news when they speak to someone through a phone (i.e., use the sort of technology these podcasters are using). If podcasters limited themselves to guests who had better technology available, we would miss out on some interesting discussions.

    And that's what podcasts are: discussions. They're like blogs in that they generally represent something more casual than mainstream news... which is a key reason many of us listen to them. Like it or not, they're usually as social as they are informative (though some podcasts, like 1UP's, can focus too much on being social and not enough on gaming).

    The kids don't bother me. The pets don't bother me. And I'm the sort of person who has trouble tuning out background noise like that. It's part of the casual setting. And, like the technology, it's part of the lives of many hosts and guests who are worth listening to. Hell, if the kids interrupted Adele completely because of an emergency or just because they're kids, I wouldn't think much of it. It's a casual setting, and the kids are more important anyway.

    For those of you having trouble understanding some of these podcasts, considering that I can understand them, the problem seems to be some sort of data corruption at your end or perhaps your ear just hasn't adjusted to the sound of these particular microphones yet (different mics emphasize different frequency ranges). Those are just guesses, but I wish I could help further.



    'Hey' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 10:51:55 CST
    ....if you think that was a personal attack, then you are truly an oversensitive person. If I started getting personal, you'd know it. Funny, I thought you were beyond playing "I'm the victim of a personal attack" internet card...guess not.

    All you do, Scytale 'ol pal, is post rude comments veiled as criticisms....and honestly, I don't even take you seriously anymore...wanna know why? Sure you do:

    You don't produce/host a podcast, so this "audio quality" term you keep throwing around is obviously bogus because you have no experience what so ever. You don't contribute anything to the MMO community since your blog site hasn't been updated since February, and with only 3 posts in the whole site....so you obviously are unable to follow through on any project outside the "criticisms" you post here.

    Tell you what. Start posting on a regular basis and show you at least have the same work ethic that myself and all of my guests have. Show that you have more interest in the community than a passing fad. Show that you actually know what you're talking about and produce a podcast with the attributes that you obviously think are absent in SUWT.

    ...officially done with you.




    'Just FYI' by Adele
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 11:41:08 CST
    The kids you heard weren't mine:) But I didn't hear children too often when I listened to it. People can't really shut their kids out if they really really need them.


    'Sound Quality' by Akely
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 17:44:48 CST
    "so this "audio quality" term you keep throwing around is obviously bogus because you have no experience what so ever."

    One do not have to host a podcast to identify poor audio quality. Listen is often enough to make ones opinion up. ;-) But what is 'good' or 'bad' differs for every listener. I too have remarked about the audio quality. I'd like to think that you remark was aimed at Scy personally and not all of us who remarked about it.

    Anyhow: I do understand the reasoning behind why it is like it is and I accept it. I'd rather have poor (audio) quality and interesting guests than the opposite.



    'No' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 17:51:43 CST
    ...was not aimed at you Akely, comment was for Scy.

    And thanks for accepting that sometimes we won't sound the best, but we'll have great guests and content for you guys to listen to :)



    'Until we get sponsors, its more about content than quality' by Shalimar616
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 18:54:06 CST
    As a producer of two podcasts; Voyages of Vanguard and EQual Perspectives, I can tell everyone that quality of a show is something we work hard at, but the reality is that this is a hobby for everyone here.

    If we could find a sponsor, someone who would foot the bill for proper recording studios, mics, mixers, software, hardware, and the time to make it a professional endeavor I am sure we all would make high quality audio shows.

    That said, I always look for interesting people and guests first, and worry about the quality later. Its just the plain facts.

    Troy



    '...' by notyou
    Submitted on 2007-09-02 20:18:54 CST
    "'heh' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-09-01 10:00:55 CST
    ...you're bitterness amuses me dude.

    Find a woman, you obviously need one. Hey, maybe you can make a podcast of the first time you kiss one.

    ...just a suggestion. I'm sure the audio quality would be stellar."

    I had to check twice to make sure it was you who posted this. Good luck with your podcast, I'm moving on.

    And I don't care who it was directed at.



    'Well...' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-09-02 22:50:59 CST
    I hope you stick around notyou. We're going to have some great conversations in the shows to come and I'd like you to be there when we have them.

    I think both Scytale and I have lots to learn when it comes to exchanges like this one.



    'Hmmm' by pvthudson
    Submitted on 2007-09-03 01:09:32 CST
    Well I can say that number 8 WILL sound better, cause I am on it :) I kid I kid. Seriously though folks for some this is a hobby, its a fun round table. It is not meant to be a top 40 radio show. Sure I was annoyed by the sound quality and the bird in the background every now and then, but one bad episode sound wise does not represent the whole show. I just ignored it and focused on the content. Honestly an email to Darren would have accomplished more than insulting everyone involved.


    'Got some' by darrenl
    Submitted on 2007-09-03 07:42:32 CST
    I actually did get some very well written, constructive emails regarding shows where guests did not come across very well from a sound point of view.

    ...I appreciate those.