Friday, 18 February 2011

Minecraft dreams...

Minecraft is a wonderful little game, appealing to my sense of exploration and creation. I have spent hours just digging out tunnels and wandering the landscape however as each patch passes with it the game seems to step away with what I hope it would become. This is no slight on the developers but simply my own wishes for the game. So without further ado I'd like to mention the 'stuff' I'd love to see in Minecraft. A lot of this is based on Dwarf Fortress which was a part of the inspiration for the game and while I don't want to see a 3d block based DF, in my own personal wish list I'd love to see more aspects of it come together. Really though, a lot of this would have to be a completely separate game mode, a 'Fortress' mode I guess :)

1) Reward the explorer
So far in Minecraft there's very little reason to go exploring other than "because you can" and while I love exploring "because I can" I can't help but feel a little bit more enticement to go outside your spawn point would be nice. Pumpkins are a nice touch but lets add more things that spawn above ground to find, whether it's rare plants, exposed minerals, wood etc, I'm sure there's more that could be found. It doesn't even have to be useful.. Just something to find and collect.

2) Reset your spawn point
So if you do find somewhere awesome and would love to setup base there you pretty much can't due to the spawn point being static. Let us craft something requiring a lot of materials or rare stuff to actually let us rebind a spawn to a new location (must be above ground and must have no blocks above it)

3) Able to MAKE a living world
Dwarf Fortress was a small inspiration to the game but part of DF was that it became a living and breathing world, you'd need to grow crops, dig ore, defend the fortress and make it so it would become a central place to live for other Dwarves... I'd love to be able to trade ore I found to passing merchants and build up something which would come alive after you establish it as a potential colony... Maybe there's even other fortresses out there to work with.

4) The goblin horde
Or any underground horde really.. Ratmen, Orcs, spider people... Imagine creating your fortress and then you end up digging into a cavern to unleash a swarm of dangerous mobs. Maybe an army will show up and try to assault the front of your mine/fortress structure etc, destroying blocks until they're defeated, even better if it works with NPC allies :)

5) Stone Carving
You're still limited to blocks really, I'd love to be able to make proper carvings in the stone to decorate my mines and forts. Whether Dwarven runes or Orcish glyphs, I'd like to be able to tell a story in the walls.

6) More mobs
Lets be honest, it's pretty limited.. I think it'd be great having more mobs in the game (such as the above mentioned) and things such as giants, Merfolk, polar bears etc. I know there's mods to allow more mobs but to actually have a proper collection in game would be great. You could even turn off set mobs in the world generator if you don't want to put up with certain types.

7) Trading posts
So if you have an excess amount of ore or gems, why not be able to trade it for other materials? Even 100 wool could be traded for one block of gold ore for example. This potentially would work more in conjunction with the living world aspect, once you establish a colony you can get trade posts setup.

8) More ore types
I actually remember this from my good old Ultima Online days.. Mining and finding shadow, agapite, verite and valorite ore.. All different rarities with different properties. Would love to be more ore, whether fantastical or not which has more benefit than just colour and durability

9) History to the world
You're meant to be on an unexplored world (I think). Who is to say it's completely unspoiled? Maybe we could find ruins, ancient mines (leading to dragons!), abandoned structures or graves. I know we have dungeons but lets increase the variety of 'man made' objects in the world that can be found. 

10) More world themes
The biomes are great but I'd love to generate a pure desert, volcanic, ashland, swamp or other terrain types just to spice things up a bit.

As you can tell it's all pretty 'RP' type stuff but that's just how my mind works really. I'm sure a lot of this is available as mods but you'd need to combine them to get a Fortress mode. I'm hopeless at the redstone stuff, I just don't understand it, so it's wasted on me sadly and while it's incredibly cool I just can't get my head around it. So that's my wishlist.. Maybe one day we'll see Fortcraft.. or Minefort.. In the meantime I'm keeping my eyes on a little game called Survivors of Ragnarok (more about this another day).

Friday, 11 February 2011

Skyrim Screenshots

Bethesda put some screenshots that first appeared in print online. You can see them here

I have to admit it looks gorgeous. I'm a huge fan of Nordic themes in games (yeah I was Midgard in DAoC) so the look of the game is making me feel all fuzzy and warm inside.. Potentially that's the berserker rage building mind you. The final shot of a Nord warrior type in full outfit looking up looks amazing. And in fact.. Yup, it's my new background now! Oblivion was one of those games I never finished due to getting distracted by everything else I could do so I missed out a lot on the story which is a shame. However it's one of my top games still and I love sandbox games which also have a story for you to follow. I am going to finish Oblivion before Skyrim and in fact with two weeks left until Rift is released I really have no excuse not to spend some time on it now.

Right now though it's my number one awaited game for 2011 and something that will make me lose more than a few hours. I just need to retain some focus and actually play the story rather than letting my explorer side kick in and run off to the first mountain I can find to climb up it.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

If I'd been a producer of Warhammer Online I would have....

.... probably been a fairly bad one.

But it doesn't stop me making up random stuff that I wish I'd seen in my time in WAR. I fully understand that there is different priorities in MMO development than just adding new stuff or clicking fingers and suddenly all the bugs being fixed so it's not overly realistic.

1) Daily RvR Quests: Dump the scenario quests, the capture bo/keep quests etc. Instead replace them with a daily "Do a scenario", "Capture a BO", "Capture a keep" and a "Kill 50 players in ORvR or Scenarios". Reward would be some gold, XP and renown. This gives players who may not be able to put as much time in a quick way to get a little bit of renown without having to burn hours in a zerg. Can be repeated daily so gives folks a reason to log in even for 20 minutes each day.

2) Career and Mirror Patches: Every three months a patch would be primarily dedicated to a class and its mirror (BO/SM, WE/WH, WP/DoK etc). Solicit feedback from the forums and blogs over class concerns, not just core testers and be honest in communicating with the class, there was so many nerfs that were not given a reason for (still waiting for the reason for removal of the BOrc anti detaunt). Say this is why things are being removed, or why things aren't being changed, understand concerns and put together a list.. first 3 weeks or so can be getting feedback, a few weeks of dev work then a month of focus testing.. I'm sure those players who are interested in the career would put the effort in to help. Players would also know that they would get fixed, changes and attention.. I waited two and a half years for BOrc changes, all I got was no communication and nerfs about the class.

3) Survey System: Back in closed beta there were surveys that popped up regarding the game. Why not bring them back upon log in or in a window that you can opt in for surveys. Get instant feedback which can be controlled easier, can return information about class/gear/level etc much quicker and more reliable than sifting through forum posts. Not everyone reads forums, but every player plays the game...

4) A serious look at Land of the Dead: So much potential, just abandoned now due to game stopping bugs and other changes in the game. It's almost inconceivable that a fairly straight forward 8 boss dungeon can still be completely broken at various points 18 months after it was released. It doesn't look good and has left a bitter taste in a lot of players mouths, there should have been proper rewards for fighting in there, not measly scarabs or shit talismans, heck there could have even been an influence system built in but nope... It got launched, a few fixes and tweaks then dumped and forgotten about, left to rot under a swarm of bugs.

5) Expanding influence system: It wouldn't have taken much (I assume) but expanding the influence system and properly itemising a lot of the loot to generate new content would have been a fairly straight forward way to in effect give RvR content... In PvE raid games you simply repeat killing monsters to gain better loot, so why not keep finding ways to give more loot for killing? It didn't even need to be equipment, how about cosmetic items, mounts, titles etc? Lots of potential there rather than three bars of influence and the gear is pretty useless now anyway.

6) Lairs and Bastion Stair/Gunbad instances: Without a doubt it was much more fun doing warbands in an instance rather than a few people, make them scale depending on number of people in the instance. Not to mention Lairs were incredibly cool but completely neglected and the loot makes them not worth anything more than a potential unlock and certainly not worth the effort in trying to find things to activate them (only for it to bug out and not work anyway)

I could potentially go on for a while but I won't as I'm getting into the realms of a wish list rather than honest thoughts... It's things I'd like to see, all 6 would make me consider subbing back, but I also know that MMO development doesn't work this way.... Oh well.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sorry stun locks, we should just be friends now...

It's not you, it's me... I just don't think I'm compatible with you anymore. I understand that you appeal to some people with your ability to nullify skill by turning a player into basically an AFK kill but that attitude means you'll never have a place in my heart when you don't realise that you are potentially the worst PvP mechanic to ever feature in a game where you get player against player combat...

Seriously though, as I've gotten up the levels in Rift (still no higher than 20 though, I don't want to ruin too much) I have had the misfortune of coming up against more and more stun lock classes. I honestly thought I'd given this shit up in WoW. Does ANYONE apart from the guy doing it at that moment actually enjoy this mechanic and feel it presents a decent form of play? How about take some of the big FPS games like Call of Duty or Quake and see how much players would react to a gun that if it hits you once in the back you can't do anything for 4-6 seconds.. Would it be fun? Fuck no. So why do MMO developers constantly feel the need to add what's known as stun locks into a game? It shows no sense of skill to perform since it requires basic memory to remember the combination to press and if they fuck it up then 9 times out of 10 the stunlock class has a form of quick get away so you can't even teach the little bastard a lesson since they run away depriving you of achievement you got in avoiding his combo-cooldownpop-stunlocks only for him to wait until everything is off cooldown and do the same shit again to you or someone else.

For the love of sanity though, get rid of this shit and stop taking the game out of players hands, let them fight and defend with skill rather than locking a player out.

(Yes I am bitter, yes I am getting more and more pissed off with this in MMO's and in Rift and yes I will be looking at this PvP soul more now...)

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

/thank Andy Belford

Andy Belford, the community dude for BiowareMythic announced his departure for pastures new (or rather west) yesterday via Twitter.

I've had the fortune to be able to communicate with Andy numerous times and even had the luck of him being able to sort out some GamesDay UK tickets for me (which unfortunately due to some bad timing I had to bail on) so I feel justified in naming him a top notch bloke! So does going west to work in community management mean going to Rift, City of Heroes or something else entirely? Hmmm... I wonder... ;)

So where does this leave Warhammer Online right now? Well with Andy not being a developer although the key figure with Player/Dev interaction it leaves an obvious hole in communication. Now comms has been an issue since December with Mythic so here's hoping that they get the new community manager in place rapidly for the Warhammer players. James Nichols though is still on board and although he tends to focus more on the UO/DAoC side of things (I believe) I'm sure he'll be able to fill in until Mythic get things sorted.

So with WAR getting a new producer (gz James Casey, another top bloke) as well as a new community manager.... dude.. person... type thing... There comes an aura of expectation which I have to admit has peeked my curiosity in WAR again however I'll be holding off until summer into the autumn as promised to myself (unless Rift happens to be a total dive) to get a decent break to re-energise it for me.

So once more Andy. /thank for your time and effort and even the posting back on Mmmmm Gud and twitter posts... Yer a gud git!