Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Many faces of content

I've been kind of catching a trend in discussion around the blogosphere and I know I'm a bit late on this. To be honest, I haven't even read my blog reader over the summer, so I really don't know what is going on.

Who cares?

In MMOs we so much love and love-to-hate there has to be some reason why we keep on coming back to this form of 'interactive entertainment'. Yes, let's be honest about it. MMOs are not games because there are no set winning conditions. No "Game Over" screen. No cake.

No. Wait. That was another game.

In the loveliest sense the MMO world would be a virtual life, virtual, boundless world to explore and exploit. However, that would mean also that the 'gameplay' of the sandbox would fall into the hands of the player alone, which in turn makes it too much like 'real life'.

Some say that the content in a MMO is that which is scripted in as quests: menial tasks leading to another and so on. If the quests are just those menial tasks to kill ten (insert a critter name here), then they are not content. They are a filler. A soap opera episode without any ties to the story arc of the season. The episode with big red reset button at the end. You know what I mean.

The best quests, however, are those which lead you to an evolving plot. In WoW there are some must see quest chains which do this, most prominently the Wrathgate-chain and the Mount Hyjal opening. Come to think of it, the whole Cataclysm expansion is one big evolving plot stuff, each area having their own storyline down there somewhere. Shattered by menial tasks, making it next to impossible to follow the actual story among the clutter of clues and sidetracks.

In WoW, there is no way of telling which quest leads to a bigger story.

As I've been playing Rift lately, there is this clever 'story quest' system in: the quests which carry a grand storyline are on a golden background. There are other stories which slowly lead you to these, but the general point is that you know immediately that these stories mean something. I would say that these are the grand story arcs of your favorite tv-series, and you know that you must see the next chapter. And fast.

But quests are not content alone. Nor is the totally open sandbox world. The content comes from the combination of the two, if and only when you add a bunch of players into the play.

You see, I think most of the content is what we create by ourselves while doing those menial tasks to find the story arc lines among other players of the play.

We players are the content. Without us the grand sandboxes and themeparks would be nothing.

PS. As of now, the comments and discussion can be continued in Google+.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blog 3 years

I'm having pretty much going on in the home front, so I'll only mention that the blog is today 3 years old, this being 450th post in total. 150 posts a year, not too shabby amount of text to waste into the internet, eh?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Irrelevant post

This is actually a test.

You have been warned.
--- --- ---

The mist was thicker than usual: all the shades of brown, swirling and turning by unseen draft, drawing strange figures in the air. This fog had been there as long as anyone remembered, even though the elders said they remembered time with clear skies. But even they didn't remember time without the Tree. It had always been there, even before people came through the stars and set their foot on this land.

Shirrus snapped out of these thoughts. He hadn't been thinking anything about the legends of past since he was a wee boy, and he was a bit disturbed why they came to haunt him now, just when he should have concentrated on his job. Here he was, embracing the Tree with his climbing clamps, trying to find the next soft spot to pull himself up.

And he was concerned about the mist, how thick it seemed to be tonight.

Shirrus eased the clamp on his hand and gently lifted it up above his head. He could just barely see Brang above him, guiding their way to the forgotten platform he claimed he found on one solo climb earlier. Every climber knew you never went out alone, let alone on the softest areas where they were just now. The soft skin of the Tree wasn't safe and most of the climbers who had disappeared had told going on the soft.

Again Shirrus found himself in thoughts instead of the moment. His thoughts should have been on releasing clamp, finding a crease, securing the clamp and pulling himself up. He was getting angry on himself. And on the mist which was starting to bother his vision, sticking into his goggles and getting hard on his gown.

--- --- ---

The question remains, whether I should continue this?

This concludes the test. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Autumn blues

Summer is over and the first rainy Autumn days are here.

Contrary to the belief, I am not dead. Nor the blog. In fact, over the summer I encountered several interesting and mindboggling things in WoW that I haven't been able to start writing again. Most probably it will result that I just forget what I experienced over the summer and focus on the current endeavours.

Which may be a reason for some to take this blog off of their reader, as it seems that the only thing I'm doing in WoW at the moment is playing once a week with my brothers, occasionally with my son. And with my brothers we are levelling up a second team in which we do not even have a warrior. Welcome the second team of the Three Dunces: Paladin (former Förgelös), Rogue (former Bishopgeorge) and Shaman (former Laiskajaakko aka me). Plus the occasional visitor, my son with his Warlock.

I tried to get interested in playing on a PvP server and working on a twink rogue. He's now twinked up to max without any Heirlooms, which is gimping him somewhat, but still he's pretty balanced to play, especially as I'm maxing myself as harasser and pain in the behind. My banker on that server has amassed over 12k gold in 2 days of played time, while providing the twink with appropriate enchants and all, so AH gamble doesn't hold any interest to me at all. Sufficient to say, there are enough players who have no idea of how valuable some things are and there are few enough of us who can pinpoint the profitable stuff.

Maybe the lack of guild and group in the PvP server serves as one reason why it doesn't feel good. Granted that a rogue is a lone wolf by nature, but as rogues have lost all their characterizing abilities over the years (or more specifically, the abilities are there but there is no reason in gameplay for disarm traps or lockpicking) they have become a commodity. Like all classes, really. It would be more honest towards all that the classes were reset to Tank, Ranged DPS, Melee DPS and Healer.

The other reason to sign me off of your reader is that I have decided to give Rift a new run. Started a new warrior-archetype on Estrael, US and will see how far I can play that game this time. The time difference will be the problem, as always when playing overseas, but I'm a loner anyhow and all contact with guildies will be a bonus. I think I gave up Rift too soon and in a way let Insult to Injury down by doing that. Sorry folks.

Blogging schedule may become more scarce, but I try to post twice a week from now on. The blog list will stay as it is, maybe a bit pruning is needed but otherwise it will stay. I'm reading only one or two blogs currently anyhow, but that is another story.

Let the games begin!