GWJ Conference Call Episode 218

Conference Call

WoW: Cataclysm (First 19 minutes), Infinity Blade, Steam Treasure Hunt, Future of MMOGs, Games of 2011, Gaming Charities, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian, Cory and special guest Wes Wilson talk about Cataclysm, MMOGs and a whole lot more.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Trailer - Infinity Blade - http://www.epicgames.com/infinityblade/ - 30:56

Main Theme - World of Warcraft: Catacysm - http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/catac... - 57:11

Comments

*sigh*

Yeah, I get it, you folks weren't as much into Guildwars as I was, but I think you're underestimating its significance. It did make me the hero of a pretty awesome storyline, and the PVP balance is still one of the best around.

I really hope that GW2 gets released in 2011. From what I've already seen, I guess it will drop some jaws.

You guys should have had Zonk on. He would have slapped you all or not mentioning Guild Wars 2. If they do half of what they have said it's going to be a game changer.

The one problem I have with GW2/ArenaNet is that they keep talking about awesome stuff, and not announcing a release or test release. I can understand not talking about it much because there are bigger fish around right now.

Since it doesn't seem to appear in the notes...

http://www.boardgameswithscott.com/

I've been looking for a something like that to plonk into my Google Reader.

Tiger Walts wrote:

Since it doesn't seem to appear in the notes...

http://www.boardgameswithscott.com/

I've been looking for a something like that to plonk into my Google Reader.

++ on this. I've been watching Mr. Nicholson's video reviews for a couple years now. Pretty good stuff.

Hey, we MENTIONED Guild Wars. We really did. I swear. No, we didn't dig in hard on it, but it's not like we didn't mention it existed!

MrDeVil909 wrote:

You guys should have had Zonk on. He would have slapped you all or not mentioning Guild Wars 2. If they do half of what they have said it's going to be a game changer.

Zonk would have also slapped them for saying people wouldn't create alts in SWtOR. I think the idea of totally different (voiced) storys for characters is interesting, particularly as you have the light and dark side.

I'm hoping thats not just wishful thinking on my behalf.

As usual great show guys and Merry Christmas!

rabbit wrote:

Hey, we MENTIONED Guild Wars. We really did. I swear. No, we didn't dig in hard on it, but it's not like we didn't mention it existed!

Yeah true. But the business model is an alternative to both the WoW and Turbine models, being a full price purchase and, only later, additional missions and cosmetic items being purchasable.

The last sales figures I saw for the game put it at over 6.5 million units sold. It's not WoW, but notable nonetheless. In a lot of ways the 'phasing' of WoW sounds like a development of the instancing that got Guild Wars so panned by many MMO gamers.

While GW 2 is introducing a more WoW-like open world there are many mechanical and gameplay innovations being introduced that could show the way for the post-WoW MMO landscape.

I'm not sure why people even WANT to feel like they're the star in an MMO story.... it seems to entirely miss the point of the genre.

Certis wrote:

WoW: Cataclysm (First 19 minutes)

Thanks for the heads up.

*skips to 19:00*

Who's that Minecraft podcast that's a sex machine with all the chicks?

I gave up WoW just before Burning Crusade and stayed away from then on. A year or so ago I started to get the urge to dip back into the game. I located the retail box with it's discs, just incase.... I looked on the WoW website, just, you know, out of interest, and had a peep at my dormant account. While on the WoW site I happened to notice the 10 day free trial for Burning Crusade. A few days later, with alarm bells ringing, I started the trial.

Amazingly, despite feel that it might be a big mistake, it turned out to be a fun return visit to all things WoW. I saw the new content, checked in with my guild and was able to take my level 60 character through the portal (about as close to a satisfying ending as any WoW character can have.) I also reminded myself of how WoW isn't really designed for me, as a gamer, and I ended the trial a few days early.

Now the 10 day trial is back up (I bought Burning crusade for £4) and I'm considering taking Blizzard up on the offer over Christmas. Again, I have mixed feelings.

On the subject of next year's games: I recently realise my 'list of anticipated games' had become my 'list of games I've bought and need to play' so I scraped it and turned to a blank page to make a new list. In a matter of moments, I had an all new, page long, list of games, many of which are sequels to games I loved this year. Yes, some of them will suck but if even 50% of them live up to their promise I will be a very busy and very happy gamer next year.

P.S. De Blob 2 does look great.

P.P.S. The thing I remember about Left 4 Dead 2 is being left behind by two guys in multiplayer and deciding to play with A.I. companions only to turn around at the end of the circus level to see the A.I characters, 100 yards away, all climbing into the helicopter without me.

EDIT: Meh, no point.

rabbit wrote:

Hey, we MENTIONED Guild Wars. We really did. I swear. No, we didn't dig in hard on it, but it's not like we didn't mention it existed!

We should have spent more time on it, though. It was a big hole in our Future of MMOs discussion.

In my case, I know very little about GW2. I played the first game for a little bit, thought it was neat. But outside of the serious hardcore MMO crowd, there's not a lot of knowledge there on what's coming up. Anyone wanna take me to school?

Jonea wrote:

Zonk would have also slapped them for saying people wouldn't create alts in SWtOR. I think the idea of totally different (voiced) storys for characters is interesting, particularly as you have the light and dark side.

He would have been wrong, too. Michael and I have had this argument in the past, though maybe not on the show. My hands-on time at E3 and PAX left me feeling like replayability is the single biggest problem with The Old Republic. I'd love to be wrong, but I'm willing to bet I'm not.

AndrewA wrote:

I'm not sure why people even WANT to feel like they're the star in an MMO story.... it seems to entirely miss the point of the genre.

My theory: It's easier to make *one* player feel like the star in an MMO than a *group* of people. I know that sounds weird, but think about group dynamics in gaming.

I'm shocked that no one's brought the Infinity Blade hate to the comment thread. I put on my flame-retardant beanie and everything.

Demiurge wrote:
rabbit wrote:

Hey, we MENTIONED Guild Wars. We really did. I swear. No, we didn't dig in hard on it, but it's not like we didn't mention it existed!

We should have spent more time on it, though. It was a big hole in our Future of MMOs discussion.

In my case, I know very little about GW2. I played the first game for a little bit, thought it was neat. But outside of the serious hardcore MMO crowd, there's not a lot of knowledge there on what's coming up. Anyone wanna take me to school?

Take a browse around the GW2 website, I think it covers most of what they're doing with it. Having said that, I'm still cautious about how big a hit it will be. I think it will do great by comparison with GW1 and most other MMOs, but I'm not really expecting a big usurper that changes how people look at online gaming and suddenly causes a shift in how MMOs are made.

Love the show!

Scratched wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
rabbit wrote:

Hey, we MENTIONED Guild Wars. We really did. I swear. No, we didn't dig in hard on it, but it's not like we didn't mention it existed!

We should have spent more time on it, though. It was a big hole in our Future of MMOs discussion.

In my case, I know very little about GW2. I played the first game for a little bit, thought it was neat. But outside of the serious hardcore MMO crowd, there's not a lot of knowledge there on what's coming up. Anyone wanna take me to school?

Take a browse around the GW2 website, I think it covers most of what they're doing with it. Having said that, I'm still cautious about how big a hit it will be. I think it will do great by comparison with GW1 and most other MMOs, but I'm not really expecting a big usurper that changes how people look at online gaming and suddenly causes a shift in how MMOs are made.

Yep, the Arena.net blog also has some good info, and the thread on this site has had some interesting discussion, as well as links to the important pieces of info. Massively's coverage has been very good any time there has been new info

My biggest concern is action based game-play. The lag can potentially become an impediment to play, but I'm sure they have considered that.

My favourite thing. No healing class.

Other cool things: They are also changing the way leveling works. They are going to make it possible to take in game actions from your cellphone or web client, dynamic events similar to WAR, personal stories for the players, the way skills are structured to customise your characters, SHARKS AS PETS!. etc etc.

Edge's 'story so far' preview. Thanks to MeatMan for the link.

Demiurge wrote:

I'm shocked that no one's brought the Infinity Blade hate to the comment thread. I put on my flame-retardant beanie and everything.

Well, I thought the descriptions that you and Julian gave sounded like two completely different games.

And MMO hate > iPhone hate. I think.

Demiurge wrote:
AndrewA wrote:

I'm not sure why people even WANT to feel like they're the star in an MMO story.... it seems to entirely miss the point of the genre.

My theory: It's easier to make *one* player feel like the star in an MMO than a *group* of people. I know that sounds weird, but think about group dynamics in gaming.

I agree - but that's not what I was (feebly) trying to get at.

In any single player game where you take control of a character you are (or will become), quite obviously, the central figure of the game world.

In an MMO, again quite obviously, there are hundreds/thousands/millions of people experiencing the game world, and thus there should not be the same innate expectation that your hero is the central figure in the game world.

So why do MMOs even bother trying to make you feel like you're super-important when, just by looking around and noticing the other six dozen "heroes", the illusion will be quickly dispelled?

An MMO, at least in my opinion, ought to try to make a player feel like a coherent part of the world, not the god of that world.

AndrewA wrote:

So why do MMOs even bother trying to make you feel like you're super-important when, just by looking around and noticing the other six dozen "heroes", the illusion will be quickly dispelled?

An MMO, at least in my opinion, ought to try to make a player feel like a coherent part of the world, not the god of that world.

I think it's what players want. Not many gamers want to be 'just a dude.' And I think the developers want to encourage players to move forward into end game, making them the hero would help that.

Shawn, thanks for putting the Cataclysm warning in the show notes.

AndrewA wrote:

In an MMO, again quite obviously, there are hundreds/thousands/millions of people experiencing the game world, and thus there should not be the same innate expectation that your hero is the central figure in the game world.

So why do MMOs even bother trying to make you feel like you're super-important when, just by looking around and noticing the other six dozen "heroes", the illusion will be quickly dispelled?

An MMO, at least in my opinion, ought to try to make a player feel like a coherent part of the world, not the god of that world.

I don't think the issue is to make them a GOD as much as it is to make them an integral part of the story. Emotional investment in a plot requires some personalizing of issues, and the main thing that's been missing from our MMORPGs has SEEMED to be the RPG part. Without us having some kind of connection to what's going on... some hook into our characters... we are not going to bite the hook.

I think it's part of the cognitive dissonance we accept when we assume the role of hero in an MMO. We know that everyone there is on the same questline, but we are willing to appreciate that it's our story in order to buy into the narrative.

I'm happy that Rabbit is excited about Planetside Next (that's what I hear it's going to be called). Though the original game had one hell of a rocky experience, there is simply nothing else like it. Right now, my clanmates are awaking from their slumber to get back into the game in preparation for the March release (cross fingers).

I can certainly appreciate the reservations expressed by Corey and Wes. If you don't have the right attitude, it's very Sisyphean. Territory changes hands, and... whatever, right? It'll change back. The reward isn't in that part of the strategic mechanics. Maybe that will be altered.

But the magic of the game was not in one side beating the other. The magic of the game was in the raids themselves. I can honestly say that I barely care about my level. It's skill-based to the core. When my clanmates and I reminisce about it, we're remembering the twenty-man orbital drops and the eight-tank columns (with two of us per tank). The strategy and tactics literally overwhelm all the other MMO considerations.

Misty eyed though I become, when describing it, it's with the usual caveat that Sony will probably find some way to break the damn thing. I can't shake that worry, but still, I'm eager. I can't wait until the month leading up to its launch. The souls of my old game buddies will leech out of the woodwork and ask for an /invite. I'll lay a waypoint down, and even with the inevitable warts, we will have a hell of a time.

If you're skeptical, that's healthy, but I hope some of you shooter-nuts will give it a shot. Outside TF2, I hardly ever get to play with groups of goodjers. There simply aren't the games for that (among those of us who just don't respond to MMORPGs).

Final note: The lack of prone, corner leaning, and what not, (I think) were not technical limitations. They were intentional. The devs expressed that they didn't want combat to bog down in that Battlefield-eque way that you have forty entrenched warriors and the tide doesn't shift because nobody wants to move.

Final note: The lack of prone, corner leaning, and what not, (I think) were not technical limitations. They were intentional. The devs expressed that they didn't want combat to bog down in that Battlefield-eque way that you have forty entrenched warriors and the tide doesn't shift because nobody wants to move.

Except that happened a lot in Planetside anyways. 30-40 dudes with sniper rifles on one side vs. 30-40 dudes with sniper rifles on the other side.

Yes I am looking forward to Planetside Next, a lot. I think they need to come up with something better to do than playing base hopping grab ass. And they never fixed the fact that it was much more beneficial to be solo when capping an objective. That has to be fixed or at least the gap needs to be lessened. I think they need to have rewards for longevity whether its purely cosmetic enhancements to your equipment or more broader selection of vehicles and equipment abilities.

edit: also if they aren't going to have any pve, then they shouldn't add new land in any expansion. They should revamp unpopular areas to make them better. Otherwise you will segregate your population when you should be providing them more ways to clash.

Own that Wolfen Victrocious voice, rabbit! I heard you reigning it in, just let it out!

The only MMO (which they're not really calling it an MMO) I'm looking forward to is Firefall. I would love to see something like what I saw from the trailers fully realized. They've gone dark since the first I heard of it at E3 (I think) where they were accepting beta sign ups for anyone who joined the forums.

The only other MMO I've tried is LotRO and the game mechanics and quests wore my desire to see the world out before I hit level 10, I think. Oh well, I don't need big huge time sink games like that anyways. I guess planetside 2 might be worth checking out when it happens.

On the topic of virtual hoarding, you can check out the recent banter on the pile thread and you'll see how bad a few of us have been this year.

I would be surprised if the new Elder Scrolls used whatever new id tech engine there is. The timing seems off as they just acquired id and they apparently have been "hard at work for 4 years". I'm putting my money on some sort of updated gamebryo 1.5; trying to keep my expectations low, so I will love it.

The minecraft podcast The Shaft is great.

Podcasts for games I haven't played (tempted) are usually impenetrable because I don't have a knowledge of the mechanics or visuals (I have tried listening to podcasts for MMos I haven't played but all the talk tends to be, "..and then Negleth and I went to the Thal plain and climbed the tower of Hicclatype. It took us hours to fight out way to the top. My dps is way down since I accidentally despawned my Staff of Woe. We reached the top chamber and were about to extinguish the Cki crystal when Negleth jumped, missed the plinth and fell off the tower. Man it was funny.... good times.) When the talk is about mine carts, lava and zombies it's easy to follow what's being discussed.

Jonea wrote:
MrDeVil909 wrote:

You guys should have had Zonk on. He would have slapped you all or not mentioning Guild Wars 2. If they do half of what they have said it's going to be a game changer.

Zonk would have also slapped them for saying people wouldn't create alts in SWtOR. I think the idea of totally different (voiced) storys for characters is interesting, particularly as you have the light and dark side.

I'm hoping thats not just wishful thinking on my behalf.

As usual great show guys and Merry Christmas!

With the way they're planning on doing crafting i find my very unlikely to creat an alt in SWTOR. Nor do i want to be forced to do one to extend the game time.

I want a tiered advanced end game thats improved on WoWs end game. I think that the company that does that is the one that has a chance to come close to WoW popularity. I'm hoping SWTOR is the one to do it. If not... Then it'll be like i've been saying. It'll break sales record that first month due to IP but will dwindle just like everything else thats been released in the past 7 years.

The Secret World has a shot as well, but i'm getting worried.