The SOE Copykat – An Honest Question

Lolcat

This entry craved a lolcat.

When Blizzard released the sparkling pony of doom I mentioned that I wanted a convincing argument and I’d stop criticizing MMO companies for going down the overpriced RMT + sub route. With SOE jumping on the bandwagon, giving the critics more fuel for their already very hot fires, I’m going to ask the question again. Last time I mostly got people agreeing with me, and only one “they are a business, they want more money” which doesn’t really make it any better.

The second the new prowler mounts (or “copykats”;  thanks, Ark) went up in the Everquest 2 item shop, both Beau and Cuppy praised it. Beau jumped straight in and bought one. So I know there are MMO-bloggers out there that support this. I am looking at you guys, and the people that share your opinions on this, to give me the answer I am looking for.

In short, the question I want answered is this:

- In what way is adding a mount to an item shop, and charging extra for it on top of the regular subscription fee, good for the consumer?

I really want an answer. I am ready to be convinced. We mostly get to hear the critics (because, let’s face it, we’re pretty loud), now I want to hear the people that support this development. Give me a reason, a reason that I can believe in and agree with. I won’t flame you, and I’ll of course delete any comments that do.

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Give Me Variation Or Give Me Death

Terminal mission

Die, stupid flag!

Since I resubscribed to Star Wars Galaxies I’ve only managed to ding 8 levels. What burned me out last time was this obsession about getting to level cap, and I got stuck on doing terminal missions until my brain bled. They are not very fun, trust me. So this time I gave up on that, even though I do look forward to reaching level 90, and I’ve been doing whatever I’ve felt like at any given moment. Such as…

  • Hunting on Kashyyyk. The design of the Wookie planet is a lot different from the other planets I’ve visited so far, and the long quest chains serve to slowly unlock different areas. I’ve so far gathered three different hunting trophies that are now hanging on the walls of my house. I’ve also ordered myself a new mount from a beast master in my guild, since my regular means of transportation are not available in the forest and I have to rely on my really slow (and ugly) cliff-jumper. A crafter in the guild is also buying any hides I might gather, which is a small cash bonus.
  • Decorating my house. Moving stuff around, hanging new paintings and putting some things on display on top of my aquarium. Hanging a huge bantha hunting trophy next to my bed. Dear me, that will give me nightmares.
  • Flying around in space. I’ve been moving up through the space tiers, currently working for Jabba the Hutt. Space is awesome, and I do hope that Bioware will include something similar in The Old Republic. I doubt they will though, unless it’s planned for an expansion in the same way Jump To Lightspeed was for Star Wars Galaxies.
  • Finding random quests. If you don’t count the Legacy Quest-chain, there are no big arrows pointing out where you should go in SWG. You can run into a quest more or less anywhere. If it sounds interesting, and I believe I can pull it off, I’ll accept it and see where it takes me. I got my fancy clone trooper armor that way. I’ve also started to make my way through the Meatlump theme park, investigating the largest criminal gang on Corellia.
  • Taking part in PvP invasions. Sure, I’m only level 55 right now, so I don’t go full PvP and fight other players. But I’ve joined forces together with a couple of guildies and attacked Bestine a couple of times. Epic and a lot of fun, with walkers and stormtroopers everywhere. I haven’t turned off my flag since last time, so I constantly get to fight stormtrooper NPCs while in Mos Eisley.
  • Doing smuggler missions. I respeced from Jedi to smuggler and I don’t regret it at all. Doing smuggler missions for the Underworld faction might not be the most exciting activity in the world, but it’s a nice distraction and adds flavor.

I’m also considering taking my trader out of early retirement, perhaps respecing him to a chef or giving him an instrument and turn him into an entertainer, playing music and buffing others for tips at the Mos Eisley cantina. We’ll have to see about that, so far I haven’t had any money problems. Sooner or later I will, though.

Pew pew in space

Twitch-based pew pew in space. Eat your heart out, landlubber.

What Star Wars Galaxies has taught me this time is how shallow games like World of Warcraft is. I need at least some sandbox elements to stay happy. I haven’t logged into Lord of the Rings Online in the last couple of days and I don’t really feel like doing so either. I have to log into Age of Conan, since I’m reviewing Rise of the Godslayer, but I seriously doubt it would be able to keep me occupied over a long period of time.

Cataclysm, despite all the cool screenshots, has never looked as uninteresting as right now. I know I will never get my friends to play Star Wars Galaxies with me, since they only tend to go back to what they know or only see flaws where I see merits. That’s fair enough. But more than ever I’m quite sure that I want more sandboxes, more immersion. I want Vanguard more than I want Warcraft, I want Galaxies more than I want The Old Republic (of course I’ll play it when it comes out, it does look awesome).

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A Horse And An Aquarium – All A Guy Will Ever Need

I has pretty horsie!

I’ve had a really bad day today, which culminated with a long discussion/argument with Openedge over Twitter (no hard feelings though). But instead of being a typical MMO-blogger/player and complaining about something game related on my blog when I’m in a bad mood, I’m going to do the opposite. Instead, I’m going to be all happy! See, I did promise a happy post on DFTM!

You know what, I am happy when it comes to the MMOs I’m in right now. I’m truly to starting to feel at home in Lord of the Rings Online, for example. My rune-keeper has hit level 36, which is way beyond anything I’ve reached in the game before. He’s a ton of fun to play, and getting the horse from the Spring Festival made me even happier about him. There is something about getting a proper mount in a MMO that always makes me feel that my character is more…well, real.

The kinship I’m in has been nothing except great, even though I hardly ever see any of the bloggers that’s in it as well (I’ve seen Syp once, still no sign of Blue Kae or the Casual Stroll-guys – damn your make-believe time zone). I’ve started to dabble a bit in skirmishes, trying to figure out which soldier will work the best together with my rune-keeper. So far, the warrior has been working better than the protector. It’s tricky to try to do both healing and some extra DPS with a rune-keeper…

I also decided to re-sub to Star Wars Galaxies the other day. It was a combination of the producer note for April which details some really cool changes, the neat stuff you get during the 30th Anniversary of Empire Strikes Back, and a brief discussion about the game with Ark. I was happy to find my house intact and myself still guilded. All I’ve done so far is putting some decorative things on top of the aquarium on the upper floor of my home, but it felt nice seeing Prometheus, our guild city, again.

Aquarium

And a cool aquarium. Beat that, World of Warcraft.

I’m considering respecing my Jedi as well. That’s the nice thing about SWG – you can actually respec over to other classes and retain your combat levels (it comes with an increasing cost, of course). I’m considering a bounty hunter, or a smuggler, but I have yet to decide. I’m also thinking about deleting my level 90 trader and replacing him with an entertainer (don’t want to respec him, he wouldn’t look too good on the dance floor).

To be honest, I’m actually pretty confident that MMOs will come out alright in the end, despite money grabbing F2P-games and sparkly ponies. I’m with Syp, the APB business model gave me back some confidence that it’s all not doom and gloom. Everything will be just fine.

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Give Me A Convincing Argument And I’ll Stop, Honest

I has pony! Or, well, not me. I'd never play a Night Elf male to level 80. Brrrrr.

Oh no! This piece of juicy drama is not getting away from me. I know you’re all fed up reading about the Celestial Steed, so instead of beating that old dead horse (pun very much intended) I will keep this quick.

A few points on the discussion about the sparkly pony in World of Warcraft:

- The people that are sceptical, in a sane way, will not be persuaded to like the sparkly horse by being told to “deal with it” or “if you don’t like it, don’t buy it”. Those are not very good arguments, since they have nothing to do with the matter at hand. I’d go to as far as to say that they are not arguments at all. They are dismissals.
- The people that are sceptical, in a sane way, are usually grown up and have enough disposable income to buy the horse themselves. They are usually not jealous of the people that spent $25 dollars on it.
- The people that are sceptical, in a sane way, are usually worried about what kind of message this sends to the developers. Or, in this case, the publisher who is happy to charge outrageous prices for content already.

I’m not angry at the people buying the horse, but I’m not convinced this is a good move for the consumer either. I think the pricing is outrageous and don’t believe that the hundred of thousands of people that thought it is alright to pay $25 for it make the whole thing alright. I don’t think the pricing of the Stimulus Package is warranted either, but obviously the 2,5 million people who downloaded it during the first week thought so.

That’s where I believe the standard for future DLC from Acti Blizzard was set, by the way. If people will pay 1200 Microsoft Points for 5 maps (two of which are re-used from the first game), then why wouldn’t they pay $25 for a sparkly horsie? Obviously, they would. (Would I pay $25 for a proto drake? I’d rather not think about that, considering the amount of time I spent hunting for the Time-Lost Proto Drake.)

D&D Online

Here's what I think of your offer wall! Haiiaaah!

Neither will I ever apologize for thinking that Turbine made a mistake when they introduced the offer wall and only being glad that they took it away. Too many scams have been perpetrated through such offers, enough for me to believe that no serious business should get themselves involved with it. I don’t care how much money is being generated, or that a lot of people like the system. Being told that it’s the future, without any more tangible proof why I am wrong, will not convince me otherwise.

Zynga made a similar mistake during GDC. Instead of trying to explain why their game actually had something to offer, or explain in a good way why other devs could learn real and tangible lessons in gamedesign and not only new ways to milk the audience for more money, they just alienated themselves even further from the people who already hate them. And probably made even more people dislike them in the process.

Oh yeah!

Oh yeah!

The sparkly pony is just another move towards a future that I’m not sure that I like. Should I shut up about that because it seems like that future will win over one I’d prefer? Hardly. There might be great changes coming, I don’t doubt that they will. But I want more proper arguments why these changes will be good for the consumer before I accept them as a good thing. So far, I have yet to see one apologetic reason that has me convinced. Until then, I will remain sceptical and critical – of the F2P genre (which I really weren’t, until Allods and the rise of social gaming gave me another perspective on things), of the offer walls, of any sparkly ponies being sold for $25.

I am only happy to be proven wrong, though. There’s a comment section below, feel free to use it to convince me why I am not making any sense. Please, give me an argument that will blow my little ship out of the water. I’m inviting you to do so!

And while Activision Blizzard keep overcharging for their content, and offer walls keep generating income for the companies that use them, I will sit here hoping for someone to actually give them some competition by simple virtue of being less outrageous. Modern Warfare 2 has Battlefield Bad Company 2, which might give Acti a run for their Call of Duty-money in the future. Now we just need someone to show the consumer (and the industry) that you can deliver a great MMO (or social game), and show the industry that you can make a lot of money, by being much more reasonable when it comes to pricing.

Next up on DFTM: A happy post! Enough with the grumbling, let’s hold hands and be happy.

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This Will Hopefully Be My Only Post On Social Games Ever

Farmville screenshot

Lesson 1: Not a MMO.

While I was away doing everything except blogging, a lot of stuff happened that I’ve thought I should blog about. I still haven’t finished my narrative on Allods Online, but I’ll get back to it sooner or later. Then there’s that new Cryptic-drama (take your pick of which drama it is this week), that I wanted to comment on. That last thing is actually kind of related to what I thought I’d write about now – social games.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on and on about how social games are not games and that they are nothing but spamfests etcetera. But social games have invaded the MMO-sphere lately (even getting their own column at Massively), with everyone talking about it. Come to think of it, social games have invaded every gaming sphere lately, not only MMOs, and GDC this year was a big Zynga-hatefest with Zynga hating everyone else and then being rude about it and making everyone hate them even more. Good job there. Thumbs up!

Anyway, I shall leave that part out. Let’s just say that I am not impressed by them, but they are obviously big business these days. I do have one major problem with them, though, a problem that I can’t seem to get out of my head.

Ever since three major corporations decided to wage a console war against each other (or other people decided that they were waging a war for them), people have speculated what life would be like with only one console. A single machine that would play all games. No more of this “exclusive” nonsense, just gaming. How sweet wouldn’t life be, no? And most of us gaming journos, and most people with some form of sense, have said that it would not be a very good idea at all. First of all, we journos like to report on drama and David Cage talking about Natal. Secondly, most people with some form of sense realize that competition is good for the consumer – lower prices, higher quality, etc. One single console would kill competition, and life would be generally less fun.

Lesson 2: Not a "social game".

So how about them “social games”? While we’re starting to see a bit more creative projects crop up, including Civilization (yay!), they do have one thing in common (except spamming your friends, hurr hurr). They are, to a vast majority, on Facebook. With all this talk about social media and life in 140 chars and making international connections and viral campaigns and all that stuff, everything seems to be centered around Facebook. And I can’t think of any of these “social games”, except Echo Bazaar, that takes place on another social media site.

And that, to me, is the big problem. Not only because I don’t like Facebook personally, because of their privacy issues, but because I don’t like seeing so much of the industry’s money being fueled towards one platform. Let’s be honest here, even you social gaming people, what is the one thing that keeps this whole genre together? Facebook. The idea that all those people that play FarmVille (85 million? Riiiight.) would seek out new games if Facebook disappeared is farfetched; to say the least. It’s all in there, your friends are there, you socialize there, you play your games there. Take that away…and what is left?

This is a problem for social media in general, of course – Facebook does not have proper competition. But with EA sacking 1500 people, while pumping in $300 million in Playfish, that effects my industry to such a huge extent that it’s hard not to sit up straight and go “lol wut?”. If Facebook screws up, and it’s hardly like they make all the right decisions, they will not fall alone. Unless we get some more bigger movers, that is also offering platforms for social gaming, the industry is building a lot of hope into one single platform. It’s like one gigantic console, that if it fails will bring a lot of money crashing down with it.

Hopefully, it won’t come to that. Hopefully something new will arise, it almost always does, and usurp Facebook and the circus will move on to the Next Great Thing there. Or Facebook will be like the Wii – game companies will pump in a lot of money into a lot of projects, find out that a lot of it won’t sell, the market will stabilize at a lower point that everybody that was talking about a revolution anticipated (don’t get me wrong, the Wii is selling tons, games for a mature audience on the machine is not). That’s probably more likely to happen than any doomsday scenario that I might paint up in my head. But until either of those two things happen, I will watch the boat from a distance and chew my fingernails and rant and rave at whoever will listen.

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Some Form of Return?

I haven’t blogged in ages now, mostly since I’ve been busy writing so much at work. Combine that with a certain feeling of burnout with MMOs, and the urge to blog have been more or less non-existent over the last few weeks.

I’ve also had some trouble with my back, due to my desk and chair not being the best of friends. I’ve fixed it, partly, with the help of a trusty screwdriver so I can sit in front of the computer for longer periods of time now. I tried out my new solution with some Lord of the Rings Online, and felt the MMO-itch come back…

So I will try to blog more frequently again. I’ll at least try.

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Trust Is Such A Fickle Thing

Sad Orc

Naaaw, the Orc is sad at the state of affairs at gPotato.

It’s only been a week since gPotato answered the storm that the players of Allods Online stirred up on the official forums and blogs across the Internet. Darren Allarde, associate producer for the game at gPotato, even went on Massively Speaking to talk about the controversy. Somehow, it feels like ages ago.

And for the players of Allods, it was an eternity ago. Even though nothing was really said about what was going to be done to the cash shop prices, it seemed like the community gained a bit of trust in the developers again. At the same time, we did expect more to be said. Since there was really no more info than “we’re looking at it and discussing our options”, and nothing changing in the cash shop since last week, gPotato would do well to keep talking – no matter how impressive their communication last week was, especially for a F2P game.

Over the course of the last week, new problems have been brought up by the community. Reports of speed hacking have started to circulate (which is always tricky in a PvP-game, you have to sift through the real reports and the typical “you ganked me, so you must have used a hack-crap), gold spammers have set up shop in the Zone channels (making it even more useless than it was before). There seem to be no active GMs to battle the ongoing problems either. The silence on the forums is deafening.

Gold spam in Zone chat

Is this Aion at launch? No, it's Allods in beta. And the spam kept flowing...

I’m losing hope in Allods and gPotato. I count the hours before the first reports of bots start to appear, how the gold spammers spread out by using the mail system, how speed hacks become more and more common. And despite the game only having two servers, which should be easy to police more or less around the clock, I doubt that gPotato have what it takes to turn this game into what it could truly be.

gPotato, you impressed us all last week. But it’s not enough. Faith in the way you are handling Allods is eroding fast. You need to keep talking, you need to tell us what is happening to the game. You need to communicate more with the Russian devs, give us more information about what is going to happen in the next patch or the patch after that. Where do you want the game to be when you “launch”? You opened your mouth, your current silence seems more like you’re only waiting it out, hoping that the problems will all go away.

I am finishing up my feature about Allods tomorrow, hopefully it will be published in both Swedish and English tomorrow or later this week. It feels odd, but it will end on a rather sad note. My faith that Allods will actually live up to its potential is gone, unless gPotato suddenly turns around and start talking to us again. I will leave my mage in Yasker’s Tower, waiting to see what happens from this point on. I do hope to return soon.

Time passes quickly in the MMO-sphere and trust is such a fickle thing.

Edit: A few minutes after I posted this, gPotato posted on their Allods Twitter about a new announcement. True enough, they have now posted on the official website that they are “making revisions to a majority of the Allods Online item shop” and that these changes will go live sometime during this week. They thank everyone for the feedback and that they’ve “revised pricing so that more people can participate in this feature of the game”. No actual news on what kinds of revisions they are doing, but I guess we will see later this week. Have they learned their lesson?

I knew I should have waited posting this entry until Monday was offically over…

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Does Freedom Need To Come With Such A Price?

Darkfall startup

Get if off! Get it off! Get it...oh, that's the UI.

I decided to take up Aventurine on their $1 for 7 days offer and created a Darkfall account for the US server. After all, I have wanted to give that game a try for a long time and it seemed like a good way of doing it without having to pony up the ridiculous amount of money they charge for it.

Most Darkfall-fans often point out that you will hate the game at first, because the UI and controls are so different from other MMOs. I would like to second that. The UI and controls are not only bad, they are both a piece of stinking dung. They are completely and utterly worthless, like they have been created for the sole purpose of driving new players insane by just being stupid.

I haven’t played much more than one hour of Darkfall in total, rerolling three times because my character looked too silly when I finally got in the game. The one I have now looks pretty cool, a wolf-man pirate ready for some sandbox action. But the game is such a hassle to play, there’s nothing intuitive about it at all. Fighting goblins, looting, harvesting…all a pain to everything my gamer self has learned about design over the course of my gaming career.

I can’t help feeling that the UI is a prototype, that it was built this way to get the game up and running so it could be shown to investors. Then Aventurine ran out of money and didn’t have time to replace it, instead the game kept being designed around that mess. Darkfall-fans, including SynCaine, often say that it is like that for design reasons. I don’t buy it. If it is, it’s at least not good design.

UI setup

My UI after fiddling around with for a while.

While I will keep playing Darkfall for a bit, for despite the glaring flaws of the new player experience and the insane babble in the chat channels the world is quite inviting, I was reminded of my first time in EVE. Three years ago, EVE Online was hardly a very nice place to start out in. The introduction to the game was, just like in Darkfall, a mess. But the cluster was inviting enough for me to hang around, and slowly the designers at CCP have created a better way for new players to get a feel for its potential.

Perhaps Darkfall will go down the same route, perhaps with future patches or expansions Aventurine can dig deep into their own designs and rethink certain aspects of their game. Because seriously, just because it is a full PVP, full loot, warfare-focused MMO doesn’t mean that it has to be designed in a way that would give most intelligent people a headache (I am sure Darkfall has many intelligent players, they just seem to stay away from the chat channels – like in most MMOs, come to think of it…). Or does it? Ryzom can also be quite hard for people to learn. Do “sandbox” and “convoluted controls and game mechanics” go hand in hand?  Do you think that a MMO with mechanics similar to World of Warcraft or Allods Online ever could be the foundation of a good sandbox game?

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If I Could Improve Allods I Would…

Risen Mage

Hey, Gordon, look! Undead underboob! /giggle

You know me, I’m more of a lover than a hater. I’m all about the constructive criticism, man! And since I’ve been busy playing Allods Online the last couple of days, I thought I’d write down some thoughts about what could make the game really great. It is a good game, the writing and the setting have me transfixed! But it could be better, by just improving a few things.

Let’s see, here’s what I’d like to see improved before the game goes from “fake beta” to “launched game”.

Fix the chat interface. Right now it’s hideously clumsy, lacking features like player created chat tabs or custom channels. Just a couple of simple tweaks to bring it up to modern MMO standards. Also, please let us block out shouts. I know you have to use megaphones for it, just like in other F2P-games, but that should be the shouter’s problem – not mine.

Fix a bunch of annoying quests. One of the most annoying quests I’ve encountered so far was Late For Work!, in which I was supposed to pick up three crates of wine for a guard. The only problem was that only three crates spawned, usually right after an enemy spawned two feet away. It was camping galore. You might want to track quests like those before someone rage quits after their umpteenth crate is stolen by a summoner.

Add a quest item tab to the bag, Age of Conan-style. I know you want to sell us bigger bags through the item store, but be nice! Usually a lot of quests point to the same mobs or areas, which is great and all. But the bag has a tendency to fill up really fast, especially when there’s a lot of quest items involved. We got a reagent tab already, a quest item tab would not be too much to ask for would it? It’s 2010, after all!

Risen dance moves!

Me and Massively's Krystalle, rocking it up in Nezebgrad.

Fix the darn cash shop. Yes, it’s only been a few days since it was unveiled and yes, most of those days have been during the weekend. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt, I am still playing after all! But stop looking like greedy goblins and make us want to give you money. Be our buddies and sell us cool stuff, everything from vanity items to bag space or things that make travel easier. And don’t even consider that mount with a measly 15% speed increase unless I buy extra food from the item shop. Do you want us to love or hate you?

Now on to one thing I think should stay exactly the same!

Please don’t make leveling faster. It’s good where it is. Fatigue is a pretty odd mechanic, but I haven’t had any trouble with it so far. Don’t bump experience for mob kills, let them stay as low as they are, and don’t increase quest experience either. If all the people complaining about the game being slow leave, Allods will be so much better off. Or I will, at least.

I really like Allods, I do. I think it’s fun, despite the obvious lazy quest for experience grind. But the writing is so good, I can’t believe that the poor devs who obviously put a lot of work into the writing and the world design might get screwed over by the idiots in economics or marketing. If the conspiracy theories mentioned by Keen are correct, I hope the contract between gPotato and Astrum Nival crumbles and someone like Frogster picks up the game. The Runes of Magic cash shop is far from perfect, but it at least makes sense. Also, look at the steady stream of updates that are released for RoM. I think Froster/Runewaker are doing a pretty good job there.

No matter what happens, the future is sure to be interesting for Allods. Will it bomb? Will it soar on the wings of F2P success? Will I ever reach level 10 so I can wear those gloves that dropped off some random mob? Who knows?

But how about you? Anything about Allods you want to fix, or do you just wish that we’d stop talking about it already?

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First Steps In Allods Online

Man, I look good.

Allods Online has gone into open beta, with the promise that no characters created during this beta will be deleted once it’s over (similar to how Runes of Magic did it). That more or less means that the game has launched, but still giving the devs the freedom to make huge changes to the game with the excuse that “it’s only beta”.

But seriously, the game could have launched now. It feels polished enough and the servers have made an amazing job at staying pretty stable under the onslaught of players that tried to get in to the game from day one. Sure, they’ve crashed at times, but all things considered Allods Online could just as well has been released. And considering that the cash shop, which is how gPotato is supposed to make money off this game, has opened…well, if money is involved, I guess the game has (actually) launched.

What attracts me to Allods Online, despite it being a pretty standard Diku-MMO filled with ten kill rats-quests all over the place, is primarily the art. While it might look like a WoW-clone at first glance, the character and environmental design in Allods is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. The graphics are not advanced though and it’s bound to run on most computers. Fraps keeps ticking up way past 100 FPS on my machine, which feels pretty odd. Loading screens are fast.

Quest text

Contraband...right.

The other thing is the humor, which is both charming and adult. I came across one early quest on the Empire side, where a football fan asked me to gather pine cones because sharp objects had been banned from the arena for an upcoming football match between warriors and shamans. Another quest had me looking for “contraband” in a smugglers den, where the contraband in question were nothing more than nude elf magazines (which orcs love, by the way)…

There has already been a lot said about gPotato’s pricing in Allods Online’s item shop, on both side of the argument. I will leave that for now, but there is a discussion about it in this (now rather long) Buzz about Allods. Instead, I’ll just state that I am a bit worried about how the game is actually being run. Despite the obvious anger on the forums over the move, I have yet to see a dev or community rep try to calm people down somehow.

I was also struck by the complete absence of any help function or report button in the actual game today, as a discussion about marijuana raged in Zone chat. I didn’t mind what was said, same old back and forth between pro and anti camps that will never get anywhere in a chat channel in a MMO, but I felt that it had no real place there. Seeing no GM step in, I looked for a way to contact them – if not now, then for future reference. I found nothing. Am I blind, or is there no way to turn to the GMs when needed?

I guess that scares me more than any price that gPotato will put on things in their cash store. How will Allods be run? Will there be active GMs? Will we have direct avenues to contact them if need be? Or will Allods turn into the kind of bizarre cesspool of a MMO that we all dread, with constant flaming in chat channels and an increasingly annoying bot problem (haven’t seen any yet, so don’t panic)?

Did I mention that the starter zones is a bit crowded?

I don’t know. Right now I just try to ignore it, dreaming of the days when we are able to create our own chat tabs and custom channels. I am having fun just exploring the pretty and strange world that is Allods Online, but just because a game is “free to play” I don’t expect any less from the developers here compared to a subscription based game. Monetize any way you like, but I will hold you to the same standard as any other MMO. I believe that’s important, both for my sanity as a player and for the market in general.

I have high hopes for Allods Online. It can turn into a really good MMO, with a proper place in the tough MMO market, if the developers take care of their bizarre and Gibberling infested baby. Death to the League!

Update with question: I keep seeing references to a rune that is supposed to cost anything from $600 to $6000 in the item shop. Where does that comes from? I can’t find anything of the sort in the actual game. Can someone point to a source?

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Virtual worlds, massive multiplayer games and assorted ramblings

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