Posts Written On August 2015

SWTOR PvP: What to expect from 4.0

This blog post will briefly discuss the current state of PvP in the game Star Wars: The Old Republic, as well as delve a bit deeper into the expectations the players have for the future. PvP in SWTOR has been struggling for a long period of time and I have watched the playerbase grow increasingly frustrated. Considering the amount of time this has been going on I was curious to know how much faith there is still left in the community for an improvement, especially with the upcoming expansion and its promise of an influx of players. In order learn more about this I’ve interviewed four players (Igor, Zherio, Snave and Mosh) and asked them about their thoughts and feelings about the current state of the game as well as their expectations for the future.

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Games that blur the boundaries of work and play

Video games are often framed as sites of play and entertainment. Their transformation into work platforms and the staggering amount of work that is being done in these games often go unnoticed. Users spend on average 20 hours a week in online games, and many of them describe their game play as obligation, tedium, and more like a second job than entertainment.

So begins Nick Yee’s study “The Labor of Fun“, an article about the work like duties that come along MMORPGs. Today I wanted to give a quick shout out to this study which I think you might find interesting if you are an MMO player like me.

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Plato’s virtual cave

As gamers we are used to switching between alternate realities by immersing ourselves into the games we play. In my article “Does gaming impact my dreams?” I discussed this subject further while musing over the reasons why gamers more often experience lucid dreaming than their peers. I ended the article by saying:

When we then enter the world of dreaming, do we [as gamers] then recognize the signs of fiction and fantasy more easily than others? It is indeed an intriguing idea and the philosophical implications of this is fascinating to me. But more on that another time.

Well, my friends, it’s “another time”. It’s about to get deep!

When I hit the play button and enter a new game I am very much aware

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The story of finding your guild

In an effort to encourage you all to tell GD the brief story of how you found your main guild I here present to you my own story! This blog post was inspired by a reader commenting on my blog post “Social Identity and Guilds in MMORPGs“. After reading the comment I thought it would be interesting to read your stories so even though I’m really cagey when it comes to writing about myself I will try to start this off!

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Asheron’s Call: PVP SRS BSNS – Part 1

PVP is pretty sterile in many MMOs, in my opinion, because it lacks consequence beyond things like rating or titles. You can name change, server transfer or reroll. There is no long term impact on the game or its landscape based on whether you win or lose. and it largely takes places in instanced arenas and warzones whilst open world PVP has safe zones and unkillable guards. Even if you manage to kill the unkillable guards, nothing changes. The map will be the same tomorrow as it was today.

There was a game where, partially by design and partially by the driving force of player ingenuity where this was not the case.

Asheron’s motherf***ing Call. Darktide Server. Unlike the other servers, Darktide was unique. It was 100% PVP, 100% of the time. No housing, no safe zones, no NPC guards. If you died then the guy that killed you took your best gear from your corpse. Cheating and hacking was rife and progress in the game was achieved through grinding in dungeons, meaning if you wanted to level you joined a ‘Monarchy,’ got some mates, got tooled up and went to fight for it.

What unfolded on Darktide between 2000 & 2002 was a complex geopolitical hurricane that could have proved the basis for a thesis by a Sociologist. In fact, it did. More than one. It was the best game I have ever played and that had nothing to do with the game play.

First, some context.

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Are Exploits Cheating?

Of all of the topics to ponder in the world of multiplayer games, the one with perhaps the most grey area is the subject of exploits. In MMO’s specifically, some exploits and bugs are left unpatched for years, allowing enterprising players a simpler path to victory than intended. Other exploits, however, result in account suspensions and outright bans.

The question of “are exploits wrong?” has been explored at length by more qualified gamers than myself, and the answer that we always seem to land on is “it depends”.  In fact, it depends on several things. Does using the exploit give the gamer an unfair advantage in a PvP situation? Does using the exploit wreak havoc on game systems (such as the economy)? Does using the exploit degrade or disrupt the experience of other players in the game? Even the answers to these questions are seldom black and white. After all, a player might contend that my constant kiting or jumping during combat is ruining his/her immersion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m doing anything wrong. Likewise, is gaining high-level gear more quickly than intended truly putting a player at an advantage if they haven’t also gained the PvP experience that goes along with obtaining said gear?

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My love for online communities

I began playing SWtor at launch and was utterly new to MMO’s. In fact I had no intention of spending much time interacting with other players. I had a few real life friends who had expressed mutual interest in the game and that was cool. I intended to play the game for the story alone as I was already a fan of Bioware & Obsidians outstanding Knights of the old Republic games. Obviously this all changed and I soon became part of an online community within the game. I was just casually minding my own business, levelling on Voss as I recall and a guy asked me to group up for a heroic quest. This was pretty alien to me at the time, mingling with a complete stranger in a virtual environment, but was very rewarding! The sense of accomplishment and teamwork was great and something which I had yet to experience in video games.

After completing the quest, the player who invited me to the party offered me a place in his “guild”. This was another concept I was unfamiliar with, but the last novelty went ok so I said “sure” and took my first gm ‘Ruuk’ up on his proposition.

Being part of the guild certainly had a positive effect on my time in game, advice and help was always offered and there were always people around to just hang out with. It’s funny how someone just saying “Hi” can put you in a good mood when you log into a game. Which brings to mind the question, are there other online communities outside of gaming that can induce a strong feeling of interpersonal bonding? I ask this since the competitive nature of playing video games and the immersion factor appears to enhance the connection.

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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Review of: The Vanishing of Ethan Carter

What is it? A first-person mystery adventure
Play it on: PC and PS4
Reviewed On: PC
Price on steam: £15/ $20
Release date: Out Now
Developer: The Astronauts
Link: Official site

If you’ve already played through the game continue to my in depth story analysis to discuss theories!

“This game is a narrative experience that does not hold your hand” is the first thing we see after hitting play. It’s a message from the developers, a disclaimer. The statement is definitely true. There is no user interface, no maps or tools to help you along the way. We are only given a very basic introduction to the story as the game starts. We are then expected to discover how things work and what we’re supposed to do on our own. There is no tutorial segment explaining sprint or crouch. There aren’t quest arrows. We now have, to on our own piece together the events leading up to the vanishing of Ethan Carter in order to solve the mystery of the boy’s disappearance and several other gruesome murders.

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The Vanishing of Ethan Carter: Analysis – SPOILERS

IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THE GAME THEN
INSTEAD OF READING THIS ANALYSIS JUST GO TO THE REVIEW I MADE:
THE VANISHING OF ETHAN CARTER REVIEW

 

Trust me, unless you’ve actually played through it completely then the below theories won’t just be spoilers, it will be boring since you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about!

The-Vanishing-of-Ethan-Carter-scenery

 

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Liebster Love

The Liebster love has come to GD, thanks Pixelkaffe! To make this a little easier (and less tedious for the readers out there) I and Mylex will do our answers in the same post! In reality it’s just Mylex being too lazy to make his own post and tag his own victims but whatever.

11 random facts about Noctua:
1. My favourite number is 125 and it changes every year on my birthday (in accordance to a schedule I made when I was 7).
2. People say I think too much. How can someone think too much?? I can see how one could think too little.
3. Money and fame Honesty and transparency are the qualities I value most in people I meet.
4. I name my computers. This one is called Ivy.
5. My wildest and deepest desire as a child was to have a secret room that no one but me knew existed. In the absence of such a room (and since my mum could not be pursueded to hire the workers needed to design such a room for me) I once put a little lamp and a chair in a tiny closet where I would read books for hours while people where looking for me.
6. I’m extremely sensitive to bright colours that don’t match… It’s an unwelcomed legacy from my mother who taught me about complementary colour schemes from a very young age.
7. I’m often openly hypocritical. Take this situation for an example; I love asking other people questions but I am easily unnerved by answering them myself. I’m very cagey by nature and even writing these 11 facts about myself is proving a very long and uncomfortable process!

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