Rants tag

Rants, ruminations, and rambling reports from the front lines* of the Massively Multiplayer Multiverse.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Developer Appreciation Week 2015 Recap

Whew! This weekend was interesting! I planned to post this on Saturday, but spent much of the day at the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary, not returning home until about 10 pm. Then yesterday, I cut off a chunk of my thumb (It's just a flesh wound!) while cutting spuds for Scooter's delicious homemade potatoes au gratin, so the post didn't done on Easter either. Let's call it Developer Appreciation Tenday, and make this Roundup Monday, so here it is. Let me quote Stargrace:
[T]his fine balancing act of giving players what they want, what is best for the game, what can be done with the time and funds available, and every other factor that comes into it is probably one of the most difficult things to do. They need to be able to look at an issue from many different sides and then choose the best course of action.
~Stargrace, MmoQuests
Like Bhagpuss said in his post, I don't think games developers are rock stars. They are just teams of people working hard to make our lives a little more fun. And I applaud them for it. Here are the participating posts that I am aware of (besides my own) in approximately the order they appeared:
Thank you to all who participated. I know a couple of my tweets got favorited by the community teams of the relevant games, so they are being seen. I hope everyone reads these and gets a warm fuzzy. That concludes the lovefest of Developer Appreciation Week. Please don't go back to your regularly scheduled rants.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Friday, April 3, 2015

DAW2015: These Are the Voyages...

I'll be doing a Developer Appreciation Week rollup post tomorrow, since I did say folks had until the 4th of April to post. Of course, I will probably add whatever stragglers there are in the next couple days. In the meantime, Belghast has dedicated his weekly Blog Bonanza on MMO Games to DAW 2015.

Cryptic Studios: Star Trek Online
Just over five years ago, a new chapter in the lore of Star Trek launched Online, folding in the events of the "Prime Universe" that led to the formation of JJTrek. It featured the voice talents of no less than Leonard Nimoy, who has since been joined with cast members from the other series.

STO blends great storylines with immersive space combat and team-based ground missions that exude both the feeling of Trek and the responsibility of command. I became so attached to my Captains and their crews, that I still conceive stories for them five years later.

I recently jumped back into the game and created a new Captain to relearn the ropes and see what had changed, only to discover that Cryptic had a grand plan both to recruit new players and to encourage the steely-eyed veterans to rejoin the newbies at the lower levels. This event is called Delta Recruitment, and it just started yesterday. Scooter and I will therefore be creating even newer characters, hopefully tonight.

The folks at Cryptic are enthusiastic about STO and about Star Trek, and it shows. And far as I can tell, they get pretty free rein from their Perfect World overlords, which is also commendable. They've worked hard to make STO a pretty fantastic experience.

The hawkeyes among you, or those with a good memory, may realize that I Have Touched the Sky also launched five years ago. Much of what it is today, IHTtS and I owe to Star Trek Online. Blogging is a great hobby, and I have developed as a writer of both fiction and exposition. Most of my current online friends would be unknown to me if not for this blog; and therefore, if not for Cryptic Studios and STO. And for that I am truly grateful.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

DAW2015: Most of the Rest

I've played quite a few games this year, though perhaps not as many as some other folks. As Belghast said in today's Aggronaut, "[Devs] are my rockstars, and even if you are making a game that no one will ever play…  you are being awesome.  Games bring me so much joy, and there is a cast of often nameless and faceless people who struggled through crunch time to get that product into my hands." Even games I decided not play after some trial or beta are still herculean efforts by teams of people who poured no small portion of their lives into making what they hoped would please the players. No one sets out to make a crappy game. It's usually time and/or resource constraints along with pressures from folks who don't really understand the process that do damage to it. And sometimes a perfectly well-made game just isn't my cuppa tea.

Carbine's Wildstar Team
I spent a chunk of the summer playing Wildstar with Scooter. Wildstar is an interesting mix of old and new game design. I liked the irreverent approach to storytelling, the cartoonish art style, and of course the great music from Jeff Kurtenacker. You can tell the team had a lot of fun developing it. In many ways, playing Wildstar was a lot like I imagine playing in the Firefly 'Verse would/will be. And that's not nothing.

ArenaNet's Guild Wars 2 Team
Tyria is always a nice place to visit, and ArenaNet's buy-to-play approach means that I can poke my my head in whenever I get the itch, without worrying about the hobbles of F2P. I started a couple new characters around Christmas to experience GW2 anew, and enjoyed the look around. While some folks are not impressed with the living story, you can't deny the team is trying to keep things fresh. And of course the "Game of Thorns" expansion is on the horizon.

Trion's Rift Team
Rift will always have a special place in my heart as the game that Scooter and I bonded over. We returned this fall just in time for the Nightmare Tide expansion, and things are still hopping. I like the new minion mini-game, and I really like the Dimensions housing system. It seems like Trion has done the most to enable players to play with all their friends, with the "Faction as Fiction" crossover content; and not only the ability to "mentor" down from higher character levels, but also the ability to "sidekick" up lowbies to match veterans for some content.

Tech Support
On a side note, it is not just the people creating the game that we need to appreciate. I've been assisted many times by the support teams of various games, fixing issues with my account or the game client. Often issues caused by my own derpiness. Thank you so much to all the support personnel and community managers out there.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Test post. Disregard

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

DAW2015: I Am TSW

What is DAW?
Dang! it's already Tuesday of Developer Appreciation Week, and other than soliciting posts from my fellow bloggers on Friday, I haven't really done much. I blame the folks that actually pay my wage. Busy, busy day yesterday.
A few years ago, not long after I started blogging, the MMO Gamer Chick brought to my attention the efforts of The Blogger Formerly Known as Scarybooster. He set aside a Week every March to explicitly show Appreciation for the Developers who make our favorite games, and encouraged other bloggers to make similar posts to their blogs. Since then, TBFKaS, has decided to shed his "Bad Boy of the Blogosphere" image, but the spirit of DAW lives on. I hope if you're reading this, you make a post, on whatever soapbox you use, thanking the Devs of your favorite game(s).

Funcom, The Secret World
In the summer of 2012, I played the public beta for a new game, different than any other MMO I'd been involved with, from the setting (Modern-Day Lovecraftian Horror?!) to the character progression system (Take a spin on the Ability Wheel of fortune!). It is perhaps a tribute to the abilities of Ragnar Tornquist, Joel Bylos, and their team that they built a game that thoroughly enthralled me in a fictional genre that does not really appeal to me at all.

I am more attached to my characters in TSW than I am to other characters I spent much more time with. With deep backstories (of my own creation), they move through stories crafted by Joshua "Scrivnomancer" Doetch that are are creepy and wonderful. Romain "Tilty" Amiel and the rest of the TSW dev team have created an astonishingly detailed world, depending in part on our own, but incorporating our legends and myths into a credible cosmos of horror, intrigue, and grand adventure. A realm that is both in the now and firmly rooted in our own often nightmarish folklore.
Thanks to my association with the crew from Beyond the Veil, I have had opportunities to interact with Joel, Scriv, Tilty, and the community managers Laurie "Sezmra" Payne, "Tomium," and (formerly) "Morteia." They are all gracious folks, working hard to bring us a little scary and a lot of fun. Even though I am not currently playing, some of the best times in my life during the past three years—and certainly the best times playing MMOs during the same period—are thanks to these wonderful people and the effort they have made to make my hobby more enjoyable. Damn if I am not going to have to re-up now.
P.S. Belghast, of Tales of the Aggronaut, has made another logo for Developer Appreciation Week. Feel free to use either mine at the top of the post or his when you write your own DAW post.
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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.