I read a lot of articles over the past few days and three stuck out to me that I’m going to share with you now; they’re all different and almost warrant their own articles each…but these are kind of hot and I don’t want to fall too behind the curve here. I mean, any further behind than I already am. Really, every second I burn typing elucidations here is pushing me further and further
First order of business is this write up over on Mana Obscura explaining how SW:TOR will probably make a profit. I’ve seen a lot of articles like this lately (considering the he said/she said analyst fandango last week, combined with the TOR Haters of the Free World Society) and this is one of the more even-handed ones I’ve seen. What’s also nice (from the perspective of somebody who simply cannot comprehend how anybody could not like this game) is that it’s claiming SW:TOR will make a profit. This in stark contrast to the typical “TOR will go down in a ball of fire and take theme park MMOs with it” theme we’ve been seeing.
Second order of business is something that shouldn’t surprise anybody: Blizzard is examining the possibilities of product placement in their next-gen MMO. In my mind I like to picture Titan as wanna-be EVE killer: a sci-fi space opera where we’re all pirates and ninjas with fuzzy non-combat pet faces which is actually Farmville meets Warsong Gulch with Super Camera Brand and Diet Fake-Sugar-Loaded Bubbly Stuff insignias plastered up along the walls like a soccer match. There’s no way this would kill EVE of course (if you’re into EVE you are probably not into your avatar looking like a fuzzy non-combat pet, but I could be wrong) and, anyway, this has nothing to do with anything.
Speaking of EVE…
Third order of business is some big kudos to EVE’s developers. I mean this sincerely. I read this (rather lengthy) dev blog post this morning on the T and found I had the following sequence of reactions:
- For the first leg of the article, I was like “What? On? Earth? How is this a good idea?”
- Then, very quickly, I found myself nodding; I was like “Yes, that’s very smart.”
- Finally, I wrapped up the article with a distinct “Why have I never seen this before?” feeling.
Now, you should go read the article, but in the event you’re shorter on time than I am, here’s the TL;DR from the article itself:
“Time dilation slows down time so the server can keep up with what y’all are doing. We’re going to work on it nowish and if everything works out you’ll see it some time not quite soon.”
It is, literally, a controlled global slow down of in-game time to gracefully mitigate server lag.
Now, as I was reading this, I was struggling to think of other online games I’ve played that have done this; i.e. online multi-player games that even pretended to handle lag this gracefully. I came up empty; perhaps you can name a few? What really stuck out to me about this article was – whether the idea is an original one or not – the article demonstrates some key things:
- the devs have a thorough and fundamental understanding of the problem;
- the devs are being very open about the problem and their attempts to address it.
This article perked my ears up and I found myself considering how I might find a way to balance play time between SW:TOR, LoL, and EVE just to try it out. Sadly I came up with “I don’t see that being possible” as my play time is already being cut down by forces external to gaming entirely. (By forces I mean those you are probably familiar with; i.e. Work and Lady.) That doesn’t mean I won’t find the time, though.
I will actually be checking out EVE online tonight as Massively plays its Live Stream of a staffer playing it. Most Youtube videos I’ve seen on EVE online have either been too quick and low quality to follow, or have spent as much time as possible talking about how vast and complex the game is (making it seem impossible to learn, even for a veteran gamer like me) so we’ll see if this does a better job of it.