Dead Felsteed.

I don’t need to explain at this point about the recent comments from Richard Bartle and the response by the MMORPG community. If you haven’t been following it there is a good link explaining it better than I ever could. Me doing this post at this date, have sadly missed the height of this topic that has been circling around the blogging community. Maybe I can dredge up sour memories and beat that dead horse a little more.

I have to admit that before I read Wolfhead’s post I had no idea of who Richard Bartle was: “The God Father of MUDS”, “The Creator of Virtual Worlds”. I once tried playing a MUD early in my university days. I didn’t get it. I loved the text adventures that I had played on my friend’s Apple IIe but MUDs seemed like too much work. I never hung around with the right geeks to play a game of Dungeons and Dragons. It wasn’t until as recently as the past couple of months that I have tried playing D & D.

In regards to the Bartle controversy I actually had more fun reading people’s comments. There were many thoughtful responses as well as many hilariously childish responses.

As far as I broke it down was that the MMOGs that were out right now and under current development were being accused of being copycats of each other and innovation was being compromised over polish and streamlining. Why play Warhammer when we all have played World of Warcraft? By reading the actual text I know that this comment was meant as tongue-in-cheek and was taken out of context. The main message put out was that developers were not innovating and creating true virtual worlds. They were more content on following Blizzard’s business model and createing a “fishbowl” of a game. Fishbowl being a virtual world that never changes with a very strict set of rules that limits the player’s ability to mess around with things.

Do we really want the “Sandbox” virtual world that Bartle suggests that we should all be playing in? I for one have seen Second Life. It’s not a game. It is a virtual world created by players in a no limits environment. By abbreviating all MMORPGs (Massivley Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) as MMOs, people wrapped up in this controversy seemed to have forgotten the “G”. World of Warcraft is a really fun game. So is Everquest 2. They have different rules different limitations but I have played them both and they are really fun games. I used the word “games” many times to emphasize that I am not playing an MMOW.

WoW and EQ2 and all the other titles could be compared to playing the board game of Monopoly. Where Second Life, or the much talked about Virtual Worlds can be compared to Playdough. They are both fun, but different kinds of fun.

To answer my question I asked above, to come down to it, PEOPLE ARE JERKS. Yes Jerks. Given the opportunity to take advantage of, or humiliate another player for any little reason they will do it. And this is where my discussion comes into my experiences from World of Warcraft.

I imagine if the player base from WoW had the ability to create things that you can create in Second Life, I can guarantee that within 5 minutes there would be player made penis creatures attacking me with ghonnoreha fire balls.

Being a new player with no gold, I have quested gear. With areas completely devoid of players or others my level to complete instances with, the only other enemy players that I come into contact with are twinks that are speed leveling to 70. I think I win about 1 out of 3 PvP encounters. For this reason it has been advised to me that I should not expect to win a fair fight in Battlegrounds because they are filled with bored level 70s who have level locked lowbies with twinked gear. Already when I get beat at a PvP fight I get corpse camped and teabagged. One clever Orc that corpse camped me had learned how to take the orc language as it appears to me to say “A N A L”. Are you telling me that someone who took the time to translate Orcish into “A N A L” wouldn’t take the time to create a diarrhea emote? I know if I had the time to devote that is the FIRST thing I would do. For sure my character would have an “Ass-Helmet” with an everlasting sparkler sticking out of the business end.

Why? Because people are jerks. We take everything pristine and untouched and try our best to make a joke of it.

Blizzard know this and that’s why they have a fun fish bowl of and MMOG with multi-millions of subscribers and barely a fraction of those have heard of Second Life. Sony and Mythic also know this and want as many people as they can to subscribe to a game where their players wont get virtually pooped on.

The best business model ever: “Warhammer. A game where we are pretty sure you wont get pooped on”. You can use that if you want Mythic. But I require a royalty check in the mail each month along with my free subscription.

9 Replies to “Dead Felsteed.”

  1. Personally, I’d rather have a virtual internet, than a virtual world. Similar to the Otherland novel series by Tad Williams. All of the different MMORPGs out there are more than enough to satisfy my need for a virtual environment.

    If World of Warcraft was like a “sandbox” world, then the story could not progress as richly and deeply as it should. For example, the Onyxia fight. It is uniquely scripted to provide challenge and fun. If someone were to build a little wall in the middle of the room, then the entire phase 2 of the fight would be pointless.

    Maybe I’m taking all this the wrong way…

  2. Exactly. Story and lore gets comprimised when developers give the jerks too much freedom. And when I say jerks I mean it in the most respectful way.
    Feel and ambience of the game gets distorted with player freedoms. Maybe I need to play on a strict RP server. Or play single player games like Oblivion.

  3. >Similar to the Otherland novel series by Tad Williams.

    Have you read the first line of the first book of that series?

    Virtual worlds come in many shapes and forms, and will come in many more. There is room for all of them.


  4. I was simply using the book to show an example of what I meant by a “virtual internet”. By no means am I saying that virtual worlds are a bad thing, or that there are too many of them.

    It’s just a niche market. People want different things from virtual worlds, therefore we have so many of them.

  5. Otherland is actually more Second Life than World of Warcraft.

    When I say “virtual world”, by the way, I mean both the social worlds and the game worlds; I don’t mean just the social worlds. I realise that this is a losing battle, in that many people these days seem to think that because game worlds are MMORPGs, social worlds must be “virtual worlds”; however, until we get a replacement umbrella term that covers both of them, I’ll have to use “virtual worlds” to do that.

    So, when I say I want a greater variety of virtual worlds, I don’t mean I want more SL clones; I mean I want more, different virtual worlds of all kinds.


  6. Virtual Worlds are the obvious future and the direction computer technology is heading. The trick is going to make a compelling game within a virtual world.

    Perhaps if we took what DDO did with it’s instancing, Guildwars too for that matter. The developers wanted a structured adventure experience that was specific for the individuals playing it. The trouble came about with how to mix that into a MMO model. The main town was the only MMO part of it and acted as a meeting place or “Social World” you then left the social world to play in the “Game World”.

    How do you have a “Prisitine Gaming Experience” when you know that some griefer can come into your dungeon and train mobs on you and ruin your experience?

    Virtual Worlds are totally going to be seperated out into particular niches. Fantasy, SCi-Fi, Pirates, Old West, etc… How do you fill an Old West virtual world with people so that small group of niche players get the feeling of community?

    The most avid players in MMOG, the players that are the most vocal and always seem to logged in are always the ones stirring up drama in chat and are the ones usually most likely to turn player freedoms into a joke. The boredom just drives people to do it. When there’s nothing left to do, might as well grief or exploit.

    Its funny that in an podcast episode of GFW the hosts actually went into Second Life to observe and grief. A very legitmate question was asked when the players came upon people laying on a virtual beach and chatting. Why not go to a real beach? If there is no game there or incentive whats the reason to stay in the virtual world?

  7. I can definitely see the resemblance between Otherland and Second Life. SL is probably a big step towards having a “virtual internet”, such as having your avatar walk into a virtual shop and make a purchase. Or going to a virtual club and meeting someone.

    The benefit I see in this for some people is that they can do these things, without leaving the comfort of their own home. A person can enter a virtual world and do something they wouldn’t normally do in the real world. Hiding behind a virtual avatar provides anonymity and I feel that’s a huge contributor to those that ruin experiences for others.

    This is a huge topic and it’s going to become more and more of an issue as technology in the field advances.

  8. Virtual Worlds are the obvious future and the direction computer technology is heading.

    Sorry but no, not with this kind of over-reaching and broad implications. While this is popular in movies, there’s little point in shifting most of client computing over into a virtual world. A VW comes in as an additional GUI layer. What point is there to have an avatar in a virtual world doing office computing like text processing in there rather than having the user doing it directly on the screen? What advantage has the addition of the 3rd dimension to web searching? There are none.
    Further, tomorrow’s battle in computing is drastically reducing energy consumption. Thin clients are making their second (technically 3rd) comeback. Professional computing will again strive to move to a model where the individual user’s system is unlikely to have the needed processing power to run a virtual world.

    If there is no game there or incentive whats the reason to stay in the virtual world?

    That the thing, exactly. If you just cut off the relative novelty effect and the overhype from SL, what is the compelling reason for the mainstream of tomorrow’s tech to happen in a VW? I can shop online on a browser, why would I want to have an avatar enter a modelized brick & mortar shop and pretend to be me shopping? Or, more accurately, why would a normal, lambda-class non-nerdy citizen want to?

  9. Gamers and game developers are constantly pushing the envelope in what they want from their games. Hence the progression from Pong to Crysis or what ever the latest game that pushes the current graphics card into an obsolete state.
    The graphics and worlds that developers build to contain their games will never go back to text adventures.
    I agree with your point that mundane tasks such as shopping or paying bills doesn’t need a virtual world. But do you really see The next big development in MMOGs to be 2D graphics?
    If you predict that computers are doomed to fail because of the energy crisis, then I guess yes, we are all going to be getting our Fantasy gaming fix from PnP DnD.

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