New blog address

Yes just I reminder that I do have a new blog and am still writing lots of amazingly awesome stuff about mmo’s and whatev

Healingthemasses.net now

So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

WELCOME party peoplz to the dawn of a new age. Healing the masses is now leaving the safe confines of the wordpress reach and braving into into the wild scary backwaters of the internet. Yep, Self Hosting is go and you can now find me at Healing the Masses . net. This site will still be staying open for quite  awhile while as I bring over a whole heap of photos that didn’t come with and fix up the linkage at the new site, ehhhh… probably afterwards as well so if you want to read all those old posts here that’s up to you.

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A Self Hosted Solution

So Yep, after all this time I’ve decided to go the self – Hosted route. Setting it up doesn’t seem that hard, just incredibly time consuming. I’m probably going the blue host route so if anyone has a referral code I can use to get some contributions feel free to put it below.

I’ve been reading up a bit on css formatting of late too, and have become adept at reading and mostly understanding that inspect element stuff browsers have so setting it up, and with a little personalisation will take a bit but should be achievable.

Along this line I’m just wondering what you all think about blog layouts. What it a good style to have. what works for you and what do you look for in the style of a blog? what makes it easier to read for you? Rss will always be fully open, but the rest is up for debate.

The main thing I’m Thinking about now is just what to call the blog. Do i go for Healingthemasses.net, htmgaming like the youtube or some kind of other name. Really wondering about that as it’s a name I would want to keep from then on and kind of want to get it right.

So Suggestions for a name below would be appreciated.

Importance of Polish

With playing Final Fantasy 14 at the moment  I’ve got to wondering whether innovation is something we truly want, or even need in mmo’s. By all accounts it’s a wow clone, and while a polished one with a lot of mechanics from elsewhere it really offers nothing of its own to the equation. By all accounts it shouldn’t be succeeding where many others have fallen; Wildstar and ESO just before it that both added nothing as well and paid the price for that yet Final Fantasy has continued to grow, grow to 4 million accounts lately which means box purchases… that’s reasonably impressive in this age.

Yet in spite of that, and with playing another mmo that is but an iteration on the same formulae I’ve become rather enamoured with it. Usually I get bored with these types of experiences quite quickly but I’ve been grinding out the levels and quests for my kitty zerker for a few days now. Playing for many hours at a time. Completing all the dungeons as I go multiple times and having a good time with it. I’m even excited about what’s to come even before I’ve gotten to the cap. I’ve been actively researching and looking at class and tanking guides too: ways to gear up, raid and dungeon videos.. all that boring stuff I haven’t bothered with since rift.

It’s silly but rather exciting to be wrapped up in that mmo goodness again. And it’s not that thirsty in the desert kind of feeling either, well, it was at first but now that I’ve settled in I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would and I think the main reason for this is just polish.

Yes it’s polished in the usual kind of ways now. Graphical purrty as all heck. Ability lag is a thing of the past and rivals that of blizzard making gameplay and combat feel smooth. And just the content and game run smoothly throughout play. It is a game that has gotten the attention it needs to fill itself out and run well… sadly a lot of games can’t say the same lately.

Anyway, it is more than that as well and by polish I also mean they have actually taken the time to figure out what it is they want to do. It is a game that actually seems to have planned itself out in regards to the pace of combat, the styles available, the types and methods of acquiring shinies. Just the way the whole game, each of its components fits together.

Mostly I get the feeling the engaged in a little introspection regarding mmo’s in general. They didn’t just blindly copy what the current zeitgeist is, the populist mechanics and they also didn’t fall prey to throwing out the perfectly functioning components just to appear “edgy”, and “innovative”. They seem to have actually sat down and thought about the usual mechanics of mmos: what works, what doesn’t and figure out why then mold these towards their own vision. There is a level of understanding there in how they’ve designed the components so that it becomes greater than the whole. Greater than the usual.

MMO’s don’t really need to strive to be different, it’s mostly just a marketing buzzword anyway and rarely keeps people around after they’ve grown tired of the same bull shit reskinned with the same mistakes. Innovation can be good too, dynamic events are something I think enriches the genre and were a huge departure from the standard but so many games use this now without really dissecting it mechanically and then integrating it within their game to be cohesive.

I just feel that mmo’s need more thought put into them first and that it seems doing so is far more important than aiming for some kind of new shiny appeal.

Couch Podtatoes Episode 37: Talking Points Three

Another one of our News posts where we look at what’s hapnin in mmo’s and gaming and then be opinionated assholes.. ENJOY!!

Me Vs. Myself and I

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This week we’re doing a rehash of an old idea. You’ll probably recognize the title, as we’ve had two other episodes that were also called “Talking Points.” Basically I just rounded up some various news stories, and we briefly talk about each before moving onto the next. With some recent conventions and other big studio closures, we have plenty to cover. That’s really all there is to it, so listen in and enjoy!

Download this EpisodeSubscribe via RSSDownload on iTunesListen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 37: Talking Points Three (runtime: 1:01:45)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:15)
Discussion: Talking Points (starts at 17:14)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Braum” by Riot Games (from the album The Music of League of Legends)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the…

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The Media Machine

It’s the start of the convention season for 2015. We’ve had the GDC as well as Pax East  a week ago and so far I’ve been rather surprised with them and the utter lack of interesting news coming out. Usually these events become a smorgasbord of reveals and games showing off their latest and greatest. There were a few new indie games showing off, and the Morpheus Virtual Reality system looked like it was coming ahead but other that it seemed to just be games showing their newest update during development.

It makes me wonder just how much the industry has changed in regards to the place of the media and how it’s being used now. It seems with the greater connectivity we have, the less meaningful these media sites have become. They are still obviously being used and those who have grown their audience for their particular niche will do well but they have all no longer become the only, or even main source of gaming news.

Companies are increasingly using a lot more tools for spreading information on their games. I see a lot more blogs happening now for many companies, and not just indie groups anymore. Many of these companies are using YouTube more effectively to spread the latest and greatest news, trailers and gameplay. Twitch for showcasing games in a more personal light as well as giving them the time to do a more in-depth discussion on it. And then there is just the explosion amongst social media and forums like reddit which are increasing the ways they connect to gamers, and the ways information is spread.

Developers, publishers and game makers no longer need the media to spread this information, especially the larger ones as it seems we are already getting our news from the source, or at least far less separated from that source. Even when it’s not direct it still far more connected to the base message as most sites give links. They can tailor the specific message as well without the media sites rewording it, removing parts or voicing opinions throughout. They now have an incredible amount of control, and it’s scary. It makes me wonder just how badly the balance have power has swung and the impact it will have from here on.

I’ve always though the balance of power within the industry rested well on the developers and publishers. They are the ones setting the rules, relaying the information and giving out review games when, at the drop of a pin they could easily change that situation. It is a tenuous balance a lot of these media sites have had to tread for a long while now yet, with how things are progressing this balance seems to be getting further upset.

They most definitely still have a place. Indie games always need greater attention, I have always loved reading critical opinions on games as well and they’ve always served as a decent aggregate but they just don’t have the impact anymore that they once did. Expose’s like that done by Rock paper shotgun and Peter Molyneux are a rarity, if not almost extinct and I see that as a shame. Sometimes you want these groups to have to answer to someone, anyone about their actions but the consequences from doing this are often quite harsh.

It has gone so far now that some developers believe that these sites are nothing more than their personal messenger. A place where they should be allowed, entitled to post whatever the want. To post their opinions. To post their exact press statement. Then attacking them for imagined slights and with the current fear campaign and witch hunt against certain groups and media sites they can easily drum up an eager lynch mob.

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tweets from a week or so

 

(using this tweet because I found it funny that someone fighting for freedom of conversation has me blocked from their twitter. oh, and that letmarkspeak hashtag was rather hilarious).

The press as it is now is in a very hard place. The overlords have increased control over their little minions below and are getting restless with their puppets lack of obedience. Pinocchio wants to grow up but then where does that leave it when it’s only use for the general population seems to be how well they regurgitate whatever its told.

I personally don’t believe the gaming media valued its place as much as they should. Many other journalistic fields are earning far more, have better job security and are treated with far more respect. Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry and yet the media around it is so woefully underpaid and valued. It doesn’t make sense to me. It is definitely a hard industry to work within as you rely on many of these game companies and tech groups for advertisement to survive but I think it was this deep sense of devaluing their own work that put them in the position they are now. They value it so little that they’ve never bothered to fight for better industry standards, to push these companies that are already paying hundreds of millions in advertising to maybe pay some better rates. To be more accountable.

It is interesting then, when taking that into account just how many news sites and groups of writers have been able to break out on their own and be funded quite easily by their readers and supporters. It is amazing how much people do actually value there work when they don’t. Honestly, I think this is where the eventual balance will be coming from in the industry. Slowly more and more groups and sites are becoming their own master, funded by their readers and thus are no longer accountable to the game makers which no doubt allows greater freedom in their opinions and critiques.

I really have no idea where this will all go in the future though or where this little ramble is going. The industry is, and has been in flux for a long time now and where the balance will end is any bodies guess.

Blizzard Designs and Gender Beliefs

*It was pointed out in the comments that I was rather wrong in my judgement here… So terrible Iz I. See the total number of female characters is actually 6, yes they pulled a Samus switch on me.. Awesome blue robot suit is awesome. Anyway, with that it brings the female design total to 3 femme fatales and 3 that differ.. A decent balance really. OH WELL… rant diminished I guess although that study I linked is still pretty cool. Maybe just take out the blizzard name and add in any other stupid company you dislike atm*

I’m sure nearly everyone has seen the video by now but it’s worth showing off the new character for Blizzards FPS project Overwatch again. Most media sites and people have been going a little crazy over it with titles like “blizzard is really listening”, implying that the recent movement towards better female characters and Blizzards own troubled history with them might be changing. I however am a little less enthused.

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Liebster Love

Well it seems those blogging awards are doing the rounds again. Usually I tend to back out form them, being the grinch of blogging and all but this time I might just join in as it’s a great way to share a little more personal information about myself as well as support other bloggers.

First I’ll just say thanks to Both Aywren and Doone for nominating me
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NEW VID: BROFORCE

I’ve been reading about the recent updates for Broforce and it has kind of instilled that pasion once more for me. It was a game I really enjoyed for the over-the-top explosions and gory deaths but when I did play it there really wasn’t enough to keep me engaged for that long.

Now, it was calling to me once again and I’m rather impressed with the amount that has been added. The campaign mode has seen a lot of improvements to make it more streamlined and better defined. rather than the continuous mission structure of before it’s now part of a map where you get to choose areas to liberate.  Each area has it’s own style that you play within for a few missions that then usually ends in a kind of boss fight.

The gameplay is still the same… which is to say insanely fun. Big splosions everywhere. Running and gunning like a lunatic and of course, delighting in what I like to call dumb psychopathic fun. I constantly cackle while playing like a deranged killer, every time something explodes around me, when enemies rain down like meaty pixel chunks and at the ridiculousness of what’s happening. I laugh and squeel when one of my bros dies because I get caught up in an explosion, when they get shot from a far, or when I accidently knife one of the exploding barrels. It’s also a game where I can;t help but copy so many of the silly little sound effects, as well as make up my own… singing stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby, stabby… while knifing the bodies around me…. yeh I’m disturbed but SO WILL YOU BE after playing a little of this.

And here’s a little vid where I play some while talking about the mechanics and elements I like with me cackling that has aptly been called by some as a deranged female orc…yeh, bronchitis be kind sucky haha

MMO’s and What I Want

One thing that I’ve been thinking with all these recent kickstarter,and the orgy of ideals being thrown around with them is, what do I want from an mmo? That sounds like a pretty simple question on the surface. There is a lot of little things that make up an mmo but in the end, a question like that comes down to fundamentals.

Fundamentals though are a lot harder to pin down. They are the guiding principle to an mmo, the thing that all other mechanics and principles fall back to; that reference and interact together. That mold it all into something workable. Something engaging but it is always those fundamentals that guide development and the game’s systems.

For me I nailed down 3 points.

Economy

Now that is just some token system like the usual mmo has. something to grind  for no reason whatsoever, that has no place within end game systems bar a few trinkets they deem to give you out of raiding. No, what I want is a real economy, one that doesn’t suffer from the same exacerbated inflation, soften of course by more shiny baubles and artificial gold sinks. I don’t want an economy that only encompasses certain parts of the experience. I want an economy that encompasses the entire game, that has it’s tendrils in every aspect of it. That shows growth and meaning as a whole.

Basically Eve in a sense. Something you can look towards and marvel at the complex and integrated nature of it. Where you can find your own little niche within the system and still be considered value. A system that is fulfilling a constant need or collection, creation and destruction.

For Territory and Space to Matter

I am kind of over how the modern mmo seems to delight in obsoleting large tracks of land. For most of it, it’s components, quests, resources and whatever else to be practically meaningful once you’ve levelled beyond it. I want a large world wherein every single inch of it can be considered either valuable or necessary. A place people want and need to go or space that is a necessity for the systems to work (travel time).

But it’s more than that as well. I want space to be meaningful to the individual. A place somewhere they they call call their own. To plant their claim and build up their home over time. Somewhere they can grow from and come back to.

I want space to matter for groups and guilds. Somewhere they endeavor to control and struggle for. That creates meaning to being with a group but rewards those endeavors. That creates continuous short and long term goals to work towards.

That creates global action that is constantly shifting back and forth.

Make Your Own Stories

Now this one is a little more vague but just as meaningful as the others. I’ve had guided experiences for too long now. I know, without a second glance the story and themes that are going to be told to me over a long, boring grind through this restrictive narrative. There is no real place for our own stories to be during that and not enough interaction to make them matter.

I want a world where  I can make my own world around it. Where I can engage where and how I want, in the ways I want and then create my own narrative around that. I want the chance to be able to create my own characterizations and then, live them out in a meaningful way. Mostly, I want freedom of self, freedom to be and freedom to create.