Couch Podtatoes Episode 36: Community Content #2

A great episode with Randark of Return of the retro today about toxicity in gaming. Lots of talks about our experiences, ideas about what the issues are and ways to improve.
I also couldn’t hold back the rant, although I did make it near the end haha

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Me Vs. Myself and I

CP4

This week we’ve gone back to the well again, and this time we came up with Randark from the Return of the Retro podcast and blog. Like the similarly titled episode before it, which guest starred Wolfy’s Eyes, this is a show where the community member comes up with the topic for discussion and we delve into it. As you will hear during the introduction, I plan to make this a regular feature, probably somewhere around once a month or so, and if you are interested in joining us, let us know in the comments or via Twitter. Of course, if I don’t hear from anyone by the time this comes around again, I’ll put out the casting call on Twitter myself. This time around, Randark wanted to talk about the Toxicity of Gaming Communities, so we spent quite a bit of time talking about League of Legends, Smite, MMOs…

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Democratic Dialogues

A post I’ve been thinking about for a while but never got around to writing. The benefits of being unemployed i guess and far more rested haha.

A while ago during our Couch PODtatoes episode about politics we got to talking a little about the differences in our countries practices when it comes to voting. Having just completed our own process for a state election in Australia I found it interesting how the others talked about their own process and about my own.

You see, here in Australia we have a compulsory system wherein everyone, or at least a close approximation of that votes. There is a registration period that needs to be done, some people fall through the cracks but by and large it is a country wherein most of the population has a say, however silly, or misguided they may be (i voted the pirate party for a senate position after all) in which parties get in charge.

Thinking about it, that is kind of the best way to do it otherwise you end up having a system completely controlled by the loudest and largest special interest groups. Now bear with me, cause here’s where I get to the mmo bit, but wouldn’t it be better if our mmo communities, talks and forums were more like this as well.

At the moment it seems much more like the American system. Certain groups have control. Certain voices and certain ideologies dominate and the rest either don’t bother to engage in the discussion or don’t have the impact they should. I think that is the main problem with most of these forums nowadays, it just becomes an echo chamber of the same ideas, ultimately I think that is rather damaging towards these games.

I’m not saying that developers should take into account every persons or groups ideas, that would be rather damaging but having a more diverse community wherein all ideas have a place to be discussed rather than shouted down would be a far better thing. Contains Moderate Peril had a post around then as well-looking at the issues with continuing a consensus and the pressures of conforming to that, and it really is an issue we should be aware of.

We do need a place where opinions can be freely shared but with the internet being the internet this is often and impossibility. The Main form of communication these days seems to be official forums and reddit, yet these are too often controlled by a bias party and single-minded focus. Twitch a little too but then that has just become a place for catcalling. How do we change this then to gain greater variety, the voice of the majority? I have no idea, it’s not something you can force, it’s only something you can entice but it is something that should be worked towards.

 

The Issues of Early Access

A video from the Extra credits team that i hadn’t seen until recently and seems rather apt at the moment. It’s an episode that looks at the issues with early access games and in times like this I found myself nodding to a lot of the points, having experienced and being worried about them.

Positives

As they mention there are benefits. That early influx of money can be very helpful for developers as can getting in a number of people that have no prior knowledge to actually test the product. This can help after the close work of development as many issues can be often overlooked. It’s also nice when these companies really do take community ideas and thoughts into practice, and incorporate these within the games. Games like project zomboid that I’ve been following have actively done this, even incorporated mods within the game and it makes it feel like that much more of an involved and inclusive process.

Problems

The problems are rather numerous too, the main of course being that you may never receive a completed game which has happened a few times. From small and larger studios. It’s also a disease that has seemingly spread amongst the bigger publishers now who ask for, basically, an extremely early preorder with a constant side order of “but it’s in beta”. However for smaller, mostly single player titles I see it as a good thing. It’s just when you enter the multiplayer, and especially the MMO scene that I feel the issues far outweigh any supposed benefits.

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Link Dead Radio: An Inclusive Community

A sorrow filled farewell to the Geek Force Network that are putting the site on hold in order to focus on their own goals and other things. The site will remain which is great but will no longer b e receiving new content… much sads.
and now onwards with the link Lovin.. that sweeeeeett sweeeet lovin
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Link Dead Radio: The Perils of Opinions

ooo. HUge range of posts to read covering a great collection of topics. Loving the revolt against levels at the moment as it is something that needs to change for mmo’s to evolve. A lot of talk about community again with a focus on the value of opinions  and social change.

AND GOOOO.. Link dead Radio is on the air

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Couch Podtatoes 9: #Blaugust Bonanza

For this weeks Podcast we took a more communal approach as we have been seeing a lot of amazing posts and ideas coming from the Blaugust Initiative and wanted to discuss some of these further.

First we went into a bit of the news as well as what’s been happening so far with gamescon, the games we are interested in and what else is happening with the consoles.
From there it’s discussions on exclusivity and cross platform play.
The rest centered around gaming monogamy, in particular with mmo’s and a large discussion regarding wow and the Ten questions for ten years initiative. Afterwards we wondered if Blizzard were intentionally sunsetting the game in favour of sending players to it’s other franchises.

So sit back, strap in and enjoy the ride

Download / LibsynItunes Stitcher / Libsyn

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 9: Talking Points (runtime: 1:08:43)

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 1:10)
Talking Points (starts at 12:14)

 

The Links

Gaming Conjecture and Game Exclusivity (only on Xbox, etc)

The Chindividual and Cross-platform MMO’ing

Bio Break with To be Monogamous, or not to be?

Game Introspection with On balance in pvp-oriented games and MMO pvp

Alt:Ternative has the 10 years, 10 questions initiative (original, WoW) and Mystical Mesmer with their own GW2 take on it

Keen and Graev and is Blizzard phasing out WoW

Idiots on the internet

This week was the wonderful business acumen of a Ubisoft Analyst proclaiming that the League of Legends f2p model is “bad for business” but great for consumers. Seems to be great for both.

 

Contacts

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

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Creation and Content in Wildstar Housing

So far it seems my favourite thing about Wildstar is the housing. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing and while I’m enjoying the questing, the combat is good and the world enjoyable to explore it is the housing that seems the best implemented feature. It’s usually a strong interest of mine too and while it is instanced it’s done in a way that really keeps me interested.

 

The building elements are extremely flexible and the list of items to use is outstanding. Just in the shop accessible from the housing menu there is an extensive list to use which is what I mostly used to design my plushie bar. A lot of these actually create some goals to work towards as well with either a large good cost or even the currency renown, earned through social activities. I have my eye on quite a few awesome looking pieces and getting those is going to take a while.

Having decor as a reward for a lot of things was a really great idea. With gear your kind of limited and as it will become meaningless after a little period but with decor you can chase it regardless of level and power and, sometimes you want multiples of an item. With the way the content is designed it’s often better to be grouped as well so this provides both a space to group and a reason to whenever and wherever. The challenges throughout the zones reward some great stuff and this keeps you coming back and exploring. Then there are the many instanced dungeons and adventurers that reward this stuff as well. I swear that’s the main reason I see downleveled 50’s within these.

You can really see just how much work some people have spent attaining these items and within there housing plots. I’ve spent a fair bit of time going through but a fraction of what’s there and there is always a few things that impress. So many items that I haven’t seen before that are hidden within the world somewhere or just things I haven’t been able to afford just yet. The way people are using these is impressive as well. Some have gone the more detailed route with a defined plan and created some amazing structures.

WildStar large house

While others have taken a different approach and transformed their entire plots. The way they use the trees and such to do this is magnificent, one amazing housing plot was a complete maze of streets and buildings.

WildStar

Even within the houses is some amazing scenes and while, they seem a bit more constrined in how you can develop it seems just about everyone has their own style of creating and decorating

WildStar

I could, and probably will spend a lot more time exploring other peoples housing plots on Evindra and it makes me want to create alts elsewhere so as to explore even more. And this is only the first month of play, imagine what else will be out there when people get more time and gold to spend on their creations.

The community around this aspect has been wonderful as well. I believe the zone chat is for all housing plots and there’s always people chatting here, talking over builds and architects hawking their wares. Many people asking others to come and see their creations, proud as anything and others offering up their plots for people to use. There are quite a few mining groups to get involved with, and with that respawn rate it’s great to be a part of. An hour of that now and then and you don’t need for ore anymore.

Then there just how much gameplay is contained within the housing. There are many challenge mode plugs for housing that reset on a half hour timer and running these can be great fun. They come in many different forms of gameplay too from jumping puzzles, to mad dash and click fests and even combat orientated ones. There is a great variety in many different styles to try out and I actually have more fun playing these than general questing.

WildStar

Some are rather challenging though and take a bit of getting used to. The Protostar training area is an insanely difficult telegraph dodging game and well… I still haven’t completed the medic one just yet. They reward decently as well with many giving an  option for decor, renown or dyes; three extremely sought after elements within the game.

Another plug to have on the housing plots are these little mini dungeons. These take you too an instanced space, can accommodate different sized groups or even solo and, scale to a base level so the challenge is always going to be there. I’ve done some of these with people but I actually really enjoy going at these alone as the offer some really quite challenging solo content. Mostly they involve a task or set of challenges to complete at the start and then a boss fight. I love these boss fights though. They have a range of different movements to learn and avoid, involve timing interrupts appropriately and test your damage and survival capabilities. These reward similiar to the other challenges but I enjoy these a lot more as these are the places I go to enjoy some more, but challenging solo content.

WildStar

The housing component of the game really is just a well designed, polished and fully fleshed out piece of content. It has some excellent customisation that will maintain long term interest with creating and collecting and it has a purpose with buffs, gathering and the great challenge based content. Housing really could be an end game for people… or THE game.

 

#Wildstar #Housing #MMO

Death of Detail and Changing Convenience

With the state of the industry at the moment it seems a lot of people are talking more about the notions of complexity and depth. The how’s and whys of our games march towards simplistic mechanics and accessibility and the focus towards gaining more players for the genre but less that stick around.

I tend to agree with many that for some games, the removal of needless bloat is almost a necessity. Such things that are mere disguised complexity are needed but in a way I don’t wish to see their complete removal. Sometimes it is these little choices are what make a difference in the minds of players even if there is some predetermined optimal path. It is this input and choice that can make the experience more meaningful and a stronger connection to the character.

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NBI 2014: Blogger Battles

Let this be a lesson to you all.. giving ideas to Doone about the NBI means you officially volunteer for organising such ideas. To me, connecting game blogggers was more about enjoying games and gaming together. To make occasions where we can break boundaries and interact together, have fun and more importantly, share ideas and connections.

So meet your Executive Entertainment Director for our first ever, annual BLOGGER BATTLE *cue awesome music and fireworks*. Just need a cool info-graphic

Anyway, I have a few ideas for events and such to run over the month of May and maybe even beyond that hopefully everyone will enjoy. To start off with I urge everyone to enrol in the NBI forums and follow the Web Page and twitter to learn about events, articles and give feedback.. Also check out the NBI Steam group, it is a great way to connect and will be a point of info for the events too.

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Changing Culture for Better Gamers

You might have noticed my Reblog the other day regarding the post Better Gamers for a Better community  and I agree with the sentiment wholeheartedly. In part, as gamers and part of the culture it is up to us to stand up for any injustices we might see or actions we don’t agree with. Be the change you want to see.. or some such new age nonsense. But, unfortunately it isn’t that easy.

Sometimes you’ve just had enough of the endless vitriol and stupidity and honestly I feel as though in my free time with gaming it is a time when I want to relax. Sure I don’t mind putting on the feminazi hat and cloak of +4 Bitch and lambast a few idiots but most of the time I don’t feel like dealing with the social issues of the gaming industry and I think that’s how most people feel. It’s our own time and one in which we would like to spend in the way we want and having fun. I don’t ask people to do any less than I would do, which is to say occasionally make their counter points against such misogynist arguments in a calm but critical way (well how I wish I could anyway).

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