I have no idea why Permadeath holds such a fascination with me but it is always something that keeps me playing and engaged with a game. Recently I’ve been playing quite a few games with permadeath features or permadeath as their core mechanic and it is because of this that I’ve played them so much.
My initial thoughts of The Repopulation have been a while coming. I’ve been playing a lot lately and even jumping in and out of the alpha clients of late but being a sandbox there is a lot to get acquainted with and I wanted to get a fuller picture of the game first. Now I still haven’t experienced everything yet. The nation management and open world housing is not something I know much about and isn’t really implemented fully. I haven’t been involved much with the player conflict yet either.
What I have done is just check out the foundations of play. The combat types and methods of progression. The elements of the economy like gathering and crafting and well, just what the experience is going to be like.
So far I’m rather impressed although I’m not sure if that’s just the experience of a person stumbling through the desert and finding water, or someone that is actually enjoying what they find on its own merits. It’s a strange feeling.
After my little “I quite, and no you can’t have my stuffz” post I was still doing a little thinking afterwards. The failures of ArcheAge are well documented by now, here and elsewhere and are too numerous to go into detail. I think most that have followed the title for a time know about them. I don’t want to dwell on that too much any more as I’ve moved on and have more been reflecting on the elements I enjoyed instead.
Planet explorers… another boring survival type sim without any real charm.
Over at game Industry biz there was a recent interview with the Head of Narrative design at Arenanet, Leah Hoyer and while I was ready to read and create another rant aimed at the inadequacy of GW2 and its “living” story it made me think of the genre’s approach overall.
Now I do believe story is important for games, pretty obvious really. Even mmo’s benefit from having a base of lore as well as context to player actions, it creates better engagement in activities and immersion within the game world.
There is a huge amount of content within Archeage to do and like I’ve said before a lot of it is, and can be entirely PvE centric. There is a wealth out there to do to, Activities that if you are careful can be completely free from unfriendly intentions. A quick list of stuff goes something like:
- Questing – can all be done in peace modes
- Crafting – far deeper than most mmo’s
- Exploration – for tree farms and pretty sights
- Treasure hunting
- World Bosses
All available to play with if, but not exactly when you please without recourse. Waiting for Peace times is a good idea of course and half their are many spaces that are entirely safe. It’s a huge feature list really.
The PvP was a big part of my interest when getting I to archeage but it’s bad to say that I really haven’t been involved too much with it so far. The most I seemed to have had is being ganked (quite a few times) on, near or going to my housing plot down in the Hellswamp by higher level players and that’s not really pvp more… quick travel.
For this week we had our first ever round table discussion and it was great to have more people along. It was a much bigger discussion point so it was great to have the venerable Roger from Contains moderate Peril and the Adorable Missy from Missy’s MOJO. It’s actually rather hard to organise these things, Izzy handled getting everyone together but I just mean enabling everyone space to talk without certain people (me) overwhelming the discussion. It’s funny that the more we do this the more comfortable I seem to become in putting my point across.
Now I still get nervous about doing all this and am not comfortable with hearing myself, although most people aren’t but it seems once you get into the flow of things you kind of forget all the issues you have and concerns for the end product and just have a natural discussion with someone. It’s weird though as when talking to people usually I’m quite the opposite, talking a lot and being fine with a friend or even new colleague but then once it gets to a small group size I retreat back into my shell, preferring the reserved thoughtful approach. Sometimes I end up not even adding to a conversation and just nod my head and say yeh a lot.
I think that comes down to my more introverted nature. It’s not scary beign in a group or talking that way but more some sense of not wanting to break the current conversation, or butt in with my own opinion. Online tends to remove a lot of that so it feels more free to discuss things which I guess is great for a podcast. I don’t think i will ever be 100% comfortable or even overwhelmingly positive about the experience of podcasting but will hopefully become comfortable in time.
This week’s discussion, the sandbox and talking about the elements we enjoy and a few big parts that make up the experience. The definition of sandbox was the first talk and it’s odd just how confusing that term has become and well, how it can encompass so many experiences.
There was talk about having elements of PvP in games, how they are incorporated and the effect they can have and I think we came to the conclusion that these are some elements that improve the experience but there need to be certain fail safes there. That it can’t just be gank happy but have elements that protect but still allow flexibility.
There was of course discussion about economy and whether or not it is a required feature for an mmo to work. If it is included what style of crafting should be included and just how deep should the rabbit hole of economy go.
Lastly there was progression, and just how far it should go. Are levels a good thing, do you need power growth or are horizontal elements of growth just as important. Oh and then we talked about the interest in survival type games lately and whether this would make for a good mmo. Would player needs and permadeath work in a more persistent environment.
Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 7: Sandbox Roundtable (runtime: 1:05:47)
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#podcast #blaugust #sandbox
I keep hearing people bitch about how much damage the cloning of wow has done to the industry. How every product us the same and flitting between each release like a plague of locusts. I’ve been a part of that and even I yearn for something more… How could you not? But then, I continuously see the call for games to change; games that are maybe trying to be something different or give a different experience. That have pieced together the resemblance of a soul yet we want to stomp all over that and cram it back into that overused mould. Archeage is trying something different a least by a little, the iteration it is now is more themepark orientated but there is still a little charm there. Charm that mostly comes from certain PvP elements which many have been attacking and so, that means for me it’s time to get my flame on.
It’s quite funny that one of the discussion points for this weeks events is surrounding the use and purpose of PvP in mmo’s when I was actually going to start posting about it anyway. The old MMO debate between psychopaths and Carebears. It started for me last week when there was a post over at XP chronicles discussing the usefulness of Open world PvP that, while outlining many of the popular opinions on the matter it missed many factors that I find invaluable. I just had to write a reply but it seems it is turning into a few replies around certain parts. So, now that this talkback challenge is here it gives me an even better excuse.