Monday, January 31, 2011

World of Warcraft in 2020

It is the year 2020 and World of Warcraft has 20 million players, a hundred times a many as the closest competitor. How did a 15-year old game manage to climb to such a dominant position? After a meteoric rise, there was a period of stagnation nearly a decade ago, during the time of the Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm expansions. Anything Blizzard tried to get people to play together failed: Easy dungeons, hard dungeons, automatic group finding, added guild perks, all these measures only increased the amount of acrimony in the community. "Pickup group" became a kind of a curse word, and dungeon queues grew to 2 hours length, as most tanks and healers quit the game or switched to DPS, fed up of constantly being blamed for the faults of others. As raiding died due to lack of tanks and healers, only 3 guilds ever managed to finish the final Cataclysm raid encounter, in spite of repeated nerfs.

The breakthrough came in 2012, with the 4th expansion, as Blizzard had realized a fundamental truth: Players simply do not want to play with others. Having always been good at "borrowing" ideas from other games, Blizzard took the henchman concept from Guild Wars, and enabled players to do dungeons and raids solo, accompanied only by NPC henchmen. That concept was expanded with time, and today players exclusively solo playing a raid group of 5 to 10 characters, being able to control one of them at will, while the AI does a great job at playing the other 4 to 9. That was a huge success, because not only are players now able to solo their way up to the final raid boss of an expansion, but they now also can use practically all gear drops to equip their small army.

These small armies of avatars controlled by a single player are now called "guilds". The old sort of guilds, having several players in them, crumbled due to players not needing each other any more, and was abolished in the 2014 expansion. When crafting for NPC henchmen was introduced, the player-run economy wasn't necessary any more either. The auction house was removed from the game in 2016. With chat then only being used for exchanging insults, chat functionality was removed from WoW in 2018.

It is the year 2020 and World of Warcraft has 20 million players, all of them playing in splendid isolation from each other. Competitors games, which still try outmoded concepts like players interacting with each other don't stand a chance. Welcome to the future of MMORPGs, now simply called OGs, because there is neither massively multiplayer interaction, nor role playing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Creating a better community

In a recent thread about game communities Espoire asked how to create a better community for a game. This is an aspect of MMORPGs which appears to have been widely neglected, as many players feel that older games often had a better community than modern games.

Unfortunately part of the problem is that some factors that would help to improve the community have fallen out of favor with developers and players alike. One such factor is simply size: Small games tend to have a better community than large games. But as the number of players is also roughly proportional to revenue, game developers obviously prefer games with more players. One could artificially create smaller communities by cutting the game into small servers, but that would have the negative effect of longer waiting queues for battlegrounds and dungeons. You'd also have to suppress the ability to transfer between servers and change names to avoid that players escape social consequences by hiding or fleeing.

Similarily out of fashion are the tricks that the original Everquest used to foster a better community: Long downtimes between fights, and a harsh environment basically forcing the players to cooperate or perish. Forced grouping and 15-minute stretches of mana regeneration giving players the time to socialize are unlikely to reappear in a modern game.

So what can developers still do to foster a better community? One trick is currently applied in some cheap Asian grinder MMORPGs, and works reasonably well there: Giving veteran players rewards for mentoring new players. The first Asheron's Call had a similar system with lieges and vassals, which also resulted in veteran players having a vested interest in new players doing well in the game. A similar trick is having a system in place like City of Heroes / Villains, where players can temporarily adjust their levels to be able to play with others of higher or lower level. With rewards from dungeons being increasingly some sort of points instead of gear, that would actually be feasible now even in World of Warcraft. If you can give a player justice points for running a level 85 dungeon on normal, then why not give him points when he lowers his level to run an older dungeon on normal with some leveling friends?

Of course one could say that all these tricks of social engineering that make people be nicer to each other are somewhat creating a fake niceness. Veterans aren't really helping new players because they like them, but because it gives them an ingame benefit. But of course that is the best we can hope for as long as we demand that the improvements to the community come from the developers. We can't get to a really better community, where all the goodwill is felt from the bottom of the heart, without the players themselves contributing to that. I still remember my first day in Everquest, where a complete stranger helped me and even gave me a magic necklace, for no gain to himself. It is hard to blame developers for the fact that such behavior has become so rare.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Is "bad" a valid style of play?

A reader alerted me to a humorous post on the US WoW forums, where a warlock claims that "bad" is a valid style of play. He says:
I play a warlock. I, and many other warlocks, have been wanting green fire since vanilla. Maybe since before the game came out, we wanted to be wizards who could throw green fireballs. Now, finally, we have Fel Flame, and it is green. So the way I want to play is to only use Fel Flame, and to shoot green fireballs like a machine gun until things catch on green fire and green burn to death, screaming. I think Fel Flame is lots of fun.

But Blizzard says I'm not supposed to shoot green machine gun fire; there is a "rotation," which is a special order I am supposed to push buttons in, or else I am "bad" and the group I am in will "fail." Why is this the right order to push the buttons? Nobody knows. I feel like I am playing "Simon."

Anyway, in the last expansion, there was a different order I was supposed to push the buttons in. In the last expansion, the bad affliction warlocks liked to cast Soul Fire. In this expansion, the bad affliction warlocks are the ones who don't like to cast Soul Fire. How am I supposed to keep up with this? I heard about this site for jerks I am supposed to go to, but I am not going to do that. I am pretty sure it is a keylogger.
Now I'm pretty sure that most of you believe that "bad" is *not* a valid style of play. Which is curious, given the heated discussion about social responsibility. The warlock who doesn't feel a responsibility to play "good" is using exactly the same arguments as the DPS who don't feel a responsibility to switch roles: His way is more fun, and the other guys are just a bunch of anonymous strangers.

So where exactly is the difference? Why would 4 people who are absolute anonymous strangers to you, and to whom you don't feel any responsibility nor goodwill suddenly oblige you to play good just because the Dungeon Finder randomly grouped you with them? Imagine a dungeon that needs about 15k of total DPS: Why would three DPS each feel a responsibility to do at least 5k damage per second each? If our warlock does only 2k, another player does 5k, and a third 8k, the overall result is the same. And our warlock wouldn't be penalized at all, he could still roll need on all items he wants as much as the 8k guy, and will get the same amount of justice points.

But instinctively we feel that would be wrong. We'd call it "leeching" or something similar. Suddenly World of Warcraft is a team sport, and we feel a social responsibility to those 4 anonymous strangers. Why is that so? And why is there such a sharp division line, where we have a strong respnsibility to random players who are grouped with us, but not to the same players when we are not in a random group with them?

Best expansion ever - for a different audience?

In yesterday's post somebody commented that "Lets face it - outside of raiding there is very little to do in WoW that is fun." Which immediately made me think of my wife, who is playing World of Warcraft casually for 6 years and has never raided, nor even entered a dungeon. And Cam commented in a post before that: "You can probably fix your angry troll problems, Tobold, by adding a big 'IF' in front of all your posts. Since folks can't seem to get that this was the original implication.", which struck me as very true.

While we often talk about dungeons and raiding, I believe that there are millions of World of Warcraft players out there who aren't at all interested in that sort of content. And I'm not talking about Gevlon's hypothetical "wants to group but is too stupid to" moron & slacker. But about people who simply don't *want* to group. Usually this kind of players has lots of alts, because that way he can access more of the sort of content he is actually interested in: Questing, crafting, exploring.

And I wonder how that sort of player sees Cataclysm. I could imagine that if you like questing, the combined Shattering / Cataclysm might be the best expansion ever, because it created several thousand new quests. There are two new races with new starting areas with very different styles (comedy for the goblins, victorian drama for the worgen). And even starting a new character of an old race is a new experience, as so many zones have changed so much.

The other kind of players, the ones Larisa calls the bitter veterans, the ones who think Cataclysm is the worst expansion ever, maybe need to realize that they aren't even the target audience here. It's a bit like going to a cinema and seeing the latest Disney movie, and then ranting that this is the worst horror movie ever. You're in the wrong film, hell, you're even in the wrong movie theatre! Blizzard wasn't even trying to make an expansion for the bitter veterans, having fully realized how futile that is.

I've been saying for years that the hardcore are Blizzard's worst customers, being less numerous, using the most resources, and paying not more than everybody else for it. While Blizzard still supports the raiding style of gaming, this might not be where they actually make their money with.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Nerf or bringing the flow back?

I usually don't read patch notes of the public test realm for World of Warcraft, for the simple reason that it's a test realm, and the patch notes tend to get changed before going live. But one bit of news about patch 4.0.6. caught my eyes: In future you will be able to farm justice points in normal dungeons. The daily normal random dungeon has it's justice point rewards doubled, and the bosses in the "reputation" dungeons now give 30 JP each, up from zero.

The result will be that people who currently have problems doing heroics for whatever reasons (too long, too hard, too likely to fail in a PuG), can run normal dungeons instead, and get beyond the iLevel 333 reward level of the items dropping in normal dungeons. And as success always depends on a combination of skill and gear, this ultimately will make heroics easier.

Now of course some people like heroics in their current difficulty level (I like them in guild groups), and will claim that this is Blizzard catering to the lowest common denominator and nerfing heroics. But for those who feel stuck, because they already got all possible gear from normal dungeons and can't make the jump to heroics, this change will bring back the flow of the game. Having the option of running normal dungeons to improve gear, instead of farming daily quests for reputation gear, is more fun to a lot of people.

So what do you think about these changes? Are you crying "nerf", or are the justice point rewards in normal dungeons bringing the flow back into your WoW?

Making it personal

I'm still somewhat bemused by not just the amount of bloggers responding to my thesis that MMORPGs are a team sport in which players have a social responsibility to get a team filled, but also by how violent some of that response was. The Noisy Rogue called the post a fucking stupid pile of dogshit, and me stupid and a moron among other things. Nils called my statement bizarre. Iggep called it a seriously controversial statement. And Callan finds me genuinly scary. Even Bigbearbutt wonders "Did he mean whatever it was in the way it’s been taken?"

Well, to help people understand what I meant, and to analyze why the reaction was so strong, I'd like to reformulate the argument by breaking in down into bits:

1) The queues for DPS in the Dungeon Finder of World of Warcraft are long, and it would be better if they were shorter.

So far, so good, I don't think anybody actually disagreed with that part.

2) For queues to become shorter, either Blizzard needs to change how World of Warcraft works, or players need to change their behavior, or both (Blizzard adds incentives that makes players change their behavior).

Still not very controversial. Other than players and/or Blizzard, I don't see who else could do anything that would change the length of Dungeon Finder queues.

3) Blizzard is unlikely to make major changes to how World of Warcraft group combat works.

Here were are starting to get warmer. Many, many people commented or blogged that if the system wasn't working, it was Blizzard's and only Blizzard's fault, and responsibility to fix it. Personally I'd prefer the incentives solution. But regardless of whose fault the situation is, my point here is about probability: To be realistic, I don't think Blizzard is going to ever change let's say groups to 6 players, to make room for more DPS, or anything similarily radical.

4) If Blizzard doesn't change the game, it is up to the players to change their behavior.

Logical consequence from the previous statements: If it's either A or B, but B is unlikely, then it must be A. Albeit an argument being logical never prevented anyone to disagree with it. Most problems in multiplayer games are caused by a combination of game design and player behavior, and I believe that players thus have a partial responsibility for these problems. That is somehow better understood in sports, where people are more ready to accept the idea that there is a system of rules to which the players need to adapt, instead of demanding the rules get changed.

5) As the problem is a lack of tank and healers, the only player behavior change which would positively affect queues is some players who are currently playing a DPS role either switching role or switching character to a tank or healer.

Note the "some", which some commenters deliberately misrepresented. It should be blindingly obvious that if EVERYBODY changes to tank and healer, the queues would be even longer than they are now. The idea is to *enough* players changing role, until the ratio of tanks to healers to DPS is 1:1:3, which would be the ratio producing the shortest possible queue times.

6) If *some* players have to switch from DPS to tank/healer, then why not you? It is your responsibility too!

And this is the kicker, where people started grabbing their torches and pitchforks. This argument is not at all a direct logical consequence, but is based on values which have gone out of fashion. It goes back to the fundamental question of whether in any situation where it is clear that somebody has to do something you ask yourself "why not me?" and step forward, or you ask yourself "why me?" and hope that somebody else steps up. It is, to misquote Kennedy: "ask not what your game can do for you - ask what you can do for your game". It is J.M. Flagg's famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster:

It hurts, because it turns an abstract, general responsibility of a wider populace into a personal responsibility. Even people who agree with the first 5 arguments probably would prefer if it was somebody else who changed to playing tank or healer, and not them. Turning "somebody should do something" into "YOU should do something" is what I think provoked the strong reaction to my post.

Kids setting up soccer teams on a school yard understand that "somebody needs to play goalkeeper", after nobody volunteered, means that one of them will be forced to play that position, or there is no game. The situation in World of Warcraft is the same, only that the group is larger, more anonymous, and the problem is not whether there is a game yes or no, but how long it takes until somebody finally volunteers. That makes people even more reluctant to step up and volunteer, because it isn't as if they could strike a direct deal that they'll tank today and somebody else does it tomorrow. Now I sure used strong words in calling this situation a "social responsibility" and quoting Kant's categorical imperative. But whatever you call it, I don't believe that queues will improve unless some people switch their role. And I believe that any responsibility for "some people" in any group in the end is an individual responsibility. Not a big one, after all it is just a game, and the responsibility is shared between many players. But a responsibility nevertheless. That is my belief, part of my values, and I'm sticking to it. I hope you understand my point better now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quality of the community

World of Warcraft is frequently accused of having a "bad" community; "bad" being defined as a few jerks behaving badly due to internet anonymity, and a general lack of a wider community spirit outside of guilds (If you don't believe that, just read last weeks comments on how strongly some people react even to a suggestion that they should do something for the wider community). But of course that "bad" is compared only to some utopian ideal, or to older, much smaller games, where a smaller community held together better. Cast your net wider, and you'll see that it is perfectly possible to create online game communities which are far worse than that of WoW. And the easiest way to get there is to have people play for money.

I checked out Magic the Gathering - Tactics some more, and all my experience with the old Magic the Gathering Online and various other online games tells me that MtGT is heading for the worst possible kind of community. And the reason for that is money. Not only do you have to pay to play, but the structure is set up in a way that a few players will be able to play "for free", by basically fleecing the less good players. Draft tournaments cost $2 entry fee plus $12 in boosters, handing out $12 in boosters for the winner. By selling some of the cards he drafted, the winner can get back the entry fee, and thus "go infinite", playing for free as long as he keeps winning. Pro tip for bad players: Rare draft! The most valuable cards in a booster are not necessarily those which the best players would pick. Thus if you find yourself in a draft with a lot of good players, they'll pick the cheap but good cards, and you can take the cards that'll make you lose the tournament but increase the value of your collection.

Constructed tournaments cost $3 entry fee, and even normal, ranked games cost $0.10 to participate. And the games aren't even fair with both sides having equal strength! Not only will spending a lot of money on cards get you a better deck and increase your chance of winning, but also paying for the single-player campaign will net you levels and talent points, which will make you stronger even against an opponent with an identical deck.

Experience shows that this sort of setup quickly leads to communities resembling pool halls, where the sharks prey upon the casual players. Playing Magic the Gathering - Tactics costs a lot of money, and by winning and going infinite the sharks end up playing for free, while their victims pay double.

Now other Free2Play games also have a minority pay for everybody. But the structure is usually different, the rich voluntarily pay the game company for various luxuries, while the others play for free, but without the advantages money can buy. In the MtGT structure the rich just get fleeced without getting any advantages for themselves, in fact they pay to suffer the humiliation of constantly losing. You don't need to be a brilliant social engineer to realize that this isn't sustainable: The people with money leave, and sharks stay, circling in the pool and waiting for another innocent victim to fleece.

So, unless you want to rare draft to pay $2 extra to increase the chance of finding useful cards for your collection in the 3 boosters you open, I can only advise everybody to stay well away from tournament play in Magic the Gathering - Tactics. You would most certainly regret trying.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A first look at Magic the Gathering - Tactics

A reader alerted me that Magic the Gathering - Tactics had launched, and a day later SOE sent me the newsletter confirming that. So I downloaded the game, and gave the game a spin.

Magic the Gathering - Tactics is pretty much what you'd presume from the name, a mix of a trading card game with a turn-based strategy game. From Magic the Gathering the game inherits the monsters and spells being "cards", from which you build a deck, draw a random hand during combat, and play the "cards" using mana you get every turn. But combat is like many other games with "Tactics" in their name turn-based strategy on a board of squares, with tactical elements like zones of control and flanking. The mix works reasonably well.

Nevertheless I wasn't very happy with MtGT. I don't have anything principally against the Free2Play business model, but MtGT looks very much like an Allods-like overpriced ripoff to me. Not only are the cards quite expensive ($3.99 per booster), but in addition to that you also need to pay to unlock the chapters of the single-player campaign, at $5 per chapter. Yes, you get your starting deck and the first chapter for free, but then you'll basically pay $1 per new single-player battle. You can replay those battles, but only the first time gives any reward. So just buying the full campaign already costs you $20.

Due to the cards in the boosters being random, you need to spend over $50 on boosters before you have enough cards to build decks of other than your two starting colors effectively. SOE suggests you buy a virtual box of virtual boosters of virtual cards for just $83.99. *Cough* Ripoff *Cough* And to trade these cards they offer the auction house (which has filters but apparently no sort function), in which cards can only be traded for gold. And of course the gold for that you can buy for Station Cash. I haven't tried the multiplayer functions yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were tournaments which cost money too. Magic the Gathering - Tactics really feels as if it nickels and dimes you at every move you make.

I think that is a strategic mistake from SOE. If for example the PvE campaign was free, more people would play the game for longer, and then sooner or later start buying cards. As it is, you reach the paywall far too early, and one "daily" battle isn't enough to keep you motivated to play. The game isn't bad, but the cost structure risks to strangle it before it can take off.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blogging standards

There has been a recurrent discussion about whether bloggers are journalists, and thus should be held to journalistic standards. That discussion has been frequently derailed by pointing out the obvious differences between a blog and a newspaper. You can't confuse this blog with the Washington Post, thus blogging and journalism are totally different, thus journalistic standards don't apply. The disadvantage of that approach is that blogs come across as "less than" journalism, and bloggers as wannabe journalists who failed to live up to the journalistic standards of independence, truthfullness, accuracy, and fairness. I think a more helpful approach would be to say that the methods, purpose, and resources of a blog are fundamentally different from that of a newspaper; and from that to conclude that blogging has its own standards, instead of being held accountable to the standards of a different medium. In this post I would like to explore what those blogging standards should me in my personal opinion, and in how far they are similar or different to journalistic standards. Warning: This is going to be long!

To thus develop blogging standards from journalistic standards, we first need to look at how the role of a blog is different from that of a newspaper. A newspaper, as the name says, is there mainly to report news. The principle concern, and the reason that journalistic standards exist, is that the facts have to be accurate and truthful. The worry is that a newspaper writes something that isn't true, either because the journalist was too lazy to check the facts, or because he deliberately writes something untrue, to either advance his own agenda, or the agenda of somebody he is beholden to.

A blog is fundamentally different, because they are not media to report facts, but outlets of opinions. Reader don't come to let's say a game blog because they want to know facts about when a game is released, or what the retail price is; they come to read an opinion about whether the game is any good. By definition for opinions there is no absolute truth, an opinion can't be right or wrong (although the arguments supporting an opinion can be). To get back to the game example, even for a game most people consider bad, there are always some people who like that game. And their opinion is just as valid as the opinion of those who hate that game.

In view of these fundamental differences, let's have a look at what I would consider good blogging standards, starting with accuracy and truthfulness: As I would not expect readers to use a blog as their one and only source of facts, I do not consider fact-checking as essential for a blogger as for a journalist. In most cases bloggers don't even have the same means and resources to check facts: A journalist can for example call a company to check facts and get their side of a story, but a blogger simply wouldn't get an answer if he tried that. I wouldn't even consider it necessary for bloggers to always be truthful. Sometimes writing for example "fake news" can be a good style tool to get a point across. Persiflage often contains deliberately exaggerated untruths.

In many cases the facts are simply unknown, or there are only approximate numbers available. But on a blog the validity of the arguments does often not depend on having exact numbers. It is a cheap trick of trolls and people who disagree with a blogger's opinion to pretend that exact numbers matter, and declaring an opinion for "wrong", because it is impossible to get the real numbers. Just look at the eternal discussion about MMORPG subscription numbers, you'll find many examples there. But facts are simply not the main purpose of a blog, and are therefore not an important part of blogging standards.

The next blogging standard I would like to talk about is being "fair and balanced", which is linked to being independent and not beholden to a company or other special interest group. As already the classic media fall way short of this, I don't think it is reasonable to demand balanced reporting from a blogger. Blogs are about opinions, and to write a good opinion one has to take sides. A completely balanced opinion ends up not being one at all, is bland, and doesn't inspire a lively discussion. Although only a fool never changes his mind, bloggers tend to be associated with their repeated stance on similar issues. Thus readers know how to interpret a one-sided opinion in light of the previous form of the blogger. Good bloggers tend to at least cite possible counterarguments, or to admit both good and bad points in a product they review, but that is more a sign of the quality of the blog than of ethical standards for blogging. Claiming that a successful game is the worst game ever and has no redeeming features at all just doesn't sound believable, and ends up coming across as an insult to many readers. Much better to admit what a game does right to explain it's success, and then criticize it's weak points, if you want reasonable people to listen to you.

The dangers of a lack of independence of bloggers are often exaggerated. It isn't as if companies had huge budgets to bribe bloggers. The recent argument that some game bloggers dream of working for a game company one day and would therefore be biased towards writing only nice things about those is completely spurious. In the few cases where bloggers actually became developers, they didn't get there by saying nice things about games, but by criticizing games harshly, but precisely. Just look up Lum the Mad if you don't believe me. Opinions on blogs tend to be far more honest than those on commercial sites and print media, which live from the advertising money paid by the companies whose games they review. Bloggers might receive freebies, like free product to review. I believe the best ethical blogging standard here to be to require bloggers to disclose the fact that they received those freebies. Readers then have to decide themselves how far lets say a free game would be likely to influence the opinion of a blogger. This stance on blogging standards is shared by US law (which presumably (IANAL) applies if your blog is readable in the USA, not only if you live there).

If classical journalistic standards don't apply to bloggers, that doesn't mean that blogs shouldn't be held to some standards. But as it is opinions, and not facts, that are at the heart of blogging, these standards have to do more with the ethics of exchanging opinions.

One important standard for blogging in my mind is that opinions should be supported by arguments. Saying "game X sucks" helps nobody, unless it is followed by arguments about which features of game X the blogger considers to be so bad.

Another important ethical standard for blogging is to mention where principal ideas come from, and where appropriate to link to them. That is not to demand the impossible task of citing every blog which ever talked about a similar subject; but if a blogger is inspired to write about a subject because he read about it on another blog, it is only proper to cite that source of inspiration. It is that interlinking which ultimately creates the blogosphere as a virtual space for the exchange of ideas and opinions.

Finally, and in somewhat of a combination of the previous two, are the ethical blogging standards on the discussion between blogs. It is because blogs are talking opinion rather than facts, and because different opinions on the same subject are valid, that a discussion evolves between blogs and creates a large whole than the sum of its parts. That is a wonderful thing, because it often allows readers to see different points of view, and from the various arguments form an opinion for himself. But that only works if the responding blogger makes the effort to actually argue his opinion, bringing forth his arguments for his different point of view, adding new ideas, and pointing out potential weaknesses of the arguments of the other blogger.

It is this blogging standard where the blogosphere still needs to make progress. Far too often a disagreeing blog posts main argument is that the other blogger is an "idiot" or "moron", with supporting arguments being other insults questioning the integrity of the other blogger. That is both unethical, and counterproductive. Such a response not only makes the writer look like a bad blogger, it also makes neutral readers more inclined to believe the other blogger, who made his point with arguments instead of insults. "You're an idiot" is short for "I don't agree with you, but I can't come up with a good counterargument". That not only makes for poor blogging, it also is an admission of intellectual poverty.

I think that more or less covers the main points. What do you think about blogging standards? What points would you add, and where do you agree or disagree with my blogging standards?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Differential diagnosis

Ionomonkey from Screaming Monkeys goes House and analyses the Cataclysmic WoW disease as being a lack of choice and control. Well, House would tell him that he is doing the differential diagnosis all wrong, but besides that one has to wonder whether Ionomonkey's diagnosis is the right one. Even House always makes three wrong diagnoses before arriving at the good one just before the end of the episode.

Ionomonkey's clues are heroics, guild perks, and linear leveling zones. Of these I would only consider the linear leveling zones to be really a problem of lack of choice and control. Not being able to skip quests you don't like, or go directly to a quest you like to play it again with another character is annoying like hell (and makes me wonder how a certain other storytelling MMORPG is going to handle that).

Heroics I consider to be a problem of flow. In previous expansions people kind of naturally moved from leveling to doing dungeons to doing heroics to raiding. In Cataclysm that process seems to be a much bumpier ride. By making heroics both long and hard, a large number of people end up not even being able to run one every day, and resign to do daily quests instead. That appears unsustainable to me, because I don't see people doing the same daily quests for the next 22 months. If we believe Ghostcrawler, that actually is only a temporary problem, as the flow will appear when people got used to the new heroics, and have geared up a bit.

Guild perks right now seem to be more a theoretical than a practical problem. Due to the cap on guild experience, a large number of guilds have exactly the same level of guild perks at the moment. If guild perks work to prevent guild hopping, that is hard to see, and not necessarily the worst outcome. And while pugging is certainly less pleasant than guild runs, I don't think we are at the point where I could agree with Ionomonkey's statement that "Either join a guild that can or be done with your progression on that character.".

So to get back to House and his differential diagnosis, we would be wise to consider a wider range of possibilities, and then start eliminating those which don't seem to apply. That starts with the possibility that there is actually nothing wrong with the patient. What evidence, besides the word of a few bloggers, do we have that Cataclysm is ailing? Then we should consider the possibility of the disease being something much simpler: Burnout. Frankly, it wouldn't be the first time that a third expansion failed to really counteract the natural process of people getting bored with a game faster than the developers can renew it. I hated Shadows of Luclin. And finally there are probably a range of other explanation of what ails World of Warcraft right now. Given a list of known bloggers, one can even predict what each of them would claim is the reason for this unproven disease, from "dumbed down" to "not immersive enough" to "too many morons & slackers".

So what do you think? Is Cataclysm doing well or is it ailing? And what are the reasons for its success, or your diagnosis of its disease?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Freedom of choice

So as this has somehow mutated into "philosophy week" on Tobold's Blog, I'd like to explore further the philosophical notions that "this is just a game", "morality / responsibility doesn't apply in a game", and "I'm here voluntarily, so I should have complete freedom of choice". Let's accept these notions for a moment, and see where that leads us in a thought experiment:

Think of whatever you hate most in the behavior of other players in World of Warcraft or another MMORPG: Naked night elves dancing on mailboxes, ninja looters, people not moving out of the fire, whatever. And now think what you would answer to somebody defending that behavior you hate with "this is just a game", "I don't have any responsibility here", or "this is my freedom of choice". Why would anyone have a responsibility to not deliberately wipe your group, or to do over 1k damage per second when playing a DPS in a heroic? If you have total freedom of choice over what to do, what would keep others from having that same freedom of choice and using it to do things that you hate?

I believe that everybody's freedom ends where the freedom of the next guy begins. Thus in every activity involving more than one person, even if it is "just a game", there is some sort of responsibility involved. Because everybody having complete freedom of choice is by definition anarchy. Freedom of choice must have certain limits, and these limits are somewhere where your freedom impinges on the freedom of others. Now of course we can have an endless discussion of where exactly these limits are, and whether your choice creating a waiting queue in the Dungeon Finder isn't harmless enough to allow that freedom. But I can't accept total freedom of choice without limits, not even in a game.


A lot of the people disagreeing with my concept of social responsibility used various forms of an argument which basically is: "Who are you to tell us what is wrong or right?". And that is a very good question. What makes me think that I can claim that there is a social responsibility to sometimes play a class or role which is needed instead of saying "It's just a game, I want to play DPS, and nobody can tell me to play something I don't choose"? Fortunately the question of what is right and wrong has been extensively discussed by clever people hundreds of years ago. And one very good test was proposed by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. It is called the categorical imperative, and invites you to simply think what would happen if everybody acted exactly like you. If that leads to a situation that would work nicely, the act is good. If everybody acting like you would lead to a collapse, the act is wrong.

So lets apply this test to the DPS situation: If everybody in World of Warcraft would play only DPS classes or roles, and refuse under any circumstances to switch to a healer or tank role, what would happen? To me it appears obvious that this would lead to World of Warcraft being effectively only playable as a solo game and in PvP. Dungeons would have to wait until people would have sufficient PvP gear to so completely outgear them that they could be done with 5 DPS. And to do a raid you'd need to go back to one of a previous expansion.

The position to play only DPS and refuse to ever play another role only works because *other* people are willing to tank and heal. That is what Kant would consider morally wrong, with the argument being that if you are unwilling to do something, you shouldn't oblige somebody else to do it in your stead. And just counting on the people who really *like* to play tanks and healers doesn't work either, because obviously there aren't enough of them around, or we wouldn't have the problem and the discussion in the first place.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Social responsibility

Scarybooster is upset, because he noticed that as DPS he can be quickly kicked out and replaced in a pickup group. Now I have something nice and something not-so-nice to say about that. For comfort, Scarybooster can rest assured that getting kicked out by jerks happens to everybody, even less easily replaceable healers. In fact, in my experience, healers are more likely than other roles to get blamed for the mistakes of others, and kicked because the group wiped, even if they played perfectly.

But I must also say that if the DPS feel uncomfortable for being easily replaced and having to wait long in a queue afterwards, that is perfectly fine with me. In fact, I wished they had that feeling a bit more often, or even that Blizzard would add additional rewards for healers and tanks, or diminished rewards for any role whose queue was much fuller than those of other roles. Because I do see MMORPGs as some sort of team sport, and people who choose to play DPS in spite of perfectly knowing that there are far too many of them for group activities, but still insist on queueing up for team activities, are shirking their social responsibility towards the other players. Just like in a sports team not everybody can play on the most sexy position, and some players have to play on the less exciting or more difficult positions, in a World of Warcraft group there is only room for 60% DPS players. That is already more than half, and the fact that this 60% of spots for low-responsibility, easy mode players still isn't enough, is a symptom of how selfish the large majority of players is. And that this gets worse every year only shows that Blizzard isn't rewarding tanks and healers enough for taking their social responsibility, and doing a harder and thankless job, so that other players can play their DPS.

In guilds that often works better, and I've frequently seen people switch to a healer or tank after seeing too many DPS turn up for a raid. But for random pickup groups the DPS prefer to remain selfish, and would rather have themselves and all the other selfish players rot in a waiting queue for 40 minutes than to admit that *somebody* must play the healer and tank, and if everybody counts on that somebody being somebody else, the whole system doesn't work. It is time that some of the people who always leeched from the greater social responsibility of other people finally man up and start playing healers and tanks themselves! And if they continue shirking that social responsibility, it is time that Blizzard does some social engineering towards a more balanced player base.

Buat Sketsa Wajah Dan Efek Pantulan Cahaya Super cepat Di photoshop

Untuk mendapatkan pantulan gambar dari sebuah foto, biasanya kita harus meletakkan gambar di atas permukaan benda yang memantulkan cahaya, seperti kaca, lalu memotonya.
Tak perlu repot² seperti itu. Gunakan saja trik Berikut ini :
  1. Jalankan program photoshop.
  2. Klik menu “fie> open”ataw tekan’’ctrl+O’’ setelah itu pilih gambar yang akan diberi efek.
  3. Buat lembar kanvas baru. Caranya, klik menu ‘’file> new’’.atur ukuran kanvas sesuka kamu, lalu tekan “OK’’.
  4. Pindahkan poto tersebut dengan movi tool ke lembar kerja baru yang telah dibuat.
  5. Setelah itu kita transpormasi gambar tersebut. Tekan "Ctrl + T’’ sehingga muncul titik transform di sekitar sudut gambar. Geser sesuai keinginan dan selesai tekan ‘’Enter ‘’.
  6. Klik kanan layer I di sebelah kanan, lalu pilih "Duplikate layer…"saat muncul kotak dialog duplicate layer. Klik’’OK’’.
  7. Tekan “ctrl + T ‘’ untuk mentransformasi gambar. membentuk seperti pantulan dari gambar aslinya. Bila sudahpas, tekan ‘’Enter’’.
  8. Sekarang tinggal menambahkan efek yang pas. Pada menu utama pilih “effct > blur > glausian blur “. Setelah, set dengan pengaturan muncul dialog radius 2,7 pixels. Tekan “OK”.
Membuat  sketsa wajah butuh waktu yang tidak sebentar. Ini dia cara buat sketsa wajah supercepat.!! Ikuti langkahnya
  1. Buka adobe photoshop.
  2. Buka foto yang di dalamnya wajah yang akan di buat sketsa.
  3. Setelah gambar di tampilkan, langkah selanjutnya arahkan Mouse anda pada layer Background.
  4. Klik kanan dan pilih “ Duplicate Layer “.
  5. Setelah anda membuat duplikasi gambar, klik “Ctrl+Shif+U”. Gambar akan berubah menjadi hitam putih.
  6. Lanjutkan dengan membuat “Duplikasi Layer”.
  7. Tekan “Ctrl+ I agar foto berubah menjadi negatif.
  8. Selanjutnya arahkan mouse pada menu “Filter↔Blur↔Gaussian Blur. Setelah Itu pada “Radius Pixel” berilah nilai sebesar “3,3” dan klik “Ok”.
  9. Arahkan mouse pada “Set The Blending Mode For The Layer”. Ubah menu Drop-Down dari “Normal” Menjadi “Color Dodge”, gambar secara langsung akan berubah menjadi sketsa pensil.
  10. Selesai.
- ( Baca Juga : Buat Efek Siluet Dan Efek Pelangi di Photoshop  ) 

    Social benefit

    Tamarind of Righteous Orbs nailed my attitude towards Cataclysm heroics by saying:
    The thing is, spending time with guildies can be, and should be, seen as an end in itself. Presumably we’re hanging around in a guild because we like the people there. Playing together is for funz. Whereas running dungeons with pugs is merely a means to an end – we’re doing it for in-game rewards, there is no additional social benefit.
    In Cataclysm I only tried very few PuGs, which all sucked horribly (up to and including joining a group which was in combat, and already wiping, so apparently they had pulled in spite of their previous healer having left.). So now I rather do guild runs, even if those go to normal dungeons where I can gain nothing but a bit of reputation. Because the longer I play, the less I care about how shiny my gear is. I'd rather have the "social benefit" of having fun in a guild group, than a gear upgrade from a pickup group.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011

    Challenging the weakest

    I was thinking about what to write about Ghostcrawler's Wow, Dungeons are Hard! "blog" post. I wanted to discuss that there is not just one type of "hard", and how that leads to heroics in Cataclysm being so bad right now. And then I realized I had already written that post a year-and-a-half ago. To quote myself:
    Type A: Challenging the Strongest - This type of raid encounter is characterized by the individual challenge not being the same for every player in the raid. A typical example would be the simple tank'n'spank raid boss with lots of health, lots of damage, and few or no special abilities: In that case the challenge falls hardest on the tank and his healers, whose skill and gear is essential for success. In a type A raid encounter, at least some players have a large margin for errors. If somebody makes a stupid mistake and dies right at the start, that doesn't necessarily cause a wipe. In fact the raid encounter is beatable with less than the maximum number of players in the raid, so everybody else is just an extra. This allows the raid group to bring weaker members to gear up, or even sell raid spots.

    Type B: Challenging the Average - In a raid encounter of this type, the raid as a whole has to come up with a defined level of performance. A typical example is raid bosses with an enrage timer: The raid has X minutes to deal Y million of damage to kill the boss, or they wipe. Thus you can easily calculate the damage per second that the raid has to deal on average. That does not mean that everybody has to deal the same damage; it is possible for some very good players to compensate for the lower damage of less skilled or geared players, or even a single early death. Nevertheless a certain minimum performance would be recommended from everyone, because several early deaths or complete incompetence from too many players would make it impossible for the raid group as a whole to get to the required level of performance.

    Type C: Challenging the Weakest - In this type of raid encounter special boss abilities are used which result in errors of any player causing a wipe. Usually this is done with some sort of debuff, which requires a fast reaction from the victim to not hurt the whole raid. As the debuff is random, the raid group cannot afford to bring anyone not likely to react fast enough, as that would cause a wipe for everyone.

    Note that players generally consider that the overall challenge of a raid encounter goes up from type A to type B to type C. But in fact the difference is mainly affecting the weakest players in the raid group. For the strongest players there is no inherent difference in the degree of individual challenge in the three types.
    Basically the problem with Cataclysm heroics is that they are type C hard, challenging the weakest. A good example is Baron Ashbury in Shadowfang Keep, because he is so bad that he gets nerfed in patch 4.0.6: He has TWO self-heal abilities that must be interrupted, and if not everybody gets their interrupts times exactly right and coordinated with each other, it's a wipe. You can actually be in a group which is completely unable to kill him, if you get not enough classes with interrupt abilities. But there are a lot of other examples, and even on trash mobs in Cataclysm heroics everybody is required to play better, e.g. using crowd control correctly.

    And that is the problem. Wrath of the Lich King heroics worked well as PuGs not just because they were easy, but because the little challenge they had was of a type A or B, where the tank, healer, and best dps could easily carry the inevitable bad dps player or two. That doesn't work any more in Cataclysm. And this especially regards dps classes, because even those who didn't let themselves get carried through WotLK PuGs spent the last two years training themselves on optimized damage rotations, often including AoE, and are barely aware that they have crowd control abilities. A "good" dps in Cataclysm is one who knows about crowd control and aggro management, not the one on top of the dps meter, which basically requires them to relearn their classes completely.

    Now in spite of what the elitist jerks say, World of Warcraft has more decent players than bad ones. But in a type C 5-man group your chance to succeed equals the chance that a random player is good enough to the power of 5. So even if you'd assume a high percentage of 80% good players, the chance of success of the group is only 33%. If you believe only 50% of players are capable, the chance of the group to succeed goes down to 3%. Because everybody in the group has to be good, the success or failure depends on the weakest player, and the chance to have not a single weak player in a random pickup group is slim.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    Anyone playing DC Universe Online?

    Imagine a MMORPG comes out and nobody notices. That's the impression I had about the general lack of reporting in the MMO blogosphere about DC Universe Online. Now I've finally seen the first review, from Gamespy, and they say: "Everything about this game is so unbelievably bad that I do not know where to begin." As far as I could make out from the review, it is an "action" MMORPG, with that "action" being frantic mouse-clicking, and the "MMORPG" part being lots of grindy kill ten foozles quest. Guess we haven't missed much.

    Buat Efek Siluet Dan Efek Pelangi di Photoshop

    Jika kamu mengambil gambar dengan latar belakang terang. Akan terjadi Efek Siluet . Obyek menjadi hitam dan latar belakangnya terang. Bagaimana membuat efek seperti itu dengan foto yang sudah jadi? Caranya Cukup Mudah dan tak perlu memotret ulang .
    • Buka  photoshop  dan pilih foto yang ingin di “sulap “
    • Seleksi  gambar yang akan dijadikan  Siluet.  Pisahkan  latar belakang  dengan  obyeknya.
    • Buat file baru dengan  ukuran  kamu inginkan. Setelah itu, pindahkan bagian yang telah terseleksi tadi dengan movi  tool. Setelah berada  di file baru, set blending option untuk layer i. color overlay pilih warna hitam, opacity 100%.
    • Sekarang saatnya menggambar layar belakangnya. Matikan dulu “layer 1’ agar tida terlihat. Lalu pilih custom shape tool, dan buat segitiga memanjang.
    • Ulangi terus langkah ke 4 sampai terlihat latar belakang menyerupai pancaran sinar.
    • Nyalakan kembali “layer 1’ lalu pindahkan ke urutan sampai paling atas.
    • Pilih layer di bawah ‘layer 1 ‘. Pilh’’layer >  New Fill Layer > Gradient…’’.  Pilih warna gradient sesuai warna latar yang dibuat.
    • Duplikasi ‘layer 1’ untuk mem bentuk bayangnya. Atur opacity – nya menjadi  20%.
    Membuat efek pelangi 

    Membuat Efek Pelangi pada Foto  dengan photoshop  tidak lah sulit. Ini dia langkah – langkahnya.
    • Bukan photoshop dan pilih foto yang akan di modifikasi.
    • Tampilkan jendela layers dengan cara mengklik kiri menu utama di sebelah paling atas “ windows “, lalu pilih ‘’layers”. Jika layer sudah dalam ke adaan aktif, kamu tidak perlu melakukan  langkah ini.
    • Buat duplikat background layers dengan mengklik kanan palet layer ‘’bac ground > duplicate layer…”
    • Pada toolbox  di sebelah  kiri, cari Gradient tool yang letaknya berada di kolom ke 2 baris ke 5 pilih gradient dan pilih mode pelangi.
    • Blok gambar kamu sehingga tertutup oleh gradient tersebut. caranya, letakan  pointer pada gambar lalu tahan ‘’klik kiri” dan buatlah blok sehingga gambar tertutup cahaya pelangi.
    • Lakukan finising touch dengan mengubah layer mode yang  terletak di jendela layers. Pilh ‘’colour’’.
    - ( Baca Juga : Buat Efek Aura Di Photoshop   )

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Hacker attacks Runes of Magic

    Frogster, the company running Runes of Magic, announced they are under attack from a hacker, who threatens to publish login data unless his demands are met. His demands are a curious mix of demanding Frogster to stop moderating their forums, to the curious "better treatment of Frogster employees worldwide". The latter for me sounds suspiciously like an insider job. Frogster promptly called the police, and of course the amount of damage the hacker says he can do and what Frogster says he can do are very different. Time to start worrying about the safety of your online game accounts.

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    Scarybooster's interview with Tobold

    Scarybooster has an interview up with a guy who pretends to know enough about it to give advice about blogging.

    Buat Efek Aura Di Photoshop

    Buat Efek Aura Di Photoshop 
    Ada  Cara Mudah Buat Efek Aura Di Photoshop. Ini langkah-langkahnya.
    1. Bukan program adobe phtoshop.
    2. Pilih’’File>New’’, pada pereset  size pilih ukuran  640x480.
    3. Pada Mode pilih RGB Color dan pada  contents  pilih White, lalu klik ‘’OK’’.
    4. Tekan tombol ‘’D’’ pada keyboard  dan klik "Paint bucket tool’’. Bawa kelembar kerja untuk selanjutnya diklik, sehigga lembar kerja yang tadinya berwarna putih kini berwarna hitam.
    5. Buka file gambar manusia, binatang, kotak, bola, dan sejenisnya yang anda punya.
    6. Tekan tombol ‘’V’’ keyboard atau klik "Move tool" pada Tool box, kemudian klik gambar yang baru dibuka dan seret/drag ke lembar kerja yang telah dihitamkan, atur posisi ditengah dan ukuran sesuai selera.
    7. Klik’’ Create a new layer’’ pada panel layer (bisa melalui menu ‘’Windows’’ pilih’’ layers’’).
    8. Klik panel Channel kemudian klik ‘’load Channel As selection’’.
    9. Klik kembali ‘’Layer’’.
    10. Klik menu ‘’Edit’’ pilih ‘’Fill…’’pada kotak yang munycul isi use: White, untuk mode pilih Normal, untuk Opacity isi 100%, klik ‘’OK’’.
    11. Klik menu select pilih deselect (bisa juga dengan menekan ‘’ctrl + D’’ pada keyboard).
    12. Klik menu "Filter" pilih "Blur" lalu "Radial Blu"
    13. Isi kotak yang muncul , Amount seret ke kanan sampai angka 100 untuk Blur Method, pilih Zoom dan Qualiti pilih Good atau sesuai selera, kemudian atur posisi Blue center (dengan perkiraan) agar pas di tengah objek. Klik “ok”.
    14. Gambar patung akan terlihat memanycarkan sinar aura. Agar efeknya  lebih kuat, ulangi langkah di atas sampai sesuai keinginan. Untuk mengulangi langkah di atas, kamu cukup menekan tombol”ctrl + F” pada keyboard.
    15. Klik layer Mask Thumbnail.
    16. Untuk membersihkan objek yang memancarkan sinar aura. Gunakan Brush Tool. Penyapuan dengan Brus Tool dilakukan hanya pada bagian dalam objek agar sinar aura hanya tampak di luar objek yang mengeluarkan sinar tersebut.
    17. beres deh!! 
    - ( Baca Juga : Buat Efek Photo Hitam Putih jadi Berwarna Di Photoshop  )

      Wednesday, January 12, 2011

      Pseudo-MMO games

      I think I spotted a new breed of games, which I call pseudo-MMO games. Right now they only exist in beta, but I do believe that this could be a growing development. They are made by big game companies, have a sizeable budget and high quality, and play very much like a single-player game. But they are online, Free2Play, and have multiplayer features like the ability to chat or trade with other players online. Biggest example is Age of Empires Online, from Microsoft. Ubisoft has The Settlers Online, currently only in the German version. Firaxis is working on Civilization World, on the Facebook platform.

      Traditional single-player games have their problems: They often are hit-or-miss, with a few blockbusters making big money, and many games not being profitable. They often make most of their revenue right at release, while later they don't sell very well, with the business further being eroded by used-game sales and piracy. No wonder the makers of single-player games are jealous of the MMO games, which can be profitable for longer stretches of time. Online account theft is harder than piracy, doesn't generate the same sort of sympathy for the thief as piracy does, and you can even get the customer to pay for measures to protect their accounts, like an authenticator.

      A first attempt to get the benefits of MMO games for single-player games was the introduction of downloadable content (DLC). While this will certainly continue, it isn't a 100% success. Often DLC gets chided for being a rip-off, like the famous Oblivion horse armor. And people still manage to pirate the game and DLC in spite of the online account.

      So why not make massively multiplayer online games right away? Of course many people do. But making true MMO games isn't quite as easy. And some genres, like strategy games, have serious design issues with being massively multiplayer: In typical browser MMO strategy games players often end up being ganged up upon, and attacked during periods where they are offline. There is a market for that sort of game, but don't expect people to spend too much money on building up an empire that is going to be destroyed by jealous neighbors. So browser MMO strategy games are usually low-budget affairs, with minimal customer support, run by small companies specialized in that sort of game.

      But now big game companies have learned some tricks from modern MMORPGs: Using tricks like instancing and phasing, you can create a single-player experience in a massively multi-player game. And that has led to the development of the pseudo-MMO games. While being online strategy games, large parts of these games are PvE. The central part of the empire the players are building is completely protected from attacks by other players, PvP only happens in battleground-like instances. Thus players are willing to invest money into building up and decorating their empire. So these games can run on a Free2Play business model, attracting lots of players for being "free", and then enticing them to spend money.

      While there are certainly influences and features in these pseudo-MMO games which will remind you of Facebook games, these are actually high quality strategy games with real gameplay made by established big game studios. And they are true online games, impossible to just pirate by copying or hacking some DLC access code. While their multiplayer components aren't strong, they do have chat and the possibility to trade resources among players, as well as the ability to show off your empire to your online friends. They combine many of the best features of browser strategy games with the best features of single-player games, while avoiding most of the pitfalls of their parents.

      While this is still early days, I do think that these kind of games have a bright future. With a few exceptions like Starcraft 2, the strategy game genre isn't doing all that well at the moment, and could profit very much from a move towards online, like RPGs did. I wouldn't be surprised if many of the classic strategy game series will revive online in the coming years.

      Don't let hardcore gamers develop games

      Via Scott Jennings, I stumbled upon an interesting blog post on how hardcore war games are nearly unplayable these days. I read it, and pretty much agreed with it. I'd like to play hex-grid based war games, but the games actually available aren't playable for beginner or casual players. They are made by grognards for grognards. (Feel free to suggest a hex-grid war game for casual players to me if you know one.)

      In an interesting coincidence I have a recent e-mail from Hagu in my to-do inbox, asking me to talk about a theory of his that we need developers who are worse gamers. Quote:
      "the problem with sandbox games is they need developers who are worse gamers"

      Kind of like the Peter Principle q.v.

      You take motivated, talented gamers who get promoted and eventually are developing a game. These are much more likely to get sucked into the Darkfall rabbit hole (a "good" game for a niche market) than if you took an executive who wants to produce a profitable, high quality, popular game and then decides it should be a sandbox MMO. My guess is you would be better served if the majority of tactical implementers/developers were good gamers but not the strategic designers/executives. Almost all of the suggestions I read on the EVE forums were for things that would restrict the target market of EVE and reduce CCP's profitability;
      I think there is some truth in that. While Hagu uses EVE as example, the same thing did happen to WoW: For years the huge majority of players was excluded by design from raiding, and the guy who designed it that way was Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan, a guy hired because of his experience as hardcore raider in Everquest. When he left for the "Titan" project, the people designing raids went for making them popular instead of hardcore, and that added quite a bit to the longevity of WoW.

      Left to their own devices, developers simply make the kind of game they would want to play. If they are hardcore, they'll design hardcore games or features. That is great for them and people like them, but hardcore is by definition niche, built to keep out the mass-market rabble. That just leads to a death spiral: Company with hardcore gamer developers makes hardcore games, sells few of them, makes little money, has little budget for the next game. So they cut features, don't bother with a tutorial, have quality control issues, and the next game is appealing to an even smaller number of hardcore players. If they are lucky they stabilize at some level where they can keep making games and paying their developers. But they'll never make that blockbuster hit game.

      An average gamer as developer would be more likely to make a game that appeals to average gamers. Unsurprisingly there are a lot more of those around. Game sells well, and there is enough money around to make a better game, with more content, better graphics, better polished, and higher quality.

      So how about that theory that a less hardcore player could develop a more popular and better sandbox game? Markus Persson, the guy who single-handedly created Minecraft, worked 4 years making casual games for Minecraft sold a million copies. That seems to be working nicely.

      Cataclysm heroics

      After a few partial runs, I finally finished my first Cataclysm heroic last week. It was a guild group, Throne of Tides, and we had great fun. But it took us 3 hours, due to a combination of being extra careful, using crowd control, and wiping several times. I've been to raids that went faster and took less effort.

      Now I don't mind Cataclysm heroics being more challenging, but 3 hours of uninterrupted play session, with the need to remain focused and concentrated all the time, even on the trash, is not something I'm able to do every night, after a hard day at work.

      I notice that this is a general trend in my guild. In spite of us being a "raiding guild", albeit not the most hardcore one, there is relatively little heroics activity right now in the guild. Many people spend significantly more time doing daily quests than running heroics. As a result progress is generally somewhat slow.

      That might not be a bad thing, I'd rather have slow progress now than being already burned-out from heroics in a month. After all, Cataclysm will have to last us for two years, and the amount of new heroics that will still be added with content patches will be limited. I presume progress will be auto-accelerating: We slowly get better gear and experience with all the heroic encounters, which leads us to running heroics faster, which leads to us getting gear faster. So even if progress is slow now, the outlook isn't all that bad.

      Tuesday, January 11, 2011

      Buat Efek Photo Hitam Putih jadi Berwarna Di Photoshop

      Buat Efek Photo Hitam Putih jadi Berwarna 
      Nirwana Sitoeking : Buat Efek Photo Hitam Putih jadi Berwarna!!
      Pada jaman dahulu ( baheula) sebelum ada photo berwarna, foto hitam putih menjadi andalan. Gambar yang sama tentu tak bisa di dapatkan kembali dengan kamera baru nan canggih alias momennya udah lewat. - ( Baca Juga : Buat Efek 3D Di Photoshop )

      Tidak perlu kecewa dengan aplikasi photoshop foto hitam putih anda bisa di buat menjadi berwarna, caranya cukup mudah saja..
      1. Siapkan foto hitam putih yang akan di buat menjadi berwarna dalam format digital.
      2. Buka foto tersebut dengan photoshop.
      3. Ubah foreground menjadi hitam dan background menjadi putih, lalu klik "Edit In Quick Mask Mode".
      4. warnai bagian kulit terlebih dahulu dengan "brush tool"
      5. setelah itu klik pada "Edit in Standar Mode"
      6. Lakukan inverse dengan menekan tombol "Ctrl=Shif+I" Bersamaan.
      7. Untuk melakukan pewarnaan tekan "Ctrl+U", lalu masukan Hue: 40, Saturation: 20, lightness: -10 dan Colorize.
      8. Terakhir Ulangi langkah di atas untuk mewarnai bagian bibir, baju, dan latar belakangnya.
      Nah kalau Trik yang ini sebaliknya membuat foto berwarna menjadi hitam putih!!
      Pada trik di atas kita sudah mempelajari cara untuk Buat Efek Photo Hitam Putih jadi Berwarna. Bagaimana untuk sebaliknya, foto berwarna menjadi hitam putih plus efek krayon?Caranya cukup mudah...
      1. Jalankan photoshop. Buka gambar yang akan di ubah warnanya.
      2. Pilih Menu "File →New"
      3. masukan gambar yang telah di buka ke file gmabar baru.
      4. Klik pad menu "Filter →Sketch→Conte Crayon".
      5. Setelah muncul jendela Conte Crayon, Atur Gambar Sesuai keinginan.
      6. klik "Ok".selesai deh.
      7. Simpan Foto anda Baik² ya.

      Buat Efek 3D Di Photoshop

      Nirwana Sitoeking : Meski tak semudah di word, Buat Efek 3D Di Photoshop lebih flexsibel di bandingkan kemampuan olah tiga dimensi di word. Bagaiman langkah²nya..? kita langsung saja ke TKP Untuk mempraktekannya..
      1. Jalankan Adobe Photoshop.
      2. Buka file photo anda melalui menu “File → Open” Atau tekan “ Ctrl+O”.
      3. Untuk membuat efek 3D masuk ke menu “Filter →Render →3D Transform”
      4. Di dalam 3D Transform  ada selection tool (V),  Direct Selection Tool (A), Cube Tool (M), Sphere Tool (N), Trackball Tool (N) Dan banyak lagi. Jika membuat bentuk kubus 3D, Klik cube Tool (M), Namun jika membuat lingkaran 3D klik Sphere Tool (N). Klik gambar foto andasambil tekan ke bawah untuk memperbesar kubus atau lingkaran. Untuk memindahkan posisi kubus atau lingkaran klik pan Camera Tool (E), Selanjutnya Tinggal otak atik saja sesuai selera anda.
      Membuat Tato Di tubuh 
      Mau Punya Tato? Hmm...sebelum dibuat betulan, Anda bisa membuat simulasinya dulu dengan photoshop apakah nantinya cocok dengan tubuh anda atau tidak. Mau tau caranya Ok Langsung aja..!!
      1. siapkan foto anda yang bagian tubuhnya ingin di Tato.
      2. Siapkan Desain tato yang ingin anda pasang dengan latar belakang putih.
      3. setelah itu buka ke dua gambar dengan Adobe photoshop.
      4. gabungkan ke dua gambar menjadi satu dengan "Move Tool". Seret Gambar Tato ke Foto Anda.
      5. Gunakan "Selection Tool" untuk menyeleksi bagian tubuh di foto anda yang akan di tato.
      6. Setelah menyeleksi Bagian tubuh yang akan di Tato gunakan "Inverse" untuk membalikkan seleksi ke luar daerah yang di tato.
      7. kemudian pindah ke layer yang berisi gambar tato dan tekan tombol "DEL" pada keyboard.
      8. hapus daerah² putih yang masih melekat pada bagian tubuh dengan menggunakan "Magic Eraser Tool".
      9. Selesai.
      Selamat mencoba. Buat Efek 3D Di Photoshop  ( Baca Juga : Vector Logo Sumedang )
        Rating: 5

        Vector Logo Sumedang

        logo sumedang
        Sebelum men-download Vector Logo Sumedang silahkan baca dulu arti lambang atau filosofi dari Logo Sumedang  ini:
        Pemerintah Daerah Kabupaten Dati II Sumeudang
        Lambang Kabupaten Sumedang diciptakan oleh R. MAHARMARTANAGARA, putra seorang Bupati Bandung Raden ADIPATI ARIA MARTANEGARA, keturunan Sumedang, Lambang ini diresmikan menjadi lambang Sumedang pada tanggal 13 Mei 1959. Hal-hal yang terkandung pada logo Sumeudang Di antaranya :
         Filosofi Logo Sumedang
        1. PERISAI
          • Melambangkan jiwa kesatria utama, percaya pada diri sendiri.
        2. SISI MERAH
          • Melambangkan semangat keberanian.
        3. DASAR HIJAU
          • Melambangkan kesuburan pertanian.
          • Melambangkan bahwa manusia tidak ada yang sempurna.
          • Melambangkan semangat rakyat dalam mencapai kemajuan.
          • Melambangkan keluhuran budi dan kebesaran jiwa.
        7. SINAR YANG KE 17 ANGKA
          • Melambangkan Angka Sakti tanggal Proklamasi Kemerdekaan RI.
          • Lambang Bulan Proklamasi Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia.
          • Lambang Tahun Proklamasi Kemerdekaan RI Tahun 1945.
          Tulisan Insun Medal erat kaitannya dengan kata Sumedang yang mengandung arti :
          • Berdasarkan Prabu TADJIMALELA, seorang tokoh legendaris dalam sejarah Sumedang, INSUN MEDAL berarti keluar (INSUN : Aku, MEDAL : Keluar).
          • Berdasarkan data di Museum Pangeran GEUSAN ULUN ; INSUN MEDAL berarti (INSUN : Daya, MADANGAN : Terang) Kedua pengertian tersebut bersifat mistik.
          • Berdasarkan Prof. ANWAS ADIWILAGA, INSUN MEDAL berasal dari kata SU dan MEDANG� (SU : bagus dan MEDANG : sejenis kayu yang bagus pada jati yaitu huru banyak tumbuh di Sumedang dulu), pengertian ini bersifat etimologi.
        Vector Logo Sumedang

        Vector Logo Sumedang CDR
        Password :

        Mirror 1

        Jika link di atas gagal, coba link download Berikut :
        Mirror 2
        Catatan : Jika ada link Download yang rusak mohon beri tahu kami.
        - ( Baca Juga : Cara Praktis Mengolah Photo )
        Rating: 5

        Vector Graphic

        Seperti yang telah bahas di artikel Menggambar objek desain grafis dengan Metode Bitmap dan Metode vector , karena sifatnya yang konseptual, biasanya vector graphic digunakan untuk menggambar, khususnya gambar teknik dangan akurasi tinggi. Selain itu dapat juga digunakan untuk menggambar bentuk- bentuk yang kompleks (yang sulit dicapai oleh raster graphic), meskipun hasil yang diinginkan berupa gambar raster. Pendek kata, pada prakteknya, vector graphic biasanya sebagai batu loncatan untuk menggambar untuk kemudian di- edit lagi secara raster.

        Sifat gambar vektor adalah tidak resolution dependent :
        Dalam arti positif, kita tidak perlu memikirkan ukuran hasil akhir pada waktu membuat suatu obyek khususnya dari segi resolusinya. Dalam arti negatif artinya setiap kali file dibuka oleh satu mesin, maka gambar akan di- redraw untuk ditampilkan secara raster pada monitor. Ini berarti tampilan di satu mesin dapat berbeda dengan tampilan pada mesin yang lain karena adanya perbedaan spesifikasi mesin dan perbedaan softwarenya.
        Contoh: Gambar yang dibuat di CorelDRAW X4 tidak dapat dibuka oleh CorelDRAW X3 karena adanya masalah backward compability.

        Gambar vektor tidak memiliki parameter area gambar, maka obyek dapat dibuat pada hampir seluruh lingkungan interface CorelDRAW. CorelDRAW hanya memiliki parameter printable area, yang pada CorelDRAW! disebut Paper Area, sedangkan pada AutoCad disebut Limits. Gambar- gambar yang tidak termasuk dalam printable area tidak akan dimunculkan pada printer/plotter, tapi secara raster akan tetap muncul (tetap ditampilkan di layar).

        Di lain pihak, raster image memiliki parameter yang jelas (pixel horizontal/vertikal; pixel no.1 adalah pixel kiri atas (x minimum dan y maksimum secara kartesian) dan pixel terakhir adalah kanan bawah (x minimum y maksimum secara kartesian). Sebaliknya, pada vector image, koordinasi posisi dilakukan secara kartesian murni, yaitu koordinat (0,0) adalah titik paling kiri bawah dari paper area, yang biasanya lebih besar sedikit dari printable area.
        Rating: 5

        Menggambar objek desain grafis dengan Metode Bitmap dan Metode vector

        Untuk menggambar objek desain grafis dengan komputer,ada 2 metode yang biasa digunakan, yaitu Metode Bitmap dan Metode Vektor. Metode- metode ini menginterpretasikan input, menghitungnya dan menampilkannya pada output grafis seperti monitor atau plotter.
        Adapun inputnya dapat berupa :
        • Input non- grafis : Keyboard, Mouse
        • Input grafis : Scanner, Graphics Tablet
        Metode Bitmap ( Raster )
        Metode ini menganggap gambar adalah sekumpulan kotak- kotak kecil ( mapping ), yang masing_masing kotak kecil tersebut mempunyai nilai warna masing_masing ( dalam satuan bit ).

        Keuntungan dari metode bitmap:
        Pembagian gambar menjadi kotak_kotak kecil ( pixel ) dapat diatur menjadi sangat banyak. Hal inilah yang disebut dengan Resolusi Tinggi. Selain itu warna yang ditampilkan oleh setiap titik pada saat ini, dapat mencapai lebih dari 16777000 kemungkinan warna.

        Kerugian dari metode bitmap:
        Sifat gambar raster yang Resolution Dependent, menyebabkan gambar yang low resolution, sulit untuk diubah menjadi high resolution. Sebaliknya, gambar yang high resolution mudah dan aman untuk diubah ke low resolution.

        Metode Vector
        Metode ini menganggap gambar adalah sekumpulan titik yang mempunyai koordinat tertentu (Koordinat Cartesian) yang saling dihubungkan dengan garis atau kurva dengan rumus tertentu. Dalam gambar vektor, garis- garis tersebut tidak nyata, melainkan hanya garis konseptual, sehingga ini berarti titik dan garis tadi, tidak mungki muncul di hasil akhir. Yang muncul adalah hasil kalkulasi dari faktor- faktor konseptual tadi.
        Contohnya, 3 titik membentuk sebuah segitiga yang diisi oleh warna hijau sesuai dengan parameter yang berlaku.Akan tetapi yang disimpan sebagai file adalah 3 koordinat titik dan hubungan ke 3 titik tersebut saja.

        Keuntungan dari metode vektor:
        Sifatnya tidak Resolution Dependen, sehingga gambar- gambar yang bentuknya kompleks, dapat diproses dengan mudah, karena tidak melibatkan terlalu banyak pixel. Gambar tersebut hanya berupa beberapa titik yang dihubungkan dengan kurva,yang mana kurva_kurva tersebut memeiliki rumus_rumus matematis yang kompleks, yang dapat diproses oleh komputer lebih cepat. Bahkan gambar vektor dapat lebih kompleks lagi, yakni tidak hanya menggunakan koordinat Cartesian 2D ( x,y ),tetapi koordinat Cartesian 3D ( x,y,z ).

        Kerugian dari metode vektor:
        Kebanyakan komponen pada metode ini besifat konseptual. Jadi untuk membuat komponen nonkonseptual, seperti mengisi suatu bentuk dengan warna/warna dengan gradasi, kinerjanya tidak sempurna, karena meminjam konsep raster. Ini didukung dengan kenyataan bahwa hampir semua software gambar vektor, menampilkan gradasi warna yang sangat buruk. Jadi dalam prakteknya, metode vector graphic biasanya digunakan untuk menggambar bentuk, khususnya dengan kompleksitas yang tinggi, seperti rencana bangunan atau mesin industri. Saat ini bahkan beberapa metode vector digunakan pula untuk membuat animasi, seperti pada Corel RAVE 10 dan 3DStudioMax, dimana yang terakhir disebut, bersifat animasi 3D/ 3 axis.

        Rating: 4

        Cara Praktis Mengolah Photo

        Cara Praktis Mengolah foto membutuhkan aplikasi editor foto. Harganya sudah pasti tidak murah. Anda  juga harus menginstall aplikasinya dulu sebelum di gunakan. Cukup merepotkan.
        Ada cara praktis mengolah foto  yaitu dengan editor foto online yang bisa anda coba…!

        Phixr (
        • Aplikasi ini merupakan editor foto yang mirip Adobe Photoshop. Phixr memiliki beberapa filter dan efek keren. Fitur fiturnya juga mudah di gunakan. Anda bisa mengimpor gambar dari flickr, fotopic, Photobucket, picasa, smugmug, webshost atau dari URL . Menyunting gambar dari Hard Disk juga di mungkinkan. Usai menyunting gambar, Anda bisa menyimpan Dengan format JPG, PNG, PDF, GIF Atau OCR kemudian anda bisa meng E-mail atau Mengunggah file foto tersebut ke berbagai hosting gambar seperti Buzznet, Costco, Dropshot, Fotolog, Imageshack Atau Livejournal.
        Pixenate (
        • Aplikasi ini merupakan editor gambar untuk berbagai tujuan dan bisa anda gunakan untuk menyunting Foto pada Hard disk. Pixenate memiliki fitur zoom, Enhance, crop, resize, whitening, red eye, sepia dan banyak lagi. Anda bisa mengunggah hasil editan pada Flickr atau menyimpannya pada Hard Disk. Aplikasi ini sangat mudah di gunakan dan praktis.
        Pixer (
        • Pixer  memiliki berbagai fitur dasar yang anda harapkan dari editor foto online, termasuk pengubah ukuran, rotasi gambar, cropping, pencahayaan dan ketajaman warna, saturasi warna dan lain sebagainya. Anda juga bisa menemukan efek warna seperti sepia, grayscale, Invert dan lain sebagainya. Tersedia juga efek Khusus seperti "jitter"."wood" dan "oil Painting".
        Online Photo Tool (
        • Di  sini anda bisa menyunting gambar yang di ambil dari Hard Disk anda dan juga gambar²lain yang ada di  internet
        MyImager (
        • Anda Bisa Mengubah gmabar/foto dari komputer anda atau  dari web manapun serta menyuntingnya pun gratis dengan ratusan fitur dan filter yang tersedia. Tapi situs ini mempunyai sedikit kelemahan, yakni anda tidak bisa mengolah gambar yang berukuran lebih dari 500kb.
        SnipShot (
        • Di SnipShot Anda Bisamenyunting foto dari Hard Disk, Akun Webshost Atau juga Flickr dalam satu tempat dan menyimpannya kembali pada tempat² tersebut. SnipShot mendukung pengolahan gambar sampai 25 Megapiksel. Dalam Versi berbayarnya tersedia kemampuan menyunting File RAW efek khusus dan deteksi wajah
        Artikel ini hanya untuk share aja bagi Anda yang  sedang cari² Cara Praktis Mengolah Photo anda tinggal pilih salah satu web image editing online di atas terimakasih smoga bermanfaat

        - ( Baca Juga : Memanfaatkan Aplikasi Penyunting Foto Online  )

        Monday, January 10, 2011

        A comment on archeology

        My warrior made level 85 this weekend, having gained over 90% of the xp from level 80 to 85 by doing archeology. Using rest xp that wasn't all that much slower than questing, and as I have too many alts and didn't want to do all the quests several times, that was a good way for me to level.

        As a way to get gear, archeology was a failure. After hitting 450 skill, I went through the 1,200 troll fragments I had gathered, roughly equivalent to 100 dig sites, and of course the epic 2H sword didn't drop. That might just be bad luck, but other people report similar bad luck with many more fragments, while some people just get lucky and find it fast. Like all low-chance random drops, luck is not reliable enough for a gearing-up strategy.

        I did however make crazy money selling Tol'vir Hieroglyphic for 1,000 gold. And got a few blue fun items with various effects, including a pet and a mount. So combined with the leveling, I don't consider I wasted my time with archeology. But if you are already level 85, I'd advise against doing it just for the epics.

        Sunday, January 9, 2011

        Memanfaatkan Aplikasi Penyunting Foto Online

        Artikel kali ini kita akan membahas Memanfaatkan Aplikasi Penyunting Foto Online . Idealnya yang punya kamera digital atau yang hobinya jeprat jepret (photographer) harus juga punya PC.
        Selain buat menyimpan hasil jepretan dari kamera, PC juga Berfungsi Untuk mempercantik Foto digital. Bahkan dari PC inilah foto yang tadinya biasa² sasa bisa jadi keren, meskipun Cuma di ambil dari kamera ponsel beresolusi  1 atau 2 megapiksel.
        Tp  Pc standar juga belum mampu menghasilkan foto yang bagus lho. Anda perlu Aplikasi khusus untuk menyunting gambar, Bahasa kerennya Image Editing. Kalau pernah menjalankan  atau slalu menggunakan aplikasi  Adobe photoshop atau Corel PhotPaint, Dua itulah yang di sebut Aplikasi Image Editing.
        Tugasnya membuat foto terlihat lebih baik, Bahkan kalau anda sudah sampai Tingkat “Jago,Master PhotoShop Atau Corel”, Foto bukan lagi terlihat lebih baik, tapi amat sangat baik.
        Supaya bisa bekerja dengan baik, Photoshop dan CorelDraw (Apalagi kalau Versi terbaru) butuh spesifikasi PC yang lumayan bagus. Kalau tidak mau proses sunting –menyunting anda terganggu gara² proses loading yang lama alias “LOLA”, minimal jeroan PC harus berisi prosesor generasi Core Plus memory dan hard disk yang punya ruang cukup gede (Ya minimal kapasitas hardisknya bisa untuk menyimpan kapal terbang,kulkas, Tv Dll …hehe becanda ).
        Gimana kalau PC Anda Cuma punya spesifikasi paspasan? Hmm… jangan juga kecil hati. Masih ada atau banyak cara lain untuk mempercantik foto digital anda. Salah satunya adalah Memanfaatkan Aplikasi Penyunting Foto Online.
         Berbeda dengan aplikasiyang di install di PC, Aplikasi Penyunting foto online cenderung lebih sederhana.anda tidak perlu memikirkan resource PC yang terlampau tinggi, cukup dengan yang sedang saja,foto bisa langsung anda sunting. Kerennya aplikasi penyunting foto bisa anda jalankan dimanapun dengan sistem operasi apapun. Jadi masalah kompatibilitas dan keharusan menginstall aplikasi di lain komputer bisa di lupakan.
        satu²nya hal yang mesti diperhatikan saat akan memakai penyunting foto online adalah koneksi internet. Buat beberapa penyedia aplikasi koneksi internet yang cepat dan stabil adalah sebuah keharusan.sebagian lagi bisa berjalan di koneksi dengan kecepatan 128 atau 256 kbps saja. Tapi tetap perhatikan limit kuota anda, karena aplikasi seperti ini butuh transfer data yang tidak kecil, sehingga skema paket internet unlimited sangat di sarankan saat menjalankan aplikasi online apalagi yang berhubungan dengan foto atau file ukuran besar.
        Banyak Aplikasi Online yang berjalan di atas browser membutuhkan Plugin² tertentu. plugin seperti Flash,Java atau silverlight adalh beberapa yang populer di gunakan oleh banyak aplikasi online. Anda harus memperhatikan ini sebelum menjalankan sebuah aplikasi, Kalau bisa cari versi mentah atau installernya supaya bisa di simpan ke flash-disk .Biasanya sih tidak semua PC punya Plugin² tadi, Jadi supaya tidak repot saat akan memakai, ada baiknya sedia file Sebelum di minta untuk Memanfaatkan Aplikasi Penyunting Foto Online

        - ( Baca Juga : Mengaktifkan Menu Macro Dalam Microsoft Excel 2007 ) 

        A prediction

        The next World of Warcraft expansion will come out in the second half of 2012, and include some sort "public quest" system, that is multi-player quests you participate in by just walking into the area where they are happening, without having to click on a quest giver.

        Saturday, January 8, 2011

        Mengaktifkan Menu Macro Dalam Microsoft Excel 2007

        Nirwana Sitoeking : Pada aplikasi terdahulu anda sering menggunakan fasilitas macro. Namun pada Microsoft  excel 2007 anda tidak menemukan menu untuk mengakses fungsi²  macro.

        Di mana anda dapat menemukannya ? bagaimana dengan pengaturan keamanan macro di Microsoft excel 2007! Secara default, Microsoft excel 2007 memang menyembunyikan menu pengaturan macro karena masuk dalam kategori lanjut (Advance). Bagi anda yang ingin mengakses fungsi macro, anda masih bisa melakukannya di microsoft excel 2007. Hanya saja fungsi ini sedikit tersembunyi. - ( Baca Juga : Mengatur fungsi smart cut dan paste di Microsoft word 2007 ) 

        Untuk membukanya, klik tombol Bundar Office yang ada di pojok kiri atas microsoft excel 2007, kemudian klik tombol “Excel Options”. Pastikan pilihan baris di kotak sebelah kiri menunjuk/mengarah ke “POPULAR”, lalu cari entri “Show Developer Tab In The Ribbon” di kotak sebelah kanan. Aktifkan pilihan ini  dengan memberi centang/cek pada kotaknya. Konfirmasikan perubahan dengan mengklik tombol “Ok”. Selanjutnya sebuah menu baru “Developer” muncul di toolbar atas microsoft excel 2007. Untuk setting keamanannya, anda bisa mengklik manu “macro Security” dari toolbar.

        Mengaktifkan Menu Macro Dalam Microsoft Excel 2007

        Mengaktifkan Menu Macro Dalam Microsoft Excel 2007

        Untuk Tutorial :
        Microsoft  Office 2003
        Microsoft  Office 2007
        silahkan Baca Di > Panduan Belajar Microsoft  Office

        Rating: 4.5

        Friday, January 7, 2011

        ... and while we are on the subject of building on sand ...

        You might have noticed that I'm writing a lot this week. This is not a return to a multiple-post-per-day writing schedule, but me getting some writing done before the work stress start again next week. So while I currently still have time to read blogs, I couldn't help but notice two rather identical posts from Scarybooster and Darren (quoting Scott Jennings), predicting the death of the big budget, subscription MMORPG model in case that SWTOR fails. That is putting a lot of weight on exactly the wrong game: Regardless of how many copies Star Wars: The Old Republic sells, and how many subscribers it will have 6 months after release, it is already certain that a large number of news outlets will report SWTOR as being a failure. Any number that is remotely realistic will appear too small compared to the hype, and taken in the context of a completely invalid comparison with the "12 million" World of Warcraft players. WoW did not have 12 million players after 6 months, and still doesn't have that number in the market in which SWTOR is released.

        Gamasutra yesterday reported that Turbine tripled their revenue from Lord of the Ring Online by going Free2Play. While Ten Ton Hammer has a point saying that the subscription model is not going to be completely replaced by Free2Play, it simply isn't true that Free2Play is the same as "shitty, low-budget game". Lord of the Rings Online certainly wasn't cheap to produce, and if it can be profitable as Free2Play, so can other big budget games. And I predict that Guild Wars 2 will be a huge commercial success as well, with yet another business model.

        If Star Wars: The Old Republic is either a real or a perceived failure, that doesn't prove anything beyond suggesting that Bioware should have stuck with single-player RPGs. No investor would consider "development studio fails with their first ever MMORPG" as proof that MMORPGs can't be profitable. Of course anyone wanting to make a $100 million MMORPG these days is going to carefully consider what kind of business model would work best, instead of blindly going for a subscription model. But that spells neither the death of the subscription model, nor the death of the big budget MMORPG.

        What would it take to really kill the idea of big budget, subscription MMORPG? A catastrophic failure of "Titan" to the point where the game is shut down or at least Blizzard admitting to not having recovered the development cost of that game, and stopping to develop new MMORPGs. Does anyone really believe that Blizzard is going to stop developing "Titan" just because SWTOR doesn't outsell WoW? Or that other game companies will abandon MMORPGs after Blizzard made another huge pile of money with "Titan"?

        So, the general idea that a catastrophic failure of a major MMORPG could cause game companies to retrench from the MMORPG market one day is certainly possible. But that major MMORPG won't be SWTOR, and the fateful year won't be 2011. One could have written the exactly same sort of doomsaying posts three years ago, predicting the death of MMORPGs if Warhammer Online would fail. Just didn't happen. And there is nothing special about SWTOR which would make it deserve such a key position for the future of gaming either. Maybe EA is just bad at making MMORPGs.