Short cuts

July 9, 2009

I decided to just put up a post with various small notes and items all blended together.

NCSoft has announced that they are selling additional slots for Mission Architect story arcs. I would buy more slots, even though I think they are a bit pricey. But they are not available yet as far as I can see. They do not seem to have put much effort into the already defined venues of allowing people to get more story arcs slots – Developer’s Choice and Hall of Fame. The latter is depending on player votes though, but they (NCSoft/Paragon Studios) do set the rules and conditions.

Reading some forums for MMOs that are in the pure micro transaction payment model, I find some parts a bit fascinating. While the type of discussions are pretty similar to any MMO forum, the games that comparisions are made with can be quite different from when you read a subscription-based MMO forum. It is almost as if there are two quite distinct groups of MMO players which only on occasion play the same games.

What is better, story or social interaction? Looking at a few of Western MMOs they have in some cases a large focus on trying to provide some interesting combat and a related story. But the mechanics and systems in place for social interactions (guilds/clans, friend lists, party search, community oriented activities etc) are in many cases more weak. Some Eastern MMOs have more grindy and boring combat and stories in comparision, but at least some have more developed mechanics for social interactions in comparision. Is that a result of more PvP focused gameplay or more general focus on social interaction?

In City of Heroes/Villains one of my heroes (Tsu Hon, martial arts/regen scrapper) is getting close to max level. I have not played much of the high level hero-side content, but decided to follow a few of the regular story arcs there. Some of the missions provided by contacts Tina and Unai have some real head-banging qualities – I would really like to bang my head against the wall rather than play those missions. It was a relief to be able to head to Architect Entertainment for some alternative missions.

I recently reactivated an EVE Online account of mine. I have two and this time I managed to remember what my first account was. It had been deactivated January 2nd, 2004. In my mailbox I had some unread emails from late summer/autumn of 2003, my character seemed to be member of a company I did not recall joining. I have not actually started playing yet, not sure if I am going to do something with my old character or just keep him in retirement.

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  1. Yeebo
    July 10, 2009 at 01:55

    I was wondering when you would get around to commenting on the new MA slots. Are you glad that they are offering more slots, or do you find it cheesy to be asked to pay to provide content for them?

    I also agree with you that better MA missions are better than most of what the CoH designers themselves came up with. I wonder if the difference is that a MA designer can fiddle with a mission as long as they want until they get it “just so,” or if it’s simply a matter of the best writers in the huge CoH playerbase being better than most content developers on a much smaller dev team.

  2. July 10, 2009 at 07:55

    I think it is good that they provide more slots. If people enjoy making story arcs then that kind of fun has ended after 3 arcs, unless they ditch earlier attempts.

    Hall of Fame and Developer’s Choice is something that hardly anyone will reach in practice as it is now, in comparision to the amount that has been created.

    As for paying for more slots; I think that is ok although I think they suggested prices could have been a bit lower. But I think they prices are the same that they charge for character slots; so it is at least consistent in that regard.

    There are no requirements on quality or any certaintly that anyone will actually play what is put in an additional slot. Potentially it could just be wasted storage space.

    So I do not necessarily think it is cheesy of them to charge for it. But I do think that they should step up the efforts to reward good story arcs – especially since I believe they said that they were not going to focus on making regular missions now that Mission Architect is in place.

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