Thursday, August 7, 2014

On Staying Focused

I remember the day when I didn't have that many games. Actually, I am lying, I don't remember not having an extensive library. I just don't know how I came about owning as many games as I do now. I own games I never played for numerous systems. Original Xbox, PS2 and PS1 games as well as a ton of steam games that haven't been installed to this day. Games bought from countless humble bundles.

I think half the joy is getting it at such a discount I feel accomplished. It does feel good to get a game that was once sixty bucks for $4.99 or less. These days I have slowed down on the buying. Not only from an economic standpoint, but such an intense backlog that seems to get bigger every day.

Lately my focus has been on finishing up some core games that should have been finished in the past when they were popular. Like the Mass Effects and the Dead Spaces. I picked up Final Fantasy X/X-2 Remastered for PS3 (because it was such a screaming deal) and I am only 6-8 hours into it.

I am determined dammit! I am going to finish Mass Effect 2 then move into my Dead Space collection and even if it takes six months, I am going to get through Final Fantasy X.

I will let you know what I buy next week to add to my collection.

Play safe,


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Recent Events, Bad News and the book of Revelation.

"Summer, turns me upside down." - Rick Ocasec.

Sweet summer and it has been a long time since I posted here. So much has changed and I wouldn't know where to begin.

Let's start with finances that I can describe with one word: Grim. So this means that I haven't been caught up with all the new hysteria of MMO's that have been released. This takes into effect Guild Wars 2, which is wicked expensive. Elder Scrolls Online that I had played in the beta, absolutely loathed the game and saved myself the 60 some-odd bucks. Sadly, this also excludes me from Wildstar. A game that I was not fortunate to get a beta key and have not tried the game. Also seems that I have saved myself some money on but missed out on what sounds like one of the better new MMO's to come down the pipe.

Why all these financial woes? Well, I had trusted a friend with a small business and quit my lucrative job in Manhattan to work for his miniscule company. After six months I was let go due to "financial issues." Even though I have been collecting unemployment, it is due to run out, along with my luck, in exactly 30 days. I have been really trying to get a new job and haven't been able to secure one.

Enough of my problems. I have taken a look at my game library and found that over my years of working I secured quite an impressive library. I even own numerous copies of the same game. Don't think I have been out there buying up all the copies of SOE's recently sundowned MMO Vangaurd. I own a copy of the disk and then may have bought it on a Steam or Gog sale. Better for me though, many times the online copy is fully patched and would have to dig around the net for the patch for an older game. This was the problem faced with Neverwinter Nights 2. I just got the complete edition for peanuts and play that. Hmmm, maybe I could sell that disk on Ebay.

Been so long since I had been writing as well. Heck, I went back to school for a degree in Communications in order to be a better writer and haven't been writing in over six months. I don't think I am a very good writer anyway. I am too prone to tangents, was told my syntax sucked and my grammar isn't great. But in an interview with Cory Doctorow he told me to write when I didn't want to. So here I am, writing when I don't want to. And I will continue to come back and hopefully write when I do want to.

Knowing my track record, I am going to come back here in six months to read this over, write a new post and dissapear again.

For once in my life I would just like to find a focus, a meaning, some grand purpose in life that will make a mark on humanity. Something that someone will find enjoyment and can have a positive impact on them. Something that when I finally go to that gamer heaven in the sky I can look back and said to St. Peter at the pearly gates that I did something meaningful in my life. If I am going to sit in front of a computer monitor then I might as well make it count right?

Maybe today is the day that I start the rest of my life.

As always, play safe,


Friday, July 15, 2011

Modmode: Beyond the Vanilla - Part One

I've always been a big fan of modding in general. I feel that some of the player made content that can be found to modify released games is just about as good as (some of) professional work, if not better.

Call it luck, call it happenstance, but I found an old copy of Morrowind in a box in my closet at the same time someone put me onto a great modding guide: Shit just got real on meh. This website helped me totally overhaul a classic game as I ramp up for the upcoming release of Bethesda's next installation of the Elder Scrolls Franchise, Skyrim.

I'm quickly finding out how much more immersive Morrowind was compared to Oblivion. Always being a fan of Oblivion, I could never understand how players trashed it in comparison to Morrowind. I used to run a highly modified version of Oblivion until I got greedy for space on my drive for a new MMORPG. It was the Rift beta nonetheless, so hours of modding just went up in smoke. My relaying of this story to on online friend is how I found this great guide.

I mod purely on the account that someone took hours out of their life on a labor of love, they get nothing in return except recognition. Players that use the mods get hours of refreshing gameplay or a new look to their old game for free. Free is great.

If you are on the fence on which version to reserve for Skyrim, I would definitely go for the PC version as there will be plenty of mod support for it. The modding community has already mentioned a flying dragon and mastodon mount mods. The only thing as I am concerned will be the specifications for running Skyrim. Bethesda hasn't released them yet and by the way the recent previews look, it looks like a GPU intensive game.

I have until November 11th to muck around with Morrowind and Oblivion. Hah, yes, I am considering reinstalling ole' TESIV in anticipation of Skyrim, I just don't know if I have another run through in me. I've been through Oblivion...3 times already, it's such a great game, but old content gets old.

Will a new batch of mods breath live into this old workhorse of a game? This is why I mod.

Play safe,

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm back!

Without much further ado, we continue to bring a fresh perspective on the Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming Market.


Plays safe,

Saturday, August 8, 2009

We Have Moved!

I just want to post that if you do not see any new posts here, then head over to I'll be writing mMO' MONEY! for that site fulltime now. But I will still keep an updated blogroll @ Wordpress, it's better than having to keep opening and closing tabs in chrome.

Hope you all enjoy your gaming as much as I am.



Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Top Ten Things I Love About EVE.

Good morning y'all,

I am not the play 100 games and master none type of player, I am more of the find one that sticks to your ribs and go to the wall with it. A game life for me never started at 1 or 15, it started at 50, 60 or 100 depending on the game. According to Bartles, I am an Achiever and an endgame player. If feel that I was due for a change, I've been bouncing around many games these past few months, then in light ofrecent events I have decided to take the EVE Online plunge and see what all the hullaballoo was all about.

To me, EVE has always been that hot biker chick you see when you walk into a bar. She's attractive and has a bad reputation, you don't know if you are going to strike out, or if you "can hang" with her tough biker pals. But if the chemistry was just right you would be hooked up with her for awhile. EVE always seemed "cool" and I was right about my biker chick theory, we clicked right away. For months now my question has been, "what am I going

to play now", and that's changed to, "why haven't I played this sooner?" If you have been scoping out EVE, on the fence with your current game or in the market for something new then maybe my point of view will help.

Hot chicks that fly spaceships are hotter than a Hog on a Harley. Check out Mynxee (right) at LifeInLowSec.

10) The EVE-conomy: I'll get this out of the way quick, I ranted and raved about it on SUWT #51, enough already. The fact that this is a single server game provides some interesting situations, especially the fact that players can create (and rip off) their own banks, bring their own corporations public and pay dividends. However, if you choose to go the honest trader route and eventually a business tycoon like I am. You will find out that your local economy is actually a free trading market with prices that differ from other regions. Prices fluctuate between regions and it can be very competitive, as these regions become little "micro-economies" traders compete for the best price. Sounds familiar? Honey, I'm home!

This is a true player driven economy, players are driven but not bound to their local trading hub. If Jita is not for you then you can shop anywhere you want on the fly and start trading making money right away. Infalible wrote an extensive FAQ on jumpstarting your trading career, I've tested it and it works. I was hooked when I saw the words "day-trading", I'm not day-trading yet but I'm already in the millions, thanks Infalible I owe you a donation.

9) Graphics: Breathtaking! CCP really captures the sprawling "deep open space" feel without sacrificing small details on the ships, planets or bases (belong to us). They're layered technology eliminates any lag, provides vibrant colors as a backdrop and you never feel like you're in the same place twice. They have built in a real-time orbit sys

tem so your environment changes even while you're in it. If you have played any of the Freespace games, Freelancer, Sins of a Solar Empire and even Sword of the Stars then you will appreciate EVE. Some of the "zones" actually look like they were recreated from the NASA website photos.

8)Community: I've a

lways wondered why EVE players have this confident swagger about them. It's because they play a quality game, they love it and they're not angry like other gamers. The EVE community as I experienced so far are vibrant, helpful and most importantly MATURE. Everyone I've come in contact with has been a perfect gentleman, even some of the pirates! EVE has a sub base of 300,000 players with anywhere from 25k up to 48k online at any given time as I have experienced, I've never been alone for too long a period before seeing someone fly by me.

If you're worried about the learning curve as I was, then don't. EVE comes equipped with a rookie chat channel with a GM there to answer any and all questions. (I wouldn't want to do his job!) Not the ask directions type of guy, then there is a complete EVE-Wiki and plenty of faq threads on the forums with links to player cre

ated websites to help you. The EVE community even has it's own magazine and online DJ music channel with a jukebox. EVE players are involved!

7) Lore: I don't know much about the ingame lore, but what I do know is that EVE consistently makes the news. Stories of embezzlement, double-crosses and corporate espionage involving real people and are real events. You just can't write some of this stuff, it's so far-fetched. Ever hear the phrase, truth is stranger than fiction?

6) Gameplay: EVE is such an open ended game, that you can play any style or speed you want to. Hardcore PVP? No problem, grab a ship and head over to a 0.0 space. Casual care bear™, no problem there are hundreds of NPC "agents" and 2,000 missions to choose from of all different flavors. In EVE, I just don't feel the "rush to cap" as I did in other games, I feel the "hey, let's do some (insert activity here) for once" because my skills constantly update as time goes by.

If the UI might seem daunting at first, don't worry, it runs just like any windows program. Basically, if you can read this article then you can play EVE, it's easy. TBQH, sometimes long trips in the ship might be a drag, but EVE feels more like a marathon than a sprint. I'm tired of rushing all over the place to do this quest, drop this off, kill 100 of these and run back. Gimme a break already, I'm tired of being in a rush on my free time.

5) PLEX: I like the fact that CCP offers an ingame method of subscription renewal. The Pilots License Extension (PLEX) can be bought off the market for around $350 million ISK. If that sounds like a lot of ISK then you can drop $35 for 2 months of playtime on a EVE timecard. If you are making a steady income then you are actually playing for free. That is an honest free to play, not the type of game that I have to reach for my credit card every time I play this game. There is no cash shop here for now and that makes me happy; and even if there was, I would still play EVE.

4) Costs: I know you've heard me mention the college gaming fund, this game doesn't stretch it or break it one bit. It actually gives you incenti

ves to invite friends and even advertising for the company can earn you money; CCP has one of the best marketing campaigns I've seen for a game. You can get a 21 day trial on Steam or buy Apocrypha for $15 with a 19.99 fee and get two months playtime. Or buy the box for $40 as I did, get a goofy ship and 60 days of hassle free play. No matter how you slice it, you get a lot of game for $35 bucks. I for one, don't mind paying for quality but if I can get it free none the sweeter, so if anyone wants a 21 day key to try EVE risk free then send me an email, it's on the house. (damn, I sounded like a commercial there…)

3) Longevity: EVE has been around since 2003, I feel that the CCP team has gelled by now and have squashed most if not all the bugs

. CCP continually rewards and challenges there players by steadily releasing new content with the most recent being Apocrypha. One thing that impressed me is that you never have to pay for an expansion, just the monthly fee going forward. EVE downloads without a hitch and has good customer service. Yes, you have to manually download your patch but after that you are ready to fly. You really need to see the new tech 3 ships, they are hot!

2) Customizability: If you have no interest in being a wall street mogul in space then you have plenty of options to choose from. From 4

different races and numerous classes, you don't ever have to feel trapped in that class. The skill and certificate program is how you gain access to different technologies and ships that mean you can fly any type of ship and play any style you want. From the tanking class of large warships, support ships that release drones to stealth based covert ops, you can be any race and have access to anything as you train it. Unfortunately, your avatar is only a still photo, you only move your ship. That's going to change in the future I've heard, but even the avatars can be completely personalized from different backgrounds to the way the light appears on your face.

Whether it be a doctors, lawyers or an Indian chief, EVE offers a complete Immersion experience. Anyone who has played Ryzom can identify with the loose class structure by point gain. It's just like Ryzom, except Innnnnn Spaaaaaaaace ( insert echo machine here).

Last but not least is Freedom: Beyond all the options and bonuses I previously gave you, the ones that stick out to be are really simple. For one, I don't have to constantly be pushing the W button to advance in the game. Your skills accumulate over time as you train them in a queu.

So this means I can be __Insert anything here__ while I'm not online and still advance in an MMO?


And if I am mining, I can just sit there and watch myself collect money or __insert anything here__ if I get too bored. (Don't try this in low sec please, I won't be responsible.)


Also, if I have to make a trade a few jumps aways, I can hit autopilot __insert hot biker chick here__ and come back when I arrive! (again don't try this in low sec.)


So there you have it, I guess I'm sounding quite the fanbizzy but when something makes me this happy I need to share it. I know that to the masses this is old news, but to the one or two that are out there might benefit. If it wasn't for the passionate community and the MMO BLOGOSPHERE I would have still been playing (edited). EVE definitely changes my future gaming plans, for now. I feel like I can go long term with EVE, although the way it's set up there is no endgame or cap level.

You just EVE-olve.

Play safe,


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Free: The Realistic Direction of the Internet Economy.

Hello all!

Call it the universe, call it luck or call it a co-INKy-dink but I was reading my morning blog posts. I was impressed by Ivan's post on "MTCW" about the transference of DDO and TCoS to F2P. That was on the heels of Beau hitting the nail on the head about TCoS, both articles put me in a thoughtful mood. So I went outside, enjoyed the sun and read some of the Sunday papers. While I was reading the NYTimes Book Review…yes I read the book review!

"He's a supergeek! A supergeek! He's supergeeking owwwwww!"

I'm Rick James…, ANYWAY, to my point it seems the sun had shed light on the whole "where is the P2P MMO community going" conundrum. It was in the shape of an article written by Virginia Postrel who reviews Chris Andersons new book "Free: The Future of a Radical Price" (Hyperion). Chris Anderson is the editor in chief of Wired Magazine and Author of "The Long Tail", he explains why many of the common services we use online are free, and the future of the internet price point is going.


Postrel writes, "Driving the trend are the steeply declining prices of three essential technologies: computing power, digital storage and transmission capacity". In Anderson's book he says, "The trend lines that determine the cost of doing business online all point to the same way: to zero." It seems that all the functions that make content accessible are getting cheaper and that enables online companies to shave off margins so that there over head gets so cheap that they can afford to charge nothing for customers to get in the door.

That may be a reason why a company as Frogster can charge nothing to download the Runes of Magic software, because it costs them nothing to ship it to you and store it. Same as the mirror sites as well. Now how do these internet companies, take for example get away with charging nothing, give so much and charge absolutely nothing. Anderson's answer is, "Most obviously, online advertisers pay for eyeballs…" as you see all the ads for games, free to play and otherwise on the home page of mmorpg. That's how they make their cash, and possibly pay nothing to run the site other than manpower, serverspace and bandwith. And obviously Anderson writes that those are getting cheaper as we speak.

According to a NDP survey from, online and in-game advertising to grow from $886 million to $1.4 billion by 2010, so with margins down and sales expected to grow like this, who do you think is going to make the most money here?

So my answer to both questions from beau and ivan's post are yes, it will help both DDO and TCoS tremendously to embrace the F2P model at this point. However there is a sobering statement made in Chris Andersons book, "Everyone can use a Free business model, but only the number 1 company can get really rich with it." This means that only the strong will survive, and they both better bring their "A" game with them.

Free is a powerful word to consumers, it almost gets anyone's attention. Sometimes skeptically, but never fails to turn a head or two. Case in point when WoW developer Tom Chilton admits that the fact of WoW going full force micro-transactional isn't out of the question in the future. They will need to adopt a different business strategy for according to Game Analyst Michael Cai "the biggest competition to Wow will be from the F2P market." He explains that a new company will have to invest from 500 million to 1 billion to create a "subscription based model" to compete with wow.

WoW changing to a free to play/cashop is a possibility according to the new trend; what will it do to the struggling games like Age of Conan, Chronicles and the new DDO Unlimited. TCoS was introduced with a failing business model, "so I can kiss you and don't have to pay for dinner? Sweet!" Even I who played from CB got bored at level 4 and uninstalled, it just didn't have the "sticky power" to keep me playing. If it was a freebie, then I probly would have kept it on my hard drive. Plus the whole Akklaim coin thing turned me off, it seemed they were trying to charge you for an Akklaim account and then for the Spellborn sub. Uh-Uh, I was born at night, but not last night.

DDO, they need to admit that they tried to catch the WoW vapors and failed with a buggy launch, forced grouping, and lack of content (then). Agreed, they have made big changes to the game and are offering much more in the way of solo content, this makes it a better game. But going freebie/cashop will get more people that never played the game to give it a shot, as Ivan describes it as a "saving grace". Even as a F2P do they have the power to compete or even survive this market against pure-bred f2p's like Atlantica Online? DDo sin't a bad game, I did some interviews of the community (failed project) and I've read many blogs lately, Hudsons Hideout gives a very good, "this game isn't bad after allz" review of DDO.

How much do the purebred F2P's are making, we really don't know. Most companies keep that information guarded and I for one have been crawling for that info continually. The closest I got was from Ralph Coster's website, where he says that "in his observations free-to-play MMOs are that they typically earn from 30 cents a head up to $2 or so in terms of ARPU and from $10 to $60 in terms of ARPPU." A game like Puzzle Pirates nets $230,000 just from 5,000 users, that's a pretty good average for an obscure game.

What does all this drivel mean? I will sum it up with, "It is hard to come into a house with a 900 pound gorilla living in it and find a place to sit." The market is dominated by one game, one company with a couple of not so bad number two's. It is hard to demand a fee that is par with a more popular (I didn't say better, I said popular!) game and be profitable while giving sub-par content or service. With the costs of distributing going lower, advertising revenues on the rise and an open door "limitless" micro transactional model becoming the norm, then it benefits latebloomers and struggling games to switch gears.

Will it save games like DDO and TCoS from the scrapheap alongside Tabula Rasa and The Matrix Online; we really don't know, time will tell. Our job as consumers is to benefit from their competition and get some free game time, most importantly have fun; and talk about it on our free blogs.

One thing that Anderson does touch on is the amateur market, the people like us that want to contribute, "to have an impact and to be recognized as an expert in something", he says. This is a never ending flow of really good, amateur content on the internet. I mean the podcasting, vid-casting and blogging market that I just stumbled into like a drunken sailor stumbles into a whorehouse on leave. Just look at the guy who trashed United over his busted up guitar. I would of paid a couple of bucks for that CD single back in the day I used to buy CD's, again point proven, I don't pay for music anymore.

But all this free feel-good feeling lies a warning, "It is false to assume that no price means no value. But it is equally false to argue that value implies profitability." I pay for value but I like free anything, don't you. I'm going to find that book tmrw in the library so I can give more information on this oh, so interesting topic.

Until then…

Play safe,

Frank AKA Inktomi