Monday, May 11, 2009
In response to an article on MMORPG.com, Richard Aishoshi writes about F2p games and the so called success of them I had to do some digging about Google.finance and good ole Yahoo finance. When I went to the forum link I saw someone wanted to compare the balance sheet of p2p games and f2p games. I quickly obliged.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
A quick look at Hellgate:London
The Game: Hellgate:London
The Key Players:Flagship Studios, Flagship CEO Bill Roper, Namco Bandai,Hannbitsoft, Comerica and Travis Baldtree
WTF Happened: Bill Roper rushed game and lack of business sense put forth a decent game with a confusing subscription model; eventually the public revolted against and left to play the Mythos Beta that was A) Hella more fun and B) Free. Eventually he couldn't pay his loans and lost all the IP (Intellectual Property) to his publishers, Hannbitsoft and Namco Bandai. There was a claim that Hannbit changed hands which changed his business relationship with the company.
Why game-fail?: Lack of commitment to a certain genre and bad communication with the public, that's where the popular Travis Baldtree steps in. He was an all around nice guy and tried his best to attend to the needs of the HGL community. Unfortunately they were as rowdy as a bunch of rednecks at a sober picnic and it was too far gone to really fix PR, the forums at the end turned into a wild west show of flameposts and lolcat pictures. It was fun, however it was sad to see it die.
Revival?: NAWT!, no. Sadly that HGL:revival is stuck in the red tape maze of eastern business bureaucracy, Namco Bandai who owns the IP is blocking Hannbit due to publishing rights.
My take on the situation: If you are going to be a shooter, be a shooter; If you are going to be an RPG, be an RPG. Pick your poison, stay true to your roots and take care of your people (fans). This is the mantra that I've heard from professional sports athletes, movie stars and even rap artists alike say to stay focused on where your going in your career. OK, they were a game company that wanted to do something different and do it online because they were all the old blizzard north throwbacks that developed Diablo. Now in my humble ass opinion I would of just made it an open world shooter with PVP and PVE zones. If you want to instance something either make it a dungeon (ala WoW-style) and make certain towns private, or give some type of housing. I had a locker! All that work for a locker that didn't hold anything unless you bought a sub. And just commit to either A) a cheaper sub with a trial period or B) make it free to play with a cashshop (that alot of smaller game companies are turning to that seems to be working).
People either want to frag or they want to make believe they are someone else, thats why some players don't like HGL. You can't shoot the daylights out of someone and then pretend to like them.- HGL Forums.
In hindsight: Yes, some games don't make the cut and it seems to be games that are stuck in this dual-identity dilemma comparable to Tabula Rasa, that suffered the same fate. Well not really because NC Soft just boooooooted Richard Garriot, who comes across as a eccentric British billionaire. I think they fired him while he was in space, well not much you can do about that eh, Richard?
I really don't have much to add today, just wanted to get something new up though and was looking at how sad this blog looks. I can't go around the blogosphere looking like this!
I've been doing a little point and click searching for free blog templates to *JaZz*Up* my sad google formatted blog. My blog is blah!
Addendum: New design, cool?
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Nothing creates more drama on the internetz than a good darkfail flame thread.
I need to comment on this because I think that it is a trend that we will all look back and laugh about, is the reception of Adventurine's Darkfall Online. Released last month to a huge fan base that has been waiting for this game like a ravenous pack of wolves for years. Yes, it's been years, I signed up for the beta back in 2006 when was playing the late hell gate London. This game was dubbed vaporware for a long time until news of a beta was released. This created a huge buzz on the internet gamer forums, both on Darkfall's forums and other popular game forums. One in particular is MMORPG.com, which I subscribe to and goes indepth to actually rate these games by a "hype" level before they are released. But back to Darkfall, in short is a takeoff on the old Ultima Online that was heavily PVP (player vs player) based where you could actually "loot" the player you just killed for his armor and weapons etc. Extremely popular game design that made Darkfall in instant hit. Some gamers like to cause grief to other players and I personally think that pvp is more fun that killing stupid AI driven monsters, it takes sometimes more skill and quicker thinking.
Ok, the darkfall beta was nonexistent and the game was released way before it was ready. Not only that, but it had a VERY limited release of only 10,000 copies of the game. Ten thousand? That was just the average daily volume of maybe 1 hour of unique traffic on the forums. Instantly, it became a cult hit and everyone was scrambling for their copy. Me, I couldn't find one hell or high water, so I gave up on the game. But I read all the genie pig reports of how the game was, it had terrible reviews. It was glitchy, the queue's were horrendous, full of hackers and cheaters. More importantly they said the game was downright boring. Saved my 50 bucks, thanks MMORPG(dot)com!
But wait, there is more... I started seeing all these "Darkfall sucks" thread pop up and started reading them. So funny, these guys slashed, bashed and trashed this game more than a Brittany Spears concert. OMG, why?!>!
Infamy, I feel is one of the best marketing techniques ever used. It creates a desire to "let's just see how bad it really is". Sort of like when someone blows a nasty fart in public, you know when someone else says "EWW, that stinks", you need to take a big whiff before running away. Darkfall Online right now has infamy especially when websites start writing Hate reviews online, like the one from Eurogamer.net. That started a flurry of posts on forums that immediately turned into an old school frag fest that resembles the Quake days.
All in all, I hope whatever issues they have they can resolve and that this game lasts long enough to prove all the naysayers wrong. I posted 2 article that I think are interesting new takes on business models for for small startup companies. One is the 1,000 fan theory and the second is a story about this small company, Flashbang Games and how they are really surviving on this business model. Will this work for Adventurine, I truly couldn't tell you. But if they continue to be controversial it will help market them without paying for a cent of advertising. That gives light to the trendy new term "Going Viral", which is a take on the old viral marketing method.
Whatever the case may be, I haven't played Darkfall and don't intend to. There are way too many games out there and many more on the horizon that will take up my time (and my money). I just don't have either enough to spare to see if a pile of shit really stinks as bad as someone says it does, I'll just take their word for it.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
After a long conversation with a female gamer friend who described how her and her boyfriend play Oblivion so differently I came to realize A) what a great game oblivion is and 2) what unique style of gamers are out there.
I'll call her R and him J for the sake of the story, R likes to accomplish goals, do quests and get titles. Meanwhile J likes to raid all the dungeons, level up and get the best armor and equipments. She is very happy with being a warlock and he feels like she isn't going anywhere in the game, two different styles and both are enjoying the game provided with different results. This is common within most of the sandbox or openworld Rpg's and almost ALL MMorpg's out there. Sort of like the "something for everyone" type of game. That's the best way I can describe Bethesda's work, very non-linear and alot of room for creativity.
Are you the storydriven type, do you prefer or demand a certain immersion in a game? Or are you the "save the fluff" gimme the UBER LOOT and then check out my gear? The "Are you not amazed by me!!!!", type of player.
Me, I am a hybrid of both I guess. I need some type of story to keep me interested but I have no problem getting down to the grinding business and can run a dungeon numerous time until I get what I want. Then, ok I have gotten what I need and now let's get back to the pace of the game. As for Oblivion, Bethesda made a tremendous series with the elder scrolls going back to morrowind. I hope they keep it going in the future and I know if they do I will be there with bells on. I keep hearing rumors of an Elswhere sequel but nothing concrete yet, but why would they when they are riding the fallout train all the way to epicsville. Who knows what they have planned in the future, they have a great formula that seems to cater to any type of gamer and that important to the community.
How would you describe yourself as a gamer?
Sunday, May 3, 2009
I love a bargain, especially when it comes to video games. In my recent travels I found two good games on sale at best buy for only $5!!! And they didn't get that bad of a review on IGN.com
The envelope please...
1) Darkstar One
Space simulation meets rogue space trader in this game published by German Ascaron ent. Only $5 at best buy, not available in store's though you will have to order it through the wharehouse. One player without any Multiplayer aspects to it. It is good practice if you are getting ready for the two upcoming Space-Opera MMO's Dark Prophecy and Jumpgate Evolution.
2) Is another throwback from the Diablo-esque, point and click, action-adventure Rpg's is Titan Quest. Yes I know I've seen it on shelves, I even held it in my hand but today I picked it up for only $5 at Best Buy Wharehouse. only $3.00 in shipping brought the game up to $8.00. Now this was after I played the demo for a few hours, which I suggest. Download Demo HERE. I played it for a few hours and was contemplating it until I found it for 5, then I pulled the trigger. It's worth 5, but I am going to hold off on the expansion: Titan Quest:Immortal Throne. I am going to beat up the regular model for a bit, I also found a Vault page for it; Doesn't look like its' for mods though, just information.
I also found a hidden gem in my cd case Age of Mythology, it was highly rated at IGN as a 9.3. Now I don't look at IGN as the internet rating gurus, but you can see at it's review page that it didn't get shabby reviews from the other sites. I got this one month's ago on a sale rack in officemax for $10 along with the original rise of nations. Yes, it is an RTS but RTS is a small niche market and it seems if you wait long enough you might find a hidden gem. Thats a strategy in itself, gaming isn't a cheap hobby.
Which brings me to my next wishlist, it's got one game and one game only. It's also a hybrid of RTS and Action/RPG.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Demigod. Published by Stardock Games, the same people who brought you the award-winning Space Rpg Sins of a Solar Empire, bring you this hybrid fantasy model Demigod.
First off, it is a beautiful game look at the gameplay videos on Youtube.
There's also a video review from Machinima that I found to be very honest. Most of the ratings sites gave it poor reviews and that's mainly due to the problems they had with the multiplayer online functions. It seems that Gamestop released the game ahead of schedule that caused a major snafu for stardock mainly because it is very much a player vs. player online game. It has a small single player skirmish mode and not much of a tutorial to choose from but I feel it is going to be the PvP sleeper hit of 2009.
They all sing the same song as online connectivity problems, however for only a $40 download and free online capability it's a bargain to me. If the company has solved it's IT problems and this game has the right amount of Addictability then you have a good, cheap offset to the other pay to play or the redoncoulous amount of free to play mmo's out there that really aren't free. Now don't get my started on another Runes of Magic bashing session, I'm in a good mood on a sunday night.