Thursday, February 9, 2012

fear the dark blade ....

Remember how aion had 3 different item enchantment systems all into one :

1. You could socket manastones of different stats into the item.

2. you could enchant ( by level ) an item up to level +15 ( most ppl only went to +11 )

3. you could merge or fuse it with another item of power to create an even more powerful weapon.

I luved this system but i think the sky and effort should be the limit on how far you could take customisation.

Coming from Aion to rift where item enchantment was almost non-existent it was a great let down. But Rift did have so many other things going for it.

Items should ultimately be customisable in every way. You should be able to bestow blessings from every different tree of magic onto one blade, improve it, socket gems in it, sharpen it, to craft items of such immense power that players would feel a bond with their gear and characters seen never before. Why would you quit playing a game where your gear has been crafted for months with every possible form of magic and gem that you can imagine.

Shallow item customisation is a thing of the past anyway.

the skyrim effect :)

tbh : skyrim changed the expectations of many gamers out there. It lifted the bar for mmos and rgs in general. It was full of awesum intelligent npc's, it has plenty of mystery, an incredible story, uber customisation, you can kill anyone and take all their stuff ( LUVED IT ). skyrim has ambiance like no other, it creates a mood of pure bliss. The music is brilliant, the world magical and interesting. The shout magic : deep and mysterious and wonderful. The way the monks teach you their secrets. Clever mobs abound and fight you like real ppl. Animals are there, but not in droves and they want to live. They run away, hide, fight only when they have to. The sneaking and stealing alone would have made a great game. This is my favorite game of all time. Now if only i could bring along my friends to this land.... Here's hoping
Bethesda :)

How long will mmo games tolerate sub-par rpg's after playing this monster ?

group dynamics

So many of us spend ages playing mmos with our wives or gfs. How awesum wouldn't it be if you were to get a group buff or a set of group buffs that grow in strengh as the two ( or more ) of you adventure in the far off lands ? Your group ( you and your regular companions ) grow so much stronger from playing together that every bit of xp gained as a group should move towards strengthening that bond. You could event assign group stats on leveling the group bond. I would have luved that.

mystery where for art thou....

i remember it quite vividly. I was swimming deep under the ocean in rift exploring the lustrous ocean and looking for artifacts and treasures. suddenly words appeared on the screen : "whispers from the deep calls to your mind", or something of the sort. It was the beginning of a water zone invasion and those words was meant to be an indication to players of what was to follow. But i didn't know what it was for or what it was about, and it was awesum ! It was a mystery to me. I luved the fact that things were happening around me that i did not understand. I luved the fact that there was something greater going on. Something mysterious and subtle. In mmos we need much more of that. We need to constantly experience a sense of wonder and mystery when dealing with the world and events. We need to not understand every little thing about how a weapon works or its stats, about the magic that we wield, about the mmo world and about mobs.

Why do we need to know everything about a dagger that we have picked up ? wouldn't it be better to have to use it to see what it does. To learn the magic and history and power of an item with use and time.

Using magic should also have many ramifications for a player. after using magic a player should fall under an increasingly more powerful effect from the different effects of the tree of magic that the wielder has chosen to wield. For instance : using faerie magic on a stray forest wolf should infuse the caster with the essence of faerie, having different effects on his stats as well as his actions and appearance and even his long term personality and future story arc.

what better to have an intelligent monster lurking in a cave instead of a mindless mob sitting there in pain waiting to be killed. Would it not be oh so much kewler to defeat a boss that is actually busy torturing his prisoners or plotting with his lieutenants or feasting or sleeping than to just simply to walk up to a mob that just stands around, waiting to bleed. I'm sick of stupid bosses and guards and mobs and wolves. Let them all have lives and wives and houses to go to at night and friends to visit and work and personality. SWTOR must be the first game where this is more of a reality.

If i walk in the forest at night : Do i want to see many wolves or other mobs just lounging around aimlessly. Or would it be better for them to have a huge wandering area, a den, a migration pattern, a hunting cycle when they are hungry and a brain. If you object by saying that how then would players carry out their quests if you don't have these aimless mobs to grind on, rest assured that players are sick of those quests anyway and no one wants to collect 15 wolves tails anyway. Capturing and taming such a beast should be a huge undertaking and a event in itself.

certain parts of the world should be shrouded in mystery and magic. You should not be able to get in there quickly and should be severely affected by it. Mist should envelop it and parts of it should be deadly. There should reside beings of limitless power en might and mere mortals should not venture there. legends and wives tales must abound for such places and a lonely traveller would be best to avoid these places altogether. Players should spend many days unraveling the mysteries of these areas and not just say, oh I've been there, done quests, moved on. These places should constantly change and surprise you with great treasure or death lolz. One day a being would be there and the next day somewhere else entirely. Again fill it with being of intelligence and power.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

World Events

When i first started playing rift, the promise of world events made me crazy with anticipation. But sum-how the events turned out to be a bit shallow and the day after an event would pretty much be the same as the day before. I did fight sum crazy world boss once and i luved it. But simply fighting a relatively predictable boss creature walking around parts of the world was not enough. The stories was kewl but the whole original promise of world events did not pan out as i had hoped.

What i had discussed with a friend earlier was the possibility of having a world that would be in constant motion inside a story that was clearly happening everywhere in the world where you tread.

I had an idea of an ancient dark creature that had nearly destroyed civilisation many thousands of years ago. This creature was sum-how beaten and all that remained of it were part of its original armour. These armor pieces was then taken to the four corners of the land and guarded safely for millennia by an order of monks trained for this purpose. The whole idea of a world in motion would be where the npc forces would have a large buildup in a part of the land and would eventually start moving from that point towards one of the sacred sites where an armor piece was kept. They would march the land and conquer areas of the map, rendering it un-usable for players and then move on towers the next position. This would have various effects. First of all the player base might rise up and fight these forces back and defeat them or they might be allowed to build up and march and eventually take possession of the armor piece. This process would then have to be repeated to gain all the armor until after a dark ritual the fabled creature would be unleashed upon the world. This would spell certain doom for player cities and large map areas until players pushed the forces back and defeat the creature.

Rift did a lot of this but they lacked the courage to keep the map in the conquered state for a long time after an event, afraid that it would upset players who could not return their quests.

Now imagine the entire world conquered and staying like that until players acted. Or being sum where in the middle of that story knowing that if you don't act now the entire game world might change for the worst. I would have luved that. And i hope trion still does this.


Oh lol @ generic and boring magic. Do we really want to throw another fireball ? Shoot another ice shard ? I certainly don't. Specially not if you know you are going to use that spell about 20 million more times in the course of the next 50 to 95 levels. No, magic needs a serious re-design. What we need is game where you would not walk in with magic sprouting leisurely from your palms. You should first enter a complex world where you would need to find a master magician
willing to train you. You would need to spend many hours in deep meditation and ritualist training to gain even minimal grasp of the smallest spells, or even the ability to do magic at all. Afterward magic should grow stronger on use-age, NOT LEVELS PLZ. Also magic should not be a generic fire/shadow/water/ice/earth/wind affair anymore.

Wouldn't it be kewl to have to travel for days to reach an enormous forested land where you know there might reside a secret dragon cult. Then only after searching for days you glimpse a peek at one of the monks entering a underground cavern. Entering their world lets you eventually master parts of their dark magic. A magic that has serious effects upon your character. A magic that changes you from who you are but lets you gain so much more. Imagine then that after your months with the dragon cult you go on your way again and search this time for the fabled faerie court. Its an entire epic journey of deceit and intrigue but in the end you master their arts. Once again you depart their ranks changed and uplifted but wiser and more dangerous. Now you seek out the Legend of the chasm of mirth. A dark place where you are free to meditate and hone your dark and light skills, where nosey townsfolk don't want to burn you alive. But this chasm has a much darker secret. In the darkest reaches there lies a fabled altar with the power to combine different spells to create a unique new power that harnesses the power from both the dragon magic as well as the faerie court. Here you slave away many weeks, but when you finally emerge, its with new powers that reek of dragon and faerie both. Spells where the effects of both disciplines show in its use, and effects the poor target in a totally different way from what the original spells of the dragon cult or faerie would have. For instance : The two initials spells would have been dragon's breath and faeries' spite, The new spell might turn the enemy into a sheep while simultaneously burning its skin with the dragon corruption. The new spell also far more powerful than any of its orgin spells.

Suddenly firing a fireball rank 2 thousands of times does not seem worth it anymore.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

About me

I quite clearly remember my first computer and the feeling that came with it. It was a C64 and i was six years old. I remember vividly how i dreamed of coding games where huge space ships would fire laser beams and fly though space. I remember how i typed in words i did not know, ( from the C64 programming manual ) into the little machine to see what these programs did only to be mostly disappointed at the results. And then on one magical evening at a fair when i saw the first sierra's space quest. To say that i was completely blown away would be such a huge understatement.

The very idea of role playing and game stories was magical to me. Yes i was a very young little nerd who slaved away in front of many different computers over the years to try and make games. From C64 language to GW-basic to Q-basic to Turbo-Pascal to C++, C# and other. I very quickly did learn that creating games was what i really wanted to do in life, but it was ridiculously difficult and time consuming when you are programming alone or with only your best friend as your solo graphic artist.

Our attempt at making a 4-colour cga version of space quest in 1990 was incredible fun but proved hard due to the fact that i had to do all the animation and programming when my friend used a horrible drawing tool i built to design the back screens. We had bags of fun but never really finished it. But it did have a loading screen, music ( sound lolz ), a short trailer of a spaceship crashing into a planet and a main character that walked around on this alien planet exploring deserts and caves. I loved every moment of it.

 I remember later getting my hands on a 256 color graphics system (vga) to use for Pascal coding. At that time we were working on a new drawing tool and a 2d-side scroller game involving fighting robots but i started to get into 3d graphics. My first homegrown 3d engine ( running on high school maths and 3-point perspective systems ) proved interesting but not very stable. Objects could rotate and move around but not much else. In between these spurts of creativity i played the glorious games of my youth. Star-control 2, the sierra quest series, x-wing vs tie fighter, prince of persia original.

Nowadays its EVE, WOW, AION, Rift, Dota, LoL, DcUol, Skyrim, CNC, SWTOR and GW2. In between all these years, i studied programming and engineering, got married, travelled, and got a real job, but i still long to be part of MMO Development in a huge way. I see what the new mmo companies are doing and im beyond excited at the possibilities. I also know that i have a lot to offer the MMO industry in terms of innovation and direction. I have always felt that from all the flavors of gaming, MMO's are the most exciting and to be fair, the future of all games are online. That trend is already becoming evident anyway.

If you want send me an email on