Archive for December, 2007
Posted by Stropp on
December 31, 2007
It’s an unfortunate fact of life that not everything goes to plan.
Every year, new computer games are announced, some of which will never see the light of day. Business decisions, or simply sucky gameplay can lead to a game being dumped before it is released. This applies as much to the developers of MMO games as it does to any other product. The difference for MMOs is that sometimes the game gets released, only to be closed down a short time later. Earth and Beyond and Asheron’s Call 2 are good examples of this.
For a game to be in the Deadpool does not necessarily mean that it’s not been a success. It’s entirely possible that one of these days the Everquest 1 or even World of Warcraft servers will be finally turned off. When that happens, these games will go into the Deadpool, because they are well… dead. But for much of the foreseeable future, it will be the corpses of unreleased MMOs, or games that were released but failed to meet their publishers expectations.
2007 has seen a number of MMO games fall into the Deadpool.
Gods and Heroes
Gods and Heroes was under development by Perpetual Entertainment and was recently put into indefinite hiatus (read cancelled) so that they could concentrate on the development of their other MMO, Star Trek Online. Unfortunately, what looks like dodgy dealings has led to a lawsuit that also involves the STO licence. It’s looking like STO will be a member of the 2008 MMO Deadpool.
Auto Assault was inspired, in part, by the Mad Max films; featuring vehicular combat in a post apocalyptic setting. It was released in 2006 by NCSoft and barely made a year before the announcement of its closure on the 31st of August 2007.
Big World: Citizen Zero was announced years ago (2000) by an Australian company: Micro Forte and was said to be a SciFi MMO set on a planetary penal colony. The last real information released on the game was in 2004. However, this year Micro Forte announced it cancelation to make for a Spy MMO, and I believe the Big World engine was also being licenced to other developers.
Monato Esprit was a free Korean fantasy MMO based in a Sprite dream world. It was shut down in 2007, however the Wikipedia entry mentions that there is an English version of the game in beta. This may be one that gets resurrected.
The 2008 Deadpool: Predictions
It’s probably too early to make any real predictions for the 2008 MMO Deadpool, with one or two exceptions.
Star Trek Online: As mentioned above, I expect Star Trek Online will fall into the Deadpool. My guess is that this will happen in the first half of the year, possibly but unlikely before March. It will depend heavily on the progress of the lawsuit.
Fury: This game completely failed to meet Aurans expectations. So much so that the company is facing bankrupcy. If they can’t pull themselves out the mire, Fury may close. The other possibility is that it will be acquired by a company like SOE and added to their stable of games.
Dredging the Deadpool
It’s likely that I missed a few games that were closed or cancelled in the last twelve months. If you know of any, please let me know in the comments.
Credit: The term Deadpool is used on the technology blog Techcrunch generally for internet technology companies or products who have made big announcements and have subsequently failed and closed down. The expression is just as valid for our particular industry which is why I’m using it here. But credit to whom credit is due, in this case Techcrunch.
Posted by Stropp on
December 31, 2007
Stropp is well on the way to level 62.
Over the last couple of evenings I’ve worked on completing quests. These have mostly been in Hellfire Peninsula, but I’ve just moved into Zangarmarsh and have picked up a bunch from the Cenarian Expedition and the Trolls at Swamprat Post. Most of these have been the kill x of y and gather a of b type, but nonetheless I’ve enjoyed doing them.
I was also planning on taming a Ravager as a pet, but since these were all level 62 or 63 I was going to have to wait until I reached that level myself. As luck would have it, I was riding to the pass from Hellfire Peninsula to Zangarmarsh this evening and I spotted a level 61 Ravager, a Quillfang Skitterer. Fortunately, I had stabled my wolf, a Bloodaxe Worg that I had tamed in Blackrock Spire and had tamed one of the buzzards that infest the peninsula.
I abandoned the Buzzard and set about taming the Ravager and voila! One pet Ravager ready for ravaging.
The next 90 minutes was spent finishing up a quest in Hellfire Peninsula, and then moving on to the quests in Zangarmarsh.
So far I’m pretty happy with this little beastie. He was able to take a bit of punishment and dish it out as well, so during a healing break I alt-tabbed and loaded up Petopia to see what they have to say about the Ravager. It seems they are fairly popular, though I haven’t seen too many around myself. The thing is they are one of the top pets for damage dealing, and also have an above average armor. Personally, I also like the look. They are one of the few pets that have a lot of different appearances.
One thing I’m not sure about is if there is a penalty for raising the loyalty level of the Ravager. As I said, I spent about ninety minutes killing mobs after I tamed him, and he hasn’t gone past rebellious yet. I figure it will happen, but I’d like it soon so I can start training him.
Now I have to figure out a name. My Bloodaxe Worg was quite difficult to get. I needed the help of my guild at the time, not only to get to him in Blackrock Spire, but to survive while taming him. Because of that, I never really came up with a name. I didn’t want to pick a name I’d regret later. Hmmm. It’s less of a deal with an easy to tame pet, but still.
I just hope that Blizzard decides to increase the number of stable slots for hunters pets. It’s very likely that there will be new tameable beasts available when Wrath of the Lich King is released, and it would be a shame to have to abandon my older pets, especially if I pick up some really hard to get pets like the Worg before the expansion.
Posted by Stropp on
December 30, 2007
Yesterday, DM Osbon left a comment on one of my posts suggesting an idea for a poll. It was quite a good idea, and it got me thinking.
Always a dangerous thing.
So I’m opening up the floor, and handing you guys the mike.
Do you have any questions, ideas for posts or polls, press releases? Would you like to write a guest article for Stropp’s World?
Then by all means, feel free to do so.
I’ve put up a page with the details and the guidelines for contributing to Stropp’s World with a contact form that you can use to submit your ideas. Yes. There are guidelines, but they aren’t heavy. Primarily, they are to keep on topic. Unless you’re a spammer you shouldn’t have any issues with them.
The Contribute page is in the Menu bar just under the header, between the Contact and Subscribe pages. In fact, the form on the Contribute page is the same as I’ve used on the Contact page, and will send a message to the same email address. If you’d prefer to use email, you can use Stropp-AT-Stroppsworld-DOT-Com. Just make sure you replace the -AT- and -DOT- with the appropriate symbols. Just make sure you check the Contribute page for the guidelines first.
One of the things that I’ve learned about blogging over the last fifteen months, is that blogs are about community. Sure, there’s an aspect of some random guy putting his thoughts online for the world to read, but when it comes right down to it it’s the community that does the reading.
By opening up the floor I’m hoping to take the Stropp’s World community to the next level.
Hope to see you there.
Posted by Stropp on
December 29, 2007
In the analysis of the last poll that I conducted, How Many MMOs Have You Played? one of the conclusions I came to was that a lot of MMO players never actually visit gaming blogs or fansites because they are actually too busy playing the game.
My good friend, DM Osbon had a different take on the results:
One thing you must remember is that MMO players that are not currently playing an MMO probably make up a good percentage of the readership of blogs & MMO sites.
DM suggested that I put up a poll to test this theory. I did have another topic in mind for this months poll, but his suggestion was a good one, and definitely more interesting. Here’s the poll:
If you are currently playing a MMO, how many gaming blogs and websites do you read?
Conversely, if you’re not currently playing a MMO, how many gaming blogs and websites do you read?
I’ve also included a couple of questions for the folks who blog about MMOs. I expect that if you’re a blogger you probably read a decent number of related blogs and websites so I didn’t break down the questions as much for this group.
If you have any ideas on the poll subject, or have a response that isn’t in the questions, feel free to leave a comment.
I’d also like to invite you to submit any ideas you might have for future polls, or even blog posts. I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have. You can use the contact form to send in any ideas or questions.
Posted by Stropp on
December 28, 2007
At the beginning of October I started a poll asking the question, How Many MMOs Have You Played?
All up, there were sixty four responses to that question. Here are the results.
Out of 64, only six voters or nine percent had never played a MMO. I figure that’s not too surprising considering Stropp’s World is a blog about MMOs and folks not interested in this genre wouldn’t be hanging around here.
I was a little surprised that the biggest group was the one that had lost count of the number of Massive Online games that they had played, meaning that they had played more than five. I was expecting that the numbers would be more in line with the current breakdown of players in the various MMO games. In that case the biggest group would be those that had only played World of Warcraft, with those that had played two or three MMOs being the group that had grown bored with WoW and had dabbled in other games.
I expect this has to do with the fact that most MMO players never or rarely visit web sites about the game they are playing. They are actually too busy playing the game, in the limited amount of spare time that they have.
This would skew the results of a poll like this, and means that the readers of Stropp’s World are not necessarily representative of the general MMORPG population.
So to wrap it up, forty seven voters have played two or more MMOs, eleven have played only one, while six have never jumped into a virtual world.
What do these numbers mean to you?
On another note, the changes to the theme had an effect on the appearance of the Democracy Poll widget. I’ll be looking into this over the next week while I’m on holidays. Unfortunately, Democracy doesn’t do everything I’d like it to do, and the creator hasn’t updated it for a very long time. There are some features that I’d like to see, so I may have a look at modifying the code myself and adding those features.
Posted by Stropp on
December 27, 2007
It’s been almost a year since I bought the Burning Crusade expansion pack, and I just dinged 61.
That must be the record for the longest time taken to get from 60 to 61. There was that French dude who, with the help of his guild and I expect a reasonable amount of stimulants, made 70 in under a day. Now there is the slowest time to 61… by yours truely.
In retrospect it was unfortunate that I burned out on World of Warcraft shortly after The Burning Crusade was released. I was looking forward to exploring the new content. But it arrived in the midst of guild drama, a period where everybody was just waiting on the expansion, and noone wanted to really do anything. In a lot of ways, that affected my gaming experience through much of the year, to the point I didn’t enjoy some great games like LotRO as much as I could have.
I’m approaching WoW differently this time. I’m feeling a lot more casual about it. While I’d like to see all the content, I doubt I’ll do so. I have absolutely no desire to get on the raid-a-go-round and hammer the same instances over and over again just to gear up so that I can do the same process in higher level instances. That pretty much counts out seeing that content.
There are plenty of quests on Hellfire Peninsula to get through. I’ve ground through quite a few to get to 61, but there’s a lot more to do. They’re well set out for the most part and I’m enjoying working through them. Previously, I barely read the quest text. I just read enough to figure out what to do, and then I’d do it. This time around I’m looking at the story behind the quests. It’s a lot more fun doing it that way.
As I wrote a week or so ago, I’ve respecced as Beastmaster. I never really spent a lot of time looking at that tree before, as I was more concerned with the Marksman and Survival trees. So, I’ve got a job ahead figuring out what to put my points in.
I’ve also started to pick up a bunch of new green armor pieces. Some of the stats on these pieces blow away the stats on my old blue armor, but not all the new pieces are tougher than the old with a higher armor rating. Even with better stats, I’m not that keen to dump armor with a higher armor rating for a piece with a lower armor rating. I figure it’s still early, so I should find some good pieces in the next couple of levels.
Now, if all goes well, I should make 62 in much less than a year.
Posted by Stropp on
December 25, 2007
It’s just turned midnight here in Adelaide, which means that it’s Christmas morning!
After putting up the new theme I spent a bit of time wrapping Christmas presents, the bulk of which are for my four year old nephew. I like seeing him open his pressies. Each new parcel unwrapped brings an expression of pure surprise and joy, there’s nothing better as far as I’m concerned. Oh to be that age again.
So here’s wishing you all a very happy Christmas, and hoping that it’s a great time of family and friends with all the joy of the season.
Posted by Stropp on
December 24, 2007
A couple of weeks ago DM Osbon made the astute observation that another Stropp’s World theme was on the way when I remarked that I had downloaded a bunch of WordPress info only to have my computer die the next day. How right he was.
At the time I was just planning an update. Over the last couple of weekends, and through last week I’ve been working on getting the new theme working.
It’s based on the Galactica theme by Web2Feel. I was struck by the look of that theme the first time I saw it, but it didn’t really have what I was after in a theme. So, I’ve heavily modified it from the original style. Some of the graphics, including the banner image, and the colour scheme remain from the original theme, but much of the layout has been changed and new parts added.
I’ve coded in a few plugins as well, including a top commentors plugin, a popular posts plugin, and a similar posts plugin. You’ll find the top commentors and popular posts in the sidebar, and the similar posts at the end of each single page post. You’ll also notice that the monthly archives, categories, and blogroll is on a panel at the bottom of the page.
I’ve also taken the step of having partial posts on the front page. It’s something that I’ve noticed other blogs doing, and which I’ve been considering for quite some time.
There is also another new feature on this blog. You can now get Stropp’s World delivered to your email inbox. This is a relatively new service offered by Feedburner where a reader can subscribe by providing their email address to Feedburner. Note that you’re not giving me your email address here, it’s Feedburner who do the mail out. Feedburner are pretty reputable by all accounts.
This is a pretty big overhaul of Stropp’s World. There’s been quite a bit of restructuring and coding been done. It’s likely there will be a few kinks to be worked out, in fact I’ve already spotted a couple of issues.
There were also a few things that I was considering putting in, but haven’t yet. I was looking at threaded comments and some additional styling for the comments, as well as some graphical headers for the posts. I’ll be looking at these over the next little while, as well as additional tweaks as I reconsider different things. I’ll admit I was somewhat impatient in wanting to get this theme out the door.
If you spot anything out of place, feel free to contact me using the contact form, or leave a comment.
I’d appreciate your feedback.
Posted by Stropp on
December 23, 2007
Well, not quite busted. But it looks like they are the subject of a pretty serious investigation by the Florida AG in relation to.
Unfair methods of competition, unconscionable acts or practices, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct or trade of any commerce…
Wired and Massively are both reporting that the Florida Attorney General has issued a subpoena (pdf) to the gold selling company IGE. The subpoena directs IGE to produce all documents and evidence related to the distribution, marketing, promotion, pricing or sale of World of Warcraft gold. In fact, it looks like the Florida AG is going to be looking into all aspects of IGEs business, including the role of Affinity Media.
Now, I’m not really sure, but isn’t Affinity Media the arm of IGE that controls all of the gaming websites that IGE have bought up? I think these include big sites like Allakhazam and World of Warcraft specific sites like Wowhead and Thottbot, which are part of the ZAM Network which is owned by Affinity Media.
IGE has in the past been accused of a lot of fairly naughty behaviour. Some of the things I’ve read about how they became so big in the gold selling business could have been scripted into a telemovie about the life and times of a Mafia boss. Threats and intimidation, rolling over competitors, all appear to be a part of the M.O of IGE, at least according to what’s been written about them. We all know, or should know, the risks of dealing with gold sellers. This subpoena should be reinforcing that.
For one thing, it also appears that the AG is going to be examining credit card records. Does that mean that the records of ordinary WoW players who have bought gold are going to be given to the goverment? Will these records somehow end up in Blizzards hands? What action will Blizzard take against these players if they do find out which players bought gold?
Some interesting questions indeed.
Posted by Stropp on
December 16, 2007
If you spend your spare time developing add-ins for World of Warcraft, other than spare time spent playing WoW that is, you might be interested to know that Microsoft has just the thing to make add-in development much nicer.
For years now, software developers have been using all manner of means to develop software. Windows C/C++/C# developers have been lucky to use the Visual Studio IDE, that’s Integrated Development Environment, to assist with the art of writing programs. In fact I’m one of those developers. I’ve used the Visual Studio products for around a decade now I reckon.
So my ears pricked up when I saw an announcement for a Visual Studio extension called Addon Studio for World of Warcraft. It’s available through the Codeplex website which is Microsofts open source hosting site.
It uses the Visual Studio 2008 Shell to provide the following functionality. These points have been taken from the Codeplex page.
- AddOn Studio includes a set of toolbox controls that you can drag-and-drop onto the designer to visually design the layout of your addon including popular Visual Studio features like Snap lines which enable you to visually align controls.
- AddOn Studio includes a powerful Lua code editing environment including syntax highlighting, colorization, collapsible functions, built-in IntelliSense support for Warcraft functions and events, IntelliSense Code Snippets for common Lua language constructs, code navigation features like bookmarks and Go To Declaration, and all IDE settings are customizable.
- AddOn Studio provides built-in support for FrameXML schema validation for addon developers who want to manually edit and customize FrameXML markup.
- AddOn Studio also takes the hassle out of building the Table of Contents (TOC) file by automatically building it based on what files are in your project.
- The Addon Studio property window shows all of the properties and events available for a Lua control or frame and enables one-click creation of event handlers like a button_OnClick event.
- AddOn Studio includes lots more features including project templates for creating Ace2 addons, automatic deployment to your Warcraft directory, Task Window, Error List for FrameXML and Lua parsing errors, TGA and MP3 file format support, powerful search-and-replace features, and its fully extensible so that developers can build additional tools and editors to improve addon development.
The Visual Studio Extensibility Team blog also has a post up hailing the release of Addon Studio for World of Warcraft. Along with the details it has the following video of the recent TechEd conference where the Addon Studio for World of Warcraft was demonstrated to many cheers. Here it is.
Video: World of Warcraft with Halo 3 Sounds using AddOn Studio
While the video certainly makes it look like a snap to develop an add-in for WoW, I’m not sure it would be quite so simple. Writing a useful
add-in would be a little more difficult that a five minute practiced demo. But I have no doubt the whole development process would be made much easier with this tool.
If you develop World of Warcraft add-ins, I’d like to hear what you think about this tool. Will you switch from your current method for creating add-ins, or are you not impressed?