Wednesday, May 8, 2013

News Round-Up

News is not my thing, but sometimes a bunch of stuff comes along that demands attention.

Domino, the ex-EQ2 Crafting Dev has a blog that she rarely updates. It's on my blogroll but in no time at all today's entry will be pushed down out of sight by the many much more prolific bloggers and this is a post that deserves not to be missed.

In thirteen years of playing MMOs, Domino is the games designer who I have seen have the most dynamic, incontrovertible impact on any game I've played. With the blessing of Scott Hartsman, himself by far the most effective games producer I'm aware of, Domino took EQ2 crafting by the scruff of the neck and shook it into something tantamount to a game within a game.

Her introduction to the 2006 Ten Ton Hammer interview she reproduces says more about the MMO genre than a hundred Ask Me Anythings ever will. When she says "The dev team didn't have anybody who really understood what the players in this niche wanted" its like Toto pulling back the curtain.

I was beta-ing whichever EQ2 expansion was Beghn's last hurrah as EQ2 tradeskill dev and I vividly remember staring in disbelief at some of the things he was doing. In the interview Domino is incredibly professional even before she was a professional but I think the feelings of the craft community back then show through even so. Beghn was just awful. We would willingly have taken anyone instead of him and as we began to realize what we'd got when we got Domino in his place we literally could not believe our luck.

Incredibly, the same thing happened in EQ1 when Naiami Denmother's husband, the House Ogre Ngreth, took over from whoever had the revolving tradeskill seat before him. As far as I know Ngreth is still there. SOE take a ridiculous amount of stick largely because of that one terrible event when the NGE was imposed on Star Wars Galaxies (something that probably should properly be laid at the door of LucasArts) but my strong belief is that, as a company, they really do try to do the best they can. These two appointments prove it.

Then there's the announcement that the upcoming City of Steam beta will be open to all. This is reported on Massively by Syp and I'm more than willing to take his and their word for it, although I see nothing to that effect on the official website.

I don't want to oversell City of Steam but I've been writing about it since I was fortunate enough to stumble across it in pre-alpha. It just clicks with me. Unless something very strange happens, expect to see much more about it here after what we must now surely call Open Beta begins in  a couple of days' time.

Finally there's the latest video from ArenaNet. The two people involved seem very nice and I really don't want to say anything snarky, but let's just say watching it made me go "Oh, that explains everything!"

That's all from me, I'm off to DinoStorm, about which more soon.


  1. I listened to the WarTower interview with those two Anet storywriters... as a lore nerd I LOVE learning story bits like this but it seems like most of this 'storytelling' is in the heads of the writers and not in the game itself...

    1. Yep, although even that may be giving them too much credit. There's a particularly telling moment in the video when Angel McCoy starts to explain how the Dredge are totally opposed to anyone who opresses others while the Flame Legion are opressors. She says "they had to overlook all of this to make an alliance which would make both sides more powerful". As I'm struggling to process that doublethink she follows with a complete non-sequiter that presumably she thinks explains how the Dredge betrayed their entire ethos but which actually just tells you what they did as a result of having betrayed it.

      That ANet not only operate at this muddled level of thinking but actually use examples of it in their promotional material explains an awful lot about why so much of GW2 makes so little sense.

    2. The Dredge are oppressed themselves, most of them just don't realize it yet. Their leadership is a military dictatorship that keeps them constantly afraid of the outside world in order to keep the populace in line and building up military might. The storyline of Sorrow's Embrace and some of the Dredge Rebel events Frostgorge go into that more deeply.

      The issue is, chronologically does F&F take place after the despotic Dredge leadership have been taken down by players, or before? If before, I could see how an allegiance could get arranged. Afterward, however, when ostensibly they start catching on to how their fears are basically unfounded and their Dear Leaders have been enslaving them just as much as the dwarves did, it's not very believable.

    3. They do constantly mention Gaeharon Baelfire, who you *SPOILERS*

      Kill in the CoF story

      *End SPOILERS*

      So chronologically I'm assuming it happens before the dungeon stuff.


  2. ...and, maybe, why a lot of us just sort of throw up our hands, don't pay too much attention to the dialog, click and just go kill stuffs -- pew pew pew! Convoluted is one thing, contradictory is another. I, for one, don't try to make _sense_ of the factions in I'm already used to expecting these "narratives" to make little or no sense. Kind of reminds me of when someone describes a new work as "character driven". That usually means there's no actual story. Lotta cool characters here, tho', eh?

    -- TRG, Antonia Bayle

  3. Oh, and thanks for the tip on Domino's blog.

    -- TRG

    1. You're welcome! As a lifelong comics fan I'm adept at ignoring blatant continuity errors and contradictory backstory. MMOs tend to have the clearest of throughlines in comparison.


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