Monday, December 19, 2011

About the author.

I’ve played video games since they basically existed in the PC format. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the absolutely wretched that never even saw the light of day. Since my first round of playing Dark Castle and Elvira’s Castle, I’ve known I want to make these. I still do. And, I will.

Whenever I pontificate about upcoming features, a common reply to my words is ‘It would be great if they did that, but they won’t’. Well, I’m tired of ‘they’ not doing what should be done. When it comes to the future of MMO’s, I swear the computer game design world is wearing bifocals and I’ve got 20/20 vision. While I understand everyone has ‘ideas’ from time to time to ‘fix’ games, I’m sure no one has ideas this often and this innovative. I’ll be honest about my ego here, I sometimes feel I’m the Steve Jobs of MMO design, I know what people need and it’s not what they want.

I’ll be going over ideas, plans, possibilities, and balancing here, drilling down the points of an MMO you’ve probably thought of yourself, but even more that you haven’t thought of. So, if I have so many ideas, then one might ask why post them?

Plain and simple, someone might be able to pull one or two ideas off here, but without someone with real vision you’ll just implement a watered down version with none of the bite it needs. Of course, there’s also the shameless self-promotion plug, I will make these ideas a reality, but I’m not going to say no if some company wanted to hire me for this vision. I can guarantee you, no one can match what I can offer in the creativity field.

With that shameless self-plug over, back to the background. Yes, I’m a geek, nerd, whatever you’d like to call it. I don’t subscribe to TV, I prefer my entertainment to be interactive, not sitting and laughing/crying/answering questions at things on a non-interactive display. While I did dabble in consoles most my youth as most other geeks, I’ve grown almost entirely towards the PC, just because you can’t do a lot of things on consoles that you can do on PC’s. The only way that will change is if consoles become PC’s, which, let’s be honest, they are on their way there anyway.

My first MMO, which I fondly remember, is not even a graphic game. Dragonrealms, which I’ll often refer to as DR, was amazing, complex, and rich in content. Playing it on AOL, and then finally on the web, it had almost everything I wanted in a game. It’s actually still alive and well today, a subscription based mud that still has some players. Never heard of it or Simutronics, the company that makes it? Well, that same company also makes a little thing called the Hero Engine. I think we all know what current MMO uses Hero Engine. Hint, it’s star wars related.

Everquest was my first real graphic MMO. DR had thankfully taught me etiquette the proper way in an online game, as well as how to do complex classes. Ruins of Kunark was when I joined, and the class I played was a high elf enchanter. If you don’t know what that is, let me try to paint a picture of what that class was at that time. Pure crowd control. It was perhaps the only class that let groups take a lot more than one mob at a time, as well as the best at preventing a wipe. A pure utility class, soloing was rough but grouping quite easy. Everyone wanted you.

About halfway through Scars of Velious, I had returned to DR again to play with friends, but got enticed by my favorite genre, Science fiction made form in an MMO called Anarchy Online. Its story and ideas were quite good, and finally a game did instancing on a massive level with missions, not to mention random with rewards that you could ‘choose’. Again, I went utility, and chose an Engineer. My droid tanked so many things it was crazy, but in that same game I explored my love of crafting, even writing a guide and copyrighting it for said game. I explored using crafting as an experience source, even as a money source. So much was in this game, yet squandered so fast by bugs and what I believe bad direction. After a bit, there was another return to DR, and then onto another game which bad direction killed.

Yes my friends, I played Star Wars Galaxies at launch. Hands down, that resource gathering system still gave my crafting sides goosebumps I had only ever gotten in A Tale in the Desert. I don’t put that MMO in the list because I’ve never really played it long enough to count it, but it showed me what crafting could do, and SWG showed me what gathering could do. Alas, SWG didn’t keep me long, and lost me soon before the space expansion. Then, another return to DR, yet another return to EQ, and finally, the invite that changed a lot. My friend got me a beta invite into World of Warcraft Beta2.

WoW taught me a lot, and while they get a lot of stuff wrong, they do also get a lot right which I think they just don’t get credit for. While number of accounts is a number everyone throws around, I wonder how many vanilla’s are still around, or how many BC’s are still around. I’ve noticed somewhat of a natural progression in myself though in WoW. Yes, I rolled the hunter in vanilla. Leveled all the way to 60 in fairly good time, and then began gearing to raid. At that point on icecrown, though, the server raiding community essentially imploded after a big-guild sucked up most of the raid-ready 60’s and then collapsed, leaving a massive vacuum that forced a lot of people to desert the server. At this point, I had convinced friends to try the game, and moved with them to an RP server of all things (Three of them were heavy RPers).

There, I soloed, tried classes, grouped a bit, and found out very fast I have a completely different way of doing things. No one I have met has quested the same, leveled the same, not even approached their class the same. I thought I was just odd, or maybe my beta experience gave me an edge. Now I know that’s not the case, but that continued through BC. Toward the middle of BC, I joined a casual raiding guild, and began the quest into Karazhan. Here is where I think I really found out I was different. I consistently saw people being told what to do and how to do it, but, never me. I was even an oddly geared tank, going for avoidance over the then-king-mitigation. I pulled it off. Soon, I was an officer, which let me tell you, this is a scary thing to happen to someone who is more on the anti-social side. Now I know that I’m not antisocial, just asocial. Officer life was actually more fun for me, even with a guild-sundering and having to start a raid group from scratch, I continued to enjoy it, even becoming the raid lead. While we never made it too much past Zul’Aman’s third boss, we had fun. Then, enter Wrath.

In Wrath, my guild basically threw away raiding (being RP centered), and I floated over to a raiding guild I had done a few things with in BC. We were a 25-man guild, and I stuck it out all through Naxx and Ulduar. Ended up becoming an officer yet again, even a raid lead again, but soon after ulduar another shift in things and soon it was packing up and leaving for a new home. On my new server, I quickly found that starting my own guild just did not work.

Here is where I will say Blizzard does it wrong, guild creation, management, and advertising is wretched.

Soon after that failed attempt, I again sought out a raiding guild. Actually ended up being a decent one, got the third-server LK kill. However, even though I ended up being an officer, I had finally decided to go to the other faction after months of just no longer enjoying the current one. So, joined another guild, guild burned, reincarnated, burned, reincarnated again, and I find myself an officer and a raid lead yet again.

So, without further ado, let’s get to business here.

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