In MMOs, faster, easier leveling is a poor substitute for engaging leveling. The goal should be to make your game always fun to play, not fun to play through once and then help people speed past or skip the “boring parts” on future runs through.
In MMOs, faster, easier leveling is a poor substitute for engaging leveling. The goal should be to make your game always fun to play, not fun to play through once and then help people speed past or skip the “boring parts” on future runs through.
This isn’t a condemnation of the monthly subscription model for MMOs. In fact, I think it is still a great thing, and preferable to the heavy handed item stores than some games use instead of a subscription. However, over the past couple of months I’ve come to realize that as much as I love MMOs, games with a subscription model are largely a waste of my money.
Why? Well, back in the day, I started playing Ultima Online and I gladly paid their subscription because I played every day (almost). The same was true of EverQuest and of all the games that followed. Some games I didn’t stick with for very long, a few months or a year, but even then when I was paying I was playing. In the last year or so I have taken up a number of other activities, such as more reading, programming in my off time, writing, playing console games, and more. The net result is that my MMO playing time has become fairly erratic. One month I may play an hour or two every weekday and a couple of longer sessions on the weekend, the next month I may not log in at all.
Its the not logging in at all part that ends up bothering me. I hate paying for something I don’t use. Sure, I can just cancel and resubscribe when I want to play, but doing that is a hassle. On the other hand, I didn’t play Wizard 101 at all in November and it cost me exactly zero dollars and I didn’t have to cancel.
I’m not saying that Free-to-Play is the wave of the future and all games need to do that, however there is a disparity in the subscription model. It’s like going to an all you can eat buffet, paying the $10 and then only eating about $1.75 worth of food because you weren’t really hungry. I wouldn’t mind seeing some games in the US adopt the pay by hour model used in the Asian markets. I’d love to be able to buy a block of X game hours for Fallen Earth, and if I don’t log in for a month, I don’t use any hours, and when I do log in, all my hours are still there, waiting for me to use them. No canceling, no resubscribing, just easy. It would even be great if a game supported both models. Let people subscribe for $15 a month for unlimited play if they don’t want to worry about how much or how little they play, let people who don’t want a recurring payment and don’t mind watching their hours buy 75 hours for $15 ($0.20 per hour) instead.
I will say that the one thing the subscription model does is prevent me from maintaining active accounts in multiple games. I’d love to be able to pop in to EQ or DAoC or any of a number of other games for a couple hours once in a while, but re-upping for a full month of subscription makes the whole thing simply not worth it. However, if all those old games had a pay by hour model, I’d gladly toss $5 on there every now and then in order to keep some hours available for those days when I just want to go play something different.
All this hoping and wishing aside, however, the fact remains, as of today I am officially finished with monthly subscription MMOs. I want to play a number of them but I just can’t justify the cost given the amount of time I’ll play and the little spare money I’ve got for entertainment.
From a developer/producer standpoint, consider this. While the need to unsubscribe might garner you a couple extra months of fees from me before I realize I’m not playing and cancel, the need to resubscribe if I’d like to put my toe back in the water is very likely to keep me from coming back.
When it comes to Dragon*Con, four hours sleep is a lot. And remember, you can’t be hung over if you are still drunk. Really, it doesn’t take much too keep yourself going all day, that canteen I have isn’t water, its vodka and Crystal Light Lemonade, because, you know, I’m trying to watch my diet.
The day begins with a car alarm. I shit you not. Not even seven in the A.M. and there is an annoying *BEEP BEEP* alarm that I can hear… in my room… on the 38th floor. Jeez… So, once awake, I figured I’d just stay up. Three hours later I’d find myself sitting in the Free MMOs panel, listening to Krystalle tell us about some nifty free MMOs some of which I knew about and some of which I did not. Expect to see a few of them tested out and reviewed here, because these days in this economy I am all about the free.
Made my way over to the Hyatt for a panel on How To Draw Monsters. Interesting stuff, will definitely utilize some of that in my Saturday doodles when they return. While I was in the area I sped through the Art Show… Some people like to take their time and carefully examine the art, but I’ve been to enough Dragon*Cons that, no offence to the artists, I’ve seen most of this before, either exactly these before or items very similar. Lots of the same artists with the same styles they always have, and almost all of it is incredible stuff… but its not new, and most of it is not the kind of thing you stand considering for hours letting the emotion of the piece work into your soul… its fantasy art, with dragons, and women showing boobs, and guys with swords, and little monsters, and fairies, and women as the seasons, and aliens, and henna, and Celtic knots, and all the stuff you would expect. Good stuff, but at this point I can speed through the hall and if it doesn’t jump out and grab me then I’ve probably seen it before. This year didn’t even have one of those awesome miniatures scenes I’ve enjoyed from the last couple years.
I also took this opportunity to make a first trip through the exhibit halls… much like the art show, it is a lot of the same stuff every year. As is typical, I spent a little time in some of the book sellers looking for deals or books I’m missing, but overall, great stuff that I’ve seen before and so really easy to speed through.
Then it was off to the MMO Roundtable. People from Cartoon Network, CCP Games, Funcom, Hi-Rez Studios, and Sony Online Entertainment answered questions about the MMO industry. Lots of good stuff here. I ran in Ferrel from Epic Slant, and he gave me a t-shirt. Woohoo! Free stuff rocks!
With my head full of MMO industry goodness, I wandered over to Watch the Guild where we did exactly that: watched season one and two uncut. It was interesting to see each season without the breaks, the credits for every short segment. It played well. Ms. Day was great. Being that she’s a bit of a geek herself and a big reader, she seems to really like Dragon*Con, so hopefully this means she’ll make many returns, even if it means she has to miss PAX.
It is important to break for dinner prior to going out to party and drink. I did so, and then did so. Frankly, as much as I love the MMO track people and the MMO track, the WoW Party getting the giant room was a huge waste when you consider to do so meant pushing the BSG party into a piddly half-ballroom. They reach max capacity very fast and had a massive line. Seriously, on the first Dragon*Con after the series ended, did they expect attendance to diminish? Its the funeral, the big send off… BSG had a huge turn out. The show may be over, but fans always swell and linger at the end. The Firefly Shindig, forced to use just half a ballroom as well was in a similar boat, though not anywhere near at severe. Meanwhile, I strolled right in to the WoW party, took one of the many empty seats and almost immediately got up to leave. I wanted to party, but I couldn’t get in to the good parties… so instead I resorted to the Marriott lobby, people watching while sipping spirits. I did manage to run into and catch up with quite a few friends, but still, I’d rather have been able to get into a party instead. That said, I still enjoyed myself and made it well beyond 3AM of another day at the Con.
Day two ends as day two should, exhausted and drunk. Not the highest of highs, but high enough.
This will be my one and only post on the game Wizard 101 under the Freeloading heading on this blog.
Back when this game was under development, I got an invite into beta. The basics of the game are a collectible card game, not unlike Magic: The Gathering or other similar games, but to speed up the process they’ve removed the concept of land and resources and replaced them with hit points and mana which you have from the start and carry around like any other MMO. I immediately liked the game. One, because it was so vastly different from the MMOs that I had played thus far, and also because it seemed like a great game for kids. Not that I have kids or anything, but I respected the hell out of the game because they obviously chose their market and built a game nearly perfectly designed for that market. That doesn’t happen as often as it should with MMOs. Usually MMOs start off very generic and then through beta testing they start tailoring the game to some demographic for launch, which is often not the same demographic they will court over the life of the game. But Wizard 101 started in one place and have stuck with it, and done it well. That said, when the game exited beta and launched, I didn’t play… because I was playing other games at the time and this one just wasn’t what I was looking for.
First, let’s get technical. I’ve got a 2.3Ghz single core processor, 2GB RAM, and a GeForce 7900 GS. Its an older PC, probably two years at this point, and it wasn’t exactly top of the line when I got it. Wizard 101 runs like a dream. It is fast, loads quick, and never lags. I’ve stood in the Commons with easily 50 or more players on my screen and everything moves fluidly. And the game looks great. Sure, its not FarCry level of realistic detail, its cartoony, like World of Warcraft but aimed more at kids. And I’m running at the highest levels of detail with the best textures all at 1920 x 1200 resolution. More games need to be able to do this. Now on to game play…
As with the other game currently appearing in the Freeloading heading, my goal with Wizard 101 was to play without paying. So I loaded the game up and my beta character was still there. Level 5 (I think), wearing only gear that he’d gotten playing the game as I had never bought anything. I’d played through all the content of Unicorn Way in the beta (well, almost all, it seems that a couple of quests had been added since, but those didn’t take any time at all to finish off). I don’t remember how long it took me to accomplish that, but I can’t imagine it took me more than a couple or three days, maybe 8 hours of play at the most. So, what remained was Golem Court, Triton Avenue and the Haunted Cave. Every other door was either locked or would present me with a screen asking me to buy the area or a subscription. Three days. Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday Morning. That’s how long it took me to finish up every single quest I could find that didn’t require entry into an area that wasn’t free, so if I had been starting with a new fresh character it probably would have taken a week. But then again, this game wasn’t made to be played hardcore like this. It’s designed to be done in small chunks, a quest or two at a time.
One of the most awesome things about Wizard 101 is that if you need help fighting a boss that is too difficult and there is no one around (likely because the game put you on a lower population server when you logged in) you can go to the options screen and switch to another server or another copy of your area, literally within seconds (one loading screen, which is even faster than other loading screens because you’ve already loaded the zone). This made getting stuck nearly impossible. I’d get to a door to a boss and wait a few seconds, look around, and if I didn’t see anyone heading my way, click click click, I’d be on another server. If there was still no one around, I had to wait 60 seconds to be able to switch servers again. It never took more than 2 or 3 server hops to find someone else standing at the boss’s door and we’d go in and fight together.
Much like Free Realms, Wizard 101′s greatest weakness is its social interaction. Being a game aimed at kids, they’ve put in plenty of parental controls and the only way to ensure that another player can read what you say is to stick to the canned text. Click the word bubble icon in the upper left of the screen and navigate the menu to find something like “I need healing” or “Let’s go fight [insert quest monster here]!” If you type your own words, you run the risk of people seeing only “…” which is what the game replaces questionable text with. The most important use of the friend list isn’t actually to keep track of your friends, but to use the “Teleport to Friend” function to get through a door you can’t get through on your own. Not into pay areas for free, I tried, but some boss doors will not be available to you if you have not gotten to that part of the quest chain yet. Instead, the person with the quest invites you as a friend, they enter, then you use the teleport function to join them. My friends list is full of people I used or that used me to get inside towers. I practically jumped out of my chair the first time I encountered a person who was actually chatting. We talked for about a minute, but they had to log out. Its been nothing but canned text ever since.
Again, like Free Realms, even with the social aspects so weak, the game is actually quite fun to play. Like any collectible card game, there is strategy to building decks, choosing your cards to include, and strategy in the order to play them, and game knowledge of what monsters have what cards and guessing the builds of their decks. Especially if one gets into the PvP arena area of the game, I can easily see this being many long hours of building decks and playing matches. I messed around in the practice area myself and quickly realized that if I wanted any real challenge I would need to pay to get access to the ranked arena as my deck simply blew away most of the people I played with. (Hint: as most card gamers know, a fat deck is not always better, I use the Starter Deck that has less slots so I can more predictably get the cards I want, reducing the luck of the draw.)
The one place that Wizard 101 really shines over Free Realms is how they do their unlocking. Both offer a subscription that unlocked all game content, Wizard 101′s is more expensive by a couple dollars, but Wizard 101 does not lock any classes or cards (at least that I’ve run into) requiring membership to use. Free Realms is lousy with them. Probably 60% of items I get from questing in Free Realms I can’t use as a free player. Wizard 101 also allows you to buy areas, unlocking them forever. So if you want to go to Firecat Alley, you can buy it for 750 crowns (in game cash) which equates to about $1.50, less if you buy crowns in bulk.
And this is why this post will be Wizard 101′s one and only appearance under the Freeloading heading. Where Free Realms hasn’t yet convinced me to spend any money on it at all, yesterday I dropped $10 on Wizard 101 for 5000 crowns so I could unlock more areas to play in. I’ve heard you can unlock the entire game for $80 (with the exception of the arena, which you pay per fight or per day, or subscribe for unlimited play). That is about the best review I can give a Free 2 Play game: it hooked me enough to give them money. You win, Wizard 101. You win.
I am a big fan of the idea of having one world for MMOs, and I don’t mind if they use instances to achieve it. The biggest concern when it comes to breaking the world up that way is the potential loss of community. If all 100,000 of your users are on the same world, and they all go to town at once, your game might have 100 instances of that town (as opposed to needing 100 servers to make sure your population levels are such that town doesn’t exceed 1,000 players at a time), the worry is that the 1,000 people you are in the instance with will likely never be the same 1,000 the next time this happens. Even if only enough people ever go to town that never more than 5 instances are needed, the chance you run into the same people over and over is pretty low.
Fact is, even on a game that limits players to 10,000 per server, no one knows everyone. But finding your 100 “friends” out of 10,000 is easier than 100,000 or 1,000,000, even easier when only a portion of that 10k plays in your timezone. An instanced game gets even worse if you leave town and enter an instance designed for 75 people max, the chances you’ll play with the same 75 people is even smaller. So how do you meet new people and make friends? How does a community build when everyone shares?
It would be nice if someone could take the one world/instance design and then pair it up with a player matching algorithm, so that if you play with someone in a group or raid for any signifigant length of time they’d earn a rank, and you can flag players as good or bad, coupled with your friends list resulting in the game choosing an instance with the highest matching score. This way, you would tend to play with people you’d played with before, except of course when the game cannot let you (instances exist for a reason, and sometime you just can’t let more people in), but you can allow for player overrides so even if the game chooses to put you in Wilderness Instance 27, you can swap to join a player you know who is in Wilderness Instance 19, or they you.
Its a thought… just need to figure out how to build it…
Last night we said goodbye to 2007, and good riddance. Not that 2007 did anything wrong, but come on, who wants some old year hanging around when we’ve got a nice shiny new year sitting right here!
Looking back 365 days at the welcoming of 2007, lets examine how my predictions and premonitions worked out…
First, I’m still using electronic billing for everything but my garbage collection, so I can look forward to another smooth date transition as again I won’t be writing enough checks to accidentally keep writing the wrong year on.
Next, I said I’d eat better… and I have… a little… I get salads when we eat out sometimes, and I’m eating more fruits and veggies. Overall, I’ve shed ten pounds that I’ve managed to keep off in the last year. Yeah, I’m still pushing the needle on the scale over to the “hefty” side, but it doesn’t go as far as it used to. Another few years of this and I’ll be positively svelte!
Onward… MMOs and computers… I did actually cave and got new PCs for the wife and I. I did buy the WoW expansion, and messed around with it. I played the Vanguard beta, and it sucked. I bought a Wii. I bought a 360. And I am, in fact, pretty much done with the PC as a gaming platform, sort of. I canceled all my MMO subscriptions and nothing on the horizon is blowing my skirt up. I apply to every beta that I can and I participate in those trying to help them make a better game, but in the end they all end up not interesting me enough for me to make the buy. The MMO I’m most playing right now is actually Urban Dead which is about as far from WoW as you can get without actually dialing up a BBS to play TradeWars 2002 (which is officially 6 years ago now… where is my intergalactic trade federation? huh? when I see a Presidential candidate address that issue, I’ll know who to vote for). For my fantasy gaming fix, my bi-weekly group has continued to meet and our campaigns progress quite nicely. They may not be massively multiplayer, but they sure are more fun than the current slate of MMOs.
Lots of superhero books did come out, almost all of them for established comic book characters, and I didn’t finish any of my own projects.
I said that the business front was “looking pretty good”, my exact words. The key word here turned out to be “looking”. I’ve come to realize that a person whom I have always believed was only smoke and mirrors is in fact only smoke and mirrors, in a manner of speaking, his machinations and manipulations in the end are much ado about nothing. I keep pressing the Escape key, but I’m still here.
So… what does 2008 look like from here, the first day of the year?
Same Old Shit, ladies and gentlemen. I suspect in 2008 I will write even less checks (garbage company might start taking credit soon), I will manage to drop another ten pounds (at least), I will continue to play betas but not buy MMOs (I’m pretty sure all the games I might buy will get delayed to 2009 anyway), I will play console games (the ones I already play and new ones coming out all the time, why, the Christmas season alone has produced a good eight or nine games I don’t own that I want to play), there will be more superhero books and business will continue to “look good” while actually being anything but (although, this year as new budgets are approved and hiring goes into higher gears I’m actually working with a recruiter, the only one recently to actually get me interviews).
New resolutions? I resolve to actually rake the yard (provided Georgia lifts its burn ban so I can dispose of the leaves myself, bagging sucks). I resolve to finish building the bar (we have the cabinets, now we just need to put them in and make the counter tops). And I resolve to stop buying crap I don’t need (seriously, I spend too much money on stuff when I should focus on convincing other people to buy it and then lend it to me). I’d make more resolutions, but then I will feel worse when I fail to do them all.
Oh, and if somehow Fred Thompson actually becomes President, I’ll eat my hat… and then I’ll begin weekly posts about how he should just round up Lt. Cmdr. Tom Farrell, Jack Ryan, Ray Levoi, John McClane, and the Law & Order guys and go straighten out all this Middle East stuff. But that is the extent of my campaign promises…
So, welcome 2008! Please don’t hit me in the junk!
An idea that I always come back to that I wish MMOs would figure out a way to feasibly implement would be to allow a player to have only one character (or one character per server). My main reason for liking this idea are for community and accountability. If people are who they always are, its easier to find them, to remember them, and reputations have a much better chance of sticking.
However, building a game that only allows one character would necessitate design changes to the existing paradigms, or major overhauls in player expectations. Assuming I can stick with this theme for a bit, I’m going to examine different elements of existing MMOs and how they would benefit from and/or need to change for a single character per player (per server) design.
This inaugural entry is going to begin to cover what I think will be the biggest impact from a single character decision: alternate characters.
The issues brought up by not allowing alternate characters are many and deep. The first and foremost is education. If a player is new to MMOs, they may not be familiar with the various archetypes present in the genre, so when presented with a character creation screen they might be presented with descriptions of what a warrior or a cleric is, but without game experience they probably won’t understand what that description really means.
One thing I would propose would be introducing the concept of a “trainer module” to the game. A simulation of the game. Let players build a character for the trainer, any level, any skill set, any stats, any items. Then throw them into a randomly generated dungeon, an instance just for them completely detached from the game world. On one hand, this will give players a place to try out and understand characters. On the other hand, it also gives you and your players a tool for testing character builds for bugs and flaws.
If this worked out well for solo play, let players do the same thing but run through the dungeon with a group. Even PvP if you wanted. This might also be a good place to work on that LFG tool so players wanting to test can find each other. Hook it up to an IRC chat server and players can even sit around discussing the game. And if the multiplayer aspect of it works, you might even consider throwing in raid training.
The catch is, nothing is saved. These characters are not persistent. You leave and they are lost. You gain nothing. No experience points, no items, no badges, nothing. If you want to test a buid over and over, you have to rebuild it over and over. Maybe if people complain you could allow them to store builds, but that shouldn’t be a first priority, the major objective here is giving the players the ability to understand characters without investing hard work and time that they’ll get angry about later when they discover the character does not play the way they interpreted the description.
A good idea? A bad idea? Of course, no idea can exist in a vacuum, and future entries I plan to explore more options and issues.
Most MMOs have a monthly fee. Since Ultima Online, it has pretty much been the rule. Sure, you get the occasional one like Guild Wars that is free or some of the newer ones where you can start for free but the game has a velvet rope you cannot cross without paying (or in the case of Puzzle Pirates, making trades with people who paid). The current threshold for monthly fees is $15.
Tobold asks “How much would you pay per hour of WoW?”
It is a valid question, and one I’ve been thinking about recently. See, I just canceled my WoW account. Over the last couple of months, I have played very little. too much work, going to see movies, playing on the 360 and the Wii… it all adds up to not enough time to play WoW. But the problem isn’t just not being able to play WoW, it is that I was also maintaining accounts for City of Heroes/Villains and Lord of the Rings Online, and while paying $15 a month to not play WoW wouldn’t bother me horribly, paying $40 a month to not play 3 games begins to be a bit silly.
The way I see to fix that would be to switch to hourly charges. It would be nice if I didn’t have to pay to not play but could still keep my account active. And that comes from a purely lazy point of view. With my WoW account canceled, if the wife and I feel the urge to log in, we will first have to go reactivate accounts, and the time it takes to go to the web page, verify or enter credit card information, and then get back to the game… if we aren’t playing now because of a lack of interest, jumping through hoops to play isn’t going to help.
I would love to be able to maintain accounts in all the games out there, paying for only the time I play them and not having to actually cancel and reinstate my account every time I lose interest. Without a guaranteed monthly fee I probably would have bought Vanguard after I upgraded my PC. Without a guaranteed monthly fee, I probably would have bought EQ2. Many games have and probably will lose my box sale because I just can’t afford another monthly fee.
Now… on the other side of the coin… I understand why developers like that monthly fee. It is much easier to budget. “X” subscribed players times “Y” monthly fee equals “Z” incoming cash minus “A” service providing costs equals “P” profits, which can either be taken to the bank, or reinvested into the game, or into another game. If they had an hourly charge, you might have “X” players, but only 30% of them might play more than 50 hours a month, and another 30% might play less than 5. The player numbers and revenue wouldn’t be a nice smooth pretty graph, it would be covered in spikes for revenue and it would be a never ending climb to the stars for player accounts. (Hint: the “total residents” in that link does not equal “paying subscriber”.)
I think I would even be willing to settle for a minimal account management fee, of about $1 or $2 per game, with an hourly fee above that for the time that I play. But how much is too much per hour? Without any kind of fixed fee, I think Tobold is pretty close to dead on with 25 cents per hour. If they tacked on a small fixed fee for the account, 10 or 15 cents an hour would be more appropriate.
Either way, I would love to have more active games and more options to play, if only I could afford to keep them all.
Okay, let us begin, as always, with a disclaimer… I hate Ventrilo and all the other software voice chat stuff people use for MMOs and whatnot. There is just something I feel is clunky about using a tool that is outside the game, and if there is one thing I am a big proponent of is putting tools in the game for the players (any game without an in-game notepad annoys me, I don’t want my desk covered in notes, let me put them in the game).
To that end, what I would really like to see is a move toward “realistic” voice chat in game. I wouldn’t do away with text chat entirely, because text works much better than voice for managing multiple rooms or private chats. And, to a degree, I don’t mind if interaction with NPCs for quests and stuff has to stay text based, that’ll come later if a game can manage what I want.
The first step is to build a sound engine and structures within the game engine to support distance with sounds. For a simplified system, lets just say there are 4 levels of sound: Whisper, Normal, Loud, Yell. Roughly equating these to distances: 5 feet, 15 feet, 30 feet, 100 feet (this might need some adjusting as this is just off the top of my head stuff). Every sound effect in the game has a sound level attached to it. When a sound plays, the appropriate distance from the sound emitter is calculated and the sound will be played for every listening object (mostly players) in that range, at the appropriate level. What that last clause means is that something said at “Normal” level doesn’t just travel 15 feet and stop, it travels 15 feet at Normal, and then another 7.5 at Whisper. A Yell would travel 100 feet at Yell, 50 feet at Loud, 25 feet at Normal, and 12.5 feet at Whisper. Then, you build “echo” objects that will repeat any sound they “hear”
Okay, now that you have it so sound plays at distance and have echoes, the next step is to make NPCs react to sound. Imagine what games like EverQuest or World of Warcraft would be like if your footsteps made sound and the monsters could hear you. Pretty cool, eh? You can bet suddenly people would stop running and jumping to get everywhere.
After that, you can get real tricky by utiliting modified echo objects linked together to work like a walkie-talkie or cell phone. I whisper at my end, and even though you are 500 yards away my whisper comes out your end as a whisper (perhaps even with static or other sound modifications added to it).
I know this won’t be easy, as its not a simple sound stream, but I’d love to see it done. Anything that moves MMOs away from the feel of a graphical chat room and adds more spacial awareness is good to me.
So, how did you ring in the New Year?
Me? I went to my brother’s house because he and his wife were having a party. I was introduced to Dead Rising, which, honestly, was just plain mean since I don’t own an Xbox 360… now I’m going to have to go buy one. And I got to witness the Wii in person… now I’m going to have to go buy one of those too. There was food and drink, and there was karaoke. All I have to say is… I rock. We watched Dick Clark count in the last seconds of 2006, and mostly we were, as always, amazed by his recovery and saddened by the fact that he’s now a huge buzzkill for festivities.
Now that it is 2007, what does that mean?
Well, it used to mean putting the wrong date on my checks for a couple months, but I’ve switched over to electronic billing for everything but my garbage collection, and I only have to pay them every three months. As with every year, despite my loathing for New Year’s Resolutions, I’m still making a couple… mostly the same ones I always make. But I figure, if I have almost a dozen friends and family who have decided to quit smoking, I think I can manage working out three times a week and eating a little less crap.
Also in 2007… I think I’m almost done with PC games. Frankly, the alure of MMOs is finally wearing off. New games just don’t appeal to me much. WoW has been fun, and I still might pick up the expansion to play around, but most games on the horizon my computer can’t play (I’m in the Vanguard beta, or rather, I got accepted but I haven’t been able to log in and actually create a character), and rather than paying two thousand plus dollars to upgrade my and my wife’s machines, I think I’ll just invest that same money into a Wii, a 360 and an HD projection TV. And hey, bonus, the new TV makes watching movies and television shows better too. The list of non-MMO PC exclusive games has practically vanished, and with the consoles you never have to worry about compatibility issues.
I’m still interested in MMOs as a theory and design, but nothing out there for the next year is really gripping me. Largely it looks like the same old grind, and if I’m going to play in a fantasy world, I’d rather be sitting around a table with a half dozen friends these days instead of staring at my monitor pushing buttons for rewards.
It looks like 2007 is also going to bring a flood of superhero books to the market. I’m guessing the successes of Hollywood and both Marvel and DC’s initial forays into paperback books have paid off enough that it seems like a new book is coming out from somebody each week. Though, the landscape is still lacking in original material. Its all book adaptations of existing characters from the comic books. Perhaps in 2007 I’ll work toward changing that and actually finish a writing project or two.
And on the business front… lets just say that aught seven is looking pretty good.
Finally, we come to the end of my ramblings and musing, and I welcome you, heartily, to two thousand seven.
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