June 28, 2008
Lemme start off by saying that Everquest II has one of the best guild recruiting windows around, and they actually just added in some new filters to make it even easier for potential applicants to search for a good fit.
So I was wondering what a Guild Recruiting Faire would accomplish that the current guild window wouldn’t. And I couldn’t really come up with anything, other than the fact that there would be some fun and games that a Faire would bring. You know, that whole festival thing – booths and tents, games, silly prizes, firebreathers (Hey they have one in Maj’Dul, they exist!)
I popped out to the Antonica Claymore on Saturday morning, and saw this:
Zero recruiters, zero guild leaders. I went over and helped out the distressed merchant nearby, and then camped for a bit.
I assumed that it was too early in the morning, I tried back a little later on, around lunchtime. This time, there actually was one other person, a nice Kerran named Kayanarka.
He was afk, and I was bored, so I threw some pudding at him.
Then I threw some Brasse’s battle bread at him.
He finally returned from afk, and we shared a swig of the Queen’s Masquerade (it’s a neat illusion drink that turns you into various races every time you zone) There was also a rep from Legion of the White Rose there, but he was afk, and then camped. I threw stuff at him too.
Still no recruits, and we began to pitch our guilds to Ignar Steadirt.
I begged a couple of guildmates to come join us, and Zyphwar and Sindya headed over. Sindya was actually the one who made all the projectile puddings, battle breads, and cool illusion potions. When she arrived, we all “returned” her creations.
Night began to fall. Still no recruits, and no other guild leaders either. I set off a few fireworks anyway. Cheers.
Posted by jayernh under Archive | Comments (2)
June 26, 2008
It’s amazing how a simple toon name can take on your persona, and stick with you long after you have stopped playing that character.
I’m Jaye. Only, I’m not.
Above: Erika Prexian, monk on the Guk server in Everquest 2.
Currently, I’m Erika, the monk, when I’m in game, and Karen when I camp. But when I log in to Everquest 2, everyone still calls me Jaye, and my blog remains “Journeys with Jaye.” (Journeys with Erika isn’t catchy. Maybe Expeditions with Erika?) Heck, I remember a few guild meet-and-greets a few years back where people were calling me Jaye, face-to-face!
Above: Jaye, ranger on the Xeth server, in Vanguard.
It’s been fascinating to watch the evolution of the social community of EQ’s Prexus server over the years. We (and when I say we, I refer to the vocal minority that tends to post a lot and play the forum game) started out very formal on Prexus. EQ Stratics was where we first hung our hat, and the majority of posts were characterized by light roleplaying and lots of ambiguity. We “were” our characters, even when we were making a post. When there were flame threads about ninja looting and kill stealing, you got mad at “Gruff,” the Barbarian Warrior, or “Zappy,” the High Elf Wizard, instead of “Bob,” or “Sally.”
Eventually, a player run site called Prexus.com was born, and things began to change. It took a few years, and several dramatic threads, but eventually, people started to address each other directly, rather than by proxy through their toons. There was still some ambiguity, but it was fading quickly.
Finally, P.com went through a revolution of sorts, after it was bought out by Yantis, of gold-selling fame. The community completely abandoned the site, and relocated to a fresh site that was run by a Prexus player. Perhaps it was this jolt of reality intruding from the big move, or perhaps it was a growing cynicism when we slowly learned about “shims,” and “little brothers” who log in your account and always seem to do jerky things when you’re not looking. Whatever it was, the regulars to the Prexus community had completely dropped the facade of being their avatar, and posted to each other as if the toons didn’t exist at all. The air of formality was gone – topics started to stray away from the game itself and more towards real life – jobs, school, babies, and even politics. Of course, there was a segment of the community that chose to go even further, by posting racy photos, incriminating mistells, and even *gulp* webcam addresses. Not everyone followed along – my friend Renrikk the rogue still remains as silent and as mysterious as ever. But overall, I was amazed at how intimate the community had become.
Above: Jaye Wizziefingers, ranger of the Prexus server, in Everquest. (Third from the right, wearing the brown pointy-eared helmet)
I was talking to my friend Corka, and he brought up a great point about our community on Prexus. When people identified each other as individuals, rather than characters, the community matured a lot. The ability to hide behind the anonymity of an avatar was gone, and people actually had to behave! (more or less). That’s not to say that there still wasn’t an abundance of jerkiness in game, but I do think that those who visited the prexus forums tended to be a lot more respectful towards each other in game, because it’s hard to be a jerk to someone who had posted pictures earlier that day of their new child, or shared a story about their time overseas in the service.
Today, the Prexus forum is still very active, but laughter ensues when anyone actually makes a post asking a question about Everquest. “What do you think this is, a game forum?!” Most of the forum posters have been away from the game for years, yet the community is as strong as ever. I’m sure Prexus is not the only example of this, and someone, somewhere, should find a way to capitalize on it all, especially since WoW is about 20 times the size of Everquest, and is getting long in the tooth.
Above: The RDS (Ranger Death Squad) from Harmony of Souls, on the Prexus server in Everquest – Sydny, Jaye, Keauvas, Vizco, Azurill, Aalia, Caitlyn, Panas
Anyway, over in our guild right now, we have several players who go by one name, and are called a completely different name, because they are so closely associated with that particular avatar from games past:Mynervia, our dwarf paladin who drops what he is doing to watch the NASA channel, is not actually Mynervia, but Dunth (short for Dunthain, from Vanguard). Daalia, one of my trusted officers, is not actually Daalia, but Anda (short for Andaraiel, try spelling that ten times fast!) Zorko is an easy one – he’s Orko (Yes, he played a mage in EQ, a nice /hat tip to He-Man) Meopha is Corka, one of my best friends from EQ. Amirah is Mighty (Short for Mightydar from Vanguard).
Ratimos is Reighn, from Vanguard, but we like to call him McDreamy at times, since’s he’s a doc. Disonance is Rancorr, although I tend to add the prefix FU- to his name a lot. Keylee is Dacia, and Hearst is Bigs, BUT….Dacia can sometimes be Bigs as well! Figure that one out!
Lastly, Meri is Meri. She has like a thousand twinks, but she spared us the confusion by naming them all with Meri as the prefix (Meriwyn, Meribell, Merifillintheblank….) Pawz, meanwhile, was not so kind, and we see a new iteration of him fairly regularly. I’m not falling for it! He is, and will always be, Pawz.
There’s a part of me that misses the days when community felt so fresh and unexplored. I remember a bard named Stormtower in EQ, posting stories about a halfling bundling himself in a winter scarf and plodding along to Everfrost. At that time, I was a wood elf ranger named Jaye, proudly sporting my bright red tunic (forgot the name but it was a cool quested tunic), and working up the nerve to ask my paladin friend, Troval, about trying our hand at creating and running a guild. That was almost 10 years ago! With the growing increase in voice chat technology, it will be increasingly difficult for people to see each other as their in game avatars. But I suppose that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Even though there has been a big change in the social atmosphere of the games I play and the people I play with, it never ceases to fascinate me.
Posted by jayernh under Archive | Comments (9)
June 25, 2008
A day late (and probably a dollar short), I’m joining the pile-on of commentary over a recent interview that Dr. Richard Bartle gave to Michael Zenke from Massively/MMOGNation/Virginworlds Podcast Collective/A-bazillion-other-game-sites-and-podcasts.
Right now, the historian in me is crying. The blogger in me is disheartened. I’m getting the vapors, and yes, I’m exaggerating a tad.
Dr. Bartle could very well be wrong when he said those infamous words, “I’ve already played Warhammer. It was called World of Warcraft.” But argue his point, don’t treat him like an anonymous troll forum poster by calling him “Crazy,” “stupid,” “senile” or “Old Guard.” (Although Old Guard isn’t necessarily an insult, and to his credit, Moorgard did provide a good counter argument)
He’s not talking about little things, like how Warhammer might have screenshots that look like WoW. He’s talking about wholesale, fundamental, uprooting changes. He’s saying that there needs to be an MMO that pushes things so much, and does it so well, that it doesn’t even resemble the MMOs of today. He’s saying that somewhere down the road, there’s an MMO that will pull us in as much, if not moreso, than our “first love” MMO, whatever that may be.
The fact that his passing comment has generated so much outrage in the blogging community speaks more towards the current malaise than it does towards the issue of whether Bartle is irrelevant or not. My god, if I were working for EA Mythic right now, I’d be losing tons of sleep, because there are millions of MMO fans who are looking towards Warhammer as the second coming, and I’m not sure it’s even possible anymore for the game to live up to the fans’ expectations.
The part of the interview that is worth clinging to is this:
“…when you create it, you’re actually saying something through the design. What is it you’re trying to say? Why are you trying to say it? How are you trying to articulate something? This is from the designer’s point of view what I really want to know. What are they trying to say? Why have they done it this way? Did they know about the other ways?
They’re designers. They’ve got millions. They must have known about the other ways, but they didn’t do it the other way. They did it this way. Why did they do it that way?”
When I read this I thought of an English teacher I had in high school, who drove me crazy because he was always asking me to explain what a certain sentence or paragraph had to do with the rest of my paper. Sure, it might sound good, but how did it relate to the central thesis of my paper? In my head, the answer was “Who cares? It sounds good! @^#@%^f’n@%^#@” But I learned the hard way that an explanation like that doesn’t fly. It forced me to absorb other viewpoints, so I could better defend mine. That’s essentially what Dr. Bartle is saying, I think. In the case of MMOs, if you come up with a shiny, new, game mechanic, that’s nice! But how does it fit in, and push the boundaries of the MMO evolution? How can you move that First Down Marker without having a grasp not only of what came before you, but what is going on around you right now? Sure, you could have mounted combat on flying pigs, as Curt Schilling so brilliantly conceived, but A) what greater purpose does that serve in your game and B) how does that nudge the MMO species along the evolutionary highway? (Luckily, 38 Studios seems to understand this, although flying pigs would be neat)
Here’s where the blogging community comes in. I think one of the more important services that we offer is the ability to shed light on innovative ideas in MMOs. It’s impossible for game developers to chew on every single cool game feature that’s out there in current MMOs, yet it’s important for them to know it in order to make a revolutionary game. Bloggers like Van Hemlock have tried to expose the “nifty ideas” of current MMOs. There are lots of “trench” bloggers, who write about their experiences day to day, and who offer enormous insight into what’s great and what’s not about their MMO of choice. And there are the “big picture” bloggers, who have had a little taste of lots of MMOs, and who can provide lots of great commentary on the MMO movement as a whole. We do the legwork that game developers can’t – if we do it well.
Ten or fifty years from now, what we bloggers have written will be very valuable, just as Dr. Bartle’s writings from 19freakin83 are worth digesting. So what is your MMO footprint? (I hate myself for even typing that)
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