Friday, October 23, 2009

Guildwars - Blame Van Hemlock

I recently went back to playing Guild Wars, which I haven't done since the original game came out, even thou I bought the Nightfall CE and Eye of the North I haven't installed them until just now.

I've really been enjoying the game and its a good break from my normal MMO grind.

I have even gone so far as ordering the Factions CE, from Sweden of all places, the game just arrived and I'm planning on installing it this weekend.

So if your looking for someone to blame because I'm not in EQ2, blame Van Hemlock.


An answer to perserve your character

This is going to be a little different type of post for me

I listen to a number of gaming podcasts an one of the called Shut Up. We’re Talking. hit a nerve with their latest show #55. I actually had to go an listen to the show a second time just to go over everything again before I started writing this post.

The part that struck me was their first topic which was character deletion. Now like some of you, I started playing MMO’s back in EQ days, shortly after the game was released and continuously played up until the release of EQ2.

Now I currently have the all access pass so I can go back to EQ at anytime, I have even gone as far as keeping up to date with expansions, just call me crazy, but sometime I’ll have to face the fact that EQ may close (hopefully not for a long time).

This got me thinking, is there a way to preserve this data and in a way that a company will actually want to offer this service to people.

Now I’m going to talk from the EQ/EQ2 perspective(since it’s what I play the most), but this could probably be applied to any MMO.

When you start EQ or EQ2 one of the screens you have is the character select screen which displays your character in 3D with options of rotating your character and zooming in and out.

Any this is where my idea comes from, why couldn't SOE take your character data put it on a USB key and turn the character select screen into a screen saver type program that will display your character without needing to connect to the SOE servers.

You would be able to rotate and zoom in on your character, and you would also have the option to display the character creation date and number of hours played. Other things that should be included are a way to display character stats, a window that would allow the player to input a bio, plus and this is probably the most important part be able to access anything that was in your bank or that your character is carrying.

Now you may be thinking why is that important, well I’ll tell you if a person has access to what the character has in the bank and what they were carrying this gives them the option to change how their character looks, this in turn gives SOE a chance to sell you armor and weapon packs to use on your character, and the revenue stream for SOE doesn’t have to stop there other examples of content that SOE could sell is an Emote Pak which would allow the character to perform different emotes, or a spell pack allowing your character to cast their class spells, perhaps a pet pack, for people who like to collect pets, and so on and so on all little things that bring money into SOE.

But it doesn’t have to end there either, why not than add monster play, being able to fight a monster from EQ/EQ2 with your character, start off with a limited amount of monsters when the player buys the pack, and give the player an option of buying more monsters, and if you keep adding on you could eventually turn EQ/EQ2 into a single player game.

Now here your saying hang on, eventually players could want to add multiplayer option and wouldn’t that ruin the MMO version, I have to say no, because at this point the multiplay version would be the original game. The player could than go back to SOE and say ok I want to resubscribe and if SOE had deleted their character they would be able to reload it from the USB key.

Here you will probably say wait a moment what’s going to stop someone from hacking the usb key, and I would say that’s why SOE would have a way to Validate that key, and info has been changed and be able to reject it.

Another service they could add would be a way for you to update your character on the USB key if your still playing the game.

So here we are, a way for a company give players a way to preserve their character and to make some revenue at the same time.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Digital Distribution

I'll be the first to admit, I love Steam its a great way to purchase PC games.

As most people will notice the PC section in your local EB or Gamestop has gotten noticeable smaller down to one shelf section on the wall or sometimes just an isle shelf stuck in the back.

More and more people are turning to digital distribution as a way to get the latest PC game and sometimes its the only option if you don't have a EB or Best Buy nearby.

In the last couple of years Ive probably bought 20+ titles from Steam and Direct2Drive, however if you look at the purchases I have made you will notice that they were all games that were on sale.

And why do you ask why do I only purchase games when they are on sale? The reason is Digital Distribution.

Now at this point some of you may be scratching your head and saying what? Let me explain.....

When a new game comes out, and lets say its the Dragon Age: Orgins which is available on both Steam and Direct2Drive for $49.99 for the regular edition or $64.99 for the deluxe collectors edition, now if we ordered it from EB and got the actual box we pay the same price, and that's where the problem is.

When you pay the same price for the digital copy as you do for the box copy, you are better off buying the box.

Now you might be asking yourself why do you say that? Well here's why...

When you buy the digital copy that's all you get, the game downloaded onto your PC, when you buy the box version you not only get the discs so that you can install right away, (means no waiting to download the game), you have a permanent backup if your computer crashes. Now you may be saying wait, you can make a backup with Steam and D2D as well, and I say yes you can, but there maybe sometime in the future that those services will be discontinued, (unlikely at this point of time, but its a possibility). But the real value you get from buying the box version over the digital comes down to whats inside the box.

In most boxed games you will normally have a printed manual, now i know people will say but there is a PDF version of the manual with the digital version. That's well and good most box games also include a PDF version on the disc as well, how ever its not something you can go thru quickly. When I need some info on the game I'm playing I find it easier to quickly thumb thru the manual than so tab out of the game load up a PDF reader and scroll thru the pages to try and find what i want.

Secondly there are the extras that maybe in the box this is especially true if it a collectors edition. Dragon Age: Orgins Deluxe edition contain a Steel Case, Cloth Map, Making of DVD, plus a number of added digital extras.
Now the digital copy only includes the digital extras, plus the Addon called Wardens Keep, which can be bought for 7$.

Even adding on an extra 7$ for the collectors edition the box version is just a way better deal than the digital version.

So until the price of the digital download becomes more reasonable I'll see you at the store