Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Random Shots: Hope Spring Eternal

  • Wilhelm Arcturus, the eponymous Noob of Gaming, Ancient division, just reminded me that all is not lost in the MMO gaming scene. SOE Live is rushing upon us and with it, a first real look at Everquest Next.

  • Unlike Wilhelm, I don't have a lot of hope, dreams, fears, or anxieties about EQNext. Possibly because I have given absolutely zero consideration to the game. And since there is no news, speculation about it is the very definition of meaningless.

  • Nonetheless, I can't help but get excited that something new is about to appear. My black heart wants to tell me it will suck. But I'll still be watching along with everyone else to see what's next.

  • I almost capitalized "next in that last sentence. I'm trembling to think I wandered so near the precipice.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Random Shots: The Winter Of Our Blogging Lives

  • There is a meme traveling through what is left of the MMO blogging community lamenting the death of blogging. I first picked up on it from Brian Green. But various responses have appeared from Wilhelm Arcturus, Ravious, and the inimitable Syncaine. Even Tobold took a break from this anti-5th edition crusade to weigh in.

  • It is hard to deny that the MMO blogging community is not as vibrant as it once was. Syncaine pegs its apex at the launch of Warhammer Online, the game that is emblematic of everything that is wrong with post-World of Warcraft MMORPGs. Since then, even with efforts to draft new bloggers into the fight, fewer and fewer are taking up arms to debate the merits and failing of these games. Even the most prolific bloggers are standing down from the barricades.

  • The conversation that used to occur in the blogging community seems to have shifted to other platforms like Twitter, Google Plus, and even Facebook. Not that there is much to talk about. Each new MMO since WoW has been increasingly tepid. Looking at Hunter's blogroll shows that half of the Guild Wars 2 blogs have stopped updating or disappeared entirely and it's been out for under a year. Only EVE Online has anything that looks like a community. That it continues to thrive around that game should be no surprise anyone.

  • Back in the day, back when I first discovered blogging, it was not about conversations and reasoned arguments. It was about the rant. Writers like the legendary Lum The Mad challenged game design as it was in its infancy and helped shape it. But then, the games became tamer. There was nothing to rant about, so we discussed best practices and MMO theory. It was a bit of an echo chamber, but it was a lot of fun. We played together, looked forward to the next big thing, and rushed to be first in the queue when the servers opened.

  • But then the innovation stopped. Companies spending millions of dollars and years of development time started playing it safe. The occasional issue came up now and again, but the future of the MMO and, thus, the blogging community was sealed. You just have to look at the shambling husks of WoW-Killers to see that things have gone terribly wrong. There is nothing to discuss if no one is willing to innovate anymore.

  • It is not the community that failed; it's the games that failed us.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Random Shots: Witnessing How The Sausage Is Made

  • The last 48 hours have left my head spinning with regard to the Double Fine Adventure. With the release of Episode Ten of the documentary came the news that Broken Age would be split into two halves so that they can leverage sales to finish the game. As you might expect, things have been a little strange.

  • It's hard to go anywhere in the gaming sections of the internet with finding strong opinions about the change. On one hand, there is still incredible trust that Tim Schafer can bring home an amazing game. On the other, people are going ballistic that costs have spiralled out of control on what was originally a small project.
  • I must admit that am a little concerned that Double Fine is burning the candle at both ends to get Broken Age made. They have poured Brütal Legend and Humble Bundle revenues into the game. And now they propose selling the first half of the game to finance the second half. I wonder, once all if said and done, if there will be anyone left to buy the game once it is officially released.

  • But of course there will be. Some people won't buy an incomplete game. Some people haven't even heard of it. Some people will wait for the eventual Steam sale. At least, that is what Double Fine is banking on.

  • I have to give credit to Tim Schafer for not compromising on his vision. Were it not for the documentary, we would not even know about the development turmoils they have faced. It is good to see how the sausage is made. I have learned a lot about the process. And a lot more about the business side of development. I glad we have this opportunity, even if we are powerless to affect the outcome.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Admin: Post Seven Hundred

  • Seven hundred posts. I'm not sure how I feel about this milestone. Since my writing time has decreased, I thought it would take forever to get here. Then with the recent rush of posts, I find myself here unexpectedly.

  • Post 600 was back on May 30, 2012, more than a year ago. That's the longest hundred posts I've written since the first hundred. Unfortunately, I can't foresee things picking up during the next hundred. Maybe my daughter will give me a little more free time to write.


  • I looked over the last hundred posts and saw a couple of trends. The feminism tag suddenly popped up about a year ago. Those are a bunch of posts I really wish I didn't have to write. But I will continue to do so until we don't have to put that crap anymore. There was a stack of Guild Wars 2 posts. That lasted about two weeks before I got bored. Oh well. Finally, outside of GW2, there has barely been any mention of MMOs on the blog. I may have to turn in my MMO Blogger card.

  • One big change has been that I've started cross-posting to my Tumblr and Giant Bomb blogs. It's not much, but at least there are more people reading my silly little words.

  • Although there was a flurry of posts during E3, I have to put on the brakes for a couple of weeks. That's not a bad thing, though. I am going on vacation for a week, which will slow things down. As well, I am writing my next gamebook for the 2013 Windhammer Prize. I'm hoping to get it done sometime soon so that it can be playtested. (Hey, Blue Kae! Hey, Yeebo!) If you want to read the book ahead of time and help me make it better, let me know in the comments.

  • Thank you to everyone for reading. It continues to be a lot of fun.

© 2013 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.