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Games. Tech. Musings.

Games offline and online. Technology. Random stuff.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Skill vs. Treadmills

Insightful post over at Raph Koster's blog on why successful games invariably have treadmill mechanics.

As a sidenote, one thing that I've noticed is that skilled players of a given game (online or offline), when given the chance to influence game mechanic development, typically demand games that further reward skill. This isn't always beneficial in terms of making the game fun to play.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

The e-King Is Dead

Apparently, while I was on holiday Rex decided to ragequit e-life (again) in a fit of e-drama without so much as a goodbye. No cookie for you, Mr. Sausaletus. Consider your wrist e-smacked.

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Guild Wars: Frontline tips

Here's a useful post over at the Mostly Harmless forums on playing frontline roles (warrior or dervish). I'm pretty terrible at playing in the front line, although admittedly I haven't gone back and tried for a while.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Guild Wars: Hard Mode

Does exactly what it says on the tin. No, really.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Guild Wars: Hard Mode

PvE Hard Mode is about to be released. Check out the official page for the details.

Edit: one non-obvious point they didn't mention - to get access to Hard Mode for a PvE campaign, you have to log in with a character who's beaten the campaign. After that, all your characters can play in Hard Mode for that campaign.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Guild Wars: Automated Tournament Thoughts

In large part, the AT stuff posted looks very good. I'm principally concerned with GvG here because I think the HvH format right now needs some love to make it more about fighting and less about capping. I'm not sure how much it can be rescued, to be honest. Fundamentally you have 3 not-very-bright heroes on each team and only one human, so overruling bad AI decisions via a clunky interface is always going to be a large part of that game. I'm not convinced that's ever going to be really fun.

I was hoping to play some more HvH while I was on vacation just to see if I would come around to the format but my wife's laptop was just too slow for PvP - so I finally got around to finishing Nightfall's PvE campaign instead.

Anyway, some thoughts in random order:

The posted schedule looks like ArenaNet was trying too hard to appear even-handed. The round-the-clock distribution of playing times is fine in theory but in practice the bulk of their players are in a few time zones - EST, GMT+1 and GMT+2 mostly, I'm guessing, from the number of European and American guilds. I expect the schedule to be revised before the system goes live.

Shiny "Barbie Wars" rewards for doing well are a nice touch. People always seem to respond well to e-peen stroking opportunities.

Sadly, 4 hours straight is a pretty big time commitment for anyone with a life. Personally, I'd rather have a round or two less (say, 16 or 8 guild pods) or skipping the final single-elimination rounds and just doing straight Swiss to guarantee a shorter play time. Previously, I'd thought about tournament options where you just played a match every week or somesuch but after the Celestial tourney I'm convinced this is a bad idea. Getting 8 people to show up at the same time who don't know each other closely is problematic and a big time sink. Anyway, I guess we'll see how long each tourney really goes.

Higher K-values: well, about time. Hopefully this will mean ratings will start reflecting real guild strength more closely. Once again, we shall see how this plays out.

One missing point that's not mentioned is map choice. Hopefully maps will be random to cut down on the 8v8 builds on Jade phenomenon, etc.

As for this:
We are always trying to move Guild Wars to the fore of competitive e-sports

Sadly, I think this is doomed to failure. GW is just never going to be a good spectator's game because the amount of knowledge required to enjoy watching is just too high. Without a lot of spectators, you have no real sport. Magic has a similar problem - unless you know the cardsets the players are using really well, you can't follow what's happening. That said, my current #1 feature I'd really like is to be able to download observer mode replays. I have a suspicion that that is technically very difficult to implement and so will never happen.

Overall, I'm excited. Hopefully I'll actually be on the OoX core GvG roster and get to play...

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Guild Wars: Automated Tournament Details!

The official post just went up. System starts up in April.

I have some thoughts on this but not enough time to write them down now. Watch this space. For now, let's just say I'm excited.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Guild Wars: Celestial Tournament over

The Celestial Tournament is over, with Team Everfrost [eF] taking the crown over Esoteric Warriors [EW]. In what I can only assume is some kind of cry for help, Rex has taken it upon himself to blog about pretty much each and every game played in the quarterfinals and onwards.

In other not-quite-news-yet, according to the official site, apparently we'll hear more about the breathlessly-awaited Automated Tournament system "very soon".

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