[ARPil] Day 22 of 30 – Practical

Rakuno pondering

This post is part of The 30 Days or ARPil event created by Pizza Maid of Pizzamaid.moe. You can find more information about it in here and the 30 questions here. If you are interested on seeing who is participating on the event, there is a block to the right with all blogs that are part of it too. Let me know if I forgot someone or put someone in there by mistake. 🙂

All my answers  will be about my character Rakuno, my ratonga monk in Everquest 2. From this point on it will be him doing all the talk!

Question 22: If your character could time travel, where would they go?

I know the fashionable answer for this type of question would be to say some big historical event like “I would go back to find out how Luclin blew up” or “I’d go back and stop Lucan D’Lere to become the ruler of Freeport” or some variant thereof.

In my case I have something a lot less ambitious, a lot more personal in mind. I’d just go back to the moment my family fled Freeport, find out where they went. Then I’d come back to the present, go to their destination and convince them to move to Qeynos. It just seems a lot more practical to me plus we don’t have to worry about changing history in some unforeseen, possibly horrible, ways.

My FrankenMMO

Everybody who played games at some point spent some time thinking “If only this game had feature X from game A and feature Y from game B it would be the perfect game!”. Obviously MMOs are not immune to that kind of thinking, in fact, Massively had a column called MMO Blender where the writers would describe their perfect MMOs if they could mix and match features from different existing games. This seemed like an interesting exercise in thought so I decided to create my own FrankenMMO too. I will be just sticking to the mechanical parts though because genre and setting are like ice cream, they are all good in their own ways. While mechanics it is much easier to discuss in an objective way and debate the merits and flaws of each one.

I will try to  give examples of games that has the features I am talking about but I am pretty sure I am missing tons of examples. So keep that in mind, please.

Oh, and if anyone needed proof that  I should not ever be put in charge of designing an MMO (or any game, actually) then this will be it. Unless someone wants to make the Titanic of MMOs, in that case I am your man! :p

Read more

Musings about storytelling in MMOs

A journal of someone who had to deal with Qho

Recently Joseph Skyrim of JVT Workshop made an interesting post about the Halloween event in Age of Conan and the way they presented its story. Basically, he says that since the story is told mostly in instances and the events are a lot smaller in scale it feels like his actions mattered more than in the traditional tropes of MMO where you only feel as much of a hero as the next Joe who slayed the big villain of the week.

That made me think about my recent experiences in Everquest 2 and how what may be a shift for their way of storytelling made it feel like my actions mattered more in that game. So this post will be about that and my thoughts about the other ways that I’ve seem stories told in MMOs through my years playing them. Keep in mind I am not claiming any of these are factually superior or inferior to each other. It is more some thinking aloud and sharing my feelings on these methods. If anything it might be a starter for a good discussion.

Another thing to note is that usually MMOs nowadays employ a mix of all these methods with varying results. So there isn’t any reason any of them should be mutually exclusive nor would I want that. To me they are all different tools with their effectiveness depending a lot more on how  the developers uses it than their particular nature.

Read more

[NBI] Write for yourself

Newbie Blogger Initiative

(This post is part of the Newbie Blogger Initiative 2 that is going through October 1st to October 31st 2013. If you are an aspiring blogger or a veteran of the medium, check their site and join in the fun by signing in their forums 🙂

With every type of writing there is always the old debate if one should write for others or for themselves. The first camp claims that if you are going to share your writing might as well consider what the other person will want to read, otherwise why even go to the point of sharing your work in the  first place? While the second camp posits that the pleasure of writing should be an end in itself and that worrying about what others might want to read takes the fun out of it.

With blogging it is not different. Try to start that debate with 10 different bloggers and you will get 12 different answers. By the title of this post you already know on which side of  this debate I fall into. 🙂

There are a few reasons for that:

  1. I can only guess at what other people would want to read. However I know exactly what are the things I enjoy doing in games and could spend all day talking about.
  2. Even if I guessed right about what people would like to read I honestly doubt it  would change much how many visitors or commenters I get. Sure, it may help initially but what keeps people coming back is the writing, not so much the subject.
  3. I am doing this on my own free time and out of my own pocket for absolute no gain besides self-satisfaction. If I kept worrying about what I am writing then my posts would be even more irregular than they already are.
  4. It is a good way to talk about the things that I care about without bugging friends and family about it, who may for any reason not be interested on it or not understand what makes me so passionate about the subject. With blogging however I can find someone else who shares the same passions and from then on have some great talks with them. 🙂
  5. I just love writing. It is an itchy I get from time to time and blogging is a wonderful way to scratch it.

If you need some other possible reasons to start blogging, Tobold gives some pretty good food for thought on the subject over at Tobold’s Blog. Jeromai also has included some pretty good ones (among other excellent advice) on this post that can be found in Why I Game.

Before I got to the current blog I already gave a try at it a couple times but end up abandoning it for different reasons. What got me to give it a try again, and create Shards of Imagination, was a combination of 4 and 5. When I cared a lot more about Everquest 2, I accidentally found that a friend there had a blog too. That got my itchy to write to resurface and I thought it would be a nice way to write about the things I care about without sending a wall of text via e-mail to friends. Specially if it is wall of texts about games they don’t particularly care about. This has been working out well for me so  far. 🙂

Of course, it is not always easy. There will be times when there will be that nagging voice in your head telling you to not post something. Either because it is too silly, because it might be embarassing, because it might alienate your current readers or any other number of reasons. The best thing to do at those times is to ignore that silly voice and post anyway. You will thank yourself later when you did it.

Well, that is it for me. Now the ball is in your court. Why did you start blogging and what keeps you writing? As always, if you prefer to write a blog post of your own instead of a comment, feel free to do so and just post the link in the comment section. However you choose to respond I’d love to read it. 🙂

Newbie Blogger Initiative 2

Newbie Blogger Initiative banner

The Newbie Blogger Initiative is back… with a revenge! Well, ok, not with a revenge but it is definitely back!

“What is the Newbie Blogger Initiative?” you may ask. Good question!

The Newbie Blogger Initiative (NBI for short)  is basically a one-month event where anybody who is interested in creating a gaming blog is encouraged to just do so. They won’t have to do it completely alone, having to learn everything the hard way though. Veteran bloggers will be participating too, giving advice, encouraging words and serving as a starting audience too. That is basically the gist of it.

If you are interested, head to their forums, register there and start posting to join the fun. 🙂

This year there are also a few additions compared to the previous year:

  • There is a NBI site that will serve as an archive to all the posts written by veterans to help newbies as well as a directory of all blogs participating.
  • There will be at least 3 events that participating bloggers will be encouraged to participate. The details are still being worked out but there are already a few ideas in their forums.
  • Mentoring. This is where one of the veteran bloggers take on a coaching role for a newbie. This is, of course, optional for both parts. For those interested on this it will also be setup in a way that respect each other’s time constraints and other commitments.

The NBI will start on October 1st and will be going until the end of that month. I believe the forums and the site however will stay all year around though.

Hm. I believe that is all the most relevant information about it.

I will be participating again this year as a sponsor. I hope to see new faces there again and finding more good blogs to read and share. Hope to see you there too! 🙂

Choice and Consequence

A long time ago I made a bit of a rant about player choices in games. It actually wasn’t such a very well thought out one and I failed to make any good point about it. I tried to think how to develop those thoughts better since then but I never quite got it right. Fortunately, someone else did! His name (at least in the interwebs) is MrBtongue and he made it into in a YouTube video which you can see below. Just a warning though it does have some spoilers about Fallout 1 and Mass Effect 2.

If you like this one, I highly recommed to check the rest of his channel. There are some good stuff there. 🙂