Saturday, April 29, 2006

SWGPodcast 39

It's the SWG Podcast with Yivvits and MrBubble - Episode 39

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

We Were Adventurers, Explorers and Soldiers

A /rangerSalute to RobbHood who posted this on the boards.

(From the SWG Official forums (Game Play Discussion) Link to original )

The game was just out of beta and 40 of my guild started playing. I was one of my group’s “Planet Side” testers/players, having beta tested it. We are 200 strong spread out now over 8-10 different games.
I would tune in the SWG channel on TS and listen, it was amazing to here the accounts of things across the galaxy as seen through the eyes of noobs. Everyone was a noob. I had to be a part of this.
I got the game and away I went. There were people everywhere. Cantinas were jammed, star ports as well. People running across Dath, no speeders yet. Fighting rancors and nightsisters. Squills and Tuskin Raiders were things to avoid on our home planet. The Corellian plains ands the swamps of Talus, filled with big cats and their babies was a great place for the CH, but a dangerous one as well.
The crafting was amazing as well, folks dedicated themselves to mining, harvesting or buying the best resources, looting or buying skill tapes, and the items they made were top shelf. We knew who they were and we haggled for the best price. Weapons, armor, BE clothing, foods, drinks, etc…
The fighting classes would hire out to protect crafters as they tended their harvesters, or just paid us to bring home the best meat or bone, when ever it would be located that month at various places across the galaxy.
The player cites became sophisticated and well thought out. We would hunt in groups to fund the treasury. Recruit top crafters to place their vendors so traffic in town would increase.
Entertainers formed troupes that would travel around and perform at events for hire. Towns would have celebrations, music, fireworks, dancing. The socialization was at its peak.
Bases became focal points for the GCW, defending and attacking, when one went “hot” hundreds of players would be on hand. Theed was a kill zone as was the Bestine-Anchorhead corridor.
Jedi were rare and as the game progressed, more found their way to the Force. But through perma-death, saber TEF and eventually visibility and the BH, showing off with a LS was a bad thing. Removing the BH gank squad made us Jedi more brazen and may have been the first sign of the down hill slide. Jedi should have remained in the shadows.
I remember traveling across many planets and stopping off in a camps on a regular basis. Players just out and about were never hard to stumble across. The Master Ranger camp was a sight to see. If they had a dancer, it was a chance to heal up a bit and move on. Before leaving you could often barter for a new pet or some food or drink. Few new I was a Jedi, it was much safer that way. Regular clothes, carrying a rifle or carbine, with my LS in the tool bar just in case I was not as careful as I thought I was.
Back to a big city, get your speeder, armor and weapon repaired. It was always nice to find a smuggler and get those new items sliced. Stop by the local cantina and enjoy some music and get a mind buff, hit a star port and have a doctor buff you up. Then back out to the open spaces, never far from action.
Player run night clubs sprang up, rented juke boxes, exotic dancers, beauty pageants and just a place to hang out, waiting for the next assault on the enemy or hunting party. At one pageant, with about two hundred in attendance, a beautiful young Jedi was competing, when a BH attacked, the fight spilled out into the street and raged on for 20 minutes before she managed to escape. I cannot imagine a more “Star Warsy” scene then a fight breaking out in a Star Wars bar.
You didn’t have to run around to find PvP, it would always find you if you were not alert. NPC’s could unmask you as well, and many times you would have to fight your way out of town. For a Jedi, that meant visibility for sure. Time o be extra careful. But if laying low was your thing for the moment, there were 100 places to go and things to do. Tend to your factors, restock, shop, socialize, hunt, the Vette, Theme Parks, The Warren, Black Sun Bunker, etc… The server forums served as After Action Reports that made the slow times at work more enjoyable.
New players would seek help, and many did help. Taking them under their wing, showing them the ropes, forging bonds, weaken by the tears of this dying game, and friend’s lists evaporated as gamers left for greener pastures.
You really carved out your own existence, the greatest Star Wars saga ever told, yours… and if you ran the course and wanted a change, you could start over, 31 more times if it suited you.
Many of us have moved on, others stay and pray that the greatness of this game will return. Still others, like me, pay for a month here and there just to check in and see for ourselves.
For me, there is a soothing, surreal feeling when I hear the opening music. I stand above my home on Tatooine, in Storm’s End, a town we forged from the sands in a place called The Valley of the Wind. I watch the twin suns set over the mountains and remember what the game was like. It truly breaks my heart to think of the friends lost and the good times we had, gone forever, like the sands in a storm. I wait a bit longer, check my empty friend’s list and log off.

Yes, we were adventurers, explorers and soldiers, and it was the best of times.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Liz Lawley "Community outreach, or community outrage"

Over at TerraNova Liz Lawley reports on the recent Dev Summits and asks community outreach, or community outrage?

I had to laugh out loud at her son's comment "The game producer, mainly a marketer, but trying to make sure the developers didn't say anything stupid, was there, and he said the words "is key" about a thousand times. "Community is KEY." "Content is KEY." "Players are, (you guessed it) KEY."

"Sure, he sounded like a complete idiot, but he had an awesome jacket."

I wonder who he could have been talking about ;)

Monday, April 24, 2006

I feel dirty...

I'm not giving you the URL, it's just too painful.

But I've spent an afternoon merrily levelling a new toon in a new game and.. it was 'fun'.

Why the angst? It was Disney's ToonTime!!!

Oh the shame...

OK OK, melodrama aside. This is a CUTE game with cuteness in megasized letters all over. Character creation is, as you'd expect in a 'kids' game pretty simple and straightforward. A couple of minutes clickage and my toon, a tall blue monkey thing called something like Dippy Crazy Merrypoof was ready to lock and load, or stock up on pies and go squirt on the bank managers.

Chat, for non members, is limited to picking phrases from a drop down menu. Iconic characters, such as Mickey himself, make regular appearances and are full to the brim with lots and lots of positive reinforcement.

So... what makes it so cool? Well, from a gamers PoV it's just a fun sideshow, but if you're vaguely interested in game mechanics etc, you have GOT to take a look at this. Kill ten rats is there, lots of pacman, loads of 'collect a token'. Every system you've seen with a fancy schmantzy skin is in there. I laughed as my toon ran around thinking 'hey, if he was wearing a stromy uniform this'd be as much fun as the NGE'... give him an axe and shield instead of pies and a squirt gun and we're off to D&D land...

Seriously, find the demo, give yourself over to the power of The Mouse for three days and see how much you can learn about game mechanics.

Right... now I need Animal Crossing to run on a PC.... ;)


Yivvits and Mr Bubble, the latest 'cast at:">SWGwYaMB

Too much time on my hands...

Friday, April 21, 2006

Raph namechecked in Teh Gruniard.

"There's a strange symbiotic and contentious relationship between the 3D-visual virtual worlds (we'll call them MMOGs for the sake of argument) and those without the 3D graphics (we'll call them MUDs). Or is there?"

The relationship between two anagrams

(And yes, they said anagrams not acronyms.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

SWG = Voices In Your Head

New podcast from Yivvits and MrBubble.

The Podcast...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bill From Azeroth

Kill Ten Rats

reminded me of a conversation in a Teamspeak channel that went a bit like:

Eejit: “Hey, you’re Scottish. So am I!”
Me: “Aye, I noticed…”
Eejit: “Where are you from…”
Me: “[smalltown]”
Eejit: “Oh unreal! Me too! I’m [realname], I stay in [somestreet]”
Me: “Hah! I live just round the corner!”
Eejit: “I’ve never seen you around town tho….”

Eh, pal, I’m not REALLY a 7 foot tall cat-man with a sword

Monday, April 10, 2006

Just when I thought I was getting over that SWG thing...

"Sago" posted an awesome list of SWG videos on and I just had to steal it, sorry, archive it... (The original post and feedback thread can be found here )

Hey All,

I just wanted to share some links to some SWG videos. Some are VERY well done, one musical called Don't Stop Movin' is very entertaining. Others reminded me of what a great game we used to have.

Some really didn't have my taste of music so i just turned down the volume and watched.

Farewell videos:

Funny Video:

Holiday Video:

Musical videos:

PvP videos:

Story Videos:

Where you can see more ........

A Couple of images:


PvP Battle - lots of corpses:

Hope you guys and gals enjoy some of these as much as I did. If you do .... leave a post.

Excellent list Sago, thanks.

I'm all misty now... dammit

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Galaxy Report

Still going strong. (Sorry, been meaning to link to this in ages)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Kerra Pride...

What does your toon believe in?

No, I don't mean 'what do you believe in', I don't do religion or politics. I really DO mean "What does your toon believe in?"

The little RP story below this is a barely fictionalised account of an afternoons game session in EQ2 when I took my Kerran Ranger out to do "History of Kerra", a nice little quest sequence that has three linked phases, each involving visiting three areas and learning a little at each about the origin myth of the kerra, their heritage and culture and of their world view.

There is a whole series of these quests to do, one for each species at least, and I'm already looking forward to going back and building my research library up a bit more.

By introducing elements of a shared culture to the players thru their characters like this, EQ2 builds more depth into the game, encourages the players to invest time and emotion in their character and also gives something interesting to do as a change from hack and slashing our way through the local population.

Other MMO's I've played in tend to either ignore any sort of 'culture' for the characters, other than a token mention of 'race A have advanced technology and like pink socks, race B hate race A but like pink socks.' etc.

SWG drops players into the middle of the Civil War between the Alliance and the Empire. Sadly little is done to fill the players in on the background of the war or to give them a feeling of 'place' dependant on the role that they are choosing for themselves.

At one time you created a character and chose a starter town dependant on the sort of background you wanted to give your toon, but that was filtered out and now everyone begins life on a space station where, confusingly, the Imperial inclined players go through exactly the same route to planetside as do the rebel and neutral players.

Species, such as the wookiee and trandoshan should actively hate each other. Some choices, to follow the light or dark sde of the force, should MATTER and have an impact on the players characters choices as the game develops for them.

Each species should have a short series of quests that informs them of their heritage and shapes, from an RP PoV, their world view of other species. Likewise for faction and FS.

[RP] I want to tell you a story..

The elder sat down in his chair by the fire and gathered the younglings around. They jostled for space at his feet, pressing in to hear the story about the olden days, where they had come from their families history, a ghost story or a remenixcence about the war.

(The wars, the interminable wars of the land of MMO. They leave everyone an orphan, out in the world alone, looking to avenge their parent/brother/puppy dog... but that's ANOTHER story.)

What I want to talk about tonight younglings is heritage. A shared heritage for RP characters in an MMO land.

I was visiting Qeynos the other day when business took me to see the scribe Mages Tower. While I was there I browsed through the books he had for sale and my eye was caught by one tattered volume entitled "A History of Kerra". A history of my people?

I was intrigued. I bought the volume and later, when I had time, I had a read. Here was a story, in three parts, that told of the origins of the Kerra, how they were forced out of their homelands, how some were drawn to Freeport and others to Qeynos. Some pages were missing but a previous owner had made a note that I should travel and visit some of the locations mentioned in the book...

The locations in Qeynos, well, they were familiar to me and I completed the first part of the story with no problems.

The second part of the book had me travelling to the Commonlands. I have to admit, I'd never been there before, hunting as I do around Antonica and just starting to make forays into neighbouring lands. I found some nearby Kerra and asked them how to travel to this strange and distant land....

When I arrived in the Commonlands I had to hunt and search for the locations the book mentioned. Some were easy to find, others had some aggressive creatures living nearby and I had to use my stealth skills to avoid combat. But it was a grand adventure and I learned about Kerra, Ilearned about the Commonland and I wandered right up to the gates of Freeport...

The first two stories were completed, the third had me travelling to the Rivervale, deep in the Enchanted Lands. A very risky, shady and dangerous place. I followed the direction in the book and eventually found myself in a weird hobbit town...

Battered, tired and worn I made my way home, all the way down the long road to Nettletown Hovel. Soon I was back here, younglings, right here by the fireside.

And you know what? Not only had I learned and benefitted from my travels but I was richer, yes, many of the items I acquired on my journey were snapped up by the local merchants, and I had this...

The elder turned and lifted down an impressive bound tome entitled "History of Kerra". The big Kerran face on the cover seemed to stare out at the younglings and there were at once afraid of it and yet wanted to reach out and read...

... to learn.
... to travel.
... to Adventure.