Friday, June 30, 2006

On RMT

Jeff Freeman writes:


I disagree with this assessment of gold farmers, in reference to Dan’s proposal:

What Rubenfield espouses isn’t RMT: as most understand it, RMT is player trading with player (or farmer, or arbitrage trader, or what have you.) It’s still understood that the money came from somewhere. It isn’t counterfeit currency (unless your game has a dupe, which it probably does); it was earned, by fair means or foul, by someone.

But the money and items that farmers produce are created from thin-air, and would not exist otherwise. Farmers are producing at a rate beyond what a normal player, playing normally, would produce. The impact on the economy is no different at all than if the game company simply created that same number of items, that same amount of cash, and sold it on the web. Also, I think “farmer” is too gentle a term. They’re more like strip-miners: extracting resources and damaging the environment at the same time.




(Having to tread warily here)
Wholly agree that 'farmers' is too mild a term and that, in one particular game environment the farmers genuinely were stripminers.

The game mechanic allowed players to drop mining equipment to extract resources which were then sold on at low cost (though a marvellous bazaar and vendor system) converting the resource to credits which were then sold to other players for hard cash.

This had two main effects. One was the economic effect of having $foo resource dumped onto the marked for little more than it cost to extract which made life difficult for the 'dust crop' farmer artisans to compete (though admittedly it also allowed them to pick up raw materials in bulk to convert into items, but that's a whole other avenue of investigation)

The second was the actual environmental impact of the harvester farms which occupied huge tracts of 'land' which would otherwise have been open for creature spawns, battlegrounds, etc. This disruption (real or perceived) to the spawning of creatures hunted by other players for resources, advancement and fun was a good analogue to real world industrial impact and, as such, is a reasonable argument for the case that credit farmers DO impact on the playability of the game for other players.

The presence of the harvesting equipment was visually intrusive, the huge grids where players had collaborated (or multiple account holders had used lot-share methods) to place literally hundreds of large harvesters was, fromthe PoV of a PvE gamer aesthetically horrific.

The harvesters also generated considerable amounts of lag causing rubberbanding when a player drove into the area near them or creature warping if you were trying to clear a lair among them.

Again, this was a direct impact on playability, for some players it was a 'barrier to play'.

Had the game company opted to make the resources available for purchase in a way similar to that being suggested to counter the RMT farmers the immediate difference would have been that there would have been NO server farms. Crafters could have bought the stacks of resources that they wanted, at cost+, and toddled off to merrily grind their way through the endless shirts/crafting tools needed to gain mastery of their profession. Specialist crafters could and would still place harvesters to get specific reources required for specific products.

All would have been right in the world, or would it...

I rather suspect that the farmers would have found something else they could make a % on and then that would get hammered by them until the rest of the player base squeaked.

Scott Jennings Nails Crafting

Scott Jennings Nails Crafting

The Forum Troll Explained

Penny Arcade toon that just sums it up perfectly...

Why Devs should just shut up and Create...

Scott Jennings of Broken Toys (who I'm currently building a pedastal for in my pantheon of gaming deities) rocked my socks off tonight with the following observations on the relationship between the MMO dev/CSR crew and 'the horde', or, you and me and the rest of the evil player fiends.

"most MMO developers should never, ever, EVER talk to players directly. Good lord. You think community people piss off the player base? Never let them near the bitter programmer who’s been on a live team for over three years and views his subscriber base as a pack of ravenous mongoloid zombie hordes with attention deficit disorder. People who may be excellent programmers, artists, or designers may have really lousy people skills.
Even if the developer isn’t a frothy blend of ennui and hatred, the alternative is in many ways worse. Picture the guy who’s been plucked from the community of gamers and is LIVING HIS DREAM! He gets to WORK ON GAMES! WOOOH! And MMOS! HOOAH! It’s the big show, and every day… every FREAKING DAY he’s sitting in on a meeting planning out incredibly cool stuff that is going to ROCK YOUR WORLD OFF, and he just has to tell SOMEONE… and then the producer gets to deal with the community seeing yesterday’s brainstormed three bagger as a promise with the weight of Holy Writ."

I'm not going to draw the obvious connections to, ahem, certain crew members over at Planet SWG but, c'mon, we KNOW you feel this way about us, and, funnily enough, we feel the same way!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Nero. Rome. Fiddle...

Today, at 12 noon BST, the SW:G servers went down for a patch update, or, in the the devs NuSpeak "Publish 1.1". The servers would typically have been expected to be down for 2 hours give or take, but by mid afternoon Garva is posting that there's a problem and that they'll be down for another 3-4 hours.

Well, they were still resting at 7pm... not entirely sure when they eventually went back up but they'd staggered to life before 10pm BST.

While all this was going on, Helios, Lead Designer (and I'm starting to really think he means Lead as in the metal) posts:

Helios_SOE wrote (06-27-2006 06:20 PM) :

... anyone up for a friendly skirmish on Restuss/TC while we wait for the servers to load?


So, while Rome burned, figuratively speaking, Helios finds time to go play Boomstick and Glowsticks. BRILLIANT!

Nobody thought of actually using the time to go onto the Test Centre and looking at the shitload of bugs that have been reported and that are STILL unfixed? Maybe try reproducing some of the LoS issues? Address the fact that TC is effectively a different game from Live as the frogs spew out gear that's not available to Live? That the TC economy has been royally buttfucked over and over again to the extent that the few non-combat toons around are the alts of people who used to give a flying fuck about the game and how it was tested?

Nah... too busy poncing about in his 800k buffed godmode way, getting his arse kissed by the fanbois.

Just remember, when it does go tits up, this is how Helios_SOE addresses issues, by going outside and playing.

Raph and 40 Ways To Be A Better Games Designer

Game guru and all round weird beard Raph Koster has posted a list of ways to be a better game designer.

Some seriously iportant key points in there and they don't *just* apply to game design. I can think of other project management situations where they'd have saved a lot of tears...

Canon? Isn't that a company that makes cameras?

Canon? Isn't that a company that makes cameras? Well it might as well be as far as the SW:G devs are concerned.

I'm really ticked at the city of Restuss being flattened as there is absolutely no mention of this event in any of the books or films and you would think it's the sort of thing that people might have mentioned... "Oooh, you don't want to go touching that big red button... remember Restuss!!" kind of thing.

But I'm more ticked at the devs introducing some sort of Mandalorian *style* armour and that it's going to be the same armour for both Imperials and Alliance.

Now, the Alliance I can see using 'any old surpluss kit' that they were able to get their hands on. You can just see some Toydarian sidling up to Mon Mothma "Hey preddy laydee, I got some armour in a freight speeder out back, real good. It's a bit old but oi its qvalidy schtuff..." and offloading a few container loads of hookey gear.

But the EMPIRE?? Okay, I don't know if anyone has noticed but one of the *big* things about the Empire is that it has a centralised supply structure issuing standard equipment built to a pattern that allows immediate repair or replacement in the field either by requisition from stores or 'field supply' from fallen colleagues.

Everything from their Star Destroyers to haircuts is made to a pattern. That way you don't suddenly find that you've dropped an ST detachment into the Tatooine Sector but that the local commisars have decided to use local manufacturers and, well, bone armour is just SO in... and blasters? Well, we decided to go over to these new smaller power units... what, they don't fit your kit? You should have brought more...

SOME Imperial operatives do wear non-standard issue kit but they are few and far between and tend to be highly specialist operatives. You can bet they've got a standard EI dress uniform and battledress in the locker at their billet though....

But some sort of scavenged surplus equipment that was owned by who? Mandalorians? Some sort of terrorists like the Rebels? I just can't see it....

The devs have tried developing a bit of a story to explain the Reduction of Restuss. A power pack that could fuel a Star Detroyer but it's only the size of a backpack... OK, I'll buy that, but answer me these questions first... Why don't we get to see it? Why aren't there spy missions (and counterspy missions) in the lead up? Surely an energy source that could shift a Star Destroyer would need more mass than can be held in a backpack? And, having gone to the trouble of working in THAT story line... who the heck owned all this armour and these "Templar Knight" weapons? Not a mention.. they're just 'there'.

Y'know, you might have guessed it, but I've got a bad feeling about this...

The Restuss Memorial.

The second settlement founded on the Naboo moon of Rori, Restuss rose from tradegy. The city was originally constructed to serve as a quarantine area during a devastating Brainworm Rot Plague that affected Naboo and many outlying systems. The first inhabitants were therefore doctors, missionaries, and the afflicted. When the plague was crushed, the Republic ordered that Restuss remain quarantined for several years, for fear that the disease would somehow resurface. During this crisis, the citizens of Restuss developed a deep distrust for authority. An unarmed revolt eventually ensued, and the Republic reluctantly lifted the quarantine. Huge portions of Restuss, including the hospital and detainment center, were razed to the ground in the ensuing riots. Restuss was then rebuilt around a small starport, which still serves as the town's primary meeting place and financial center.

Restuss is located on the northern shores of the Narmle Bog. Like the city of Narmle, Restuss is largely surrounded by swamplands. Perhaps because of its history of the fact that Governor Ferrox rarely visits, Restuss seems even further removed from Naboo politics that its sister city. It's not uncommon to meet a Restuss citizen who has difficulty identifying the current Queen. Restuss seems even less interested in galactic dealings: the populace rarely discusses the raging civil war, but when they do, it is as if the conflict is taking place in some far distant corner of the galaxy.

By contrast, local politics on Restuss are hugely important. Restuss has hundreds of laws and ordinances, many of which are over a century old. Although Restuss is self-governed by elected officials, the election process is long and arduous and often produces results that only Restuss natives can understand. The city often seems mired in bureaucracy. Fortunately, the numerous laws do seem to favor local merchants, who thrive in the city. Trade is only lightly-regulated and the city is known for its extensice access to black market goods, including weapons.

The inhabitants of Restuss are hard-working, but suspicious of outsiders. This paranoia protects a community that is actually extremely giving and supportive of their own. The inhabitants celebrate together often, and at night the local cantina is often overflowing. Because the locals do not prey on one another, crime is virtually unknown.
Source: http://swg.allakhazam.com/db/cities.html?swgcity=26

During an outbreak of brainworm rot some two hundred years before the
Battle of Naboo, the Advisory Council commissioned the construction of
a second spaceport on Rori; this city, known as Restuss, was used for
decades as a quarantined processing center for colonists traveling to
Naboo. Although both Restuss and Narmle were built by Naboo architects,
most of the moon's current colonists have been drawn from other, less
hospitable worlds, including Iridonia and Ryloth. The Gungans, who
colonized the Naboo moon of Ohma-D'un, have also established small
outposts on Rori.

Source: http://swg.allakhazam.com/db/cities.html?swgcity=26


Quests for Restuss included:


Sunday, June 25, 2006

You're only meant to blow the bloody doors off!!


"Help us Restuss Event, You're our only hope..."
If this is the devs last ditch rally to try and save the game (and let's face it, they're not exactly shouting about MORE stuff acomin') then I hate to say it, but we really are in a bad way.

It's a very different game from SW:G now. It is SWBattlefront with a bit of an MMO twist. Is that good or bad, well, that's a whole other debate.

  • Was it fun. Yes.
  • Was it immersive. Well... yeah, kinda...
  • Was it consistent/coherent withteh SW:G world vision? Hell no.
  • Would I log in and play PvP Round the Houses every night? I'd rather practise dentistry on myself with rusty tools.

Folk are going to be well disappointed when they see how little is actually in this 'expansion that isn't an expansion'.

  • There is some lvl35 combat stuff (kill 40 troops).
  • There is some crafting. (make blasters and other items)
  • There is some space mining (remember, that generates NO xp and is in the Kessel zone so, hah, newbs, stay home)

There's a LOT of collecting of 'commendations' to be done (earned by doing the above, over and over and over again) and you DO get rewards when you hand in the commendations. But we're talking 800 commendations for one piece of armour (at 40 faction kills per piece, go do the math).

The phrase MASSIVE TIME SINK and 'thin experience' spring to mind.

The problems:

No real tools for group/squad/battlefield management.
The simple lack of a planet chat makes if blimmin' difficult to coordinate getting people together, working out strategy, deveoping tactics, etc. OK OK so an organised player would set up a channel and macro in basic squad commands, but c'mon...

Clone Zerging and Clone Camping.
With the battlefield being less than 1km across this becomes a major issue.
Last night the Rebels stormed the 400m from Rebel Base to the town, flushed through the city and out the other side in a matter of minutes. There was some resistance from the outnumbered Imperials but through attrition and sheer weight of numbers they were forced back.
A large part of the Rebel force continued out of town in pursuit of the retreating Imperials and, after 400m or so, were within the Imperial Sanctuary. This resulted in SF Rebels being right outside the area the Imperials were cloning into and much complaint about clone camping. (Simple answer, don't declare PvP in the sanctuary zone, heal up, get out of Dodge and THEN go overt)

NPC AI
It's crap.
Long lines of ~24 Imp or Rebel troops, marching in single column is the least 'starwarsy' troop movement I have ever seen. Hell, the meatwads in SWBF2 are smarter with their AI turned right down.
They didn't act like soldiers, they didn't even behave like the ordinary faction NPCs. They were just there as cannon fodder. (This refers to the troops spawning in town. Those out inthe free fire zones did seem to have different AI but were all silver elite, lol)

And that's sad, because it WAS fun.... kinda.


(First posted at Star Wars Galaxies with Yivvits and MrBubble 25th June, 2006)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

I wish I'd said that!

Kwong-Wah, a SWG Test Centre veteran and all round decent bloke let rip at 'the Dread Lord Helios':

Original Post



Helios_SOE wrote:




AD_MK wrote:

how do you expect the system to be properly tested if you're just going to skip it and bump onto phase 2?



for gods sake, let us test things!




The QA departments at SOE and Lucas Arts have been testing this event for weeks. This weekend is more intended to give you guys a try at it before it rolls out on live servers; it's not what we rely on for testing.




To the original poster, I find the testing comments hilarious. I've been absent from TC for six months. However I kept track of everything that was going on with TC, the remergence of frogs, the lack of subsequent rollback, the screw up of the TC economy as a result. Why I find the testing comments hilarious? I'll tell you, every minute I'm on TC, I'm asked where the hell did I get the elder title from, where do I get this, that from? When I'm busy checking on something a bug or functionality of something, I get called an arrogant git because I don't have time to reply to everyone on the server who wants to know where to get pearls from. Frankly since coming back there are only a handful of people I've ran into who cares about testing on the server. Those that do are old time regular TC players and the correspondents. I'm not surprised from the treatment I've recieved that so many of the old TC players have quit the server or moved onto the live servers. I seriously doubt 99% of the players I ran into even know how to file a bug report, all they seem to care about is why the heck the jedi options on the frog aren't working. Virtually all the people I ran into are busy pvping at the frogs or in front of the starport. I have no problem with them doing that. What I do have a problem with is those that claim to be testing when in fact they are not. This isn't directed at the quoted poster but some of the newer residents of the TC server.

To Helios, truth hurts when it comes to TC that's its no longer serving it's purpose. Who's to blame here? The players, the devs or the damn idiot who refused to rollback the TC database after putting those damn frogs on the server. In one shot the frogs screwed up the Test Center economy, handicapped all trader professions and made the server one nightmare place to be. And you have the audiacity to wonder why the server population was dwindling or why testing wasn't happening? It was well documented frogs do not promote testing and are short term fixes.

There's a saying "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me". Time and time again people on TC had been promised about being treated right, time and time again this has failed. YOu can not expect people to care if you do not care about them first. The old TC community can be quite understanding if you let them, but stab them in the back more than once, they'll burn you at the stake before anything else.

Want a solution to this nightmare on TC? First rollback the server back to prior to this frog incident. Or do a complete wipe and start again. Cause without either of these, the economy is a seriously messed up place and offers all the old traders (or even new traders) no incentive to craft.

Second add incentives for people to actually be on TC, double/triple xp, additional character slots are some examples of what to do. Greater interaction between devs/QAs and the community on the Test Center. Probably plenty of other things you could try. Heck do what they do with EQ1, let people who play on TC regularly have free access to the expansions, but not on the live servers.

But from what I've been hearing from some old hands, I guess we should be lucky those that treat TC as their play server to still have a home. Probably the best thing to do if its purpose is no longer for testing is just to rename it and make it a live server.

===========================================================
Kwong-Wah

Survivor of the CU wars; Died during the NGE conflict.

Token Exchange and the profile of rise/decay

Something I have been giving a great deal of thought to over a number of years is the way that people, as social entities, collect experiences through interacting with their environment and how those experiences (I'll refer to them as 'tokens') have different values for different people and caneven have different values for an individual at different times.

To elaborate. A lifejacket is not a terribly useful or fashionable item, but it has a value for people who will be going on a boat that is significantly different to the value that people who will not be going on a boat. Even within the subgroup of people going onto a boat, the lifejacket will have a significantly different value if circumstances dictate that they are going to have to leave the boat. You can also imagine that an old, salt stained lifejacket could have yet another value to the widow of a salior lost at sea, to a sailor who survived thanks to that lifejacket or to a junk dealer scavenging at a garage sale...

Okay, now that I've got you all going "EH??" let's push on, or, to use another token "moving forward.."

SWG is in itself both a discreet token and a collection of tokens any of which could conceivably have a value greater than the 'whole SWG' token. Focusing in on the game experience for a PvPer and a crafter it is not difficult to see that the crafting minigame has little to no value for the fighter whereas it is, for many crafters, a hugely valuable element within the game structure.

The value of the whole game token varies as a player progresses through the normal rise-plateau-decline profile of the consumption of an experience token. Thus, a fast, easy to learn game has a short, steep rise going from 'novice' to 'expert' in a very short timescale. A game, or minigame, with a slower learning process goes from 'novice' to 'expert' over a longer period. The value that the players put on that learning experience token will be affected by the duration of the learning period. In short, the longer the learning period the greater the emotional investment and, presumably, the greater the feeling of 'achievement'.

Once the player has reached 'expert' level they enter a plateau phase and will remain there until they begin to become bored. As humans we constantly seek out new challenges, new experiences. We seek to obtain additional tokens which we have a value for. Thus a trivial crafting process becomes a chore, an easily defeated enemy is dismissed as yard trash or just a pest. As long as the game continues to provide these experiences and we continue to have a value for them we won't enter the decline stage of the consumption profile.

However, the speed of that deline will be in part determined by a) the perceived 'height' of the plateau and b) the amount of emotional investment in the character/skillset/game experience.

Thus a player who has risen rapidly, had a medium to poor mixture of experiences at plateau level and has become disenchanted with the game will have a very rapid decline and exit. Players who have invested considerably more time and effort in getting to the 'top' and/or have had a rich and rewarding experience while at the plateau phase will descend more slowlly, possibly even forming minor plateau as their involvement with the game fritters out but they find other distractions to delay their final exit.

We have moved from a game model that encouraged a slow climb, with intermediate level sections on the way up and that permitted the player to choose to "apply the brakes" on the way down from which they could once again build up their involvement in the game by exploring new experiences (deskilling and relevelling) with a model that actively encourages a fast rise, shortened period of gameplay (kill loot repeat is only 'satisfying' or worth anything to the player for a limited time) and, once the player has decided they've had enough lacks the mechanisms to encourage them to rebuild / reinvest.

This creates a consumption profile that is much more of a 'hump' than a low flat curve. The shorter end to end pathway for a players gaming life is critical to the long term viability of the game. MMO's such as SWG, as we all know, demand a monthly payment from players. The players, consciously or subconsciously, weigh that real world monetary value (in itself just another 'token') against the rewards of the game (in terms of fun, experience, community, achievement, etc) and are more likely to find that the monetary token outweighs the experiental token when there is a shorter game curve. Quite simply, there IS less reward.

The further reducing of long term playable functions, such as the crafting minigame, city politics, etc, by devaluing their skillbases means that you are pushing players who formed part of the long term investors into a style of gameplay that is unlikely to provide the type of experiential return that they enjoy. In short, you will reduce the value of their game experience and increase the speed with which they approach decline/exit.

This is counterproductive in the extreme. By shortening the time that individual players are loyal to the game you increase churn. This means you have to spend more and more time (and money) in attracting new customers. Resistance to taking up a game will be greater if there are elements such as a monthly fee, short game experience, lack of variety etc, and that will in time make recruitment of new players more and more difficult. The rate of churn will eventually catchup with or exceed the capacity to bring new blood onboard and the game as a whole will enter a period of decline.

That the game was previously in decline (qv John Smedley's admission that they were heamoraging players) but has survived thus far is largely down to the persistance of the elder player community who felt they had sufficient investment to stay postNGE in the hope of a radical revamp that would justify the continuance of their investment. It is debatable whether the current combat changes, targetting, upcoming Restuss event etc will be enough. What is indisputable is that it would be madness to hack away at the one remaining solid leg, the crafter/social comunity and precipitate a decline in their involvement.

Once you reduce the value of a token, debasing it, it is incredibly difficult to reverse that process. Usually it requires a far greater investment than there was originally just to get back to a 'starting' level. I have serious doubts that the current dev team (who you will notice have by and large got a very differnt 'value' for the game than it's original dev team had) have either the resources or commitment to make that size of investment, especially as they seem to be overly focused on 'slimming down' the whole package.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

[SW:G] 3rd Anniversary - Player v Dev PvP battle.

Well, this is gonna be a short report...

Server was taken down for a bump and brought back up just about on time for the official start.

My toon was already in Theed and it was something to see over 100 players all log in simultaneously outside the SP. Headed towards the edge of town where I was going to wait to find out what was going to happen when a sysmsg popped up with two waypoints, one for Imps, one for Rebs.

ITV's were called, shuttles hopped, yachts spawned and everyone started heading towards Moenia. The server went down.

Pex posted a note that they had 'found something' that needed immediate attention and the server would be back up in about an hour. True enough, about an hour later it was back up and running.

Loaded in, headed to the Rebel waypoint where there was a good sized crowd around the frog. (Rough estimate 75 - 100 players) Hooked up with some TC regulars and we all proceeded to stand about going "so, what next?". The next hour was largely taken up just trying to get the group formed up, people couldn't travel in because of lag, people in the area couldn't chat due to lag.

I realised, after ~45mins, that I was taking hits from a BH standing 30m away. I couldn't target him to fire back, lol. Ran out of range, came back in fast and still couldn't do any damage.

Just then a sysmsg came up announcing that 'after a frenzied battle the Rebels had won'. Which was news to us as we couldn't see anything that looked like fighting apart from some newbs dueling at the frogs with flamers.

Minutes later we got a 'thank you for coming' and that was it... The Battle of Moenia. I didn't even get a chance to take screenies, lol. I did have FRAPS running but again, nothing filmed as nothing happened.

Boy, am I looking forward to the next one AND the Restuss Event.

oh yeah....

Monday, June 19, 2006

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A life in the day of a Star Wars Crafter

Crafter blog.
Day One. Today I hand sampled blistersonthebum, an extruded ore.

Day Two. I placed 2000 units of blistersonthebum on the bizaar. I will be rich soon!!

Day Nine. Whaffatuck? My blistersonthebum disappeared of the bazaar because nobody bought it? Don't they know how much I suffered getting that?? I quit.

Day Nine, part two. OK, I'll not quit. Maybe I'll make shirts instead. Tomorrow I will sample enough materials to make some shirts. I'll sell them and buy a harvester.

Day Twelve. OK, what is wrong with these people? I've had black shirts (Imperial) on the bazaar since yesterday and not one has sold. There's other shirts at 20000cr on there so they must sell..

Day Twenty Three. By the golden apples of Eris, pilot is way too much fun. Must try crafting again soon.

Karen Travis and the Grimy Underbelly of Fandom

I sometimes wonder at the very vocal rantings of some of the SW(G) fanbase so was interested when Karen Traviss blogged:

"I'm still mired in some excruciatingly painful deadlines but I wanted to drop by and thank you all. And I'm sorry that I didn't even drop a hint about the Boba novella. You know me. The silent service... ;) Can neither confirm nor deny etc etc etc.

Since DarkMoose blogged on the activities of the grimy underbelly of fandom last week, I've had lots of mail from you folks and it's touched me deeply. It's lovely to know that so many of you care and want to support me when I'm targeted by trolls. (Yes, okay Moosie, trolls - I forgot how old this behaviour is, and that it had a name long ago. It even predates the internet.) Thank you, everyone." Full article at
http://blogs.starwars.com/karentraviss/133

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Nien Nunb Speaks!

The Ultimate Nien Nunb Page!

Apparently ;)

Tide's Horizon: Truth Revealed (Raph on SWG Quest)

Adam MacDonald rambles on in an absent minded stylee about mysterious SWG NPC spawn.

Tide's Horizon: Truth Revealed (Raph on SWG Quest)

FWIW, this NPC was still being sought after I started by people who hoped / believed she had something to do with unlocking that FS slot.

Little random events like that can have long lasting effects, no?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sam Spade. Imperial pilot, jedi and wino

Well, my post NGE toon is having some major identity issues.

I'm an Imperial pilot coming to terms with being Force Sensitive and was a bit freaked out at finding myself on Tansari Point after having been shot down BY the Empire. I can only assume that some idiot mercenery was jamming the IFF frequencies again, but c'mon, even a sunblind Sullustan can tell teh differnece between a TIE fighter and, well, anything else in space.

Moreso, that treacherous scum deserter Solo and his furbag pet was there to 'rescue' me, promptly gunning down some innocent troopers who were slacking off on a ref break in the hangers. I went along with them on that rustbucket freighter (damn fool, he thinks I didn't see his 'hidden compartments'? Just wait till I get to a terminal and update the Imperial database) hoping to lull him into a false sense of security and find a link between him and the Rebellion.

Oh good grief. The memory of that flight still haunts me. Perhaps it was the emotional trauma of being forced into shooting down more innocent, law abiding Imperials (note to self, must get a better ship than a TIE, they're too easy to light up) or the close presence of the Emperors henchman Vader, but it was after that trip that I found I was becoming more closely aligned with the Force.

Still, needs must, as they say. Worse things happen at sea and all that. Down to Mos Eisley on some bassackwards desert planet called Tatooine. I don't know what it is with Solo but he's got me hooked up with some of his underworld cronies already. What a patsie!

And some petty criminal, Bubba, Booby, Bib, something like that. Ugly kid, bad teeth, looks like he fell out the ugly tree and chewed every branch on the way down... he's on my comm day and night telling me that I'm to work for Jabba the Hutt? The bollocks I will, I'm headed for Bestine and the nearest Imperial admin centre. I've got to report in. Tho the paperwork for losing a TIE fighter off Ord Mandell and then explaining about the Imperial pilots and troopers I've killed so far, to say nothing of being seen in the company of old Bloodstripe Solo....

Well, anyhow, I end up working as a hired thug for Jabba the Hutt. Yeah, that made so much sense. About as much sense as working for that Watto thing... what was THAT about? Apart from killing more of my Imperial brothers?

I did manage to get some time to commune with the Force and met some cool folk who helped me understand that the Light path is one of seeking balance. So I'm doing my best to be at one with the Force and to strive to stay on the Light side.

Which is why slaughtering those escaped prisoners for the Hutt rankled so much. And I'm now worried about what Lady Valarian is going to have to say to the Imperial sector command about this idiot jeti running about the planet killing her henchmen and putting a bit of a crimp in her business activities.

Fortunately an Imperial contact got me hooked up woth some work for the RSF on Naboo. And a merry old time that was. Killing terrorists, petty criminals, random thugs. I suppose the Force has a plan for me. At least that old woman, Trehla, in Eisley seemed to think it had. Hope she was right...

I worked for the Royal Security Forces, on detachment from the Imperial Fleet obviously, for a while. Broke a couple of crime rings, smashed a smuggling ring, tortured some terrorists.... happy days. But all too soon it was over and I was posted to backwater planet after backwater planet with no feedback whatsoever from Imperial Command. I think they've forgotten about me, I mean, I'm just a number to those beurocrats...

and so I find myself harrassing farmers and beachcombers on Corellia. Yeah, more police work. More private detective work would be closer to the truth.

You know, sometimes I wake up in the night and see myself as Philip Marlow, or maybe Sam Spade... the gumshoe with the light saber.

It's really not the life I had imagined for myself. Was gonna serve my time with the Fleet, then buy a little farm someplace and raise durnis for the snackfood industry. But here I am, living out the life of some half assed detective / hired gun, running to and fro, killing Drall patriots because "they might not be up to something now but they will be eventually", huh? What in Drokks name is that about?

And, now I've come to terms with being Force Sensitive, well, where's my support network? Where's my training? My induction into the Jetii Temple? How can I ever pursue a path to the Light side if I keep getting sent to kill random innocents 'just to make the numbers up'??

You know, if alcohol had any effect in this game I'd curl up with a big bottle of Vasarian Brandy and get out of my head on spice... I'm just one crazy mad mixed up Force sensitive Imperial pilot deserter thug scum...

It can't get any worse than this, can it?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Chapter 1. A new beginning or more of the same but nu and improved?

Dem bombad devs over at SWG have been at da crunchin' again and meesa still bogglin....



Weapon conversion:

DXR6 carbine/rifle was my weapon of choice since way before CU. It was always just a lovely big brutal beast spitting gobs of superheated plasma into the moist tender parts of my targets... (I'm a pacifist irl, btw, before you start running and hiding your kids) My current one isn't 'the best' I've had but it was pretty handy. Decent damage, high rate of fire and a rifles range.

Now it's a bit pants. In fact, I've got reward SWORDS that do more damage, lol.

OTOH, I found my Nym's have converted really nicely and my trusty Tusken rifles are ideal for PvE.


Targetting:

Meh... I can pretty much manage without all that assistance. Just point and shoot....


Combat. PvE.

As a lvl 90 spy I don't find THAT much difference. It starts getting ugly I hit smoke and rest up, then kill the bugger. I've done krayts already, avatar blackscale... but I got my ass handed to me by some lvl 30 legacy thugs as they swarmed me and even with gas, smoke and running away stealthed I still went over.

I don't PvP. Not unless I've done something daft and gone overt, in which case I die fast.


Creature AI? Oh,that's borked.

UI? Don't get me started. It's still fugly AND they have added another non-scalable, non-customisable flickerbar which, if truth be told, seems to be there JUST to break the UI mods that people were using.

Seriously, there's something in their attitude to the UI that's like a 5 year old kid that wants you to play and be his buddy but you have GOT to play by HIS rules or he's gonna throw a paddy....

Thursday, June 08, 2006

[SWG] Goin' back to it's roots, yeah...

Over at MoggNation Michael salutes SWG Returning to it's roots, kinda.

He finishes off with the questions "What if you’re over that level? Or what if CorSec hates you? Where’s the love? I guess, at least, they’re trying something new."

So of course the latent fanboi in me just HAD to reply:

Level. Apparently (and we've just got to trust them on this) there will be higher level stuff in the later chapters, as the story unfolds, in the fullness of time...

CorSec hate? /emote sigh... if only. Sadly faction beyond Imp/Reb means nothing at the moment. You can be a CorSec murdering son of a bothan and still they'll welcome you in with open arms.

Where's the love... we's all a-askin' dat meesta, eesa all de bombad crunchin', deres no lovin in de galaxies...


And, yes. They are trying. Very.

Still. Interesting times, eh? 6-8 hours downtime scheduled today to roll out "Chapter 1" and then we'll see. One thing I CAN guarantee and that's that some folk will be happy clappers and others will be well ticked.




(Well, I would have replied if the cussed security tag number verification thing didn't have a shitty on and keep telling me that I can't 'kin read.... )

Rogue_5's Comlink. Is it LD?

Just noticed a new tab on the SW:G official forums, the "Feature Portal" which takes you, wonder of wonders, to a nice shiny new page that lists a load of the regualr features for the forums in a nice, clear, shiny format.

Had to laugh my socks off though at the entry for Grant McDaniel's "comlink":

Rogue_5's Comlink
Grant "Rogue_5" McDaniel is the SOE producer and Star Wars Galaxies Team leader. Rogue_5 posts a weekly update to the community. Don't miss out on this transmission!

Well, I'm all agog and just waiting to see what fun, exciting and starwarsy news the iconic Rouge 5 (sic) has to offer.... so I click and whaddaya know...

The first two articles were posted on his behalf, he's not actually posted a weekly update since the end of April and that was only the second he'd managed since the previous stint when helios was posting fo him.

On checking the Rogue_5 tracker, he's not managed to log on to the forums in a while either.
(Date Last Visited 05-16-2006 04:38 PM)

Now I'm not ragging on the wee fella, heck knows, the last time we saw him (on the E3 video) he was looking hunted enough, but seriously, when SW:G Dev's go quiet the fans start wondering just what the heck is coming next...

Just noticed a new tab on the SW:G official forums, the "Feature Portal" which takes you, wonder of wonders, to a nice shiny new page that lists a load of the regualr features for the forums in a nice, clear, shiny format.

Had to laugh my socks off though at the entry for Grant McDaniel's "comlink":

Rogue_5's Comlink
Grant "Rogue_5" McDaniel is the SOE producer and Star Wars Galaxies Team leader. Rogue_5 posts a weekly update to the community. Don't miss out on this transmission!

Well, I'm all agog and just waiting to see what fun, exciting and starwarsy news the iconic Rouge 5 (sic) has to offer.... so I click and whaddaya know...

The first two articles were posted on his behalf, he's not actually posted a weekly update since the end of April and that was only the second he'd managed since the previous stint when helios was posting fo him.

On checking the Rogue_5 tracker, he's not managed to log on to the forums in a while either.
(Date Last Visited 05-16-2006 04:38 PM)

Now I'm not ragging on the wee fella, heck knows, the last time we saw him (on the E3 video) he was looking hunted enough, but seriously, when SW:G Dev's go quiet the fans start wondering just what the heck is coming next...

Sunday, June 04, 2006

SWG Graphics

Been out on TC taking some screenies around Mos Entha. A while back (over a year ago) Thortac, Zaw and I did the same exercise as we were totally hyped up about the 'new improved' graphics. And believe me, they really were awesome.

I'm posting todays screenies just now but will be adding the 'before' shots once I track them down in the Ranger Archives.


Mos Entha showing the Fallen Star


Last time I did this run I stood here in an HTFB with the BE and Ranger correspondants.


Not entirely a vanity shot, but showing character shadows, character detail and 'glare' off metalic objects such as the big dangly necklace thing...


This shot is illustrative of several problems with SWG's graphics. The 'sliced salmon' texture for the sand is slightly glossy and unnatural, the edge of the dunes here can clearlybe seen to be quite angular and not rounded as they used to be.

The shadow settings are on volumetric simple, but the shadow cast by the cupa is totally wrong looking. The shadows on the buildings are far too harsh and blocky.



Oh, and yeah, that's Ozies house that buried itself on the 15th September 2005*. Have given up trying to get it dug out by QA and will just have to accept that it'll draw maintainence from his bank account from now on.

(*had a CSR ticket open for over six months, pm'd and mailled a couple of QA, but eventuallyhad to close the ticket voluntarily to submit a fresh one when I got stuck in some architecture.)

Polish that for quality, Julio. ;)



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