Important Stuff!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Botting, Gold-Selling, and Hacking

"When mores are sufficient, laws are unnecessary; when mores are insufficient, laws are unenforceable." - Emile Durkheim
Continuing my obnoxious trend of beginning posts with quotes, I find this one to be particularly relevant to the topic. Botting, Hacking, and Gold-Selling in video games are a billion dollar industry. Over the weekend, a reddit poster in the Guild Wars 2 subreddit offered to provide some insight from a person who had one been on the "inside" of that world. In the post he explains some of the mechanics of the industry, clears up some misconceptions, and aims to legitimize some of their activity. I bet you can guess by my tone, that I do not think this poster succeeded in the last of those.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

[GW2] Getting Female Armor right-ish, or, "Credit where credit is due."

I wanted to take a brief break from debating the finer points of the Trading Post or dungeon/event reward balance to discuss something I think Guild Wars 2 has done fairly well; armor sets for female characters. It's a debate as old as time; whether "bikini-plate" or whatever delightful monicker you want to assign to it belongs in a fantasy setting and how it should apply. I myself am of the opinion that it is fine, provided there are other options (for both genders!).  The former; options for female characters, is something GW2 actually seems to do fairly well. I haven't seen enough compilations of their armor for male characters to make the judgment of whether that second equality standard is met. Continue pat the break for examples and explanations.

Friday, September 14, 2012

[GW2] Blowing Blizz out of the water

I have played WoW since a few days after its release and in that time I got used to hearing "Soon"tm from the CM's with regards to features that to me felt like they could be fixed in a matter of minutes. Blizzard is extremely reluctant to make changes outside of a patch unless the issue is substantially game-breaking. I recall PvPers eagerly awaiting a patch that might balance their class (or nerf another) and sitting through months to wait for something to be fixed. The typical expectation a player learned was that any fix beyond changing a number (and sometimes even that) would be a few months down the line.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

[Game Econ] Competition isn't fun

 "Most Businessmen don't like their competitors, or for that matter competition. They want to make as much money as possible and getting a monopoly is one way of making a lot of money." - R. Posner, Olympia Equipment Leasing Co. v. Western Union Telegraph Co. (797 F.2d 370, 1986)
In a previous post of mine, a commenter asked why I considered WoW's auction houses to be "flourishing" and not Diablo 3's. In retrospect, I should have said "fun" not "flourishing".  I notice that lately a few other bloggers have taken on this similar issue, mainly sparked by the GW2 Trading Post.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A warning to WoW Bloggers (who post screenshots)

Update [3:37 PM]: It is currently believed that this is only sharing an internal account ID number that Blizzard uses. However, Blizzard's database has been hacked in the past. For further information, there is a reddit thread and the link below has comments.

That said, it should had a further layer of caution to those posting screenshots, make sure you aren't violating any NDA's.

It is a clever method...I wonder how much it has been used.

While perusing news on the web today I came across this article:

Regarding Blizzard secretly marking your screenshots with artifacts. As I know many bloggers like using screenshots in their posts I thought it would be timely to warn that apparently some information might be leaked as a result. I hope there is nothing to this and that it is all just a rumor, but when it comes to account security I tend to prefer a proactive approach to a reactive one. One guild member getting hacked was enough for my taste.

So consider this my call to bloggers to be extra careful about the screenshots you post!

I wish I had more time to post on this but I am at work, though it is somewhat alarming that Blizzard is sneaking this functionality in without any notification in the ToS or EULA. I see why they did it; most likely it is meant as a protection of NDA's by allowing them to figure out who posted the picture (especially of unreleased content) so they can take proper action...but this opens up another can of worms.

I'd recommend getting an authenticator...really, it's easy, they're cheap (free for your phone if you have an Iphone) and they come with a cute pet...there really is no reason not to and you do NOT want the experience of being hacked, no matter how cautious you think you are being.

Friday, September 7, 2012

[GW2] Stop counting, start playing

I do not necessarily consider myself a "goblin" in the economic sense, the existence of a market and trade in a game to me is just a nice bonus and not some requirement. I've played and enjoyed games with irreparably broken economies (FFXI, D3), and games with flourishing ones (EVE, WoW arguably). I typically have no problem earning enough gold (or whatever currency we're using) to facilitate my enjoyment of the game. This may come off as a "Here's how you SHOULD be playing..." post but I find that so many people are focusing so intently on the GW2 trading post that they are missing the bigger picture.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

[GW2] I (don't) hate other people

Remember those exclaimations of frustration you used to utter in other games? They probably sounded a lot like:

"How did I get flagged!?"
"Ugh I wish this guy would go away..."
"That was MY node! I was fighting on it!"
"Oh great, someone else here is killing the same quest mobs."

Funny story, in Guild Wars 2, about 30 some hours in now, and I have yet to utter a single one of those phrases.

In every other MMO I have played until now, sighting another player was at best just a random encounter in which you parted ways, at worst it means competition for resources or an impending gank. This is not the case in Guild Wars 2. This is the first MMO (or MMO-ish) game I have played where I was actually happy to see other players...and I see a lot of them. While other bloggers have claimed that this lack of resource competition leads to a feeling of the world being "empty" I find it is exactly the opposite.

Lets put this in context. Often in SWTOR when someone else was killing the same quest mobs as I and they got into a sticky situation, a little voice in the back of my head whispered "Let 'em die..." because it meant less competition for me. In GW2 I find I am going out of my way to assist other players; I can say with certainty that a well-timed knife throw has rescued another player. I've tread off the beaten path to resurrect someone else because there was a nice xp cookie in it for me.

A few weeks ago Stubborn was asking about collectivism in MMORPG's and I think I have found one that's done it brilliantly. At least while out and about in the world I find that I am benefited most by helping other players. Having them around almost ensures improved odds for my own success.

Individual loot, individual resource nodes, bonus xp for contribution to objectives, xp for resurrecting other many "individual" terms and yet they make the game feel so friendly. Personally I don't miss having people swipe veins out from under me while I'm clearing the mob right next to it. I don't miss mashing pull abilities to grab needed quest mobs before someone else takes them. I don't miss a quiet disdain from other players as I adventure in the same area as them. I'm fine with those things in other games, but I am glad for once that there is a game that encourages and rewards cooperative activity in a meaningful way (and not just by forcing us to form a random party or get a guild). Heck, some Hearts actually are faster to complete with other people, since both players can activate the items that give credit. Playing as I write, I encountered crab traps which gave credit for a heart and spawned a crab, which also gave heart credit upon defeat. If two players use the trap, two crabs spawn, so each can get extra credit and xp.

Some might say that this removes the opportunity to form impromptu groups out in the world to overcome challenges, but I've found the opposite...a handful of times now I have ended up randomly forming parties with people I am playing near....we form, do our quests, talk, and eventually part ways just like any other group, but without the drama that came from a sudden drop or internal strife over who's iron vein that was.

These are things I don't miss, for me they don't take aware from my enjoyment in the slightest. I can leisurely fight my way to a node without fear of it being swiped. I can show up at an event without fear that there won't be anything to, I can go to a heart and know mobs will be plentiful.

So end, me like, I hope more games do this!