Tuesday, October 6, 2015

If You're in the Gaming Industry, Never Break This Rule

Is this even a contentious issue? No, because it has never really BEEN a major issue. Has it always been quietly on the sidelines, trying to dig into the core issues that players tend to rant/complain/report about? Hell yes.

The reason why regardless of your role in a gaming company be it the CFO, chief programmer, janitor, food supplier, contractor, everyone must be "with it" for whatever your gaming mission and vision is. This is where I love using the word "immersion" and getting people talking. Who DOESN'T want their players to be immersed in their game?

Ahh that is the golden question. I commend you my single reader for following me for so long *digital tree-branch druid high-five*. What we saw in WoD is what broke this rule, and why there has been an increase of discussion towards the mobile gaming market in my humble old blog. They are all related. Sort of.

Let's look at mobile games. Low development cost, but with the right setup, massive massive potential for immense profitability. Massive margins. Look at Candy Crush, they were making $300,000 a day? Now before you put on your judgmental glasses, that is totally fine. There is only so much "immersion" you can expect out of a mobile game, but it can be designed so that you never ever break this very important rule.

We can summarize that most mobile games try to churn out low development content to fish for the highest possible returns over time. Sometimes what they offer hit gold or become niche/clique eg Flappy Bird type games, Angry Bird where you can build a brand on top of it, etc etc.

Regardless, in the time that players are immersed, most mobile games don't break the golden rule. The ones that do tend to fail or stagnate.

We can skirt about this rule, but if your game is strong enough then players won't care. They'll find ways around it.

What exactly is this strange rule?

The answer: Players should never question your business decisions.

Now, business decisions differ from what we see as business model. A game may be set-up as a pay-to-get-ahead model, but players will adjust. WoW may be slowly shifting from an MMO with an in-game store type model. That is fine.

It's the business decisions where it gets dirty.

When players question your model, they visualize a model usually with charts and graphs and there are expectations and preconceptions and that's it. They go back to the game.

When we start questioning your business decisions, how you handle PR, what you are doing with your designers, why certain decisions were made, we start digging deeper in our visualizing. We picture your office, we start seeking out a target. Who made that decision, and why? The players are now TOO close to us. Get them back into the game, and out of our offices in their heads.

Uh oh immersion's coming back. When you completely break any sense of game immersion with questionable actions, the players have nothing to hang onto in game and we start seeking. Once we're in, you're going to need a lot to get us back out. We no longer see a game as just a game, but a product from a company who makes questionable decisions.

Tough decisions need to be made I agree but what I am trying to say is COVER YOUR ASSES. Make that link, get your decision makers to understand the implications of how they are affecting immersion. Have a back-up plan to keep us out of our own heads.

That is enough with free advice for one day, get the hell out of my office.

Turny the Angry Tree

Monday, October 5, 2015

FFXIV: Things I Miss From WoW

Not everything is all rainbows and sunshine in FFXIV. While FFXIV currently (as at WoD Hellfire Citadel Raid) trumps WoW in terms of character progression/development/immersion, profession, community, story, real player housing, there are a lot of cumbersome points that people tend to gloss over but I shall be the reasonable and balanced player here! But let's start with the complainy bitchy stuff first!

Truny's Top 10 FFXIV Pet Peeves

1. Storage space (or lack of bag management addon).

Storage space is horrible in this game where you are limited to 2 retainers who can hold 140 items each, and also your own bag. While this sounds decent, as there are NO JUNK items in FFXIV, you'll end up hoarding everything and eventually losing them. If you're leveling multiple professions, the constant upgrading of multiple gear-sets is bound to fill up your armoury which is an additional storage of all your gear.

The fact that we can't SEARCH for items and that a lot of items have similar icons make looking for a specific fish or berry that I stashed away ten levels ago a particular hassle.

While this is a great addition, the armoury NEVER sorts itselt to highest level item first, so this must be manually done EVERY TIME you go in. Makes it a pain to swap classes.

The guild storage space is a joke. 3 slots non-expandable. The total storage is probably LESS than what a normal person has in their bags.

2. Playing on Multiple Devices. 

I know this is FWP'y but for those of us with multiple homes and multiple computers/laptops FFXIV is a NIGHTMARE as your bars and gearsets and keybinds DO NOT get saved server side. And of course since there are so many classes on one of your toons, if you made any progress on one computer, you're pretty much focked. There IS a way to copy over the data files but that's such a hassle. Luckily my keybinds have been relatively standard in all MMO's, but still an ANNOYANCE.

This point exacerbates point 1 as there is SO MUCH gear clogging up your armoury when you're levelling up multiple classes/professions its just a nightmare to sort through and find your highest ilvl piece again.

3. Clunky Companion System.

Level 20 is a magical time for most players as they have most likely heard of having their Chocobo MOUNT fight with them! While this is an awesome addition, with stances and skills and gear and feather custom colors.....this "pet" system isn't exactly seamless since the Chocobo acts as an additional member to your PARTY.

So this means you can't queue for a dungeon with your chocobo, nor can you dismiss them, queue, then resummon. You also can't jump into a duty with your chocobo out. Why can't the game dismiss them FOR ME? If you're a squishy DPS who likes having your chocobo as backup, well..while you're queuing you're on your own.

4. Scattered Attunement Quests

Perhaps I'm inefficient without seeking out information but each of FFXIV's dungeons have a "hardmode" or even an "Extreme" mode and since I came back just at the release of Heavensward, a lot of the old content is just ...old, but to unlock certain hardmode features one must know where to find the proper quest. This also comes from materia desynthing, treasure map finding, how were we supposed to even FIND these quests? A lot of them are random NPC's in random locations. Locations I would not even think of going back to unless there was a specific resource or fishing node happened to be nearby?

Perhaps I should speak to EVERY SINGLE NPC? An Adventurer's Guide would definitely be handy here.

5. Gathering Success Rates Look ....Stupid

When you're out gathering the UI shows a % success for how likely you are to gather a certain item. Due to only getting 4 or 5 chops out of one node, an unlucky or multiple unlucky streaks could make that famous 83% seem like 20% or less. Which when you boost your HQ % to 50% you really then think, perhaps the universe is indeed infinite.

Take note at how these complaints are all part of having something to do to begin with to have to actually complain and nothing seems to really point at the core of the game. Nothing is breaking immersion yet. There's been so MUCH to do in terms of professions I have not touched my PVE class in a week and that is totally fine.

Strange no?

Truny the Complainer

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I haven't been on WoW other than doing a brewfest dungeon for a mount I realized I already had? Still logging in every two weeks for my free ilvl 700 piece, then switfly logging out.

Thinking back to even Mists I had asked myself: "What would it EVEN take for me to quit? There's so much to do and progress in, and our guild was a thriving hub of activity and excitement".

The answer is: WoW is the WoW killer. Never before have I not even WANTED to log in but not even CARE to log in for weeks at a time. This usually happens for me during the extreme content droughts at the VERY end of an expansion. WoD had this feeling a few weeks after hitting 100 and realizing that other than actually raiding there was very little I could do to prepare for raids.

Instead, I have been putzing (this is totally a word no?) about in FF14. Our free company (guild) managed to sweep up a small house in Gridania by the waterfall and I am now in charge of the garden, trying to cross breed rare herbs and minions (such as the Garlic Jester).

I haven't been doing much in FF either to be honest. I do not run dungeons much other than out of necessity or to help out a guildie, but I HAVE been keeping very busy levelling up my profession classes.

By default I chose to play as a Black Mage, but I haven't touched my "PVE" class in weeks. I have been playing as my gatherer and crafter: Botanist & Culinarian. Otherwise known as "Disciples of the Land/Hand".

You see there are 'daily' missions where you create or gather things from your different professions and they give you massive amounts of exp, double if you turn in high quality items. You are also able to make decent but not mind-blowing money on all the peripheral items you gather on the way.

No there are no free gil handout missions like in WoW.

I am still far from end-game of any sorts but am enjoying flying around doing my gathering, seeing the rare proc material nodes, ephemeral nodes, seeing my gear and skills slowly improve. Good times.

Truny the Botanist

Friday, September 11, 2015

"I Started in Warlords"

Let's look to the future. Just like how I am seeing the youth of today as my employees of tomorrow I must start adapting business processes to eventually be a "fit" for them while transitioning everyone on board for a smooth ride as well.

Obviously Blizzard did not have this vision with WoD, but what will be of the players who started their WoW adventure in WoD?

Will they be jaded Vanilla elitists?
Semi jaded BC elitists?
Entitled Wrath Babies? (That's me)
Immature Pandarian Panda Children?
??? Warlordians?

*Yes I skipped Cataclysm cause let's be honest we all wish that didn't exist right? Or at least Blizzard does.

I actually have very little idea/discussion of this.

1. They'd expect beautiful art.
2. They'd expect amazing cut-scenes at the end of all zones to tie everything together.
3. They'd expect beautiful and intricate dungeons.
4. I THINK they would be slightly confused as to why their professions disappear at level 90. Unless they PAY to start at 90...
5. They would have five expansions worth of content fresh in their heads.

But so do we all.

Truny the WTF

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Forced: Flying

I saw an interesting comment the other day that was along the lines of:

"Blizzard is forcing me to do content that I do not enjoy in order to fly".

Uhh. Ok wait let's look at the Pathfinder achievement required for flight:

Explore Draenor: Run around and explore all areas. Ok so you don't like exploring.
Securing Draenor: Doing the major apexis quests. If you didn't care for the original quest or used these quests to obtain your first 4,000...I could give you this. Almost.
Tanaan Diplomat: Pretty much means play 6.2.
Loremaster of Draenor: Most people would have 3-4 zones completed at max level. Play through the story. Oh you don't enjoy story, or questing.
Master Treasure Hunter: I guess the rewards are boring and you don't have natural curiosity to click on an interesting purple box.

Now I get that we used to just be able to buy flying and be done with it, but no one is "forcing" you to essentially "play the game". If you don't enjoy the game you won't enjoy flying? Am I missing something here?

Truny the Confused and Forced