Thursday, July 30

Crafting Survey

A crafting Survey
One fine bored evening I decided that it might be a good idea to create a crafting survey to find out if there are others out there, like me who want that something more from crafting, a forum post wouldn't do as I wanted it to be a little bit more factual than subjective, a survey seemed the best way to go. The yammobs rallied to my aid with some great suggestions and off I went to google docs to get the ball rolling. The crafters in the MMO world took it to their heart and it only took a few short days to reach the 200 response mark I initialy wanted to aim for. A big thankyou to those that took the time to fill it in and thankyou for both the positive feedback and the discussions that ensued.
While it would be nice to think that this could reflect the gamer community I am the first to admit that isn't true, very few with no interest in crafting would have taken the time to fill it in, this then reflects the experience and desires of a small cross section of the crafting community in MMOs, nothing more, nothing less.

The basics

Considering that the majority of responses came from crafters it is no surprise that most people felt that crafting played an important role in their game play experience and that the majority wanted to be able to max multiple crafting professions.

These results show that most crafters would like to spend over 50% of their game time involved in crafting yet currently the majority spend less than 20% of their game time crafting, that says alot about the cuyrrent state of crafting in MMOs, crafting sadly needs much more attention from developers than it's getting.

For the question Which MMO's with crafting systems have you played/are currently playing? Other games listed included: Darkfall (2), Aion (7), Pirates of the Burning Sea (4), Horizons (4), Neocron (2), Ryzom (2), UO (9), A Tale in the Desert (3), WAR (2), Puzzle Pirates (2), Planetside, Wurm Online (2), Wizard 101, AO (3), Istaria (2), Legend of Mir (2), Ragnarok Online (3), GW (2) - even though it has no crafting that I know of, CoH (2), Cabal, Asheron's Call , EQ , Dragonica, Ashen Empires, Voyage Century, Spellborn.

The number in brackets represents the number who opted for that game if greater than 1.

For the question What is your current main MMO ? a significant amount answered for 'Other' that they were waiting for a new MMO (Aion featured highly).

I always thought that most PvP players wouldn't hold much interest in crafting, which is down to my experience of games tendencies to provide the best PvP gear through progression rather than crafting, I was pleased to see a healthy number from the PvP community represented. While the majority of crafters spend substantial amounts ingame the figure for less than 5hrs per week shows that for casual players crafting still holds some appeal. The majority of crafters seemed to have taken part in light role playing at some time or another, are crafters than generally more creative or are RP players more into crafting? That might be interesting to explore further in a later survey.

Crafting Comparison

I asked people to rate their crafting experience in the games they have played

The choice for other showed that Ultima Online was rated highly by several respondants, Aion (still in beta) also had a healthy showing. SWG recieved the highest ratings from those who had played it, forum comments have me believe that the current crafting system in SWG isn't as good as the original system, that system recieved nothing but praise and made me wish i had 'been there'. The question itself was flawed as the spreadsheet included multiple games chosen as 'Other' making it hard to see which games were being rated.

Quality of crafted items

As it currently stands thinking on quality of crafted items seems to be 'better than world drops, lesser than raid drops' in most MMOs, it's nice then to see that given a choice crafters would like the ability to go one step further and have the ability to improve on those raid drops by crafting upgrades or additions, that choice doesnt take away from the 'carrot on a stick' that is 'phat lewt' for raiders and keeps the crafters healthily employed with new recipes/rare materials to seek out.

Some of the answers for 'Other' included:
"Items shouldn't improve statistically so there should be not best teir of items at all"
"Tiers of items increasing from "better than equivalent greens" to "better than raid drops" where each tier is progressively difficult and needs rarer materials"
"there should be a balance some 'top end' items better than or comperable or worse than 'end game' items."
"Standard crafted gear should be equal to gear given as quest rewards. There should be lootable recipes for crafters whcih yield items equal in quality to the best lootable items in the game."
"equal to both raid/world but with a unique quality that fits the mmo that could not be found in raid/world equip. etc. run speed, makes food, or something fun"
"Raiding sucks. All items obtained in the world by killing things should be pretty much random while crafted items should have reliable stats based on the skills of the crafter and choices he made during the crafting process."

In retrospect more work can be done with that question and include things such as the social aspect of crafted items.


Most of us craft initialy to suit our own needs, crafting for others and profit came a close second, those of us in a guild seem to be equaly split between crafting for ourselves and meeting the needs of the guild. One of the reasons listed for 'Other' was the ability to create unique items only available for crafters, I suspect that our desire to be unique in our chosen vuirtual world might be a good motivator.

Luck ?

It seems a small majority enjoy the luck element of crafting, most games have it, maybe it's because it's something we are used to and comfortable with rather than something we positively embrace? Most felt that our chances of a positive outcome should scale and provide us with a higher success rate as we become masters of our craft.


For 'Other' players resonded with a desire for meaning and variety in the progression while a few wondered why there needed to be any quest content related to crafting 'crafting in itself should be enough'.


Cyrrently most of us feel that gathering ranges from a boring grind to something that is at best 'passable' very few of us find great enjoyment in it. Most of us would like to see a degree of dynamic content while gathering, the kind of content talked about included incredibly hard to reach nodes (dungeons), fighting off NPCs, environmental challenges and PvP.


One of the more interesting things to come out of comments for 'Other' when asked how people would like to gain recipes was through 'research and experimentation' which I feel while being probably very difficult to implement would provide a very rich and diverse crafting experience. Some also felt that the concept of recipes itself was redundant.

It's good to see that most players felt there should be a synergy between the professions, no one should be 100% reliant on someone else but a degree of reliance allows for added diversity for crafters and should be good for the economy.


When posing the question is crafting bad for the economy? I struggled to think of ways that it is, it seems likely to be a more subjective answer based on the users personal experience, I know i've felt that prices have got out of hand at various stages in a games evolvement but ultimately things seem to even themselves out, it may well have been a redundant question...

The Crafting Process

While little or no input during the crafting process is good for the casual player, attend to the kids, make a cup of tea, phone mum etc, it looks like most crafters want a fairly high degree of input during the process, watching success/fail progress bars just isn't enough, we want more interaction. Most feel that the visual elements of crafting and it's location are important, it does help for reasons of immersion. This is another area I'd like to expand on in a subsequent survey.

Age and gender of respondants

If you want to view the full spreadsheet of results you can do so here

The survey is closed for now while I evaluate everything I've learned from this initial experience. I will edit and relaunch the survey at a later date with the aim of getting a larger number of responses.

Wednesday, July 29

Sci FI Series

For the moment I'll discount the most important Sci Fi series, in terms of Real World Impact which is of course Star Trek the Original Series.

Star Trek franchise:
  1. Star Trek the Next Generation: A handpicked crew of professionals explores the Universe using teleporter technology from the mobile home base Enterprise
  2. Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Far away just on the border of logistical support a mixed crew of humans and aliens lives together on a station that is a little more important than you'd guess at first.
  3. Star Trek Voyager: A disparate group of people find themselves lost in Deep Space and are forced to learn to cooperate in order to make their way back.
  4. Star Trek Enterprise: A handpicked crew of professionals explores the Universe using teleporter technology from the mobile home base Enterprise only a few hundred years earlier in a Universe with dozens of races that apparently become extinct in between Enterprise, ST TOS and ST TNG.
I'm actually uncertain as to the chronological order of DS9 and Voyager. They aired at the same time in the Netherlands and were in direct competition but for the fact that Voyager was also on BBC2 in another time slot. But that's not the point.
Here's the point (note that you didn't even have to scroll yet):
  1. Stargate 1: A handpicked crew of professionals explores the Universe using teleporter technology from their stationary Stargate facility on Earth.
  2. Stargate: Atlantis: Nine: Far away just on the border of logistical support a mixed crew of humans and aliens lives together on a station that is a little more important than you'd guess at first.
  3. Stargate Universe: (upcoming) A disparate group of people find themselves lost in Deep Space and are forced to learn to cooperate in order to make their way back.
Now I never was a fan of the original SG1: series as a result of me not being impressed by the movie and a little taken aback by the entire McGuyver cast being transplanted in pretty much the same roles into SG1, but it had an impressive ten year run that earns my respect. I hear good things about Atlantis too but have never seen it. Still hoping I will though. But really somewhere along the line they hired maybe one too many former Star Trek people you think?
We'll know if the next reiteration of the franchise involves a Stargate #0: taking place prior to SG1:

The similarities don't end there. Both franchises have had several computer games made from them though here Star Trek does decidedly better. For instance right now development of Star Trek Online is doing rather well by all reports whereas the Developer of Stargate Online needs to find new funding guarantees before August 16th or lose the License.

SG: Universe while being a Voyager rip off at the surface claims to be more influenced by series like Firefly (good thing imo) more than Voyager or Battlestar Galactica. The latter's camera work is mentioned as something to emulate. Personally I hope they go for Firefly's higher level of subtlety in that regard. I.e. that show started the whole "unsteady" steadycam effect. While you hardly notice it in Firefly it adds a lot to the immersion really. Galactica's style is dramatic but also more ostentatious and (for me anyway) often distracting. I'm not a fan lapping up everything with the Galactica stamp on it though I do like the series. The individual episode writing is below par in my opinion and a lot more could have been done with the civilian element than has been done in the series (I'm currently watching the early stages of the third season btw).

Anyway, SG: Universe might be an interesting series to come of the Lost in Space / Voyager / Battlestar Galactica / variety. I wish they'd put out a more Firefly-esque series though. Both in terms of "people making a living in space" and in terms of great dialogue and overall writing, not too mention acting. Grrrr, why the hell did they ever kill that show so soon?

Monday, July 27

Last page of the book

For a while there is this new add on TV for some new phone. And it sums up nicely why there no great MMOs anymore.

Especially the comments like read the last page of a book and watch the last 15 minutes make my skin crawl. Welcome to the future.

Friday, July 24

PC & Phe approved funnies


And here's a classic favorite of mine:

During my boring but final Night shift of this cycle I decided to make a statistical anlaysis of my work days. To see how often I'd have a Saturday off, or how many days I'd have to bail out on a Tuesday evening weekly Sneak Preview Movie.
By going over every Saturday of the year 2009 I counted 11 Night shifts, 10 Morning shifts, 20 days off (yay!) and 9 Late shifts. From this we can deduce that on any given day I have a 40% chance of having the day off and 20% chance of having one of the three shifts.
Of course I could have deduced that from the simple fact that out of a 10 day cycle I have 4 days off and 2 each of Morning, Late and Night shifts, but that way I wouldn't have been mucking about with a calendar for half an hour, giving me something to do. Ok, and I only realized it after I did all that :-)

Thursday, July 23

Nothing to say, just watch and listen

So, Sam Raimi is going to direct a Warcraft Movie

That should be "World of Warcraft Movie" but that would've made the title even longer.

Silver screen renditions of computer games do marginally better than P&P RPG to movie conversions (mostly because no-one tried that after the disastergasm that was Dungeons & Dragons) despite Uwe Boll doing his best to ruin the genre. Not many success stories exist outside the no-brainer (multiple meanings there, find them all) that was Tomb Raider.
Doom sucked except for the few minutes where it went FPS. Also suck does everything Uwe Boll made, especially his attempts at Bloodrayne and Dungeon Quest.
The rule of thumb seems pretty obvious. if you're going to take something from an interactive medium like a computer game and transfer it to the most passive all senses stimulating one, you'd better have something as interesting as Angelina Jolie in as little as possible tight fitting clothing for people to watch.

Book-to-movie conversions had a long and bumpy road before Hollywood got it as right as they'll get anything right. To the point where they manage to pull it off not to alienate everyone who ever read and liked the book but have most of them grudgingly admit the movie manages to capture some of the atmosphere, or even the spirit of the book. Of course, Hollywood's been perfecting this since, well the invention of movie theatres. Somewhere in between Book-to-movie and Game-to-movie, Hollywood's continuing mission to find new IP's to rape and exploit touched upon Comics. Since comics are already have a strong visual aspect to them and tend to be less big on annoying things like plot and thicker-than-cardboard characters, this ought to have been a marriage made in heaven. As it happens, Hollywood actually managed to only botch up about half of them financially and two out of three esthetically. A much higher rate of success than they got out of the world's literature.
With the advent of CGI over SFX and animatronics during the late 90's and early 00's especially Superhero comics have been making frequent appearances on the Silver screen with mixed results. From Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk to Iron Man and the X-Men series. The special effects extravaganza's manage to turn the hit/miss ratio into a better than 60% ratio. Sam Raimi's own contributions to the mix (Spiderman I- III) are amongst the better ones, possibly because he still cares about actors acting and stuff like emotions.
Computer Games being a more recent thing are still a bit of a moving target for Hollywood and what we mostly see is Hollywood's bussiness 'talent' moving into the Games industry rather than vice versa. Expertise is not flowing in the direction that would result into something I would consider great movies. It also goes a long way to explaining why Uwe Boll has been allowed to run free for the last decade. In fact, if you place Tomb Raider amongst the Super Hero movies, not that far a stretch of the imagination as the were shot as an Indiana Jones with Boobs movies, you could say that so far Computer Game to Movie conversions really have not scored at all, yet.

Of course, a Warcraft movie seems a safe bet. 3.5 Million fans in the us 4 in Europe, another 2-3 Million in China (and deprived of their WOW fix atm) should be a safe bet. Tombraider of course sold about ten times more copies over the length of its franchise, but if we were to count all (legal and illegal) copies of Warcraft, we'd get similar numbers. Numbers that all but guarantee a hit. Except that there is Doom. Doom isn't Half Life of course, but it's still one of the most played games in history, right after Civilization. Numbers alone don't do it. A decent director with a clear vision is also needed. They got that with Sam Raimi.

Sam has more to overcome besides the usual Computer Game to Movie issues though.
There's the protagonist problem. While most of us can't really identify with Lara Croft, very few really mind watching her vault and twist and squirm. Besides, watching Angelina's ass on tv with both hands free may have been an improvement for an audience used to having the time for brief glances of a pixelated derierre while dodging rolling boulders, wilde animals and whatnot. Doom in no small part flunked because the protagonist wasn't engaging us. Note that the FPS-like section of the movie is often lauded as the only fun part. It's a problem nearly any FPS game would have when being transferred to the silver screen. In the game the 'me' is you. In the movie the 'me' probably shouldn't be 'The Rock' as most people can't identify with him any more than with Lara Croft and he doesn't have the redeeming qualities Angelina Jolie has, (at least to the male part of the audience). In fact the Rock probably shouldn't be in any movie, period.
But that's beside the point I'm trying to make.

The point I'm trying to make is that MMORPG-to-Movie might have a similar hurdle to overcome as FPS-to-movie. Transplanting the protagonist from the player's 'me' to some kind of actor. It's easyto fall in the trap of thinking Star Wars and other movie IP's translated well to computer games didn't it, so what's the problem? Well, the problem is the messianic nature of Luke Skywalker. While the Star Wars movies and the Universe were so awesome that people wanted to experience adventures in and otherwise be part of that world that almost every computer game made from it did well. Of course, Star Wars is more the exception here than the rule. Nine out of ten Movie-games are best soon forgotten though usually financial successes.
Not many movie IP's transferred as succesfully to P&P RPG's, to computer games of every ilk from shooter to racing game to RPG game to comics, books and cartoons.

Ok, ok, ok! The point. I'm getting to it, honest. Movies by their nature tend to have a strong protagonistic presence. In both Scifi and Fantasy they're more often than not a kind of Everyman you're supposed to identify with. But with an MMO, much like with an FPS, if you played the game you already identify with someone. Your avatar. In the case of FPS'es you know what 'you' look like mostly from box art and loading screens rather than actual in-game visuals but in the case of an MMO you may have spent months collecting all the parts of the coolest outfit ever. Where cool is a very, very personal choice.
So how are you going to react to a Luke Skywalker on Azeroth? Is he going to stick out like a sore thumb with you not being able to identify with him at all, or will you be able to see it as 'just another fantasy flick' (meaning your expectations are very low and you'll likely end up being pleasantly surprised)?
Would it help if the main protagonist be not aimed to be something the target audience of 14 to 36 year old males so much identifies with as lusts after? I.e. a Blood Elf Jolie or Simpson? Or Megan Fox as a Night Elf or maybe a Tauren?
We don't always need to be able to identify with- or lust after our protagonist. Sometimes some kind of over the top, bigger than life version of a protagonist will do, as testified by the success of Silvester Stalone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more recently vin Diesel have shown. While that worked for the Conan movies, the Rambo's and whatever vin Diesel did, would that work for a setting where there's a 'you' running around in it too? And what if the movie has him safe the day/world as is so common in the Super Hero / Scifi / Fantasy flicks of the last two decades?

I realize my audience doesn't hold many avid WOW players who will be confronted by this issue but I'll be interested in your take on this regardless.

Saturday, July 18

SWTOR: Voice Over video and let's hope it doesn't beat WOW

It's so, so hard to watch video's like this and not get your hopes up to the point where you can't but be disappointed. On the one hand you have the Star Wars background which, until George Lucas insisted on rebooting it, was one of the best, richest, Space Opera Sci Fi backgrounds out there. And it has Twi'Lek and Wookies. What more could you want?

On the other hand there's Bioware. One of the few studio's to have an unblemished record of bringing rock solid games for over a decade now. In fact, like most people who felt disatisfied with the prequels I'll claim that Bioware's hand at the helm of Knights of the Old Republic, the single player RPG, singlehandedly made up for- and trumped those movies in terms of emotional attachment to characters, overall plotline and, above all, dialogue. Dialogue, the so much missed witty repartee of the original trilogy which George tried to replace with lame one-liners in Episode II after realising he'd not put any into Episode I. Dialogue, not monologue, is important. Bioware gets that.

What Bioware, in the past, has also 'got' is to not overhype their products in advance. When they're publicly enthusiastic about something, it's usually in a tempered, sensible manner. Unlike nearly every other studio they normally try their best not to get your hopes up to the point where you're bound to be disappointed no matter what. They also have the recent history of Mythic's overhype of Warhammer Online to look at. So when Bioware gets really excited about things like more content then every other Bioware game put together and fully voiced to boot it's really hard not to get similarly excited. Even when the scope they're hinting at is mindbogling.
It's really hard not to get giddy as a Breezer-totting school-girl about this game. It's the frnachise bereft of the bad taste the prequels left behind, the original nostalgia, the Twi'lek and the solid work Bioware's been churning out so far.

You have to remind yourself that every Bioware game released after the Baldur's Gate cyclus good be played through in 24 to 48 hours. I remember finishing Mass Effect's main storyline 36 hours after purchasing it. With 4.5 hours of sleep in between. So even with the best, most awesome story and dialogue driven content out there you'd go through it in a matter of months. Of course I also get the feeling this game might be a bit altitis inducing in a CoX-like manner. But I do hope they noticed something Richard Barttle suggested with his 'three girls' presentation. Start out as the guided amusement park tour and slowly, gradually move towards a sand-box End Game (preferably reminiscent of the depth of pre NGE SWG or Eve Online).

So, will this be big? Even if Bioware's doing their usual underplaying, the hype is rising. I hope they do an early pre-order programme so they have an inkling of how bad it's going to be at launch. I'm not that quick to say this but this one might be as big as WOW, at launch. You never know how hard it's going to crash and burn after though. And maybe I want it to. Sounds odd doesn't it? But as immersive, as emotional attaching as this game looks set to become, I can't help but feel that I'd rather not share such an experience with 8 Million people if you know what I mean? As grand scaled as Star Wars has always been, there's also always been a private, intimate sense to it. Like a guilty pleasure. I have a hard time fitting that into the MMO's potential to be huge.

Time will tell, but for now I'm trying to hold on to my reservations as tight as I can, in the face of Bioware's onslaught of awesomeness.
In case you forgot what that is, here's the E3 2009 trailer. Repeat to yourself while watching that the game can never be as cool as the trailer, or can it?

Also, this was the only way to get a long enough post to esnure that horrible picture ends up well below the fold :-)

Friday, July 10

The Yammob collective in real life

Here's the proof

Geekzor - Phedre - Lani

3 smiley happy chappies obviously not nerd enough to lack social skillz, we must try harder! at least two of us had the nerd credentials of eyewear firmly on display.

It was a pleasure getting together with these people I've spent so much online time with, unfortunately for me the need to be a social butterfly (nerd credentials down again) and my impending departure from blighty the following day mean't little time spent with my fellow bloggers. The few snatched moments were great.

My flatmate may have recoiled in horror at some of our nerdspeak, but experience says this is always the way of first time RL meets while we break the ice :)

It was a real birthday treat.

Thursday, July 9

Suddenly everybody except NCsoft wants me

It must be a Summer thing to send out free trials for MMO's,

Over the last week or so I've been contacted by SOE (Vanguard & EverQuest II), Turbine (DDO Ultimate Beta invite which is really the same thing) Mythic and Funcom.

I can't be bothered to find the SOE mail right now, it's the standard blandness you come to expect from them after a while along with crooning about the gazillion Free Realms "subscribers" (read: everyone and their dog who tried the game and managed to create an avatar before bailing out) which just isn't something I want in my "Come back to Norrath/Telon" mail. Then again it might have been a Station Exchange mail. Like I said, SOE's mail correspondence isn't exactly memorable given that GMail doesn't load the images by default.

The latter two show that resubscription request message software has become a mature technology product which SOE didn't buy into.
Well, more or less:
Funcom: %%%%%%! Your level 71 Barbarian awaits your return to Age Of Conan!
Funcom uses the First Name field from your account settings to address you personally (name removed to protect the guilty) and purposely mentions the character with which you've seen most, if not all, of the available content before painstakingly mentioning all the new content for which said character is no longer elligible since the one thing they didn't implement is a Mentor-down system.

Mythic's approach is somewhat different yet similarly flawed:
Hello Kettlexx,

The forces of Order and Destruction need you now more than ever! War rages on...

Character name: Kettlexx
Career: Ironbreaker
Realm: Order
Rank: 29
Renown rank: 21
You can almost imagine the Marketing dude trying to explain to the dev dude how he read in this book that adding personal touches to bulk e-mail creates a higher response while the dev dude tries in vain to explain how semi-personal crap like that has the same effect as those old personalized letters with the name-of-person in a different typefont.

Someone at Mythic was smart enough to convince them not to remind you of what's the first name of the person owning the credit card but I'm not sure where those two x-es behind the name Kettle come from. My guess is they imply my name's been soft-deleted. I.e. if someone were to make a toon and call it Kettle I'll have to rename her should I log on. That or they just screwed up the name format and there's two x-es attached by default. Either way it's not making me overly exited about trying the trial.

Funcom's trial lasts 14 days whereas WAR's is only 10. The difference becomes negligible when download days are factoreed in. AoC's patching system is still rather, well patchy at best. WAR makes use of EA's data resource network and is a lot smaller to start with. Not really interested in trying either again though.

I'm kinda missing NCSoft in the whole Summer trial thing. But I also missed NCSoft in the pre-Summer launch period. Along with Cryptic's Champions Online and What's-it-called's Evolution, NCsoft's launches have been postponed till September. I guess they don't want to laucnh during Summertime downtime. Something I have to wonder about. One of the biggest worries one has prior to launch is whether the newbie area's can handle the load, the WOW tourists e.t.c. every game coming out this year has some kind of pay-two-thirds-of-a-monthly-subscription-for-a-48 hour-headstart-and-a-1-2% buff item deal or is using Open Beta and other early start schemes to finesse a staggered launch. What's wrong with using the natural dip in player numbers during Summer?

Still, I would have expected an offer to try if my virtual spandex still fits. Maybe my spamfilter ate it?

Wednesday, July 8

Reaction Time

I started at 239 ms and got it down to the 190's in the last two of five tries but I guess my age is showing.

What's your reaction time?

Friday, July 3

The sadly not so naughty noughties.

Three posts I noticed today with some communal desultory, even morose tones.
A mixture of nostalgia with a lack of faith in the future based upon the experiences of the last decade.

The first two are sparked by the demise of 80's/90's Pop Icon Michael Jackson.
The first, an Airlock Alpha opionion piece dubbed "Death of a Sci-fi icon" talks about how Wacko Jacko secretly, and inadvertently, did a lot for the Sci-Fi genre becoming more mainstream. It also does a pretty good job of waylaying some of the usual critique against the man. I still prefer mine for being more succinct:
No-one who's not lived his entire life in the lime-light from age 5 can adequately judge Michael Jackson.

A good read in iteself but for me t's just a prelude to the next article:
"Did the Internet Kill Pop-culture?" by Photics, a site I not often share stuff from as it's all about Guild Wars which means there's Nichts neues am Western Front most of the time.
This article gives a good summation of how life in the 80's and 90's seemed so much more fun than during the last decade with some pretty strong arguments why this isn't just a case of Nostalgia just not being what it used to be and which factors may be contributing.
The title already hints at the Internet.

The third article, by Tobold, is called "Are we still having fun?" and goes on about a lot of people being disaffected to a lesser or greater extend with the current MMO-scape and are only capable of being positive about games that are upcoming. Not sure how that is much different from 2008 or 2007 for that matter. 2007 afterall was the year of MMO's comming out which had been broadsided by the launch and subsequent success of WoW while in mid production whereas 2008 can be seen as the year of MMO launches of games that got their funding in the wake of WOW's success yet didn't manage to equal the results. Somehow this time it feels different. Maybe because it's a feeling people have been having on and off for the last three years successively.

What all this has me wondering is how much of this is a true depiction of the naughty noughties or just a reflection of the current economic crisis affecting our outlook? Certainly if one looks at MJ's career over the past three decades, there's a definite difference between the 80's and 90's on the one hand and the 00's on the other hand. But is it a good comparison to our own lives (for those of us over 30)? And the Internet in all it's faceless, anonymous glory? It is sure to have a social or cultural effect. And not just in a sense that it's not likely to throw up an anonymous Icon but through some of its other less-than-savory uses of the Internet.

People (il)legally downloading 20+ hours of entertainment overnight and deleting anything that doesn't grasp their attention within a few minutes while they're doing something else on the PC in the mean time potentially miss out on a whole lot and actually contribute to lower ratings of shows, mvoies, albums e.t.c. Part of this is truly a matter of the publishing bussiness still needing to catch up with the technology of the times, but there's a shifting code of morality involved as well, in conjunction to the previously mentioned anonimity (e.g. no accountability) and a decade without real Icons to look up to. All of it spells dilution of something. Spirit maybe?
What was the Sign of the Times of the ##'s? Reruns, remakest sequals and prequels. Rehashing of what has gone before. In that sense the last 3 years of MMO's are clearly examplary.

One can turn onto a real bleak road if one wants to. But what do you think?

Wednesday, July 1

No Sexy Screenshot Sunday

For several reasons:
  • For one I would never apply the term sexy to the available shots. I.e. the ones from the Birthday Bash in Oxton Square and the rest of my city-trip to London.
    While the Turing machine I took pictures of in the Science museum was pretty hot, the rest aren't that sexy.
  • The more practical reason is that at one point prior to leaving for London I decided to pack my camera to USB port cable and then reversed that decision with the result i now have to spend time locating said cable. The last days have been to busy and hot to do so.
  • Last, the SSS stands for Screenshot Showoff Sunday, no guaranteed sexiness at all.
So instead feast your eyes on this:

The new product from GiantMicrobes :-)

Having firmly re-established my Geek cred, here's some pictures from the trip:

R>L: Roommate who's name I never quite heard, Phè and Trin with assorted glasses of alcoholic beverages.

I call this piece "Girl completely oblivious to the History of Computing"
Ok so it's not THE Turing machine, but a close offspring.

Apple I, and Phè's legs.

Phè really was a lot taller than I expected :-)