I wonder how big the team is at Blizzard that’s been tasked with implementing a copy of the Lord of the Rings Online skirmish system for their Cataclysm expansion.
I finished Dragon Age: Origins over the weekend; it didn’t quite go to plan, as the game chucked a couple of curveballs (or to use the correct vernacular: bowled a couple of googlies) in the final act, which made life quite interesting. More ruminations on that to follow at some point, but as a bit of a change of scenery I decided to make a start on the THQ pack from Steam’s earlier sale, and installed Red Faction: Guerilla.
Red Faction is certainly a change of pace from some of the dialogue-heavy stretches of Dragon Age. Though you can read a deeper message into it, such as your character being a ludic metaphor for the immortal nature of revolutionary ideals, and the game attempts to set up a bit of a story (“You’re on Mars, I’m your brother, OH NO I GOT SHOT, fight the power”), the scene is really set by the tutorial mission where you get given some explosives and a hammer and told to demolish an old building. That’s what the game is about: smashing stuff with a hammer then blowing it up, and it does it fantastically. The only way they could have improved the introduction would have been to ditch the attempt to give you a deeper motivation for smashing stuff with a hammer then blowing it up by replacing your brother in the game with MC Hammer, who could give you a hammer, tell you to smash stuff with it, then hang around in the background wearing enormous trousers and occasionally shouting “Stop! Hammer time!”
I need to get something off my chest. It’s a mace. And a shortbow. And a pair of chainmail gauntlets.
Yes, time for another Dragon Age post as everyone enjoys them so much. Just to be abundantly clear: it’s a really good game and it’s precisely because it does so many things so very well that certain little things stick out all the more. Things like having a camp full of incredibly dangerous people, and offering no explanation of why you only ever bother taking three of them out and about with you; of course there are myriad excellent reasons, technical limitations, replayability, yada yada, but I’d just like some nod towards it in-game. Maybe in a dream at the start:
Archdemon: “LOL u r such a nub u have to zerg me”
You: “NO WAI i r totally leet i cud pwn u solo”
Archdemon: “OK lets both fix party size at 4 thats fair”
You: “yeah OK”
*first fight is your party vs 23 Darkspawn*
You: “WTF HAX!”
All right, so that serves as an illustration of how attempting to explain meta-mechanics within the plot often ends up being far worse than just saying “it’s a bloody game, get over it you nitpicking git”. Still, today’s quibble is chests, and not Morrigan’s unnaturally sticky-back-plastic-dependant top (if alchemists can come up with a flaming weapon coating or health restoring poultice, I’m sure a suitable adhesive is easy enough).
Treasure chests, loot-containing barrels, crates, weapon racks, suitcases, vases, piles of stones, wardrobes, armoires and cupboards are staples of CRPGs in much the same way that staples are staples of stapling. That’s fine, there’s nothing I like more than a good rummage in a chest (and I don’t mean… oh, just take all the hilarious chest innuendo as read from here). If a dungeon doesn’t come with the requisite stock of loot-stuffed containers I’m highly miffed. Dragon Age, though, like Baldur’s Gate and many other games before it, sprinkles loot-containing objects all over the place. Wandering around a town, there’s a sparkly barrel, stroll up to it and… hey, here’s a longsword! And a bow in a crate over there. Slightly incongruous, but not utterly ludicrous. But then you go into a house or an inn, open a door, see a couple of people in the room, barge in, open the wardrobe in the corner, rifle through it, take the dagger that was sitting at the bottom, click to talk with one of the occupants and they say… “Good morrow, Grey Warden”. Not “Guards! Guards!” or “Who the hell are you?” or “Get out of my wardrobe!” or “Please don’t hurt me, you terrifying blood-spattered armed maniac who’s just broken in to my room and stolen my dagger”. There are a couple of instances where attempting to interact with an object actually provokes a response, but they’re the exception rather than the rule. Yes, it’s a very small thing, but picking at that thread of the Pullover of RPG leads on to wondering why you’re in the house in the first place, and indeed why the instinctive reaction upon arriving in any town is to thoroughly explore every single location, talking to everybody (unless they have a generic title like “Peasant” or “Noble”) asking if they have any menial tasks they’d like done while you happen to be in the area like it’s bob-a-job week, stuff you were taking entirely for granted, and before you know it the pullover’s unravelled you’ve ended up with the Crop-top of Absurdism, and then… Oh, wait, we’re back to Morrigan’s top again.
My primary problem with Dragon Age:Origins is the same as it has always been with Bioware RPGs, and it is currently my primary concern for their Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. Dragon Age comprises a world which is ruled by old and powerful Gods who control the fate of all existence, which they bend to their will and whim.
We call these Gods developers.
And they are fickle.
A small spoiler now follows for Dragon Age, you have been warned.
One of the early objectives of the game is to enlist the help of the Arl of Redcliffe. When you reach Redcliffe village you find it under attack from the undead, and after defending it from attack you make your way into Redcliffe Keep to find the source of the evil and rescue the Arl. The source of the evil turns out to be the Arl’s child who has been possessed by a demon. When you confront the boy and his mother she pleads for you not to harm him and to find another way to defeat the demon, with the more immediate option being the death of the child by your hand. At this point you are presented with a choice: kill the boy and thus the demon, or travel to the Tower of the Circle of Magi and try to get the help of someone there to exorcise the boy. My offer to go and get Jane Fonda and exercise the boy was met with quiet contempt.
Now I already knew that the Tower of the Circle of Magi was in some sort of trouble, so getting there and back was going to be tricky and possibly involve epic quests. For a change. Since the boy was possessed by a demon that was bent on slaughtering all the local population (which had been reinforced by my having to defend the village first before entering the keep) I took what I thought was the hard decision to kill the boy, sacrificing one innocent life for the many. It had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that his mother was an annoying whining bint who had caused the whole problem in the first place, honest. Of course the game let me know through various lengthy patronising conversations what a monster I was for doing such a deed, and yet I imagined the situation if I had gone to the Magi to have been worse: coming back to find everyone who lived in Redcliffe to have been slaughtered in the intervening period. Zoso happened to choose that route, and so happily informed me that, no, you can take as long as you want to go and get the help; the demon seems to be distracted from its previous plans to destroy all life in Redcliffe for the entire time you are away. Perhaps a really good episode of MacGyver was on Fade TV, who knows?
I became a bit fed-up at this point because I was being made to feel like I had done the wrong thing, when in fact I felt that I had taken the harder choice with every good intent in mind; but my good intent was negated by the fact that the developers had decided that the seemingly obvious thing that would happen if you went away – demon enjoys its temporary reprise by slaughtering everything with a pulse and then raising them as an army of undead slaves in an attempt at world domination – doesn’t happen at all, instead the demon suddenly has a pang of existential crisis long enough for you to conveniently fetch help. There are villains in the 60’s TV series of Batman that feel less contrived. I couldn’t help but feel that the developers were laughing behind their hands “Oh ho ho, you thought *that*? Ha, surprise!”.
I’d put this all down to my unreasoning belief that all game developers are out to get me, but I have another brief example from a different Bioware RPG.
You’ll have to excuse any inaccuracies because I’m recalling this from old, worn sections of my brain. In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic you encounter, at some point, a beggar in the street asking for credits. When you ask them how much they want you can choose to give them nothing, the amount they ask for, or more than they ask for. Being a noble Jedi Knight of the Shining Order of Smug Superiority I gave them more than they asked for, since I could spare it, it felt like the right thing for a Jedi to do, and because you never know – help someone out now and you may run across them later on and gain something in return. Now altruism like that, as opposed to genuine generosity, is possibly a learned perversity that these games encourage, but regardless of the fact, I thought I was doing a Good Thing. You do indeed meet the chap again later on, dead in an alley, mugged because of all the credits he had on him. Credits that you gave to him.
“Oh ho ho, you thought *that*? Ha, surprise!” say the developers in my mind.
And that’s what annoys me about these dialogue choices in Bioware RPGs, and why I really worry for Star Wars: The Old Republic at the moment. The result of your actions is based on the fickle whim of the developer writing the story, and it is entirely too easy for them to set things up in a way that appear very obviously to suggest one thing, whilst actually delivering something entirely the opposite. This, when used very carefully can make for an excellent plot twist and following dramatic dénouement, but Bioware seem to use the trick far too often in their games for no better reason than to keep players second guessing what the actual outcome may be.
It’s a tricky problem to solve because the opposite end of the scale is a game like Mass Effect where there were generally always three options, one piously good, one tediously neutral and one blatantly moustache-twiddlingly villainous, and whichever option you chose, you got the reaction and plot progression that you’d expect. It allowed you to build the kind of character you wanted but at the expense of any real surprises.
I still feel that Bioware are trying to experiment with telling an interactive story in their RPGs; they have a strong foundation for telling a good tale, but it seems that how the player interacts with and affects the plot is still very much being explored and trialled with each new game. I don’t know which route Star Wars: The Old Republic will follow with respect to story choice, or perhaps it will beat a new path all of its own, but the problem comes from it being an MMO. Without the chance to save and reload as you would get in a single player RPG, you will have to be very careful of any choices that you make because they may affect your character for the rest of its career. In fact, I plan to setup ChottBot right after I finish posting this, it will be an Internet database filled with every conversation choice you can make in the game and thus allow players to pick whichever options will build the ultimate munchkin character, or open all the contacts with the best loot rewards; plot, motivation or immersion be damned, because frankly the outcome of your choices are a lottery anyway.
My concern is that where conversation options in Star Wars: The Old Republic are concerned, ‘It’s a trap!’ may become a fitting mantra.
Host: This week, teams, science news from Slashdot who point out a research paper from Dr Johnson on “Human group formation in online guilds and offline gangs driven by a common team dynamic”, which suggests “a common team-based model can accurately reproduce the quantitative features” of both “potentially dangerous street gangs populated mostly by disaffected male youths” and “the massive global guilds in online role-playing games”
Zoso: We put this to the leader of the popular guild Knights of the New Phoenix Dawn, who replied “Clearly this so-called paper is a nonsense, and at best the mathematical model in question must be so generalised as to apply to almost any grouping of individuals, suggesting the online guild component is simply a ruse to justify claiming an MMORPG subscription as an expense. The Knights of the New Phoenix Dawn bear no resemblance in any way, shape or form to a street gang, and I’ll pop a cap in the ass of anyone who says otherwise. Word. Noun. Adverb.”
Melmoth: Mr Juan “Cougar Hob-nobba” Perez, leader of the Whipped Gat Slingas gang of Harlem, Manhattan, speaking between gunshots from behind his sofa had this to say on the research “What the dilly yo, noobs? I told you to purge the disease on those bitch skank hoes before letting them aggro more adds, now the boss is enraged and we ain’t got enough benjamins for the repairs. You shiznits hate playing, huh? You playa hatas? Day-amn.”
PJ: As the initial list of quantitative features included fickle loyalties based on short-term goals, artificially poor language skills to create to a specialist vocabulary, and an attraction to new objects with a constant discarding of the old, the first draft of the research paper was quickly withdrawn when it was realised the model also applied to LOLCATS.
Zoso: Dr Johnson, pressed for a quote, said “’tis a most obvious thing that URCHINS and NE’ERDOWELLS change not in nature whether ‘pon street-corner or MAGICK BOX of MISTER BABBAGE”, though it was later pointed out the author of the paper was Dr Neil Johnson, not Samuel.
Melmoth: Reports that World of Warcraft’s next expansion will be titled ‘Hatin’ of da Bling King.‘ are currently unfounded.
Studio lights dim, theme tune plays.
I suspect it won’t come as a massive shock to regular readers if I revealed that I too have succumbed to the recent Steam sale. Like Melmoth I bought the Complete THQ Pack, and in the competitive bargain-off stakes I lose out from already having more of the games (Company of Heroes and its first expansion, the platinum edition of Dawn of War that… oh yeah, I got from a previous Steam sale), but possibly edge ahead on the number of games I actually would like to play (as well as Red Faction: Guerilla and Dawn of War II, I quite fancy Saints Row II and the second Company of Heroes expansion, and never got around to Titan Quest before either).
Buying that full pack at least seemed to inoculate me against bargain fever for the rest of the weekend. I was sore tempted by other offers, notably Batman: Arkham Asylum and Borderlands, but apart from anything else on a 2Mb broadband connection it’s going to take about three weeks (and incur the wrath of ISP “fair use” limits) to download all the THQ games without adding another couple of multi-gigabyte behemoths to the list. Anyway, even before buying the THQ pack I had too many games. Charlie Brooker wrote about living in a stuff-a-lanche: “I’m fairly certain I recently passed a rather pathetic tipping point, and now own more unread books and unwatched DVDs than my remaining lifespan will be able to sustain.” I think I’ve got a similar thing with games, let alone books, DVDs, radio series, blogs, forums, podcasts… I’ve managed about three levels of Freedom Force since getting that six months ago, and fired up Civilisation III precisely once to verify that, yes, it does exist. I’ve hardly gone back to any of the indie games pack from the summer, nor got any further than the tutorial mission of Men of War. My attempted justification of “well, there’ll probably be a quiet time without many game releases, and I’ll be able to get around to things then” becomes increasingly like stockpiling canned food for the Christmas holidays because the shops might be shut when it would take a nuclear explosion to close a big supermarket for more than 20 minutes, and that would just be to restock the shelves with hazmat suits and really high factor suncream. That’s before even contemplating MMOGs, which in most cases can expand to fill any available free time like cavity insulation foam with levels and classes.
Still, never mind. It shouldn’t take too much to bludgeon the last remnant of the rational mind into submission. Another good Steam sale should do it: “if I already have more games than I could possibly play, adding another 15 to the pile results in ‘more games than I could possibly play’, which is exactly the same situation, so there’s no reason not to get them! Pass the credit card…”
Another Steam sale arrived this weekend and I once again found myself buying a huge number of games all because they were reduced in price and thus a ‘bargain’. Games are to me as shoes are to Mrs Melmoth: I see her come home with five armfuls of shoe boxes and she then spends the next half an hour telling me how much of a bargain they were. She tells me how cheap this pair was or how expensive that pair was but how much it was reduced by. Don’t get me wrong, she’s a shrewd purchaser of shoes and she gets some real bargains by carefully scouring the shop sales: for the price that some people pay for a single pair of shoes she’ll manage to come home with five or six pairs of equivalent quality. Then, as we all do, she gathers up her mighty pile of trophies, tiny consumerist victories every one, and with great pride she marches up the stairs, opens the door to the bedroom cupboard and shoves them all at the bottom, never to be seen again.
I do the same with games. Steam is my bedroom cupboard floor.
I bought the THQ pack at the weekend. It contains, as far as I can tell, every game THQ ever made and possibly a few games that they didn’t actually make but wished that they had. Why did I buy it? Because it was twenty six pounds and Steam told me it was worth five hundred and seventy two thousand pounds, or something. How could I not buy it? “I mean” – I begin to justify to myself, in that way that I do that means I know that I’m doing something stupid but if I just keep talking to myself for long enough then whatever it is that is stupid suddenly becomes perfectly sensible – “it does have a huge number of games in it that I haven’t played yet”. And at the time I thought myself right, and told myself that I was clearly not mad but in fact a very shrewd purchaser of electronic entertainment products, and that I absolutely should purchase this monumental bargain right now in case THQ/Valve suddenly realised what fools they’d been, oh and here are some endorphins to make you feel good. Mmmm, endorphins.
Of course the actual obvious retort was that I hadn’t played any of these games because, on the whole, I didn’t like any of these games, otherwise I probably would have bought them sooner. As I looked down the list of games that were now cluttering up my Steam interface I realised that Dawn of War II and Red Faction:Guerrilla were probably the only games from the selection that I was realistically likely to play, and then only if I happened to be in some sort of horrendous velcro accident that resulted in me not being able to leave my computer chair for a decade. It was a bargain though, so the endorphins told me that I was vindicated and that I’d ‘won’ over ‘the man’. And of course I totally hadn’t, because ‘the man’ is actually ‘a cliff’ and I am merely one of a large number of lemmings, sore beset by the pressure of temptation, willing to throw myself off the top; and thus I plummeted down and dashed myself against the rocks of reason hiding just beneath the surface of the sea of bargains.
I did pick up a couple of other games though, and although they were reduced in price and thus technically bargains, the fact that I’m playing them both means that they aren’t ‘bargains’ in the traditional sense. Firstly I grabbed Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for the princely sum of some two whole pounds, for no other reason than, frankly, it would be rude not to. The other game that I bought was the digital deluxe (is it just me or is this the sort of name you give to a vibrator, and not a computer game?) version of Dragon Age: Origins because it was reduced in price; everyone has played it and generally raved about it; and I’ve never, for my sins, completed a Bioware fantasy RPG. I know, I know: gasps of shock, cries of horror, prayers to various gods, a lady in the first aisle faints and has to be carried away, people start to sob and moan and beat themselves about the head in disbelief. I completed Mass Effect, if that helps? Okay, maybe not. I’m rectifying the situation now, though, so you’ll have to be satisfied with that. I’ve played a little way through the game so far and have a few comments already but I’ll save those for another post.
So I bought a few ‘bargains’ at the weekend as well as a few cheap games; I rest content in the knowledge, however, that I didn’t have to leave the comfort of my house to pick up my bargains, that they take up a lot less space, and that piles of them don’t tumble out of a cupboard and try to kill me when I open the door in order to grab a coat.
You may have seen the news this week that Games ‘permit’ virtual war crimes. It’s terribly easy to be sarcastic about a headline like that. Terribly, terribly easy. Astoundingly easy. Not chewing a fruit pastille is simplicity itself in comparison.
It’s always important to dig a bit deeper than a headline, though, otherwise you end up with somebody being asked to take their shoes off, if they wouldn’t mind too much, as a new carpet’s just been put in, it’s quite pale you see, and before you know it the Daily Mail’s leading with “GOVERNMENT BAN SHOES, death penalty for non-compliance” and 400 people in the comment section are making the startling observation that it’s political correctness gone mad. The full report is available online, and I urge you to go and read it. Well, most of it, there are more footnotes than in the Wikipedia article on footnotes (not difficult, actually, the Wikipedia article only has six. At the time of writing, that is, I might go off and edit it into a hilarious piece of meta irony, where the body of the article is just: Footnote.) Have a quick scan through, at least. It generally seems pretty reasonable; at least they’ve played the games in question rather than just looking at the boxes, or, say, picking an example entirely at random, going on Fox News and denouncing a game on the basis of the vaguest of hearsay. The report is not saying “games are evil” or “ban this sick filth!”, on the first page it states “The goal is not to prohibit the games, to make them less violent or to turn them into IHL or IHRL training tools.” There’s often a knee-jerk reaction from the gaming community to a perceived attack, not entirely unjustified in the wake of Jack Thompson, Fox News on Mass Effect etc., that goes “Yeah? Well your mum ‘permits’ virtual war crimes.” Such immaturity is beneath us. Plus, they smell of wee.
The problem with the report isn’t the difficulty it has in contextualising the nature of conflicts portrayed in Army of Two and the resulting implications for the unclear legal frameworks governing private security companies, or even that any attempt at applying any sort of real-world logic to “Metal Gear Soldier[sic] 4” surely flounders the moment it hits the sentence “The player is “Snake” and is fighting against “Liquid Ocelot””. The problem is back in the Aim of the Study:
We have chosen video and computer games as the object of our analysis because, unlike
literature, films and television, where the viewer has a passive role, in shooter games, the
player has an active role in performing the actions. Thus, the line between the virtual and real
experience becomes blurred and the game becomes a simulation of real life situations on the
Problematic opener, that, the old blurring the lines between reality and simulation. It goes on to try and provide justification:
The link with reality is in fact so direct that nowadays several armies rely on video games
both as a recruiting and as a training tool. Military from some states put video games on their
websites to give the viewers a virtual experience of what being a soldier is like. Such games
allow them to virtually participate in trainings, be deployed on missions, fire weapons, take
decisions in unexpected battlefield situations, etc. Military also use video games, or
“simulations” more and more often as a training tool in addition to “on the field” training.
This demonstrates the impact of video games on the players and their behaviour in reality.
True, there’s military use of computer games; Marine Doom, America’s Army, etc etc., but you’d have to be Sir Bors to get from “the military use video games as a recruiting and training tool” to “all video games involving the military are recruiting or training tools”. There are military training manuals; these manuals are books; ergo all books are military training manuals.
Even considering that most of the game players will never become soldiers in reality, such
games clearly influence their view of what combat situations are like and what the role of the
military and of individual soldiers or law enforcement officials in such situations, is.
Here’s the nub of it; firstly, coming back to the starting paragraph, I’m not convinced games would influence someone’s view of combat situations any more than literature, films or television. Secondly, it very much depends on the game, lumping everything together as “such games” isn’t very useful. If a game makes a virtue of its realism, takes care to model things as accurately as possible, markets itself as a simulation, then yes, I believe it could influence somebody’s view of what it portrays (dependant on how well the game was implemented), in the same way that a documentary or non-fiction book could influence somebody’s view. The games they selected, though, are generally unabashed entertainment that gamers don’t see as realistic portrayals of warfare any more than the average viewer considers Bonekickers an accurate portrayal of archaeology. That’s where the whole exercise looks like a case of double standards, and a bit of a waste of time. You might as well sit a conscientious police officer down in front of Point Break and ask them what they made of it:
I won’t argue that it was a no-holds-barred adrenaline fuelled thrill-ride, but there’s no way that you could perpetrate that amount of carnage and mayhem and not incur a considerable amount of paperwork.
(Thank you, Hot Fuzz. Except that’s a comedy film talking about an action film, and thus entirely irrelevant because the viewer only has a passive role. Twice.)
One encouraging thing about the whole business is that in the BBC piece they turn to gamers for a response, and not just some drooling loon in the midnight release day queue for Modern Duty 17 who mumbles “Uh, I, uh, like shooting, and, uh, stuff”. John Walker and Jim Rossignol of the inestimably splendid Rock, Paper, Shotgun chip in, and I could’ve really not bothered with most of this and just quoted:
Mr Rossignol said there was plenty of evidence that gaming violence is “fully processed” as fantasy by gamers. Studies of soldiers on the front line in Iraq showed that being a gamer did not desensitise them to what they witnessed.
He added: “Perhaps what this research demonstrates is that the researchers misunderstand what games are, and how they are treated, intellectually, by the people who play them.”
Part the second.
Colin: “Norman, my dearest of colleagues, why so glum?”
Norman: “Oh, you know, Colin. It’s these ‘player’ specimens that keep running around our game, killing our wildlife repeatedly for no apparent reason, honestly I think they’re a bit mad.”
Colin: “Ah yes, still here after all this time and all of our best efforts aren’t they?”
Norman: “Quite frankly Colin they irritate me.”
Colin “Well they are somewhat annoying, but they do bring in quite a lot of money, and you know that money is the only thing that these Earth creatures will accept in exchange for their delicious shoe polish.”
Norman: “No, no, they quite literally irritate me, they bring out the eczema on my nipples.”
Colin: “That’s… that’s too much information, really. Even from someone like you, who I love like my very own laundry basket.”
Norman: “Sorry Colin, I’m just tired because I haven’t found a way to slow them down at all. They scurry around all over the game like little crabs; little crabs that look like scurrying mice! And I can’t think of any way to slow them down.”
Colin: “And wargs!”
Norman: “Slugs and wargs? I’m not following you.”
Colin: “What I’m saying is ‘slugs’. And ‘wargs’.”
Norman: “Yeeees, and what I’m saying is ‘I don’t follow you’.”
Colin: “Ah, I see, sorry. Well, what if we had some creatures…”
Norman: “Like slugs?”
Colin: “Or wargs. And said creatures cast a debuff on these ‘player’ organisms that slowed down their movement speed.”
Norman: “It’s an interesting idea, Colin, but I think you’ll find that most of our combat involves the ‘player’ entities standing utterly stationary whilst slugging it out toe-to-toe with the mobs, so I’m not sure how that debuff would cause them any grief at all.”
Colin: “Ah, but the mobs will cast it right at the end of the combat.”
Norman: “At the end of the combat?”
Colin: “Yes, you know, the event that is far away from the start of the combat.”
Norman: “Oh! The end of combat!”
Norman: “Well why didn’t you just say so? It’s brilliant, Colin! We could have the slugs cast an AoE slime thing at the end of combat, and that will snare the ‘player’ for absolutely no good reason until they slowly crawl their way out of it. They’ll be utterly baffled as to the point of it! But what about the wargs?”
Colin: “Ah, now they will cause a wound at the end of combat which slows down run speed by a large amount.”
Norman: “Excellent! That’ll slow the ‘player’ varmints’ progress, make them more susceptible to being attacked by other mobs in the area, and is generally pointless beyond being an obvious mechanic to spoil their fun. I like it! I feel that it needs a little something extra though, a little something to really push them over the edge…”
Colin: “It’ll last for two minutes.”
Norman: “Two minutes?! But Colin, my dear congealed kibitzer, that would seem like an eternity to a player trying to make their way anywhere in the game, even if it were just twenty yards further to the next mob!”
Norman and Colin laugh nervously at the silliness of it. Then they stop and look at each other.
Norman: “It wouldn’t work, would it?”
Colin: “It’s genius, Norman, and you know it. Get the programmers on it right away.”
Norman: “I love you, Colin.”
Colin: “I know. Let’s go and get a nice steamy bowl of shoe polish to celebrate.”
I really would love to gain some actual insight and understanding into the design decisions behind some of the debuffs these mobs give to players in Lord of the Rings Online.
After the announcement of the final two classes to be included with Star Wars: The Old Republic, it has become clear that there will be an abundance of force sensitive characters in the game. As such Bioware have had the foresight to come forth early with a list of juicy looking items that these overly popular classes can look forward to looting from the game’s raid instances; a good idea considering that most raids will consist of 99% force sensitive characters and one scout class who is only there because he can pick electro-magnetic locks and thus open loot canisters and dungeon doors.
Bearing in mind that you have four force sensitive classes, two Sith and two Jedi, Bioware have their work cut out for them creating the sort of end-game rewards that MMO players have come to expect from games such as World of Warcraft, but I think they’ve stepped up to the plate and really delivered.
Brown Robe +1
Black Robe +1
Brown Robe +2
Black Robe +2
Brown and Cream Robe
Black and Red Robe
Brown and Cream Robe +1
Black and Red Robe +1
Brownest Brown Robe of Brown
Dark-Black Black Robe of Black Darkness
Velour Brown Robe with Corduroy Elbow Patches
Satin Black Robe with Tiger Fur Lined Inner
I love the idea behind the black robe, but I have to say that the surprise design of the brown robe has really captured my imagination. I can’t wait!