Thursday 9 August 2012

Moving with superior velocity, achieving a more elevated altitude, raising an item of greater mass

“Hello sports fans! Welcome to this live coverage of the results of the bidding process for the inugral MMOlympics. I’m Clifford Prodger”

“And I’m Barry Bumgardener”

“Frequently. Now, as Olympic fever sweeps much of the world, it’s surprising that, until now, no MMOGs have been getting in on the act, perhaps with some sort of in-game tie-in event”

“Perhaps not *that* surprising, Clifford, as those Olympic types are really rather keen on their brand protection, backed up by the Olympic Symbol etc. (Protection) Act 1995 (OSPA) to prevent unauthorised association with the games.”

“That’s true. Still, we…”

“In fact after consulting the Brand Protection document, I’m shocked by the flagrant manner in which many existing online entertainments are flouting the guidelines.”

“Yes, anyway, it…”

“The Olympic rings, for example, are quite clearly a protected symbol, and yet how many MMOGs unashamedly include rings as items of jewellery, hmmm?”

“That’s not really…”

“MORE DAMNING STILL! Listed expressions are: any two of the words in list A below OR any word in list A with one or more of the words in list B below:”

“I think we’re straying slightly from the…”

“LIST A: Games, Two Thousand and Twelve, 2012, Twenty-Twelve. LIST B: London, medals, sponsors, summer, gold, silver, bronze. How many so-called massively multiplayer online GAMES (list A) feature items made of GOLD, SILVER or indeed BRONZE (list B), hmmm? Hmmm? ANSWER ME!”

“Why don’t you have a little sit down and a couple of dried frog pills, Barry, you’re frothing slightly there.”


“Partially. Now, in no way cashing in on any other event taking place, the International MMOlympic Committee…”

“International MMO-generic sporting event Committee, you mean?”

“Yes, yes, we’ll do a find-and-replace on the tape before its broadcast”

“We’re live, Clifford”

“All right, we’ll do find-and-replace on the brains of everyone watching. The International MMOlympic Committee have asked for bids to hold the inaugural MMOlympics, but as it’s such a massive undertaking, too much for any single game, the process is broken down on an event-by-event basis.”

“C’est vrai. That’s right.”

“Why the French, Barry?”

“Je ne sais pas, je viens juste à l’envie de tout dire en français d’abord, puis de le répéter en anglais. I don’t know, I just got the urge to say everything in French first, and then repeat it in English.”

“Probably the dried frog pills. Anyway, first up: the opening ceremony. What the Committee are really looking for here is spectacle, something with a real sense of scale, something that looks, as Oscar Wilde would say, batshit insane.”

“And the winner is… a troop of werewolves wearing top hats riding rockets accompanied by flying carpets, mammoths, trikes and Lady Gaga’s Poker Face dance. Yes, the opening ceremony will be held in Stormwind City, World of Warcraft.”

“On to the actual sporting events now. First up: Archery. Now the bidding was particularly fierce for this one, wasn’t it Barry?”

“It certainly was, Clifford, and it looks like the committee have hedged their bets slightly by awarding Archery to: All Of Them! Or, to be technically accurate, Almost All Of Them, Apart From A Few Of The Modern-Day Or Sci-Fi Ones, Though Even City Of Heroes Has Archery Powersets”

“And speaking of City of Heroes, there’s celebration from Paragon Studios as their superhero MMOG is awarded the Athletics”

“In keeping with the brand-protection-compliant non-infringing motto of the MMOlympics, ‘Moving with superior velocity, achieving a more elevated altitude, raising an item of greater mass’, it was the travel powers of City of Heroes that clinched it, particularly Super Speed and Super Jump. There’s some controversy over use of the Flight power, though, and whether it would result in a long jump distance of ‘infinity’ or ‘until the map runs out'”

“More good news for hero games now, as Gymnastics goes to: Champions Online. DC Universe Online pushed them hard, both games featuring Acrobatics as a travel power, but the versatility of Champions clinched it with Swinging, Jet Boots and Ice Sliding offering a variety of performance options.”

“It’s the Swimming next, and the committee have opted for Lord of the Rings Online, thanks to fond memories of time spent swimming around Lake Evendim with a strange sort of butterfly-esque porpoising movement for maximum speed. LotRO also secures Equestrianism; though plenty of games allow players to ride horses, it already has (sort of) show jumping in its festival races, so only needs the addition of a mounted /dance emote for the horse to stage the dressage as well.”

“On to Cycling; a bit trickier, bicycles being rather less common than horses in MMOGs, but the hi-tech approach of the British team that’s aroused some suspicion must surely lead eventually to hover-speeder-bikes, so step forward Star Wars: The Old Republic, helped by the fact that the cycling helmets are already suitable for Sith Lords.”

“Guns might not be quite as prevalent in the genre as bows, but there were still a lot of options for the Shooting. The committee felt that tab-targeting and AoE fire was a bit like cheating, though, ruling out bids from The Secret World and the superhero MMOs, amongst others. World of Tanks was a strong contender, but the vehicles had an unfortunate habit of demolishing the rifle range, so in the end they’ve opted for another game where you actually need to aim your weapon: Fallen Earth. There could be a shift in the future, though, as the possibility of laser guns being used in competition means that phaser shooting from Star Trek Online will also be in as a demonstration event.”

“Now Barry, one of the more popular events is the Beach Volleyball”

“You’re certainly a big fan, aren’t you Clifford?”

“Who isn’t, Barry? It needs great strength and endurance to run and jump on energy-sapping sand, so the competitors are supremely fit. Really fit. Supremely fit and toned. Lithe, toned, fit bodies, glistening with a supremely sheen of toned sweat, lithe…”

“Here, I think you might need these dried frog pills. Anyway, get your mind out of the gutter Clifford, there’s far more to the sport than the stereotypical ogling of scantily clad ladies.”

“They let *ladies* play now? Whatever next. Of course you’re right, though, Barry, which is why the MMOlympic Beach Volleyball will be held in TERA, although there was a strong showing from the spellcasting classes of Guild Wars 2

“‘Showing’ being the operative word, eh? Eh?”

“I rather think you’ll find ‘plinth’ is the operative word, actually. A slight pause now, as we wait for the committee to announce the venue for Sailing”

“Now, Clifford, I’ve got a theory for this one. I reckon they’ll opt for The Secret World

“Correct me if I’m wrong, Barry, but… there’s no sailing in The Secret World, is there? I mean Kingsmouth is a fishing port, but you don’t actually go out sailing at all.”

“Aaaah! You’re thinking too literally, Clifford. Watching a sailing race, you see, is very confusing; there are boats everywhere, heading in different directions as they try and make best use of the wind, to the untrained eye it looks like complete chaos, but to an insider, one with secret knowledge, the scene resolves itself, as in television coverage when they project arcane lines and geometries to show who is actually leading, and that’s a lot like the Dragon society in The Secret World, seeing order in chaos, aaaaaaahhhhh! Aaaahhhh!”

“No, not ‘aaaahhh’, Barry, the committee have opted for Pirates of the Burning Sea. Because you sail in it. With wind direction and everything.”

“How unimaginative. Mind you, note for the actual Olympics: a couple of 12 pound bow chasers per yacht would definitely make things more exciting.”

Pirates of the Burning Sea also put a bid in for Fencing, pointing out that one of the fighting styles in the game actually is ‘fencing’, but the committee took a dim view of the additional use of flintlock pistols. From a packed field of All Of Them, Even The Modern Day And Sci-Fi Ones, they’ve opted for Age of Conan, as it at least tried to be a bit different with its directions of attack and blocking.”

“On to the Diving. Several candidates here, but the committee felt that the title of “AHHHHHHH” in Warhammer: Age of Reckoning was a nice touch, and a bit of a consolation prize for unsuccessful competitors.”

“A bit of a grab-bag now, as the committee have decided to combine Boxing, Judo, Taekwondo and Wrestling into a sort of Mixed Martial Art free-for-all contested by Monks from Dungeons and Dragons Online, Martial Arts Scrappers from City of Heroes, and pretty much anyone else, so long as they don’t equip a weapon or cast a spell. Outside interference from party members or henchmen will be closely monitored.”

“And to round it all off, another grab-bag of ‘Sports ending in -ball’, to be represented by the Huttball warzone in Star Wars: The Old Republic

“It’s not a perfect match, of course, Barry, with all that aggression and violence”

“You’re quite right, Clifford, Handball had to be toned down rather for an online equivalent”

“That was a very humorous confounding of my expectations”

“Toned. Well that’s the end of the major sporting events, the committee are just going through a few of the unsuccessful bids. They were very impressed by the Mechwarrior Online proposal to stage every sport using precisely re-created digital versions of the current Olympic stadiums and venues, but with all the human competitors replaced by 20 metre tall 100 ton Atlas Battlemechs, but felt the logistics might be too much for a single game. If the Athletics had been split into sub-events then the multiple soul options in Rift would have stood it in good stead for the heptathlon and decathlon, and the committee did concede that jumping between systems in EVE Online was, indeed, quite a long jump. The original Guild Wars application had to be turned down, though, as it turned out they thought it said non-jump, not long jump. Final Fantasy XI were going to submit an application for the marathon, but didn’t get it in in time as they were stuck in a boss fight.”

“And in terms of infrastructure, the MMOlympic Village is to be provided by EverQuest 2 and Wildstar housing.”

“That just leaves the vital job of security, no less important for online games than real world sports.”

“You’re not wrong, Barry, and after studying the sterling work done by G4S for the London Olympics, only one company could offer similarly stringent online security: SOE.”

“Or, in breaking news, Blizzard”

“That’s strangely topical, didn’t news of the hack happen the day after this post?”

“It certainly did, Clifford, which is why this segment was edited in afterwards.”



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