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Nothing kills a party like forcing everyone to mingle

EverQuest II box art.

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I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker, recently. In it, we discussed a few of the MMOs we played and what we liked and disliked about them. As you can imagine, this is a common topic of conversation, but what made this conversation was that it made me realize what it is I hate about the "forced grouping" mentality in MMOs and why I think they're bad for games, in general.

Or to put it another way: MMOs are not about grouping, no matter how social they are... Read more»

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Another Nail in the Coffin of the Space MMO?

An animated GIF of a destroyer exploding.

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Looks like another one is biting the dust, even as I type this. Blackstar developer Spacetime Studios has just announced that they have been unable to find a publishing deal for Blackstar and are now forced to lay off half of the Blackstar team... Read more»

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The Needs of the Many - Content for MMOs

Here's an interesting one for you:

How do you tell a personally meaningful story with rich detailed characters in an MMO?

I have to admit, it's a trick question... Read more»

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From the Inside Looking Out: The Plight of the FNG

In my time as a game designer, I've lead a few sub-teams and design teams (8 total). Each team has included at least one brand new, junior designer with no experience. I think this is kind of important - I think new designers bring something to the mix of designers in a team that you can't get any way else: Passion unmitigated and not yet beat down by experience.

We love to talk about how much experience matters in this industry, and it does, but what we fail to mention when we talk like that is that all the years of working in this industry, they wear you down. You start to censor your own ideas before you ever air them out for people to hear, because you think to yourself, "That didn't work on project X" or "No way engineering can pull that off" or "There's no way we'll get the art for that."

When you're the new guy, those concerns don't exist. It's a huge open world of "All it takes is a little effort and we can do anything!" and that can lead to the type of breakthroughs in your game that can be downright brilliant... Read more»

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PTC Spanks Game Industry, Praises GameStop, Best Buy in Secret Shopper Report

PTC Spanks Game Industry, Praises GameStop, Best Buy in Secret Shopper Report -

Game Politics]

Wow, seriously? How often are you folks at the PTC going to do this? Why "spank the industry" for what the retailers do? For that matter, why chastise the retailers when it's the parents that don't pay attention to what games are played by their children?

As the first commenter at Game Politics points out, Consoles have parental controls. It doesn't matter which games your kids buy if you use the functionality the game industry has already put into parents' hands.

Seriously, this is like what? Decade 3 of this claptrap? Parents, how many of your kids are at home, right now, watching the Saw movies? Or any slasher flick? How many of them are reading Stephen King, Clive Barker, Piers Anthony or any other author that is either graphically violent or pornographic in their narrative? Sure, I get it; Games are expensive for you buy and they're very popular and kids do sit in front of a display of some sort to play them... but isn't that also true of movies where they watch the screen or books where they sit and stare at printed pages?

New != Bad (!= means not equal, in case you didn't know).

Honestly, with the possible (And let me stress that word possible) exception of DVDs, no other form of media gives you parents as much control over what their children can and can't see or experience, as modern games do. It wouldn't matter if your kid got a hold of GTA IV, if you'd bother to turn on the console's content controls.

If you'd bother to parent your children, at all.

It's not our job to raise your kids, or protect them. That's your job. The games industry does A LOT to make sure that you can make informed choices and enforce your choices even when you're not there at the console with your children. Why do we also have to take the blame for you when you fail to avail yourself of all the help we've given you?

Do you think we feel good when you let your kids play GTA IV? I cringe inside at the thought, to be honest, but you know what? It's not my choice to make. I don't get to decide for anyone what games are good for them, or their children. I have to leave that choice up to the parents. Just like they need to leave the choice of what games we make up to us and we all have to leave the choice of what games are sold up to the retailers. That's what freedom is about, isn't it? Making choices for yourself and accepting the consequences?

I just wish parents would make a choice, instead of doing nothing and then blaming the industry when things go wrong for them.

- Snipehunter Read more»

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