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Friday, August 17, 2007

Legends of Norrath

I've been reading a bit about Legends of Norrath, SOE's new CCG game connected to both EQ and EQ2. I would recommend the interview with Smed on MMOG for more information. You can also see some "clarifying comments" Smed made here.

I love the general idea. I enjoy CCG's - for me it's the combination of card art, strategy and luck factor that makes them so appealing. I really think it's fantastic to build this kind of meta-game to your MMO. It gives your community some diversity in gameplay. When people get bored of regular MMO play (which does happen no matter how good the game is) they may decide to go play some console games or an FPS, RTS, etc. But by offering this type of game, you're giving your players the opportunity to have that variety without leaving your community. And people who get really into the CCG will be excited to play EQ or EQII to find special cards as loot. In general, I just think it makes the community stronger by connecting EQ and EQII and by offering more opportunities for fun under the Everquest "umbrella."

I'll give you an example of how this precise type of meta-game can be effective. There are hundreds of websites out there which have tons of flash games to play. Many of those sites have the same games. So why would I pick one over the other? What would compel me to ever bother registering and giving my e-mail address to such a site?

Kongregate managed to pull me in with the mere promise of a CCG meta-game. Kongregate is the usual collection of flash games. But the difference is that they have special challenges where meeting a goal in a certain game grants you a special card to be used in the CCG they are working on. Note that they haven't even finished this game yet, but they still have me hooked.

If I'm going to be playing flash games anyway, why not have the added fun of winning challenges and collecting cards, achievement points and levels? Kongregate succeeded in turning a collection of flash games into an actual community.

So I'm a fan of the concept and I'm excited to check Legends of Norrath out. I do take issue with some of the details.

You can do either of these two things:

1. Charge money for card booster packs.

2. Use in-game loot as rewards for the card game.

But I don't think you should do both. You could either forgo the minor revenue stream and simply use the CCG to build community or you could make the cards "one-way" (i.e. get cards in game but rewards don't go back in). But when you're charging for cards that have valuable effects in game, well, you can see my problem...

Now, even if you do both of the above, you can still get away with it if the in-game rewards are purely fluff. And I think that is SOE's stated intention. So my only remaining issue is that our definition of "fluff" may be different. To me it's purely titles, house items, decorative effects, or pets. But from the official website, the effects don't seem too "fluffy" to me (note that this game is not yet even finalized).

I'm not outraged or anything - I think it's a great idea that just could have used a few tweaks to avoid concerns of paying for in-game benefits.

9 Comments:

Anonymous Jason Preston said...

I think this kind of meta-game works better for some people than for others, but it's definitely a good idea.

It reminds me of "rewards" programs on all different kinds of credit cards and shopping accounts. Mostly I don't bother because it just adds one more thing that I have to keep track of.

But tons of people do it (and get some pretty cool stuff). I think adding the CCG will work out pretty well - like you said, as long as they don't much it up with the real money thing.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Meryddian said...

I just don't get how to play this game. I'm getting my butt whupped constantly in the trials now... my only salvation is if I ever win anything for my in-game character. :)

Although I imagine the odds of winning something really cool like the horse, etc., are about on par with winning the Gigglegoblin lottery!

1:26 AM  
Blogger urban said...

If SONY screws up the over 8 year faithful EQ community to milk some instant cash out of it, in the process destroying the sense of achievement coming from staying faithful to a game over more than 8 years - a game that is in no way superior to late come challengers.... I myself owning 4 accounts over all this time and all the people I have come to know, and all the people I can convince in real life - none of those that I can helkp will ever again in our living consumer lives buy any product, service or suchlike affiliated with Sony in any way.

Rack those numbers up multiplied by all those that feel the same as I do against the 3 dollars a hit you expect out of your shameful bs scam to capitalize on supposedly addicted EQ gamers. EQ isnt crack and you aint the only seller of bliss.

People that are still playing a game inferior to the competition, a game underinvested in by the owners considering the cashflow it generates, are not out of choices.

Shame on Sony for not maintaining the lead it has and staying the leader of the pack rather than leading the trend in exploiting gamers in a totally new way, a way I am sure - as a gamer - will make me want to never again playing any game with even the faintest hint of such a stink.

Shame on Sony for making customer service a landmark of inaccessibility and for rewarding customer loyalty over years with an assumption that anyone playing a crappy game over such a long period must be retarded and therefore deserving of monetary punishment.

Shame for assuming we are suckers and meek cows to be slaughtered! If your greed destroys the game I really like despite your attempts to the contrary I WILL do what I can as a private individual. I got lots of years ahead of me as an individual and networker to figure out what I can do to hurt revenues - I am sure Ill get my pound of flesh back eventually.

10:41 AM  
Blogger urban said...

If SONY screws up the over 8 year faithful EQ community to milk some instant cash out of it, in the process destroying the sense of achievement coming from staying faithful to a game over more than 8 years - a game that is in no way superior to late come challengers.... I myself owning 4 accounts over all this time and all the people I have come to know, and all the people I can convince in real life - none of those that I can helkp will ever again in our living consumer lives buy any product, service or suchlike affiliated with Sony in any way.

Rack those numbers up multiplied by all those that feel the same as I do against the 3 dollars a hit you expect out of your shameful bs scam to capitalize on supposedly addicted EQ gamers. EQ isnt crack and you aint the only seller of bliss.

People that are still playing a game inferior to the competition, a game underinvested in by the owners considering the cashflow it generates, are not out of choices.

Shame on Sony for not maintaining the lead it has and staying the leader of the pack rather than leading the trend in exploiting gamers in a totally new way, a way I am sure - as a gamer - will make me want to never again playing any game with even the faintest hint of such a stink.

Shame on Sony for making customer service a landmark of inaccessibility and for rewarding customer loyalty over years with an assumption that anyone playing a crappy game over such a long period must be retarded and therefore deserving of monetary punishment.

Shame for assuming we are suckers and meek cows to be slaughtered! If your greed destroys the game I really like despite your attempts to the contrary I WILL do what I can as a private individual. I got lots of years ahead of me as an individual and networker to figure out what I can do to hurt revenues - I am sure Ill get my pound of flesh back eventually.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Urban, if you like the game as much as you say you do, you will need to get back more than just 1 pound of flesh.

You're playing a game - if you don't like other games associated with that game, don't play them. As a sidenote, I sure hope you RP in game, because your propensity for drama is through the roof.

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