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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Link Loves MMO's

What's this? A handy dandy Zelda scene creator (via Digg)? Let's have some fun!










As always, feel free to add your own creations in the comments or on the forums.

Wii Love New York

You're planning to visit New York and you want to stay at a trendy, stylish hotel. But you know you can't give up your gaming.

Well, the luxurious Hotel Gansevoort in the much hyped Meat Packing District has you covered. You can now grab a Wii at the front desk for some in-room gaming action.

Here's a link to the story complete with video. Note that you don't have to stay in the Penthouse Suite to get your Wii on. I double checked with them and any guest can request one.

I just thought it was kind of interesting to see that the Gansevoort felt that there was an intersection between their "ultra-trendy" clientele and Wii fans.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Love in the Time of Kinetics

I'm not playing City of Villains any more, but I did enjoy playing it for a few months. There are certainly quite a few negative things about the game I will share with you later. But, I thought I would start with a positive impression concerning my time as a healer. Yes, that's right, a healer. I don't know how it happened. After a brief glance at the Corruptor archetype, I figured it was akin to an EQII Wizard, a ranged DPS class. So when people suddenly started expecting me to heal them, I didn't know what to think.

I've always assumed that healing in MMO's is merely a matter of watching health bars and clicking a spell when those bars get low, along with the occasional buff or half-hearted attempt at DPS. But I found the actual experience of the Kinetics power set to be quite different.

A player with Kinetics has a power called Transfusion. It's one of the best heals in the game, with a few restrictions:

1. It triggers off of an enemy.
2. It has a limited range.
3. The heal it triggers has a limited AOE range.
4. The enemy you have targeted can't die until the actual heal goes off.

Now, every Kinetics player I've ever played with has this "nobody understands me" emo attitude.

And they have a point because your team mates have to understand that for heals:

1. They have to be near an enemy.
2. The healer has to be somewhat close to that enemy.
3. They can't kill that enemy before the heal goes off.

The natural response of every player who is low on health is to remove themselves from melee range, not stay in it. And players are certainly not going to hold off on killing mobs just because you need them alive. City of Villains is also a relatively fast moving, mobile game.

Instead of giving boring heal lectures, I just decided to try to pull off heals the best I could by moving frequently, anticipating players' movements and picking "safe" targets to heal off of.

I soon found that healing in CoV was nothing like my original expectations. When I pulled off a tricky heal as a team member was about to die it felt pretty rewarding. It's not complicated. When a task is challenging or difficult, the feeling of personal satisfaction is greater when you accomplish it. Of course, I also felt bad when a heal misfired and a team member died. But that's risk and reward. It keeps things interesting.

But, of course, personal satisfaction is not enough. So playing with me on Vent went something like this:

Aggro: Wow, what a heal.

Aggro: Did you see that heal?

Aggro: Aggro nails the heal!

Aggro: You're playing with one of the top five healers on the server.

Aggro: Did you realize that?

Aggro: Did I say on the server? I meant the whole game.

Yeah, I'm annoying on Vent. Seriously.

I guess I have two points with this post:

1. Kinetics healing in CoV is fast paced, exciting and fun. It's challenging without being frustrating. And that's one of the things I really enjoyed about the game.

2. I get annoyed when people say MMO's require no player skill. I get annoyed when I hear that the only metric of success in MMO's is time.

Now, sometimes this argument is used to make a point I agree with: That player skill should be more of a factor in MMO play. I absolutely feel the same way and I've argued the point myself many times. But it's still imprecise to say MMO's require no skill and that kind of imprecision bothers me.

By using the faulty premise that MMO's require zero skill and only require time, people are able to make specious arguments in support of RMT. I see it over and over.

I'm not saying playing an MMO is akin to doing quantum physics. It's definitely not akin to 5-starring Jordan on Expert in Guitar Hero II (which is harder than quantum physics). But every single person who has ever played an MMO will quickly realize that there are good tanks and bad tanks, good healers and bad healers. And what is that if not a reflection of some level of player skill?

Do I want to see more skill required in MMO play? Sure - it would be more fun. But if you try to tell me that there is no skill at all required you had better topple my imaginary status as a Top 5 CoV healer first.