Toldain Talks

Because reading me sure beats working!


Toldain started as an Everquest character. I've played him in EQ2, WoW, Vanguard, LOTRO, and Zork Online. And then EVE Online, where I'm 3 million years old, rather than my usual 3000. Currently I'm mostly playing DDO. But I still have fabulous red hair. In RL, I am a software developer who has worked on networked games, but not MMORPGS.

Monday, September 14, 2009

You Know You Were Clueless When...

Tipa has uncovered, in a secret trove in a location only known to her, an 8.5"(!!!) floppy disk with a blog roundup from 2001 on our favorite topic, MMO's.

The whole thing is well worth reading, but this really made me spit my Diet Coke at the monitor:

It wouldn’t be a Glitchless game unless it featured permadeath. As GM Jeff said in a Stratics debate last January, permadeath is a way to ensure that the people who aren’t SERIOUS about roleplaying quit the game, so everyone wins:

*GL-Jeff* Well the anti-perm death crowd has already stated that permdeath would “shorten” the lifespan of the PERSISTANT world. I believe they are already admitting that yes, the players that are not serious about playing for RP purposes will leave the game early.

Well, in reality, groups of PKs would just band up and completely ruin the game for everyone else at no risk to themselves. Jeff has apparently never played Ultima Online. Didn’t we just have this debate with Sierra’s Middle-Earth Online? It’s just weird seeing people seriously argue that EverQuest’s death penalty is not severe enough.

Rumor has it, btw, that the EverQuest devs are considering upping the three hours before your corpse and all your possessions decay to something a little longer. About time.

There's some things that are better off forgotten, because you are happier that way. I played Everquest. I must have been playing it in 2001. I had to. I have no recollection of a three hour decay time. I remember them increasing it, so that it depended on level. I remember the horrible hassle of trying to get Lobilya's (my spouse in RL) corpse back from a campfire surrounded by ogres and finally giving up, start her over again. Wasn't the limit pushed to 7 days or something at one point?

I guess the point was, if I died, I did the corpse run immediately, regardless of time of night, or fatigue or whatever.

Furthermore, at the time I was no stranger to the internet, but I had barely heard of blogs, and didn't spend much time surfing forums. Except for Slashdot, that is. One look at that site cost me 90 minutes. Every single time. I am that kind of geek, I'm afraid. But for my gaming time, well, I logged on and played.

I find the discussion of permadeath and bigger death penalties to be amusing, and so very, VERY human. And it's akin to trying to order the tides to stop. Honestly, do you expect a commercial company to be successful and grow if it bases its business plan around being meaner to its customers than the other guys? This is what made me feel Vanguard is doomed, all the rhetoric about "back to what made EQ great..." or at least that's how it seemed to me.

And still, the permadeath crowd has a kind of point. I did pickup groups in EQ in 2001 all the time. Just join a group at a bandit camp, or in Highpass or whatever. And you would get a reasonable amount of experience and loot, though probably not the fat drop, the group leader had that earmarked for himself or someone else, but really that didn't matter. You broke the spawn, killed stuff as it popped, and had a conversation in between. There was sort of a floor on how bad it could be, and how dumb your group members would be.

That floor dropped lower and lower as the game populations expanded. Most people are pretty averse to pickup groups these days, because the combination of bad play, and rude behavior can be pretty toxic. Though oddly, they seem to be inversely correlated. That is, in my PUG experience, the rudeness has all come from competent, experienced players, while it's the nice ones that don't know what they are doing. Sigh, is it too much to ask for a product that is BOTH a floor-wax AND a dessert topping?

In any case, reading Tipa's blog post reminded me of how clueless I was about the general trend of gaming at the time.

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Anonymous Tipa said...

I remember when the decay time was half an hour for characters below level 10...

It was really REALLY nerve wracking when I lost my level 15 character deep in Unrest. Thankfully my guild came together and rescued me.

4:33 PM  
Anonymous Brian 'Psychochild' Green said...

It's really interesting to see how attitudes have changed. As you point out, PUGs weren't a bad thing back in the day. If someone was killing in the same area, you throw them an invite and get another person adding to the fun. People who really sucked couldn't get groups and wouldn't have gotten levels at all. So, there was a minimum competency required and assumed.

Now, people are very rude. In LotRO, three of us in my kinship decided to do the overly generous daily ques... er, I mean, bounties. We lacked a hunter for fast movement around the world, but we went to the nearby location and got ready to fight. Another group came along and I asked them how many were in their group. "Two" the person tersely responded. "Care to join with our three?" I asked and got silence (then a scene of them porting out of the area). I can't think of a reason not to even respond to a friendly request. (We did the bounties hunter-less, but took about 2.5x the time the bounties usually take. Doubt I'll willingly do that again soon.)

On the other hand, corpse runs are something I don't think anyone really misses. I remember my roommate staying up late into the next morning when a wipe after "just a bit farther" required a late-night corpse run to save prized items from going away forever. I might think things are a bit too easy these days, but I'm not that sadistic....

My thoughts.

2:17 AM  

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