I had mentioned prior to my unplanned absence that one feature I wanted to add to the blog was a sort of "feedback" post where I can reply to the various comments made on my posts throughout the week. I don't just want my blog to be a place where I can rant. I would like it to be a place where I can share opinions with my readers and get their "side of the story" on the issues that I choose to write about. So if you feel strongly about something I post, agree or disagree, like or dislike, let me know. Start a conversation. Let your voice be heard too. All you have to do is keep it constructive. There are plenty of other places on the 'Net for mindless ranting and trolling. So with that said, let's get to this week's comments. As we are still a relatively "happy few" as Shakespeare would say, I can reply to all the comments. In the future I may have to pick and choose, but that would be a rather pleasant dilemma to have.
"Back from the Dead" Comments
@Rohan: Thanks. It's good to be back. :)
@Kadaan: From what I understand, what they are showing in the Closed Beta is pretty much what will be available at release, but since the CB is still under NDA there is no way to "officially" know for sure at this juncture. On a related note, Funcom bumped the launch date another two weeks. I think they know they need as close to a flawless launch as possible and are doing everything they can to make that happen.
@Pai: This is the problem almost every MMO developer faces these days, the so-called "content locust." These are the folks that play far more hours above average and consume the content at a pace that no developer can keep up with, even the gerbils over at Trion Worlds. They are every bit as vocal as all the other noted MMO minorities; open-world PvP folks, sandbox fanatics, etc. But "vocal" can equal "bad publicity" when they start spamming forums, blogs, and review sites with their complaints, so it can put devs in a tough position. Guild Wars 2 may actually prove to be particularly vulnerable to this as their "buy to play" model will almost certainly require more money for each significant content expansion.
"The Myth of Bioware" Comments
@Pai: I am familiar with Mr. Koster but I had not read that particular commentary. I think the reaction to Star Wars: The Old Republic pretty much sums up the "story as gameplay mechanic" argument, at least in terms of MMO's. The story alone cannot hold up a game of this type. It does not encourage long term commitment or player retention, which are vital to an MMO.
@BoxerDogs: I have not heard of those games before. I will have to look into it. And yes, as I mentioned towards the end of my post, there isn't anything inherently wrong with "interactive movies" as games. I enjoyed Indigo Prophecy quite a bit, for example. My "problem" with Bioware is the perception that they are great at making games when that really isn't the case.
@xJane: All fair critiques, and in fact I would agree with many of them. I too found Skyrim unplayable, but as I have mentioned before, the Elder Scrolls series as a whole just doesn't appeal to me much. Fallout 3 was... meh. It was essentially Oblivion in the Fallout "universe." Witcher 2 and Dark/Demon Souls are almost just "hard for the sake of being hard," and not enjoyable. Of all the games I have played recently, the one I would say was the most "fun" was Kingdoms of Amalur, but while it is a lot of fun to play, its story falls a bit short.
Keep those comments coming guys. I love reading them and I love replying to them. I know many bloggers like to reply in the comment threads themselves, and as the number of comments increases, I may do that as well and select a few for a formal post such as this. But while I still have a small number, I'll probably stick to this method to address them all. Side note: Due to The Secret World being delayed a couple weeks, I've had to adjust things in terms of writing my "Xintia" backstory. So I may skip this week in terms of posting the next segment. I'm playing it by ear right now.