Saturday, February 28, 2009

Results from The Bartle Test

I was surfing the Internets this morning before logging in to play Everquest II and ran into a reference to The Bartle Test. The Bartle Test is a player personality analyzer written by Richard Bartle that classifies gamers into four categories: explorer, socializer, killer or achiever. The link in the Wikipedia article led me to GamerDMA, where I took the test. Below are the results:

The Explorer motto: "No stone unturned!"

It's not so much the wandering around and poking about, but that euphoric eureka moment the Explorer strives for. The joys of discovery do not necessarily involve geography, real or virtual. They may derive from the mental road less traveled, the uncovering of esoteric or hidden knowledge and it's creative application. Explorers make great theory crafters. The most infinitesimal bit of newness can deliver the most delicious zing to an Explorer.

Secondary influences:

Explorer Achievers have been there, done that and have the fact they have a plethora of t-shirts, badges, trophies and other rewards. EAs are the completionists of the gamer world. They like to find new places, quests, easter eggs, unlocks, maps etc. and check them off as have, visited or beaten. Like real world travelers, EAs enjoy collecting memorabilia that helps them relive their experiences later.

Explorer Socializers are the glue of the online world. Not only do they like to delve in to find all the cool stuff, but they also enjoy sharing that knowledge with others. Explorer socializers power the wikis, maps, forums and theory craft sites of the gamer world.

Explorer Killers enjoy seeing the world, meeting interesting people...and killing them. EKs love all discovery, but finding an edge over the competition is best. Always seeking new opportunity, an EK likely knows the ten best places to find certain types of opponents, as well as ten different ways for taking them down.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Odds and Ends

I’m a little behind on my writing, so I thought I’d throw together a quick post on what’s happening.

First, Warp Drive Active #45 was posted over at Virgin Worlds today. I really want to hear the shows take on the BoB vs. Goonswarm war. Oh wait, BoB is now KenZoku. Also on Virgin Worlds today, Brent posted Van Hemlock #40 and No Prisoners, No Mercy #24.1.

Next, from the EQ2 Test Server:

Appearance slots for primary, secondary and ranged weapon slots have now been activated! In addition to the requirement that you must be able to use the item, it must also use the same skill as the item equipped in your normal slot. For example, you may only use a Great Axe in your appearance slot if you are also wielding a Great Axe in your equipment slot.

Woot! I really want to run around showing off my Raincaller bow. I don’t care that the bow is SO tier 7, I want to run around Norrath with it on my back!

I’ve mentioned before that the people I work with are into World of Warcraft. I was in a conversation with two of them and discussed the upcoming two-specc’ing option in the upcoming patch. They told me the cost would be 1000 gold, and both the players, one 80 mage and one 76 warlock, told me that they wouldn’t get it for their mains. The warlock also has a fighter and he probably will pick up the two-spec ability for him. I’m not linking any facts; just giving the views of two people who have played the game for 4+ years.

Finally, for fans of parody songs based on MMORPGs, Jethal Silverwing has released two songs this week. The first is an EQ2 based song called “Can I Get a Heal”, a parody of the Carrie Underwood song “Jesus Take The Wheel” and is posted over at the Legion of Kithicor website. The second song is a Warhammer Online based song called “Crazy Elf Swordmaster” based on “Funky Cold Medina” by Tone Loc. The song is posted at Warhammer Geek. Check out the new songs from one of the best around.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What I've Been Listening To: February 14-21, 2009

As I listen to podcasts, a common subject for those podcasts that do not focus on one or two games is a segment called "What have we been playing?" I like those segments as they give me an idea of what's hot, what's not, and where MMORPGs may be headed, at least in the short-term future. So I'll copy my favorite podcasters and have a regular feature called "What I've been listening to" here on the blog.

So here is what I've been listening to over the last week.

Virgin Worlds #139 - The flagship podcast for the Virgin Worlds podcast collective is a must listen-to podcast that gives me some background for what I am going to hear on all the other podcasts. In podcast #139, Brent reveals that Darren Love, of the Common Sense Gamer blog and co-host of the Shut Up We're Talking podcast hosted on Virgin Worlds, will act as the Virgin Worlds podcast's producer. Or, as Darren put it, Darren is going to write the rough draft of Brent's show notes.

I'm excited about this development, and not just because it sounds like Brent will be able to get back to a more regular schedule of releasing his own podcasts. The collaboration of Brent and Darren usually produces good things, and I expect this latest development will be no different.

Van Hemlock #39 – Another podcast I regularly listen to from Van Hemlock (a.k.a. Tim Dale) and Jon Shute from the U.K. I especially love hearing their views on the news. I admit that I am subject to the tendency of Americans to give additional credence to anything said by anyone sporting the accent of our former British overlords. The Van Hemlock podcast is sort of like the BBC news, only with a sense of humor and appreciation for irony.

The Van Hemlock podcast is also the first place I get my news on EVE. While I don’t play the game, I do like listening to news from the game. Jon is a bit of an expert having headed an EVE corporation for awhile. The BoB vs. Goonswarm struggle even made it to the Van Hemlock show notes on Virgin Worlds, where we discovered there is an excellent post in the City of Heroes forums on the war.

One last thing about the podcast I liked was Van Hemlock’s experience with a pick-up group in City of Heroes. I won’t spoil the story; I’ll just say that it is not your typical PuG story.

EQ2’s-day show from Tuesday, February 3 – Dellmon posted the 1 ½ hour show last week that originally aired on Online Gaming Radio that featured EQ2 associate producer (and soon to be developer) Jen “Kirstie” Gerull. If you play EQ2, listen to this podcast. Not only was Kirstie a very engaging guest, but very informative as well. Despite intense grilling from Dellmon, Kirstie insisted that the quest to bring the EQ1 Beastmaster class into EQ2 is working as intended. Other topics included the upcoming Lavastorm revamp, the possibility of server mergers and/or splits, and pink unicorns.

You can tell Kirstie is a regular listener of the show because she had no hesitation in joining Dellmon’s co-host Zanadi in picking on Dellmon, making this a very entertaining as well as informative show.

The Instance #136 – Perhaps the premier World of Warcraft podcast in existence today, Scott Johnson and Randy “Delux” Jordan head up another of my must listen-to podcasts. Not only does The Instance allow me to keep up with the news of the game a lot of my co-workers play, but the podcast is giving me ideas for posts as I compare what is happening in WoW with my experiences in Everquest 2.

This week Scott & Randy discussed the implications of Jeff Kaplan’s move from World of Warcraft to Blizzard’s mystery next-generation MMO, what went wrong with WoW’s Valentine’s Day in-game holiday, and the upcoming ability of players to have two specs. The discussion of 16-slot bags brought back some good memories from WoW.

Epic Dolls #60.1 – In this mini-episode of the long-running World of Warcraft podcast, Katerina makes her Epic Dolls debut. Katerina is replacing Rae as Leala Turkey’s co-host and made her introduction to the audience solo as real life issues kept Leala Turkey occupied. I’ll be interested to hear how Kat fits in when the whole gang is together again.

Free Play Podcast #15 – Riknas, Andras, and Joe have reached their 15th podcast and are starting to hit their stride, Riknas’ microphone problems notwithstanding. The guys have found a niche with their F2P news and their reviews on games are getting better the more practice they get at doing it.

Last week the Free Play Crew played the Cartoon Network’s MMORPG Fusion Fall. From the sound of the discussion, the game is pretty good, but the more into the Cartoon Network you are, the better you’ll like the game. I’ve been hearing comments in other podcasts and on blogs about Fusion Fall, so it’s nice to have some confirmation from people who’ve played that the game has possibilities.

No Prisoners, No Mercy #24 – Sister Julie and Sister Fran lived up to the subtitle of the podcast, “Two Nuns Go to WAAAGGGHHH!” last week as the explored why Warhammer Online lost over 450,000 players since launch.

Normally the No Prisoners, No Mercy podcast provokes a spirited exchange in the show’s discussion thread on Virgin Worlds. For this podcast, Sister Julie solicited the opinions of her listeners on why they think WAR has lost subscribers and the responses were read and discussed. I could have done without the Christian Bale discussion at the beginning of the show. Bring back the "Mad as Hell!" segment!

In a new feature, Ceadric gave some advice on how to make some serious gold in World of Warcraft at the end of the show. From the sound of it, anyone can submit a short audio clip and the sisters may choose it to be played at the end of the show.

Spouse Aggro #69 – The podcast formerly known as Voyages of Vanguard is hosted by real-life married couple Beau and Leala Turkey. The aggro is not drawn because one is a gamer and the other isn’t. The aggro is drawn because of conflicting gaming styles. Leala is in a World of Warcraft raiding guild while Beau is … Beau. I’m not going to describe Beau’s playstyle here because he really deserves a blog post (or three) just to describe his immersion project. Beau is one of those unique characters who don’t fit into a well-defined category and that is why he’s so interesting to listen to.

In the latest Spouse Aggro podcast (that I stayed up WAY too late to listen to), the Turkeys discuss the upcoming hard-core player vs. player based MMORPG Darkfall. In the podcast, the usually calm and rational Leala becomes more agitated and winds up going on a rant against the game while Beau sticks up for many of the concepts the game will attempt to implement. I think the real problem both Beau and Leala have with the game is the likely player-base Darkfall will attract. Given the results of a recent poll of future players of the game, maybe Leala’s reaction was rational after all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Who Am I?

Describing yourself when talking about games can be a little tricky. MMO players have many aspects. For instance, do you talk about who you are in real life? Or do you talk about the games you play? Perhaps you identify yourself by naming the avatars you play. Or maybe you describe yourself by describing your playstyle. All of the above put together makes up today’s gamers.

So who am I? In real life, I’m a guy in my mid-40s named Tom who lives in the suburbs of Chicago. I served in the Army a lifetime ago and used the benefits to get through college. Unlike the stereotypes of gamers, I own my own home and play on the second floor instead of in the basement I don’t have. But like a lot of gamers, I’m a bit of a computer geek and work in a computer-related field. Unlike a lot of gamers (and all the characters in EQ2) though, I can dance. Well, I am a bit rusty, and I can only dance to country music, but I can dance.

If talking about the games I play, I’m a pretty monogamous gamer. When I played World of Warcraft, that was the only game I played. Over the last 2 ½ years I’ve played EverQuest II, I’ve only dabbled in a couple of games. I’ve stepped into the free trial of Vanguard and reached level 8 as a ranger and made it up to level 12 as a shadow warrior in Warhammer Online. But I love EQ2.

If you wanted to find me in EQ2 who am I? In the game I’m usually called Rose, after my main, a max level wood elf ranger/master alchemist/transmuter named Rosemarie. For those of you who do not play EQ2, that means she is a level 80 ranger, level 80 alchemist who has completed the epic crafting quest, and has a skill level of 400 (unmodified) as a transmuter. I also have a female gnome necromancer/sage/tinkerer I wander about on named Fallenrose. I don’t just play female characters. I spend a lot of time on Yonger, a male wood elf level 80 master woodworker. I’m usually at the woodworking station outside the bank in North Qeynos making ammunition and totems for sale and have been known to make the occasional AA mirror, mannequin, and bow. In total, I play 8 toons, 4 of whom are master craftsmen. I hope to have the other 4 up there before the next expansion comes out.

Another way to label gamers in MMOs is by their play style. Gamers often describe themselves as “hard core” or “raiders”. I guess you can call me a semi-hard core crafter/soloist. I adventure way too much to be a seriously hard core crafter and I just don’t go looking for groups, much less raids. It isn’t that I hate groups, but I always seem to need to make one or two more items to sell to put in my sales crates.

And now, to make the picture complete, I'm now also a blogger.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Why Create This Blog?

Why start a blog about gaming in general, and massively multiple online role playing games in particular? Yes, there are more important things I could write about, like the adventures of the first African-American president in U.S. history. But I've been there and done that already. I wrote a small political/current events blog for a couple of years back in 2003-2005. Searching the web looking for news to write about became something of a grind, so I stopped. I’ll let others with more inspired political views handle the weighty matters of the day.

My journey into MMORPGs began in 2005 when a co-worker convinced me to try a game called World of Warcraft. I started on a player vs. player (PvP) server and leveled a paladin up to the mid-30s before I got tired of getting ganked. But I still liked the game so I re-rolled a pally on a player vs. environment (PvE) server and made it to the pre-Burning Crusades level cap of 60. Then I was kicked out of the guild I had been in since level 17 because I couldn’t raid, leveling an alt was not fun, and the PvP and faction grinds became, well, a grind. So after playing for 9 months I cancelled my account. (And before you ask, I’m not going to re-activate my account so you can have my gear.)

After a month I began to get an itch to play another game. WoW was a great game to play from levels 1-60, but I really didn’t like the end game. I heard about another game called EverQuest II, signed up in June 2006, and haven’t looked back.

Just as I had the itch to keep playing MMOs, I’ve got an itch to blog again. I made the mistake of listening to gaming podcasts and became hooked. At first it was just the broadcasts/podcasts over at Online Gaming Radio. OGR has two excellent EQ2 broadcasts on Tuesday nights, EQ2's-day and the Jethal Silverwing Show, and I started going though the archives listening to the old shows. I also started reading one of the writers on Online Gaming Radio, Sister Julie Whitefeather, who now writes blog posts for Virgin Worlds and is the co-host of the podcast "No Prisoners, No Mercy". For those of you who may not know, Virgin Worlds is a web site chock-full of podcast goodness for anyone looking for podcasts about MMOs. After listening to a few of the podcasts, I realized I’d hit the mother lode. But the more I listened, the more I wanted to speak out about my own opinions. I didn’t want to just be a comments poster. I decided a long time ago that if I was going to start posting on other people’s sites and blogs that I was going to have a place where other people could comment on my thoughts. I don’t want to just comment on what other people say. Occasionally I would like to drive the discussion. So this blog was born.