A roundup of some game related things I’ve been reading, listening to, and watching recently…
Turbine Layoffs and the Future of LOTRO
There were also a number of interesting new blog posts on the subject:
My overall impression is that the community regards what’s happened as a very bad sign and possibly the beginning of a slide towards maintenance mode or managed decline. i.e. A scenario where Turbine / Warner Bros is looking to get as much revenue as it still can from the game while keeping costs and new investment to a minimum.
There’s a sense of loss and sadness that is running deep and wide in my heart.
With some time to reflect and adjust to the news the mood is more one of looking to make the best of things. As Syp put it:
My gaming life, even my MMO gaming life, is not just LOTRO. When it goes, it goes, but I’m very happy playing it for the meantime.
New Directions for MMOs
Brian “Psychochild” Green gave a fascinating interview discussing the history of MMOs, the typical lifecycle of game genres, and ideas for taking MMOs into new directions.
Given that MMOs tend to stay relevant much longer than single-player games, we’ve seen a slower evolution of gameplay than FPSes have. But in late EQ and the middle years of WoW, we saw a focus on raiding that was beyond the reach of many people. Now we see MMOs that focus so much on the single-player aspect of the game that the social aspects don’t feel quite so important. So MMOs have lost some of their appeal, and we need to find the next “big thing” to get people excited again.
The interview puts recent happenings at Turbine into a much bigger context.
Meanwhile Braxwolf tried to put forward a case for MMO developers to make games for kids. It’s not something I know a lot about, but I believe Club Penguin is huge and was at one time a massive money maker, so he may be on to something. On the other hand maybe Disney have that market cornered.
Steam Tags and Internet Behavior
Recently Steam introduced a system that lets people tag games. This caused a bit of a kerfuffle as some maintained this was an obviously bad idea that due to the bad behavior of people online would produce a complete train wreck of nasty and inappropriate tagging. I’m more inclined to agree with Wilhelm that the results are not so bad really.
Bad behavior was a wider theme, with the Moderate Peril podcast also covering the dark side of internet fame. A common underlying issue here is that a small minority that behaves badly tends to be much more visible than the large majority that behave well. With tagging the majority may prevail most of the time as most people will probably do some tagging and do it sensibly. With social media feedback things may not go so well as the vast majority who are happy don’t feel the need to say anything about it, while a a small minority who are very displeased are moved to vent their complaints.
I’m not sure what can be done about that, but it does seem to a significant problem for people that have even a modest online following. A start might be to step up how often we show our appreciation to people who produce things we enjoy.
Into the West – Peter Hollens
So far this hasn’t been the cheeriest of posts. Let’s finish with a good song that I came across this week. A new version of “Into the West” …