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Just wanted to note that I’ve recently added a couple of pages to track and index some of the ongoing features (RPG Archive, Voyages-related posts).  I’ll be adding a Skills page here at some point as well, although that one might be a bit (maybe I’ll just put it up in stages, instead of trying to get it all complete and formatted before the “unveiling”…)

Bought NWN2 recently, actually have a few hours in it now.  Solid game, and I like the editor too… too bad it’s so tightly bound to D+D.  It has to be some kind of commentary on my RP tastes that the only thing that keeps me playing (having just reached the second chapter with one of my 5 characters, now) is exploring the various NPC interactions.  I’ve been trying to get a feel (without cheating and going into the module code) for 1) what romances are possible, 2) how many real reaction options are available, and 3) how many of the NPCs you can possibly bring to the “end game” in one run-thru, given the interplay between them.  I haven’t outright tried to kill the tiefling Neeshka yet, for example (tough one… I like the wit that character brings to some of the cutscenes).. still some paths to pursue (and given certain cut scenes, I somewhat doubt I can kill her, even if I choose that apparent option at the first encounter…)

The storyline itself is entertaining as well… but I do already feel a bit constrained.  Having my CG Wizard/Rogue go thru the motions of squiring, presumably because I didn’t want to be an assassin?  Other (more moderate) paths could have been defined: this particular character is a very poor fit for that path (a rather poor melee fighter, for one… many thanks to the design gods for Khelgar).  Of course, maybe they were, and I missed them somehow… I’ll have to get my “evil route” character further along at some point…

Avid game design enthusiast, Craig Perko, over at his projectperko blog, brings up a topic that I’ve wrestled with for long periods of time myself: in essence, can we create game mechanics for/related to social interaction, and should we?

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RuneQuest Cover RuneQuest (1984)
Publisher: The Avalon Hill Game Company (www.avalonhill.com)
Orig. Copyright: (c) 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984 Chaosium Inc. (www.chaosium.com/index.php)
Current Publisher: Mongoose Publishing (www.mongoosepublishing.com/index.php)
Advancement: Skills, percentile based, usage-based
Features: hit locations, initial character skills based on years per “occupation”, varied magic systems

RuneQuest was one of the titles that became available during the first major burst of releases in pen-and-paper RPGs, in the mid-to-late 70s. It was one of the games that succeeded in working it’s way into a limited number of mainstream outlets, toy stores and the like, mainly through the publishing agreement with Avalon Hill, I imagine. While it never became quite as well known as D&D, it was definitely a title you were aware of if you were at all involved in the gaming scene of the time.

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Two more interesting posts on the everpresent RMT issue, and how it interacts with the microtransaction payment model, from Moorgard and Raph.  Raph’s post in particular is very detailed and enlightening (as usual): some very good stuff to chew on there.

I like the concept that MMOs and the like are essentially selling a context… that makes a lot of sense to me…

As intimated in my previous post, some more reflections on how RMT might impact my “Voyages” game concept below the fold…

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There have been a couple of comments in the recent RMT discussion that RMT (Real Money Transfer: the practice of purchasing in-game resources, assistance, etc. with real money) is not a question of design, but rather human nature, and therefore, it really is something that cannot be gotten rid of.

While I wouldn’t really argue much with that basic premise given existing MMO designs and influences, I do wonder how much that dynamic can be worked with and “controlled” via design.

As I was running down my dream design, for example, it seemed to me that it was largely immune to the current typical RMT influences, but far more vulnerable in some other, rather exotic ways… some of my musings beneath the fold.

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Lots of commentary out there this past couple of weeks revolving loosely around RMT (from Scott Jennings, Brian Green, Matt Mihaly, and Ryan Shwayder (Nerfbat), amongst others.   For my part, I’m just wishy-washy on the whole topic.  While I have no love for gold farmers, and personally think spending RL money on something as transient as virtual gold pieces in a MMO is often inadvisable, I also understand and sympathize with the motivations of some of the purchasers, and think that RMT controlled by the developer would actually be a very reasonable business model to pursue.

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Just some random thoughts and comments related to Psychochild’s weekend challenge for this week, titled Rethinking the Online RPG.

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Well… one flaky SATA controller, one birthday party, and one weekend coding for work later… I accomplished exactly zero posts.  Not good.

Have to play some catch up…

Continuing the epic saga… some notes on how active (reactive) defenses work, some descriptions of “secondary” techniques, a little bit on missile combat…

Active Defenses

The question of how best to implement “reactive” defenses such as parries and dodges has been something I’ve puzzled over for a long time.  Given the vagaries of net traffic and various sources of latency, asking a player to reactively select an appropriate defense for their character just seemed too unwieldy, so I decided to see if a proactive mechanism that still enabled some real decision-making could be implemented instead.

What I have so far is rather difficult to explain (meaning it still needs some work), but here’s the basics…

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Live in or near Mpls/St. Paul? Interested in talking MMOs with other like-minded people? Join us on either June 30th or July 14th at MMMOGIGs #1.9 or #2.1 (or both!), details coming soon. You can also join us in Google Groups or meetup.com to discuss the when/where of the next meeting, provide feedback, etc.
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