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Update: I’ve just verified that we are in the Molly room, and good to go for 2:00.  I’ll be headed out the door in 10 minutes or so to get there and greet everyone (I hope).   Hope to see you there!  (@Cameron: too much partying, eh? Heh…)

Just a quick reminder that the next MMMOGIG will be at Kip’s Irish Pub in St. Louis Park, tomorrow, June 30, from 2-6.  It’s not required to RSVP via meetup.com (although it is appreciated, just to get a feel for the amount of space necessary)… feel free to just show up if the opportunity arises, the more the merrier.

I’m going to be bringing a camera to take a couple pictures of anyone willing to smile/frown/pose for a photo (to “prove it happened”, as some have suggested 🙂 ), and I’ll maybe try to create a bit more substantial report of the ebb and flow of the discussion, depending on how it goes.  For my part, I can only really do that if I sit back and just observe, instead of partake, and that’s not really why I organize these to begin with, so…

As seen at Penny Arcade, Netdevil has started promoting Jumpgate: Evolution.  I’ve always kicked myself for missing out on the original Jumpgate…

The Rampant Coyote has a great article up entitled “Why do RPGs suck now?”  Many of the articles linked are not strictly about MMORPGs, but who cares?  The same basic concepts apply, from MMORPGs to SPORPGs, and beyond…

I’ve added a kind of Blog of the Week link in the sidebar, but since I have no idea whether I will faithfully update it weekly, I just went with “Blog Spotlight”.  The Anyway Games blog is my pick for this week/random time period.  I just like the way the man thinks.

Psychochild points out an excellent article by indie MMO dev Eric Rhea, adding some commentary of his own as well.  Good stuff all around.  I should really find time to respond on the weekend challenge, as well…

I also wanted to point out an interesting post over at the Forge about the Sherwood RPG and the underlying maidmarian.com business model.  A rather unique model, completely advertising supported, even to the point of directing traffic to other MMOs.  Another one I have to find time to check out… sigh.

Ran across this one via an ad on a web comic site (can’t remember if it was Schlock Mercenary or Girl Genius, oh well): a indie online RPG (does it qualify as an MMO? not sure) by the name of Fallen Sword.  It’s a browser-based app, not even Java/Flash/Shockwave as far as I’ve found in the little bit I’ve been able to play with it (about 5 mins).  Revenue model appears to be microtransactions/RMT.  Another interesting feature is that it offers you a limited number of moves/turns per day.

And that’s what struck my fancy during the morning roundup…

How sad is this… it’s easier to find time to comment at work than while on “vacation”.  Heh.

If there is any concept related to MMOs that I despise more, I don’t know what it would be.  (There are quite a few things that come close, tho, admittedly.)

The “end game”.  A kludged convention of convenience used to putty over a gaping hole in the typical MMORPG design… and usually pretty poorly, at that.

Let’s just start with a few basics.

1) There is not a single company operating such a service anywhere on the planet that actually wants the player to stop paying… I mean, playing.  Having an “end game” kinda implies an “end” to play, right?  (Yes, I do realize that, in terms of current implementation, the end game is actually a desperate attempt to prevent an end to play…)

2) If the “end game” is drastically different than the “regular game”, three questions come to mind.

  • First, why did the developer want to go and spend the money to make two games, instead of just one?
  • Second, was it really necessary to make the players who want to play this “end game” slog through a game they possibly/probably didn’t want to play (the “regular game”) to get to it?
  • Third, if a player actually likes the “regular game”, are they really going to want to stop playing it at some arbitrary point, and play a different one instead?

3) If the “end game” is not drastically different from the “regular game”… well, it’s not really an “end game” at all then, is it?

(more loony raving after the jump)

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Not that I don’t have projects pretty much hanging out the windows as it is…

The old blog has been a little neglected of late, I admit.  By way of explanation, that is because of many things, projects at work, a project for Last Straw, other distractions, etc.  However, the time that usually would have spent updating the blog with a concept post in previous months has been consumed for the past few weeks with something else.

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Just a brief update: I don’t have final verification yet, but all the paperwork is in, and the room was ours last time I checked, so barring catastrophe, we are all set for our next little get-together at Kip’s Irish Pub in St. Louis Park, on June 30, 2pm-6pm.  Hope to see you there!

Ok, not really.  However, I am vacationing (my version of it, at least), and the ol’ blog has suffered for it thus far.  That may change over the next couple of days… don’t know.  My vacations often end up to be, in some ways, busier and more stressful than my work days.  (There are reasons I don’t take “vacations” very often…)

I have just about finalized the location for the next MMMOGIG on June 30 (2pm-6pm).  Kip’s Authentic Irish Pub has private meeting rooms of it’s own that can be reserved, with food and drink service included.  It’s not “final” simply because they haven’t gotten the paperwork to me yet.  Depending upon how it goes, this might become the default location for future meetings… all the details seem to work perfectly, so far.

As for a topic, I was thinking we could maybe discuss various aspects of guilds and raiding-styles of play.  It’s kind of been a general topic of interest over the past few weeks.  I also have a little starter app from a couple of weekends ago I’d like to get some general feedback on, for those willing to take a few minutes to critique it.  If anyone else has something to bring for viewing or discussion, just let me know.

Anyway, no, I’m not dead.  Yet.  Type at you later…

Deep in the middle of something, but I have promised myself I would at least post once a weekend, and right now it looks like now better be the time… so, linkage!

A good post on ways to better create a perspective of character progression at a blog I just found via comment linkage.  Looks like a promising site, adding it to the blogroll, too.

I just have to comment on this: the most popular post ever on my site so far was the Inner Sanctum post.  It generated a couple hundred hits over a 5 day span, over 100 in a single day.  (Usually it takes a link from the VirginWorlds blog news list to get a post up above 20 or so.)  Of course, given the number of RSS feed lists I’m apparently on now, hit counts are a spotty measure at best, but it was still pretty amazing.  Hat-tip to Cuppy, a good call, you obviously hit upon a meme that people had interest in.  P.S. Mr. Zenke at MMOG Nation has his pics up now… he was a couple days behind the crowd, figured I’d point it out, just in case anyone doesn’t have him on their RSS feed (and why not!?!).

A convergence of the local blogosphere and the professional one can be found over at Cuppycake’s blog as well, on the topic of what makes something an online game vs. virtual world.  Moorgard, Lum, and Raph are all tied into that one in varying degrees.  If you’re into philosophical perspectives and semantics like I am, this is bread and butter for you.

Tweety continues her entertaining evisceration of everyone in creation over at Eating Bees.  This one is a true gem, IMO.  (I thought I added her to the blogroll, already…)

Eh, process is finally done.  Back to the salt mines…

I’ve finally found a little time (due to insomnia, of course) to put together a little post on the dynamic content weekend challenge over at Psychochild’s blog.  The comments on that post so far have already been top-notch, covering quite a bit of ground, so I’m just going to kibbitz a little, see where it goes.

Ramble #1:

The challenges involved in having a dynamic world are pretty daunting.  First off, players have a variety of interests and a voracious appetite for content: simply creating a single set of challenges with enough content to fill hundreds (even thousands) of hours of /played time is an incredible task.  Creating that magnitude of content on an individual basis for each and every player… 😯

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Well, the results of my little poll are in, and they are less than absolute in either direction.  Both June 30 and July 14 work for some and not for others.  Therefore, since I hate disappointing _anyone_… I’m going to schedule a get-together for _both_ weekends, and everyone is welcome to attend either or both as they wish.

I’m working on locations at the present time.  Kip’s Pub (in the same Marriott our first meeting was in) has it’s own meeting rooms with wireless connectivity, which might work better in terms of access to refreshments… I’ve got a request for information in to them to check on availability and pricing. 

I’d be willing to host meetings at my home as well (potentially a somewhat less expensive venue, at least), but people would need to be willing to drive to Apple Valley.  Drop me a line via meetup.com, or let me know in comments, if people would be okay with that on occasion.

Hope everyone can attend at least one of these… I’ve updated the meetup site as well.  Feel free to wax poetic on what a wimp I am in comments…

Cuppycake asked us MMO bloggers for pics of our gaming environment, and since I am relatively happy with it’s state of organization after this past weekend, I decided to be my usual soft touch and comply with her request.  (Plus, it gave me a reason to make sure my camcorder still works.)

Pics galore beneath the fold.

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Promos and Events

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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