Zen Of Design

The design and business of gaming from the perspective of an experienced developer

Month: September 2006 (page 1 of 2)

Friday Fun: Katamari Insurance

Kotaku found this wonderful ad which should warm the hearts of Damacy fans everywhere.

South Park to Skewer World of Warcraft?

Just wanted to mention that the rumor has it the season premiere of South Park next week is rumored to skewer World of Warcraft. Repeat: this is a fairly unsubstantiated rumor.

got this from a friend who works at Blizzard:


Worldofwarcraft.com just put up a preview.

LOTRO To Allow Monster Play

Monster Play is one of those ideas that keeps coming up in wish lists that players would like to see – they’d like to be able to play as the black dragon and run with it. Everquest integrated it once upon a time, but it had such balance problems they had to remove it in an emergency hotfix.

Now, LOTRO is integrating Monster Play – and calling it the cornerstone of their PVP solution. Continue reading

Guitar Hero II to Sell New Songs by Microtransaction

See, here the message is how microtransactions provide better and more gameplay to the customer.

Guitar Hero II is going to be rocking a new stage! RedOctane announced today that the Guitar Hero crew will bring their award-winning tour to the Xbox 360 “The tour will continue the rockin’ gameplay Guitar Hero fans have come to enjoy, and will now include expanded Xbox 360 capabilities,” said Kai Huang, president of RedOctane. “With Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360 rock rhythm, lead, or bass guitar tracks with downloadable content and the new X-Plorer controller, designed specifically for the Xbox 360.”

Continue reading

On That Whole ‘Fleecing the Customers’ Thing…

Scott at BrokenToys is reporting that Archlord, which originally was going to allow you to pay more money for more powerful characters, has been forced by player outcry to abandon these plans for a traditional subscription-based model.

Many developers have long hypothesized that the one-size-fits-all monthly fee may end up fading in the US in favor of more micropayments and premium content, as has already happened in Korea. Archlord’s changing of plans suggests a handful of possibilities: Continue reading

Interesting Marvel Tidbits

From this Gamespot article:

Frank Pape: We’ve got something better than that. We’re announcing today a fantastic partnership with Cryptic Studios and Marvel to create the Marvel MMO. It will be on Xbox 360 and on Windows, and will feature cross-platform seamless simultaneous play, which we believe is unprecedented.

Gamespot: So it’ll be the same people on the PC as on the 360?

FP: Absolutely, playing at the same time, which we think is tremendous–a unique and compelling feature for folks to play the game…We think that it transcends boundaries across the two platforms.

Continue reading

Cryptic & Microsoft Announce Marvel MMO

It seems like just yesterday, Cryptic was getting their hineys sued off by Marvel. Now, they are officially bedfellows.

What this means to existing City of Heroes players waiting for the next expansion is not known, but I suspect it’s not good. Meanwhile, congratulations, Cryptic, and good luck solving the BatmanSpiderman problem. That being said, I think Marvel is a much better potential MMO universe than DC, but then that’s just me.


Original comments thread is here.

The Revolution is 10 Years Old Today

10 years ago today, my first published title, Meridian 59, launched. It had a 3D client, a virtual world, and was among the first games to charge a flat fee to play.

Meridian 59 is widely considered by many to be the first MMORPG. Which means that even if you’re uncharitable and don’t count older games like Gemstone, MUD and Islands of Kesmai, the industry has now officially been making MMOs for 10 years. You’d think we’d be better at it by now.

Meridian 59 is still up and running – you can download a demo here.

Edit: No, there is no demo. I am apparently addle-minded.


Original comments thread is here.

Harmonix Gets Money Hats

Everyone knows what a Guitar Hero advocate I am. I’ve been so much of an advocate of the game here on my blog that… well, that *I* think I should have gotten a copy of their beta.

At any rate, Harmonix’ hard work has paid off – they’ve sold the company for $175 Million dollars to MTV. Congratulations to everyone over there. It’s great to see a little company triumph based on good design, innovative implementation and truth to their core vision.

The Hand-Me-Down Effect and the Rule of Screenshot Identity

So last week I discussed the importance of running on a minimum spec machine. Sure, this expands the market for people who might buy the game, but I think for an MMO, it may be even more vital for one obvious reason: the hand-me-down effect.

Simply put, your average household does not have two top-of-the-line, tricked out, Alienware boxes. They might have one. But if you are a game that depends heavily on Coupleplay (playing with someone you know in real life), this suddenly catapults in importance.  Nick Yee things Coupleplay is vastly important. And while I tend to question Daedalus’ data methodology in general, I tend to agree. Continue reading

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