Saturday, June 30, 2012

Star Trek Online Developers Gozer and Heretic Signal Resignation

Star Trek Online has seen two developers mark their calendars with a figure resignation, both Geoff "Heretic" Tuffli and Dan "Gozer" Griffis have signaled their departure from Cryptic Studio's MMORPG game with future resignations and left behind their notes on the forums.

"Star Trek Online content designer Dan Griffis to depart Cryptic in 'a few weeks'"

Looks like Gozer is departing and above is the link to the .VG247 on the subject.

Also, "jumping ship," is Geoff "Heretic" Tuffli who left his mark on the STO Perfect World forums with an apology and a sad farewell to the players.

Developers have a lot of social context and currency with the virtual worlds that they develop for. They're, in a way, the architects of the aesthetic and the code that governs how the community interacts with that virtuosity and within themselves; as a result, they're often the target of adulation and scorn in turn depending on the cycle of development. Not often do they work directly with the community--but sometimes they do become part of the very worlds that they develop and design.

As a result, the departure of developers from an MMO game brings with it a different and distinct sensation than the sense of developers who worked on a static, published single box game. Certainly now we're seeing more episodic content; but MMO developers personally affect and cast great shadows over the online communities that their games support.

So when they leave, it's a bit of a big deal.

Link, via MMO Anthropology.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Blizzard Doubles-Down on Cheaters With Permaban Threats

Cheating is a big deal in the MMO industry, and as everyone knows, Blizzard recently flipped the switch when it comes to their real-money transfer auction house so they’re on the wire when it comes to protecting the value of virtual items. Diablo II is an excellent example of what happens when hackers and cheaters can duplicate items and produce a great deal of virtual items into a market that considers them valuable.

In an article on SiliconANGLE, I went into a discussion of Blizzard’s newest approach which is to strike down anyone caught cheating in any manner. This comes on after Blizzard has banned over a thousand people in almost 24 hours after the launch of the AH; and further there are rumors right now of several duplication hacks persistent in the game (note: I haven’t had a chance to substantiate any of these.)

However, it seems likely there will appear a duplication bug. With the presence of the RMT AH this sort of thing will inflate the in-game economy and devalue virtual items so Blizzard will probably be quick to come down on perpetrators as well as the code itself to stop this.

In fact, right now Blizzard requires people who use the RMT to use Authenticators; however, this will not stop duplicate hackers from producing, and then laundering their items through numerous toons to finally get to the one that produces the money via the RMT if we expect to see a money-mob arise from the money making aspect of Diablo III.

Link, via SiliconANGLE

Friday, June 08, 2012

Star Trek Online Lock Boxes and Lobi Crystals

Cryptic Studios and Perfect World Entertainment just cannot help themselves when it comes to the grab-bag items called “lock boxes.” The Ferengi lock boxes, distant cousins of the Cardassian lock boxes, have been around the servers for more than a month now, dispensing randomly starships and terrible loot for microtransaction currency bought master keys.

How have these affected the in-game economy?

Link, via MMO Anthropology.

Friday, June 01, 2012

PlanetSide 2: Female Not-Bikini Armor


Oh, wait, this is a science fiction MMORPG; that’s a problem with fantasy MMORPGs.

Spotted this one in a recent article on SOE’s PlanetSide 2.

The much-anticipated, upcoming sci-fi MMORPG PlanetSide 2 is showing off that they’re offering trooper armor for both boys and girls. In a sort of way seeing this brought up the old controversy about fantasy-settings where for some reason boys get gauntlets of iron-palisades across their entire bodies, and girls barely have their torsos protected while showing off cleavage and belly.

Who says PlanetSide 2 is going to be a dude fest? OK, it might be, but at least it'll have some nifty female avatar options. Sony Online Entertainment is also thumbing its nose at game industry tradition when it comes to clothing women in skimpy combat attire.

The company's latest press release features renders and screenshots of fem-troopers in full battle gear. There's not a bare belly nor a shapely thigh in sight, just functional equipment designed to keep avatars alive rather than stimulate opponents.

Science fiction armoring, however, rarely suffers this strange gender dimorphic double-standard; often the girls get just as much protection as the boys. Which would make more sense no matter the setting.

There may yet be hope.

Of course, I should point out that SWTOR is kind enough to give equal protection cross genders as well to Republic troopers.