måndag 22 december 2008

Upcoming holidays

I've had the kids alone during the weekend so I didn't quite get the client in the shape that I wanted for christmas. There is still an unresolved memory leak in the sound code somewhere so sounds will have to be released after the holidays. Otherwise it looks/sounds good.

I'm going to enjoy the holidays and work a day or two next week only.
Enjoy your christmas gifts everyone - I hope you get good ones and of course that the one in Wurm is best!
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for now. Catch you later!

fredag 12 december 2008

End of the Nobel Prize week

Soon leaving, I am just about to see how the latest sound code addition works out. On Gurubears request I added two sound channels positioned right and left of the player to take care of personal sounds like the creaking that occurs when you are in a boat.

Another thing that has been of interest this week is the Nobel Prize awards. I like to watch the party since it reminds me of the parties we had in Uppsala when I was a student. The biggest differences are that they have more expensive jewelry and prominent guests, but we had better entertainment and tempo. And, well they have gold on the walls which adds some class.

Players of the week this week are Madt and Ilu, who with their cat and mouse play forced some changes to the invulnerability code.
Tich is the team member of the week, as usual proposing a good suggestion that is nicely put and fairly quick to implement like some longer duration of tracks.

torsdag 11 december 2008

We wont be selling skill for money

Everquest sells exp boosts: http://games.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08%2F12%2F10%2F0130235&from=rss

I understand that you can purchase exp boosts and even whole levels in some usually eastern world MMOs. I am a bit baffled that EQ now does it and I suspect that it is an experiment by SOA that they try because the game is going down the drain or something. Anyways it makes sense. Does anything you do in EQ really matter to anyone else than yourself anyways?

The end of the article has three very good comments.
* The first reaction is negative - "I'm imagining a game between two people determined by how much they spend on the game."
I react the same instinctively when it comes to a lot of microtransactions such as buying levels and enchanted swords directly from the website in other MMOs. But I have a nagging feeling that my negativity is nonprofessional, uncommercial and oldschool. In any case we have decided not to do this.

* One person points out that some people have time and some people have money.
We acknowledge that fact in Wurm as well and sell silver to those who have money in order for them to be able to purchase services and items from those players who have time to put in instead.
It is very similar to selling the same items and services on the website but the difference is that the players who invest time don't loose out but instead gain on it.

* The third person thinks that it is a question of authenticity. That a person wearing cowboy outfit is expected to be able to at least ride a horse.
One reason to play games is to measure oneself with other players. I like highscore lists and understand where this comment comes from. If I meet the player on top of the battle ranks in a game I expect him or her to be good at fighting. And I like to awe at things and what people achieve. Now, my experience is that in a lot of MMO's nobody cares about you and you care about nobody else or what they achieve. Notch calls them massive single player games I think. Wurm is not like that.

In Wurm we allow you to sell the access (password) to your account since we believe that it is your right but I can never see us starting to sell skill boosts.

Then again - if EQ does it and a majority wants it.. Wurm as a project looses out.

Nah, for now I'll consider it being able to buy aces for your online poker hand. It can't be a durable solution. Wurm shall last for at least 20 more years so it has to be durable.

fredag 5 december 2008

Friday again!

So here's the friday. This evening I'm off to eat some Julbord.

I had a sore throat a few days this week so I didn't get to finish the sound stuff as planned but we are certainly getting there, even though we restructure and rethink quite often still.

The staff member of the week is Wolfram, who had to take a break. In case he doesn't return he's well worth it. Now don't go quitting just because you want this recognition any of you!

Player of the week is J.F, aka known as Prometheus. It is always nice and interesting to speak with him. He has been busy, but since his work has damaged the playerbase and thus all that I've worked so hard for for so long I had to issue a formal warning to him. I think he got the point and the severity of it.

I am pleased to know that all his hacks can be made disfunctional in a days work or two, even if I never seem to get the time. Needless to say - if you decide to take your chances with it and are detected your character and any that we can link together will be wiped.

Have a good weekend!

About christmas gifts in games and Wurm

Apart from the bugs that occurred last christmas when people just waited and waited half a day in vain for Santa I have some other thoughts about christmas (and other seasonal) gifts in games. There's a lot of discussion in our forums where people really don't want to miss out on the christmas gift in Wurm.

First and foremost I want them to be... well.. seasonal gifts!

To me this means that:
  • They should become available when the seasonal event starts.
  • They should be delivered in a way that gifts related to the seasonal event usually arrive (such as in a colourful package, an egg, or in a pinata par example).
  • A christmas gift shouldn't arrive in april.

Other thoughts
  • You shouldn't just _own_ an account and get the gift. The gift may be worth more than the cost of a monthly subscription. You shouldn't just purchase subscriptions for these events.
  • You should have to attend the event in order to collect the gift. I pity for those who play a lot but just fail to attend but such have been the nature of gifts all over the world since the beginning of time. If you're not where the gifts are you prioritize something else and that is perfectly in order.
  • Putting them on some kind of reimbursement account would be better for business and a lot of players would be much happier. For a while. Until they realize that everyone has that same gifts, resulting in that the gifts loose value.
  • The gifts are not to force people to play on christmas in order to keep the player base active. They can be seen as a reward for sacrificing some time with your family and hopefully as something special for the odd player who actually receives few other gifts during christmas although I admit that that scenario probably is very rare. They are seasonal gifts, handed out during a seasonal event for the same reasons that the same gifts are handed out in real life whatever that is.
  • If we allowed only one account per real life person or could keep track of it we could consider handing them out in your absence.

Also, if we add the gifts to some kind of reimbursement account it would water them out as a feature in my opinion and we could instead hand them out once per three months to everyone who plays and stop calling them easter eggs or christmas presents or whatever. Basically I want the people who do play at the time of the event to feel that it is special and actually means something to attend it.

So the problem is drawing the line when the gifts no longer are handed out. In Wurm this usually means when the real life event is over. Previously this has been on the evening of the 26th of December Swedish time.

However, because a lot of our players do look forward to the gift and I don't want them to push their families too hard and feel stressed about christmas I will prolong that time to the 28th sometime late in some timezone very far out west. Depending on how well I count it may even become the 29th all over the world until Santa leaves Wurm and comes back here to his castle here in Norrland in Sweden.