14 March 2009

Liberty or death

Usama bin Ladin has released a new statement on Gaza. Hopefully it's worth reading, haven't looked at it yet. Apparently criticizes Islamic/Arab governments again and urges for more jihad. Just like the last one, if people have to do what he urges (worst case scenario for negotiations), it's because there are no other options. As one who seeks truth, there is only one fight for him, and by definition it must be his last, due to what his cause is. Others have also been destroyed by the world, you realize this as time goes on..

Now that I've got that out of the way.

Was going to make some corrections to the previous entry but found they weren't really necessary. This one touches on arenas, and purpose. The first thing I do is post the latest in a series of reflections. They are not the first, and they are not the last, and they are not the only ones that haven't been recorded yet, but they are the most recent...

26 Jan
q. how to satisfy both Chinese/'Asian', and western philosophies of subscribe vs micropayments..?

buying 'gold' vs buying 'game time', how to prevent or neutralize effects of alternate trade channels... harm of it at all, 'cashing out' of the system.

invididual benefit (nonselfish no gold buying, selfish gold buying) vs social benefit (gold buying depending on prevailing attitude and value of story), value of money transfer rich to poor and 'real' benefit

providing enough benefit for real-world poor without gold selling... stories, skills benefit?

PvE: mobs 'pause' when bleed threat reaches zero. threat transfers within range, not just by target

other mechanisms to encourage group splitting and 'ambushing' from multiple directions. Aggro radius based on group size, not just proximity. More dynamic non-line-of-sight social aggro mechanics based on group size detected/'reported'.

More anti-zerg mechanics too. Player density leads to 'deflections' which temporarily pause a friendly player as they absorb or block the attack, depends on mob size. Mobs can also 'pause' or standoff from mob density, which depends on mob size as well as target size, avoiding 'demon hunter zerg' effect with instant death sillyness or super-block sillyness (lower numbers let you trail off deflection chances with energy-based mechanics)

"How can guilds be more fun"

28 Feb
Always fun, if you have someone to play with. Graduate if not. Value of mastering quickly early on, at the edge of change. Not creating an obstacle for those who haven't. so, back to 'image' (presentation of opponents)...

Account-wide achievements? Epic mount could be for all characters who have reached a certain level... means different way of presenting it.
(if I can edit these to put them in quote boxes, I will)

12 Mar 2009 (day of al-zaydi's trial)
wind book
fire book

Answering the question, how can you reach beyond it? How can you break the constant state, allowing for change? External factors drive separation, and separation is the only way for

subversive and causing phase transitions, while still enhancing community. Complex and multi-leveled that you can return to after growth..? A lifelong problem with only one chance

as relationship~

do not contain the world, but link to it... a comfortable subset that links to what is not contained but that is essential. Flaws that cannot be resolved with its own rules because they cannot reference or define the flaws at all. Becomes apparent as familiarity increases and completeness is examined. "Consistent, and correct.. but not complete"

(simple is complex, base of wide appeal)

the problem whenever I do this is I never feel like explaining any notes. -.- Repeating the most important bits, tho: in a 2005 study, something like 90% of Brits played games of any type, including handheld, web, puzzle, quiz, or videogames. Something like 60% of Brits played games 'heavily' defined beforehand as at least once a week, and lower age categories had higher percentages. It also compared other forms of entertainment and common ways of spending time. Very few of any of these (TV, etc) could be categorized as 'productive', and given the attitudes of people in other countries, well...

so it brings to mind an important difference, the accepted amount of risk. No one in a modern, Western, civilized country expects to die, unless to illness or something stupid like a car accident. They have time for games, no matter how pointless. Now, certain games are better at being 'pointless' than others; social interaction, for example, is very alluring and often hard to categorize as pointless, given our psychology. But from the perspective of someone in a developing country, many of the activities people in Western/developed/civilized countries commonly engage in have a very real negative value as the comfortable modes of thought they encourage detract from sympathy for, and the real support for those in less disadvantaged conditions worldwide. Globalization trends will continue irrespective of the current financial crisis, and impaired understanding is a clear handicap for those who interact with, or even casually observe other cultures with a different evaluation of risk of death.

Stories can show things. But only social relationships, or the possibility of such can allow a true expansion of options, especially as relates to more complex things. The entertainment form which combines these is the MMO.

There are several requirements for an MMO on the path of social and individual benefit:
  • PRIMARY: Reduces the implications of the existence of akasagi in the world, those who attack the needs of others. There are many false paths to this, but very few true ones, which operate on the false paths but must also go beyond them. Realizing this objective implies many other requirements for a game, as opposed to other forms of art. As this is one of the truths of the world, any solution is always in striving and a safe place.
  • SECONDARY: Offers maximum freedom in whom to associate with and why.
  • SECONDARY: Encourages social interactions with positive results.
  • SECONDARY: Encourages mistakes. I cannot go into more detail here >_>, and it might be impossible to intentionally describe anyway except as the other objectives listed here. Probably the most difficult one, maybe impossible.
  • PRIMARY: Causes a 'breaking away' as growth takes place, via inconsistencies in the game world.
  • PRIMARY: Allows players to return, or continue, as needed..
  • PRIMARY: Raises awareness of elements of risk in this world, or the implications of reacting to the risk of death.
Miyamoto Musashi said the way of the warrior is to be ready for death at any time. This is not the objective of any game or pastime, to think like this. Rather, in the words of another author, it is to raise awareness in strategy of the dangers of adhering too closely to life. I'm sorry I haven't explained the half-dozen other 'primary' objectives or requirements (almost looks random..), but it's like something you're not allowed to explain ;_;

Just remembered the other major thing to review, lol! Relates to arenas, will go over after.

Arenas are not a coherent part of any world that should exist. They are an entertainment form for relieving stress via PvP, no more, and their existence would conflict with any more serious approach or 'roleplaying'. Therefore, they can exist in an unreal world that you join via a different mechanism. In order to participate in, or view arenas, you must log out and go to a special 'arenas' interface or game. It exists via the same executable file, but it doesn't have the concept of the same world. For both database and community purposes, it is as local as your normal world, but once you join in with a character from the normal world, you can't talk to anyone in the normal world unless they join you at the arena. I haven't thought about things like retaining friends >_<

Competitive achievements are all about scale, so having larger pools of opponents for regular play is not always a good idea; compare to gamewide tournament events. But in a good social game, you don't need to participate in play yourself to have fun, and being a spectator is just as enjoyable, especially when you CAN participate to some degree as a spectator. Persistent effects from audience favoritism should exist, in addition to actions during a match: the equivalent of throwing a tomato. Technology design is important here: for someone in combat, spectators must show up as 'ghosts' of themselves, with low semantic detail and correspondingly low burden on a graphics card or framerate. This doesn't mean making them depressing, something can be simple while still being interesting! Even something like standard, but randomized (by race, etc) two-dimensional 'cutouts' with simple animation sequences, that cheer and boo and throw stuff at you. Names shouldn't matter, but overall audience reaction should very much; this is helped by a good camera system. (Didn't mention on previous entry, but when following someone else in 'combat mode', you shouldn't be able to move the camera yourself or change selection, but in this context you could change your follow target by clicking on someone else.)

This separate world idea applies to other things too, specific to an MMO. Any testing would best not be done on a normal server. It would place you in an environment specifically focused around accessing content that needs to be tested, while reinforcing the idea that it all isn't permanent or real (in the sense of the normal game world). Instances are the main content needing testing, as massive social events are sometimes the only ones that can award widespread respect altho this doesn't mean they should have an unbalancing effect on a game. Each instance under testing would have its own, individualized entry point inside this 'public test' game world, with the non-temporary test world deliberately basic to emphasize its impermanent relation to the normal world. In particular, it would not be some grand city because that would indicate reduced importance of locations in the normal world, but it would offer characters basic services needed to complete testing, and maybe the appropriate metaphor ('expedition', etc) to support the testing way of thought. PvP testing would also be possible here, probably done with a direct entrance to the 'arena world' instead of having to log in through a separate process, suggesting again that the arenas are just as unreal as the testing world..

This DOES imply that you wouldn't earn rewards for arena play, but in fact this might not be true. It wouldn't make sense for you to earn rewards for something which exists apart from your normal game activities, but that kind of discrepency is one of the objectives of the game, lol.

This leads to testing specifics themselves. The particular PvP changes would probably depend on the game, as a test environment would emphasize participation over any spectator aspect; but something definite can be said about PvE: all testing would be done at EASIEST POSSIBLE DIFFICULTY. In a 'learned buff' scenario, this means maximum buff stacks with no temporary, weakening debilitation/corruption from learning these buffs; any 'achievements' guilds might make in this scenario are not applicable to the encounters once they go live, if they are viewed in the competitive way that they are in current games, and guilds will not be pressured to visit an 'easymode' test realm when they would not be able to replicate those circumstances on live until weeks or months after the instance is released. To make an analogy, it's like practicing for a marathon by walking to work, except that a real analogy would involve a situation that has evolution of strategies. But basically it means sharply diminished value of effort, with the 'efficient' choice being to not worry about learning an encounter on a test realm. :)

that's it for now, may post more later... I try not to think about it tho as I don't have time, stuff like this is only from stray thoughts from connections to other things >_<

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