Thursday, March 04, 2010

Culture of Crime

When players find a loophole in a game that benefits them, most will exploit that loophole. In regards to online games, my view has always been that if it's possible, it's allowed. It's up to the designers and programmers to prevent and close loopholes, and not the players to police themselves.

In the case of ourWorld, a recent loophole closure prevented players from using 'dummy' accounts to buff up their main accounts through the game's gifting system. Many players had dozens of accounts, and a few had hundreds. Use of these dummy accounts let players get items that normally cost real money for free, in potentially unlimited amounts.

Here's the thing, we're not certain that practice was actually bad for the game. It may be that some number of Gems (the for-real-money currency of ourWorld) greater than we currently provide for free is what's best for the game's success. We're looking quite hard at this, actually. I'm not at all certain what the answer here is.

I am certain that closing the loophole was the correct course of action from a cultural standpoint. I think large numbers of players knowingly scamming a game is toxic to the community. Players shouldn't feel like they have to run what is obviously a scam to get the results they want from a game. Players who choose not to run the scam shouldn't feel like they're foolish for leaving 'free stuff' on the table. The entire situation creates discord and I'm glad that we've put a stop to it.

If it is decided that more free Gems injected into the ourWorld community is best for everyone, the process should be done inside the game, in a manner that's above board and for everyone. If it's not, well, then our job will be to make sure the game with the current level of Gem awards is still drop-dead-amazing. Time to go back to work!


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Let's Me and You Fight! (Old School)

For whatever reason, my favorite fighting game of all time has faded into obscurity. Likely the reasons I liked it so much are the reasons for its lack of enduring success.

Bushido Blade

Most people don't remember this game from the prime Playstation 1 years, but back in 1997, when fighting games were absolutely the dominant form of game, it stood apart.

Unlike nearly every game before or since, Bushido Blade didn't bother with life bars. Your attacks could have two effects. Wound or Kill. Some battles lasted a second or less. Because blocking was so very important, everyone who played the game got really good at it, and the results were amazing. Dodging, parrying, thrusting, and ultimately positioning yourself for that final blow. The battlefields were large and fairly plain (even for the time) but included a lot of cool touches. For example, in the bamboo forest, attacking too close to a tree would cut it down. Some battles would be put on hold for a bit of forestry, before the death-dealing could commence.

It included a fairly interesting solo adventure mode, but, like most fighting games, one-on-one duels where the highlight of the game. Ultimately, I think the lack of the expected life bar and the potential for really short games turned off too many players. Combine that with a sub-par sequel and a publisher that was more interested in making vast piles of money with Final Fantasy games and the book closed on this amazing and unique fighter. Bushido Blade never made the jump to the next generation.

Such is life...and violent, brutal, death.


Monday, March 01, 2010

Fan Site on Steriods!

Ladies and Gentlemen...The ourWorld Cereal Killers

Damn fine site. You got a better one? Let me know!