Reloading... Friends

Welcome to the 48th Edition of Reloading...

“A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.” – Elbert Hubbard

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Everyone can use a feel good moment to start the day.   Let’s go with this…



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My mailbox was bursting with letters from gamers with opinions on BioWare’s decision not to release SWTOR (Sweater) as a simultaneous worldwide release.  

I know it’s a hot topic when some of you even post comments on the website.  

Deeman said he sent his original thoughts via telepathy, but that my mental inbox was full.   Funny guy.  

“Here is the thing Bioware won’t see coming.  They will all be in Ventrilo with me when I load up the game for the first time.  They will be asking me questions as I play.  I know Bioware is trying to deliver the best experience.  But if they fail, if they have ‘unforeseen’ issues like Vanguard: Saga of Heroes did, they are going to base their choices to try the game on what happens with me.  If I have a negative reaction, they won’t bother with it.  We’ll go back to one of the ‘oldies’ but ‘goodies’ we’ve played in the past until a better mmorpg comes out if that is the case.
 
Now imagine this happening to all gamers across the world as they tune in to their friends over the VOIP programs they use to get feedback on it.  If Bioware messes up, they won’t have a ‘slow’ global release.  They’ll have a ‘no’ global release, and could possibly end up being one of the biggest failures on the Internet.  I hope not, but that is what they risk in doing it this way.  Removing my friends from gaming with me during the first month is a big strike against Bioware right there.  I start out unhappy on day one, knowing it’s going to be a long while before I could possibly see my dedicated guild mates in game.  How much of a wave that ripple will become depends on Bioware’s release success.  I only hope it’s an awesome one, because I do want to play this game because our SWG guild is already disbanded and accounts closed.  If they are denied the game for too long, well, I’ll cancel after the two months until they can join.  Or we’ll merely find another mmorpg.  Bioware, imo, is playing a dangerous business model with their customer base. “ – Deeman via telepathy

For most of us, we either play games with friends that we have made in the past or we have become friends with some of the members of our guild.   My World of Warcraft guild is mostly comprised of players from the west coast, but I don’t hold that against them.   I stay up three hours later than I should just so that they can have a raid healer for their group.   You do these kinds of things when you like the people that you play with and when you like the people that you play with you tend to spend more time playing.   

There is no question that BioWare is conscious of the fact that friends will not be able to play together at launch.   The gaming community isn’t as regional as other communities.   The magic that is the tubes of the Internet allows us to interact with anyone, from just about anywhere at just about any time.   It’s a gift to our generation.  

I’m not sure any publisher could realistically deliver a world wide release of a massively multiplayer online game.   That said, players are going around the process and ordering through Amazon or other online companies and paying the extra shipping cost to circumvent not being able to purchase from a store near them.  

There is also this theory,

“I understand the technical reasons for limiting the launch, especially on the server capacity end.  There is no way that they can have tested with even a million concurrently connected clients, so imagine the hit when they launch.  However, the most obvious reason for this approach is to drive up preorder sales.  Now the rush is on to preorder before the “limited supply” of downloadable copies (?!?) runs out.  I’m on to them – just like stores that mark a product up 50% and have a 25% off sale….” – Richard via email

And this one…

“While I am really looking forward to "sweater" ( :) ) .  I had already planned to grit my teeth and wait for the first week or so to pass and get feedback from the media on the game anyway.   So clearly they are worried about their infrastructure or code being scalable or perhaps limiting exposure to content that needs feedback...etc..  “ – Dave via email

As a side note, I used a Gary Gygax (rest in peace Gary) quote regarding women gamers and how they were essentially wired differently than male gamers.    I received this response among others.

“The quote at the beginning of today's blog post is, quite frankly, wrong. Women are, more and more, getting into gaming. It's not a male dominated thing anymore. The reason that female-oriented games fail is because women play games that were designed with men in mind with relatively few qualms, so when something comes out that's "aimed at women," it often seems derogatory to female gamers. Women don't need to be pandered to in games, we just want to be acknowledged as members of the gaming community. Developers can keep making games the way they've been making them and women will continue to play them. Sure, it'd be nice to see more Avelines (DAII) than Bayonettas, but when the games marketed toward women are things like Farmville and Dress Up Your Pretty Horse, it's offensive. Give me Mass Effect and Fallout.

Women MAY be a minority in gaming, but it's far from a small minority. There are more female gamers than you realize. And it's definitely got nothing to do with the way our brains work. It's got to do with the fact that, until the present decade, gaming was male-dominated due to issues of availability and social expectations. Someday soon there will be an almost even number of men and women gamers. “ -- Brianne

I was fortunate to meet Gary on a few occasions and though the quote I used (trying to show the change in gaming in such a short time) wasn’t flattering, I can assure you one and all that Gary understood that it wasn’t the wiring that was different in so much as the delivery needed to be.  

For those of you following me on Twitter, I’ll do a better job of it this week.  That’s a promise!

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As always, you can contact me a number of ways:
  • Email
  • Twitter
  • Website
  • Telepathy (Just make sure it’s during business hours.  I hate to be woken by this stuff)
Until we meet again,
John “Boomjack” Hoskin


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