May 8, 2008

[EA's Totalitarian Protection Scheme]

So... new EA PC games (like Spore and Mass Effect) will be coming out with this ScureROM 'copy-protection' thing. Details thus:

This new version is causing controversy due to an online verification system connected to its CD key. The system requires a connection to the internet during installation… After this the game will try to re-check the CD key every 5-10 days… If the game can’t verify the key… it will continue to try for a further 10 days, after which it will stop working… The protection will also only allow the game to be installed three times.

Awesome. What genius in EA actually thought this would be a good idea?

EDIT: Apparently EA has backed down after hordes of angry Spore fans threatened them with pitchforks. It doesn't mention whether the 'Only three installs before you have to buy a new copy of the game' part is still in effect, though.

May 4, 2008

[The Cure for MUDflation]

Steve at Creating Living Online Worlds is writing about solving the 'incurable disease' of MMOs:

"The fixes [for MUDflation] have always been obvious – they are the basic principles of economics. Briefly, they are limiting the influx of currency (or currency-like objects), modeling more required purchases, and eliminating superfluous currency and goods.
The reason few, if any, of these have been truly explored in the MMO space is the “pain” of requiring a player to engage in a living economy outweighs the fun-factor of playing in the gamespace. Additional to this is the prevailing notion among the game design community that modeling and guiding the economy is “too hard” for the payoff it would give to the playerbase.
I’d like to posit that a lot of the ills of a mature MMO economy can be fairly easily corrected, and the “pain” of playing in a living gamespace is offset by the creativity of a dedicated design staff who leverages these behaviors – behaviors that players do naturally anyway as they try to succeed in the rapidly inflating economy."

His ideas for a better MMO economy are actually very logical and simple, you wonder why they haven't been implemented before. Read them here.