Mar 29, 2009

[How Not to Write A MMO Quest]

Via Shacknews: At the GDC, WoW's Jeff Kaplan did a panel talking about how NOT to write quests in an MMO:
“This is the worst quest in World of Warcraft,” he said. “I made it. It’s the Green Hills of Stranglethorn. Yeah, it teaches you to use the auction house. Or the cancellation page.”
“So I’m the asshole that wrote this quest. My philosophy was, I’m going to drop all these things around Stranglethorn, and it’s going to be a whole economy unto itself… It was horrible.”
“It was utterly stupid of me. The worst part… one of the things that taxes a player in a game like WOW is inventory management. Your base backpack that the game shipped with only has 16 slots in it. But basically at all times, players are making decisions. For a single quest to consume 19 spaces in your bags is just ridiculous.”
“So it’s a horrible quest, and I’m the only who made it, and somehow I am talking to you guys today.”
At least he admitted it. I never finished that quest on any of my four characters... =P
"Basically, and I’m speaking to the Blizzard guys in the back: we need to stop writing a f*cking book in our game, because nobody wants to read it."
You know, I actually don't mind 'reading a book' in my games, only in 99% of MMOs the story, quite frankly, is stupid. At worst, the lore makes no sense or goes on for miles on cliched world-building minutiae that serves no purpose.

I actually enjoy reading many of the WoW quests. But seeing as how WoW as a MMO is not really about the world and immersion in it as it is a fun treadmill game on rails, that kind of creative effort is pretty much wasted on most of the players. Because they're not playing the game for that purpose, nor does the game encourage them to (and it has no real tools for it, anyway).

Mar 12, 2009

[RE5: Once More With Feeling!]

Because an actual honest analysis by a digital media professor (as opposed to the more popular one being passed around that's by a guy who's being called a 'racism expert' who's actually not anything of the sort) has gone ignored by the mainstream gaming press, I link to entry number eleventy-squillion on 'Racial Issues in RE5 and the Gaming Industry as a Whole'. Enjoy.

An excerpt:
This Friday, Capcom's new release "Resident Evil 5," from producer Jun Takeuchi, broaches that question. The franchise, which first launched in 1996, has sold more than 12 million units and earned nearly a half billion dollars in revenue, according to research firm NPD Group. It's even been spun into a modestly successful film trilogy starring Milla Jovovich. The latest entry in the series follows Chris Redfield, the hero of the first game, as he tracks the cause of a deadly virus plaguing villages in West Africa.

When Capcom released its first trailer for the game in 2007, it showed Chris unloading his pistol into hordes of African zombies. Critics contended that the imagery of a white man shooting black Africans evoked troubling memories of the age of Western colonialism. The questions have lingered and now that the game is facing an official release, it has spurred a new debate about race in videogames.

Opponents of the new game will have plenty of ammunition. Although there are Arab zombies in "Resident Evil 5," the majority of the undead are Africans. As a player, you are often forced to use a machete to hack your way through your attackers, using the same kind of weapons that were used in atrocities in places like Rwanda and the Congo over the last two decades. Killing African zombies can earn you gold treasure -- in addition to the loot you find in barrels and vases in the different African villages. And while Chris's partner, Sheva Alomar, is from the region, she's light-skinned with straight-hair, and is introduced to players during a cinematic sequence highlighting not her face, but rather, her rear end.

Related Reading: Evan Narcisse at CrispyGamer also sums it up pretty nicely.