When Justin mentioned to me on this week’s podcast the rumor that Lord of the Rings Online’s and Dungeons and Dragons Online’s multi-day downtime last week might have been partly the result of a lack of proper redundant backups for the games, I gasped audibly. No way, I said. There’s no way a studio like SSG would make that mistake. But it’s not impossible. Companies do make this mistake. Look at how long parts of Ashes of Creation’s website has been nonfunctional. Earlier this month, the LEGO Universe emulator admitted it had lost all its website data since November. And do you guys remember M2? It was a Hangame title that was taken offline in 2011 to fix a server issue, only the company found it couldn’t restore the game from its backups, so it literally sunsetted the game right then and there. Yikes. Has your MMO of choice ever had a major data loss? What’s the worst such rollback or deletion or outage you’ve ever personally … [Read more...] about The Daily Grind: Has your MMO of choice ever had a major data loss?
Data loss cloud computing
Civilization VI has become the latest Steam title to play victim to review bombing, and players are incredibly unhappy about recent changes to the game’s End User Licence Agreement. But are they correct in their conclusions? It doesn’t seem so. The gist of the controversy seems to be coming from this particular extension of the EULA: “The information we collect may include personal information such as your first and/or last name, e-mail address, phone number, photo, mailing address, geolocation, or payment information. In addition, we may collect your age, gender, date of birth, zip code, hardware configuration, console ID, software products played, survey data, purchases, IP address and the systems you have played on. We may combine the information with your personal information and across other computers or devices that you may use.” It sounds bad, even disturbing if you’re Rishi Alwani writing for NDTV without doing the bare minimum research. You … [Read more...] about Bad Press: No, NDTV, Civilization VI Isn’t Milking Its Users For Data
Play EVE Online for freeEvery day in the sandbox of New Eden, several hundred thousand EVE Online players perform millions of unseen actions. Every item manufactured, module activated, shot fired at an NPC, and stargate activated leaves its mark on the universe, but the granular details of those actions is lost forever. It simply isn’t feasible to record every little thing a player does in-game, or at least it wasn’t feasible until now. At EVE Fanfest 2018, CCP announced an innocuous new Activity Tracker feature that may actually eventually have big consequences for everything from game balance to fighting bots. The feature will be delivered as a new Activity Tracker window in the game client that will show players detailed stats on almost everything they’ve done in-game since the tracker went live. This in itself is useful, both for helping players set goals and for highlighting other areas of the game they might not have given a fair shake yet and so might enjoy. … [Read more...] about EVE Fanfest 2018: CCP Games has big plans for data collection and machine learning
For many years I have been on a mission to unlock the elusive code that made EverQuest so great. There is no single equation that accurately explains the magic of the EQ experience. The brilliant design of that MMORPG released in 1999 is a combination of many ingredients. In every culinary recipe, greatness or mediocrity is but a few degrees of difference of ingredient quantity and of skill of preparation. The same was true of EQ. Some of the best design ingredients of EQ were the following: traditional RPG experience based level advancement system promotion of player freedom via unstructured gameplay with no imposed narratives or story arcs traditional and diverse RPG class system which emphasized class interdependency and required most classes to group which created a deep social experience well tuned PVE combat via melee and spell abilities that rewarded highly skilled players and encouraged emergent gameplay death penalty mechanic which introduced serious consequences into the … [Read more...] about The Death Penalty Mechanic and Loss Aversion in MMO Design
GDC isn’t E3. It isn’t PAX. It’s not even what I think stereotypical gamers can appreciate. But I think the Massively OP crowd is a different sort, and because of that, we can give you some content the other guys might not be talking to you about. Like data collection and monetization. They’re necessary evils, in that we armchair devs can generally see past mistakes rolled out again, but know those choices are being made in the pursuit of money. So how do you make better games and money? Maybe try hiring some data scientists, not just to help with product testing and surveys, but with some awesome, AI-driven, deep learning tools. Like from Yokozuna Data, whose platform predicts individual player behavior. I was lucky enough to sit down with not only Design and Communication Lead Vitor Santos but Chief Data Scientist África Periáñez, whose research on churn prediction inspired me to contact the company about our interview … [Read more...] about GDC 2018: Yokozuna, big game data, and the future of MMO monetization