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?
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Another of the large announcements that came from the Fan Fest was the addition of the World Visit feature and the change to Data Centers. Of course, the team announced the World Visit feature first… which sounds like a pretty great thing. World Visit Basically, this is similar to the world travel feature GW2 had back before it became a megaserver. In FFXIV, you will be able to click on an Aetheryte in a main city and choose to move to any other server on your Data Center… as long as that server is not already over populated. So, while that sounds good in theory, good luck in ever actually visiting Balmung. I mean… who knows. It might happen? Part of the idea behind this is to allow people to play on another server when their own is filled to the brim (especially with the expansion on the horizon). There’s actually a whole lot you can do when on another server, and even when you log out, when you log back in, the game will remember which server … [Read more...] about FFXIV: World Visit & Data Center Shuffle
Good morning you happy people. I am mostly conscious today but feel like I am coming down with something. While it has not fully hit me yet, last night I felt relatively horrible. It is one of those mornings where I have been staring at the blank screen for ten minutes… finally comprehending that I am supposed to write something thoughtful or interesting. It is mornings like this that I question my decisions in life… and why in the hell I ever decided to do this blog every morning thing. However I shall persevere and push on… and try and be thoughtful and or interesting or at least something other than comatose. Armory I am addicted to armory systems. When I am playing a game that has them… I happily check up on literally everyone I meet just to see exactly how they are doing things. I am not a terribly competitive person by nature, but I love peering into the inner workings of other players. I have learned so much … [Read more...] about Open Data
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