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?
Highway loss data institute
The one down side to working ahead is that sometimes your schedule gets nudged around more than expected. I promise that a further look at the changed and underused zones in World of Warcraft is on its way (and written, even), but it keeps getting delayed, first because of book reviews and then hold on, what the heck is this? This is the equivalent of doing an experiment in a lab to discover that gravity accelerates a falling body at a rate of 4.9 meters per second squared. Something is very, very wrong here. Of course, if you actually got that result, you wouldn’t immediately publish a paper detailing that gravity no longer worked the way we all knew it did. So let’s examine two possible reactions to the rather surprising lack of WoW on the Superdata chart, because there’s more to seeing a surprising result than just nodding and accepting that it must be the new normal. Something has gone awry So rather than assuming that WoW suddenly not showing up on … [Read more...] about WoW Factor: The great Superdata fall-off
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
Games alone won’t make the world better. They won’t even make gamers better. We publish some articles that certainly seem pretty pro-games, but we’re very upfront about the catches. One big one is on us, the players, and how we game. However, game designers can do a lot to help us. “But that’s hard, expensive, and/or boring!” some of you may be thinking. And yeah, sometimes that’s true. But for both indies and AAA companies, not only are there organizations able to help, but there’s the potential for government aid in unlikely places. Games for good isn’t just a pipe dream, either. Some of the most (deservedly) vilified gaming communities have not only helped with their time but their wallets as well. Even before going to GDC this year we knew this, but a few panels I watched really helped it click. The concept of player power for good I’ve mentioned how despite the fact that we have evidence that play helps … [Read more...] about GDC 2018: Games can help humanity, be profitable, and get support from gamers
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