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?
Major works data sheet
One of the most important things to have when you’re thinking about games and their design is reference material. It’s one of the things that the Vague Patch Notes column in particular is meant to provide, an anchoring point where important issues can be brought up and memorialized so that in a year’s time I can ask myself “didn’t I talk about that before” and then just link back. It seems useful to me. Thus, the genesis of this particular article, which is about a discussion MOP’s Bree and I have had several dozen times by now without ever actually writing down in a format that can be used for callbacks. There’s a consistent attitude and acceptance of the idea that games with open PvP attempting to use the social penalty system aren’t really addressing the fundamental problems that open PvP brings to the table. However, I don’t think we’ve ever actually put forth the reasons why the social penalty system … [Read more...] about Vague Patch Notes: Why the social penalty for open PvP in MMOs never works
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
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
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