April 14, 2006


Luckily I have enough energy drink!

These recordings are well worth listening to.

To translate from the crazy moonspeak both engaged in and implicitly assumed: there's this multiplayer game called World of Warcraft. It's your standard computer rpg model--you have characters that you gain levels with, getting little numbers representing power to climb upwards by killing everything in sight and taking their stuff to use if it's better than the stuff you've already taken, or sell in order to buy new powers, etc. Like all crpgs, you can only level so far, eventually you hit a level cap.

World addresses this by shifting the game's gears to a different kind of leveling-up, namely, the pursuit of more and more uber equipment; the process of getting said uber equipment moves from the solo-to-small-group adventuring (i.e., murdering and thieving) to what's called "raids", which are parties of twenty-to-forty people. Raid content takes those kinds of numbers in order to bring enough firepower and general character oomph to bear to best the challenges. Each character class generally has their own task to do in such things, and crisis points in the dungeons take some coordination to get through, lest a "wipe" result--namely, every last one of the characters getting killed. The coordination needed is apparently high enough on the upper-end stuff that it doesn't take much for a wipe to happen here and there.

MMOs live and die by player retention, and WoW is living very well. Part of their retention design for all the folks at level cap is that getting those more and more uber raid items involves running lots of raids--item drops are probabilistic rather than guaranteed. And any item that may drop may have quite a few people within the group who would really like it. Guilds--organizations of players that group up together and help each other out--often use a system called "dkp" to fairly distribute loot; it's based on some arcane factors involving numbers of raids attended and phases of the moon combined with astrological houses for all I know. (While I do play World of Warcraft, I've never actually raided. It's one of those things I think I'd like to give a shot at some point, but expect to get bored with very quickly and then quit. I'm not the kind of person that MMO retention designs are really targetted at--they're targetted at people who don't quit even when they're bored.) But the more DKP someone may have, the better shot they have at getting one of those pieces of nice gear is the upshot.

To maintain a level of coordination, groups that raid usually set up a teamspeak or similar server that allows voice chat while the game's running, and the raid leader acts as officer to keep people on task and working well.

And THAT is where that link way up there ties into.

"Luckily I have enough energy drink to keep me very fucking hyperactive and screaming at your lazy fucking asses for fucking it up!"

posted by Gar @ 3:20 PM
Jay plays WoW. You might want to look him up and team with him.
There's probably something like a one in eighty chance that we actually use the same server. My playtime's all on the Kirin Tor server; technically it's designated as a roleplay server, but in practical terms what that amounts to is one where the general population is slightly less likely to speak solely by jumping up and down on their keyboards and shrieking.
Now I understand why these games have "no PK" areas.

During the Vietnam Police Action Conflict War, a term for what would be done to an officer who treated his subordinates in this manner was coined. It was called "fragging." Ironic, in a way, that it's exactly the same today in a situation that is completely different, but yet so much the same.
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