Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Anatomy of Discourse

So, interesting night last night. Before I settle in for whatever gaming experience I'm going to give myself for the night, I usually give my site one last look for traffic and also check my emails for any comments on my ramblings. I had one from Brent in my Fruit Salad article. "Oh" I said. I really didn't think much of that post when I wrote it so I wondered what attracted Brent to it....cause all he wrote was "All I have to say:". I cursed his name for being so cryptic (/wink) and went to check it out. Apparently, a fellow blogger had an issue with something I wrote at the tail end of the article...specifically, I said this:

...consoles are on the rise and this worries me. I see the console gamer culture much like the WoW culture...translate, I don't like it very much. So yeah, it worries me to hear the words "MMO" and "console" used in the same sentence. True, it opens up the market and makes more money for game developers...but it also opens up the door for more asshats and battlenet kiddies in my games. I like them where they the nice, controlled environment of WoW...where they can be studied. You get MMOs and console gamers together and they'll get out...and our hopes for an asshat cure from those studies will be lost.

Looking at the above, which was part satire, part serious and part crap, I may have brought the ol' foot down a bit too hard on this type of gamer. Se7en was calling me on it. He thought he was taking a jab at me and I really don't see it that way. I honestly have no problem when people call me on anything I say long as you're not, well, and asshat about it, and he wasn't. Se7en could have just as easily been very nasty and caused drama, etc, etc....but he didn't. I could have easily done the same...but I didn't...and Brent, being the gentlemen and community hub that he is, came up the middle with a response of his own. That, ladies and gents is how ideas flow and why I love doing an MMO blog.

It's true, MMOs going to consoles is doubt about it and I've accepted that. Actually, I'm very curious on how well Age of Conan will actually do on the 360. Still, when I think about it, it still irks me as being the wrong move for some reason. I don't know, maybe it's because MMOs have always been a PC genre and I can't get my brain around the concept. Strategy games are still mainly a PC genre, and they fall into the same kind of mental block for me. You don't see big strategy releases like Supreme Commander or Command and Conquer 3 making big announcements for the 360 or, gawd help me, the PS3...because they just wouldn't work on that platform for me. I have a very hard time picturing getting into an MMO on a 360 with a controller in my hand, and then pressing X-Y-Right-Left-UP-DOWN-UP while doing the Chicken Dance to perform a special move a-la Mortal Combat. Am I making any sense? If they don't do that, then they're going to simplify the control scheme and then it just becomes Gears of War with elves and weapon stats. It's coming, I's needed, I know...but I'm not getting warm and fuzzy about it. Drink the koolaid Darren....drink the koolaid.

Now about the asshats. Yes, the majority of MMO players and even WoW players do not fall within this category. It's a character flaw of mine that I have a very low tolerance for the type of person who screams "NOOB!!! PWNED!! L337!!" in vent and then goes on a homicidal rant about why a +33 str sword sucks compared to a +34 str sword. It's just not 13 year olds, I've heard 20-somethings start this stuff. I just have to ignore these people a bit more and keep telling myself, "We have no problem here...we have no problem here....".

D out.


Gaff said...

I was wondering the same thing--how do you translate the complex interface of MMOs and other computer games, requiring a large number of keystrokes to play onto a console gaming pad? I watched a "gaming" TV show once, and at the end of each review they went over "cheat codes" that had 14+ different moves each, so I guess it isn't impossible, just clunky.

Bman said...

Well, if you want to see how a traditional EQ-like MMO can work on a console, get a copy of FFXI, get a USB gamepad, and try it out. It works fine. The UI is clunky by today's standards, but the game is also over 3 years old. A developer who spent some time up front thinking about the UI could vastly improve it.

And if you want to see how a less EQ-like, more console-like MMO (in the Guild Wars sense of "MMO") can work, get a copy of Phantasy Star Universe and try THAT out with your gamepad. Despite PSU's almost innumerable flaws, it's a playable example of how a more action-oriented MMO can be done on a console.

Further, all of the new consoles have USB ports all over them, so supporting keyboard and mouse control on a console is entirely feasible (I think FFXI and PSU already do support keyboards for chat), it's just up to the game developer and the console manufacturer to make it happen.

Also, maybe I didn't understand what you were saying in the post, but C&C3 IS coming to 360? Or were you just saying they aren't hyping it up all that much?

darrenl said...

Hey Brenden,

No, I had no idea about C&C3 on the 360...thanks.

If they get a mouse and keyboard going then that would resolve my control issues for sure.

John said...

Don't you think that voice chat has become more pronounced in MMO games. Having played LOTRO beta with it's fellowship voice chat built in I can see the day when voice chat is used for nearly all player to player communications.
I am not saying that voice chat is an altogether good thing but it does make some aspects of a game easier to manage.

Also maybe the release of a MMO on a console will allow us to reclaim the more serious MMO games on the PC.