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January 13th, 2012, 13:28
Here is a fragment : A reply to an discussion entry which I never posted.

I didn't post it because I wrote it on my "gaming PC", which use not that regularly for internet access than my "normal" PC, my "office PC", as I call it.

I have dug it out because I found something similar in an interview in the local newspaper from today. I'll add it at the end of this fragment.

Originally Posted by DoctorNarrative View Post
I think Oblivion is dumbed down to hell and back but many people would say it streamlined Morrowind in a positive and enjoyable way.
That's an interesting point of view.

My thought I get from reading this is :

"Do games have to be rough edges in order to be memorable ?"

Just look at cars. Nowadays they are very much streamlined - for efficiency.
Streamlined for wind. For example.

But just take a look at which cars receive the most attention above all ?
They are always the older cars which are around 100 years old. The cars that still rather look like art. Not streamlined in any way. They are just a pleasure for the eyes to look at them.

Same with buildings. No embellishment nowadays. Nothing at all. Bauhaus eradicated everything in that direction like scorching a tree even deeply into the earth, like eleminating even the slightest traces of roots of them - so to say (I know I exaggerated it, but I often use exaggeration as a means to illustrate what I mean).

We currently live in the "Bauhaus Age of Architecture". You won't see anywhere those embellishments the "Jugendstil" or "Art Nouveau" as it is called, too.
Buildings have just reached a stage of streamlining - a stage where efficiency is king, NOT to be a pleasure for the eyes.

I fear that this is what happens to everything now and then - or is it just a kind of fashion in modern times ? I mean to streamline everything, to be efficiency be the king ?

The underlying thought-model of efficiency is that … the more efficient things are, the less money they cost.
Less efficience = more costs of money (a car which acts like a "rolling wall" against a wind storm needs much, much more fuel than a streamlined car. And fuel = costs.

Which means in the essence, I think, that the fact that "efficiency" rules everything is just a sign that - as the underlying idea - money rules everything.

And this just leads to the rather philosophical approach that we - and everything we are and that is - are measured against money. Costs or "non-costs" ?

To me this means we live in an age where Money actually rules EVERYTHING, because EVERYTHING is measured against its value in money.

Prof. Dr. Harald Welzer of the "Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities" recently put it like this (translation and text layout by me) :

"The perfidy of the capitalistic system and all of its prosperity- , equity- , health- and security gains is,
that it is able to transform any aspect of being into wares
and with that make it potentially accessible to anyone
in case they are lucky enough to be able to buy it.

It is able to appropriate everything ["aproppriate" as a verb is the word I think which fits it most what is meant]
Here my fragment ends. unfortunately I never finished my translation, I must have been interupted at one point.

The underlying concept of this fragment of an interview is clear, however : That Money is able to transmute/transform EVERYTHING we can thing of and what is into values of Money.

Like Thoughts in their incarnation as so-called "intellectual propety". Like lust in the form of prostitution. Like anything spiritual, I guess, too.

Today I found in interview with one Colin Crouch from the University of Oxford (Sociology) who is now, as the article states, Professor for Governance and Public Management at the University of Warwick, and he is associated with the Max-Planck-Institute fόr Gesellschaftsforschung (Society Science is a viable translation, I think) in Cologne.

The part of the interview which interests me here in this context is the following part :

"Colin Crouch, what is the Neoliberalism ? Is it possible to distinguish it from other forms through sharp definitions ?"

Crouch: "No. This is the secret and the success : The Optimism. If we compare it against Communism : That one was fixed. There was a clear line without any compromise. The Capitalism - compared against it - is flexible, it changes its Gestalt/form/shape at will and will always succeed. There are different forms : The scandinavian, the german or the british Neoliberlism. And the structure changes over the years."

"Is the Neoliberalism a subterfuge of the rich ones and the mighty ones to become even more rich and mightier ?"

Crouch : "Perhaps it is a subterfuge. They say that everything has to do with the Market, and only there is success possible. But the Market is not free. The Neoliberalism is a phenomenon of the huge international concerns/coprporates. The subterfuge is, that they are propagating the Free Market, but at the same time they are controlling this Market, so that there is no Free Market. The concerns have a strong connection to politics, which is very much against Free Markets."
I think, this is Corporatism in its essence.

And the Dream of a Free Market is nothing but - a Dream.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 23rd, 2012, 15:11
"Overnotification" : http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/1…p#.UIaQg2JXxI4

An interesting new term and concept.

If this goes on, the eventual evolutionary result will be us having learnt to ignore all small signals - resulting in going into more catastrophies and more often. Because the learnt "ability" to shut out/off "signals" will result in an … "dumbification". So to say.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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October 23rd, 2012, 19:44
I think for the most part, efficiency is a good thing for video games. Yes, it's very hard to accept this change sometimes. For example, in Oblivion, you had character attributes that were standard RPG fare some years back. Now in Skyrim, you no longer have those attributes, but a perk system that essentially can accomplish the same things, however it's still different, and there is still no attributes hard-coded into the game. So accepting this change is a bit difficult.

Hell, if you go back to Morrowind, you had way more skills than Skyrim and Oblivion both, you could wear more pieces of armor, you had more guilds, etc. And some of these changes for me, at first, were very hard to accept. In Skyrim you get even less armor slots than Oblivion, and so it goes. It seems the next game will have even less. But I ask myself, did it really affect my gaming experience all that much? Not really. Sure it would have been nice to have more armor slots, or attributes back, but once I was immersed in the world of Skyrim, those things no longer mattered to me.

But I believe that making games more efficient is still a good thing overall. It is what it is. You can either accept the way things are going, or just bitch and complain about them. But using the Elder Scrolls example, I played Skyrim and still had a blast with it. It didn't feel dumbed down to me. For every one aspect they took away from the game, they replaced it with something just as complex. So overall the game was still incredibly complex, but more easy to navigate than previous games in the series. And there's still a ton of things to discover for the more hardcore gamer out there. Hidden chests, hidden locations, hidden quests even. They did not abandon what makes their games great for the sake of simplification or accessibility. The games are still great yet they are also more accessible now than they have ever been.

I'm probably just ranting at this point, or not being very coherent, but I just wanted to share some thoughts on the "dumbing down" of modern video games. I would say overall, the games are just more accessible, not necessarily dumber. The complex games are still very much complex, but they give you all the tools needed so that your average person could figure it out if they wanted to. Back in the Morrowind days, it wasn't that easy. That game to this day still isolates people, makes it hard for people to play, and I'm sure when it came out it was no different. Some people will trudge through and continue playing, others will quit in disgust. Nowadays they are trying to make it so no one quits in disgust because they can't figure out the game mechanics. That is pretty much a good thing if you ask me.
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October 24th, 2012, 10:39
Well, I believe that what you write about is just one aspect of RPG gaming.

I see it so that there re lots of different kinds of players who really like to play RPGs "their way".

There are kinds of players derived from what you see in pen & paper RPG groups :

- number-crunchers
- combat-oriented
- storytellers/storyplayers
- those who rather concentrate on playing out the mood, the emotional impact of a scene, playing out the skills, and who are ot so much interested in rule systems at all.

You can see a good breakdown of what player types exist here : http://www.larian.com/forums/ubbthre…990#Post416990

My belief is that "the industry" is nowadays rather supporting distinct types of players.
And, consequently, they leave others out, because it would be imho hard to fit both types into the same game.

Games like "Realms Of Arcania" - you won't find them. At least not produced by bigger names.

One could see that as "streamlining", or "making RPGs more efficient", to me it's rather like catering a specific group of players.

Skyrim et. al. is to me rather oriented towards players of shooters. 3D, FPV, so much. There's no display of numbers, you don't know much about the system internally works, there is no visible dedicated rules system.

This way of playing also suits those o rather play ou their actions than do some "number-crunching", so to say. Both groups might overlap.

A way of still being rules-heavy but sill not presenting the game as such re imho the Drakensang games. You can access the information needed for your number-crunching lust at any time, yet it looks like smooth 3D game, ven in real tim, although it internally really is turn-based (imho really sad that they did only implement RTWP; turn-based like in TOEE would have been peefect for this game !).

The new rise of that few "old school" games through Kickstarter etc. only shows for me that there is a kind of fashion in gaming going on right now - and "old school RPGs" certainly isn't one of it.

A related discussion : http://www.larian.com/forums/ubbthre…gonew=1#UNREAD

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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November 9th, 2012, 11:59
I just thought : "Wh didn't Microsoft change their Office package to F2P yet ?"

This was sparked by an satirical thought : "F2P ? But everybody does it now !"

Current fashions in Software :

- Cloud
- F2P

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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December 27th, 2012, 15:12
I wrote this today in the SWTOR forums :

Originally Posted by AlrikFassbauer View Post
This game's premise is WAR OVER PEACE - War is the way of letting players experience a level-up, a "rise to power", to let them experience how their characters grow uup.

Peace cannot achieve this. So Peace is regarded as inferior by the developers, because Peace = Stagnation, and War = Evolution.#

To me, this sounds very much like The Sith Way.

But, disturbingly, this is the way of the Developers - or otherwise they would have included many, many, many more ways of PEACFULLY solve quests …

The game's designer's and developer's goal becomes clear : The player should enlive the own characters' pόrogression through WAR, not through PEACE -

- which results in the thought-model of

"Bad is the new Good"

or, in this case :

"War is the new Good"

or, to put it even more extremely :

"War is the new Peace"

It is clear that the designers/developers do not want us to enlive a time of peace - they have decided that it is the "best" for us to enlive character prograssion through war.

Based on these imho rather philosophical thoughts it becomes clear why no-one of the classes - be it Sith or Jedi or Soldier or Smuggler or Bounty Hunter - won't ever be able to bring peace into this game setting :

It is called "Star Wars" - and it is about nothing but WAR,

NOT about PEACE.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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January 11th, 2013, 15:08
Hello,

I just stumbled over this article : http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/1…p#.UPAa5kc0NI4

I quote from there the imho most interesting piece (italics partially by me) :

"The publishers' fear was that, in a climate where piracy is commonplace, original games and new mechanics are far less likely to be successful than games based on previously successful mechanics, established licenses, sequels, and sports."

This is the crux of Ong's argument: it doesn't matter whether piracy is actually a real issue or not. If publishers believe it to be the case, then it all falls down for the developers too.

"There's a perception that the parents/grandparents/non-enthusiast/mainstream/etc. are less likely to go about pirating games," he notes. "Now I want to make this point loud and clear: Regardless of whether it's true that enthusiast/hardcore gamers are more likely to pirate than mainstream gamers, the fact that publishers believe it to be true has a very real, unfortunate and ugly impact on games."
Interesting, isn't it ?

- Publishers believe that Franchises are less likel to be copied ?
- Publishers believe that *original* stuff is more likely to be copied ?
- Publishers decide not to support creators of original stuff because they rather trust their biased view ?

Or what else should I think of this ?

This reminds me of the "Vocal Minority" thing : Assumed the Publishers are the Vocal Minority … - then everything - in the end - revolves around them, and NOT around the original creators !

Two other quotes from that article :

He continues, "Publishers end up catering to that type of buyer instead of the enthusiast/hardcore players. This means that not only are gamers presented with more and more sports/licensed/sequel games in favor of original IP games, but also that even within non-original IP games, the type of design and gameplay will tend toward less innovative/risky mechanics."

As he sees it, the threat and perception of piracy is what is hindering and constraining the potential for innovation and new IP, because publishers are looking to play it safe when it comes to game design.

[…]

"A publisher would go as far as to avoid spending the investment necessary to even release our game in Europe due to their projections of how piracy would impact its sales."

This, adds the Dreamrift founder, means that studios are left in the hugely disappointing position of not being able to release their games worldwide, simply because a publisher believes that the piracy in certain regions will overshadow the potential sales.

A different, although perhaps not even unrelated topic :

On sales in the UK and in the US : http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/1…p#.UPAa7Uc0NI4

Regarding the UK :

And there it is: all the time that software revenues have been decreasing and the total unit sales have been decreasing there has been a rise in average prices each year since 2008. The total rise over the period here is right at 10 percent.
So just what is going on in the UK to drive up prices at the same time that the market is shrinking in value? It's similar to the death of the middle-market that I talked about last year, but worse. I'd refine that thesis now and say that the middle-market and down is falling out, leaving what are largely the big games at the top propping up the entire system.

That is, you have companies like Electronic Arts, Activision, and Ubisoft sinking immense resources into games like Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3, Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Skylanders, and Assassin's Creed III and chasing the high-margin consumers. These are the consumers willing to buy two or three new releases in a relatively short period, not the ones who, I suspect, were previously buying Just Dance or Brain Training.

[…]

And when those consumers are gone, the ones willing to pay for cheap software, what's left is just that fat top of the market. That's precisely how one could get average prices to rise while the whole market itself appears to be tumbling into oblivion.


[…]

Moreover, these top 15 titles now represent 71 percent of the entire software market's revenue, up from 63 percent a year earlier. And, although I suspect you've guessed already, it's also true that the average price across these titles also increased.

Olson and his colleagues wrote about this that “these data points suggest well-capitalized publishers with a focus on proven, cross-platform franchise titles are able to outperform the rest of the video game industry despite an aging console cycle.”
Bold printing by me :

Prices on the best-selling products are rising, as the publishers require more margin to pay for their ever larger bets to grab more of the shrinking market. As they abandon the low end consumers, they cede the market to insurgent players who play by different rules in terms of margin and distribution and consumer expectations.
Their real competition now are the developers and publishers who address completely virtual markets with far less overhead. They were born into markets that companies like Electronic Arts and Activision simply weren't bred to address.

These new developers and publishers can make a living, even thrive, selling games at $1 or $2 per unit on platforms like iOS and Android. They are inheriting those consumers who no longer buy traditional game systems and physical game software, reeling them in with inexpensive or even free-to-play software with in-app purchases. These games simply cannot deliver the experience that Call of Duty can on a console, but they don't have to. They just have to be good enough and priced low enough for consumers to buy them.
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/1…p#.UPAa7Uc0NI4

If you read the whole article, make sure to read the comments there, too !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
Last edited by Alrik Fassbauer; January 11th, 2013 at 15:25.
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March 11th, 2013, 11:13
I want a "persistent world".

A world, in which defgeated enemies REMAIN defeated.

Background : I'm currently playing SWTOR. A really nice game, especially for me as a Star Wars fan - but it has ONE big disadvantage : It is NOT "persistent" in the sense as I mean it from above.

The structure of SWTOR is so that hordes of enemies are there, one kills them for quests or without, but - they respawn !

That really isn't the real problem - the problem is - for me - on another side :

The sense (and feeling) of accomplishment gets totally lost !

There just is no feeling of accomplishment, if defeated enemies respawn within 3 minutes later again - almost like zombies, but yes, they look like real persons, not like zombies at all …

This respawning is - for me, personally - totally killing every sense/feeling of an accomplishment within SWTOR.

So, now, I want to play a game again without any respawning at all. Where defeated enemies stay put. A game where I can have the feeling of "woah, now I have achieved something ! The world hs become a bit safer again !"

SWTOR is only my second MMORPG. Before tht, I only knew DDO - "Dungeons & Dragons Online".
Meanwhile DDO is heavily instance-based, so that respawning doesn't take place in the same sense as it does in SWTOR, there are a few similar moments : There is a quest giver (a servant) running around and crying for help, because her Mistress has been captured/kidnapped !
As soon, as this mission is accomplished and she has been freed, the servant's reaction becomes calm again. But only for a few minutes ! - Then she runs around again, crying out for help … Some dirty minds (myself included) have already had the thought that her mistress might perhaps ven LIKE to be kidnapped all of the time ! - Because otherwise her servants' reaction isn't plausible anymore - in-game.
But in fact her reaction is simply, because the world there is an MMO. There are hordes of other plyers running around, basically doing the same quests …

In the end, I want something :

- a HUGE world
- a persistent orld
- a world, in which I can build my on stuff (not only items, but also vehicles and houses, too).

In short, I want something in the scale of DDO or of SWTOR (not THAT big, perhaps ) - but as an OFFLINE game !

In short : I want to have that feeling of an accomplishment back !

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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March 11th, 2013, 12:51
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
In the end, I want something :

- a HUGE world
- a persistent world
- a world, in which I can build my on stuff (not only items, but also vehicles and houses, too).

In short, I want something in the scale of DDO or of SWTOR (not THAT big, perhaps ) - but as an OFFLINE game !

In short : I want to have that feeling of an accomplishment back !
You want Skyrim with the heartfire mod (to build your house). Skyrim have monster respawn, but the default period is 240 hours (in-game played time), some stuff are flagged to never respawn and cleared dungeons take 720 hours to repsawn…
Last edited by azarhal; March 11th, 2013 at 13:04.
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March 11th, 2013, 13:05
I pretty much want the same thing he does and I say no, he doesn't want Skyrim.
720 hours to respawn? Right… What about dragon respawn rate at "mage's guild"? It takes 720 miliseconds. No, sorry, 721 milisec in fact.
Also, he doesn't want any goddamned overexpensive DLC.

He wants something like Gothic(s) with a possibility of MMOlike crafting. Currently, there is no such game or if there is and I don't know of such one, I can only say - TAKE MY MONEY.

Toka Koka
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March 11th, 2013, 14:22
Dragons haven't respawned at the Mage's tower in the last several patches. I'm not sure I've ever seen one there with my current character. You might grab the 1.9 beta patch, unless you were just wanting to bitch about Skyrim. Maybe you should hook up with GG
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March 11th, 2013, 14:47
Hm, thanks for the thoughts.
I'll keep it in my mind.
Adventure games don't have any respawn rates, by the way.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 19th, 2013, 16:43
I'm still playing SWTOR - and it occurred to me, that this is basically an hack & slay RPG.

Is this true for all MMORPGs out there ? Because this is only my second one.

SWTOR fulfills everything how I would define an hack & slay "Action-RPG" - which led me to a new kind of definition of this sub-genre.

My definition is relatively simple :

Short form :

It's the ratio social interaction vs. combat.

Long Form :

It's the ratio social interaction [normally with NPCs] vs. combat [normally with NPCs, too].

[Social interaction with PCs and combat with PCs would place any RPG automatically into the MMORPG sub-genre, or at least into MP-RPGs.]

Just look at it as a set of scales : The more it weighs towards one of both points, the more the game can be counted to one sub-genre or towards another.

What's this definition definitively lacking , is, that it doesn't contain RPG-sub-genres like an "Riddle-RPG", which dies not exist yet - expect for Puzzle Quest, in some sort. (Whereas I'd mean with "Riddle-RPG" a combination of an Adventure game like Indiana Joney And The Fate Of Atlantis [which are usually riddle-based] with the usual RPG thing/mechanivcs. You'd get experience points for solving a riddle, then.

Sacred 1 & Blizzard's D2 had very little social interaction. But on the other side their amount of combat is very strong.
The other extreme is The SIM's Medieval : Almost no combat (very little, in fact), but very strong social interaction.

Both represent the extreme points of the current scale of the RPG genre.
And both give out experience points for their actions, have an level-up, have perks and feats and skills and stats …

And in SWTOR, the amount of social interaction isn't that small, but it does has relatively few influence on the world, and on how NPCs react.

But, most importantly, social interaction in SWTOR isn't skill-based. There simply are no skills or feats for social interaction. And none for lore, for example, too.
The only skills and stats I see there are entirely combat-focused - either directly, or indirectly (healing).

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 22nd, 2013, 14:03
I just came across this article - it is in French language - and its title says everything it is about :

Sexisme chez les geeks : Pourquoi notre communautι est malade, et comment y remιdier
http://cafaitgenre.org/2013/03/16/se…nt-y-remedier/

I cannot understand a single word there (had only 1 year French language, and that's about 30 years ago !), but the pictures there speak for themselves, imho.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 22nd, 2013, 15:52
SWTOR is very similar to most MMORPGs out there, yes. The primary difference is the class specific questlines that are actually somewhat interesting.
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April 22nd, 2013, 17:06
To follow up on that, yes, modern MMOs are very much like Diablo - only stretched out over several months instead of several days. There are more players and they've added distractions through a bunch of more or less related features (like crafting) - but at heart, almost all modern themepark MMOs are Diablo stretched thin in various disguises.

Quest and kill things - Level up and progress your character - Find loot - Stop playing once you realise there's no end to it and no point, really.

It happens to all MMO players eventually.

Then they find the next MMO and forget why they stopped in the first place
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April 25th, 2013, 13:58
Yes, that's almost what I had thought.

I found these two quotes today and found them memorable :

Originally Posted by razerfun
True; I, for one, just expected more out of the company that gave us Baldur's Gate and KOTOR. Games made for gamers by gamers, rather than marketing hype made by former gamers for suckers
The response to that :

Originally Posted by BJWyler
Welcome to the Gaming Business in the 21st Century. It hasn't been about games by gamers for gamers for years. Even in the Indie scene, it's mostly about trying to break into the industry and/or make money. I, for one, see nothing wrong with that - that's business in a Capitalistic society.

“ Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite direction.“ (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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April 25th, 2013, 15:45
Alrik currently every single MMORPG out there in the end is mobrespawn and grinding fest.
There are some that are not grind-heavy till you reach the max level, but then they turn into a mill. Every single one of them. Since the word grinding is viewed as something negative, as it's by every means a negative thing, devs and publishers avoid that word and call that part of design: "an endgame content".

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April 26th, 2013, 08:31
Anyone who wants games for gamers has to do it themselves for free.
look at the old school RPG series like Might & Magic and Wizardry 1 to 8 that so many hope too see a continuation of that is something like the old.
What we get is fan based projects that never seem to come to fruition, that cannot make a cent from the project because of copy write owned by companies who want to squash the old concepts for what we have now.
It's not just gaming, it's the world in general.
Nobody wants competition, they just want to corner the market in their chosen field.
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April 26th, 2013, 09:45
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
I just came across this article - it is in French language - and its title says everything it is about :



http://cafaitgenre.org/2013/03/16/se…nt-y-remedier/

I cannot understand a single word there (had only 1 year French language, and that's about 30 years ago !), but the pictures there speak for themselves, imho.
Incredible article. Pictures might speak for themselves but the text reveals stunning behaviours. Never heard of/witness them myself as I play SP games only. Incredible stuff.
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