The life of a ‘Hero by Night’ is a lonely one. Due to the erratic nature of the times we play it is difficult to make online friends. I’ve made some mention of this in my past few articles but I haven’t given the subject my full attention. It’s time I do.
Making friends on-line is tough. It’s hard to get to know someone without some sort of physical interaction. Whether that interaction be talking face to face or conversing over the phone. You can tell some much from the subtle interpersonal communication actions a person uses. The way a person uses their hands, eye contact, the raise of an eyebrow, the pitch and inflection on spoken words, all these can tell you as much about a person as what they actually say. Talking to someone over the internet you are devoid of these clues. MMORPGS have a built in advantage compared to chat programs. A person’s avatar or toon as we like to call them can give some form of express. Emotes allow a person a mild form of self expression but they of course are limited in the scope of emotions they can convey.
So the only true way to get to know someone in the MMORPG world is to interact with them on regular basis. You can image how HBNs are at a slight disadvantage when it comes to this. Looking back at my game playing over the last month or so, I’ve only been able to get in the game a handful of times. This means that many people I did play with have leveled up or moved on to new characters. This in turn forces me to play solo. It is fun to play solo but it does get old after while. Especially since the reward system is so lacking at this time.
So I’ve complained about it enough, it’s time to start listing some solutions. This first is pretty simple to just start talking. First start joining pick up groups. While in the group settings talk a lot. Not too much because that could be annoying. Just make yourself known. The second this is add people to your friends list. Then when you log in next time spend few minutes speaking to the people on that list. You see a lot of people just standing around all the time. Many of them are just standing there doing nothing but some of those people just so happen to be conversing with their friends. Another option is to get into a super group. That’s like an instant group of friends right away. The last option is to get some real life friends to play. I’ve got a few that play off and on. I also have convinced, through a lot of brow beating and these articles, a few of my friends that play other games to join the ranks of heroes. It just so happens that the friend I have proof read this column bought CoH because I peaked his interest. I also had to surrender my account for few days so another friend could try it out. He’s a good friend and co-worker that I’ve known for years so I fully trusted him not to go insane while in game. These are just some of the things that one can do to increase the amount of social interaction one feels while immersed in the Paragon City. So get out there and be the soical butterflies we all know we can be.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Issue 2. It looks to be closer on the horizon then most of us expected. From what I’ve seen of the Issue it seems to be chalked full of goodness for everyone. If I didn’t know any better the amount of things that are being released could construed as a full on in-store expansion. But as we all know it’s free. Now that fact has been a source of arguments with friends of mine who play other on-line games. They believe that Cryptic and NCSoft are missing out on huge profits by releasing large content updates for free. While I agree with this I don’t agree with the argument it supports. The logic is supports it that a game company should force you pay for content that you may or not use and pay for things that should be part of the game.
Let’s look at EQ for a minute here. They are going to be releasing a large new expansion within the next few weeks here. That will be the second one this year. At thirty bucks per expansions let’s just be modest and say 200,000 subscribers the grand total they receive from this is roughly 6 million dollars. Okay let me repeat that. 6 million dollars… That’s just for one expansion. So two expansions a year, at 6 million a piece, is 12 million dollars. I’ll pause to let that number sink in.
Okay. I’ll admit that’s a large amount of money. Much of that money might not even be profit. Let’s just say that they only see a 30% return on that. It would still Sony sees a profit of 4 million dollars. That is a lot of money. That doesn’t even include monthly subscription fees. If you add that into the equation and you can see why a lot of companies are looking to get their hands in the MMO cookie jar.
Now, let’s examine what you get for those thirty dollars. Now if you are not in one of the top raiding guilds in EQ you can’t expect to get much out of the last expansion – Gates of Discord. Most content in that expansion is geared toward full time raiding guilds. The average player ends up paying for new trade skill recipes, new AA abilities and minor tweaks to the game engine. To me those are things that should be free. 30 bucks for maps and more banks slots doesn’t seem like a bargain to me.
I think NCSoft has the right idea give them the small stuff and they’ll want to buy the big stuff. Your customer can sense that you care and aren’t just looking for a quick buck.
In my last article I gave a link the Map Patch. The patch downloaded new maps on your machine that show the locations of stores in specific zones. A helpful reader, Yuanchueh, told me about another patch. This one has the same basic features but it includes labels that indicate which villain groups hang out in different parts of the zone. This could be most useful and might stop all that shouting looking for Tsoo and Clockwork all the time. Alternate Map Patch
– Zameda [email protected] 3 September 2004