My Player One and Only

In response to “Dominion Over All” from The Escapist Forum: Well, I love Call of Cthulhu the Living Card Game, but I’ve discovered a rule about CCG games that is fundamental: If it isn’t Magic: The Gathering, no one I know will give it a fair chance.

Kind of like when I tried to introduce Call of Cthulhu the RPG to my D&D group… ever had your Magic User fed to a Gelatinous Cube by an enraged party?

Besides, my quota of CCGs-That-Aren’t-Magic-The-Gathering is full for the year… I need to save money for plastic monsters!


I used to enjoy playing these types of Collectible Card Games, but I stopped after I got bored of Yu-Gi-Oh. Finding people to play with is sometimes rather difficult. They are expensive hobbies to maintain, especially the ones like Warhammer where you have to buy those miniatures.

Also, every time a new expansion comes out, if you don’t buy it, then you’re stuck with an old deck that can be easily beaten by whatever new trump card came in the expansion.

I’m not saying that they aren’t fun; they are fun, but it just doesn’t seem like a practical long-term hobby.



In response to “Casualty of Warhammer” from The Escapist Forum: Honestly, my interactions with WAR CSMs were pretty worthless. Most tickets were about losing gold bags from a PQ or keep because of crashes or some other glitch. CSMs kept telling me it was part of the game to get to the treasure chest on time, even if I died at the end of a keep fight and released more than 2 minutes away. So I made a stink on the IGN board one time that if we don’t pick up a bag they should just mail it to us. I’m pleased to see that when I resubbed, when I missed a bag one time they did mail it.

Kind of a sad read, but just as well for the author to move on. My experiences as a WAR player parallel his as a GM–increasing gloom and pessimism month after month. But WAR was never a bright shining star of a game crushed by the impossible competition of Lich King (and goldfarmers or whatever). It was buggy, laggy, crashy, with graphical glitches and strange leaden animations, a bizarre combat system, monotonous RvR, okay but unstrategic scenarios where everybody just gathers and fights in the middle, and broken contibution points for some classes in the public quests. And its DaoC engine was just not powerful enough to handle the expections of a post-WoW MMO. Seeing the emptiness of Tier 4 content I quit last January.

I resubbed last month. Land of the Dead was meh. It was a huge error to produce that instead of fixing the game. Okay some things were fixed–I almost never crashed. But lag and slide show stuttering was still common despite having a better computer now that could easily handle the graphics. And though there were improvements in RvR (mainly better gear as a reward), it was still too monotonous and empty, and the whole combat system remains frought with crowd control that left me silenced and immobile half the time, and lag such that I was barely able to cast an ability the other half.

After my first cancellation I was hoping things would get better and I’d be playing again. I canceled two days ago and won’t be looking back. WAR is a sinking ship. WoW is a sinking ship too but it at least it had days of glory whereas WAR has only seen defeat.


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In response to “Casualty of Warhammer” from The Escapist Forum: My sympathies go out to the author of the article, but WAR was too much like WoW for its own good. The difference is yes, WAR’s RVR was slightly better at some points in time than WoW’s battlegrounds, but the PVE was severely lacking.

I got turned off of the game when I discovered I had to go to every map in my tier just to gain enough xp off of quests and killing mobs to get to the next tier. That right there kind of kills any hopes of rolling an alt and seriously having fun past Tier 1, because starting with tier 2 you’ve already seen all the content.

I know Mythic hyped WAR to be a pvp-based game so perhaps the fault is mine for assuming I would like the pvp (RVR) in it. In early access RVR was phenomenal because you didn’t know who was going to win the matches. The official launch hit and Destruction (the side I was playing at the time) became filled with people who had no clue how to pvp and seemingly didn’t know how to read English.

Now, I don’t have a problem with people who don’t know how to read English, but if you’re playing on a server where a specified language is the primary language, you should know how to at least read it. Then again, it may be that all those people who rolled Destruction and failed at pvp knew how to read English but decided they wanted to be the big bad hero anyway.

WAR has a lot of promise. To the OP, I hope you get your job back or another that’s just as good.



In response to “Method and Madness” from The Escapist Forum: Realism in games is fine, it’s just that people designing games are going for the wrong type of realism. Many games, especially Military tactical shooters like the Call of Duty franchise, Gears of War, and MGS4 are hell-bent on giving realism of environment. The obsession over physics, the hi-res textures and models, the million-dollar particle effects engine; all this is done to put the player in a “real” environment, but it is at the expense of designing realistic characters that the player is interacting with.

Do you feel bad when your squad-mates get mowed down fifteen feet into enemy territory? No, you don’t because they’re not real, they’ve not been developed enough for you to give a damn if they live or die. Sure, your in-game character can get all broken up over them, but you as a player don’t have that emotional attachment.

In my opinion, the most realistic game I’ve ever played was Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom. Sure, it’s Wing Commander, set in space, in the future, and the human race is rebuilding itself after a long space-war with a race of humanoid cat-beings. BUT the characters are fleshed-out; your interactions with them have meaning and affect the way they behave toward you later on in the game. I still haven’t played through enough times to hit all of the options in the Choice Tree that Colonel Blair has throughout the game.

I think the demand for Whiz-bang Graphics for the past 15 years has taken priority over creating characters we care about. Unfortunately, the advances in technology have done well to feed the cutting-edge graphics addiction, rather than helping designers write better characters.


In response to “Method and Madness” from The Escapist Forum: Hey, guys. Did you read the same article as I did? Because I read an article about trying to place real experience into a game. You seem to have read some other article about realism in games.

It’s interesting the two things would be confused. Many developers, I think, confuse them as well. Now, I think that the methodical, realistic game has its charm, but the gaming companies have come to rely on them too much. A Call of Duty style game will play on a completely different set of emotions than a Serious Sam game. And I agree with guy over there ^^ who says that sometimes being able to conquer the small bad things about an experience enriches that experience; for a dumb personal example, I always played racing games with automatic gear changing because I thought it was boring, but when I first tried playing it with manual gears being able to change that felt very satisfying.

And no matter how unrealistic a setting is, it will only be successful if it manages to evoke familiar emotions on players/watchers. A zombie apocalypse has never happened (yet!) but if the piece done in this setting is done well it will show feelings of dispair, isolation, constant danger, that are certain to resonate with people. If it’s really well done, you’re essentially stuck in a place, surrounded by things that look like people but care nothing about you, always surrounded yet always alone, clinging to the ones that aren’t like the others with the fear they’ll be taken away from you – it’s everyone’s life.

Unfortunately, I am not, and do not intend to be, a game designer, so this read was wasted on me. Good one, though. Cheerio!

The Random One


In response to “Roleplaying: Evolved” from The Escapist Forum: I’ll with others that the article was kind of a letdown… I expected 3 or 4 more pages considering its pacing.

But I think — and it’s hard to say without the article being “finished” — that Jeff’s suggestion was not the elimination of stats from the game’s mechanics, but rather that the stats should not be at the surface as part of the player’s experience.

I have to agree with that sentiment, in so far as I’d like to see more RPGs that can convey my character’s “growth” and change through “softer” or “fuzzier” means. If I need to know that any specific stat is greater than an opponents stat in order to make a decision, I’m not really playing a role as much as I’m crunching numbers. In other words, I think stats are a *crutch* that we rely on to convey information we’re not confident enough to express otherwise.

On the other hand, I agree with an earlier commenter’s point about Type-A folks and numbers. So, I wouldn’t argue that with or without numbers is a question of better or worse, just that it’d be interesting to see what game designers could do without having to show the numbers to the player.


After reading this article, my problem is that I don’t see what the problem is. Three pages, and no clear definition of why stats and levels are such a bad thing. I may be a bit biased as an old time AD&D player (1979 until today), but I think that levels and stats work quite well. You have to define the character somehow. If it’s not levels and stats, you have to use something else. For example, in the game Over The Edge, you defined your character by using descriptive traits rather than stats. No levels, and it worked, but you couldn’t use a system like that for a CRPG. You need a guiding intelligence in the game master, and no computer can provide that yet.

Personally, I prefer systems that don’t use levels as such, but I’ve never seem an RPG without stats of some kind that worked. Even most of the diceless RPG’s (Amber, for example) have stats or traits of some kind. Your character has to be defined in relation to other characters and the world in some fashion or another. How are you going to do that without defining such basics as how strong or how fast he/she is? You have to have something to work with, or it’s just narrating a story with friends. Not really an RPG then, that’s becoming something else, in my opinion.


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