Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Upcoming Supreme Court Case

Champions Online: Consolidated Q & A

Over here to check it out. One of the key answers that I read was that Gold members are distinguished from Silver by how much they can customize. I think I stated this in my last post, but most of the fun in Champions Online is from making your ideal super hero.

Still, many people make similar power choices, and archetypes are repeatedly stated as not being all from the same power set (though early ones will be predominantly of one power set).

If anything, I think they will get more people playing. It might also give them the incentive to pump out more adventure packs and power sets. Both of these are "free" to Gold members, and paid for by Silver members. This can cause Silver members to pay, and Gold members to keep their accounts active.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Champions Online: State of the Game

Well Tobold pointed out real quick that Champions Online is going F2P. But they are also pushing through several improvements to the game. I'll try to go over all the benefits of being either Silver (free) or Gold (paid) member.

First of all, if you are a lifetime subscriber you get Gold for free. Essentially, you are in the same boat you are in now, and perhaps a bit better off. If you are paying a monthly fee, you can keep paying and play the game the same way. If you are not paying for Champions Online, playing F2P will be best for you. I think some people who are Gold will switch to Silver, as the restrictions would not be enough to keep them from enjoying the game.

So with those claims made, lets review what the main difference is for not paying a monthly fee.

As Silver your main limitations (or perhaps advantages) are:
  • no customized power sets: You get Basic Archetypes (8), and purchasable Gold Archetypes (coming later, these are automatically available to Gold Members, it is more cost effective to do one time purchases for these). These are predetermined power sets. You can only customize where you spend your advantages. The Archetype examples they gave were "The Blade" or "The Brute". Since choosing if you are a Brick or a Striker is based on what advantages you choose, it is not exactly like picking a class.
  • Only 2 character slots: You can purchase more. Gold members start with 8 and can not only purchase more, they can EARN (having a Gold account for over 200 days, and 1 for each character that reaches 40) more, which Silver members cannot.
  • Need to pay for Adventure Packs: although like other F2P games, it might be better to be able to do the one time purchase. This will depend on the cost of the adventure packs.
  • Not all costumes available at start: There are over 3,000 costume pieces available. There are then Gold Costumes that Silver will have to purchase, as well as Premium Costumes that both have to purchase. Again, it might be better to just be a Silver player and purchase these costume pieces as you need them.
  • No Bonus Costume Slots: Except for the Super Group bonus, Silver members must pay for additional Costumes. Gold Members earn costumes at 15, 30, SuperGroup and by being a Gold member for 300 days (as well as purchasable).
  • Only 1 bag slot: 3 more purchasable. This may end up being cheaper as a one time purchase.
  • Not all Travel Powers Accessible: They have Basic and Gold Travel powers, this is once again a situation where the one time purchase is better.
  • No Power tinting: Only Gold Members can change the colors of their powers. Not purchasable.
  • Auction House limited: Silver members can only post 5 items at a time. Gold can post 10 at a time. The ability to post more at a time is available to both Silver and Gold members.
  • Temporary Limitations for Chat, Mail and SuperGroup CREATION: for the first 20 hours there are some chats and mail can not be done and the rate (or amount) you can send is limited, and SG creation is not available for the first 20 hours of Silver Accounts.
  • Forum limitations: Silver members can read all forums, but can only post in certain areas.
  • Customer Service: Silver members only get Knowledge base type help. Gold Members get live support (they say free, but you are paying $15 a month for it).
  • No priority Login: Only Gold members get priority login.
So looking over the above bullet points, it will be better for most people to switch to a Silver account, and purchase things as they need or want them. Silver members will have access to all base zones, and all levels. Silver members would have to purchase 2 character slot packs (comes with 4 slots each) character slots for $30, 1 costume slot pack (which gives 2 additional costume slots) for $5, 3 bag slots (price unknown), adventure packs (unknown prices), gold archetypes (unknown prices), gold costumes (400 of them at an unknown price) to come as close to a Gold Membership without having to pay a monthly fee.

They are reworking the opening tutorial, and the progress and narrative of the first 10 levels or so into a more streamlined experience (their claim, I'll post about it when it happens). The other question is, if you still need to buy the game to start playing it (and if you get a free month of Gold). I posted the question in the forums, and I'll let you guys know if I get a response.

Are all these changes final? Actually no, they are going to start a F2P beta in November, and this isn't slotted to come out until the first quarter of 2011. Some things might still change, regardless of all that, is that as it is right now, if you don't care about changing the color of your powers, priority login and or making a customized power set, then Silver will be your best choice.

Got my answer pretty quick:

Hey Pangoria,
When Champions Free-to-Play launches, a retail copy will not be required. Players can download the client for free.

Because physical retail copies are still in circulation and digital clients will continued to be offered at places like Steam and D2D, we're going to try and price that client at $14.99. It will also still include 30-days of free gameplay, which will functionally become 30-days of Gold Membership. So, if you buy the box or a digital client when Champions Free-to-Play launches, you pay the same price as one month of Gold Membership and you get one month of Gold Membership out of it. That seemed like the most elegant solution.

To reiterate, a box will not be necessary. You can still download the free client and either play as a Silver Player free of charge or elect to subscribe and become a Gold Member.

I hope that answers your question.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Quiet but not Silent

I've been very busy, so its been awhile since I've updated. Posting is fun, so lets see what I can talk about today. Social gaming comes to mind as a topic that is on many peoples lips.

What I keep reading is that Social games are going against the entrapping stages, and the best Social games of the future will be closer to true casual games. So what are differences that must happen for a Social game to become a Casual game with social structures installed.
  1. Gaining skills, and mastering them: This means the player has to get a sense of getting better. In the case of puzzle games, they will start getting a higher score. If you create a level system, then there should be a significant difference between levels so that they can feel like they have improved.
  2. Allow the player to have choices. Choices (especially if its beyond a binary choice) give players a sense of power. Allow them to see and know all the things they can do (too much can also be overwhelming so its good to have some limits).
  3. Allow the players to feel that what they are doing matters to the game world (Farmville, for example, has plants die if you don't water them and harvest them on time).
  4. Don't just throw rewards at the player. Larisa recently pointed out how dissatisfying that can be.
  5. As a social game you want to allow the player to interact with his friends, but avoid anything that spams. Everyone hates spam.
  6. Allow for parallel competition with others. This is a social game, and it is good to be able to compare levels or restaurant size. Raid progress and sitting by a flight master with your drakes is similar to this.
  7. Make the game fun! This should really be number 1. This means to give tools and then challenge the player into using those tools. Everyone once in a while you up the challenge. Keep the player learning new things, and they will keep having fun.
  8. Have a long term goal. Why should the player keep playing? What is all this learning skill for?
  9. If you are going to make players use RMT, then make it worth their while. It shouldn't allow for someone to "cheat" their way to the top, but it should have a use, and it should be more than a minute one. (Amazingly enough, color changing is worth the investment, as the player gets to control the look of their avatar, and that has quite a bit of importance).
Well, what do you think? Would these changes to Social games make them true casual games, and lead the absorption of many "non-gamers" into real gaming?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Slow Down

Blogs are slowing down. MMOs are getting delayed. Even my blogging is taking a dip: school work is at the forefront of my priorities. There's not much to talk about.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Recent Items of Interest

Just a quick update, I have to get back to school work. I've had a headache for the last few days, and am a bit behind on getting my assignments done.

I recently received an e-mail from OnLive about their service going to a free model (sort of). I was able to log in, and essentially everything up to actually playing the full version of the game is free (free demos etc). OnLive is now more of a rental service. You can do a long term rental (up until 2014 2013) last time I checked) for the full price of the game, or you can do a temporary 3day or 5day rental, depending on the game. This is great, if you have the weekend off and just want to play through Batman. Not every game has this feature though, which really annoyed me. I was hooked up to my wi-fi and tried the wi-fi beta they had available. It works beautifully, exactly as advertised. If there was lag, I did not notice it. If you are in the US, I suggest you try OnLive's demos. Especially with it being free now, it is totally worth it.

Champions Online is doing another October event. This one is pretty cool in that it is actually different from what happened last year. Its another adventure pack, which will help with those leveling from 11-40. Recently I finished quite a few missions in the Desert area (though I haven't done all the public missions). I'll be heading over to Canada next, which personally has the most confusing layout of all the zones so far.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's going to be a Cataclysm.

I love Nyhm's music videos... this isn't a video, but a very timely release of a song. Enjoy!