Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 6:18 AM
The blog was:
I know it wasn't the point of his discussion, but what really spoke to me was the element of difficulty valued on choices. I have believed that when characters die because of the mechanics of a fight, there isn't a story value in that. It's nice to do a numbers delve, and tweak out some characters sometimes though.
For a meaningful or valued character death, players need to die from choices. They do a risk analysis of how much they have in terms of resources, and what they stand to gain given choices. I realy like his post about missed opportunities and rewards for the risk.
I think sometimes the difficulty of a campaign is measured by how tough the dm makes individual encounters. Campaigns should be challenging with or without extremely lethal encounters. DMs can kill characters, that is not a challenge. The challenge is presenting an enjoyable level of difficulty.
Those things I wanted to comment on, and I also wanted to say that the words of Perkins really have been on my mind regarding having good ideas and using them instead of holding back. He says you always get more good ideas. So I just wanted to reiterate that concept for myself when I reflect on this posting, or anyone who reads this post.
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Saturday, May 25, 2013, 6:10 AM
Picked up two books for D&D 4e to add to my collection, with one more to get. Got the Dungeon Survival Handbook and Elminster's Forgotten Realms. I highly recommend the former. It's been a greater source of inspiration for me personally. Not knocking the other book, just reporting my finding.
Made a 10 session dungeon romp in a flying labyrinth that was kidnapping people. The write up is here. Though I have yet to post the download to the maptools campaign file. Had a couple players low on ram for their pcs, and it caused the fog of war to throw some errors.
I plan to pick up the Elemental Chaos book.
Picked up a few games too. Before I get into those I want to say that I have been running a server for Warband. 40 slots for $40/month. Been a blast helping the community grow, and getting better at the game. Warband is a game where no matter how long you play, you can always get better. It's got it's own skill set for players to learn, and there is no leveling. I have 1000 hours in the game since I got it three years ago. I have never spent that much time in any other game. It is my favorite. (the multiplayer mode is)
I bought a few flops, but I don't want to talk bad about any games others might like. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to games. Once someone bags on a game, it is hard to not consider those negative elements in my opinion.
So here is the list of the games I got and really enjoyed:
Guns of Icarus $10 (on sale) good with friends, rather blah otherwise
Star Wars Jedi Academy $3 (on sale) awesome
Battlefront II $3 (on sale) getting around to installing it with my other cool games
Banner Saga Factions FREE (23 hours so far, love it)
Borderlands 2 $15 (on sale) 27 hours!
I have been a bit cheaper this year. Looking at picking up Leviathan Warships and Payday 2. I plan to get them when they go on sale. Also waiting on Age of Empires HD to go on sale. It is really hard for me to justify paying more than $10 to get AoE HD. Might not get it, haven't decided.
Still looking at Defiance to see if it is worth getting. Playing the free weekend this weekend. I think it costs too much. Heard it was really buggy, and had a bad interface. If the DRM is bad, then I won't get it.
Still playing Killing Floor, MW3, and Shogun 2. Had been playing Planetside 2, but they did too much bait and switch. I played that in January for a while after I got back from China, then stopped.
Got 81 hours out of Saints Row 3. I love the game because it has all the sandbox explosions and awesome without any drama. The story is fun. I look forward to SRIV going on sale, even if it looks like a mod for SR3.
I have enough games right now though, so I don't really know if I will get any more than Leviathan Wars this year, and that is only if it goes on sale for $5.
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Tuesday, May 21, 2013, 6:57 AM
So this is an interesting article:
The comment, one of two there when I read it, said this:
" ....I'm currently reading Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal (@avantgame on the Twitter). One of the more interesting ideas she discusses is how sometimes people play games not for distraction or for escape, but for a quick shot of simulated productivity. I can attest to this. The flow state of getting things done can be addictive, and sometimes my brain doesn't care whether it's answering emails or constructing fake buildings in a simulation...." @mikewantanabe
I had only found the 2011 article when I was looking around for content revolving around gaming for the sake of obligation.
I have a warforged who, after years of being dormant, has regained a level of consciousness that he periodically gains. As the game unfolds, he becomes more human like, and maybe later on I will rp him reverting.
So Cuts, that is his name, goes with friends to a land far away to find himself, and help them. The group decides to take on work. Someone hires them to find a lost loved one. A year in-game and 3 years out of game Cuts is searching ever more dangerous areas to rescue this loved one.
In RL, a scheduling conflict causes me to pause, and think about what games to prioritize among the games I am in given this scheduling conflict. Then two things happen. I am reminded I have a character invested in the story for 3 years with Cuts in this particular game. Hence, the logic is that I am obligated to continue gaming as Cuts in that game.
The other thing that happened was that it occurred to me that if I were to leave, I would rp Cuts becoming so conscious that he decided it was not his duty to this quest that he valued. He would throw away the ties he had to the quest, and march off looking for his own path. Maybe he would seek his origin, or find other warforged like himself before eventually going unconscious, again turning back into a mindless artifact from a past war.
So then I dug a little deeper. I wanted Cuts to rescue this lost family member. That was the driving goal I had for the character. Alright, now I am getting somewhere. Got some sense of where the obligations in and out of game are tied together. I am in a long term campaign with long term character goals. So I want to stay in the campaign because I want to accomplish those goals.
I also run a large play by post game. It is large by my standards. It is approaching 9000 posts, and has been going for I think three years as well. I only have one of the original players, which is a relative term now. I mean there were three groups of five to begin with.....well there are a lot of complications to that which would take to long to explain.
This guy invited his gf to play in the game. She started playing. Postings were about twice a week. She didn't post in a month. I talked to her. The idea of playing in the game was really appealing, she could rp with her guy. It was something he really liked, and she could do that with him. She felt the need to apologize to me for not posting in a game that she felt obligated to play in order achieve that nifty element of interaction. I think it is a cool idea, but if someone doesn't like playing by post, then they shouldn't obligate themselves. I could understand it though if they felt they were enjoying an achievement in doing so.
And that brings me to another interesting element, at least for me. The character Cuts, myself, that girl, and the Tamagotchi users all wanted to accomplish tasks with their game. Tamagotchi users eventually were displeased with their toys because of the failure rate, at least according to the wiki page linked from the article I liked at the top. I think the girl was displeased with the rate she posted. Cuts and I just want to find that fricken loved one right lol.
There is one thing to do when you are in a game with a plot hook which won't arrive at fruition. Talk to the DM. I messaged my DM, and I said how this carrot has been dangling. Cuts needs to grow, as a character, and progress on the rescue has to be made a little more directly observable. I want to make progress toward this goal. I want to game from my interest in the goals and story, not from obligation based on my past contributions in the story.
I think it speaks to me a bit deeper than that though. What it is really about is rekinding a flame. I love my fiancee because of how she is. In the classical use of the term rekindling a flame is the idea that sometimes people love each other out of obligation rather than their interest in each other.
I meant to explore the ideas of obligation and rekindling the flame for a game. (cheesy, so what) I think nice shiny new traps and monsters are the frosting of the enjoyment. I game for achievements though. In D&D those achievements usually entail character goals. Though, I did want to fight a purple wurm in 4e still as a personal gaming goal, and the next monster Cuts faces is a purple wurm. So I think that my DM and I are on the same page once again.
I want to mention a spot for awesome examples of achievements in gaming. Check out Robbaz videos. He's a funny gamer who is constantly achieving rediculous and awesome things in games. I really think his videos are so awesome because of how much he enjoys the achievements. "ohhhhh dental appointment...." As a warning his language gets pretty foul, but it is normaly directed as corporate entities and video game enemies.
What do I want to do in this game? What does my character want to do this session? Pursue it, achieve it, and then recognize the accomplishment.
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Thursday, May 16, 2013, 3:04 AM
I was reading and came across this quote in an article regarding D&D:
"...brand full of toxic fans and endless bickering about products that won’t get sold."
I kind of thought maybe I could write up how to deal with toxic people or how people who are toxic could benefit from just trying to be more concise about their desires or thinking about what outcomes they desire when they do talk to people.
Really that is all I am compelled to say though.
Well I have more to say on it. Sometimes they will shut up if you just throw them a bone. Like I was getting ragged on for a build that worked fine. But they wouldn't stop nagging about it. So finally I am just like whatever. "oh you're right the build doesn't work the polearm gamble doesn't work without weapon attacks." Which that is technically right. But I had weapon attacks that it did work with that I didn't mention so they would shut up.
The reality is that if people want to be toxic they will be. So it can be helpful to look at conflict resolution methods and just pick one. For toxic people the best is to just tell them whatever they do or say is right.
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Sunday, May 12, 2013, 9:01 PM
I have been reading articles like:
As a result, skill challenges, preparation, having fun at the gaming table, and meaning for combats are topics that have been on my mind. So I figured I would write this up to see what it is I would come up with. It is mostly for personal reflection. Maybe some others will like this though.
Regarding skill challenges, I don't like the x successes before x failures as a concept that seems really numerical rather than rp oriented.
I do like the skill challenge racing. Example here, players have to pick between two tents to stop from burning by using their skill checks. With each check the fire improves, worsens, or remains the same.
Another example would be a player trying to buy an item another person is interested in buying. Trying to work yourself a better deal without the other person buying the thing would be tough.
The core of the skill challenge is that the player either wants two things simultaneously, the thing they want is closer or farther from failure/success each turn, or they are hurrying/racing to do something.
It can be pretty close to the x successes concept. There are subtle differences though in even the closest cases. The players must roll against the challenge, not against the number of times. There is a feedback from the challenge. Also players constantly making choices. I really like the choices.
In preparation for each session I like to prepare the treasure, two random encounters in case the players go a direction I am not ready for, and some plot hooks.
Eating up time at the table can be bad. In past editions players would roll for treasure sometimes. And that can be pretty fun, like opening presents. This leads into the having fun part:
Fun in the game
Consistently players I game with like traps and puzzles. They also like to go after items or specific enemies. They really have a limit for how far they'll go for that though. They only want to travel so much to go after something. So I like to wrap up a segment of the task every level or two.
Combat is meaningful when it steps toward a goal or delivers a plot twist. I skip some combats to avoid the slogs. And I think I need to skip some in my play by post currently. I have a bunch of NPCs slaying demons on a demon island. And I gotta find ways to make the combats meaningful. I designate generals that they kill, and some combatants I have just flea when they show up to avoid the long slog. The fights are tough and brutal.
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Friday, May 10, 2013, 4:27 AM
Surprisingly to me there have been disputes on the forums over if balance is subjective.
There are over ten definitions of balance. The most common meaning of balance is that two things are considered to be appropriate when compared to each other.
The subjectivity comes in when a person selects which things to balance or the method to measure the balance.
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Friday, January 18, 2013, 10:30 AM
I have lost count how many people asked the same question to which the response was "a reference". The list I made is a fast reference to highlighted powers. It's not complicated. It is based on voting. I even put it in the general section so they wouldn't complain that highlighting powers doesn't show people how to build characters.
Several people think that listing powers is somehow harmful. Like someone is going to look at a list of highlighted powers, magically construct their character without consulting anything else, and then not enjoy roleplaying.
Others get on and think they are going to ruin the collaborative list by voting for powers that are given to every character like bull rush. They can't seem to grasp the fun in seeing the variety of powers that different people like, or the various reasons those people like them. A person that goes by the user name Alien showed me the coolest combination that I ever knew a druid could do. I also have documented a player explaining to the delight of others (including myself) a bunch of the feat support for some very basic looking at-wills the rogue class has.
Everything is always what you make of it.
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Monday, January 14, 2013, 5:27 PM
I am convinced that arguements will continue without end unless both sides submit the terms for changing their minds.
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Saturday, January 12, 2013, 2:07 AM
Some people on the forums continue to inanely insult me despite that I have contributed so much math help, constructive criticisms, and thoughtful inputs.
I could as easily be a friend. Instead they continue to erroneously bash me. At least as far as I can tell all I am guilty of is stating my belief that Char Op tend to have many subjective aspects due to things not being linear. Whenever apples are compared to oranges there is subjectiveness.
Even when I give them exact cases of subjectiveness they refuse to see it. It's just so odd.
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Sunday, July 29, 2012, 1:56 PM
Categories: Dungeons & Dragons
Abridged from my formal blog, and adapted from forum posts around the game industry:
The gaming industry is sort of in a slump. A combination of factors are coming into play. More games are being purchased than ever before, since more people are playing more games than ever previously. However, the industry has become over saturated with games. Other factors include the inceasing prices of distribution to stores, lower prices of online stores like Steam, and expensive consoles yiedling diminished returns per principal cost increase.
Right now, WoTC has basically got their portion of cheese in the wedge of the game industry. They own the best selling card trading game and the best selling table top rpg. What more can they do to keep their cheese?
Their main competition currerntly is free software. Not just any free software, but free versions of their own software. Lackey CCG and CBLoader specifically are their main competitors. Those softwares can not be as easily obtained nor as convenient as games through online stores such as Origin and Steam though. Accessiblity is the number one way for WoTC to keep their cheese from those free formats. WoTC should put the D&D insider on those online stores to maximize the access gamers have to their product, tapping into a additional audience. Though more competition lurks.
On the horizon is a smattering of new developers getting funding from sites like Kickstarter via crowd sourcing. This allows common people to become entrepreneurs if they can find a niche to fill. There is a niche market for converting games played traditionally in person into games played with friends online. WoTC has an opportunity to fill that niche with their own D&D game, securing more cheese for themselves. They have already converted Magic from just a face-to-face game into an online game with Magic Online.
It is key WoTC try to make the first successful online conversion for tabletop rpgs. Whoever makes one first will steal the cheese. For an example of that concept in action look at the MMO industry. WoTC has never been able to compete at the level of the top ten mmos. The companies that got there first were able to dominate that market. The early earnings boosted their products to levels that the capital to compete is too substantial to surpass in quality.
WoTC was first to the online trading card game. The accessibility is lacking though. If tomorrow Pokemon trading cards released a full version of their game on steam, pokemon could dominate that market. WoTC could still edge an audience if they did a quick follow up. But looking at all the minecraft clones flop is pretty convincing that being first is important.
Paizo Publishing, Catalyst Game Labs, White Wolf Publishing, or even someone with ambition from one of the many peripheral companies such as Obsidian Portal, The Tangled Web, or RPtools could develop such a game. The point is that the market would love online packages of tabletop rpgs.
For this niche, the cheese currently stands alone.
Added in the White Wolf Publishing forums is the following note:
This blog is opinion based and developed on the sources that one person acquired over the course of their experience gaming. It should not be taken as absolute, but the core concept that a game would be popular if it could be an alternative to buying a bunch of books and cards should hold true.
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