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Archive for the ‘Crafting’ Category

Voldemort Exposed | STOked 107

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We bring on Al “CaptainGeko” Rivera, STO’s lead designer, on a very special edition of STOked. We discuss the “Voldemort” being talked about in the forums. Find out why Cryptic calls it the “infamous Shield of Infinite Power.”

Plus: Some behind the scenes details on the new holiday event, and a bit of some news for crafting fans!

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The Next Generation | STOked 101

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Big changes for Star Trek Online fans, and STOked is rolling out one of the latest! We introduce the beginning of a new show format, chat about the Doff System, big economy changes.

And of course, a few of the difficulties players are having with STO’s transition to free to play.

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Show Notes:


> Doff System

- Operant conditioning / skinner box …Farmville
- Bartle test…Doff system fits into the “Achiever” aspect of gamer psychology
- Bajoran Doffs removed until the DS9 Feature Series debuts
- Reduced XP for longer term missions
- Increased XP for shorter term missions encouraging more frequent “Doff sessions” for players


> Economy
  1. Dilithium/Emblem exchange rate unchanged. F2P players get +30% more Dilithium for their time as previous subscribers. 336 converted, 480 earned.
  2. 754 dilithium per converted emblem for a MK XI Beam Array (formerly 30 emblems)
  3. Options taken away from the T-5 Excelsior after people paid money for this item.
  4. VA token still taken from us despite being told that nothing would be taken from subscribers.
  5. Increases Decreases Common Items Unchanged
  6. 58.62% 9.20% 100.00% 32.18%
  7. Salami Inferno says C-Store prices are final
  8. James T. Picard points out that Cryptic’s C-Store prices aren’t higher than LOTRO’s in-game store prices.…d.php?t=238302

    • MVAM 1200 c-store points 2000 c-store points
    • Using 336 exchange rate: 500 emblems would be 168K dilithium
    • Using 754 exchange rate: 500 emblems would be 377K dilithium
    • 2000 C-Store points = MVAM = 168K or 377K dilithium
    • 1 c-store point = 84 or 188.5 dilithium

> Crafting Changes
- all tiers craftable again
- dilithium inserted into the higher tier (even levels)
- Mk XI Beam Array has old schematic costs + 16K refined dilithium (2 days to convert)
- MK XI Beam Array at ESD (was 30 emblems) 22,620 dilithium = 754 exchange rate

- Mission Chain Problem:

- The Foundry: component complete still broken & anti-exploit nerf stops XP & drops after the 30th NPC kill in a single mission.

- Female Animations have been adjusted:

Now, if you choose the 3 feminine stances (Feminine, Sexy, Cute), you will get the existing new female walks & runs in unarmed modes.

If you choose the other gender neutral stances (Standard, Brawler, Stern …) you will get the default standard walks/ & runs.

- Zeronious Rex promoted to Producer and Farktoid5000 promoted to QA Lead

- So Stephen D’Angelo said, during his interview on STOked 100, that he was going to have Stephen Ricossa do the Engineering Reports.

But then StormShade says no more Engineering Reports.….php?p=3815496

Now Stormshade says no more Dev Blogs.….php?p=3835627

- 700 Day Veteran Reward will come due December 11th, just 2 days after STO F2P launch.

- JBJeremy’s New Cryptic account & he is BorticusCryptic

Skills Revamp is coming!
Early details in CaptianGeko’s forum post.

Foundry Files:

  • Overall, this mission is perfect for someone who wants to play a diplomatic mission with no combat (and hey, its another way to get some DXP, and it stacks up with some of Cryptics diplomatic missions like the ones that came out in Season 2) With a good story, and good puzzles, its very good for someone who wants to play a mission without combat.

Download the FULL review

Written by chris

October 31st, 2011 at 10:21 pm

Tribute to SWG | MMOrgue 19

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As a fond farewell to the MMOrgue, we’re dedicating our final episode to the departure of a landmark MMO from the industry. Star Wars Galaxies will be closed down forever in December of this year, and we’ve gathered together to celebrate its life and the impact it has forever had on every MMO, for better or worse.

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Show Notes:

Star Wars Galaxies, the what and when
  • Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided – 26 June 2003 (US)
    • 7 November 2003 in Europe; 23 December 2004 in Japan
  • Jump to Lightspeed – 27 October 2004
    • Two new races were added: Sullustan and Ithorian.
    • Added space combat
  • Episode III Rage of the Wookiees – 5 May 2005
    • Added the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk
  • Star Wars Galaxies: Trials of Obi-Wan – 1 November 2005
    • This expansion added the ground planet of Mustafar to the game.

GamesCom 2011 | MMOrgue 14

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This week’s episode focuses on the biggest MMO stories that filtered out of GamesCom 2011.

The most impressive showing came from Guild Wars 2, which featured new playable demos showing off their dynamic event system, character customization, new playable races and classes, crafting, and PvP battlegrounds.

Besides GW2 however, also came Star Wars: The Old Republic, showing off a brand new twist on PvP battlegrounds, in the form of a bloodsport called Huttball.

Before we review either of those exciting new features however, we pull the lid off NCSoft and Carbine Studios’ newly announced MMORPG – Wildstar. We’ll tell you why this one is worth keeping an eye on, and why Carbine has a big job ahead of them to compete in the modern MMO market.

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Show Notes:

Welcome back to the MMOrgue!

Where we take gaming to the next… LEVEL… see what I did there?

/T-Shirt:/ “Pwn Depot”
Available at
Glitch Gaming Apparel

Last week’s Best of MMO Music episode has been receiving some great responses so far. If you haven’t had a chance to check it out, I like to think it’s worth a watch. Also be sure to check that episode’s show notes for so much more music!

GamesCom hit the industry like a massive tidal wave of awesome this past week. The convention itself saw record attendance of more than 275,000 gamers, and even exceeded the location’s maximum safety capacity at least once, causing the main entrances to be temporarily closed off. Rest assured that next year’s will be even bigger, but GamesCom organizers are already talking about finding a bigger/better location to hold it.

Now, let’s talk a little bit about the games that were shown off at the convention…

The Old Republic was, obviously, present at GamesCom, although their presence was underwhelming compared to their showing at ComicCon. Their big announcement came in the form of a new PvP gameplay experience known as Huttball, which I’ll spend some time discussing later in today’s episode.

As far as the MMO world is concerned, Guild Wars 2 has walked away as the big “winner” of the floor at this year’s GamesCom. The sheer volume of awesome videos, gameplay, feature walkthrus and other newsy bits that’ve come out of ArenaNet over the past week has been astounding, and I’ll be dedicating an entire segment of today’s show to some of those juicy tidbits.

Today’s topics are by no means going to make up the entirety of all of the incredible MMO news that filtered out of GamesCom over the past several days, but I simply don’t have enough time in this episode to cover everything that was shared with us, or announced. Check our show notes for a extra round-up of other newsworthy links and coverage, including:

The reveal that has garnered the most attention from MMO gamers over the past week seems to be WildStar – the new MMORPG from Carbine Studios that was recently teased in the “announcement of an announcement” by NCSoft that I spoke of a few episodes back. Although the game is still very much in its infancy, Carbine already had a complete gameplay experience ready to put into the hands of gamers, and we’ll be digging into some of those details a bit later on.


Carbine Studio’s new MMO offering landed on the scene in a big way, offering not just an announcement and trailer, but actual hands-on demo time for con-goers at GamesCom.
In light of the hype currently built around other upcoming titles like TOR and GW2, this was an absolute necessity in order to get any sort of coverage or attention right out of the gate.

As you may recall, Carbine’s original announcement of this game included the fact that this game is designed to “learn” from players’ choices, and adapt to how they want to play the game. In the demo offered at GamesCom, we began to see the first of what we’re told will be many layers, of just how this works. And it comes down to story.

The game is a blend of sci-fi and fantasy elements, showing off technology and magic living in harmony with one another, while the art style and animations are vaguely reminiscient of Titan AE and classic-era Disney, with touches of modern anime and stylistic flourishes everywhere. Despite being visually appealing, I have to admit that compared to other modern offerings like GW2 and Secret World, it looks dated. Not much better than the graphics offered by World of Warcraft or Forsaken World. That said, graphics aren’t everything, and this game’s devils are in the details.

When first introduced to Wildstar, you have crash-landed on a strange alien world. When creating your character, you get to not only choose your race and class from a selection that includes humans, rock monsters and bunny-people, but you are also asked why it is that you are on the planet to begin with. Were you exploring? Conquering? Studying? Colonizing? These choices will lead the game to offer a different advancement path and plotline, compared to the choices that another player may make, and successive choices are said to further specialize the game content as you continue to progress.

Already, folks are throwing around comparisons to Tabula Rasa, for a few obvious reasons. The most obvious comparison is the blend of tech and magic in the world, but perhaps more telling is that Carbine Studios’ developers are what many in the business would term a “dream team.” As some of you may recall, the same claim was made of the Tabula Rasa team back in the day, and turned out to be one of the major downfalls of that title’s development cycle. Too many “chefs” and not enough “cooks.” Carbine’s staff includes the former lead developer of WoW, the co-founder of Troika Games, and the co-founder of Turbine, as well as several other experienced and respected names in MMO gaming. This SOUNDS like it’s a very good thing for a game, but remember that Tabula Rasa (which was also under the direction of NCSoft, same as this title) ended up having to be redesigned from the ground-up several years into the development cycle because of creative disagreements among high-profile “rockstar” developers. Let’s hope that Wildstar doesn’t suffer from the same speed bumps.

I’ll be getting my own hands-on demo of Wildstar at PAX, so look for more to come on this potentially innovative gameplay experience.


Old Republic: HUTTBALL

I get the impression that The Old Republic has reached critical mass. Over the past month or so, we’ve seen very little announced in the way of new features, and most of the gameplay now available around the web is starting to feel a bit same-ey in terms of visuals. That’s not say I don’t wanna get my grubby little hands all OVER this hot mess, just that there seems to be very little else that Bioware can release that’s going to get me even MORE excited.

At least, that’s how I felt until I saw Huttball.
Introducing… HUTTBALL

So, at it’s core, it’s really just a variant on Capture the Flag, with a little football thrown in the mix for good measure. As well as some acid pits and flaming death traps. All good fun until somebody loses a limb, and then it’s HILARIOUS.

They’ve told us already that the teams will not follow the strict Republic vs. Empire party lines, and if the announcer from the trailer makes it into the game, you can bet there will be as many laughs as frags on the Huttball courts.

The concept of a steady stream of repeatable sports games is much more palatable to me personally, than an endless stream of “battleground” PvP matches, in terms of overall game lore. I mean, how did running a flag back and forth across Warsong Gultch really help the Horde’s war efforts against the Night Elves? At least in Huttball, we’re seeing something that can actually fit into the environment of the game, and make sense to a larger narrative. Even if the sense it makes is that it can be completely ignored and discarded by anyone not wishing to participate.

As with any feature announcement, there’s been a small amount of hubbub raised on TOR’s internal forums about whether or not it suits the game world, and a not-tiny contingent of pro-Jedi gamers have voiced their concern about having their favorite neon-swinging zen masters participate in what amounts to a bloodsport.

To them, I’d like to say first – Maybe the Jedi are simply out to prevent the Sith from gaining a positive public image as sports celebrities? I mean, think of the impact such celebrity status could’ve had for Darth Maul. Commercials, Wheaties boxes, merchandising contracts. These could lead to impressionable minds being swayed to the Dark Side!

Secondly, and more importantly – lighten up a little, guys. It’s a game, and Huttball looks like a ridiculous amount of fun that is likely to get even stalwart non-fans of PvP like myself, involved in the bloody game of bashing in my fellow players’ heads in a whole new way.

Guild Wars 2

Character Customization:

What is currently in the game, I find underwhelming. Compared to other “next-gen” character customization, as seen in APB and Eve, the customization in GW2 is fairly lacking. For the most part, it consists of choosing from presets of existing choices, plus a few tweaks available for individual pieces.

Given the amount of focus that ArenaNet places on art assets and visual impressiveness, what we’ve seen so far of customization is sorely lacking. It doesn’t live up to their established reputation as makers of beautiful games, or makers of innovative games.

We’re quite a ways from launch, though. This could easily improve dramatically between now and then.

Crafting System:

It’s rare in the MMO industry for a crafting system to get me excited, but GW2 has a few unique things going for it that have me looking forward to staring at a crafting UI for hours on end…

2 at a time, but can max them all
Must be a cost for swapping, or no point in limiting to 2
When you swap, you are back at the level you left off at, with all your discoveries intact

Discovery system allows you to learn new recipes through experimentation (or reading them from a wiki online, you lazy gamer you.)
It looks as though discovering a recipe rewards you with more xp than crafting it alone, leading to crafters using this system on a regular basis (even after all recipes are discovered and catalogued on wiki sites).

The look of crafted items will generally be more distinct than the loot that drops in the world.

Skill gains are steady and xp-based, happen regardless of what you’re crafting. No guesswork in leveling up.

Guild Wars Battle of Kyhlo

Player Housing | MMOrgue 8

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In a break from our usual format, we’ve invited a number of correspondents onto this episode to discuss the ins-and-outs of different versions of player housing, and how different MMOs have incorporated owning your own home into the worlds we participate in. Through these conversations, we’ll discuss Second Life, Everquest II, Star Wars: Galaxies, Star Trek Online and City of Heroes.

We’ll also talk about the announced shut-down of SWG, the upcoming changes made to World of Warcraft’s Trial Account, and a press release that should be THE BEST NEWS EVER … and why it has disappointed Jeremy so much.

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Show Notes:

Supreme Court upholds decision to strike down Violent Video Game law
Originally penned in California, the law included dubious wording that would result in heavy fines against retailers that sold “excessively violent” video games to minors.
There’s lots more, but let’s just say… it was bad news for gamers! And NOT just because we wanna get our frag on, and witness our buddies’ heads explode in fountains of gore.

What it came down to, was First Amendment rights in the US. Our freedom of speech, and whether or not video games qualified as a protected form of artistic expression.

According to the highest authority we honor, they do.

In fact, their decision on this matter went so far as to quote their similarly favorable judgement on FILM, from the 1950s.

This decision sets a precedent that cannot be denied or overruled – that Video Games now stand shoulder-to-shoulder with books and films, as a protected media under Free Speech. Furthermore, it places additional faith in the non-government agency, the ESRB, to continue doing their part in ensuring that the content we are now guaranteed the freedom to enjoy, is appropriately categorized for our consumption.

With the decision handed down by the Supreme Court, we should now also be free from hearing about lawsuits over the “offensive” nature of some games’ content, and story after story of litigators attempting to blame the gaming industry for the bad behavior of modern youth. Not that complaints about violent subject matter will ever really go away… but at least, with this ruling as a foundation, the cries may quiet down to something more reasonable.

Second Life // EverQuest II
Guest : Ruth

You worked as a GM on Second Life for several years…

I’m an outsider to that game, or simulation, however it’s generally categorized. But as I understand it, the concept of “Player Housing” as defined by the MMORPG market, is a bit of a misnomer for SL.

In fact, housing in SL more-or-less -IS- the entire game, isn’t it?

What issues arise from having an entire economy and community based on personal property and infinite customization? (A specific anecdote to explain a point would be good here, if possible)

I don’t foresee any other MMO in the near future offering similar functionality to what SL offered. But if a developer chose to attempt it, are there any primary pitfalls that you might point out to avoid when implementing a similar system?

Now… let’s move on to EverQuest 2…
Demo Video 1
Demo Video 2

EQ2 included options to:
- Place pre-made objects in almost any position in your home
- Own several different homes/apartments
- Visit other players’ homes
- Through the use of log files and macros, even allowed an external editing tool

How did EQ2’s system stack up against SL?

How well did EQ2’s housing system mesh with its adventuring and crafting components?

Any major drawbacks of the system?

I, personally, consider EQ2’s housing system to be superior to anything else I’ve seen on the market in terms of striking a balance between customization and ease of creating esthetically pleasing atmospheres. Your thoughts?

Guest: Heather

Let’s start with SWG, since it is, at this point, mostly ancient history…

Player City and Tatooine House Interior (2:40 for house, 9:35 for Mall)

I’ll admit, I actually “employed” myself within this game, as an interior decorator. Briefly. I would go to peoples’ houses and rearrange their belongings in more pleasing ways, or provide them with specific projects (like aquariums, fireplaces, complex furniture, etc) for a small fee.

The fact that this game launched without a means to move items on the Z-axis felt like an absolute insult to gamers, considering how much they talked up the option of building your own home and decorating it however you liked. Eventually this was added, but workarounds like using a built-in staircase were common for many months.

They even added pitch/roll/yaw eventually. Jerks.

This game was known as a sandbox, leaving players to create their own fun from the ground up, and housing was no exception to this rule. Decorating a home required vast amounts of imagination, as there was very little pre-made decor. Sure, architects could make furniture and such, but after a very short time it all looked the same. Coming up with original-looking designs was more fun than actually adventuring, in my opinion.

As for the homes themselves, and the placing of them… hoo-boy… SWG was always plagued with issues regarding server stability and sync issues (at least up ‘til when I quit just before the NGE), so placing a home was sometimes a crap shoot. I knew people that’d lost entire homes and millions of credits worth of belongings, because their brand new spacious pad just up and vanished when the server randomly burped.

The pristine wilderness known to be so abundant in the Star Wars universe was dotted with harvesters, homes, factories, warehouses, shops, cantinas, shuttleports, and more… everywhere you looked. When cities were introduced, it only made the urban sprawl even worse. However, I would like to note that no other game has, to my knowledge, incorporated a series of local governing controls like SWG had for player cities. You had zoning controls, taxation, a voting system, and even a population census at the city hall. Very robust, even if utterly worthless in the long run.

Guest: Sean


Ship Interiors were never intended to be offered at time of launch. But a small, vocal minority of players within the community continued to LOUDLY pound the drum for this feature, continuing to insist that it was a necessary part of the Star Trek experience.

Eventually, Cryptic broke down and gave players Bridges. But with zero functionality. Eventually full interior layouts were added, but most players see them as worthless fluff. The sole function that cannot be accessed from elsewhere, has become a pain in the ass instead of a welcome diversion (Mission Replay).

Now, here we are more than a year after launch, and there remains very little functionality within ship interiors.

Sadly, this mimics how Cryptic treated Base Building in COX…

Before we move on from STO, I’d like to dig out some opinions from YOU on the matter of ship interiors, and player housing…


  • Many episodes of Star Trek take place entirely within ship interiors… If you, as a player, had to give up customization of your interior, to play missions similar to those, would you be OK with that?
  • Is the fact that this feature appears to have been rushed, a commentary on the developer in any way, and their ability to be swayed by a vocal community?
  • What additional functionality do these ship interiors need?

OK, tell me more about how Cryptic treated Base Builders in COX…

City of Heroes was launched in April 2004. Super Group Bases added in the paid expansion, City of Villains in June 2006.

Options: Small, Medium, or Large. Big rooms separated by corridors.
At launch: ~12 walls/ceilings/floors, about a dozen functional items, and ~100 decor items.
5 years later: 8 or so functional items added, removed clipping of placed items.

Once a very active community (chat channels, contests, forum activity)
Cryptic ignored the base building issues until they sold to NCSoft in 2007.
NCSoft continued ignoring it, except to nerf the storage availability. (2500 items, down to 30)

Part of Issue 13 was slated to include lots of base stuff. (DATE?)
When Issue 13 was split into two separate updates, the base features mysteriously vanished from EITHER set of patch notes.
Attempts to get commentary on this were met with silence, or locked threads.

In 2008 a dev named Sunstorm took on the role of Base Building Developer
He started a thread asking for some suggestions for additions and improvements to bases, made a few more posts, and then went silent. In October 2009, he posted that he’s still working on some stuff for bases.
But in December 2009, someone noticed that his forum name was no longer red. That only happens on the forums when a staff member is no longer employed.

  • So, what are the primary issues that Bases faced in CoH?
  • What role were they supposed to fill, functionality-wise?
  • The silence from developers is scary, disappointing, and a lingering dark blotch on their overall PR efforts. Is there anything they could say at this point to make up for these bad decisions?
  • Cryptic Studios is now behind Champions Online, which will soon be implementing “Hideouts” as a form of Player Housing. Do you have any sage words of wisdom for them on the subject, to assist in avoiding the pitfalls of the past?


Tease of the Week:

Darkcryo Entertainment has announced Firefly Universe Online!
- No funding.
- No licensing.
- No names on the credits.
- No public access to the company website.
Color me beyond skeptical. I’m almost insulted.

Also, as a quick update to last week’s F2P-dedicated episode, I thought I’d point out that none other than World of Warcraft, the juggernaut itself, has decided to take a step in that direction. They are upgrading their Trial accounts to remove the time limit, and instead impose a level limit of 20. But you can make as many characters as you like.

Yay? Let’s face it – WoW at level 20 is pretty darn lame, and Blizzard has spent so many resources making their end-game and raid content top notch that this lowbie junk is just as old and busted as it’s always been. Despite some sites running with a headline of “WoW goes F2P!” just to draw in clicks, this is nothing of the sort, and will probably result in less than a blip on the subscription radar.


  • I will be digging deeper into the EVE controversies.
  • Also, based on feedback I received re: Hellgate, I will be trying out the Open Beta which opens June 30th. And I’ll have some initial impressions to share.

Play smart everyone, and remember … sometimes an emote is just an emote.

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