Friday, January 30, 2009

Should developers design raids around Latency?

Over the last couple weeks I've been having fun learning the raid encounters in Wrath of the Lich King. I've mostly been absent from the raid scene since the Karazhan hump broke up a couple of my guilds. However, I was tempted back after I kept hearing how casual the new raids were in the expansion. So far it seems true and I've found both the 10-man and 25- man versions a lot of fun. The fights I especially like are the ones that are more involved and require coordinated movements. I think my favorite is the DDR like strategy required for Heigan, but Thaddeus and Grobulus are also fun. However, I've noticed that these fights can be inherently harder on the 25-man versions because of random latency issues.

The effort of coordinating twenty-five players is always going to be harder then coordinating ten players, but that's not the only reason that the heroic raids are more difficult. Increasing a raid to twenty-five players also makes a raid more vulnerable to one person with latency issues causing a wipe. This is especially true on Thaddues where one person with the wrong polarity at the wrong spot can kill everyone. Sometimes just a second delay on a player's screen is all it takes. If that weren't the case then the frogger slimes after Patchwerk wouldn't claim so many people. I shudder to think how Naxx must have been back when it required a raid of forty players all having good latency.

I guess this is why back in the day Naxx was for hardcore raiders only. Hardcore raiders not only had the free time to devote to these encounters, but they also had stable Internet connections. Guilds that got to Naxx back when it was forty man had to kick anyone who was slow on coordinated movement encounters. The worst part is that it's very tricky to tell if a player was being slow because of skill or if they simply had a small bit of lag on their connection. Designing around latency has always been an issue with MMOs and limited their design. The reason auto-attacks and hot buttons are used by everyone is because real time combat is vulnerable to lag. Just look at how useless combos were in Age of Conan's PvP combat.

The developers originally designed fights like Thaddeus because Naxx was supposed to be for the most hardcore raiders. This meant the developers could assume everyone had perfect Internet connections. Now though with raiding being more casual it's probably irresponsible to design encounters like it. Oh, I admit the idea of the polarity shift mechanic is genius especially on a Frankenstein like monster. However, it shouldn't kill everyone in the raid if someone has a connection that lags out every once and awhile. At most latency issues should kill the one person in the raid who had them. This means that a casual guild only has to make sure the main tank and his healer has ironclad connections. If Blizzard is serious about keeping raid encounters more casual then they might want to take into account that all cable modem connections are not created equal.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Did the bugged Arena Matching System include ilevel?

The aftermath of 3.0.8 continues to be felt as both Lake Wintergrasp and the Arenas were closed down soon after the patch went live. I was lucky enough to get a few games of Lake Wintergrasp in on Tuesday, but didn't have time to delve into any arena games. Apparently the entire rating system had become broken with matches resulting in weird and excessive rating changes. Sometimes a team's rating was changing by more then 50 points per match. The source of the problem was a new matching system that was snuck into the patch. Testing the arena point system is almost impossible on the PTR and apparently the issue snuck by internal testers. Hopefully, this isn't a sign that Blizzard had to lay off some of their QA staff like Warhammer.

Most of the items that were include in the patch were supposed to be bug fixes for items and classes. It doesn't really make sense to also include an update to the arena matching system. The previous system worked quite well at matching teams against one another based on their respective ratings. The addition of personal ratings prevented people from smurfing or buying spots on higher ranked teams. However, I've mentioned before that "ringers" or well equipped people joining lower ranked teams would still be a problem. This is because the matching system never looked at item ilevel when determining match-ups and thus ringers would pop up as players maxed out on current PvP gear.

I suspected that the new matching system might have used some sort of new value connected to a team's item ilevel. A similar system was introduced to battlegrounds a couple years ago, but had to be taken out because it caused queue times to become too long. Arena games are a different animal altogether and players most likely wouldn't experience the same increase in queue times. However, it looks like whatever change Blizzard made to the system adversely affected the rating changes. This is just conjecture, but I believe this new hidden value for match-ups was causing point changes to team ratings to be applied twice.

We'll know for sure when Blizzard reactivates the arena system though who knows if they will move forward with the new matching system or continue to use the old one. I personally dislike the practice of ringers and find a rating system that uses a combination of ilevel and current team rating the best for match-ups. However, I dislike that Blizzard felt the need to sneak this into a patch. I guess we all know how sensitive the issue of arena epics are to some players and Blizzard obviously wanted to avoid player outrage.

If the change in the matching system did add some sort of ilevel value to the formula then it would mean that lesser geared players could more easily increase their rank. Blizzard might have decided to not mention the change in hopes of avoiding trolls from bringing up the "welfare epics" issue. Then again this could have been a small change to the arena matching system formula which was mishandled. Though it does seems unusual for a small change to an old system to cause that many problems. Blizzard usually experiences unintended consequences on new content.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lake Wintergrasp and Patch 3.0.8

There were some changes made to Lake Wintergrasp in yesterday's patch which have influenced the standard strategy for the zone. The attacking faction still has the advantage, but the increased hitpoints for the exterior walls makes it harder to take the fortress from the sides. The horde in particular were fond of taking the back western wall and destroying the goblin workshop. This had the advantage of being close to the attacker's western graveyard, but far away from where the defenders respawned. However, this strategy only worked since the fortress cannons could easily be taken out by range classes. With the recent changes to the zone you can see how this won't be as effective.

Patch Changes that effect Wintergrasp Strategy

-Wintergrasp PvP vehicles have had their health increased.
-Wintergrasp Tower cannons have had their health increased.
-The Wintergrasp Fortress Exterior walls have had their health increased.
-The Fortress Keep door now has had its health decreased.
-The Orb is now instantly clickable.

Blizzard probably increased the health of the cannons to make it harder for individual players to take out the fortress defenses. The fortress cannons play a big role in stopping incoming siege weapons especially when the gunners spot them from far away. Games were ending much sooner then they should since players were able to ride under cannons and destroy them and then bring in the heavy siege weapons. I noticed that warlocks and shadow priests were particularly good at this since their instant cast dots allowed them to do a lot of damage even if they were quickly killed by alert defenders. The increase in cannon health should make it so that siege engines are necessary for defeating fortress defenses and not just knocking down walls.

This should slow down the pace of Wintergrasp a bit and make it so that 8-10min games happen less often. That's not to say Blizzard wants the attacking side to lose. The design of Lake Wintergrasp still favors the attackers and it makes sense to encourage the zone to change sides often. The problem was that the previous setup gave the attackers too much of an advantage and games were ending too quickly. The exterior walls and cannon health was increased to make Wintegrasp last longer, but the keep doors had their health decreased. It may take longer to get into the inner courtyard but once the attackers are there the game should be practically over now. This is especially true since the orb is now instant clickable and can't be defended by constant AOE attacks.

So what are the strategies for Wintergrasp now?

Catapults are going to be more handy for defending cannons from players. They've always been the best anti-personal siege weapon, but were fairly easy to destroy. The increased health should make the catapult less of a push over when facing groups of players on the ground.

Demolishers and Siege Engines are still going to be needed for taking out the attacker's workshops. The trick is to destroy the workshop and not just take control of it. Unfortunately, from what I've seen, defenders often move directly into the workshop instead of supporting the siege engines bombing it. This usually causes the defenders to take control of the workshop and prevents it from being destroyed. As a result when the attackers respawn they can easily retake the workshop and resume launching attacks close to the fortress.

There's no longer any reason to have aoe classes in the Orb room since its instant clickable. In general with the new patch there's more reasons for defenders to be fighting outside of the fortress. Basically once the attackers are in the inner courtyard the keep doors are so weak that the game is practically over.

The side walls will take longer to destroy and it should be harder to suicide attack the cannons on them. Walls should probably only be a target when there's no defenders outside to prevent attacks on the cannons. It doesn't seem like you can simply ignore defenders and quickly destroy the cannons anymore.

The front gates are weak compared to the walls now and should be a priority. The increased health on vehicles means they should be able to approaching the front gates and get a couple ram attacks off before being destroyed. Standing back and firing from a distance should only be done when firing in a tower's blindspot.

I think catapults are less useful to attackers now since demolishers and siege engines have more health. It used to be a problem getting vehicles into ramming distance and catapults helped defend the slower moving vehicles as they got into place. Now with the increased hitpoints I think there's less reason to bring catapults into the fray unless there are large groups of defenders outside the walls.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tips for Twinking

I'm not sure if it's a sign that I'm getting bored with Wrath of the Lich King, but I started twinking out a druid that I've had sitting around on my account forever. I don't know exactly why I decided to start playing low level characters again, but it probably has something to do with the hundreds of stone keeper's shards burning a hole in my wallet. The new account bound gear has decent stats even at level 1 and makes it fun to start all over again with a new class. Of course by fun, I mean that you're completely overpowered and just face stomp everything in your path. Its very therapeutic to visit areas that terrorized my early characters and then lay waste to the surrounding area.

Blizzard showed some intelligence when they designed the new account bound gear. Players can either buy PvE gear using emblems of heroism or PvP gear with the stone keeper's shards. If you want to do the specialized low level battlegrounds then the PvP gear is the way to go. Just keep your eyes open for when your faction controls Lake Wintergrasp and then join a heroic dungeon group. Certain dungeons like The Nexus, The Old Kingdom, and Gundrak have five bosses on heroic and are perfect for quickly getting shards and emblems for both sets of gear. If you just want to level your character then make sure to grab the daily heroic quest each day from Violet Hold for two extra emblems. Personally, I used a combination of both so I could quickly get my character ready.

Basic Account Bound Equipment
Weapon: Both PvP and PvE versions
Shoulders: Both PvP and PvE versions
Trinket: Just a PvE version with spellpower or attack power

If you're playing a caster just be warned that the PvP staff seems a little bit more expensive to buy at 325 stone keeper's shards while the PvE version was only 65 emblems of heroism. If you really want to go overboard then you can track down some of the old ways to enchant items that didn't have level restrictions. One of my friends found out that the Zul'gurub shoulder enchants can be done on an account bound item with restricting it. Using a newer method like the aldor/scryer enchants prevent it from being worn by lower level characters. I'm not sure if this will be changed in a future patch since it does require you to have a character exalted with Zandalar. At the moment as long as the method of enchanting or improving the item doesn't have a level restriction then it shouldn't mess with the eligibility of lower level characters to wear it.

Also some of the enchanter recipes can still be done on low level gear. The only problem is that a lot of the low level materials are expensive or missing from the auction house. I think Tobold is right and too many enchanters switched to inscription and now we have a dearth of dis-enchanters in the game. I know on my server the greater planar essences sell for 10gp more then the greater cosmic essences because of low supply. Still any enchant that increases hitpoints or stamina is worth the cost of buying hard to find materials. Just remember that if you are planing on leveling your character instead of playing battlegrounds then its best not to spend too much. The pace of leveling is much quicker and normal enchanted items quickly become obsolete unlike the account bound items.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

PvP gear less vital in WotLK

The group of friends I play with has pretty much mastered the heroic dungeons in Wrath of the Lich King. We haven't yet finished all the achievements, but we've put a healthy dent into the list so far. As a result of all the heroic runs we find our characters maxed out on gear and emblems of heroism. We're trying to get into the ten man raids, but trying to get more then seven friends on at the same time is like herding cats. While waiting to get a working raiding group set up I tried out some PvP over the weekend. During the Burning Crusade I mostly focused on arenas and battlegrounds and got most of my gear upgrades from these activities. Imagine my surprise then when I found out the PvP rewards in Wrath of the Lich King weren't really upgrades compared to the heroic dungeon gear.

It looks like PvP rewards have been seriously cut in power because of the entire "welfare epics" problem from the Burning Crusade. Raiding in general suffered as a viable end game activity in the last expansion because the rewards for PvP were easy to obtain. Then again raiding had long enjoyed an obsessive focus from Blizzard's developers so I considered it fair turnaround at the time. This expansion though seems to have a more balanced reward system for both end-game activities. The different methods of earning similar quality gear makes it easier to equip your character no matter what you prefer to do. Also it seems that Blizzard has made it so players can effectively compete in arenas in both PvE and PvP gear. This is mainly because of two key changes to stats normally found on PvP gear.

1. Resilience
The developers were trying to put more importance on dealing damage and less on crowd control in this arena season. One way they achieved this was by putting less resilience on gear and making it less effective at preventing damage. So while a massive amount of resilience might help a little bit, it won't make you an indestructible juggernaut anymore

2. Stamina
I was very surprised by the small increase in stamina that most PvP gear has compared to PvE items. There was huge difference in hitpoints in the Burning Crusade depending on if you were wearing PvE or PvP gear. It looks like the developers decided to make that less of a factor in Wrath of the Lich King by making the stamina difference much smaller.

There are a couple other changes in Wrath of the Lich King that help prevent PvP or PvE from gaining the upper hand over the other. The ten man versions of raids make it possible for pick up groups to access higher level items and allows casual raiders to compete with the better geared arena teams. Also the improvements to the arena reward system helps prevents highly ranked players from unfairly keeping their rank by trading wins or smurfing. The only problem I see is in the introduction of new gear. But as long as Blizzard starts a new arena season whenever they introduce a new raid dungeon it should be fine. I do worry that players might be able to gear up too quickly in this expansion by doing a combination of PvP and PvE, but I don't know if this means they will burn out faster.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Relmstein's 2009 Predictions

With everyone making grandiose predictions for 2009 I realized I'm a bit behind the curve since I didn't even bother to make any for 2008. I remember I did say this year would be all about PvP with Wrath of the Lich King, Warhammer, and Age of Conan coming out. But I must say I had no idea that Age of Conan would launch without a basic PvP system and people would only play Warhammer's scenarios. I thought for sure that Wintergrasp would be a pale imitation of a Warhammer keep siege, but I must say I'm having fun except for all the lag. As you can tell if I had made predictions for this year I would probably have been wrong on most of them, with maybe one or two exceptions. Still with so many bloggers putting the reputation of their intuition on the line this year how can I stay out of the fun.

1. No Micro-transaction based game will catch on this year
I get tired about people claiming that micro-transactions are the wave of the future. I just don't see this payment system becoming more widespread when a decent amount of western gamers see the subscription model as having better value. Micro-transactions will continue to enjoy some success in youth oriented games where players don't have access to credit cards. However, I feel that a large amount of gamers leave these games behind as they gain a steady source income and credit cards of their own.

2. At least one non-western MMO will become big in America.
A lot of MMOs last year were subjected to massive advertising campaigns and had problems with being over hyped by their fan base. This created a lot of unrealistic expectations with players and actually hurt the game in the long run. While initial box sales are important, the financial success of MMOs have always depended on establishing a reputation with gamers. I think this year a small foreign game can catch the market by surprise by circumventing the hype machine and allowing players to form their own opinions. EVE Online managed to do this quite well and other games can follow in its footsteps.

3. People will grow tired of Wrath of the Lich King in the summer
Blizzard really did put in a great amount of effort with Wrath of the Lich King and produced their best expansion yet. However, since the development time frame hasn't improved I see this expansion following the same pattern of decline as the Burning Crusade. The initial surge in subscription numbers should stop three months after release and the numbers should start to decrease after six months. Games released after the summer of this year should see a boost in their initial sales. Though we won't see anything like Age of Conan's surprising box sales until a year after Wrath of the Lich King.

4. Blizzard will announce their new MMO this year.
Someone will either spill the beans or kidnap a Blizzard employee to find out the truth. I still have my fingers crossed for a Starcraft MMO, but a new franchise is also very likely. I don't think Blizzard wants to cannibalize the subscription base for World of Warcraft so they are dragging their feet on announcing the new MMO. However, news from last Blizzcon made it clear that several lead developers (Jeff Kaplan) were spending most of their time on the new MMO. This hints that too much work is being done on the game to keep it quiet much longer.

5. The Old Republic will become over hyped
I'm disappointed in how many empty promises have already been made about the game. Bioware might actually mean what they say, but we heard a lot of this stuff before. I think the last three games that came out promised that player actions would really matter and that the game would have an epic storyline. Instead we've gotten mostly static worlds with recycled plot lines. If Bioware just promised to make a game better then Star Wars Galaxies and keep George Lucas away from the project I would be satisfied. Instead I fear the game will be overhyped and suffer the consequences.

6. Warhammer will become the 2nd biggest MMO in the west.
I really don't think Warhammer is dead though it needs some major changes before it becomes the PvP game that was promised to us. In the last patch a lot of things have already been fixed, but no one really cares because of Wrath of the Lich King. If Warhammer just keeps improving itself though it can take advantage of Blizzard's slow development cycle. I wouldn't be surprised if Warhammer surges in the summer this year especially if no new releases make a splash in the market.

7. Champions Online will consume the subscription base for City of Heroes
A large part of the attraction of MMOs is the constant introduction of new content. Unfortunately, for NCSoft this means that Champions Online will have a huge advantage over City of Heroes when it releases this year. Champions Online will have similar gameplay, but will also be filled with new zones, stories, and costumes. While I know the current City of Heroes fanbase is very dedicated I think they will start to desert NCSoft pretty quickly. Of course the future of Cryptic is cryptic because of Atari buying them out so there could be some surprises.

8. The Star Trek film will increase interest in the MMO
The trailer for the movie looked very good and J.J. Abrams is skilled at making great entertainment. This is basically free advertisement for Crytpic and if I were them I would have something to release in conjunction with the movie. I guarantee the web traffic on the games site increases drastically after the movie's release. It might be two years until the game is release, but it's never too early to start building a community around a MMO.

9. SOE will slash games from its all-access pass
SOE will finally have to make a decision to remove some of the older games from its all-access pass. Quite frankly I'm not that impressed with SOE's upcoming lineup of games and think most of them will have to be put on the all-access pass to turn a profit. This will cause the revenue to become a little too spread out and some games will have to be removed from life support. I have a feeling Planetside is the one most in danger.

10. If SOE has a hit, it will be Free Realms
While I'm not a big believer in micro-transaction games I do believe they serve a niche. There are a lot of low income gamers and young gamers dependent on store bought game cards who can't use subscriptions. Most of them are forced to play games like DOMO, Rappelz, and Maple Story. These games are heavily influenced by anime and eastern game design, which doesn't necessarily have universal appeal. There might be decent demand for a micro-transaction game which uses western art and game design. Free Realms could disprove my number one prediction.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ten Things I learned from the Loremaster Achievement

Ever since the achievement system came out I've been working on gaining the Loremaster title bit by bit. I've been playing my current character for quite some time and I thought I was familiar with almost every quest in the game. However, I quickly found out that I was severely mistaken since almost every zone had a few surprises waiting for me. It's really nice to see that I haven't seen everything in the game yet even though I've been playing since launch. I found quests off dead bodies at the bottom of huge ravines and up steep hidden paths. I really would like to put together a guide, but it would probably be a couple hundred pages. Instead I just decided to do a quick overview of the quests, mobs, and trends that stood out the most as I traversed Azeroth, the Outlands, and Northend.

1. Evolution can be Dangerous
I was doing a really annoying quest in Blade's Edge mountains that had me evolving netherdrake eggs for the deranged gnomes in the area. Using some sort of time ray I fast forwarded unhatched eggs into either proto-drakes, whelps or mature netherwings. Imagine my surprise when one of the eggs turned into an elite ?? dragon who started to giving me a speech about being freed from the time in between spaces. After declaring he would now destroy the world I gave him another shot of the time ray which caused him to shout Nooooooooo! and then turn into whelp. I couldn't stop laughing for ten minutes.

2. Ashenvale and Azshara suck more then Stranglethorn Vale
I always wondered why Ashenvale and Azshara were so lightly populated with people. After running and flying across both of them multiple times trying to track down quests, I now have my answer. Both zones are poorly constructed and prevent anyone from traveling in a straight line on the map. Azshara not only has this problem, but also has very few quests and has a lot of unfinished projects. The Forlorn Ridge in the zone was supposed to be another battleground but never got put into the game. Ashenvale got more quests when the Burning Crusade came out, but it's still a nightmare to travel across. Also all the guards in Ashenvale are low level, which attracts a lot of bored gankers from both factions. Overall I now have a couple zones I hate more then Stranglethorn Vale.

3. Blizzard is fascinated with poop
I heard this theory proposed on the wowinsider show and I hate to say that the evidence just keep mounting up in support. I know in Nagrand I had to devle through antelope crap for cherries and the same process repeats itself a couple times in Wrath of the Lich King. In Borean Tundra you have to poison worgs to give them the runs and reclaim microfilm they ate, yuck. And in the Howling Fjord you have to throw firecrackers under bats so you can scare the guano out of them. However, the worst is probably in Grizzly Hills where you actually have to gather the reagents for a laxative since you accidentally swallowed some priceless seeds. To complete the quest you have to use an outhouse which causes loud grunting noises and foul dust clouds to come rolling out. While I appreciate juvenile humour I think Blizzard may be over-using the gag.

4. Critters can Attack
I think Blizzard got tired of critters being the low man on the totem pole in Wrath of the Lich King. I noticed a couple events where they got tired of being pushed around and made a scene worthy of a FOX special. In the Howling Fjord if you try to get the Friend of Fowl achievement by killing 15 turkeys you'll earn a feathery reprisal. Also in the Grizzly Hills you can watch the young deer, Bambina, and his friends wonder around the northern alliance camp. If you watch them long enough you'll see a hunter come out and shoot the mother of Bambina. This isn't the Disney version though since this enrages the deer and it kills the hunter. Made me much more wary of killing critters though I still joined Nessingwary for the big hunt.

5. Doing the newbie quests will earn you multiple achivements.
I knew the easy way to complete the old world achievements was to go back and do the newbie zone quests. What surprised me though was the amount of faction each one gave you. Most of the early quests not only give you reputation with the quest giver, but also with the other alliance/horde races. As a result you can also quickly gain the Ambassador title just by questing in each race's starting zones. The other achievement that I earned almost by accident was the one to gain 50 mounts. Each race has 6-8 mounts and becoming exalted with them greatly reduces the price. To get the last 10 or so you just need to buy a couple of flying mounts and become exalted with one of the Outlands factions with mounts. I suggest the Kurenai since they sell Talbuks for only 50-80gp at exalted.

6. The Fallen Hero of the Horde is Long
There's a infamous quest chain in the old world that comes form a orc ghost located between the Swamp of Sorrows and the Blasted Lands. The chain has about a billion steps but resulted in a trinket and large bag that made it worth doing back when Dire Maul was the newest dungeon in the game. Still since the quest chain runs between both continents its well worth doing if your trying to get the classic loremaster achievement. I just wish it didn't sent you to Azshara, you all know how I feel about that zone. I will say one thing though is that I really appreciate long quest chains that result in a useful item. Northend had a couple ones set up in a similar manner and only required a small group for the last step.

7. Arugal is still tough
One my favorite dungeons in the game is Shadowfang Keep. It's a bit larger then most modern day dungeons, but isn't a sprawling mess like Maraudon or Wailing Caverns. There are a lot of similarities between it and Karazhan including that both are ruled by a mad wizard. The lord of Shadowfang Keep is Arugul who is the creator of the worgen and master of teleporting between hard to reach platforms. Probably trained under Gannon or something. Anyways I was surprised to run into a quest chain in the Grizzly Hills that eventually revealed that Arugul had been revived by Arthas. I was kind of expecting him to be a push over like most of the elite quest mobs, but he actually put up a decent fight. If you find yourself doing the quest chain be careful because once again he's on the top of a tower and surrounded by lots of werewolves.

8. Goblins are Awesome
Hunting down the last quests in Kalimdor would have been impossible without the surprising amount of goblin quest hubs spread throughout the land. And the best thing about goblins is they don't discriminate. Even outside the gates of Ogrimmar I was able to find a goblin willing to let met kill some harpies for him. Also in every goblin quest there's a good chance of at least one explosion happening at any point. I was seriously thinking of giving up on the Kalimdor achievement until I remember the race track in thousand needles. The goblins and gnomes there made it possible finish though it they did send me back and forth between Booty Bay a lot.

9. Every zone has at least one hidden escort mission
As I became desperate to find more quests in each zone I noticed there seemed to be a lot of escort quests I had missed. I know no one likes escort missions, but half of old world ones start with NPCs that are hidden in the middle of nowhere. I can only conclude that even the Blizzard developers hated these quests and really didn't want people finding them since they would probably complain. And there is reason to complain since most of the old world escorts are on timers and are either tuned too fast or way too slow for the quester. Also it seems like most escort NPCs are secretly suicidal and would like nothing more then to take you with them. Thankfully, the design has improved for escort quests lately since most of the newer ones have the NPC following you at the pace you set.

10. The quest quality in the game has really improved.
Azeroth: Quests are repetitive kill and collection types which require lots of travel.
Outlands: Quests are still repetitive, but better positioned to reduce long travel times.
Northend: Quests have little redundant travel and have unique methods of completion.

I would have to say my favorite quests are the ones that require you to travel around in vehicles. It didn't matter if the vehicle was a stealth flying machine in Icecrown or a pissed off storm-giant in Zul'drak, I really enjoyed them. I'm looking forward to seeing how Blizzard expands upon this idea in the future. I'm crossing my fingers for flying PvP zones with vehicles.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Little Big Planet gets a Movie (sort of)

Little Big Planet may not be a MMO, but its provided me with hours of entertainment that I usually only find online. The best part of the game is seeing how other people use common household items to design monsters and animated landscapes. It's like someone took Super Mario Brothers and mixed it with an episode of Fraggle Rock. Anyways while browsing the interwebs I found a short animated movie that the makers of Little Big Planet probably used for inspiration. What's especially neat is that its being made into a full feature film this year and Tim Burton will be producing.

You can see the resemblance between the game and movie main characters.

The original short film actually came out in 2004 and its surprising that I've never heard about it. Then again so many really bad movies win film festival awards that I do tend to ignore them nowadays. Anyways check out the trailer on youtube and tell me what you think. Hopefully, if MMOs ever go the movie route they'll use CGI on scale with this.

Trailer for 9 the Movie

The Original Short Film