Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

14 June, 2017

Overflow stats, or what to do about Accuracy
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:52 AM

The big Stormblood expansion for FFXIV is almost upon us. Lots of changes in store, which is interesting and scary both as a developer and a player. Will my favorite class still be my favorite class afterward? Will everyone just be playing the new classes? Will this be a turning point, where the game gets streamlined and the game no longer appeals to me like WoW did?

One mechanic that is going away is Accuracy. This was a secondary stat that increased your chance to hit monsters, particularly important for raid bosses. In fact, it was vitally important to be “accuracy capped” if you wanted to do the hardest raids in FFXIV.

But, the stat had some problems. Let’s take a look at those problems and the problems with other stats like it, as well as some solutions.
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1 April, 2017

Introducing: MMO dating!
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 10:37 AM

Tired of logging on to eHarmony only to find out the people you message can’t pull the minimum DPS to clear A12S? Sick of posting yet another Craiglist ad looking for the love of your life to fund the lifestyle you want in game?

Do I have a deal for you! Introducing: MMO dating!
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10 March, 2017

Series on online anonymity and privacy, part 4
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:13 AM

Last time on this blog, I talked about why it’s futile to try to remove online privacy and anonymity, and why enforcement is nigh impossible in reality. This time, let’s take a look at what we designers can do to address some of the issues that are caused by privacy and anonymity since they are generally worth keeping.

I strongly recommend you go read the previous posts before this one to get the necessary background. Although, it may not be strictly necessary if you’re already a fan of anonymity and privacy.
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9 March, 2017

Series on online anonymity and privacy, part 3
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:32 AM

In my last post, I talked a bit about the harm in removing anonymity and privacy. This post, let’s take a look at why it’s futile to try to remove it, and why enforcement is nigh impossible in reality.

The previous posts provide a lot of context and background for this one, so I recommend you read those first.
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8 March, 2017

Series on online anonymity and privacy, part 2
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 8:14 AM

In my previous post, I took a closer look at what anonymity is and posed a few questions to think about as we discuss this topic further. In this post, I want to talk a bit about U.S. cultural assumptions about privacy and anonymity. Then look at what general harm is done when we remove it from online spaces.
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7 March, 2017

Series on online anonymity and privacy, part 1
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 7:56 AM

Harassment, bullying, abuse. Unfortunately, we didn’t escape these horrible things as we created online spaces. Some people simply aren’t very considerate of others. And because the internet is a communication medium, we see these vile behaviors more frequently since many messages are broadcast to a wide audience.

It makes sense that designers would look for answers to this problem. Since issues like harassment, bullying, and abuse seem to be less frequent in the offline world, people look for ways to make online more like offline One frequent proposal is to remove online anonymity, since this is a feature easily available online but much harder to do offline. The reasoning is that if people can’t hide behind anonymity, they would behave better.

I’m going to take the controversial perspective that anonymity, and it’s related cousin privacy, are too valuable to give up in the futile pursuit of eliminating bad behavior online. This is a series of blog posts that will look into anonymity and privacy in online spaces.
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16 February, 2017

The complicated nature of friendships in MMO
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:00 PM

I’m a big believer in the social fabric of MMOs. The internet was a tremendous communication platform; I was a geeky introverted kid in the Midwest U.S. on a computer talking to people half way around the world when I was in university. As someone who barely traveled, this was mind-expanding. To think I could talk to people all across the world was simply astounding.

MMOs built upon that. People we’d never meet can become close friends. This includes people who might not have a lot of social opportunities offline: people who suffer from anxiety and depression, people who are just massive introverts who can’t handle a lot of in-person interaction, or people who are physically ill can make connections that would have been impossible a few decades ago.

Yet, online designers often overlook this element. In the rush to cater to the established Achiever crowd, or the rush to optimize key performance indicators, we can lose sight that there are people behind the names and dollars we collect. We ignore their emotional well-being and consider relationships as a side-effect of our design. But, let’s take a closer look.
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22 January, 2017

The real endgame? Appearance.
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:17 PM

I made a very good friend in FFXIV last month. She started playing the game with a few friends and happened to see my showy, yet simple, tank glamour. We started talking and she admitted she was a big fan of setting her appearance in MMOs. She was very fond of her WoW transmogs.

Since I’m a crafter, that meant I got a lot of new requests for crafting stuff. Which is fine, as I really like helping out my friends. But, it also got me thinking a bit about appearance systems in games. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
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28 December, 2016

The new year, fear, and Patreon
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:51 PM

It’s almost the new year. Time for a bit of introspection and a different approach to life.

To not bury the lead here: I’ve started a Patreon for my creative work. Click the new banner on my site, or visit my Patreon page to support me.

Let me go into a bit more about why I’m doing this, and why this has been a hard thing for me to do.
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24 December, 2016

The holidays, relationships, and MMOs

Like it or not, it’s now the holiday season. For most people, this is a glad time of year as we get together for feasts to drive away the winter darkness and chill. During this time our minds often turn to families and loved ones. We look for source of warmth to drive off the emotional chill we feel this time of year. Sometimes we find it, sometimes we don’t.

Often I like to take a closer look at things and evaluate them more in depth. Like relationships: How does our perceptions affect them, particularly in the online world? It seems that we fall into regular patterns in our relationships, conforming to society’s expectations of what we should do. But, the culture in the U.S. has a terrible time really defining relationships. Even a meaningful word “love” tend to be dangerously overloaded and fraught with peril. Let’s take a look at this, and maybe think about what it means for Socializers in games.
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