Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

25 March, 2009

I can’t believe it happened to me…
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 1:16 PM

Dear MMO letters,

I’ve read a lot of the stories about MMO accounts, but I never thought it would happen to me. I was logging on my World of Warcraft account when I saw it…

…a female gnome in her underwear. It was at that point I realized that my account had been violated!

4 March, 2009

The problem with PvP (spoiler: it’s the community)
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 5:35 AM

Over at the official Darkfall blog… wait, I meant Scott Jennings’ site (easy mistake to make these days), he’s been sounding off about the problems surrounding the game’s launch.

If you’ve been living in a cave and don’t know what Darkfall is, it’s the new heir apparent to the MMO PvP throne. That is, if the game can stay online long enough to actually get played. That’s right, once again, it seems like we’re going to get a game that’s full of technical problems that won’t let the design flaws shine through. Although that sounds completely snarky, there’s a kernel of truth in it: I’d love to see a game make some honest mistakes that we could honestly critique, instead of everyone having to look back a decade and talk about Ultima Online or Meridian 59 when we talk about PvP-focused games.

But, the problem is that PvP games suffer from a lot of deeper issues beyond technical instability and insane design decisions. The core problem with these games, in two words: the community.

2 March, 2009

Abandoning hope
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 4:26 AM

Damion pointed out a Kotaku article about Tabula Rasa having a last blowout event. Basically, they’re ending their existence by having a doomsday scenario when the Bane take over.

People are saying it’s kinda neat, but I don’t see it that way. Underneath the bravado, I see it as a sign of people giving up hope. To me, that’s kind of depressing. Given that I’ve been through the shutdown of a game I’ve worked on, I think I have a unique perspective on things.

19 December, 2008

The unreality of our fantasy worlds
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 6:30 PM

I’ve been spending some time thinking about fantasy worlds lately, for lots of reasons. As with a lot of things, I choose to blame Richard Bartle for causing this.

First, he wrote about the now infamous torture quests in WoW. Then he mentioned The Lord of the Rings during his presentation on the Pioneer’s Panel at Living Game Worlds as being an inspiration for creating a coherent fantasy world.

So, read on for some of my thoughts about how well we’ve made coherent worlds in our online games.

8 September, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: Anonymity

One of the best and worst things about the internet is anonymity. On one hand, anonymity allows people to be whistleblowers without putting themselves at risk; however, it also allows people to spread lies without being responsible for the effects.

So, let’s think about this in terms of online games. How does anonymity affect gameplay and metagame issues?

1 June, 2008

Weekend Design Challenge: Ranged vs. close attacks

One common theme in online games is that it’s hard to balanced ranged attacks vs. up-close (usually melee) attacks. In general, one or the other seems to be much more potent.

So, this week, let’s talk about how to balance these two types of attacks.

6 May, 2008

Know your MMO history
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 9:54 PM

A few months ago there was a great post over on Massively about the Visual History of MMORPGs.

You may be surprised to learn that Meridian 59 wasn’t the first MMORPG ever.

30 October, 2007

Podcast interview covering Meridian 59 history
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:38 PM

As I’ve said before, I don’t listen to many podcasts. But, I was asked by the Online Gamers Anthology podcast to do an interview about the history of Meridian 59.

I talk about some things I haven’t even talked about on here, so it might be interesting for people that want to know a bit more about what’s happened in the 9.5 years I’ve been working on M59.

6 April, 2007

A bit of humor: Lord of the Rings in Meridian 59
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 3:03 AM

I wrote this a long time ago in Meridian 59. It’s a bit of humor in the game that I wrote. It answers the oft-unasked question: What would LotR be like in M59?

20 March, 2007

Interview at
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 12:32 PM

The amazing Juuso over at interviewed me a little while ago. It was a fun interview and covered a nice variety of topics.

You can see the full interview at:

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