Posts Tagged ‘Appreciation’

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DAW: Funcom

March 28, 2013
shout out

Shout-out to Funcom

Outstanding. Apparently, my blog’s revival has serendipitously coincided with DAW, or Developer Appreciation Week. This is good, because I would have been loath to miss out on this tradition. Let’s all take part in sharing the love! Originally the brainchild of Scarybooster, DAW is a chance for gamers and bloggers everywhere to show our appreciation for developers, and thank them for their hard work in bringing us the games we enjoy.

Anyway, there are so many devs that deserve a pat on the back, but this year I would like to dedicate my DAW post to Funcom and the team who brings us The Secret World (and I’m not the only one).

TSW enchanted me from the outset to become the biggest and most pleasant gaming surprise for me in 2012. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was expecting at first, but it certainly wasn’t something I anticipated playing past the first 30 days. I think I bought the game out of curiosity more than anything. It was meant to be an MMO to dabble away in for a while, a summer distraction and not much more.

Fast forward almost nine months later, and I am still playing. More importantly, I am still having a blast.

Of course, Funcom has had its struggles and TSW has not been free of issues, but I’d like to think I know a gem when I see one. The guild I am in has even set up weekly sessions to play TSW together, and I have to say that week after week it still never fails to entertain me, to shock me, to make me shake my head and say to myself, “Damn, this game is bloody brilliant.”

So, to the good folks working on TSW, keep up the good work. You have in me a loyal subscriber who does not at all mind her money going to support the likes of creepy Innsmouth Academy occult headmasters or rifle-dancing Marya. Thank you for your ingenuity, for having the guts to push the envelope, and for making one hell of a unique MMO.

Good times:

werewolf

darkness war

Hell Fallen

cat god

templars

 

 

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DAW: Community Managers

April 11, 2012

Earlier this week, I was talking to my brother on the phone, just chatting and asking after his life up in Toronto, and he told me he was applying for a position at a video game company. Of course, I wished him luck. He then proceeded to describe the job responsibilities and requirements, one of them being strong knowledge of online forums and familiarity with social media tools like Twitter and Facebook. My first reaction: “Oh dear merciful God, you wouldn’t have to deal with the community, would you?”

Can you blame me? I mean, don’t get me wrong; these days, I think we’re very fortunate to have a bigger voice and so many avenues of communication with game companies and developers. On the whole, I feel this has been great for both sides.

But you know…we gamers can also be a pretty hard bunch to please.

Over the last two years of blogging, I’ve followed the news of many game launches with interest, and always, my first thought when picking my way through the zillions of rage-filled posts on official forums and Twitter feeds is, “Daaamn, I really don’t envy the community managers!” And especially not those involved with MMOs. Thankfully (or hopefully), much of the abuse appears to stem from a small minority of the fanbase. But some of it still makes me literally cringe in my seat to read. Honestly, I really don’t know how CMs manage to do their job and stay sane at the same time.

So this year for Developer Appreciation Week, I’m going to do something different. For the last two years that I did DAW, I gave my thanks and kudos to the development teams for the MMOs I’ve enjoyed over the last twelve months (along with plenty of mental hugs). But this year, because of time constraints — but also because I truly believe that as a group they deserve my utmost thanks from the bottom of my heart — I want to express my appreciation for the hard-working men and women who work in MMO community management.

So to all the community managers of the wonderful MMOs I play and love: I thank you for your dedication and your social interaction with the community, for your work in providing us with the news we want and relaying information to creators, and for coming up with new and fun ways for us to enjoy awesome games with our friends. And because I know I’m not above bitching and complaining every once in a while, I also thank you for putting up with the likes of me. Here’s to another year of DAW!

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Developer Appreciation Week (DAW): Saying My Thanks!

March 21, 2011

Last year, Scarybooster came up with a concept — one that I would love to see become a tradition — called Developer Appreciation Week (DAW) where for one week, gamers put aside all their criticism, gripes, and general negativity to show our devs some love.

I thought this was a wonderful idea. I mean, we all play the games we do for a reason, right? We play them because we like them, and because we find things we enjoy about them, and because they are fun. But too often when I look around the blogosphere, these reasons are overshadowed by even the smallest grievances and complaints. So how great would it be that for one week, we get to bury all that for a change, and just focus on the good things? To lavish praise where it is due? To be given leave to be as big a fanboy/fangirl as you please?

Last year I participated in DAW with a post that thanked entire teams and companies for making the MMOs I have enjoyed over the last twelve months, and I think I will continue with that format today. It’s too difficult for me to even pick one creative team to focus on, let alone an individual person! As Scary himself says, it is such a hard process to find a specific developer to praise because each of them deserves it. It takes a team to make a game, and they’ve all done such great work in my eyes.

To Funcom and the Age of Conan team – Thank you. Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into improving AoC and for the Rise of the Godslayer expansion released last year. You brought to life the breathtaking world of Khitai and gave me the chance — even if it was only for a brief time — to experience the meaning of true beauty in an MMO. To this day, the time I spent in AoC remains one of my most immersive experiences. To Funcom, keep up the good work and I look forward to The Secret World.

To Cryptic and the Champions Online and Star Trek Online teams – Thank you. Thank you for being the company that works its butt off. Cryptic will always have a special place in my heart, for all the great memories their MMOs have given me and continues to give me every day. In making Champions free-to-play, I was able to jump right back into a game I never truly really wanted to leave in the first place (technical difficulties) and I never realized how much more fun it was in that game to play with other people. F2P makes that easy — I look forward to fighting villains with my friends Blue Kae, Talyn, Oakstout and others again soon.

To Daniel Stahl and the hardworking men and women developing STO, the good things I want to say can probably fill a book. I was so happy to be part of their one-year anniversary in-game celebrations. The game has had its ups and downs, that is true…but I have seen much passion and effort in the past year reflected in the updates and Q&As, and you listen to your fans, which I respect immensely. I still feel this game is one of the more underrated ones on the market; issues with ground combat and complaints about the awkwardness of ship maneuvering abound, but rarely have I seen real praise for what I truly believe is a unique and innovative crew system. And no appreciation post would be complete without a nod to their Feature Episodes — I am eagerly awaiting the next arc, as my weekends feel a little more empty now without them.

To ArenaNet and the Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 teams – Thank you. Thank you for daring to be different, and for giving gamers the gift of more choice — from offering us subscription-free business models to other innovative approaches in online gaming. I was glad for my opportunity to delve into Guild Wars this last year, and I am eagerly awaiting to see what Guild Wars 2 will bring. It is hard not to get excited, when each piece of news or information that comes out is filled to the brim with creativity and interesting ideas.

To Turbine and the Lord of the Rings Online team – Thank you. Thank you for giving me a home in Middle Earth and for the months of joy LOTRO has given me this past year. I’ve always thought of the game as my “MMO spa”, a place to which I can escape for a relaxing game session — and going free-to-play did not change that. My compliments to the developers, who have worked so hard in ensuring that when I log into LOTRO, I feel as if I’m entering a different world. They’ve done so much in creating an immersive experience and fostering a fantastic community, I can’t help but repeat a thought I had last year — that if J.R.R. Tolkien was alive to play the game today, I think he would be damn proud.

To Blizzard and the World of Warcraft team – Thank you. Thank you for still being willing to take risks even after more than six years of success. Despite what others may say, I did think Cataclysm was a gutsy move. I know I’ve complained enough times about my disdain for WoW endgame, but have rarely ever talked what I did like about the expansion — questing and leveling. Yes, I know I say that about practically every MMO I play, but the new quests in Cataclysm were really something. Even if it was only five levels, I personally enjoyed them for what they were. Questing my way through each zone was like working my way through a storybook, and for the first time in years, I actually felt interested and excited about what WoW quest text had to say again.

To BioWare and BioWare Austin – Thank you. Thank you for advocating a bigger focus on lore and character, for pushing the boundaries of video game writing, and for putting story first. Thank you for making groundbreaking RPGs in recent years like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and delighting me with choices, consequences, and interactions with the game environment and NPCs in ways I’ve never imagined. Thank you for the desire to bring those elements to MMOs. To the Star Wars: The Old Republic team, I appreciate all the weekly updates on the game, even the Fan Fridays and the tiniest lore reveals. Not too many companies do that for their fans.

To Trion and the Rift team – Thank you. Thank you for releasing a complete and polished MMO. And the more I play Rift, the more I find to like about it — from rifting to artifact collecting, from the soul system to running dungeons with my guild. I’ve seen for months people saying Rift is a fun game, but that Trion hasn’t really made any huge breakthroughs or done anything that new — but I tend to disagree. For one, the devs have bent over backwards in some cases to listen to their players. Yet they’ve also stuck to their goals, to bring about their vision for the game. And finally, they made full use of the beta process and managed to pull off an incredibly smooth launch. I feel Trion has in fact managed to do something very few MMO companies have done before. I know it’s a different argument, but it counts for something.

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Glad I Gave It A Second Chance

May 11, 2010

I threw myself into a new commission this morning and afternoon, trying to keep busy with work. But now I am officially HYPED for Age of Conan’s Rise of the Godslayer.

And now that 4pm EST has rolled around, the great Glen “Famine” Swan has spoken — 4 more hours of downtime (Edit: And again)! Can’t say I didn’t see that coming, it’s a new release day after all. We’re not new to this. But even if something unexpected (expected?) happens and the community explodes with rage, I still think that Funcom really deserves a pat on the back. Remember, even Scarybooster says there’s no need to wait for one specific week out of the year to give a developer our thanks, credit should be given wherever and whenever it’s due. And I feel like hurling one out right now.

Of course I’d love for the expansion launch to go smoothly. But I gotta say, even if RotGs causes the AoC servers to implode and no one gets to play on launch day, I have to give Funcom its props. Despite a disappointing release back in 2008 and the cries of “Failcom” that followed, the developers did not give up on AoC’s great potential. They cared enough to improve it, and I think their hard work has paid off. The last three months since coming back to this game have certainly been enjoyable for me, and I can’t believe I’m here tonight waiting for its expansion. Who’d a thunk it?

Second chances are rarely afforded to the online game industry these days, and that so many players have either picked up AoC or are returning to it now speaks volumes of the work Funcom has put into the game. While I’ll admit you guys are killing me with this extended downtime, I’m in no way angry, upset or disappointed. Impatient? Okay, I’ll give you that. Excited? Yes, most definitely! So wth this post, I’d just like to say, “Thank you, Funcom, and all the best.”

(Besides, I’m still trying to figure out what class to roll for my Khitan. At least I’ve narrowed it down a little.)

Guardian
Dark Templar

Bear Shaman

Assassin
Ranger

Demonologist

Herald of Xotli
Necromancer

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DAW: My Dev Appreciation Post

March 24, 2010

A toast...to game devs everywhere!

Following in the footsteps of others, I’ve decided to participate in Developer Appreciation Week with my own post to honor the people behind the games we love. DAW is originally the brainchild of Scarybooster, who is showing his thanks by spotlighting a developer for every day of this week. It’s a nice breath of fresh air to see something positive like this, and I loved the idea as soon as I saw it. Game developers get dumped on too much these days; instead of complaining, it’s time to turn that around and tell these hardworking folks that you appreciate them and everything they’ve accomplished. Blue Kae and others have already done it, now I’m going to do it too! It’s not too late to join in the fun, simply pick a day to post and share your gratitude for something great you feel a developer has done.

For myself, I have a lot to be thankful for from a lot of developers. Some bloggers are showcasing individuals, but it’s hard enough for me to pick just one creative team, let alone a single person! It’s been a great year of gaming, after all. However, I really liked the format Scarybooster used in an earlier post, so I think I’m going to adopt it for my own use here. This way, I can also thank the entire crew for bringing me the games I have enjoyed over the last twelve months.

So, here we go!

1. Aion team: You guys have one of the most beautiful looking games out there, and while I don’t play anymore, my mind is still filled with many wonderful memories from the two months that I did. You guys gave me a chance to soar over Atreia, and I thank you.

2. Funcom team: Wow, you guys are awesome! Thanks for all the hard work you’ve put into Age of Conan since launch, it really shows. I recently resubbed after more than a year of being away, and I have to say I’m impressed with all the improvements. Keep up the great work and I’m looking forward to seeing what you guys can come up with in The Secret World.

3. Allods Online team: You guys were my first free-to-play experience and I still remember being completely floored by the excellent quality of your game. Thank you for the fun times and I’m definitely keeping the game around because I just know I’ll be back very soon.

4. Cryptic team: I want to show you guys some extra love because it seems like all you get is hate these days, and not all of it is deserved. Yes, you’ve made some harebrained decisions in the past but you guys are always quick to own up to your mistakes, which is becoming more of a rarity in this day and age. I want to thank you first for Champions Online, which was a great game that I think I would have kept playing if my computer hadn’t had stability issues. I also want to thank you for Star Trek Online, which I am still thoroughly enjoying. I want to give credit where it’s due, so let me just say this: space combat — you guys got it right. Considering the constraints, I’m willing to overlook the trivial flaws and enjoy it for the elaborate and entertaining system that it is. It’s obvious you guys work hard, so keep listening to your fans and improving your games, and I wish you all the best!

5. EVE Online team: You guys aren’t afraid to make the game you want to make, and kudos for that. In the end, EVE just wasn’t for me, but I appreciate the time I had with it all the same. Thank you for your unique vision and innovative ideas. You have given thousands of gamers a MMO they can call home.

6. Lord of the Rings Online team: I’ve always wondered what J.R.R. Tolkien would think of your game if he was alive to play it today. And you know what? I think he would be damn proud. Turbine, you guys have brought Middle Earth to life and I thank you for it. I might not be playing LOTRO now, but I’ll be back one day! You guys haven’t seen the last of me!

7. Blizzard team: I can’t thank you guys enough for World of Warcraft. It has given me years of enjoyment, and while I’m taking a break from it now, my reasons for it have nothing to do with the state of the game. I just really wanted to broaden my MMO horizons and see what other games were out there. See you again when Cataclysm hits!

8. Bioware team: Would it be terribly clichéd of me to say something like, “You had me at ‘hello'”? I’ve been a fan since Baldur’s Gate, and while you guys haven’t made an MMO yet, I’m liking what I see when it comes to Star Wars: The Old Republic. Thank you for making excellent RPGs. You guys pour your heart and soul into your games, that’s how I know SWTOR will kick ass.