Where the Heck I’ve Been

It occurred to me when looking at my recent (well, not really recent) blog posts that I pretty much disappeared from the face of the earth for the 2nd half of 2016 and didn’t address it here.

We had some major issues come up IRL related to heath and housing and had to move several times during that time. It was super stressful and exhausting, and for many months we were too busy sorting through personal concerns while I kept up with my product management day job for me to play online games, let alone blog or YouTube about them in my free time. Those 6 months were by far the worst period in our lives.

Thankfully, things have been getting better. We moved into a new place in late December, and while there are a couple issues we’re still working through, we’re settling in and life is returning to a semblance of normalcy.

In terms of gaming, some folks have asked which MMORPGs I’m going to play. To be honest, I haven’t had the time to keep up with MMORPG space, aside from dropping by massivelyop.com every few weeks. I know Camelot Unchained and Crowfall are coming, and I’ve heard good things about both, but I haven’t yet checked out either meaningfully. To some extent I’m also burned out of early Betas as we have seen so many games flop after launch – just tell me when the game is launching or moving to “Open” Beta and I’ll play it, and if it’s a good game hopefully enough people will stick with it so that there’s critical mass.

In the meanwhile, I’m continuing to play World of Tanks, which for a variety of reasons (it’s fun, it has a high skill cap, and it has a large active population) has been one of the only games that has managed to sustain my interest over several years (the others being World of Warcraft and to a lesser extent Guild Wars 2). I can add Armored Warfare to the list of online games that I stubbornly continued to play even when it was clear that the population was struggling and not likely to recover meaningfully.

At any rate, I wanted to drop y’all a line and let you know where I’ve been. I hope RL is going well for you!

Posted in Armored Warfare, Blog Musings, Camelot Unchained, Game Design, World of Tanks

RIP Armored Warfare, Road to Unicum is Back

As you may have heard, game publisher Mail.Ru is pulling the plug on Armored Warfare (AW) game developer Obsidian Entertainment (OEI) and taking the development effort in-house.

This is rather unfortunate, as I had a positive impression of OEI and thought they were heading in the right direction with Balance 2.0, which was a major rework of many mechanics, including normalizing damage based on gun caliber and normalizing HP based on size/weight to prevent power creep across tiers, plus positive changes to create better balance among classes.

Mail.Ru doesn’t seem to understand the Western market (EU/NA), so I have no confidence Mail.Ru will meaningfully improve AW.

Beyond that, switching development teams always creates massive churn, partly because the new team doesn’t know the existing code base and architecture intimately, and partly because people always want to change something to fit their particular vision.

I wanted to share two things with you:

  1. My AW clan leader Gatortribe posting an in-depth writeup on what happened with AW. It’s a fascinating read
  2. I went back to World of Tanks (WoT) several weeks ago

The move back to WoT wasn’t based on prescience on my part – I was simply tired of waiting for Balance 2.0 to launch and the PVP and Global Operations queues were not popping in AW due to the pitiful NA population. I went back to WoT to see whether I’d enjoy it.

The short answer is that I’ve found WoT very enjoyable even after playing AW. I think WoT is rife with pay-for-advantage mechanics, but that’s not going to change, and I’ve grown to realize that the vast majority of the community doesn’t care either.

I’m adding to my WoT “Road to Unicum” series, here’s the latest episode:

Posted in Armored Warfare, Game Design, PVP, World of Tanks

Interview with My.com Senior Producer Josh Morris on Armored Warfare at GDC 2016

I sat down with Josh Morris at Game Developers Conference 2016 for an hour to discuss all things Armored Warfare (AW).

Josh is the Senior Producer at My.com and previously worked at Wargaming for three years as NA Producer for World of Tanks (WoT).

We covered a wide range of topics, including tank balance, PVP and PVE evolution, determining how modern tanks should work in-game, and matchmaking. Warning, very long wall-of-text incoming :)

Read more ›

Posted in Armored Warfare, Business Analysis, Game Design, Interview, PVE, PVP

“The Art of Warfare” Guides & Tank Reviews for Armored Warfare

Last updated: 2016 November 8, Patch 0.18.

Following in the footsteps of my “Road to Unicum” series for World of Tanks (WoT), I’ve started a video series called “The Art of Warfare” for the tank shooter Armored Warfare (AW).

In “The Art of Warfare” videos, I discuss the mechanics of various tanks, how I’m reading each PVP battle as it unfolds, and key decisions and mistakes. My hope is that these videos meaningfully help players improve their gameplay.

Taugrim's PVP Stats in Armored Warfare

Read more ›

Posted in Armored Warfare, Guide, PVP, Video, World of Tanks

ArenaNet Executes a Deft Recovery for Heart of Thorns With F2P and Raid Annoucements

ArenaNet (AN) just executed one of the most deft and savvy recoveries I’ve seen in addressing player angst about an upcoming expansion.

In January, AN announced the Heart of Thorns (HoT) expansion for Guild Wars 2 (GW2). There was much rejoicing.

In June, AN announced that HoT would cost the same to purchase for existing players and for new players. There was much outrage – check out the Reddit thread Don’t Pre-Purchase Heart of Thorns. The GW2 community understandably felt unappreciated for their loyalty.

Read more ›

Posted in Business Analysis, Game Design, Guild Wars 2, PVE
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