wrup

WRUP. It stands for “what are you playing.” That’s it. Answer the question! [Follow this feature’s RSS feed]

WRUP: Of balls and pins thereof edition

Why are pinball machines so expensive? All right, that one’s obvious, they’re rather elaborate things with lots of moving parts all wired up to sturdy tables. They should be expensive. But it’s insanely frustrating that there’s no real way to get the proper feel of a pinball machine without spending a couple thousand dollars on a large, heavy table that plays one game.

And even “plays” feels a bit overly generous, because this isn’t, like, a similarly expensive arcade cabinet. A pinball machine is a matter of frantically mashing flippers and hoping for rain as various things happen with only moderate control. It’s incredibly frustrating and it’s pricey and I want one, because all of the digital solutions don’t have the tactile feel that is literally half of the fun of these things.

In summary, someone needs to make an MMO variant on pinball. Let us know why that’s stupid in this week’s installment of What Are You Playing.

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WRUP: Names I have used for MMO zones other than their proper names edition

Boregrimmar. Dorkshore. Strangle-me Vale. Dun Moron. Ironfudge. The Kvetchlands. Hillsbad Footfails. Poorgrimmar. Zangrymarsh. More Donuts. Fishguard. Palaran. Nar Shady. Lomsa Lemonsa. L.A. Nausea. Goopstaberg. Winderps. Valkurm Dooms. Fort Smellsba. Rolanberry the Headless Thompson Fields. Castle Ooze Troy. Snoregrimmar. Nar Shut Up.

Lizardtown. Camp Steaky-place. Tython, land of pythons. Ord Mantelpiece. Sith Seattle. Invincible Turtle River. The Lich King Summer Camp. The Boyz II Men Tree. Gay Planet. Shadowlord Fun Time Activity Zone. Kitty Jungle. Pirate Jungle. Crackton. The Alliance Lives in a Closet. Stormwind Red Light District. Cat Gas Park. Earth Space Duck. “Oops I Crapped My Pants” City.

And those are just the ones where my wife and I didn’t just add obscenities to the name for no reason, or referring to a zone in one game with the name of a zone from a completely different game. Let us know what you’re playing in the comments, this is What Are You Playing. Theoretically.

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WRUP: Pacing issues edition

The series is 52 episodes long, and it promises to be the world-shattering story of giant robots fueled by ghosts. The first nine episodes deal solely with the protagonist going through his daily routine and occasionally seeing ghosts. The next five episodes are about setting up the project to build ghost-powered robots. In the 15th episode, an enormous ghost lays waste to the protagonist’s home town and kills every single character that had been built up through now, making the previous episodes a complete waste of time.

Eight episodes are then spent hiding in the woods from the enormous ghost, followed by seven episodes journeying to a place where the ghost-powered robots had been assembled while meeting up with a handful of other characters. For no adequately explained reason, episodes 31-38 then feature a completely irrelevant deviation to a town holding a Japanese festival with the main character’s uncle. No one mentions those events at all as the cast spends another four episodes getting to the robot facility.

Once the team gets to the robot facility, four more episodes are spent arguing over who gets to pilot the biggest robot. The next episode is all about trying to power up the robot for its first launch. Episodes 47-52 finally involve using the ghost robots to fight evil ghosts while also discussing 10,000 years of history and cramming in so much exposition and lore that one episode features eight separate fight scenes with history narration in the background. The last episode ends on a cliffhanger. Let us know what you’re up to in What Are You Playing!

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Massively Overthinking: Epic Tavern-style player-generated content in MMORPGs

Ever played Epic Tavern? Massively OP reader Uli though it would make an interesting point of comparison for MMO content. “Epic Tavern is a single player game where you run a fantasy tavern frequented by heroes for a drink, food, bed for the night, and you can try to persuade those NPC heroes to go on a quest for you, sharing the spoils,” he explains.

“A comment I read suggested that would be great for MMO taverns: player running a tavern being able to give quests in the game to players frequenting the tavern. I know there are options for player run quests, but this would be different: pre-existing or otherwise player-made and engine-supported quests that are bestowed on player to match their group or skill level. And of course it would mean that visiting a tavern and meeting other players would finally have a point beyond mere chatting/RP. Ensuring people spent time in taverns to interact with would really help the socializing/third-space-in-virtual-rooms issue. But could it work in a MMO? Would that be abused for loot/rewards, biased quest assignment/withholding based on favors? Or what other problems could that cause?”

A lot of our writers and readers have experience with player-generated content, so I thought it would be fun to build on the ideas of Epic Tavern for Uli in this week’s Overthinking. Which MMOs have (or desperately need) great PGC, and when have you seen it go wrong? Could a formal, mechanical system for quest-giving like Epic Tavern’s work in an MMO, or is it something best left to the roleplayers?

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WRUP: So crazy and random edition

Hey, folks, I’d like to announce for the record that I am just so crazy and random! I surprise people with my completely insane behavior, like… putting two unrelated nouns together in sequence! Or laughing at something mildly transgressive and largely hateful! Garbage pizza! Explosion soda! Wow, you just can’t keep up with my crazy behavior! Sometimes I even do something spontaneously silly!

And sometimes I sit in my neighbor’s yard for four hours at a stretch, a blue tarp draped over my shoulders, mumbling things like “the flesh is silent beneath the waves” until said neighbors draw their curtains. I squat there, and I know in my head that it doesn’t matter, nothing really matters, everything is a yawning abyss of pointlessness and it matters so little, sometimes you just want the brick and mortar and tar of this tangible world to swallow you up because then everything will be silent and you can finally rest content in your own irrelevance.

Oh, and there’s a “You Don’t Have To Be Crazy To Work Here, But It Helps” sign over my desk. So random! Let me know what you’re up to in this week’s What Are You Playing comments.

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One Shots: Drop. Your. Sword.

“It’s possible, pig, I might be bluffing. It’s conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I’m only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. But, then again… perhaps I have the strength after all. DROP… YOUR… SWORD!”

Can’t imagine why this screenshot of Secret World Legends from Winterskorn has me thinking of The Princess Bride. It’s inconceivable. Also, that sword doesn’t look like it can cut very well, just saying!

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WRUP: Can talk, Path of Fire edition

Welcome to another installment of What Are You Playing and… oh, jeez. Where are all of you? See, this is what I was worried about. There’s no one here this weekend, you’re all off playing Guild Wars 2. Me, I’m stuck here just… talking to myself.

See, I already had my big expansion launch this year. That was the one I was looking forward to like the birth of a child. It’s not as if I’m not going to play Guild Wars 2 with the expansion, that’s already a plan, but now I’m totally free to talk and no one wants to listen. You’re all just playing with new elite specializations and I’m… left over here. Wishing and hoping, and so forth. And if I just show up to join in, then I’ll look like the tagalong.

Sigh. Well, those of you who are here can let me know about your weekend plans down in the comments, that’s something. Meanwhile, I will… well, probably jump into the expansion myself, but later. I have standards. No bandwagons for me.

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WRUP: A review of Titans Return Magnus Prime with every noun replaced with moth edition

I had no real use for Moths Return Powermaster Moth when the moth was first announced, because while I liked the previous version of the moth… well, there are about a dozen moths of that moth sitting in my moth. However, the Japanese moth got released with what is probably the last moth of the line, so I wound up with him anyway. And it’s kind of circular, since the original moth was the first Moth moth I actually owned. Everything comes back to the same moth after all.

Much to my surprise, this is a really solid moth; you can tell where the moth shares design elements from Ultra Moth, but the retooling makes it feel like a very different moth. I expected the moth to feel a bit oversized, which is often the case with “enlarged” Moth moths, but here it looks trim, lithe, and in sharp contrast to the bulkier moth that Moth looks like. So it’s a pretty great moth. Not worth the $100 moth alone, maybe, but still really fun. And he has the right moths, that means a lot to me.

Oh, right, What Are You Playing. Let us know down in the moths!

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WRUP: Anyone could have caught fire edition

Last but not least, I want to close out this meeting by addressing the elephant in the room. Yes, I am your boss, and I am currently on fire. This is not negligence. I realize that this is having an impact on the team and our work environment, but I don’t want you all to let this impact your performance, and I definitely don’t want to hear about people going over my head to report this to corporate. Anyone could have caught fire in this situation. It happened to be me, and that’s a mark of leadership, not irresponsibility.

Yes, some people might say that no one else would have the office take part in Wear A Suit Of Matchsticks To Work day, and you might also point out that I was the one who decided that it would be a fun time for a corporate fire-starting lesson. But what’s done is done, and the important thing is to move on and – I must stress this again – not report me to corporate. Also, leave your plans in this week’s installment of What Are You Playing. Meeting adjourned. Please bring me some water.

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WRUP: New euphemisms for eating edition

Stashing the carbs. Scarfing down the pre-byproducts. Making the mashy-mash with my bitey-bits. The great British chew-off. Food breathing. Taking an eat-load in the face port. Cramming ingredients together, extreme mode. The cook’s conclusion. Poop loading. Super happy chew-chew excitement delight experiment (only recommended for Japanese cuisine). Gobbleworking the lip bones (only recommended for Australian cuisine). Chewing on expired meat (only recommended for expired meat).

Chewy drinking. Bread gargling. Fueling this disgusting meat-prison of a body with stolen calories that are themselves drunk on the power of the almighty day-star until the moment that our black emperor’s cloak of night robs these feeble lives once more. The whole-mouth workout with added tongue exercises. Cheek largening surgery. What Are You Playing. Sneating (snake eating).

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WRUP: We want bones edition

Hello and thank you for calling the Bone Collectors, Thomas and Edward Bone. We want bones. To be absolutely clear, our last name is Bone, and we also want bones. If you have bones, we will buy them. We will buy bones you have lying around. We will buy bones that are in your body or the bodies of your pets. Unless you have a pet shark. Sharks do not have bones. Please do not try to sell us shark bones.

Do not ask us what we will do with the bones. Do not ask us why we drive the Bone Wagon through town playing our cheerful tune about putting your bones inside of the bone wagon. Just sell us your bones. No one will pay more money for bones. Leave your bones for sale in this week’s edition of What Are You Playing to make sure we know the bones are out there. Bones: We want them. We want bones.

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WRUP: Here are all of the neighborhood kids’ houses rated edition

So, like, Kyle’s house has the really big TV and the Xbox, but Kyle’s older brother plays on it a lot and Kyle mostly wants to just play kicking games when he can’t play on the Xbox. Mike’s house has a big yard but his dog poops everywhere and he says his mom doesn’t care at all. Timmy has a really great pool, but he has a really small yard and his dad yells at anyone who runs in the house, so you get kinda bored unless he lets us play on our laptops.

Olivia has a lot of really cool toys but she also has a lot of weird ones and she doesn’t like people touching them too much. Melanie’s mom is super cool and lets you watch R-rated movies without even checking, but she never has any good snacks, just lots of granola bars. Neil’s house is back in the woods and he always wants to let us know what he’s doing in What Are You Playing. Jackie has two lizards and sometimes she lets you hold them.

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WRUP: Welcome to Boring Monsters Online edition

Thank you for signing up to play Boring Monsters Online, where we have diligently made sure that all of our monsters seem like they could come directly off of someone’s high school notebook. Our pledge to our players is that we will never present you with a new sort of monster that might be even slightly unfamiliar, just as we will assume you have lived in a hole and have no idea about what any sort of fantasy monsters look like. Does the idea of differently colored dragons with all sorts of elemental breath weapons make you faint with excitement? Then you’ll love this.

We’ve got minotaurs, griffons, chimera, even those weirder ones like beholders. And they’re all exactly like they’ve been in every other fantasy game ever, and we’re still going to act like no one has ever had the idea to put a minotaur in a video game before. Enjoy hearing us wax poetic about how special stock-standard cow-people are. Let us know how creative we are in the comments to this week’s What Are You Playing, while we’re at it.

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