Nullsec Excursions, Twitter Feeds and Haunted Cellars

The utter insanity of my current schedule has kept me from getting much blogging in. I do have a couple of posts in the pipeline, and, shockingly, I did get some actual game play in over the weekend (but more on that in a minute.) Moving forward, I’ve managed to loosen the schedule up a bit, so hopefully I’ll have a bit more free time.

For those readers who keep up with this blog via a feedreader, however, you may not be aware that there’s a Twitter Feed, which has been updated much more often of late with small entries that don’t warrant an actual blog post. So head on over there and follow away if you’re so inclined.

Now, did get a bit of play in over the weekend. For one, in EVE Online, I actually managed to slip into nullsec with no one the wiser, and poked a bit at some rats (which proved to much for the ship I was in to handle.) But it was interesting to fly out there at last.

I also squeezed in some time in LotRO over the weekend. I didn’t make much progress per se, but I did manage to finish off a sheaf of Deeds to the tune of 75 Turbine Points and stick my head into LotRO’s Halloween holiday event.

As a general rule, I’m not a big fan of holiday events. Why go to all the trouble of assembling a cohesive virtual world if you’re just going to force every petty mundane holiday to intrude on it? It’s a snobbish viewpoint, I know, and the popularity of seasonal events attests to how marginal my opinion is on the subject. Plus, I have had fun in a few of them. I adore WoW’s Fire Festival, for example, because it gives a reason for people to flag in the open world, even if they would never otherwise do so. But in general, I don’t much bother with such things.

On something of a lark I checked out LotRO’s Halloween content, and it’s actually pretty awesome. You have the usual array of bobbing-for-apples nonsense, of course, but you also have, for example, new /dance emotes as rewards, which is nice but LotRO already has this kind of thing elsewhere. But the coolest thing is an entire non-combat dungeon that’s basically Bilbo’s Haunted Cellar, and it’s terrific, a haunted house filled with great sound effects, stuff jumping out at you, hobbits running around wearing sheets with ill-placed holes, areas that plunge your screen into darkness, ghosts that clutch at you, and so on. The whole thing is really well-done and enormously better than any other Halloween event I’ve seen.

As far as Turbine Points go, I have yet to buy anything. I did get my mount during my month of VIP on my now-level-28 Guardian, so I don’t have to blow any points on that. But the month is up now and I didn’t have all that many quests sitting in my quest journal from Lone-Lands and the North Downs, so it’s looking like I will be buying a content pack fairly shortly; Evendim, which starts around level 32, is what’s been recommended to me. It’s my eventual goal to pick up all the content packs, but I intend to do that as I need them, and I have enough points right now for one, maybe two depending on what they cost – unless a sale’s coming up, and I have my ear to the ground on that.

What to Call the New Breed of Payment Models/MMOs

I have posted many articles that were written in response to other blog articles or news items. This will be the first one written in response to a Twitter post, this one from Beau Turkey, he of Massively, MMOVoices, Voyages of Vanguard, et al. To wit:

So, what do we call the newer payment models (EQ2X, LotRO, DDO) — blended models? Tiered? My jury is still out how I feel about them.

I and others have been doing all kind of gyrations of nomenclature over this. In my response to Beau’s tweet, I suggested that they be called “Non-Subscription” or “Semi-Subscription” models (and therefore MMOs,) in contrast to traditional subscription-based models, partly because I’m really tired of typing out the word “microtransaction.” But to be honest, this is a bit clumsy, and not much less work. One could shorten it to “Nonsub” or “Semisub”, of course. But the former implies a complete lack of subscription, while the latter implies an exclusion of games which don’t have a sub option.

So I suggest we call them minipay games. It seems to fit, in that it lets you play while paying less than what a traditional subscription would cost. You can pay the sub, or pay more in microtransactions than what a sub would cost, but paying a lesser or “mini” amount doesn’t exclude you. Just as importantly, it’s a very convenient term to use in a discussion.

It’s not airtight terminology, of course. What about EVE Online, which in principle lets an advanced player pay for his or her account with in-game money rather than real-world cash? (Yeah, EVE has come up a lot lately and is likely to continue to, for reasons previously discussed. But it’s not like I don’t have a long history of writing about it.) But I submit this to be a borderline case. So I think I’m going to adopt this terminology from here on out.

Fun Latin Fact of the Day: “To wit” does not come from Latin. It comes down to us from Old English instead.