A gloomy MMO horizon

I'm pretty depressed at the moment. Its not a partuclarly great time to be an MMO addict I have to be honest. With many of the recent AAA MMOs not achieving relative success and the very limited number of new titles coming out over the next year or so completely failing to catch my interest I'm wondering where is everyone?

The MMO is far from competitive. WoW dominates the market, despite the fact that its an old, old game that has lost a lot of what made it a fun enthralling game. (A part of me dies everytime I remember what WoW was like when I first started as opposed to what it has now become.) For many people the expansion is the biggest thing to ever happen to the MMO market, and in all likeliness it will be at least in this year.

SWTOR hasn't interested me in the slightest. Bioware know how to make great single-player games, but the MMO is a really tough nut to crack. I have very little confidence that they will be able to retain the interest of the huge number of people that will undoubtedly play during the first month, but we'll see, there is a long way to go yet.

The MMO market is pretty stale at the moment, but there is one MMO that I am looking forward to: Guild Wars 2. I never played the original but have heard really good things about it. I will definitely be getting the game come launch, but that won't be for a while.

Its enormously frustrating to have a genre that has so much potential and room for a good, popular, new MMO to come and shake it up a little, but none does.
WTB some MMO rivalry, will pay anything

Allods Post Mortem

Allods has blown it. Its dead before it even got out of open beta. At this point, no matter how much Allods gets its game together and fixes all the problems which are turning off players by the masses, there has still been a huge amount of PR damage. Its a pretty incredible case of how many things can be done so wrong in such a short time. People will look back at Allods as that one game who destroyed its potential by its monumental failure at implementing the cash shop.

I'm not jumping on the bandwagon of hate towards this game, just as I didn't jump on the bandwagon of love towards Allods before OB. I made this video a few days after I got into CB1, a fair bit before the blogging community went insane over the game. What can I say about the turn of events? I guess I can only say why I myself left.

I haven't played Allods in over a week. I stopped when I hit level 25, stuck right bang in the middle of the Holy Lands, the infamous PvP spamfest. If I continued to play I would have at least 3 more levels before getting out of the zone. Fairly obviously the problem I had with the zone was indeed the PvP itself. I got into the game early and spent a fair amount of time playing it, but I was far from keeping up with the more dedicated players. As a result at level 25 I was constantly a lower level then the people I met in world PvP.

It got to the point that Holy Lands became a hunting ground for bored 40s. One repeatable rep quest required each side to go right up to the opposing side's PvP base and kill their guards. This obviously was designed to instigate big old PvP battles between the two sides. When I this whole area was a battleground for 40s to run around and faceroll lower levels. No fun at all. What made this so utterly worse was the fact that after getting pwned by the bored powerlevelers you received the gift of FoD.

I'll never understand why the developers thought FoD was a good idea, after they initially claimed that unpaying players would be able to enjoy the game just as much as paying players. That statement is a complete joke now. Allods is not free-to-play it is pay-to-play.

Its the worse thing to have your players being deterred from leveling because they know its only going to get worse at the higher levels. (Fear of Death, which reduces your offensive stats by 25% lasts for 1 hour at 40) Compounding this fear is the fact that 40s are spending all their time participating in PvP where it is much less likely that they will be killed. Instead of being involved in intense end-game PvP everyone is getting put off by FoD.

In summary the cash shop system in Allods Online in my experience is the greatest failure in free-to-play MMO history. Its frustrating because the game had a lot of potential, but even if these problems were cleaned up the playerbase would very likely have diminished enormously, with a vaste number of potential paying players put off forever.

Only thing left is now that I have stopped playing Allods, and given up in dispair and mild disgust of WoW, I don't really have any MMO to play. Any suggestions?

Development of my first logo

So after finishing school last year I have been trying to get some work experience doing some graphic design. A week or more ago a journalist/graphic designer/photographist friend contacted me asking me to create (Amoung other things) a logo for a new piece of farming machinary. I was told that the machinary would be called "Bionic Beaver" so I would have to use Adobe Illustrator to draw up a beaver facing to the right, with evil eyes and woodchips shooting out its bottom.

Straight up it was tough because I had never used Illustrator before, and never drawn a beaver. I also don't have a tablet which would make it much more difficult. However, first off I drew up two rough ideas of the logo on paper before roughing it out in Illustrator. A while later (aka a very very long time of fiddling and erasing) this is what I came up with:

I kept it cartoony and with relatively few colours/lines, don't ask about the pink singlet, it was just what I was asked to do. :P
So I sent that back to my friend who subsequently sent it on to her client. I then received word back that I needed to simplify the picture a LOT. Its funny now because I had drawn the above picture when trying to be relatively simple. (Normally in my drawings I do a lot of shading)
The other point was I had to make everything solid; solid defining lines that flowed. Takign this into consideration I came up with this design:

Once again I sent this design onto my friend. However I got feedback saying the client wanted it to be even more simple, and more angular. I really had no wish to redraw a whole new beaver in Illustrator so I sketched out a bunch of different beavers on some paper:

I showed this to my friend, but she said she wanted even more simple. So I sketched up a few more:

Thsi was getting closer, but before I could show this to my friend she emailed asking me to do its in extreme simplicity. She gave me a couple of examples of what her client was looking for. (Which were much simpler then the above sketch; pure simplicity)

So I started again in Illustrator, coming up with these drawings:

With this, we were almost there. My friend just gave me a couple more suggestions and finally I ended up with the bottom picture in the one below:

So I'm yet to hear from my friend's client, but I'm fairly confident that this is very close to the finished product. It was very tiring doing this, my first logo in a program I had never used before. A definite challenge but I reckoned I learned a huge amount.

This product also might have its own website, so its quite exciting if they end up running with my design. :P
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