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Reader Comments (26)

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 4:10PM Coolit said

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Beau, Whats the best game mmo to play on the ipad. Would love to see Ultima or Shadowbane but until then what should I play? I'm also looking forward to Conquer.

I always look forward to your column.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 4:47PM Beau Hindman said

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@Coolit You're still going to be hard-pressed to find a better one that Star Legends or Pocket Legends. Of course, Illyriad is great for strategy and quick play. I also have a few browser games like Die2Nite and full apps like Order and Chaos Online. Most of my mobile gaming is done through my browser, and usually on my laptop. Next I want to get a pretty basic netbook to see how that does.

Yeh, Conquer will be cool to try!


Beau
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 4:57PM Pingles said

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@Coolit

I subscribed to Order & Chaos online and was blown away by how well they implemented a standard 3D MMO onto the iPad. I never imagined the controls would be so intuitive and effective. In no time I was running across the landscape smacking mobs.

That being said I no longer play because the game has some issues (perhaps they've been patched out -- I haven't followed the game since).

It regularly asks you to quest through PvP areas and other than a general map marker you don't know you've crossed into it until you're flagged. At that point you'll be dead in a few moments from the wandering high-level griefers.

Travel is tiresome. You can port but only over one town. If you want to go back to the main city to train (you HAVE to train there) you will be port-walk-port-walk-port-walk-port'ing for quite a while. I actually just gave up on training.

But as far as the technology goes it's mind-blowing. If they patch up its main problems it will be quite a good MMO.
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 4:11PM nimzy said

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The first thing to come to mind when I think about browser-based games is how absolutely insecure the whole thing is. Adding a layer between your computer and the game (the browser) introduces a whole world of potential vulnerabilities.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 5:21PM bobfish said

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@nimzy

Depends on the technology used, something like Unity for example will communicate directly with the game servers, it doesn't actually use the browser at all other than being a "launcher" for the engine to start from.
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 6:39PM pixledriven said

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@nimzy

That's a hard one, since it depends so very much on the browser you are using, how you use it, and what kind of encryption the game is employing.

Not to mention, do you have anything that's ALREADY on your machine that'll steal your data.

So you're really looking at the same problems that already exist. The people with bad habits will be taking large risks, and the people with good habits shouldn't have a problem.
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 4:24PM dndhatcher said

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Add cloud computing bakc end to a service like Onlive and give it a software app for a front end. You could have a very viable and inexpensive alternative to buying an expensive gaming desktop buying the latest games as they come out. Let some cloud service deal with the hardware and rent games for the couple months you play them.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 4:41PM Seffrid said

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Some may be happy to play kiddies' games like Glitch (check out the website link above if in any doubt over that, look at the avatars and watch the trailer), or basic titles that look like state-of-the-art games on the PC did 20 years ago like Runescape, but frankly I am not and I offer no apologies for that.

I have a desktop PC that represented state-of-the-art hardware barely a year ago, why would I want to do my gaming on an entry level laptop or through a browser (quite apart from the security issues rightly raised by nimzy)?

Beau, you're obviously content to dumb down your gaming, or perhaps you're having to do so for good reasons, but if the future of online gaming lies in the direction of brower-based titles like Glitch rather than hardware-demanding titles like AoC (for all its faults, quite simply the best-looking MMO to date provided you're running it maxed out) then I strongly suspect most of us won't be sticking around.

Correct me if I'm missing something. If there's a secure browser-based equivalent of AoC, LoTRO, EQ2, Eve or even SW:TOR and GW2 as we envisage them then let's hear about it, but I haven't seen any evidence yet that such games exist.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 4:50PM Beau Hindman said

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@Seffrid No, there is not an equivalent of AoC through the browser yet. That's why I said browsers *will be* the content delivery platform of the future.

Surely you've seen technology advance over the years, correct? A basic laptop now is much more powerful than many desktops a few years ago. The trend will continue.

As far as "kiddie" design or look, I can promise you that games like Runescape or Glitch are not only played by kiddies. In fact, my friends list in Glitch now has several dozen people on it...and not one of them is a child.

Beau
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 5:00PM Pingles said

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@Seffrid

What's interesting about your "kiddies" comment is that adults are far more likely to play them rather than the gritty "hardcore" games.

It's the "kiddies" who are playing those "hardcore" games. :)
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 5:34PM (Unverified) said

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@Seffrid

While you may see it as a kiddy game because of its whimsical look, the terms of service for Glitch actually state that the game is not for players under the age of 14, and for 14-17 years only with a guardian. I think this is because the game allows virtual alcohol consumption and simulated drug use, although it could be for any number of reasons.
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 6:07PM Beau Hindman said

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@Seffrid Another important thing about what he said (not to pick on ya man! hehe) was that he mentioned a few titles that probably combined do not have the population of a Runescape, for example. I'd bet that Runescape has all of those games beat by far.

In other words, browser-based is big business. Always has been. Accessibility works, and sells. (Hardware and gameplay.) Also, Runescape is one of the most "hardcore" sandboxes out there.

I usually have a few people giggle when I tell them about playing Runescape or Milmo...but the point of gaming was to celebrate a side of us that is, essentially, a kid. Sure, you can take it seriously.... but I think the adults are always going to be the minority.


Beau
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 9:03PM Raikulxox said

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@Seffrid I lol'ed. Not just at you saying Glitch is a childrens game when 13 years and younger aren't allowed to play (14-17 needs parents permission, even. For good reason), but saying AoC at max beats FFXIV in the best graphics category.
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Posted: Oct 8th 2011 5:11AM Seffrid said

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I'm happy to accept you guys telling me that Glitch has adult themes and is only playable by adults, but why it has to look so childish is beyond me, I've watched more of the trailers since reading the replies to my earlier comment and it just looks so juvenile. Perhaps it's just my old age but nothing would induce me to touch such a game.

As for the graphics of AoC in comparison with FFXIV, I'll be better able to judge that for myself when the latter comes out of beta and I take another look at it, but when I played it when we were all duped into buying it I wasn't overly impressed, it looked nice but nothing special.
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 6:36PM pixledriven said

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I'm curious to see what HTML5 does for mobile gaming. Flash was capable of a great deal. One of the things that has kept me out of most mobile games has been isometric view and limited game play. I've played BSG, though, it is definitely NOT isometric.

I'm not convinced that browser gaming is going to supplant high-end PC's with installed clients any time soon, there's just so much more you can do with that hardware available and a local client (AoC is a great example of this). However, I've also played EQ2 with the streaming client, and it is pretty slick.

Lets see what happens, it should be a fun ride.

Posted: Oct 7th 2011 6:42PM Beau Hindman said

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@pixledriven I think the real question is: have they already taken over large clients and installs? I think they have.

From what I have read, heard, talked about and received, Runescape, Club Penguin and others have many, many more players than most any MMO that is out today. Profits are a lot foggier, but I can assure you millions are being made. So, I think my point is that the shift has already happened, but technology will now catch the graphics up.

Laptops sell more than desktops, last time I checked. :) Of course, desktops are not far behind at all. When we tack in tablets and smartphones.. I think the smaller screen and less bulky choices are winning out.

But yeh, we'll see. I will come back to this article in 5 years.

Beau
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 7:06PM pixledriven said

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@Beau Hindman

Well, arguing population is kind of pointless. Accessibility brings the masses, look at MapleStory. Heck, I could probably run WoW on my Blackberry! =)

I would like to point out, though, that laptop sales include "gaming laptops," which have the same kind of price-tag and hardware power that high-end desktops do. They're just easier to bring to LAN parties, or fit in your tiny college dorm room.
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 7:12PM Beau Hindman said

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@pixledriven True dat. In fact, I was looking at one of those Alienware gaming 11 inchers, but the price point was a bit silly. In fact, the price is another issue. There are probably more potential players out there with hand-me-downs and older laptops than anything more powerful.

I've asked the heads of Kingsisle, makers of Wizard 101 (which is amazingly successful) about accessibility and they literally designed the game to run on minimum hardware. Sure enough, they are huge now. They've even told me before that with each new world or patch they create, they literally try to tamper the systems to leave them the same.

This whole thing is interesting to me because it is asking "What can you do with a little?" The amazing games and uses I have found for my basic laptop are proof of really solid design. So, I don't even want a beefy gaming laptop anyway.... I think this has become an obsession! lol

Great points, guys and gals. :)


Beau
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Posted: Oct 7th 2011 6:55PM PhelimReagh said

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As Runescape players can attest to, running a game in the browser instead of your own proprietary client basically hands your game over to cheaters/ botters/ macroers.

Play Runescape for a while, then you realize that browser-based games aren't the wave of the future at all.

Posted: Oct 8th 2011 5:56AM Seffrid said

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@PhelimReagh

It may also be the case that in time people will realise the same thing about the Cloud. It may turn out to be the most wonderful thing, but a couple of major security scares and people might decide they'd rather go back to storing their private data on their own hardware with direct control over it.

Similarly, social networks are all the rage now but such things tend to go in circles and people may decide in time that they value their privacy and once the novelty has worn off they don't really want to spend their whole day exchanging trivia about their lifestyle with their "friends".

If browser and cloud technology can deliver their true potential while overcoming the security concerns (a major issue with the Cloud because of its immense processing power which can offer criminals the chance to eg decode credit cards in a fraction of the time it would take on a personal computer) then we may have some interesting changes coming, but it's too soon to judge any of this for certain. We're already seeing some Western nations following the Eastern ones in imposing controls on internet use etc in order to restrict criminal use, France being the latest to do so. The internet is a wonderful thing but it is a criminals' charter and further international controls are inevitable.

While some games like Runescape are doing very well away from the traditional MMO platforms that has always been the case and they occupy a different market to the traditional MMOs, for which I think there will always be a healthy demand and for which the alternative platforms won't offer credible support at least for the immediately foreseeable future.
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