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MMO MMOnkey: Comparing active attack and auto attack

In the opening sentence of a previous column I compared Age of Conan's active style of combat in which the player must instigate every attack with a keypress to the auto-attack combat common to most MMOs. I characterized auto attack as a go-make-a-cup-of-coffee type of combat which, as one commenter...

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MMO MMOnkey: Why I stopped playing Age of Conan

I like Age of Conan. I like the combat system that demands active engagement rather than the auto-attack, go-make-a-cup-of-coffee style of combat used in so many other MMOs. I enjoy exploring Funcom's recreation of Hyboria with its lush graphics and infinitely varied and "realistic" topography. I...

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MMO MMOnkey: The greed game

Take a look at the world around you. Tell me, why is there so much need? Because of greed. Because of greed. Damien Dempsey, "Celtic Tiger" (From the album Seize the Day) Greed. Countries go to war so that the powerful can take land, gold, oil from the weak, can kill them and take their stuff....

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MMO MMOnkey: What to do when the Age of Conan servers are down

Your Tempest of Set has been set down and your Dark Templar's gone dark. You've really gotten into this whole Conan thing but the Age of Conan servers are down for maintenance. Now what are you going to do? Well, you're sitting at your computer so you could check out the wealth of online forums,...

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MMO MMOnkey: Age of Conan reinvents the early game

Like a damsel in distress, MMO players have been held captive by game openings that have relied heavily, much too heavily, on bounty quests of the "Kill twenty of these and then come back to me" variety. Trapped in chains of tedium, experienced players blitz through early levels to get to the point...

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MMO MMOnkey: The rat Skinner, or negative reinforcement in MMOs

Like the wardens in Everquest 2 or the druids in World of Warcraft, reinforcement in MMOs is not always what it appears to be. In an earlier column we wrote about how positive reinforcement, as defined by behaviorist learning theory, occurs whenever the player receives something beneficial and...

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MMO MMOnkey: MMOs as conditioned learning engines (Part 2)

In a previous column we looked at some of the many ways that game designers use positive reinforcement and reward in MMOs. Positive reinforcement occurs whenever an action is accompanied by or results in something pleasant or enjoyable. When a person is positively reinforced or rewarded they are...

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MMO MMOnkey: MMOs as Conditioned Learning Engines (Part 1)

The behaviorists were like the orcs of psychology. Limited in vision, arrogant, belligerent and intolerant, they ruled the world of scientific psychology with an iron fist from the 1920s through the 1950s. Many of them were very capable scientists, however, and much of their work, especially in...

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MMO MMOnkey: Short Circuiting Social Stereotypes with MMOs

I was playing Lord of the Rings Online one night when a player agreed with something mentioned in general chat by saying "Indeed!" Without rancor or hostility another player laughed at this stilted language and asked whether people really talked like that. Of course the question was answered with a...

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