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Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Feature - Market Watch (Preview)

Hi boys and girls!

I've been busy this last few months here at Eye On MOGS working on a new feature for you all to play around with. Market Watch is that feature and allows you to take a look at a games economic history (and present) - giving you real-time access to exchange rate information over the past year or so!

When I started this project I realised that there was really only one other site trying to do this kind of thing, but their failing was that the graphs where not updated frequently and you could only look at static pictures when they decided to release them. Enter Market Watch! Market Watch puts you in control and lets you specify which graph you want, what date range, which server and even which other server to compare this to.

Right now Market Watch is a PREVIEW on the cusp of becoming BETA next week. I'm aware there are bugs lurking at the moment, but the system is usable and I wanted to give those of you who take the time to read my rantings a head start on everyone else :)

Check out Market Watch here and please, please send me feedback so I can make this (and Eye On MOGS, and the Blog) even better.

Happy gaming,


Monday, November 20, 2006

Site down time

Hi all,

Unfortunately there were unexpected server problems which took Eye On MOGS down from earlier on today. We're hoping these have now been resolved and the site should be back up and running as usual.

Apologies for the downtime.


Epic and Rare Abilities - Now there's a thing

Sunday 19th November 2006, Eastern Plaguelands

Whilst continuing my now laughably protracted quest to gain the Darkmoon Amulet (I think I'm in month 6 now!), running through the fetid and torn Eastern Plaguelands; slashing my way through Plaguebats, the monotony got he better of me and my mind wandered.

As with previous ideas I have posted here I use WoW as my template, simply because this is the MOG I have most experience of. The ideas put forward are more generally aimed at all MOGs.

Obviously the intention behind my single handed attempts to erradicate Plaguebats from WoW entirely is to gather enough of their juicy eyes to turn in at the Darkmoon Faire for an Epic reward. As I cut down the 100th bat or so of the evening and my mind began to wander I couldn't help but wonder if this obsession over obtaining ever more elaborate gear in WoW was missing a trick.

Why not mix things up a little by including, much like recipie drops, talent/ability drops?

We can all, in WoW at least, customise our characters to a degree by our selections in the talent tree. However we are all able to do this in equal measure, that is we all have the same number of points to spend at the same level.

We also all have the same abilities (for a given class, and assuming you've spent the Gold on learning them). What seperates us in the biggest way (as far as I see), is the gear we wear.

So how about allowing players to stamp that bit more individuality into their characters by providing rare drops from mobs (probably bosses) which give class specific, and perhaps general, abilities. Like quests for Epic or Rare items these abilities would obviously not be easy to obtain - reserved only for those who dedicate the time and/or effort.

You could also impose a level bracket outside of which these abilities where unavailable. So if you were to decide between level 40 and 45 you didn't have the time to get the level 40 ability for your class, this would be lost to you forever. So even at 60 players of the same class would not necessarily have the same abilities.

I suppose WoW begins to implement this kind of idea by providing buffs for completing epic quests such as handing in Onyxia's head - but these are short lived.

That's just my 2 cents of course. What are your thoughts? Once again do other MOGs implement this kind of system already?

Monday, November 06, 2006

New WoW Servers

Two posts in one day! Cool.

Ok I've been tardy with WoW server updates lately, sorry for this. I guess I've been busy with other things...

Anyway I've just added the following World of Warcraft servers to the lists and as always will be adding listings for these over the next 24-48 hours.

Alonsus, Zul'Jin, Lightbringer

Darrowmere, Dath Remar, Blackrock Raiders

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this server update and to every else who has contributed in the past. Keep them coming, it's only your poking and prodding that gets me into gear :)


PS There were a few other submissions but these are actaully already on the list. A big culprit of confusion seems to be the Venture Co. servers. We list them as The Venture Co., so make sure you check under 'T' not 'V'! ;)

Live4Game & FFXI

Hi guys and dolls,

Just a quick note about Live4Games' FFXI listings.

There seems to be a problem with the prices listed on Live4Games site for all FFXI servers (I'm not aware of it for their other games), which is being transfered to Eye On MOGS. So we've got listings for $999.99! Obviously something has gone wrong with this portion of their business and I have been in touch about this (currently awaiting a reply).

In the meantime I am going to remove Live4Games FFXI listings, just so there is no confusion. Hopefully they will be back with us soon.

Sorry for any inconvenience caused and happy gaming!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Virtual economy tax ‘would be a mistake’

From Reuters:

By Adam Reuters

SECOND LIFE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - The head of a U.S. congressional committee said it “would be a mistake” if the Internal Revenue Service introduced regulations to tax virtual economies such as Second Life and World of Warcraft.

Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ), chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, confirmed an earlier Reuters report that the committee was studying the public policy and tax issues related to virtual economies.

“There is a concern that the IRS might step forward with regulations that start taxing transactions that occur within virtual economies. This, I believe, would be a mistake,” Saxton said in a statement released on Tuesday.

“Clearly, virtual economies represent an area where technology has outpaced the law. The goal of the forthcoming JEC study is to help lawmakers understand the issues involved and head off any premature attempt to impose a tax on virtual economies,” he said.

Saxton added that under current law, if a transaction takes place solely within a virtual world there is no “taxable event.”

Dan Miller, chief economist for the Joint Economic Committee, told Reuters earlier this week that the committee’s study would start “with a blank slate” and be completed by the end of the year.

Saxton is running for re-election against the similarly-named Democratic challenger Jim Sexton. The incumbent’s motto, seen on bumper stickers and lawn signs, is “Jim Saxton gets an ‘A.’”

God NPCs are Boring

Don't you think?

I was contemplating this on the way back from work today. NPCs, in the World of Warcraft at least, as pretty uninteresting folk. Sure they provide you with quests for this and that, and on occasion you can build a bit of a back-story - but my gripe is this: They're always in the same place, they always give up the same quests, rewards and say the same things.

Now, Ok, you need a certain level of consitancy within a game in order to develop paths through which a player can progress which, while challenging, are none-the-less fathomable and achievable.

But I'm sure there is room for MMOGs to develop their NPCs a little further.

How about this. Devise a system whereby NPCs are given a personality of sorts, a set of rules which defines what they like and dislike, their moral persuasion and the solidity of their alligence. NPCs should be able to interact with one another and develop 'relationships' based on the rules each NPC has, so for example Jack Swashbuckler might get on well with Joe Pirate, but not so well with Johnny Copper, unless of course Johnny Copper's view on the law is prone to persuasion.

What I'm getting at is couldn't you have a system whereby NPCs are able to change over time, based on the experiences around them and their interactions with both players and other NPCs. Perhaps an NPC will give you a slightly better reward or more guideance if you 'hit it off'.

Also NPCs sit in the same place all the time. Why can't NPCs have, at least limited, mobility? Again you could tie this in with NPCs forming relationships such that when a player comes to try to find the NPC to hand in a quest he's advised by another NPC 'Well, its 8pm on a Friday so Jack will probably be with Joe in the Drown ur Sorrow tavern.' A little more interesting than the hard and fast responses you get currently.

Throw in a little NLP (natural language processing) and I'll bet you could even get some variety in the way NPCs talked to you, even if the general message was the same.

Because such a system would feed from players actions and NPCs 'random' interactions with one another you would probably also find that each server for a game would have it's own unique environment with NPCs personalities differing, locations varying etc.

While I'm sure there are questions of game design and AI restrictions that I have glossed over here I still think this would be an interesting avenue to follow. WoW is a fantastically immersive game as it is, but an MMO with a little more variety and characters to interact with rather than wooden extras, I think, would suck the player in more.

Whether that is a good thing or not is another debate!

Any thoughts? Do you know of any games/MOGs that try to do this, or why they shouldn't/don't?

Service Outage

Hello all,

Unfortunately our hosting provider seems to have suffered an outage today, looking at the traffic stats it seems to have hit us around 6am GMT. Sad to say it is not just Eye On MOGS that has been affected.

Apologies for the inconvenience, obviously we will be back us as soon as possible.

I am not sure how this outage will affect the spider, as it will have been interrupted about 75% through its run. We will have to wait and see on that one.

If the update is compromised I will start another update immediately.