Sunday, February 8, 2009

Blogging the Comicon: RVRs and PVPs and PQs, Oh My!

The New York Comicon features any number of panels about comics, but it also has a tremendous amount of content devoted to other industries, including television, film and video games.

While I hear from time to time about different video games, my own personal experience with them pretty much stops circa 1991. So, just for the heck of it I stopped by a panel about Warhammer Online, a Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG) – that is, a game accessed online which allows people from all over the world to interact with (and, to put it bluntly, to kill) each other. From the images presented the world of Warhammer appears to be a fantasy land in the vein of Tolkien and Dungeons and Dragons, with the added bonus of military hardware. I was particularly taken with the shot of an enormous orc-like creature toting a bazooka.

When I entered the room I found that the panel had already begun and that the panelists had decided to speak to the audience while standing on top of their table, which stood on top of a platform. The two had a great thing going on, “Paul”, a Brit, sporting white sunglasses and red sneakers, offering a hysterical non-stop commentary about the things that needed to be fixed in the game and the crazy stuff you’d find in the new version, while “Jeff”, dressed in a more serious button down shirt and dark jeans, responded to complaints and reassured the audience.

Or at least I think that’s what he was doing. To be honest, all I had to go by was his soothing, gentle tones. Other than his repeated refrain, “We’ve heard your concerns and we are addressing them,” I barely understood a single word that he said. I will say there were lots of initials, PQs and PVPs and RVRs and ZIRGs. And a number of concerns. Some people apparently feel that they don’t have enough opportunity to PVP in certain places, and that really concerned him. He wanted people to be able to PVP wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted, and the designers were going to work to make that happen. He’d also heard the complaints that there’s some of weirdness in Tier 3, and so they’ve already increased the speed by 35%-40%. As he put it, “We’re dedicated to make sure that the Tier 3 experience is as good as any other.” The keeps were also getting a big upgrade, bigger ramps, additional ramps, to which someone replied, “Hell, yeah.”

The best line of the event, though, came from a young woman interested in the changes that had been made. I could not see her over the throng of people who had lined up to ask questions, but from the lightly ironic, seasoned tone of her voice I wondered if she was not a gamer but a mother of one. “What are some adjectives you would use to describe the new dungeon?” she asked. Paul said, “Adjectives?” “Yes,” she replied, “Words that describe nouns.”

Reporting live from Von Mythia, this is Urkon Slaymaster, PVP, signing out.

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