Musing on Old MMOs Going to Steam

The Ancient Gaming Noob

One bit of news that has popped up over the last week or so is that Guild Wars 2 is now available on Steam.

Still a damn fine logo

The immediate benefits are obvious.  This is a press release moment for the game, getting them a few headlines here and there.  The game is now available on what is arguably the most popular internet store front for video games, so the potential audience has grown a bit as it is now findable on Steam.

More exposure, greater access, both wins.

And this is a fairly well trod path for an older MMO… and Guild Wars 2 is turning 10 this weekend, so isn’t it time to start asking for a “classic” server… with titles like EverQuest, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and EVE Online having already blazed that trail.

So something of an obvious move really.

But…

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One D&D To Rule Them All

Real Women of Gaming

Lords, ladies, lads, and lasses, here we go again. It’s difficult as a gamer in my age bracket to not think that a new version of a TTRPG isn’t more than a money grab. That was my initial reaction. I’m still not convinced it isn’t true.

5th Edition D&D came out in 2014. With the 10th anniversary of this edition, and the 50th anniversary of the game as a whole, there will be a lot hype between now and then. Our weird fandom is now considered mainstream. I’ve watched the announcement video and the plans they have for it: Doing away with editions, having their own Virtual Table Top (VTT) using the Unreal engine, and expanding their use of D&D Beyond to include hardbacks alongside the PDFs of new books. The next preorder campaign is priced at $59.99 and is set in the Dragonlance setting.

I don’t blame them. I…

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A Brief History of Nintendo’s Mobile Gaming

Six years ago, Nintendo branched into the world of mobile gaming, utilizing this platform to experiment with a variety of controls and features for their console games. Currently, Nintendo has six downloadable mobile games: Super Mario Run, Fire Emblem Heroes, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, Mario Kart Tour, Dragalia Lost, and Pikmin Bloom.

The company moved to mobile gaming for a variety of reasons. In the last few years, mobile gaming has been a rising platform for video games and generating a lot of revenue because of its accessibility to people. Alongside this reasoning, Nintendo predicted in 2014 that the revenue from consoles such as the DS and Wii U would decline. As a result, mobile gaming would be utilized to make up revenue. Nintendo President Kimishima explained that the platform would allow them to reach a larger number of players and be able to…

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What’s The Player’s Goal?

Roleplay Rescue’s Blog

Roleplaying games famously lack a pre-determined goal. They are open-ended games. The assumption is that you’ll use the rules of the game to adjudicate the events in a World wherein the characters are inhabitants and that this context will suggest some possible goals. The players either choose or accept a goal and off they go to achieve it.

The big question, at least in my experience, circles around the question of who chooses the goal. Most players behave as though they expect the GM to give them one. This might be because most pre-written adventure modules are written with one (or more) objectives spelled out and it’s quite common to go along with the module. The alternative, and my preference, is to choose your own goal.

One of the most interesting elements of The Alexandrian’s focus on game structures was the point about the role played by two key questions:

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The Sultan’s Basement

Dyson's Dodecahedron

Deep in the desert of endless sands rests a grove of rocky outcroppings overlooking a landlocked sea that shrinks each year. Its water is briny to the point that no life exists on or between its shores. But this Salted Sea stretches far across the endless sands and those who sail upon it can fast reach the jungle lands beyond. Because of the strategic value in shortening the trips between the City of Splendours to the north and the Great Library in the City of Mud to the south, there exists a city nestled in the rocky groves overlooking the shore of the Salted Sea. This is the City of Tears, sustained by a single water source.

– Zzarchov Kowolski’s “City of Tears”

The Sultan's Basement
The Sultan’s Basement (300 dpi promo)

Within the abandoned city itself is the church built upon the ruins of the Sultan’s Palace… and beneath that…

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Boss Rush Banter: Which RPGs are ideal for newcomers?

My gaming journey has taken a nice swerve in recent years.

I discovered RPGs for the first time a couple of years ago and it has quickly become my favorite genre in video games. While I’ve fallen in love with the genre, it’s still been a bit of a learning curve.

I grew up on Mario and Legend of Zelda games mostly, although Pokémon was also a popular franchise to me when I was young. Focusing primarily on these types of games made me accustomed to a certain style of gaming.

So when I ventured into the fantasy-heavy worlds of RPGs, I was in for a bit of a shock since the gameplay is so unique. I’ve largey picked it up but still am learning the intricacies as I go.

This leads me to a key question for other players who are interested, but new to the genre: Which RPGs…

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GAMMA WORLD RPG 1st Edition (1978-81): A Visual Guide to Printings

Wayne's Books

The original Gamma World 1e box set had three distinct printings during its 4+ year run. I’ve combed my photo archives for examples of each printing as an aid to collectors.

All my Gamma World for sale in the shop

Just want a classic GW 1st book to play, without paying collector prices? DriveThruRPG has you covered: PDF is $10, and a reprint book $16.


The Books

The printings conveniently spanned the time periods of three different TSR logos:

  • 1st print has the old school TSR Lizard logo
  • 2nd print the Wizard logo
  • 3rd print the Face logo

TSR wasn’t concerned with keeping printings distinct of course. I have seen a 2nd print book in a 1st print box (single owner) for example. Also maps varied a bit. I have identified map types by printings, but I’ve seen plenty of exceptions…

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Top Ten Games of the 2000s

The Game Campaign

The 2000s marked a time of change as developers began to embrace 3D environments fulls, the fads of the ‘90s began to slip away, and online features started to reign supreme.

It was here that I began to explore more of what is important in a game for me, and while some of those tastes have changed over time, the time I spent in these games has helped to define how I perceive games being developed and released today. 

These games focus on how people could play with one another, how immersive games could be, or how narratives could be told. It was a time of refinement where many games received sequels that built off of the games of the past and often with even greater success.

Halo 3

Halo 3

Halo 3 defined what an online shooter could be for me, and while I don’t really play online games…

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Steam Deck Review: Measuring Valve’s Venture into PC Handheld Gaming

The Steam Deck officially launched in February 2022 with pre-orders still backed up through Q4 of this year. It has sat at the top Steam sales for many weeks, proving to be a relatively quiet success story thus far. Valve has also been posting news updates regularly, often citing requests and adjustments to their new handheld hardware.

As a new Steam Deck owner, I toyed around with it for a couple of weeks, filled with curiosity. It is so similar and yet so different to the Nintendo Switch, and I’m here to share my findings. Please note that I purchased the 64 GB version. Valve also sells 256 GB and 512 GB versions which have NVMe SSD.

Steam Deck…

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Ask the Grumpy Wizard: What’s the deal with level recommendations in modules?

Grumpy Wizard

This week I answer reader email!

Michael asks…

I was hoping you could help me with some of these OSR era modules and their level recommendations.

What is the criteria for determining a module’s recommended party member and level listing? If encounters are not balanced is this a subjective thing?

Sometimes we want to run games at a higher level or play an old TSR module. Whether choosing someone else’s module or writing my own how I can determine a reasonable character level and party size?

Any help or recommended reading would be greatly appreciated.

Good question, Michael.

I pinged a designer who worked at TSR back in the olden times and he told me that it was mostly the designer’s intuition. The other gauge that he used was caster levels. If a certain spell or package of spells was needed for the adventurers to tackle a certain location or…

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