Lie back and link for England

Welcome to Denizens of Xibalba, Cathbadh’s Warhammer Adventure and Spell Damage!

The UK launches its first National Videogame Archive. About time!!! Hrrm, wonder if they want some of my old games…

Virtual Worlds Forum event postponed due to a shooting at the venue. And talking about virtual worlds, both Sony and Microsoft are planning on launching them, Second Life style for their respective consoles.

World of Warcraft praised for educational value – by nature, they mean all MMOs here, they just used WoW as an example. In similar news, the Church says games can be a positive influence!!!

Spore expansion due out in November. It’s called “Cute and Creepy Parts Pack”, digitalspy say they don’t know what’s in it but I think I can guess. Don’t want to be cynical about money-making, but an expansion.. ALREADY?

Tigole posts more about Blizzard’s upcoming plans for WoW PvP: Including the ability to queue from anywhere and earn xp via battlegrounds. That didn’t take long. There have been a lot of blog comments about this — Syp thinks competition is great for gamers, syncaine wonders if borrowing too many ideas can water down the core of a game.

Congrats to The Greenskin for a year of blogging! Inspirational!

Save da Runts lists 10 tips from a tank to the healers.

Gamasutra has an in-depth community analysis of Warhammer Online. The writer has been checking out forums to see how the community is evolving post-launch.

Ever felt awkward about admitting to your non-gamer friends that you spend the evenings playing games? The Brainy Gamer has been thinking about whether our culture has a taboo about adults playing frivolous games.

We expect to have more Blizzcon links next week, but here’s one to start. Diablo III will be playable (presumably as a demo) at Blizzcon. And they announce one of the other classes: the wizard. Oh, it has frost nova and magic missile, be still my beating heart. Sorceress fans should be pleased. Here’s the trailer.

Elitist Jerks have an amusing thread on how to think of a good guild name. Also lots of thoughts there on how to reach a consensus with your guild and what your guild name says about you. I love the idea of naming them like Iain M Banks’ ships, wish I’d thought of that. “Of course I still love you” would be an ace guildname. (GCU Arbitrary – no comment, they found where I steal usernames from – arbitrary!)

What’s it like to launch in a recession?

For better or for worse, the world economy is in downturn, with the US and UK particularly hit. And many pundits predict this may be just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, it hasn’t escaped anyone’s notice that we seem to be on  the start of a recession, if not worse. Banks are tumbling and the after-effects are being felt throughout our economies. So much for credit default swaps.

And Warhammer Online has just launched. Will the economic problems have a knock-on effect? I suppose we’ll never truly know.

Before my first MMO, I blathered on about how I would *never* pay a monthly fee for a computer game. It seemed so.. unintuitive compared with what had gone on in my life before. Pay for a game I could play for many hours and over and over again if I wanted, or use MUSHes for my RP kick – which were free to play. But then I got hooked to Dark Age of Camelot and began to appreciate that spending under £10/month on something I played for multiple hours each day was actually pretty good financial sense.

I feel the same way now, with WAR’s costs and financial pressure hitting people elsewhere. It’s £9/month for something that will keep you enthralled and entertained (or even hopping mad). That’s 1.5 trips to the cinema at my local. 1 trip if you live in parts of London. Or.. a few pints, 2 packets of cigarettes. And it has no associated costs, other than the existence of a PC good enough to play it, and the cost of the original box. It actually ends up saving money, because my time is tied up when I might want to go out and do other stuff.

However, if I were economising and I looked around at my monthly spends, I imagine that little £9/month would be a tempting target. After all, I have a bunch of games on my computer I’ve never played, or didn’t get very far through. They’d entertain me. It seems to be such an innocuous figure that I could live without, and can be resubbed to at any time. So there is some pressure there.

There’s been quite a few stories about how videogames are recession-proof recently. Historically, apparently, entertainment factors well in times of economic gloom. There was a boom in the cinemas in ’30s America, for example. Seeking Alpha calculates the average non-MMO game represents entertainment value of around 60 cents per hour compared with DVD rental at $2/hour and is thus well-placed to actually withstand any recession. He’s talking about stand-alone games for consoles or PCs, but if I was to calculate my hours played so far in Warhammer Online and extrapolate I can guarantee it would be a much lower figure than 60 cents for an hour’s play.

So, I think there won’t be too much fallout from economic factors just yet. And I’d argue that actually at the start of a recession, if you have a computer that can run it and you like it it’s a good way to spend those entertainment pounds and really, if you do need to look at economising and the subscription comes up in discussion – work out how many hours you spend playing and think what you’d be doing otherwise.