Diablo III And The Mysterious Case Of Restricting Content

Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to restrict people who buy the digital version of Diablo III from unlocking full game content for up to seventy two hours. Let’s just look at this again, someone buys the game and then can’t play the game properly. This is a shocking and appalling way of going about business.

Players are unable to get past Act 1 or level 13 until the account restrictions are lifted, these are unintended consequences of the account restrictions according to Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The intended consequences are:

  • No public game access for unverified digital purchasers.
  • No auction house access (real-money or gold) for unverified digital purchasers.
  • Unverified digital purchasers cannot trade items or drop items for other players to receive.
  • Unverified digital purchasers are not able to chat in any public or game channels.
  • Unverified digital purchasers cannot attach a custom message to friend requests, but they can  send/accept friend requests, and play with their friends.
  • Global Play is not available for unverified digital purchasers.

Again let’s consider that this is for people who have purchased the game via digital download, not for people playing a demo of the game.

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Cloud Party Making Waves

Hamlet Au has been breaking the news about Cloud Party, the virtual world in a browser, you can read about it over at New World Notes with articles here and here. Investors in Cloud Party include former Linden, Cory Ondrejka and Cryptic Studio’s ex-CTO Bruce Rogers, so people who know a thing or two.

The first thing I groaned about was that Cloud Party requires a Facebook login. Indeed I didn’t just groan, I sighed, heavily, I may have swore too. However you can sample Cloud Party without a Facebook login, by going here and choosing anonymous login. This will mean you have restricted access, you can’t build for example, but you can at least have a look around. This is a better option than a Facebook only login and I do understand why companies use Facebook logins, it’s easier than developing your own login system but any company worth its salt should develop their own login too, which is why I still find Spotify’s Facebook requirement absurd and I’ll never use their service, or recommend it. The worst part of the Spotify issue is that they did have their own login system, why on earth they went Facebook only for new users will forever remain a mystery, but it’s an idiotic decision.

However back to Cloud Party, it’s an interesting development.

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Kitely v Second Life And Finding A Happy Medium

I think it’s fair to say that Kitely’s pricing model rubs some people up the wrong way. People look at the pricing plans and feel that a metered based world is not a good place to socialise, and perhaps they’re right. Kitely’s pricing plans look like this:

Monthly Plan   Cost    Minutes    KC    Free Worlds

Free Plan              Free       120              0            1

Bronze Plan          $5          1200           300        2

Silver Plan            $20         5000          1000      10

Gold Plan              $50        12000         3000      30

Platinum Plan      $100     Unlimited   5000     100

Now compared to Second Life, this looks both great and bad, depending upon which end of the spectrum you’re coming from. Social users on a premium plan of just USD$72 a year can use Second Life unlimited, have a small plot of land, for free you can use Second Life unlimited anyway. However people who like to build, well the Kitely Silver Plan gives you 10 sims, 100,000 prims each sim, costs less a year than sim in Second Life does for a month and there’s no upfront purchase cost. Ok you haven’t got unlimited access on that plan, but it’s still over eighty hours a month.

Ideally, I can see the Kitely model complimenting Second Life, rather than competing with it.

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SL9B – I Know Nothing

Second Life’s ninth birthday celebrations have kicked off, and I know nothing about them! I’ve not seen any previews or been to visit any of the sims. Work, WoW and Euro 2012 are eating my spare time, although I have time off work so I may get to see some of it!

However, I know a man and woman who do know about SL9B, so if you want to get the skinny on the lowdown, go read:

Inara Pey’s in depth guides to what’s going on.

Crap Mariner’s Performance Schedule, complete with Google Calendar awesomeness so it should update nicely.

Visit the SL9B blog.

I’ve also figured out how to add the events calendar! See below the cut for that.

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Blender 2.64 To Have Second Life Options

I’m seeing Second Life adverts in my Google Adsense stream again, I haven’t noticed these for a while but it looks as if Linden Lab are utilising adsense again in another marketing campaign, which is good to see. However this post is about the forthcoming release of Blender 2.64 and new features that have Second Life in mind.

Gaia Clary, who has been working hard with others to ensure Collada support in Blender is improved and maintained, brings us news on the official forum of new features in Blender 2.64. Collada is the format we use to import Mesh objects to Second Life, Blender were talking of dropping support for Collada as it was a buggy format, but Gaia and others have risen to the challenge of helping to improve it.

Blender 2.64 isn’t officially released yet, but the new improvements include:

  • Geometry data is now again named similar to the Object names (Object names are preserved).
  • The order of export for objects can now be sorted (avoid LOD matching problems).
  • Apply modifiers is non destructive. You no longer have to apply the modifiers before exporting. This works also with Mirror Modifiers and Shape keys.
  • You can now export a rig with stripped control bones as long as the deform bones define a complete SL Skeleton.
  • The reimport of exported collada files to Blender is still not fully fixed. But for static meshes it now works reasonable well (not so important for Second Life users though).

Gaia goes into further detail in a blog post on the subject, including a photo of an export option for Second Life, which will load some presets that you’ll generally want when you export your Mesh to Collada for use in Second Life.

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