Mojang finally hiring more people to work on Minecraft

Mojang/bukkit.

In the nearly three years Notch has been developing Minecraft, hires what is now his development company, Mojang, have been few and far between. The lack of hires certainly wasn’t need-based (or lack-of-need-based). It’s pretty easy to make the case that Minecraft has been in need of more developers for at least the past year. There is still no modding API, despite the fact that Minecraft enjoys one of the most active modding communities in the world. The game still feels like a bit of a fragmented mess. All of this could be solved with more manpower. Yeah, I said it. All they needed were a couple warm bodies with a basic knowledge of java.

Well they finally picked some, and it just so happens to be the fine folks at Bukkit. For those that don’t know, the Bukkit team produced an alternate version of the Minecraft server code that was more stable than the original, had a modding API, and required fewer resources to run. Luckily for the four fellows who ran the project, the Bukkit team won’t be working for free any longer. They’ve officially joined the Mojang team.

Their first project will be to write a brand new API. Now, I don’t claim to be a programmer, but I can only imagine one good reason to do this: Mojang didn’t want to pay for Bukkit. I have nothing but respect for the Bukkit guys. They started on a project for fun, they kept it going after it grew into something huge, and now they’re reaping rewards. Without knowing the details of their employment agreement, I think they’re getting the short end of the stick, and unfortunately so are we.

Again, I don’t know exactly what I’m talking about here, but I would imagine there’s a legal case for Mojang to say hey, stop doing that to our code or we will sue you. There certainly would be if Bukkit tried to sell their server package. As such, Mojang doesn’t really owe the guys at Bukkit anything. Wouldn’t it suck, though, to be such an integral part of the Minecraft community–as in, so big that you’re essentially synonymous with multiplayer gameplay–and be compensated with just a job offer? I know, job offers are hard to come by right now, but the guys at Bukkit have done more for multiplayer than anyone else, including Mojang. All of the notable multiplayer Minecraft servers run Bukkit. Now they’ll be forced to migrate to the new API developed in-house with Mojang.

I’m hopeful that the new API will be pretty much the work of those four guys, because I stopped trusting Mojang to build one a long time ago. The Bukkit guys certainly know what they’re doing and, who knows, maybe starting from scratch will be nice for them. It won’t be nice for players, though. Certainly not in the short term. Yes, they’ve pledged support through 1.2, but the transition probably won’t be super slick, to say nothing of the additional wait time we now have for development of this new API. For being a “released game,” Minecraft is in critical flux an awful lot.

Seriously though, congrats to the guys at Bukkit. You deserve all of your success.

Guild Wars 2 beta takes 1 million sign-ups

Guild Wars 2.

I was more than a little mad at myself when I realized I missed the Guild Wars 2 signup window. ArenaNet had only made it available for 48 hours and, though I knew about it well in advance, I neglected to get myself into the pool. I feel a bit better about things now. I just found out that more than one million players signed up for the beta over those two days. That’s 4,000 interested players every minute. That’s a lot of people.

Granted, beta sign-ups are free, so its a bit dubious to compare the numbers to something like, oh, SWTOR. Still, I can’t help but wonder what would bring about that kind of feeding frenzy. I’ve dipped into various SWTOR communities here and there over the past couple months and found a lot of discontented players. Players are already bored with the game, a situation I find totally unsurprising given the careful cloning process that spawned that familiar beast.

If anything, I think we can definitely say that gamers are on the prowl for the next big game, and they have yet to find it. A million PC gamers rallying around anything in 48 hours is a big deal. The fact that they’re looking at the one MMO that really promises to do things differently tells me that players are bored, tired of the MMOs they’ve been playing for the last decade. I’m right there with them. I’m ready to be plucked from the clutches of weeknight boredom and shown a compelling game experience. I certainly hope ArenaNet can deliver.

New LoL champion leaked (Fiora)

A recent update to Riot’s Public Beta Environment included files for what appears to be the next champion to join the league, Fiora. Fiora appears to be a fencer, equipped with a rapier and ready to do some stabbing. Her skill list is a bit…uninspired. Her ultimate is essentially Juggernaut’s ultimate from DotA. As for her other skills, she has a dash, a damage avoidance skill, and an attack speed/move speed steroid. Neato.

To me she sounds like an update Yi – not quite as reliant on Highlander to put out damage. You can read more about her lore and her skillset at State of the League.

Guild Wars 2 beta signups open for another 24 hours

Damn you ArenaNet. Why must you suck back in to the Guild Wars 2 news circuit? Why must you entice me to watch your manifesto again? Why am I yelling “yes!” after every point you make. Stop making me care about this game. At least I can’t be disappointed if I don’t care.

I do care, though, and you should too. Beta signups just opened for Guild Wars 2. You can bet this thing won’t be out until late Q3, early Q4, so there will probably be other chances. All the same, it doesn’t cost anything to sign up – you just have to submit your system specs.

Some old and (mostly) broken LoL mechanics

I would never expect a decent LoL article to come out of a radio station, but I suppose as games gain traction in the media we’ll start seeing some decent content everywhere. A Grand Rapids station put together a quick list of 10 old mechanics in League of Legends that were (mostly) broken. It’s an interesting look back at the game if you haven’t been playing for more than 6 months, especially since the post includes video.

I’ll say my favorite “remember when” from this list is the old brush system. Dear god. Riot was one brush-crazed company back in the day. That shit was everywhere. Innervating Locket was also an interesting item, though several strong characters made it ridiculously broken. I didn’t mind it terribly much on Gragas, mostly because AP Gragas is so much scarier than pure tank Gragas. Locket Udyr though? That was broken. Pair Udyr, Sona, and Gragas, get them all to buy Locket and you have one unstoppable push comp. As annoying as it was to see that comp played, I have to say, it added some flavor to the game.

Head over to the WGRD station for the rest of the article.

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