I just completed the GDC expansion pack of the The Game Business. Despite being a bit tired from the DICE expansion two weeks ago, my guild was able to repel an attack from a rival guild and build its reputation. I question the release of the two expansions so close to each other but the consumer base seems to accept them both. I don't know if they will do so in the future. DICE, focused in one place, with a single speaking track and high level folks who actually do shit appeals to the hardcore. GDC, with multiple tracks and opportunities for all types of merchants and craftsman can try to sell items to the people who actually do shit hits the core as well as the mass.
DICE worked out well. I took advantage of a speaking quest which leveled me up to a 55 Priest, increasing my healing ability for my guild members. This turned out to be very important when a rival guild leader, a level 40 Rogue, attacked some of my guild members and attempted to cast a spell of confusion. A minor armor enhancement, combined with the increased level made the GDC attacks benign to the the point of not even being noticeable. He also failed to secure the support of any of the members of his guild.
Unlike DICE, at GDC, my guild avoided core game in the Moscone Village, to focus on the very lucrative side quests occurring in satellite villages established by itinerant guilds for purposes of the expansion pack. Many participated in the endless rep grinding opportunities each night. I did not. I quickly bore of the rep grinding, that goes on at GDC. Party after party, where the same guilds move from one village to the next and engage in more rep grinding through handing cards to NPC after NPC. Sure, some NPC's have a semblance of intelligence, but how many times can you explain your role in the game to a lawyer, banker, or merchant who is just trying to find their way into the business? Newbies can be such a pain in the ass.
While the other blogs are focusing on the events of GDC, it may be a good time to look at the levels of some of the the other guilds and players. Remember, in The Game Business, players can be leveled down, as well as level up. For example, Bruce Hack recently leveled down from a level 60 Warrior to level 20 when it was announced he would be giving up his operating role and most of his items after the Activision merger. Originally, he leveled down to 40, but he lost 20 points when Robin Kaminsky responded to an audience question about the new name "Activision Blizzard" by saying "it is a reflection of where all of the value is in the new company. . .," making it clear that that the only valuable bits are those outside of Bruce Hack's control. Bobby Kotick, on the other hand, leveled up to a level 69 Warlock, only one level behind Mike Morheim himself, who is a level 70 Shaman. Everyone knows that only Morheim, Josh Resnick, Andrew Goldman and the Ray's, who have all received significant amounts of precious lucre, from level 69 Warlocks like Bobby and John Riccitiello can achieve level 70 through the control gained over the Warlocks in their guilds. Many of us thought John would leave the game after his massive item sale, as well as the revenue generated from the independent item sale which contributed to greater wealth outside the game, but apparently the draw of his in game character was too powerful. Who among us can't understand the difficulty in leaving a character into which you invested so much time and effort?
I do expect everyone to max out their characters when they can level up to 80 in the post GTA 4 expansion pack coming out q3 this year. I wonder how the game will change.