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Monday, November 19, 2012

A Necessary Evil?


Pirate101 beta players might remember battling the above elemental guardian in MooShu as one of the five final fights in the game. An occasion like that certainly called for a unique location, and it was certainly unique - and needed to be photographed. Previously, that was made easy with the push of a few keys - Ctrl + G. However, since Pirate hit live, they have removed this feature in combat - here's three reasons it needs to come back!

The problem, and likely the reason that the ability to press Ctrl + G during a battle was removed, is mainly a cosmetic one. It made the board and everyone on it disappear, leaving only the playing field in view for picture taking. KingsIsle probably didn't want that board to disappear during combat. There's also the worry that players might not know what's going on and be unable to play the battle, but that shouldn't be a concern, as they have to know what keys to press to get into that situation to start with.

Yes, I certainly miss the days where I could turn this...


...into this!


For those of you who don't know, Ctrl + G turn off the game "hub," in both Wizard101 and Pirate101. It makes your health, mana, spell book, and all of that good "stuff," disappear. Hitting it again turns it back on. In both games, there are places where you can't hit it. In Pirate101, battles are one of those places.

Turns out, with a little further investigation, there are a number of reasons to bring the feature back - here's three big ones that I've found.

The first is marketing. KingsIsle uses fansites, both official and not, as a huge source of marketing in that the fansites keep users not only interested in current content, but excite them for new content, just as I've done with the Dino Bundle. You see, it doesn't hurt them to have a GameStop "accidently" release a bundle early, because it just creates more excitement and more of a sense of "I need that" in the community. As such, they want and need to make things easy for bloggers. 

In Pirate101, they've worked to create a number of beautiful environments, and we want to see them! Bringing back Ctrl + G makes them more visible than ever, which means they get shared on sites like this for others to read.


Not convinced, eh? Well I'm not finished here. If you don't care about cosmetics, what about safety? KingsIsle advertises its games as being some of the most safe around, but removing the Ctrl + G feature is actually a safety hazard!

When you take a screenshot, information about where it's saved appears. Wizard101 and Pirate101 automatically place the folder in a file that is a subdivision of another file which your computer automatically names your name (which they retrieve from the username under which you're logged into your computer). If that isn't the case with all computers, it is with most.

With some of the epic moments in Pirate, you'll find yourself taking rapid-fire screenshots as fast as you can. However, Pirate101 has not implemented the feature that hides your Print Screen information before taking another photo. That means that when bloggers start posting their live game photo of Barnabus getting a critical on a boss, everyone reading gets to see their real-life name. How about those young players who just got email accounts, and start sending their photos with their real names to their Pirate community friends?

Instead of work to implement the system that hides the information, simply allow us to press Ctrl + G. Easy fix!


If you still aren't convinced, there's another good reason to bring back Ctrl + G during battles. That reason is function. Not having it literally makes some battles impossible. What do I mean?

Well, one day, I was sailing along in the skyway on a windlane. I was in character mode, walking around the ship, snapping photos, etc. All of the sudden, my ship decided to wander, all by itself, off of the lane and into a battle. Guess what? I'd had Ctrl + G pressed for photo taking. Guess what I can't press during a battle. Have you ever tried winning a battle in which you can't see the board?

That won't be the only time either. I love to press the keyboard combination during pre-battle dialogue to get pictures of the NPCs (Non-Player Characters). What happens when I forget to turn it back on? And how about all of the young players who won't know how to get out of that tough situation?

Now you'll surely agree - we certainly ought to be able to press Ctrl + G during battles. Should we not?

Thanks for reading, and see you in the Spiral!

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