Gaming Questionnaire

SO this Gaming Questionnaire is going around at the moment from the site Cannot be Tamed. It seemed like an interesting list with a few questions I’ve answered before but also many interesting ones that really fill out what your gaming personality is. So here it is.

When did you start playing video games?

Properly playing I guess is rather hard to remember. I’ve been playing for a long time but I guess that main early play would have been on the Sega Mega Drive with titles like Desert Strike, Sonic, Aladdin, Road Rash and NBA Jam.

What is the first game you remember playing?

The very First games are the coffee table arcade style of Dig Dug and Galaga.

Digdug

PC or Console?

A little of Both. I’ve had a ps3 and a pc (laptop) for a long time now) and If I had the cash I would keep up with the newer generation of consoles by buying a ps4 and probably will eventually. FOr now I am at getting a functioning Pc first so I guess pc remains the bigger priority based on the flexibility and options it has.

XBox, PlayStation, or Wii?

Probably Playstation but I’m not all fangirl about it at all, they just seems to have had the titles I’m more interested in. Sackgal for life.

What’s the best game you’ve ever played?

Hmmmmmmmm… that’s a really hard one as how do you really determine the best from a variety of genre’s. Civ 2 is probably the best strategy game, Baldur’s Gate my favourite RPG, terraria for my favourite sandbox and Borderlands for my favourite shooter. Oh actually I choose Terraria for the king of all games here as I’ve spent the most time in it and been the most focused about it.

Terraria

What’s the worst game you’ve ever played?

Day Z. Now I usually don’t play games I hate. I drop them after the first instance of dislike and never come back. I also, generally, research what I’m buying so there isn’t as much issue with getting products unsuited to me.

The issue is this game could be good, could. The concept is there but it is mired in all the issues and mistakes of early access. It is unfinished garbage in every way; lacking a wealth of features, unpolished  in controls and look and a buggy mess that they have stated an inability to fix. There was also the crippling lag and server issues too that are completely the fault of the game and client. It is, both mechanical and in terms of gameplay the worst game.

Deponia is pretty shit as well.

Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

See above. It’s sold millions of copies and yet it is just utter, irredeemable garbage.

Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

Well I don’t know if it’s been poorly received exactly it’s just relatively unknown still. Project Zomboid is everything I wanted the survival genre to be. It has the zombie apocalypse aspect but a a fully realised vision in regards to health and psychology, day by day survival and eking out an existence within this space. You have cooking, crafting, building, fishing, medicine and many other features…in fact, I’m going back to it right now.

Project Zomboid

What are your favourite game genres?

I pretty much play everything with no genre left unplayed. I used to be far bigger into strategy style games but that has subsided a little as my interest in mmo’s has grown but otherwise I play the other genres pretty regularly.

Who is your favourite game protagonist?

Earlier games I’d definitely go with Tanya from the Command and Conquer Series.

Tanya

Manny Calavera was a great character as well.

From recent times I’m not exactly sure, Maybe Nathan drake. Even though he is a cocky overrated douche it’s a really well done character that I always enjoy watching. His dialogue is always great too ranging from deep and meaningful, philosophical statements and the wittiest of retorts.

Describe your perfect video game.

I already did in this post. Basically Eve in a wild west package where you’re creating outposts, towns and other types of infrastructure as well as controlling terrain.

What video game character do have you have a crush on?

Adam Jensen.. hunky, great bod and manly voice that goes deep but not into the batman realms of idiocy… plus I kind a have a thing for the techy bits

adamjensen

What game has the best music?

games have music? hehe. I usually game without sound or while either watching tv or listening to music. If it is on I barely notice, not enough to pick out anything discernible.

Most memorable moment in a game:

Scariest moment in a game:

Resident Evil 2 where t]you are searching around the Police station and unlocking the puzzles. It is a time just so filled with tension and while it doesn’t tend to throw much out at you, when it does really makes you lose your nerve.

Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

Gone Home. I won’t spoil it too much but the game does such a great job of introducing the characters and their stories while never resenting them enough that you feel their jubilation but also pain. That ending too just.. teeeeeears. Walking Dead season one also had some of the saddest moments that really hit you, many because you were the one making the decision.

What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?

SO MANY and all on the side there.. actually not all of them so hmmm. Been meaning to update that for a while so guess what I’m doing on the weekend. I have a link dead radio post every week where I look at my favourite blog posts so that’s a great place to start.

What’s the last game you finished?

XCOM: Enemy Unknown and just finished it last week after a great suicidal run through. I don’t generally play tactical style games, especially not turn based but it was the perfect game of the genre. Interesting strategy and choice throughout.

What future releases are you most excited about?

The Division – survival shooter with a lot of cooperative elements

The Repopulation – sci fi mmo sandbox

Camelot Unchained – RvR PvP mmo sandbox

Grim Dawn – rpg

Black Desert – korean MMO with amny intersting sandbox elements

Wasteland 2 – rpg

Pillars of Eternity – RPG

Darkwood – survival horror

Do you identify as a gamer?

When it pleases me. Sometimes I feel like it is a very negative term, one in which the usual stereotypes of intolerance and idiocy are ingrained within. There are a lot of other negative connotations as well but yes… in that I play games more than any other interests in my life

Why do you play video games?

Because I enjoy them. They are a place for relaxation, where I can go to not think but be engaged. A place for challenge and to feel smart, powerful and feel a mastery over my circumstances. A place to imagine and create. A place to experience wonder and joy based on our environments and experiences. A place to see and hear stories you haven’t before that open up your understanding of the world. A place to meet others and be social and share in this wondrous medium

Everquest Next at SOE Live

I’ve been meaning to write this for a little bit now but with my regular popsts taking priority it kind of got pushed back.. WHATEVSSSSS

SOE live has been and gone now and I can’t say I was overly impressed. All I was really interested in from there was news and info of Everquest Next and while we did finally get a bit more info on the systems and presentations on the systems it didn’t seem to be that substantial as mpost we already knew or was just Unimportant.

Anyway here’s a little recap of the presentations I’ve watched so far.

EQN Keynote

If your strapped for time just watch this vid and be done with it as it gives a good view of where development is up to now. There was a brief overview of what the game will entail including exploration, Economy and a solid crafting foundation, Special abilities from items, Social interaction from guilds and hubbs, and Land having a high value for guild halls and town creation.

It started of with a discussion of the 5 Holy Grails that are guiding development and make it different form others, yeh, every new mmo apparently needs grails to live by now.

  • Destructibility – The aim is for everything in the world from the environment, to the building blocks and even the props to be destructability and this is a facet that is now complete within Landmark..you know, EQN’s testing ground.
  • Tiers of depth – this works in with destructibility in that you will be making your way down through the land into other spaces of increasing challenge. Currently working in development.
  • Emergeant Ai – What I believe to be the biggest challenge for the development of EQN. Creating new Ai is a hard thing already and the industry does seem to be plagued with rather poor creations due to both incompetence and Known restraints. They aim to have a system wherin the npc’s all have certain behaviours of their own and that this will run the dynamic nature of the world.
  • Rallying calls – These will be the large world events to get involved with.
  • Changing Core gameplay – they aim to change the way we’ve been playing mmo’s for a decade… Idiotic or impossible or our eventual saviours

Reimagining of the franchise and creating a new continuity. They aim to unveil a large part of the lore through a collection of books available now on their website for free and to come so as to flesh out the lore of Everquest next.

Music is of course by Jeremy Soule, the apparent musical whipping boy of the industry creating bland fantasy tunes over and over again.

Integration of landmark assets was a huge part of the presentation and they showed a lot of video looking at the dark elf structures. Looks pretty good for early development. Giving the players the concept art and other assets to create the foundation of the races and spaces as a community. t’s about changing and creating the world together and it seems like a great way of gaining even more artistic innovation and inspiration.

eqn dark elf

The aim to continually place in new new stories and events throughout the world. Permanent change will be based on these and what you engage in personally or communally and worlds will become unique based on these actions. It’s an interesting premise.

Basic Class recount where they shows the 3 released classes: Wizard, warrior and Cleric. A few gameplay parts of skill use and a rundown of their playstyle. Very.. colourful. Like most modern mmo’s combat will have an active nature and involve a lot of positioning in order to hit and avoid attacks.

EQN wizard

 

The EQN Classes

This panel had a lot of great information on the guiding foundations of the combat, what will guide progression and how the gameplay will play. It all sounds very interesting with a surprising amount of depth while trying to avoid the usual flaws.

The foundation for the system seems to revolve around certain elements. Each attack will have a certain element type that it relates to with classes being built towards a limited amount of them. There Will be (proposed) certain bonuses when using one elements against certain others and combos that can be achieved with others in order to improve the effect.

EQN Elements`

 

 

For combat you will be equipping skills from the available pool but also passives that will act as modifiers to these skills. The way they talked about this was having KEYWORDS to abilities that will be easy to see and then check for more modifiers. these relate to the origin (elements) and damage type (mechanic).

EQN skills

 

Classes also have an affinity towards certain categories or the origins they identify with and kind of draw their power from.

EQN class

These class origins will combine in a variety of ways to make the 40 or so classes planned for EQN, and irgin for the class and the element/s they use for attacking. These are the defining flavours of the classes that will be showed off with certain visual elements that make sense.

EQN class

 

Where this becomes interesting is with the gearing method as it begins to add certain other elements and effects to your abilities and open up new options and playstyles. What this looks like is bringing the passive elements from The secret world Skill tree, those passive buffs to skills or maybe mechanics like crit, healing, buffing and and placing them onto gear instead so that you begin to combine gear pieces and their bonuses to create interesting and powerful builds built around certain effects, elements or abilities.

EQN Gear

 

Achievements hunting will be a part of building your character as well with providing a certain amount of buffs to your character or abilities.

EQN achievements

 

Mutli-classing will be a part of the equation as well where you will be able have a primary class to choose abilities from but you can use passives from, it seems, any other classes. Classes might have an affinity towards others so I believe there will be certain restrictions based on the class type or elements involved.

This all adds up to a huge amount from your class, the passives from others and the way gear can augment all this.

It will be a rather free system to use too. They are still going for a more levelless design with the progression revolving more around collecting these classes and building your character through gear and other options. Classes will need to be levelled individual by using advancement points but then you don’t need to be playing that class in order to do that. Points earned at any time can be placed where you want.

EQN Story Bricks and Content

First a warning that this has terrible audio. It’s very distorted and hard to hear throughout with certain parts being completely unintelligible.

There was a lot of talk about the types of encounters and events within the world and how their new ai would be working within that. Enemies and Npc’s will have a certain role that the try to fulfill with modifiers to that. There were a couple audible examples here about that although hard to understand.

There was more iteration on player actions and and the impact this will have on the world. there will be an ecology to the world and disrupting that in one way or space can have consequences in other ways. The world will also be filled with a variety of factions and groups that will drive their own interactions based on this ai that you can either support, on both sides at times or avoid.

They did talk about there being no traditional quest hubs but still quest givers it seems but these quest givers will be more dynamic in what their asking and due to their own behaviour patterns. They move around and interact with the world to based on their own role.

A major element to help players with this new world is the Rohsong, a personally created book that you fill up with information on the world, inhabitants and creatures throughout your travels. This will also be the way they guide players towards larger events, story elements or their Rallying calls.

Most of this presentation looked at an example of how the ecology will work and the balnce to the world. A group of dark elves gaining to much wealth and being bombarded by another factions. This faction controlling a large part of this land now then expanding into the druid realms nearby. The druid realms losing there strength on their land and the protections being loosened letting strong shadow based mobs free onto the world in increasing amounts as this strength lessens. Hard to understand but seemed like an in depth presentation I would like to see with audio not under water, within a cavern full of angry building sized bees.

And that’s it really, The landmark Keynote was interesting to see how that development is going. They are getting combat and a whole range of other features around that very soon. Attack gaming had some decent interviews on EQN and landmark as well. Oh and reddit has the full list of vids pertaining to eqn and landmark

ANNNNNND dats it.. i know there’s mistakes but it’s late now and I’ll fix them in the morning.

 

Progress Report: A Strategic Simpleton

I WAS OUTSIDE THE HOUSE AGAIN.. OMG. this has to be some kind of record for excursion outside not including work. The EKKA, a large exhibition that started out as an agricultural show was back in Brisbane for the year. It has all that good stuff like rides, carni games where you pay a lot of money to not win anything, and showbags filled with chocolate and random crap that they could sell for the inflated price they were asking in retail.

It’s an environment you just can’t help but get excited for, once every few years and this year was my year. Of course getting a public holiday for the EKKA definitely helps too. I went with a friend from work and we had a a lot of fun here, the usual carnival type activities were fun but mostly all the agriculture activities are what’s interesting. We saw the GIGANTIC COWS… seriously.. massive.

MOOOOOOOOOOO

MOOOOOOOOOOO

A wealth of ducks and chickens of different types that I gleefully harassed within there cages, goat and the first time I’ve ever seen a Turkey. A gigantic, noisy and rather angry Turkey.

The other shows that happen are stuff like cat and dog showing, horse jumping, Sheep herding, wood chopping, actual horse shoeing including making them and a few other things. It sounds completely bogan to see but actually rather interesting when you see it all happening, plus I’ve always liked animals.

For shows I actually got around to watching Grave of Fireflies, A show I’ve been meaning to watch ever since a guy friends said they bawled because of it, uncontrollably. Now when you know an emotional hit is coming like that you tend to avoid it, I love shows that can provide an emotional response but when you know it’s coming it’s kind of like a jump scare. You avoid at all cost. It is just as emotional, heartbreaking and soul shattering as he described and nothing had diminished from the experience.

grave of fireflies

 

It’s not something that constantly hits you, no big events throughout that really wind you up, no deliberate heartbreak moment but what it does have is so much more. For the entire movie you really don’t realise how that emotional knot is being tied within you, each scene and set back keeps turning it, each cue as of what’s to come another, the derision of those around even more. It’s light hearted enough which I think helps that as it becomes a more natural tale but then that ending hits and BAM.. that knot unravels and you’re just sobbing. Your insides are bruised and twisted and you feel like curling up for a while. Even afterwards you carry that sadness, a sadness you kind of need chocolate to help out with.

Oh and I watched the new TMNT movie and it was… not terrible.

For Gaming I spent a lot of time in Xcom, in particular the last mission where you’re assaulting the mothership. Now, most of it isn’t too hard, there’s a couple trickier moments but it doesn’t overwhelm in the same way the other campaign missions can in being more dynamic with placement and movement. Here the enemies are purposefully placed and more managaeable it’s just that I was having some of the worst luck I’ve ever had.

Lots of missing key hits with high percentages and then getting punished for it. Amazing critical hits from the enemy, a time where a reaction shot from the mechs not only hit the target, killing them but also the person in cover next to them, nearly killing him. Oh and don’t forget trying to find the last mob in the map yet leaving behind the Sniper and my psyker in overwatch at the last door and then having those two elites spawn right on top after killing that rogue mob. No movement left it was 2 critical hits to both leaving one dead and the other on the brink. Oh yeh, and then my controlled minions turned on me when i wasn’t ready, killing a couple more.

XCom

 

 

And that’s not including inside that last room with 3 of those nasty psychic things that kept gaining control of my soldiers and mind bombing the rest.

Sigh… twas a tough time but I pulled through getting out the win. Going by my stats though it wasn’t a very impressive win hehehe.

XCom results

 

The other Game I played a ton of was DIABLO. I haven’t touched it on the computer since very near release. The online play was just that bad with lag and then the lack of meaningful rewards nailed that coffin. Now with the progression and loot improved I’m getting far more back into it. A lot of people are playing through the new expansion content getting up to 70 and gaining the new paragon levels and it’s been fun to join in with that excitement.

Now I haven’t picked up the expansion yet but that doesn’t really matter to much when playing with the guild because we pretty much just do Hardcore mode so there’s always someone trying to level another character back up. I seem to be doing quite well too with my new Hardcore characters. A monk is close to 40, a witch doctor in the 30’s and a couple around 20. I’ve only lost one this week which is impressive for me but it was my warrior, Joan of Fart *giggle*.

I also had a lot of play with my blogging compatriots Doone and Izlain. I dragged them along into Hardcore mode to level some characters which was a lot of fun Doone was getting rather tense with our run about dieing although I had turned up the difficulty without telling him hehehe. Oh, and getting Izzy killed was a highlight of the week. Came along on a lower character and one of those wall acid things killed him in one go after only a minute of play. I laughed.. a lot. Cause I’m evil like that.

I think I’ll have to get the Expansion eventually but only once I get a character up to 60, a feat I have no idea if is possible for me and my reckless style of play.

For the week to come I’ll probably be back into both these games. I just unlocked the expansion version of xcom with beating it once so I might see what that’s like. Close to finished with it now though. I have a firefall itch once more and yeh, I know I just ranted about it but whatever. I also picked up Nom Nom Galaxy for half price on humble this week which is a colourful management game I’ve been looking forward too.

Have fun out there and may your characters always die in a blaze of glory

Link Dead Radio: Gamescom Spam

The Links

  • GO CHECK OUT AGGRO RANGE.. right Meow. The blaugust event has seen a wealth of informative posts for bloggers and content creators. Also an interesting piece looking at community personalities – which are you? I think I’m either a moderator or ranter, depending on the mood.. or how much sugar I’ve had.
  • Kill Scree has a post about the influence of blockbuster cinema on games, not just on the style of presentation btu how they always seem to be aiming to overfill and over-stimulate in order to get a positive experience. Hmm.. think I need a follow up post on this.
  • Game Introspection has a, kind of follow up with some thoughts on the different trailer types and there place within marketing.
  • In an Age has a day by day report from gen Con and the exhibits and conferences they’ve been apart of.
  • Eve, as usual has created a lot of conversation this week but at the moment the conversation of what eve is has interested me. The Nosy gamer looks at whether Eve is a PvP game based on player metrics and in a later post came to the conclusion that it’s a game of organisations. Xp Chronicles also contemplates this but looks at the nature and meaning of the concepts of PvP and PvE within it’s systems. Which are the areas that are more important structural and in terms of playstyles.
  • Screaming Monkey is looking at the theory of WoW relativity and how all the lore seems to be rather interconnected. A conspiracy has also arisen that it’s bringing us right back again to the beginning which, would be a perfect time for WoW 2.0 to step in
  • Plus Ten Damage got the chance to ahve a few questions answered that focused on their style of monetisation and the founders “crowd sourcing” style of pre ordering. The also looked at working with Games Workshop in regards to lore and narrative building as well as the aesthetic.
  • Gaming Conjecture preaches the gospel that the future of mmo’s is niche. Smaller mroe directed experiences that focus on their core demographic.
  • And if you’re wondering about the the hearthstone PvE encounters then head over to cogitationes astalnaris, the name I’m glad to type because I could never pronounce

The Vids

Due to the amount of videos I’m going to have to put them behind a more tag.. SOOOOOOO MAAAANY
Continue reading

Changing the Combat Core

One thing I’ve been thinking lately is just how much combat has become a focus of MMO’s now. It was always a big part yes but it seems that the number one point of development has become the “fun” of killing things, either other pixel creations or people to the detriment of all other mechanics within the game. Now I love killing things in-game too, I always have but I don’t think this should be the main feature of mmo’s as its something that eventually loses it’s charm.. no matter how many effects you put in it.

There needs to be other mechanics driving forward the narrative of a game, or the direction of players and just a range of options to enjoy beyond “go kill stuff”. I’ve thought that for a long time but I think the major factor that the mmo’s have focused on in this generation is combat. We have dungeons and raiding, PvP, and long quest chains that function to move players from one combat scenario to the next. The rest mostly just seem to revolve around this one mechanic with little interference… it drives the conflict, it provides the gear and most motivators involve around gaining it through combat.

Development has this in mind throughout too which means everything has to defer towards Combat so as to supplement it. One large part where we see this now is how structured the main experiences have become in order to direct it. We have long leveling experiences with a lot of rather simplistic quests so as to continually move forward the experience. A wealth of kill ten rats quests and other such things and, even with collect or other styles combat is bound to be a part. A large chunk of the play time and development of these newer modern mmo’s is just this refined questing experience that is created solely with combat in mind and MMO’s have become extremely limited because of it.

It is the main reason we’ve seen an increasing focus on dungeons and raiding as an end game, when combat is your focus you need to continue to create content around it. Even the story and lore always seems to have conflict and combat as it’s core ideals, the one true hero trope or at least numerous ultimate evils being the prominent story that drives the narrative. Combat has it seems become the safe mode of development as it’s easy to create in a sense, requires little innovation and has a lot of examples within the genre to look towards and improve upon.

However I think this is the main factor behind mine and a lot of the dissatisfaction I’m reading from others now. The unchanging nature of mmo’s now is because of this combat focus. It is why each game feels so familiar, why the main mechanics change so little and why I seem to be getting bored so much quicker with them now. There is nothing new when combat is the main mechanic beyond maybe cosmetic changes.

I’ve seen my interest in games lately grow towards the creative types. I’ve gone back into terraria again to get my fix, crafting my large Pirate ship as well as the multiple ships and port nearby. It’s something that has already filled countless dozens of hours and many more to come. I’m even thinking about getting involved with a minecraft server somewhere to experience this creative aspect a little more.

I’ve also been interested in survival games more so as they provide a style of play that involves combat but as a supplement to the mechanic of survival, of personal needs being fulfilled. In this style of play avoiding combat is often rewarded. The other of course are my management games that involve setting up multiple systems within an economy to create balance. A type that involves a lot of problem solving and critical thinking. None of these types of plays seem to have some focus anymore, little development for or rewarded in any meaningful way but could be a bigger part.

Now I don’t think any one of these should be a focus entirely either. Maybe for a specific niche MMO but in the ones I want the all need to have a certain balance there. Space for the social style to thrive, and not just within raiding. A space for those that want to build and create, those that want to immerse in crafting, manufacturing or marketing. A reason for people to explore, to survive or worry about more than just how much DPS they can put out. I just no longer what my MMO’s to be just killing simulators, I have a plethora of other games that do that far better… I want my god damn virtual world please.

Scree Codes
#combat #mmo #armchairdeveloper

Couch Podtatoes 9: #Blaugust Bonanza

For this weeks Podcast we took a more communal approach as we have been seeing a lot of amazing posts and ideas coming from the Blaugust Initiative and wanted to discuss some of these further.

First we went into a bit of the news as well as what’s been happening so far with gamescon, the games we are interested in and what else is happening with the consoles.
From there it’s discussions on exclusivity and cross platform play.
The rest centered around gaming monogamy, in particular with mmo’s and a large discussion regarding wow and the Ten questions for ten years initiative. Afterwards we wondered if Blizzard were intentionally sunsetting the game in favour of sending players to it’s other franchises.

So sit back, strap in and enjoy the ride

Download / Podomatic Itunes Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 9: Talking Points (runtime: 1:08:43)

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 1:10)
Talking Points (starts at 12:14)

 

The Links

Gaming Conjecture and Game Exclusivity (only on Xbox, etc)

The Chindividual and Cross-platform MMO’ing

Bio Break with To be Monogamous, or not to be?

Game Introspection with On balance in pvp-oriented games and MMO pvp

Alt:Ternative has the 10 years, 10 questions initiative (original, WoW) and Mystical Mesmer with their own GW2 take on it

Keen and Graev and is Blizzard phasing out WoW

Idiots on the internet

This week was the wonderful business acumen of a Ubisoft Analyst proclaiming that the League of Legends f2p model is “bad for business” but great for consumers. Seems to be great for both.

 

Contacts

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter:@mevsmyselfandi

J3w3l
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Firefall and Fading Interest

After proclaiming that I could probably call Firefall home I’m left thinking at the moment why I haven’t logged in for nearly a week. Of course there have been other games I’ve been playing and shows I’ve been watching in but it is a game I’ve remained interested for a while and thought this would keep me hanging around.

I do have a main character but there is still a lot I could do to progress my account and character. Levelling up other frames gives certain trait bonuses that are quite awesome and they all have an interesting playstyle. I have still yet to enjoy all the new content; no hard modes of the campaign missions yet and I’ve only had one go at the new boss encounters like Baneclaw. I also haven’t spent much extra time within devils tusk or the PvP just yet.  There is a lot there that interests me but a few issues ad concerns that tend to be ruining my experience.

Inactive world

I guess this is just because of my previous beta experience but the difference between now and then in terms of dynamic events is enormous. There is no where near as many events in the world and Job boards just doesn’t fill that gap in the same way, sure it’s more content but it isn’t the same style of gameplay. I have talked about this point before but it really has become an issue as to level up frames, a thing you will do multiple times for traits and such has become repeating the same job board quests or repeating missions over and overagain in the same path because that’s really the only reliable way to do so. And these things aren’t even that well designed; they are buggy, disconnected from the world, create a boring linear experience and do a poor job of creating conflict.

They are a throwback to modern mmo design that really didn’t need to be pushed so heavily. Red 5 had the next evolution in design of the dynamic events style of content,  an increasingly popular style that they improved on very well by making it far more dynamic amongst the world. It was a living world in the way I thought Guild Wars 2 should have been. Sure they needed a greater variety of events and enemies, some large zone wide events and just more space but it was an excellent foundation they now only seem to use as decoration and that’s a shame as it’s this element that created the open world feel I enjoyed so much.

Also, call me crazy but I liked exploring and thumping for resources.. keeping many and selling others, that was my game and I enjoyed it. There was a stage there where I was doing a thump a day for weeks just because I enjoyed that style of content. Sometimes I’d just afk a stock or P1 other times I’d go for the hardest I could. It was something in the world that also drew players to it, others wanted to get these rewards, to gather good resources to sell or craft with but now it is a mostly irrelevant task with meaningless restrictions.

End game gearing

Another legacy that links back to modern mmo’s is their design to end game gearing. An incredible grind through minimal ways in order to obtain the best weapons and armor, just running the same boring required shit with weekly lockouts while praying to the right RNG deity. I really don’t like this design.

Now while they do rely partially on RNG with running hard mode missions or boss runs to obtain certain items the others are place within crafting which has become a truly mind numbingly massive grind to obtain. Even the cost of researching the purple tier  is rather extreme. Before most gear was rather easy to obtain, you could craft your own, pass stuff along to friends and buy off the market for a reasonable price. Even the better purple quality gear was reasonable as it just meant a little extra exploration. Now it will probably take all but the more hardcore of players a couple months.. To craft one piece.

See, without the style of crafting and progression it was previously you miss out on a lot of the community aspects in the marketplace. Guild members researching certain crafts and then sharing with others or even just giving out free stuff to new players which I actually did quite often. Now there was item loss due to the durability but I would actually much rather have that far more manageable style of item progression and eventually have to craft it again with the added social and economy bonuses then this style of immense grind for one item that will probably be obsolete with a future patch.

Then there is the whole battleframe progression that seems far less nuanced. You get stuff, maybe upgrade it and whatever. Oh the traits part is interesting but the only time I really look at the garage now is to put in new shiny weapon. before it was this grand research path to get through that unlocked new abilities and skills, a progression system of power, speed and.. and that other one to work through that while giving a sense of advancement didn’t fuck up the balance of the universe and a crafting system that in combination with frame tweaking was a min maxers wet dream. It had depth but now I’m left skimming over it.

Community progression

I was initially rather impressed with the communal aims of the Devil’s tusk end game area, the goal being to unlock an area piece by piece through group effort seemed like it would be a strong social point of the game. To group up together in this new space, to gather collect and create what is needed and band together to push back the chosen threat. The reality is quite different though.

As an end game zone there is still a decent amount of activity around it and it seems far easier to get groups here. A quick say in chat and you’re off doing stuff with others and this is how I filled up my contacts list quite a bit during early access. But, the reality unfortunately falls rather flat. The Content seems much the same as the other spaces, endless running of job boards, a minimal selection of ares events and well.. thumping.. i guess. A zone I thought was going to be some massive warzone where you are pushing and being pushed by the chosen is actually less interesting than the other zones.

Overall it’s a very insular experience here at times. Some people get together for the bigger events but the one-shot kill tornados mostly go uncontested and the other events like incursions are no where near challenging enough to matter. The rest seems to be small group mission running and lots of solo or duo people thumping around and not wanting to share resources. Oh, the Baneclaw instance is reasonable fun but I liked it a lot more when it was the open world boss you had to summon… just felt more natural.

The activity to open up these new spaces is rather ridiculous as well. The first few were a time of great community presence with everyone being rather excited to get involved and open up these spaces. Exuberation upon doing this and completing the next wave of activities. For the stage it is now it is asking for 1 million.. that is probably going to take over a month to accomplish now, maybe more considering that people are a little fed up with it. It really  doesn’t give you that much extra content, not enough to be interesting anyway and the land mass is pretty irrelevant.

The Rant

It was a fun game.. was and maybe still is a little but that fun element is slipping so drastically for me. Faster than I thought possible. Every time I start playing and trying to progress I get a big kick to the lady bits of familiarity as it’s more become the same experience as every other mmo out there.. just poorly coded with colourful but washed out textures and guns. Even the jet packs have been screwed with… I mean seriously, the jetpacks!

This isn’t release. This is another phase of Beta for Firefall and a phase I don’t seem to be that interested in. It’s just as untested as most of their other big changes but far more directed and repetitive. It’s getting slammed in reviews right now and I mostly agree with them. To play it now as a new player without all the experience from past events and knowledge of systems gone makes this look like a poor imitation, and not a very good one. The experience is far more linear, the combat not as fast past and drags on due to ability and damage nerfs, and wow does near every mob love moving in an erratic fashion. Hell in the state it is now I can no longer even say it has potential.

I think all most people playing during the beta wanted was some more content: new land to explore, larger more interconnected events, just polishing the systems they already had instead of leaving them in some perpetual state of buggy flux. Sure, create some guided quests like you have been for the newer players or just to add options but place in a tonne more dynamic ones. Create some ways that players can truly change the world over time; things that you work for but also have to defend and BAM, long term potential but no, lets recreate this game again and fuck it all up with more untested, unfinished, half-baked design choices. I seriously thought they’d learnt there lesson after being under the ruling of Mark Kern.

sigh… There are better shooters out there, I wonder what defiance is doing.

#Firefal #Rant #Themepark

Progress report: T.V Time

Look at me all being semi active and not gaming as much this week. Well by semi active I mean leaving the couch occasionally but Still, gotta start somewhere. I’ve been walking my fellow canine again lately, it ls not freezing in the morning anymore which makes it much nicer for me and we even had a 2 hour like walk in the bushland behind our house on the weekend.

I kind of like exploring what’s out there and it makes me remember doing the exact same sort of thing when I was but a wee lass out near Durack. There was a huge swath of land up the road a bit with an old abandoned amusement park to explore. A few buildings left behind and a the large metal framework of the water slide that we used to climb that was just pilons without floor up the top. Amazing to think we did something so dangerous but it was a great experience. There was also a huge old safe there we tried to burn through with some kind of acid found in one of their sheds that sent us screaming to the MacDonald’s a fair bit up the road to was our hands and arms.

As a bunch of kids we used to explore through there all the time and just have a nice time doing it. In the bushland we ended up making a nice cubby house with scavenged wood and other things. For months we’d go down there every weekend with a new bag of nails and what we found to piece it all together, it was far from being safe but it was ours.

This time I ended up finding a little lake nestled into some trees and well, the dodgy loves water so I sat back and watched us she splashed around the outside. Had to be careful though as I don’t think she can swim very well so we might come back again for more practice.

Ok, that’s enough of nostalgia lane for today time to talk about stuff I’ve seen on some kind of screen.

TV time

I finally caught up with Defiance over the week and it does seem to be getting quite interesting. There are a few different political factions all vying for control as well as the main characters falling in and out of each. It seems like they’ve been taking a little extra time to flesh out the main cast too which is nice.

I’m really getting into the world they are trying to portray now too as it’s far more nuanced, dirty and cutthroat with everyone just trying to find their own place in the world and moulding their morals to match. It’s still very cheesy b grade science fiction but the good kind. The only issue right now is that the episodes seem to be very inconsistent with the major plot points being.. hmm.. not exactly that major.

After a recommendation I also checked out Knights of Sidonia which was rather interesting as well. The entire first season was pretty much setting the them of the anime, the characters and the world ending issue the fight .. with Mechas of course. while the show tends to run rather slow in terms of plot development the characters seem to progress with speed. One moment your introduced to the main characters love interest and in the next instance your staring at his girlfriend being turned into an alien menace. (spoilers.. but not really). Other character go between Massive antagonists to depressed loons between episodes and others come in and out of focus with no pattern I can discern.

Of course, I’ve loved mechas ever since I saw Tekkaman for the first time so any other mecha anime is awesome. The fights are a little muted in terms of over the top effects and seem to be over reasonably quickly but it still maintains the drama reasonably well through the battle scenes.

Sword art online 2 has a several episodes from the new season and I think I’m going to like this far more than the original series. It’s less about the male power fantasy (still part) with a little less emphasis on BOOOBs. Still early days for it too take that turn into the perverted.. you know that turn it took.

sao2

It’s still very hyper masculine though which is probably because of the new setting but still. It’s a military kind of PvP mmo Kirito is exploring this time and as such there seems to only be a single female within the entirety of the game. Yeh riggggggggggggghhht. Anyway the character that is there I really enjoy as she has a strong personality but also a very interesting background that gives her character some depth. And I think that’s the strength here that the other series where missing, they seem to be going for more character depth while also creating some deep mechanics and foundations of this new world. hopefully..

The other series I’ve really been enjoying is Utopia. The second season has begun now and I didn’t even think it was going to continue. The last season kind of just ended and while it wrapped up it left so many unanswered questions about the grand plot it was pushing. It was very indie… the kind of cult series that just grabs you with the interesting style, camera angles and the way the plot kind of pulls you along in a number of directions. I wrote down a few thoughts on the first season so check it out.

Anyway the second season pretty much continues on with the utterly weird and enthralling this T.V series. I don’t know what it is about the series that grabs me so much, the style of presentation that gives you that analogue t.v vibe. The relatability of the characters and settings that’s counteracted by the peculiar nature of the interactions. There is just something extremely unnerving about the casual nature of the violence and conversations they have. Wondering where jessica Hyde is going to take us this time.

The main game I’ve played this week was Xcom. I continued on with my playthrough of the Ironman even after incurring heavy losses throughout the campaign and it seems to be going better now. I have no idea when it’s supposed to end but I think it’s nearing the end with interfacing a someone with some psychic device.

so many dead... and that's the first page

so many dead… and that’s the first page

I’m getting more the hang of the combat now too and am only losing one or two people for the harder missions although it’s still close sometimes when I bunch everyone up not knowing a powerful psyker is about to bomb everyone. I’m taking my time more with movements which helps although I still end up getting those instances where you move your last person to cover a certain angle and they aggro a whole bunch of angry aliens.. bad news

I really want to finish it though but after that I think I’m probably done with it for a bit but not sure what to move onto next. Probably back to my mmo’s again although D3 and that expansion are looking pretty tempting.

So long yalllll.. and may your teams sacrifice not be in vein

#TV #anime #xcom

Link Dead Radio: Violence and the simple things

The Links

  • Mr luvva luvva wonders if Hd Re-releases have a place in gaming and looks at both sides of the argument: cashing in on shoddy games and bad ports or the type that truly get updated aesthetically and mechanically.
  • Braxwolf is looking at changes to simplicity in mmo’s lately and how it can change the experience for better and worse
  • An interesting discussion this week has revolved around Violence in games and what a parentsplace is in picking what’s appropriate. Aggro Range looks at it from the different types of violence and the context it is in. Why I game gets all philosophical like only he could with weaving in psychological studies and principles within his own experiences.
  • Alt:ernative has a wonderful initiative asking people 10 questions for the 10 year anniversery of World of Warcraft.
  • The Chindividual looks at the battle of this console generation and the restricted nature of cross platform play
  • I meant to include this last week but check out a post over at Exhaust Port that looks into whether Frank Underwood (House Of Cards) is the most accurate gamer on T.V with just how natural gaming seems here.

The vids

Expendabros is a movie – game tie in by the broforce team and it’s free on steam

Hard West Kickstarter trailer

godus

sacred 3

secret Ponchos – matador

Road Not Taken

Road Redemption – Raining cars

Couch PODtatoe 8: Nostalgia Trip

This post should have been up a lot sooner but.. I forgot about it haha. Anyway, I’ve backdated it a day just so it stands out a little but forgive my laziness.. blame it on Belghast

PODTATOE TIME PEEEEEEPLES, A place where I seem to make even less sense than usual.

This weeks discussion focussed around Nostalgia, the way we seek it out and how media seems to be focusing in on this area lately. It has seen a lot of discussion in the community of late to so why not give it a little podtatoe action.

WE discussed a bit about what nostalgia means to us and how we approach it and what elements of nostalgia we enjoyed. We then look into the elements we think help nostalgia in appealing to us as well as what turns us away.

The larger discussion we had centered around using popular or well known I.P when creating a remake or bringing back a certain I.P into the mainstream. There were a few games and movies we discussed here as well as pointing out a few articles we’ve read recently. In the end it seems I’m ok when it comes to changing the plot and even the themes and aesthetic but when they change the personality of characters or the game.. the feeling of it which is pretty hard to describe.

And the question we leave you with for this pod is what nostalgic game experience would you dig up for a remake?

Articles related to the discussion:

http://gdub4.wordpress.com/2014/08/02/blaugust-2nd-qotd/

http://reportsfromthefield.com/2014/07/24/nostalgia-and-modern-video-games/

http://tagn.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/progression-nostalgia-and-special-servers/

Download / Podomatic Itunes Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 8: Nostalgia (runtime: 55:38)

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 1:14)
Discussion: Nostalgia (starts at 13:55)
Idiots on the Internet: Gamestop Credit Card (starts at 43:20)
Community Talk: Simcha’s look at the present (starts at 50:44)
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