Archeage and the Path to Predictability

I keep hearing people bitch about how much damage the cloning of wow has done to the industry. How every product us the same and flitting between each release like a plague of locusts. I’ve been a part of that and even I yearn for something more… How could you not? But then, I continuously see the call for games to change; games that are maybe trying to be something different or give a different experience. That have pieced together the resemblance of a soul yet we want to stomp all over that and cram it back into that overused mould. Archeage is trying something different a least by a little, the iteration it is now is more themepark orientated but there is still a little charm there. Charm that mostly comes from certain PvP elements which many have been attacking and so, that means for me it’s time to get my flame on.

CHAR

Bio Break recently had a pots about this and it made that black bile rise a little from the pit of my stomach. I see a list of quite valid complaints in that post, several note worthy ones and a few more personal and yet, the only argument I see from this side is “waaaah!, this game isn’t catering to me”. Well Boo fucking hoo. That is entitlement speaking and no, me saying that right now isn’t contradictory… it is accepting of a game for what it is and what it provides. Constantly asking for change on every single product is entitled, and quite damaging in my mind. If your after more of the same I seem to remember a large release called ESO you can indulge in, the single player “mmo”. Or how about Wildstar, what we were apparently making out as the the patron saint of mmo rebirth. Oh that’s right, most of you dropped it after a month and are now lavishing after a new mmo carcass.

Do you really understand what a PvE server would involve well, it would no longer be that Sandbox or sandpark many have been excited for. It would become just another themepark in a long line of themeparks with a farmville addition… and not a very good one at that. The questing is sub par, the dungeons are adequate, the end game is minimal and it’s the same grind you’ve been doing for years… Some of you decades. Those trade quests well, glorified escort quests now. Naval warfare, pretty much becomes meaningless, and the entire criminal system pretty much becomes pointless. A post from Geek spinkles, an avid player and care bear supports this same thing as it’s is the PvP elements that make the world more exciting and without those the whole experience would be pretty predictable.

Predictable… When you think about it that word is pretty much the death of an mmo. Once a game become predictable there really isn’t any content left, the game been completed and any play after that is just robotic. Predictable… going through prescribed motions rather than playing a game, hitting that lever for the next pellet. I don’t know about you but I want my gameplay to feel far more than predictable. I want to open up a game and not know exactly where that session is going to take me. We should be embracing this unpredictability but from this WoW approach to design we’ve been hypnotised into the safety of near every element being controlled. There is a certain appeal in repetition but when that’s the entirety of the experience then you no longer hold a person’s interest for long.

You want the same old bullshit over and over again with a different paint job paint job fine, gorge yourself on the billion other titles out there catering to your exact interests. A mass of follow the leader ftp garbage but leave the few titles trying to do a little something different alone. This is a billion dollar industry that has become nothing more than eating the fallen and regurgitating it back up, time and time again. There is a place for more, the interests of its players are more diverse than that and for fuck sake, just leave the ones wanting to be different alone. Not everything has to cater to your exact whims, not every title must have its soul erased so as to appease the fickle masses long enough for them to ravish it’s carcass and leave it buried within its shallow grave before moving to the next. Differentiation in the market is a good thing and if you are actively trying to remove that well… you are everything that’s wrong with the industry right now.

carebear

Now Syp says that we are scared, or threatened by the idea of a PvE server and that is true but only in part. It’s not for the fear of losing easy targets like him, a bountiful land of noobs to frolic through while killing with abandon. No, that is the least of my worries. It is first that the development needs to change in order to accommodate this new PvE server which it would. More content to be developed for these locusts, changes to systems that had PvP in mind when developed. There are a whole range of elements that would need immediate and ongoing development and this would take away from development in other areas. It would no longer be that PvP sandpark people were excited for, just another MMO with a watered down approach because they try to appeal to everyone and yet satisfying no one. The pve crowd will move on within a couple months and the PvP crowd will get even more resentful at the carebears ruining another potential MMO.

I think it’s funny also how it’s often said that the PvP payers need the pve ones, those carebears but really, I think it’s the other way around. If the combat and systems are interesting enough we are satisfied for a long time. The prevalence and popularity of death match style multiplayer games and the whole moba industry is a testament to that. It is actually the PvE players that need us; to add an element of unpredictability, to make the world and experience more dynamic and create something more akin to a world rather than a corridor filled with quests. If you actually want to improve the experience you should be asking for things like greater accountability for a players actions, not removing such interactions entirely.

evil kitty

Now for Archeage , I’m partial about it so far. It certainly has some faults but I’m willing to try and experience the game for what it is. It’s time to move out from that pillow fort we’ve been enshrined in for so long, make some friends and try something new. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you want but at least it will be a new experience and something more than the repetition of the familiar and predictable. And for god’s sake, lets move beyond expecting MMO’s to always fit within that tired design and celebrate the differences.

 

Open World Adjustments in Firefall

It seems I was a little wrong in my Firefall post the other day. I was excited to get back in and some of it just isn’t apparent if your higher level and running around with a group. It just isn’t as open as it used to be any more and I’m slowly finding more restrictions on play as I go. Things that kind if stop you from going some where or changes to the way things operate. Some of these changes I do think are more of a negative but others I’m a lot more impartial about. I’m still positive about the experience but change.. tis a scary thing.

Areas and Ares

The first big issue I had was not being able to enter the new Devils Tusk zone to join the chosen warrant by myself. To go there involves interacting with the transport ship at the western edge of the new Sertao zone. I’m level 36 at the moment but that was not good enough as the recommended level is 37. I can enter if a group member initiates the transit but not do it myself.

The other restriction I noticed was with the Job Boards. These are in most of the outpost scattered around the world and let you accept a mission to accomplish… They are basically an improvised quest hub. These outposts and areas have level ranges and the quests accepted here take this into account the but unless you at or below you are unable to accept these. Once again if you’re with a higher level player they can accept these and everyone in the group gets it as well so there are ways around it.

*edit* arcporters in major POI’s also take you there at any level

Another noticeable change I’ve seen during release is that the Ares missions scattered around the zones, those dynamic events that are just happening all around have become far less frequent. Before this update there were literally dozens of missions on the map at all time, and that’s just the ares missions within caves and underground facilities. Then there were numerous other missions like the crashed thumpers, LGV’s, Chosen squads, Tornados and a couple more. It was a wonderful thing as it made the map feel more active and with plenty of activities to choose form.Now it’s just the rare missions doted around the maps with considerable distance in between.

Now I understand a little bit about the change, back in beta these became the go to mission for those wanting to farm. There were numerous non-stop groups doing nothing but running between ares missions for the constant crystite rewards. The positive it provided though was having content to lay with at any time and in most spaces for the solo player and groups, it was a space to meet others within and an easy activity when you wanted to play with others… now that’s just about gone. It has been replaced by the job boards I guess but that’s a little more restrictive and isn’t as dynamic.

Thumper Lovin

The other thing that seems to have changed is the way we gather resources. Thumping has always been the go to content form for firefall and it was actually something I kind of enjoyed but a lot has changed about it. With the change to crafting and resources under the guise of “simplification” (another story entirely) many resources, including minerals that you get from thumping are now in tiers: Iron>tungsten>Titanium>Uranium. The next tier of mineral is only available within spaces of the next area but now the thumpers have been changed to suit this system as well.

See, you need a certain tier thumper in order to extract that mineral, A level two thumper will extract everything up to titanium. Before though thumpers would just gather whatever was in that spot and the differences in thumper tiers was related to difficulty. If you wanted to gather quicker or have a more challenging experience you went for the better thumper. It was also a way to tailor the experience to the group you had; more players go for a higher tier, new players maybe play it safer but you could still all gather what you wanted. Now you have a choice of Personal or squad and there seems little differentiation between the tiers of these in regards to difficulty.

All these changes do seem a bit negative, the thumper ones I’m particularly annoyed about but there might be some certain positives as well. Now, when these restrictions on level were created they still made some easier ways around this. Just getting into a group will help you open up far more content, it’s a way of encouraging grouping in a way and maybe setting up new players into groups with the more experienced. It also means that you can have a friend play with you regardless, if they are low level they can just tag along and join in with everything your doing which I think is an important factor. Downlevelling seems to be a growing trend in mmo’s but I think this takes it one step further, not many people want to go backwards after they have already levelled and this lets new or casual players still join in with higher zones and end game content.

It’s also ok for the you to do the lower content as well because you seem to scale for the zone in certain ways and also for the instances. Regardless of that the Ares missions, job board ones, and events seem to reward just as much as the higher level content. You might not get on par materials for crafting as those seem to be within certain spaces and level ranges but the currency and exp rewards are still good. This makes sure the entirety of the world and content is available to each and every player and, is still rewarding… now tell me why this isn’t common practice again?

I understand the draw of creating a progression system more focused on defined levels, it just seems to align with how people tend to think about RPGS. There is no need to get complicated with design around progression like they were before, just adding levels is enough to maintain that feeling of growth and provide consistent accomplishments during play. it’s a widely tested and used facet for a reason but it seems they’ve done there best with it while keeping much of the game still open to play. I’ve talked before about removing levels from mmo’s entirely and while that doesn’t sound likely this seems like a good enough compromise.

Link Dead Radio: Dangers of the Digital Age

 The links

If you are to read something this week make it this long treatise from game designer Brendan Vance that really just explores everything making up our modern consumer practices, just make yourself a coffee or tea first and find a nice relaxing place to absorb it all. It goes into the changing meanings of word sand how they’ve been appropriated. The nature of games, art and replayability. The changing methods of distribution and the ways this has revolutionised the marketplace and corporate practices and a whole plethora of other concerns. It is the amalgamation of modern game designer concerns wrapped up in one package.

  • Camelot Unchained had a big week of info dumping during and after the BSC Days event. Massively had a few big presentations on a few mechanics and there is a lot answered in the comments section. Keen and Graev got an interview as well. There are heaps of vids on the Camelot Unchained youtube now too.
  • Next month is Blaughust, apparently. An event about being a bit more personal and open in your posts inspired by Belghast and his post a day blog. I’m far from being open in how I talk here and prefer to keep that sort of thing to a minimum but it might be an interesting experiment, just don’t expect a post everyday
  • Talarian is tired of saving the World and talks about his experience in a jrpg just playing as an everyday alchemist in a starnge world. Personally, I’m rather sick of that feeling as well and see it as one of the cutches the industry seems to be relying on far too much.
  • Dragonchasers has a post about the gambling elements within Firefalls shop. It’s an element that is my major issue with the game right now as I will never, ever, EVER pay for a chance at an item. I see it as taking advantage of people.
  • MMO Gypsy talks about Late comers and MMO citizenship. About how you seem to lose a little something when you come into an mmo late as everyone has experienced a commonality you missed.
  • Cogitationes Astalnaris talks about the disappearance of WoW Bloggers  gets a little pensive in his wonderings on where the wow bloggers have gone and it really relates to whatever community. The whys and hows are often hidden but it’s still a sad thing to see people just dissapear.
  • SImcha talks a little about her experience with morality in games with regards to roleplaying characters and game mechanics and how a recent experience of being notorious made her feel.
  • Low Key Gaming discusses the issues the issues they have with Hyper realism and how it can be a little distracting in the way you engage in the rules of the game world.
  • oh and PLUSHIEEEEEEEESSS.. gotta catch em all and here’s a list on where to find them

The Vids

Darkwood Interactive trailer

Rainbow 6

Tekken 7

The long Dark

Repopulation Interview

Rise and Shine

Firefall and more of the same

Jumping in it Firefall again has been rather illuminating. I keep wondering around the mmo landscape searching for that mmo home, a place to settle down in and maybe become a part of it. Firefall, and New Eden feels like it could be that place. Before the update I felt this way as well, there was just something about the game that really entranced me.

Inventory Full talks about this same feeling in Guild Wars 2, an indescribable feeling of getting that foundational feeling right for the person. For me that’s having a sense of freedom in my play; the ability to go wherever, whenever, to do whatever I might feel like. I don’t need as much direction, I don’t want the restrictions of story and such and I don’t want to worry about running a gauntlet of tightly controlled instances. I just want an open world to explore and engage in and this is what Firefall gets right for me.

I finally got in from a long day of play yesterday and I was once again greeted by a world and that “go do stuff” attitude. During my play I ran around the Coral Forest zone getting used to the combat and my Dragonfly frame once more. I explored the zone, jumping and gliding around. I did a few of the more dynamic Ares missions. Then I thought to try out the new tutorial which seems better now that it’s actually in the world and it does a decent job of showing the basics.

Firefall

Gliding challenges

I stopped this for a bit to check out the new crafting and research system and progressed through a few of those lines. I then thought to go explore the new zone so I drove over there and in the process of unlocking the map view I fell into a group for some thumping. This then led to chasing tornadoes with the group and a few Ares mission. Another few people joined our group and someone left and we continued on. While running around a large event happened to protect one of the town’s so we started doing that adn it was an amazing new zone event.

I even got to check out the old Diamonhead zone, now Devil’s Tusk to join those on the chosen warfront and trying as a community to claim more land on this content and that was amazing to be a part of this large communal goal. Just this morning they seem to have accomplished the first step too and a step that wasn’t timed or forced but one enacted by its players.

Thus sort of process went on for hours where I’d go in and out of groups, trying a range of different pieces of content and just being in that flow of play. I wasn’t stuck to some prescribed path or filling out a checklist of daily tasks or achievements.. I was just playing this game. I seriously love that, more than I could possibly express.

Jumping onto one of my alts was still a pretty similar experience. I was still just exploring around and doing a range of content, I jumped back into the higher zone for a bit more to explore around again, falling into a few more groups that really didn’t mind this level 16 frame being a part of their group. Levels just don’t matter that much and there’s always an advantage in having another.

Even before there where technically levels, it was that weird hidden from view progression mechanic that involved unlocking constraints and such to allow better gear, now it’s just more visible. The new and old zones do take this into account and display level ranges for the spaces but it’s really not a restriction on play, more a recommendation… A difficulty index. The new zones are available as are the new instances and if you are skilled enough or have a higher level friend for support its easy enough to just go wherever, whenever to do whatever

Plus new zone is purrrrty

Plus new zone is purrrrty

As you level up and attain better gear it does make a difference. You gain power and health and from where I am now close to cap at level 34 it seems to be a bit over double. Some things really don’t grow much at all over the levels but are just nice improvements. There is also no hidden stat to decide whether you’ve hit something or not, or whether critical damage happens, it’s a shooter after all and that’s rather refreshing. I could just start a new frame and play with my friend in the higher zone while still contributing damage healing and killing potential… Seriously, how often does that ever happen and it’s a feature I’ve been longing for.

What this adds up to is an experience that feels more open and more social. There are minimal restrictions on play so everyone can just join together. There’s no item level so you can’t do an instance, no requirement to gathering higher level materials and no silly quest that get in the way of playing with someone. Playing above your level or below is equally interesting as well, the rewards are still there from resources and experience and the gameplay is enjoyable.

If Firefall had actually been updating at a decent pace it could have still been my main game as it’s an mmo that’s tried to be an mmo first and not a single player game with mmo annoyances. The more modern mmo elements they gave added like the levels, job board story and instanced are more a guide on play rather than a rigidly defined path to power which will be nice for those that need structure without ruining the experience for people like me. That’s a huge difference and a change I wonder why we don’t see more often. It’s the type of game I can really settle into and want more of, now the wait to see if they can keep the world growing.

 

Couch PODtatoe 5: Attack of the Beaverine

Welcome back traveller, come close to the fire while I spin a new tale, a tale of Couch PODtatoes

This week we discussed the recent change of direction from a couple companies in trying for more diversity in their characters. It was all spurned on by this article about Blizzard changing where the CEO for blizzard made a few statements about creating more diverse characters going forward. We argued a little over the reason for this quite drastic change as just a few months ago Blizzard seemed to be stating the opposite, that they were a company focused on fun not making a social stance.

We talked a bit about the differences in characters and the changes we would like to see and what changes we think were appropriate and I think I’m ok with these sorts of changes in the absence new characters. We also discussed what type of changes are important and about the nature of just trying to be politically correct.

We then ended with a funny question, that I also pose to you dear read.. What diversity makeover would you give to a character?

Lady Gambit for me

Download / Podomatic Itunes Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode  5: Diversity (runtime: 46:38

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 1:20)
Diversity in the Media (starts at 13:46)
Idiots on the Internet: Child Traffickers (starts at 34:00)
Community Talk: Being a Critical Fan (starts at 39:44)

Idiots on the Internet article:

Idiots for this week is the father that sold his son to pay for his free to play gaming habits.

Community Spotlight:

LadyCroft3: Link Saves Zelda
the article: http://linksaveszelda.com/2014/07/10/being-a-critical-fan-the-importance-of-finding-the-perfect-balance/

A talk about being a critical fan and the elements that go into conversation; the balance of being understanding of the flaws as well positive elements. We also talked a little about the fail/hype train for games on release and the article referenced was from Tuxcedo Ninja Gaming.

Host Contact information:

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

J3w3l
Blog: Healing the Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

#podcast #Podtatoe #Diversity #Beaverine

GW2 and Content Charges

I’ve been reading a bit about the new Living story updates for Guild Wars 2 and, it has me intrigued. Not enough to go in there yet but enough to prod my attention towards it so I’ll be reading a little more about the story and changes to come.

There have been several great round-ups already on the new changes, of these and I’d probably recommend Inventory Full, Sygnus and Why I game of those but then I know I’m forgetting some as well. I just wasn’t paying that much attention at first until a little way into it. A new, growing zone to exploring, a better story telling approach and with the journal it won’t feel like such a constant achievement grind.

It seems as though they have taken all their learning from the first season and applied it now for the second, apparently it still has issues but nothing as overwhelming as the chorus being repeated from the first. Of course I still wonder why they so doggedly persevered for that entire time with a system that so obviously wasn’t working but, whatever.

I’ve actually been thinking about re-downloading it once more just to see some of these changes and experience the new content. Plus, I want to log in to at least get these content releases without having to pay for them but then there seems something a little wrong with them beginning to charge for content, now of all times. Yeh, it’s only a small part of each update that I’m guessing is locked behind the cost and the actual game changes like the world and gear are probably included but it’s still holding back content.

They do have allowances towards this as well, log in for a short time and you gain access to the current living story within the new journal mechanic, play it whenever you want from then on and that is extremely great of them but then, why charge at all. There are going to be new player coming in all the time, well, that’s what you want anyway and what your doing is restricting the amount of content to them unless they pay another charge.

Thinking about this further I seemed to remember some of the initial marketing speak and conversations about the payment model before release and arenanet were saying something like you would never need to pay for content, that all updates would be free. Sure enough with a little digging there was an old forum post from Colin Johanson

No need to buy them, Gw2 will feature consistent free content updates and in-game events going forward. Our goal is to make it so you get more from Gw2 for free than you get from a game you pay a subscription for.On top of a large amount of free bonus content, we will be expanding on offerings in the Black Lion Trading Company going forward, as well as be doing large-scale expansion content down the road.We’ll cover a lot of the details on the kind of support and plans we have in place over the next month or so on the Gw2 blog and with our press partners.We do appreciate that you’d like to buy lots of new content, but we’d prefer to give a lot of it to you for free, cause that’s what we think a responsible MMO company does!

Now, I guess you can kind of say the updates still are free, the game is getting updates it is a story rather than mechanics but…hmm. It also is free if you log in but still, that all seems like a rather tenuous line to draw. It does seem to be dealing a lot with the semantics of what is said, twisting it to the current vision of the game like they’ve done with a lot of the other larger changes.

There was also this comment within one of the G4TV presentations where Johanson stated

“When you buy Guild Wars 2 you get the whole game, period. You’re never going to get a microtransaction to get more of it

That seems a little less vague and more like they are breaking another one of their original guiding principles.  A principle of Buy to Play that many in the industry hold up as a beacon now and while it does appear small at first, a mere 200 gems it quickly adds up when you consider the speed and how long the living story will go for… Lets see, bi-montlhy updates for 6 months will cost about another 30$.

To be honest I did, and do have a problem with their payment model which is probably why I’m bringing it all up once more. It just seemed like there were too many gameplay changes as a way of reaching further into the players wallets. I called it the gold grind as I personally saw them trying to push people towards buying gold, and their gold or at least engaging in insane amounts of terrible gameplay to compensate for certain frustrations. It was also their rather insidious use of lock boxes and RNG for near everything interesting.

It also felt like WvW wasn’t getting any decent updates partly because they had no idea how to monetise it but that’s another rant now buried deep within the depths of my black, oozing, mmo heart

My main thought about this new change to their payment model is “why now”. Why after nearly 2 years would you begin charging for content and an obviously needed and highly asked for feature at that. Oh there’s definitely the demand for it but just because something might be good business doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for the game. It almost feels like they are designing an issue just to sell you the cure… Zynga would be proud.

Are they not as well off as the wanted or projected and needed the extra boost. Is the current strategy of cosmetics gated in their use by other mechanics and the sale of lock box keys not working out as well any more. Have the masses become wise to the abysmal probability. Last quarter was 10 million less in sales but looking at the quarterly report it’s hard to determine as you don’t have all the details and after a false report of 3 million sales in china we have yet to hear the real numbers.

Now, I am being a bitch and mostly picking at small changes backed by some decent allowances to avoid these new payments but it’s these slippery slopes of payment changes that have a tendency to grow larger and more intrusive with time. At least what they’re producing is better this time around, maybe it is worth they extra money… is this the eye of the north equivalent expansion everyone’s been asking for?

Progress Report: A Steam Session

Welcome back intrepid followers for another exciting recount of the lunch I had today…what, that’s what instagram is for? Hmmmm, guess I’ll talk about my week in gaming instead.

After playing Wildstar so much for so long I was feeling a bit bad about not playing much of anything else, especially all those new games I purchased during the steam sale. So what did I do, I ended up playing one of those for most of the time instead.. yeh, I have a problem.

That game was Don’t Starve, a survival game with an interesting old world aesthetic. It feels like one of those soundless productions from old movies which really plays well into the feeling of inhabiting this new alien world. It’s just this 2d almost papery looking game but it can still feel so engaging.’

I think the part I enjoy so much about it is that there is so much to learn. There is an abundance of items and mechanics to understand that all end up making survival easier for you. None of it is explained in game much but I really don’t mind to much. It makes it more interesting trying to figure it out as you play. Some things are just common sense, certain food items and such and you can even figure out a lot just by flipping through the crafting menu but of course, doing that is wasting precious time. Then there are things that are intriguing in the world but have no information beyond prodding them and well, that doesn’t seem wise so I end up hitting the wiki for info.

dontstarve

I died a lot through this learning process, again and again at the stupidest of things. Mostly it was forgetting about the turning of time and ending up in the dark getting eaten by something. Actually, getting eating by something tends to be the theme for me. If theirs an dangerous creature in game well… it’s probably killed me about once.

dontstarve

yep, even these cute bastards

After a bit of playing I kind of got the hang of it, somewhere between a dozen deaths I believe as being inquisitive while rewarding overall doesn’t tend to help for that particular playthrough. I started learning a bit about base building, where to build and what to focus on first. Exploration of course seems to be the key which is good as it’s fun to roam around and find what’s out there. Starving is no longer an issue although, it wasn’t really an issue after the first couple goes but there is still a bit out there to be wary of and I’m slowing learning a little restraint… very slowly.

The current game is at day 40 or something now and it’s looking rather good. I’ve planted a lot nearby and have made it through the winter. I have a few pig houses set up nearby and even a couple bee hives nearbyish. The roaming Beefalo are kind of funny though, every now and then they come in heat and end up attacking everything near my base, the structures remain which is good and whoever loses I still end up getting a lot of meat out of it. There’s a spider farm too although they were always crawling into the camp at night, hence the new fence.

dontstarve

I seem to have a bit of a survival kick now, a little because of it but also from the other games I’ve played. It’s a genre I really enjoy just because it often seems to require a little extra learning and dedication to understand and play. And that learnign process is quite enjoyable. I still have Project Zomboid sitting around on the HD somewhere but am wondering what else there could be to satiate that craving…

The other new steam game I tried was The Swapper, I talked a little bit about it on the podcast but it is quite an interesting puzzle plat former. Now those games seem to be rather plentiful and really not that different between each other but there is something Swapper does to make it unique. The art style is rather interesting. A mix of real world items amongst digital tampering and then given some sort of haze. At times it almost feels like some sort of clay animation film.

swapper

 

The mechanics are more interesting as well. It involves creating clones of yourself, to a maximum of 4 and then hivng them repeat the same movements as you. These often need to be placed on top of certain switches in tandem in order to activate what you need but the combination of choosing placements and movements creates a mind bending affair.. the good kind. The way it adds mechanics seems to be well placed as well as the challenge increases and the added abilities come at a nice pace.

The story behind it all is intriguing as well, involving some troubles happening in the space station your exploring while chasing after another character that has something to do with the cloning guns and another life form… it’s odd and it makes me want to get through all these challenges in order to find out more. I just got stuck on one and am going to try a bit more before looking up the cheat.

Of course I played some Wildstar as well but not as heavy as the previous weeks. I’m slowly edging up that way through questing and have just finished up the Wilderrun zone. It’s a nice forest space with a few interesting spaces including the large foreboding structure of giants and I really enjoy how they’ve placed in the ancient trees. They’re almost spiritual. Having the futuristic theme makes it that much better too as I love the mixture of this ancient forest with the technological parts, like a crashed spaceship.. and all those computer terminals.

WildStar

At this stage I’d love to be getting more into the PvP to get that sweet sweet EXP but with the way my computer is, and how wildstar is optimised (read not very well) it means playing through constant stuttering during the heavy action parts. This usually results in my death which is insanely frustrating. PvP aint no fun when technology is screwing with you.

The good news with this is that I’ll be putting my tax in soon, and possible getting a decent amount back. The hubby has been placated to the idea of me buying a new computer so I should be creating my own desktop once I get that money back sooo.. AWESOME. I want to spend about 1500 for now on getting it together, that seems plenty to get some decent specs for a gaming computer. much excite.

For the week ahead I’m going to be checking out Firefall to see the changes and new content. Loved the concept of the game and the main issue was the lack of content updates and well, here they are. I really want to hit level cap in Wildstar by the end of the week too, no idea why but I just want it done now. The Wolf among us got it’s final episode now too, should be good to see how it’s all ended although at this stage I don’t think it could top how engaging those beginning episodes were just because it seems to be getting more on rails.

With that, take care everyone and may everything in your virtual world not be out to kill you.3

Link Dead Radio: Critical Conversations

*Note to all, I’m a;ways looking for articles to add to these weekly round ups so if you do have anything to add or maybe find something during the week then message me.. oh I don’t know… wherever*

The links

  • 1001 -up is still looking for participants in its hearthstone tournament. I’ve already enlisted so, if you might want to get even after the last trouncing that’s the place but BE WARNED.. no more kiddie deck MWHAHAHAHAA…
  • Go check out the Mystical Mesmer, A nother Newbie Blogger that much like myself came at the end of the NBI and suffers from an incurable case of Word Spam. Latest article muses about a number of current games and looks at just how different things are now in our High Tech world.
  • Under the pale tree contemplates the many questions with this new Living story season as well as the ending of the previous season and does a great job wrapping up a few theories regarding motives, action and result. Even without playing this is interesting stuff.
  • Gamer By design visits the GaymerX conference and relays his experience.
  • Link Saves Zelda explores the importance of finding a balance when begin a critical fan; that we can still love games while exploring the more problematic nature of them in a mechanical or cultural way. That we often do so out of a want to make our medium better, not just for us.
  • The Ancient Gaming Noob makes an interesting analysis of the percentage of raiders in LOTRO in pointing out that it might not be just about numbers and that these communities might provide other more positive benefits that outweigh their relative niche’ness. That they may be deserving of more attention than than numbers might imply..
  • An interview with the devs of Age of Ascent over at Kill Screen and how with changing technologies they are hoping to create the largest mmo battle

The Vids

Borderlands: The pre sequel narrated gameplay

Battleborn Trailer

Don’t starve Multiplayer prototype

Destiny Beta Trailer

Couch PODtatoe 4: Enter the Esports

In case you didn’t know so far I am a terrible Podcast Cohost. I’m often late to our internet meets and then speed another 10 minutes chugging down a tea.. maybe another 5 hacking up whatever has loged itself in my trachea over night. I had to leave Murf and Izzy to their chattering for a part of it because other circumstances arose that needed me (namely forgetting to wake the hubby for an appointment and then proceeding to help him get ready in record time).

I also take waaaaaaaay to long in posting this little wrap up. The podcast was up a couple days ago now and while I was going to do it the day after I .. hmm.. didn’t forget just got into one of those gaming trances. If you want up to dat accounts of our pod bound antics well then… you should probably keep an eye on IZZY more than me.

Anyway, this weeks podcast saw us delving into the madness of MOBA. Trying to decern what exactly that means and the many complications related to the acronym. What exactly is a MOBA and what other genres are kind of similar. Personally I think the name itself, removed from the acronym seems to be a good descriptive of the game type now, a couple years ago no but now with many other games taking up the mantle yes. It’s become a household name in a way.

We then discussed the nature of esports as they are now and where they’ve come form. From a groth from a smaller niche community of events like evo to the massive 10 million dollar powerhouse it is now. We also argued over what exactly a sport is these days: the use of the term and complications for using it as an umbrella term.

Download / Podomatic Itunes Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 4: Esports (runtime: 1:10:37)

Breaking the Ice: what are we playing? (starts at 2:23)
MOBAs and Esports (starts at 9:47)
Idiots on the Internet: GTA Biker Gang (starts at 55:23)
Community Talk: The Steam Personal Challenge (starts at 1:05:02)

Idiots on the Internet article:

Biker Gangs in GTA and the idiocy they get up to.

Community Spotlight:

Aywren of Sygnus.org issues the steam personal challenge. This year these things have been really popular and it made us both think about our accounts and I’ve been playing through some ever since

My details

Worth: $1799.87 ($726.70 with sales)

Games owned: 127

Games not played: 59 (46%)

Hours spent: 739.7h

Host Contact information:

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

J3w3l
Blog: Healing the Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Mr. Murf
Blog: Murf Versus
Twitter: @ctmurfy

 

#podcast #Podtatoe #esports

Firefall and the Revamp for Release

Firefall is officially releasing on the 29th of July.. Why are you laughing?
And it seems it will also be releasing with a lot of new content.. Why are you still laughing?

Oh I get it. Firefall has been in development limbo for the better part of a decade now. It’s been in beta for, I think a few years now and it seems like very little has really been added. A lot has changed, whole entire systems reworked countless numbers of times and, in fact, if you look at the development I can see many completely different games there. Because of this there are many of us that are rather sceptical and view their posts as a bit of a joke.

Firefall is a good game, or more I should say Firefall could be a good game but only if and when  the team at Red 5 are able to focus on one image for what this game is going to be. There were a lot of problems with previous management which I outlined a while ago but even now heading towards release they’ve completely reworked the progression and crafting system againn. I’m still sceptical really, even with a released tag as it’s gone through so many cycles it’s hard not to wonder if that will happen again. Who knows, maybe in 2015 Firefall will be a moba, or incorporate voxels.

There are quite a few blog posts about the changes heading into release and some of these sound exciting. Probably enough to get me jumping back in to have a look and try it all out. Launch Blog 5 talked about the new land that will be coming in, quadrupling the small space we’ve been stuck with many years now. There will be an open pvp space to fight over resources for and a new veteran tuned zone to explore. And I they will be expanding the main map space as well.

firefall Smokestack

There will be more major changes happening to most of the systems following the theme of simplicity. Firefall was a bit complicated before with it’s progression, crafting and item use and while I personally enjoyed learning and using these aspects I understand that it constantly confounded new players. Blog 2 talked about this in a little detail and the main points are that the resource types are getting cut down to three. many items are getting wrapped together and the whole thing is getting a ui overhaul to be more user friendly. There will still be researching and crafting multiple different parts but they’ve removed a ton of items and special components are mostly getting removed now. No more item destruction either.. just decay that can be repaired.

The part I’m not sure about are the changes to progression as a character and the battleframes. Blog 1 went into this a little with the different aspects of progression, namely how the experience and customisation will change as you progress but from what I understand it will be a far more level based experience. Abilities unlock over time, power grows substantially and the gear is a part of this too, Even the zones, dungeons, and story instances will be designed with these sort of restrictions in mind. Now, Firefall beforehand did have a certain amount of power creep but you could still contribute and were able to follow along with friends how you wanted, I’m hoping it’s the same now as well.

There will be certain changes to the resource and currency system as well mostly outlined in the recent Blog 6. A few new currencies are getting placed in from tickets given out for reputation vendors in certain spaces and also a credits system as the main form of money to be mostly used for the market system as well as a few other spaces. This new currency is gained through conversion of crystite, a little complicated yeh, but they’re introducing a player based market for red beans with no market fee.

Exchange

After all of that BS I did enjoy my time with Firefall. The combat was fun, the classes varied and it had an amazingly open gameplay system that put next to no restrictions on how you could play and who you could play with, I can recommend on that fact alone. On my first days play a long time ago I fell into a group doing some of the hardest content there currently was in the game. I really enjoyed that level of freedom and haven’t seen it again since and while it sounds like they are adding a little structure with story missions the foundation is still open.

Also, I’ve always thought that as a company they kind of got community right. If it wasn’t for the negatively surrounding the wealth of changes and the lack of content it would be an amazing place. The developers still do quite well though with engaging the playerbase: there’s still a weekly Dev show to watch, they are pretty active on the forums and in game and there are many community events to get involved with like let derbies and such with a daily recount over at souncloud of that’s days events. This weekend will have the devs controlling a group of Chosen bosses that will be assaulting the major towns… Should be fun.

So what’s the point that of this.. Hmm,  I don’t know. If you haven’t played yet well it seems like a good time to try. If you have well..could be worth a look and instead of the 29th you’ll be able to get access on the 15th. Now there does seem to be a complete market wipe. There’s a resource trade in event at the moment, research is getting reset with certain benefits allowed and a lot of items are getting changed to the new system or put in a place for salvage. It seems rather complicated but with such drastic changes they’ve done a decent job of rewarding those who have spent time in the years of beta… I guess.

I’ll be jumping in for a scout around and tt seems Levelcapped has the same idea as well. Mainly to see these new spaces they have created and to probably get involved with the community events surrounding the unlocking of new spaces. I really enjoyed this game and hopefully will again. If you jump in give a shout out in game to Eriena or look for a familiar purple glow.

Firefall