Signal Static Express

Welcome to another episode of Signal Static express, the place where you get news and opinions later than everyone else cause I can’t be arsed making individual posts.


The latest overhyped idea from the idiosyncratic mind of Peter Molyneux has of course failed, rather spectacularly to meet most of it’s kickstarter goals and pledge levels. So far it looks like all that will get developed from Godus is the ftp mobile style app, and a rather incomplete vision. A lot that was claimed within the kickstarter, even the higher up tiers will never be completed and well.. the project has pretty much been abandoned now. There was a community update that set the internet on fire for a while, and there are a lot of interviews circulating now about it all of which my favourite was probably from the winner of curiosity and the supposed position of god over Godus.

I’m just saddened by this because it pretty much represents the absolute worse of kickstarter, a model of supporting game ideas that I actually enjoy. What’s more worrying is that it seems to be the more well name names, those with reputation that are using it to get funds they don’t really need to then end up failing on this promise. Due to how high profile these people are, and how widely it gets circulated it is really quite damaging.

Daybreak layoffs

Another week, another controversy within the MMO industry. This time it is the newly acquired and renamed Daybreak Game Company that is back in the news but for rather terrible news. A large number of layoffs occurred of which there aren’t any true numbers yet. I’m guessing a lot of contract based staff but also many quite high profile names like Dave Georgeson, leader of the Everquest Franchise. I believe In An Age covered one of the fuller name lists and it is an extremely extensive list.

There was a lot more talk on twitter from many of the people let go, as well as comments on reddit and a few other places of which Inventory Full did a good job covering. For me, I don’t know what else to say really. I’m rather sad for the loss of jobs but I didn’t have any personal connection to any of the franchises. From my position it always seemed like they were taking on too much, maintaining and developing too many projects at once for it to really be that profitable. You have development teams, customer service people and a lot of overhead for that many projects.

While I understand the worry about some of the projects, especially Everquest next but from what I see this whole layoff thing seems to be more about consolidating resources into the projects that have potential. Planetside 2 was said to only have just become profitable lately which explains a lot of its layoffs, and the Everquest franchise can’t really be pulling in that much money. The there’s landmark as well which seems incredibly weird to me in how they’ve basically only had a one-off fund boost and then been running everything for free for the last 18 months. Just seems like bad business to me regardless of their world building aims.

It doesn’t make sense to get rid of, or stop development of Everquest next either because it would probably have been evaluated as their asset with the greatest value. You don’t just throw away the code for such an asset, unless of course your Blizzard.

Ncsoft Report

The Ncsoft earnings report for the fourth quarter is out now and all I have to say is OUCH for Wildstar. % million this quarter, so soon after its initial release doesn’t bode well. It seems to have only made a 45 million total too which would have to be close to its development and marketing costs.. wasn’t that what rift cost after all, Wildstar couldn’t be that far off from there. It is NCsoft too so I would say now is the time to not get attached to the game.

Generally I did like the idea of Wildstar and the environment design was rather interesting when you got used to it. The Housing was very well designed and allowed a lot of customisation and their costume design for characters was some of, if not the best I’ve seen: realistic design ideals, detailed and just rather amazing looking. It just failed in the usual important aspects of end game ideas and personal goals… and that open world aspect to an extent.

Guild Wars 2 continues its downward trend of profits, still doing reasonably well i would think but for the population of players, and its general popularity I would expect a lot more than that. Definitely the reason behind the upcoming expansion but also a telling case of what happens with btp earnings. They just fail over the longer term unless you can actually support it with a decent cash shop.


Is having a cheap deal for beta access at the moment for 20$. I really enjoyed what I played, warts and all as the game has potential to be the next big sandbox to consume my play time. You can go to the website or even steam to pick it up.

Signal Static Express

I’m amazed at just how much huge news we’ve had lately within the mmo space. Nothing for months and then BAM… everything hits you at once. I mostly just keep on going with my own rambling but sometimes I feel like I miss out on having my own say. From now on I think I will put some news here, but just quick opinions and recaps, nothing major although I need a witty title name for it.

Anyway Here’s some of the big January stuff so far

Massively Overpowered

First I’ll just highlight the closing down of the Joystiq sites, including Massively. Recently the team just came out with their own kickstarter, with plans for further crowd sourcing from places like Patreon afterwards. There has been a bit of conversation around the validity of what massively did, and I guess will do, but regardless of those (of which I have as well) I think it added enough of value to the mmo community for it to continue on.

ESO buy to play

Elder Scrolls Online will be going Buy to play on march 19, ahead of the June 9 console release. I did write about my own feelings but I’m still glad they went with this approach. The DLC mission pack style of monetisation will probably work quite well with it and I think with being on the consoles it might get a larger influx of new players.

GW2 expansion

Guild Wars 2 is finally getting it self an expansion, Heart of Thorns. There was a lot of talk around it’s possibility beforehand due to the few teaser elements in the last couple of mission packs and it mostly turned out to be true. A decent amount of new mechanics and elements coming that could breath new llife into the game. A large new map plus gliders to traverse the world, new story elements and guild ships. Personally I’m more interested in the new Revenant class as well as masteries, with their new weapons and focus as that should shake up the meta enough to get interesting again for me.

SOE Sale

Sony Online Entertainment, the organisation behind the everquest franchise, Landmark, and the recent HIZZY release has been sold to an outside investment Firm and renamed Daybreak Game Company.. or Day C as I’m going to call it. It was claimed on Smedley’s twitter that nothing will change from it’s current development although there was an interest in creating games for console and mobile.

I’m not sure how I feel about this just yet, it’s a weird move really. They weren’t that much of a drain on sony’s resources although, going by Planetside two just now becoming profitable it seems they’re not so great at the whole project/resource management style of things. I think it was a bad move for them putting all their eggs in the ftp, early access basket but.. whatever, their call. I’m guessing by the end of the month would should get some more news on it.

 Nintendo monetisation program

News currently circulating the youtube crowd at the moment was the idiotic new program from Nintendo regarding Monetising it’s games on youtube. Their Ideas were that you could become a Nintendo Affiliate, and get 70% of all earnings (after about two months though) or 6-% if unaffiliated.. So yeh, I’m guessing they are back to the archaic and rather damaging plan of claiming all nintendo games within youtube for themselves in the aim to get more money, but with the result of completely screwing themselves of free marketing.

Could someone please explain to them how the internet works…


New interesting PVP focused game from a few developers who were involved with all those great sandbox games. Looks interesting and they are saying all the right things to get people excited but it’s probably a couple years out at least and so I don’t really give a shit. We’ll see what the reality is when it’s more of a game instead of a bunch of ideas later on.

I might do a recap of info though… hmm.. dats a lot of work though

Nexon vs Nsoft… FIGHT 

News I didn’t see many places was That the all powerful, evil entity that is Nexon engaged in a hostile takeover of Ncsoft. Hopefully battle royale style so we can atleast get rid of one of those monstrous entities. This is pretty much the result of Nexon purchasing the majority share in Nsoft during 2012 and recently changing the status on this from investment, to business participation

I just find it funny that it sounds like it occured due to a marital dispute.

Updates for ESO

So Elder Scrolls online is apparently still a thing yeh? I haven’t heard much talk around it for a while except for the rather dismal reports from null.. about the hours played on raptr. It’s another one of those times, like Wildstar where I think most people saw it coming but not many find delight in it happening. This is a genre I love and while I might rant rave and even troll occasionally (Hi gw2!) I still love it and want everything to kind of succeed, at least enough to see it continue on with a healthy population.

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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.

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There can only be one WoD: FRV

For Realsies Version

Yes and it’s blizzard that gets to keep the acronym now apparently. World of darkness, the mmo being created by CCP has been shuttered in order to focus on its other products. It’s one of those decisions that you kind of knew would and was going to happen but hadn’t really recognised that fact just yet. The signs were there all along but only a few really seemed to notice. It sounded like an interesting premise and CCP seem to know how to create a sandbox and grow a large and dedicated playerbase from smaller beginnings so it seemed to be a good idea for them to pursue it so finally axing this project is a little confusing.

In CCP’s recent ratings report, that The Ancient Gaming Noob gives an excellent round up of, there main loss was caused by the devaluing of assets that were no longer predicted to earn. The optimist in me too thought that was dust 514, a project that should have been burned alive long ago. It is, by all accounts a terrible game but it’s connected to their precious eve universe they’re so infatuated with. Instead they kill, what I thought to be, CCP’s one actually hope for the future.

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Link Dead Radio: Will Beg for Games edition

The links

  • The Ancient Gaming Noob Takes a look at the features of the next zombie game, the MMO H1Z1 as well as round up other recent Blog posts
  • Casual Aggro asks if we really want difficullty in games and outlines a few major points of difficulty with their mechanics and failings

The Vids

Hotline Miami 2

Secret Ponchos – looks pretty awesome


Child of Light Art

The Crew Gameplay trailer

Civilization:Beyond Earth

Always Sometimes Monsters – looks like a really weird, but intriguing take on many aspects of relationships

Black Desert Combat – or alternatively, Motion Blur Simulator. Seriously, watching it made me nauseous

#Gaming #RoundUp

GW2: Featuring the Failures

Now I barely follow Guild wars 2 news anymore, once I stop playing that’s pretty much the end. I’ve unsubscribed from the reddit, never visit the forums and glance over most articles on it. I read a little on the end of living story season one and it seems like they might finally have wrapped up the story well. I’m not sure they needed a year of fetch quests to do it but it certainly looked impressive.

The other recent news piece that piqued my interest was this so-called “feature’ pack and all I can think was what.. utter bullshit. Seriously, a feature pack. They certainly are the masters of artfully manipulating language to form a good impression of even basic mmo principles that have been tried and used many times before. When I look at the list of changes coming that have been outlined by the recent blog posts what I see is just regular mmo updates.

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Buying Blocks and Burning Bridges

Well, the monetisation of Everquest next landmark has been outlined on the forums and I have to say that I’m not very impressed with their plans, so much so that I might just get a refund if that’s still possible. Games have to make money of course and I expected the usual ftp options but this seems a little to integrated within regular gameplay systems to the extent that I’m worried about it.

There is a post available on the forums with the current plans for monetisation across the alpha and beta stages, much of which is the usual fair. For some reason I expected SOE to be a bit more innovative in this regards: they’ve had a wonderful marketing strategy so far, they are championing new game play types we don’t see much in the AAA space and it was hard to not be wrapped up in the initial hype. A new modern multiplayer minecraft, that’s like gaming nirvana but what we got just isn’t hitting the mark for me anymore.

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Controversy Conference Call

WOW Bucks

It seems blizzard still isn’t happy with its Scrooge McDuck money pit and is aiming to fill it to the brim, maybe start making a flowing money river with its new cash shop service aimed at the rich and ignorant fans.

If this was a ftp game, at this price people would be losing their minds. Whenever another game says they are going for a cash shop of services and fluff like this everyone goes insane yet, none of that has ever approached the insanity that is Blizzards greedy practices. WOW does it and most seem overjoyed, some are even going so far as to claim this is not nearly enough…. You shitting me? Everyone just bends over, cops a paddling from the Blizzard marketing machine and then asks for another. What’s next now? What else can the get away with while still also charging a subscription? I’m guessing a lot of the housing functionality coming up with the new Expansion.

Such a price makes no sense. It is the price of a new release, a pile of Indies or games on sale. That’s many hours of entertainment there where this money could be going. Wow is all they know though, which is just so fucking sad if you think about it. I get that people really enjoy this hobby of ours, and I understand the attachment you can feel toward a mmo but $60 for a simplistic service where there are many valid free or cheaper alternatives to take instead, one that they actually just killed too. Then there is the fact you’re basically saying that the majority of the game isn’t worth engaging in.. although, that’s probably another argument.

There are many motivations for it but so far they really don’t make sense to me. It’s not going to entice people back because that’s a huge amount by itself. It’s not going to get new mmo players because they already bitch just about having a box price. It just seems for those already heavily invested and wanting more options at end game to stave off the boredom but, the thing is, without that time investment they would probably stay subscribed for less time.

If this was happening within a vacuum of blizzard games, or during the worship of the wow shrine in a basement somewhere then I’d be fine with this. Consider it another addition in their long line of taxes focused on the stupid but this isn’t happening within a vacuum, WoW and blizzard itself is not an island unto itself. The decisions blizzard makes for its product are very often repeated around the industry in some form or another. They shape the industry around them and having such blatantly overpriced account services as it shows to others that this might just be an appropriate model. It’s not though, only WoW is able to get away with this bullshit but we will probably see overpriced “services” for a long time because of it.

Now, I actually don’t have an issue with the  service type itself. The demand is there and there are many valid reasons for players to want it although it has many issues as well. I would prefer if a mmo was designed not to need these, that most of the game remained useful but in the usual linear path it suits fine I guess.. everything’s already obsolete in some way. There are better ways to go about it but I guess this is the path of least resistance for developers in an ageing game that would take far to much to overhaul into something more meaningful.

I don’t even have a problem with the price per se, it is the companies prerogative as to how much they are going to charge for whatever they have. I would never buy certain things because of that pricing but, it’s there for others and there are enough mindless masses there to buy it. What I do have an issue with is how this practice and the pricing of digital goods and services will have an impact on the industry. Premium Pricing for digital goods and services needs to be the exception, not the standard practice.

The Pantheon Pitch

There has been a lot of talk about this product, both positive and negative regarding its various features and the way they were being implemented. Throughout I’ve been sceptical, bordering on being a bitch and I think that will probably continue right up until it’s eventually abandoned, which will happen…. the crystal ball says so.

It was a very weird Pitch. Spawned from a couple vague promotional concept pieces and then a rather confused Kickstarter that neither looked interesting or set to bring anything new to the genre…. at all and that right there was the problem. The Cynic Diaries has a good post about why Pantheon failed as well as a few suggestions that could have improved its pitch and while I agree to a certain extent my opinion differs a little.

To be honest, I don’t think it failed because it lacked scope or ambition, or that it wasn’t as fantastic in its claims. The issue was that, in a realm where we have had a lot of Kickstarter mmo’s lately it just didn’t have a defined pitch that made it stand out. We have Shroud of Avatar focusing on some sort of community appeal with dialogue options, Camelot Unchained for all that AvA goodness, and Star citizen for well… a fun Eve.

Pantheon was just there shouting out that it was Hardcore, a notion they really didn’t bother to define and that encompasses a wide range of different interest that differ immensely between groups. There was nothing special about the project except for this vague ideal; nothing unique in how they were presenting it and nothing interesting about the mechanics they were presenting for this ideal. It was, and I guess still is a tired iteration of older mechanics without any sort of modernised interpretations or understanding of the why and how these things changed.

I listened to the recent Game on Podcast which interviewed Brad Mcquaid after this recent KickFail and it becomes quit obvious that this man is delusional. Delusional as to the appeal of his project, delusional about the appeal of these mechanics and delusional about why it failed… hard. That is not to say I would not want some of these older mechanics to come back, in fact we need them back but just not like this.

The thing he was a bit right about was creating a better source for those wanting to understand the project. Looking at the kickfail I really had no idea what the focus of this Frankenstein monster was going to be. A wealth of mechanics that neither should have been apart, or should have been incorporated but were stuck up the rung of stretch goals. Perhaps if they created and outline an improved the Pantheon Pitch it might have lived long enough to get the plans for this game more concrete, maybe even enough for some gameplay.

I don’t think so though.

Deep Down

It seems we are once again flying the feminist flag about character design, or lack thereof around this upcoming dungeon crawling title, The Deep Down. Now I understand why some people would once again, rallying against the lack of some sort of playable female character and of any important female characters. The responses given were also the same nonsense we usually hear when developers get questioned about their lack of female Characters: “Oh, it doesn’t fit with our made up story that could easily be changed to be more inclusive,” It would be too expansive to add an extra character model or devote time away from the male ones”, and, my personal favourite “that’s not our marketing demographic”.

That’s all bullshit. Most competent people with the minimum of available brain power understand this and it’s something that needs to change within the industry if it ever wants to gain a wider understanding in the popular media but do we really need to form a lynching mob for every single game and developer that doesn’t adhere to this new world diversity index.

Sometimes I truly believe you can be a little too politically correct. Railing against every game like this does make it look like one gigantic feminine agenda to have total control over inclusively. These arguments add to that growing demographic of male gamers contesting these change as a legitimate concern for the industry, against a change forced on everyone and every game. They are spouting a ridiculous hyperbole, that much is obvious. Diversity of stories from both sides is, and always has been the aim instead of world domination however arguing over every little slight makes it look like this hyperbole is true.

I just wish we could pick the battles a little better. That issue with the metal gear solid developer Hideo kojima and his super special comments needed to be debated. The ridiculous characterisation in the mmo Wildstar was another. Long running franchises that continue to not have meaningful female playable and npc characters and many more cases both from the games themselves and the treatment of female gamers from developers and the general population. There are a wealth of far more overt, covert and in your face (literally) issues that serve as a far better targets than The Deep Down… do we really need to go after every single one? I don’t mind being a bitch occasional and cooking up a nice rant but this is a little much.

ESO Pre-order Packs: Critiques and Concerns

It seems Elder Scrolls has managed to drum up another apparent controversy, it has a way with this sort of thing. I woke up, read a few comments regarding the new pre-order bonuses and thought “I don’t get it”. I just don’t understand how this is a big deal, sorry but I don’t. I’m trying really hard to build up the required amount of hate but… it’s not working. I have no fucks to give in this circumstance.

Pre-orders are known for giving you extra stuff that you can’t get elsewhere in just about ever other genre. Do I piss and moan about the extra stuff kickstarter supporters are getting.. nope. Do I get upset at that shiny gun in battlefield ops 3.5 that kills me rather quickly and looks awesome doing it that was got from a certain stores pre-order.. no. To me there are far more insidious elements in our industry than what Zenimax is offering, in fact I think it is both rather tame while also offering a decent deal to those that want to support the title earlier.

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