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.

Godus

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.

Repopulation

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.

Amazonian Antics in Firefall

BIg changes ahead for Firefall.. AGAIN you say! They are still working on a new crafting system to once again make that aspect more import as well as bring back the usefulness of crafting but they’ve also been working on a lot more it seems. And that is Update 1.3, War in the Amazon.

The biggest part of this update is a vast new land to explore that you can get to using the usual arcporters. It seems just as big as the other maps and also focuses on the Chosen warfront once more with a map aim approaching that of the earlier (like beta) battles for land in New Eden. There is a lot happening on this map at all times with a level of constant conflict that makes the map feel incredible active and gives a constant activities to try for.

Firefall amazon map

So far I’ve actually been enjoying it quite a bit. I forgotten how much I missed this more aimlessly style of play but a lot of defined actions and activities to choose from. For those actions to even feel a little more important and community driven as you are constantly defending and capturing many of the map points as a group. You are building up the strength of the watchtowers through other events and just constantly fighting around the map. There is also a bit to do for the solo or small group player as well which makes for a lot of options.

This area is tough at times. Enemies take more of a beating and I think have had a few upgrades to their ai and movement abilities. A huge amount of them will also spawn for the outpost captures and defence phases as well which is just another way to get players involved as a group. The muti-stage nature of these also seems to make them more enjoyable as well; more to fight, more team work required and it’s just fun slaughtering hordes of chosen.

Social Shooting

Social Shooting

The area is rather nicely designed too, far better than devils tusk. It feels more open with easy paths for traversing the zone, or at least the main parts of it. There is a lot of difference in the height and verticality of the zone but as usual they’ve played around with the style and design of the rocks, walls and ledges to make the best use of the jetpacks and gliders. I kind of like the aesthetic this time as well, not as nice as the Sargosa Sea style murky forests but the large trees, swamps and general greenery is just nice after the desolate wasteland that was Devil’s Tusk.

Firefall amazon

Overall It seems to be once again getting back to the strengths of what made Firefall fun was and the style of gameplay I’ve been waiting for. Large, open and well designed map with a focus on events and group goals.

The other big change with this update was removing a lot of the separate tower currencies and making it a flat reputation style mechanic. This is a good thing. Before it was just grinding out a lot of the job board quests, for a single item. This way you get reputation from an area by also doing nearby events, and once you have the reputation gear is bought with crystite. This might help with alternate frames too as you’ll have the reputation already built up.

There are a few other things to check out with the patch. New rare mob style bounty hunts to complete in each area that look fun. New battleframe items that have specific abilities and can change how things work.

Being Firefall there is a few bugs though. One major one seems to be the endless spawning of a lot of chosen from a certain part of the melding which has basically turned into a large scale area for target practice.

and that was just a fraction

and that was just a fraction

There were a lot of people there and you were killing 100’s of chosen but it seems there is no reward but experience. It still runs like donkey balls for me too, pretty sure it’s the way the client sends and receives data as it’s using a lot of my bandwidth at a time, which isn’t much but adequate for ever other online game.

Pretty Impressed though so it seems I’m going back to shooting stuff again.

Going Back to GW2

So I’ve been exploring Guild wars 2 again and yep, it was news of the expansion that brought me back which makes me wonder even more about why they didn’t do it sooner. The living story just wasn’t for me and it was never something that was viewed in the same way as an expansion from the media either. No hype. No interest. Just an overwhelming feeling of MEHHH.

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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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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.

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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.

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ESO: Area and AOE Updates

Craglorn

The first Major update is coming up soon, or at least should be by around the end of the month. We’ve heard a lot about Craglorn, ESO’s take on raiding but in a more open world environment and I wasn’t actually that enthused about the prospect… until now.

A recent Zenimax Blog post revealed a few of the mechanics that govern this new area and this seems to be what I was looking for in the PvE encounters. I really dislike the predominance of aoe in these encounters and this new area wanted to correct that in a certain way.

First they talk a lot about challenge, which quite enjoy in my end game content. It is a time to talk over and execute strategies as well as enhancing one’s own skills and ability. It is a part of a game that urges me to be better in all aspects of it and in the process it’s something that makes me more attached.

It’s interesting as well that there isn’t a time based lockout system for the combat but a resurrection toll. Going by the post I’m guessing you get a certain amount of deaths for the week, as this ties into the leaderboard. This might make people a little more patient with progress, to stop and think before assaulting things as a way of mitigating unneeded deaths.

The other part that interests me is the talk of adaptability. There seems to be a distinct meta forming with each class; best aoe, tank, healer.. that sort of thing and this might shake that up a bit. To create new roles for players to fill and encourage the use of new abilities and strategies.

 Balance Changes

The other part of this update is of course all the fixes to content and balance changes on skills but there is a certain part in these PTS patch notes that has me very worried. They are going to change aoe skills from there current near limitless cap to a small number of 6. Personally I think it might be a good thing for PvE, farming builds that can round-up and decimate huge amounts of mobs are quite popular now and such things really shouldn’t be. The part that has me worried is PvP.

For PvP this completely changes the available strategies a group can have. Small coordinated groups become a lot less effective against those that are larger and it shifts play towards more zerg type play. Right now a small group can beat a larger one, they can defend a keep against the unskilled and are competitive against others. With this change the dominant strategy becomes the zerg once more. I dealt with the zerg for over a year in GW2 and I really do not want to go back there. ESO had so much promise here in aoe in this diminishes a large part of it all because there are some rather overpowered combinations like Emperor vampire Dragonknights.

Tamriel foundry has a good round-up of the concerns and there is a poll on the forums as well that currently sits at over 90% not supporting this change. It really is a completely game changing fix, one that probably hasn’t been tested effectively on the PTS but a lesson that should have been learnt from GW2. It’s also the first thing that’s really made me wonder how long I’m going to stay with ESO. Coming here I was after a vast improvement on WvW not something maybe slightly better.

#ESO #PvP #Craglorn

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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GW2: The Collection of Collaboration

Recently Arenanet began seeking a greater amount of collaboration from the community regarding the future direction of Guild Wars 2. This is a long time coming in my mind. It seems for a while they have been adamant in their own artistic vision for the game, often to the exclusion of all outside communication. They have swayed from this occasionally, and sometimes rather widely but I have seen a distinct adherence to their ideas and metrics.

Now after over a year of operation they are after the players opinions on a range of subjects and there is a post enabled based on each subsection of the game; PvE, SPvP, and WvW. Disregarding for a fact just how inadequate the forums are for such a project compared to other avenues as well as the systems created by other companies, I am glad they have begun this very important step as no matter how smart or prepared you think you are there is nothing like getting a view of what the players want. Many companies are now doing this well before release and in the planning/development stage as they have become aware to the value of this sort of feedback. Welcome on board Anet.

I actually went over the PvE collaboration post as I was really interested in what the players were asking for. As my brain usually does, it cringed at the haphazard and chaotic nature of the forum and so, I categorized it all based on a several key categories and many minor ones.

Now I finished up at the end of page 12 as it is too hard to keep up with a page that keeps getting added too. It is also not a perfect count of the categories either, I know I made many mistakes along the way, missed splitting key categories, missed categories until later on and so on. I also only put in actual posts rather than counting the likes.

Here it is if you’re wondering. Extrapolate your own conclusions or continue on for my own rambling of the results.

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Firefall Iterating on economy

Well it seems Firefall, the game of the perpetual beta and internal tinkering has once again decided to change core mechanics of the crafting system. Sometimes I wish most games had an iterative period this extensive and inclusive but another part of me just gives that terribly long-winded sigh of just wishing they could finalise things and keep fixing bugs and making content instead. When they do deign to create for the game I like how it continually improves on the core aspects, I’m also hankering for the patch that is going to let us push back the Melding within Diamond Head permanently to reveal more space to roam, more events and such, and those sweet sweet rewards for excellence.

I’ve even been holding back playing Firefall lately solely because I know when that patch hits I’m going to be playing a lot… A LOT and don’t want to burn myself out because of it. It’s kind of like going hungry on purpose because you know the family is going to an amazingly awesome buffet and you don’t want to ruin the beautiful binge. But it has once again been pushed back to a later patch. le sigh

What they have changed does sound interesting although I don’t exactly know how I feel about some of the changes quite yet.

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