What 6gigs really brings

October 7, 2010

A lot of funny things happen when a large number of people are waiting for 6gigs to download, especially when they have been waiting a good number of months to get it. It’s also interesting to watch the feeding frenzy for info from those who finish the download first versus those who have yet to log in. Clearly the difference of a few hours after months of waiting is, well, a big deal.

Seeing such a high volume of ‘instant’ feedback is also very telling. From some already being disappointed with the graphics update (without actually seeing it…), to claiming “no fair” for those who are playing now, if there is an inkling of injustice (real or otherwise), you can bet someone made a thread about it.

It’s also a safe bet that people are going to make “but what about feature X that was promised!?” threads about features that were, in fact, clearly NOT promised for this update. Those same idiots tomorrow will make a thread demanding info on what’s being developed, presumably so they can once again get themselves all confused and over-hyped.

And ultimately, online life will go on. Tomorrow cities will be sieged, mobs will be farmed, and some new FOTM tactic will be discovered, with a slew of threads to follow about “lulz fix it NOW!!!” But for today, it’s 99% ForumFall, and all its jibbering wonder.

Chuck-o-the-day: Jesus turned water into wine. Chuck Norris turned wine into a bad temper and aggravated assault.

(DarkFall-related post disclaimer/reminder. If you click the image link near the top-right of this page and buy a DarkFall account, I get paid 20% of the client cost. If you believe this taints my views and reporting on DarkFall, your opinion is wrong.)


Tiny patch finally arrives for Darkfall.

October 6, 2010

It’s not much, really.

I’d much rather pay $45 (or $90!) for a partial world revamp still using 2004-era midrange graphics that took 3ish years to develop, with the hopes that in another 3 (and another $90!), perhaps the rest of the world will also see a similar 2004-era update.  But hey, playable goblins and um… stuff? Are they re-re-releasing Nax (this time 3 man) as well? That would be awesome!

Bhahaha, silly WoW-kiddies paying tons for nothing, L2MMO.

Edit: From the full patch notes, this made me lulz.

*The name of the expansion is not inspired in any way by the time it took to finally launch it.
**The simplicity in the naming of Fun Hulks, Fun Flags, Use Flags, flag types etc. is intentional. That, or we couldn’t find a better name for Middle Flags


Milkfat and you

October 6, 2010

Expansion launch day in Darkfall = Return to Darkfall for me, and honestly, I’ve been itching to return. League of Legends is extremely fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just not an MMO, and that really is the style of gaming I love most. Not that a return to Darkfall means no more LoL, far from it, but a little more balance will return to my gaming. Unfortunately or otherwise, I’ve got Civilization V on somewhat of a hiatus as I wait for some patching, having finished four games and seen ‘enough’ for now. The great thing about Civ though is that it ages like fine wine, only getting better with time.

Today though I want to talk about the recent ‘big deal’ event in League of Legends; this whole Milkfat hubbub. The original thread can be found here (caution its long and rage-filled), but the short story is this: Milkfat claims he is a pro player from DotA/HoN, Riot gives him an account with a TON of RP and LP, people see that due to his live stream, forum post gets made, people rage, Riot says “oops” and takes back the points, life goes on.

One of the big issues people had went something like this “I paid for skins/champs, and this guy gets them all free, not fair!” I’ll just address that with “life’s not fair”. I mean really, are we going to harp on someone being able to drop $1000 instantly on League of Legends because they are a lottery winner, a doctor, or whatever? Is that ‘not fair’ either? Is someone buying champs with RP when you ‘earned’ them with IP ‘not fair’ either? Point being, worry about yourself, because if you compare yourself to others long enough, it’s not going to end well for you.

Second lets look at the precedent set here, is giving someone a maxed out (or close to it) account really all that special? Nope. Reviewers often get such accounts, devs give them to friends/family all the time, and what about all those who win such accounts or exclusives through one contest or another? Point being, it happens, often, and the only difference here is that the guy live streamed and everyone watching saw it, someone made a forum post, and the snowball rolled.

Ultimately though, this just highlights the beauty of the F2P model League of Legends has going. What did that guy REALLY gain when he received that account? Did Riot give him stronger heroes? More mastery points? More powerful runes?

Nope.

He got access to a lot of fluff (skins), access to more heroes, and the ability to fill up some rune pages (of which you can only use one at a time anyway) faster than someone who plays for free. Nice to have, sure, but once hero selection is over and the game loads, he is just another player, no more powerful than anyone else. And that really applies to anyone spending money in LoL; it opens up options, it gets you stuff faster, but once the game loads it has no real impact, and that’s huge. Anyone who reaches level 30 (ranked play) will have more than enough IP to buy some heroes and fill out some rune pages, so whether you have a loaded account or have yet to spend a dime, you are on the same level in terms of in-game power.

Think about that too. Riot is able to make money (and given the rate they are hiring, truckloads of it) from a competitive game without selling a single item of true power. A hyper-competitive game is fully supported by selling, ultimately, fluff. That not only says a lot about your base game, but about your fluff as well.

Chuck-o-the-day: The Burning Man festival got its start when Chuck Norris set fire to a bunch of hippies with his eyebeams.


The value of the player behind the character

October 4, 2010

My writing style at times makes for perfect troll food/bait, generally much to my entertainment. That said, it’s always surprising when non-trolls bite as well, missing the entire point of a post to go after the bait like the trolls do. Such is the case with this post and it’s various responses here and on other blogs, so I guess a follow-up of sorts is due.

Mental exercise time: if you are a guild leader, what criteria do you use when recruiting?

If you are an ‘average’ raid leader in WoW, you look at level/gear/achievements, exclude the psychos (unless it’s a healer, then you just pray the psycho can be contained long enough to progress), and you are good. Come raid time you hope the new recruit knows enough not to cause a wipe, but beyond that no real test of ‘skill’ is needed or considered.

On the other hand, if you are a top raid or arena leader, you more or less ignore level/gear/achievements since those are expected to be maxed out already. At that level, you DO look at skill and will hold try-outs, and you will consider how well the new person meshes with the team. Funny enough, if you run an RP guild (in basically any MMO), you don’t look twice at a character (unless for RP reasons), and it’s all about the player.

In other words, the ‘average’ leader or PUG gatherer will look at the character, while the top leaders will look at the person behind one.

That’s exactly why bringing up top-level raiding or Arena is foolish when Blizzard themselves are talking about ‘fixing’ the issues WoW has today: that linking an achievement is more valuable to a group than bring a good person or having a solid reputation.

Now the why behind this is deeper than just “WotLK made WoW faceroll easy”. Or that cross-server BGs/dungeons made reputations and the sense of a server community worthless. Or the changes to instances; having them give out near top-tier epics along with being ‘mute mode’ AoE-fests. It’s these changes and others, all combined to create the current state of the game. (And as a side note, can we please stop saying WoW is the same game, and those who hate it now but liked it back in 2005 are just ‘burned out’? Fairly sure that when Blizzard themselves starts talking about returning WoW to what it was like before, it’s a good indication that perhaps things ARE different now then they were previously.)

But to get back to the original post and it’s comparisons, do clans in Darkfall ask you to link your bank or ready bag, or ask which specs you are running to make sure they are the optimal ones? Do Corps in EVE ask you to link your top ships, or demand to see how you fit them in case you are not hyper-efficient or running the current FOTM setup? Does the Inquisition League of Legends application ask you to list out which champions you own to make sure you have everyone in Tier 1, or to show us your rune page to make sure that’s ‘correct’? Do we go into a match and double-check everyone’s mastery trees, correcting any ‘incorrectly’ spent points?

No, no, and no.

What a DF clan does look for is someone who fits into the PvP dynamic a clan has going, whether the person behind the character is a combat looter, a rage quitter, or someone who can roll with the ups and downs of the game. Similar criteria for the average EVE corp, and go take a look at the Inq application if you are curious about that.

Again, the point being is that in those games, ON AVERAGE, you are considering the person behind the character rather than the character itself, and this kind of evaluation/demand has various effects on the game’s community and how the players go about things. That’s what Blizzard is trying to get back to; to get the focus more on the person rather than the character. People do very ugly things when items matter more than people when it comes to being ‘successful’ in your game, and that’s on full display in WoW.

That is what I’m getting at when I’m talking about player skill vs character skill. Not how fast you can click, or how well you can memorize YouTube, or how awesome your tic-tac-toe game is, but whether who is behind the character has an impact on the game vs the pure numbers on the screen. That ratio (since if course it’s never 100% character or player, silly trolls) is currently horribly skewed in WoW, and Blizzard is hoping the changes they have planned in Cata will be enough to fix things. By Blizzard’s own admission, it seems the price of ‘accessible to all’ might be a little too high, even for them. Whether they actually go through with the plan, or even if the plan can undo the damage done, is another story.

(No Chuck today, the book is at work and I’m off-site, sorry)


Things learned from Shining Force

October 1, 2010

Some random thoughts today all stemming from having finished Shining Force on the iPhone:

First, I just realized the first gen iPhone that I have is really slow compared to the latest phone. Now this might not come as a shock to others, but I was under the impression the actual hardware had not changed much in terms of speed. Oops. Shining Force on my buddies phone ran very smooth, while (after seeing his) I realized my game as running at what looked like 15-25FPS. Bleh. I was also getting some music-related slowdown, but just kinda assumed it was the game and not the hardware. New iPhone for Christmas, check!

Second, how is it that after all these years, with games evolving and improving, that Shining Force is still amazing? And not just nostalgia “hey this brings me back” amazing, but pure gameplay and entertainment amazing. Sure the AI is laughable bad, the overall game is super easy 95% of the time (yay cheap boss fights), and the plot can be summed up as “bad guy is bad, wants to awaken badder guy, you stop him, NOW….ish. First visit these 7 chapters of content”.

The game just has that ‘something’ about it that makes you want to continue on, and makes you a little sad when it’s finally over. It has tons of charm in terms of graphics and little details, a nice spin on the fantasy setting, and a huge range of characters to play with, giving it some nice replay value as well.

Finally, I found it interesting that I dread talking to even quest NPCs in many games, yet in Shining Force I literally talked to every single NPC in every single town. I think it’s a combination of things, from the fact that what the NPCs in Shining Force say is short and to the point (if they have one that is) versus a life story in text from current-day NPCs, to NPCs not having a giant ! over their head indicating “hey I’m the important one, everyone else is just wasting your time”.

Release Shining Force 2 already!

Chuck-o-the-day: Some sideshow performers can look at a person and tell them their birthday. Chuck Norris can look at a person and tell them when they will die.


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