Battle Brothers next expansion out May 9th!

Obviously buying this the first day I can, as Battle Brothers has quickly become one of my favorite games in recent years.

This expansion adds a lot of great stuff, including different options and rule-sets to start a game, a new enemy faction, a rework on how to acquire legendary items, and lots more.

May 9th can’t come soon enough!

Posted in Random | 2 Comments

CR: Trophy Road is a good addition to the game

A big update has hit Clash Royale, bringing a new card (earthquake), balance changes, and some upcoming game modes. The biggest addition IMO is the introduction of “Trophy Road”, which adds rewards as you move up in trophy ranks.

The system is more enjoyable than the season-end chest as its more immediate, and the rewards come in smaller chunks, which means more rewards for smaller increments of trophy gain. The smaller gaps means pushing towards your next reward doesn’t feel as daunting, or leads to people basically not caring about trophy amounts towards the end of a season if they aren’t close to moving up.

This change also speeds up progression in the game overall, which is something that SuperCell has been doing in both Clash Royale and Clash of Clans. Until recently, progress was the main driver of revenue, as the game allowed you to spend to progress. Now however progression is being slowly phased out by fluff, be it skins or emotes, as a source of revenue. This is a good direction for the players, and hopefully for the company as well with more sustained revenue.

With progression being faster in both games, as well as the quality of updates being really high of late, now is an excellent time to start up or return. Come join us in Supreme Cream!

Posted in Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Inquisition Clan, RMT | Leave a comment

CoC:Pay to get it now

Small item for today, but I thought it was kind of brilliant.

In Clash of Clans, the last updated added seasons, where for $5 you get additional rewards for completing tasks (if you don’t pay you still get some rewards from the free tier). The final paid reward for the season is a skin for the barbarian king. There are very easy daily tasks, and then longer weekly tasks that unlock. Since not all tasks are open right away, you can’t earn the skin until later.

Well, except if you just spend gems (paid currency) to earn points towards rewards directly. The primary (at least IMO) reason for including this option is for those who are close to the final reward towards the end of the season, but for whatever reason can’t actually get there. Rather than frustrating them, the game allows you to pay a bit more and still get it. It’s a good option for allowing people to get the fluff they might want. It’s not like there is any real prestige or bragging rights for earning the skin; its overall super-easy if you just play the game daily.

What I didn’t expect, though perhaps should have, is that people are spending gems to earn the skin NOW because they don’t want to wait. Anyone currently using the skin has paid extra, because its impossible to have earned it by just playing. And again, this is kind of brilliant of SuperCell, because why not collect more money from people if they REALLY want the fluff now, and are willing to pay you more for it?

Posted in Clash of Clans, RMT | Leave a comment

Enderal: Forgotten Stories is where I want Steam to go

I downloaded the standalone Skyrim mod Enderal: Forgotten Stories this weekend. I’m not too far into it yet, but so far I like what I’ve seen, and reminds me what an enjoyable experience playing Skyrim is.

What I’m most impressed with right now is that Enderal is a separate, free download/installation on Steam, and the only requirement you need is to own Skyrim (Skyrim itself does not need to be installed). That makes getting the game so easy, and doubly so because once installed, you have a very easy-to-use setup window to config settings prior to the game itself launching. It’s just a fantastic user experience compared to installing and configuring mods yourself for Skyrim (Steam workshop makes that easier than using Nexus, but its still not nearly as easy as Enderal).

It got me wondering if this is a direction Valve can go more in, and provide better support for initiatives like this, to give it another advantage over the Epic Games Store and others. It would be a nice contrast too; while EGS is limiting choices for gamers and trying to force people’s hand, Steam is here providing easier access to free total conversion mods to everyone. I’d love for, say, a separate installation for some of the larger Mount and Blade mods. Plus those mod teams deserve the recognition of having a standalone ‘game’ on Steam.

More on Enderal itself later as I dig into it.

 

Posted in Random, Steam Stuff, The Elder Scrolls Online | 5 Comments

Finally got that tenth rat

Zubon from KTR is retiring from blogging, and our little corner of the internet gets a bit smaller.

As I wrote in the comments on that blog, much of what he wrote is exactly how I feel about things now. For me growing older has resulted in me being overall less combative, which is good in life, but less entertaining in blog world. Some of the most successful posts here (in terms of generating traffic, comments, and reply posts) were pretty aggressive attacks on a game, another blogger, or a gaming group (damn tourists). While I always separate ‘blog person’ from ‘real person’, both for myself and whoever I was talking about, it often did get under people’s skin, and the replies were often equally if not more venomous. Which again, is good blog content. It gets the people talking and thinking. And while I still have my moments, and no doubt will in the future, they are now far fewer than in years past, when “Friday Blog War” was an actual thing that (mostly) naturally happened regularly.

The other aspect of growing older, both personally and this blog, is that so many things have already been said. I’ll repeat or bring back concepts sometimes, but do I really need to write yet another post on why WotLK ruined WoW? Do you want to read another one of those? Combined with the fact that so little is really changing in the MMO space, and the amount of stuff you can write about is just more limited now, and with fewer bloggers writing, that also means fewer opportunities to write a response post to something. I talk about momentum all the time in gaming, but its true for blogging as well. When our group of bloggers were all humming, cranking out posts daily, it was much easier to spot something and continue the conversation. That’s just not really the case anymore.

There is also the fact that with the MMO space slowing down, people move on to different genres, and non-MMO games just aren’t as interesting to write about. Single player, linear games are the worst, because everyone has the same experience, but even more open-ended games like Civilization make better video ‘Lets Play’ content than blogs. Maybe you can get a post out about some interesting design concept, but that won’t lead to dozens and dozens of posts like a good MMO can (Life is Feudal was a great example of that here most recently).

This isn’t my own retirement post, in large part because I still want to drop a post when I need to about whatever it might be. I also still value the community built here, however diminished it is today compared to its peak. I’m also very curious to see how WoW Classic will play out in terms of blog content. Will it bring back some of the buzz, or will we all make a few “oh this brings back memories” posts and that will be that?

For now, I’ll just end with saying that I’ll miss Zubon posting, and the whole KTR blog not being active (RIP Ravious, can’t believe it’s only been two years). I’ve been reading that site since I first become aware of blogs more than a decade ago, and it was one of the very few blogs I checked daily.

Posted in Blogroll, Site update

Season Passes are the new hotness, and I’m OK with that

I’ve always been a fan of the subscription model vs cash shops in games. Back in the day this conversation was limited to MMOs, but today basically everything uses some hybrid model, either starting with F2P or a box+shop/dlc. It’s not all bad, or good, but either way its just the way things are now. Rare is the game where you pay once, get everything, and that’s it, as was the case not that long ago.

Payment models have been evolving in recent years too. We started with just subs for games like UO and EQ1. Then F2P came along with cash shops. Now we having mega-titles like PUBG, which has a box cost and a cash shop, and recently a season pass. Most recently, Clash of Clans has announced season passes are coming in April.

A season pass is somewhat like a return to subscriptions, only that if you don’t pay, you don’t loss total access to the game, you just don’t get the additional content on offer. It’s a better solution for players, so long as enough people buy the pass, and the pass doesn’t have to include Pay4Power items in order to sell. So far I’m not away of a game selling a pass that is P4P, but maybe I missed something, and I’m sure at some point someone will do exactly that with a game that is struggling.

Overall I like season passes. You know what you are signing up for, the cost is usually reasonable, and I’d rather support the developers that way than through a more in-your-face cash shop. The pass also removes the feeling of being nickel and dimed like a cash shop does, which may be a purely psychological thing, but FEELING good about a game is an important factor in your overall enjoyment.

I bought the first PUBG season pass when I was playing that game more actively. I’ll be buying the first CoC season pass because I am actively playing that game. Going forward, if a game I’m heavily playing offers a pass, I’m likely to give it a shot. I’d do that today for League of Legends, for example.

For those who might argue against season passes becoming popular, its important to answer the question “how else do you want the devs to get money?” Because they need to be paid, one way or the other. Hunting whales is bad business all around IMO, and there is simply too much money being left on the table with just selling a box. As already mentioned, I find almost all cash shops obnoxious and something that detracts from the game, so I’m not in favor of those. Even the more traditional MMO sub model wouldn’t work for most games. So out of all current options, I like season passes most.

Posted in Clash of Clans, League of Legends, PUBG, Rant, RMT | 9 Comments

Epic Game Store exclusives I actually care about

In addition to more favorable rates for developers, a big differentiator from Steam for the Epic Games Store is exclusives. Exclusives overall annoy me because I don’t want more Steam-clones to browse, just like I don’t want more Netflix clones popping up forcing me to search multiple services for the movie/show I want to watch (in addition to the cost increase).

I get why Epic would go that route to try and build up their store, at least on a surface level. Someone who really wants a game, and its exclusive to your platform, will come to you. Where I think this backfires is in all the people you turn away, or at least anger, because you are ‘forcing’ them to miss out on a game or come to your store. Whether the strategy is the right one will ultimately come down to whether an exclusive gets you more customers, or more anger.

So far, I’d say the scales are tipping towards anger, and that anger is rising as more games are announces as exclusives. Up until now the exclusives weren’t of interest to me, but I did have my eye on Phoenix Point, and I’m very, very interested in Obsidian’s Outer Worlds. Both those titles will now debut in the Epic store, and come to Steam a year later.

Today, I’m leaning towards just waiting that year. There are so many gaming choices that I don’t NEED another title, and a game a year after release is going to be more polished, with some likely DLC included. Plus odds are good it will be cheaper. And specifically for a game like Outer Worlds, much like previous Fallout titles, the release version is likely a buggy mess with a lot of broken or incomplete functionality. Fallout 4 I enjoyed at release, but a year after release the game was a significantly better experience.

Posted in Mass Media, Random, Rant, Steam Stuff | 9 Comments