Amazon Games Studio is already dead

Amazon Game Studios (AGS) is dead before it even released their first game. How do I know this? Because they signed John “After EQ1 everything I touch burns to the ground, with each failure burning faster then the one before” Smedly, and not only to be part of the team, they also gave him an entire studio. Honestly how does this even happen?

Smedly ‘helped define the modern MMO’ it says. Really? Smed defined (some of?) EQ1, yes, but he hasn’t defined a single thing since, and modern MMOs sure as hell aren’t like EQ1 when Smed was working on it. You know what Smed has recently defined? How to fail at Kickstarter, then fail on Steam via the same game people repeatedly told him they don’t want. That’s the kind of resume you look at over at Amazon and think “yea, lets invest a lot of money and resources into that track record”?

This is a big reason why the MMO genre is a dumpster fire outside of EVE right now. A guy has one hit title years and years ago, then turns in a meh product (Planetside 1), goes on to make a more meh product (Planetside 2), gets Sony to dump that entire studio under his leadership, gets that picked up by some VC group, then gets dumped by that group, and to top it all off comes back and his next project was so terribly nothing it couldn’t even stay on Steam, the freaking land of a million ‘do nothing’ games. And people at the top look at that and go “yea, this is our guy!”.

Can’t wait to see how this all turns out (it turns out horribly and people lose jobs while Smed most likely goes to the next pony show, because the MMO genre hates you).

Posted in EQ2, EQNext, FreeRealms, Kickstarter, MMO design, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Random, Rant, SOE being SOE, Steam Stuff | 8 Comments

CoC, CR progress update

Mobile gaming update time.

The Clash of Clans… clan is going strong. Our core is now around upper TH9 and a few of us are working at the early/mid stages of TH10. Personally my main account is midway through TH10, while my alt account is a near-max TH9. We do still have a good group at TH8 as well, and overall we also have a couple open spots for new recruits.

The difference between TH9 and TH10 is pretty interesting in terms of wars. Offense is stronger at TH9 than defense, which means in wars you are always aiming for 3 stars, and not getting 3 usually means someone is cleaning up for you. At TH10 a 3 star verse a decent base is rare, and feels like a thrill, while only getting one star is more common than at TH9. This impacts not only the importance of a solid attack at TH10, but also in how you build your base. Do you try to make the base a tough base to fully 3 star, or focus on preventing a 2 star attack (heavy protection of the TH)? It’s a very fun challenge.

CoC has also started doing events, where one unit or spell are significantly cheaper to produce, and you get a small gem reward if you successfully attack three times using that unit/spell. It’s not a major change to the game, but it’s a nice little change of pace, and keeps CoC a little fresher between updates.

In Clash Royale, the addition of the clan chest has made keeping our roster active much easier. I’m currently removing people who fail to get at least 10 crowns per chest, and since we get FLOODED with people applying as soon as a spot opens up, so far this has worked fairly well. Even the 10+ minimum is low, as technically everyone needs to get 30+ for the group to get the top reward, but we are lucky in that we have a few players who are very active (100+ crowns) and pull everyone else up.

I also like what SuperCell is doing in CR for new card releases. Rather than dropping a bunch in an update, they now roll one card out every few weeks, and when that new card is released, they also launch a special challenge mode around it. The challenge mode allows you to build a deck out of all the cards in the game, whether you have them or not, and forces you to use the new card in the deck. So far it’s always been fun, as it completely shakes up the meta and really gives a nice break from ladder grinding.

After a hot start and then some stumbling (first version of tournaments), I think SuperCell has CR in a good spot right now, and this shows in terms of how high the game ranks on the mobile app revenue charts.

We are still on break for Boom Beach.

Posted in Boom Beach, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Inquisition Clan, iPhone | 1 Comment

XCOM Long War 2 – Additional thoughts

More random thoughts on the Long War 2 mod for XCOM 2 today.

The random map generator is on full display in the mod, since you play a lot more missions than in the base game, and it’s pretty great. I’ve yet to play on a map that didn’t make sense due to the randomness (blocked doors, or buildings in a nonsensical spot for example), and with the tile set that is used being based on the location of the mission, you start to ‘recognize’ areas not on their exact map layout, but instead by their general feel. Upper US missions are often in the snow, while missions in Mexico are often in arid areas. A mission in a rural area feels like it, and are very different from a mission set in a major city.

Adding to the ‘more is better’ concept, the greater variety of enemies also helps keep things interesting. In the base game it wasn’t uncommon to only see a certain enemy a few times before you progressed beyond them. In Long War 2, since you not only run more missions overall, but mission difficulty varies based on region and infiltration rating, one squad might face mid-tier enemies, while your more rookie squad will still be facing early tier enemies on their mission. And with the enemy able to raid your areas, and those missions you have civilians fighting on your side, you really get a fully spectrum of power and abilities as you play the game.

I especially like this because the early tier of the game, with more human enemies and traditional firearms, is my favorite, and Long War 2 gives me a lot more of it. I don’t hate the more sci-fi stuff later, but IMO nothing beats blasting an enemy in the face with the starting shotgun, or the feel/sound of the base sniper rifle taking down a Sectiod from a mile away.

Speaking of weapons, the slower pace also filters down into research, so you don’t jump up in weapons/armor so quickly, and you can’t instantly equip all your soldiers with the new gear anyway due to more limited supplies. This is further protracted by the fact that you use multiple squads at the same time, so even if you get your original five soldiers geared up, you will likely still have another 5-10 guys that need the better gear, along with the better weapon mods and such.

XCOM 2 felt too fast for me, because the game greatly increased the amount of stuff over XCOM 1, but didn’t extend the total number of missions you ended up running to beat the game. Since XCOM 1 didn’t feel rushed to me, I never felt a huge need for the first mod. For XCOM 2 I think it hits a certain sweet spots in terms of extending the game in order to better allow you to see all of the fun stuff, and how it all interacts over multiple missions.

All of that said, I’m not sure I’ll actually finish my Long War 2 game (which I’m very OK with, as I’ve seen the story/ending anyway), mostly because I don’t think I’ll find upper-tier gameplay as fun, and since there will be more of that as well to progress, I might hit a wall. I most certainly haven’t yet, but I could see that happening. Either way though the mod is absolutely fantastic, and gets the most out of XCOM 2, which itself really was an excellent game. Highly recommended to anyone looking for deeper TBS gameplay.

Posted in Random | Leave a comment

CCP Dev destroys another snowflake

In alternate facts land, CCP has a long and well documented history of dev favoritism. They find the really important players and, because of how smart and dangerous those players are, they go after them in order to protect their friends’ in-game. It’s why I always tell everyone to only play honest and fair MMOs like “insert generic Asian import here”. It’s totally not because my thin-skin can’t handle failing as a tiny fish in a big pond, I swear!

Evil CCP is at it again today, this time CCP Pointybits going after famed player AverageGuyGreg. Was Greg too close to reveling the corruption within CCP? Was he about to take down the Imperium single-handedly? Was he simply too bright a beacon of truth? We will never know, because he is yet another innocent and total sane player destroyed by a corrupt CCP dev.

Hopefully someone names a station “His name was AverageGuyGreg”, you know, in his ‘honor’ and totally not as a joke at his expense via Fight Club reference.

Posted in EVE Online | 2 Comments

All we do is win win win

Can one tiring of winning? Can ‘once in a lifetime’ moments happen to you so often that they become almost the norm? As a winner can a point be reached where you start feeling bad for everyone else? Do you almost wish you could share the wealth with those less fortunate?

Nope. We win, you lose, basically always. Sorry?

Sure, throwing up the graphic that the city of Atlanta has a grand total of one championship across all the major sports while Boston has 33 (now 34) was a little mean. And yes, having a parade down our streets basically every year has become a little routine, but it’s a small price to pay. Is it a little unfair that in recent years, the city of Boston has been on the positive side of the biggest comebacks in both baseball and now football history? Sure, but life’s not fair, and god just likes Boston more than your city by a mile and a half.

We recently had the greatest, most clutch DH in the history of baseball retire, only for the greatest player in NFL history to further cement his legacy this year. There will most likely never be another Tom Brady in the NFL. Many of his record will never be broken, and going forward the conversation will be heated about who is the second-best of all time, because the top spot is now undisputed and beyond reach. The conversation around greatest QB+Coach combo is even more out of reach for everyone else. It really is all a bit silly.

And the greatest thing about it? Next year the Patriots will be favored to win the Superbowl again. They will basically be a lock to make, at least, the AFC championship game. It’s an embarrassment of riches, one that will likely never happen again, to any city.

Feels good man, feels good.

PS: Can the Pats win the SB next year in less dramatic fashion though? All 7 of their games have been nail biters, and it can’t be healthy to be on edge for 4 hours straight. Just give me a nice blowout by halftime, so I can spend the second half of the game in ‘feel good’ mode, rather than having it come at literally the last play in overtime. Thanks god, I know you won’t disappoint.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Games that are never finished, until they actually are

Two items that occurred recently that have me questioning the current state of gaming a bit. The first is the upcoming update for Battle Brothers (BB), which sounds freaking awesome (and I think will mark the end of Early Access for the game). The second is the news that the devs behind Mordheim are working on a Necromunda game (yay!), which means no more updates for Mordheim (boo!).

On the one hand, I have a game I really like in BB, that I know is going to get significantly better next update. I also know that won’t be the last update, and considering the full evolution of the game to this point, I could see BB getting additional updates for a long time. That’s awesome, and makes me invested in the game beyond just liking it right now.

The flip side of that is Mordheim, which I also greatly enjoy but now feel a bit down on because I know nothing else is coming. I was hoping for more warbands, more maps, and/or additions to the number of weapons/armor in the game. If you buy it right now the game has a lot of content, and is ‘done’, but man it also still has so much room for additional content. Content I’d easily pay DLC-money for but now won’t even get the chance.

The reason I’m a bit conflicted right now is I think both my expectations around BB and the disappointment in Mordheim are fairly new developments in terms of gamer thinking. ‘Back in the day’, when I finished a game I enjoyed, I was happy and that was it. If I bought a game and it wasn’t great, I moved on, and again that was it. Today it feels like almost all games are in this constant state of change. Civ VI came out as a ‘full’ game, but right now I know its going to get expansions and patches that will make it better, so the fact I don’t really like it right now isn’t all that upsetting, even though I paid full price. That should be weird, but right now for me it’s normal.

I know this has been pretty common in the MMO space since day one, and I also know that non-MMO gaming has in parts been shifting towards MMO stuff like updates and having online bits, but it all seems to be creeping more and more towards games never being done, and then a sense of disappointment when they actually are done. It all feels very strange.

Posted in Random, Steam Stuff | 5 Comments

The fall of life

Everyone rejoice, despite Gevlon’s claims, he is still playing LoL (I know, shocker that what Gevlon says doesn’t align with what he does. Wonder how much ISK he is back up to now huh?) But since his alternative facts ‘proved’ that LoL is rigged, I’m sure he is just casually messing around now right? Behold and despair/laugh:

no-life-1

But did he make his girlfriend proud?

Yes, he played 18 games (two were cut from the image) in one 24 hour period. For those who don’t play LoL, every game takes about 1hr after you account for queue times (longer for Gevlon’s toxic-flagged account), champ select, and then the actual game itself. So out of the 24 hours in a day, Gevlon was rage-playing LoL for 18+ of them, and this after convincing himself Riot is out to get him and the game is unfair. You can’t kill that which has no life!

(Also if anyone was still wondering how someone after 4 years can get about 1t ISK hauling skill books and station trading, imagine that person doing that across a dozen accounts for 18+ hours each day, and there ya go. So impressive it sounds like a bot could do it!).

But hey, after only playing a game for 1000+ hours, Gevlon has finally made it out of the tutorial (Silver) in ranked. Huge congrats on that, it really is impressive. I mean look, he said it himself, he is now in the top 25% in a game with about a hundred million players. 75 morons and slackers below mighty Gevlon in the most popular game out, of which for sure 0% have bought a skin to further ‘prove’ just how rigged LoL is. And now there are only 25m or so people better at LoL than Gevlon, and I’m totally sure those 25m certainly played the game more than 1000+ hours in a few months. I mean, I’m not one of them, and none of the accounts around my ranking are either, and Gevlon has double+ the games played of anyone in his league, but I’m ‘sure’ most everyone else in a sample of 25m people is most certainly playing the game as ultra-hardcore as Gevlon. How else could you explain such a ‘high’ ranking as Gold in such a terribly rigged, P2W game as LoL?

mommy-whats-skill-mean

Warding + map awareness = beating the rigging?

Oh look Gevlon has the answer, you just have to play better to climb. Is… is that how rigging works? Because that sounds pretty awesome. Does anyone else know any ‘rigged’ games where if you improve by playing, you progress? I think there might be a niche market for such an offering, especially if it allowed even those with an extremely slow learning rate to continue playing for thousands of hours. Such a game sounds neat.

LoL is in fact so ‘rigged’, that even someone who doesn’t understand WHAT SKILL EVEN MEANS can improve! (shhh, don’t tell Gevlon, but map awareness and warding are a huge part of that at lower rankings where everyone (minus special snowflakes) are still learning the basics.)

Finally, I do like Gevlon bringing up damage as if that’s the be-all end-all in LoL, especially when he plays a jungle champion with only an ult as an AoE. Maybe he should come up with some kind of brilliant Killboard-like analysis of that. I’m sure it would be tackle-titan levels of helpful and meaningful to everyone.

Please, please keep playing Gevlon. You are truly doing gods work here.

Posted in Blogroll, League of Legends | 13 Comments