PUBG: If a broken ladder falls in the woods…

Gevlon’s last project in PUBG has come to an end, with a result very similar to his LoL project. He played a huge amount of hours, come up with a pretty terrible plan/strategy, and failed utterly. The main different between his inability to escape the starter ranks in LoL and his almost mathematically impossible feat of never winning a PUBG game out of the hundreds he played however is that at least in PUBG, he was high on a leaderboard.

Now, if you want to debate whether the point of PUBG is to win matchs vs being high on a leaderboard, have fun dying on that hill with Gevlon, you’ll be in quality company.

But, days of real life spent ‘playing’ a game of ‘hide and collect the medicine’ inside a shooter aside, Gevlon inadvertently does bring up one interesting item; how important are such leaderboards when they are clearly so highly flawed, and how much priority should a developer devote to fixing them into something reasonable?

Even to someone who has never played PUBG, it should be pretty clear that when someone who almost never kills anyone AND has never won a single game can get close to the top 100 in a region, something is broken. But just how broken is it? Gevlon is a unique snowflake in gaming, with his combination of being immune to boring bot-like actions, having 7+ hours a day to play a single game daily, and with an end-goal of blog traffic (regardless of why that traffic shows up) rather than playing for fun or achieving actual success. A very well designed system like the one in LoL he can’t exploit (so it must be dev corruption, obviously…), but does it matter if he can in PUBG? (guess no dev corruption here yet…) It’s not a must-team game like LoL, so Gevlon being in a game with 99 other people of much higher skill isn’t a big impact; he is basically a delayed disconnected player in every one of his games. That’s very, very minimal impact to everyone but Gevlon, and Gevlon doesn’t care that he isn’t actually playing the game.

PUBG is in Early Access and still rapidly developing, so the next question is what priority should fixing the ranking system really take? Would a normal player want more weapons and better balance, or a leaderboard system he likely doesn’t look at or care about fixed? Can PUBG leave EA with this flawed system and still be fine? Right now PUBG is one of the most popular games out, period, so clearly a bad leaderboard isn’t influencing many from staying away, nor is it discouraging people and having them stop playing.

The big difference between PUBG matches and say LoL matches is that in PUBG, winning is rare (or impossible in some cases…), so when people do win, that alone is a highlight and makes playing ‘worth it’, and it’s also why the ladder is an afterthought. A better ladder would be nice, but it wouldn’t honestly add all that much to the game. In LoL, you win about 50% of the time, so the victory screen itself isn’t that special. In LoL, it’s winning more often than not and climbing the ladder that most players focus on, which is why a working ranking system is so important.

PS: I do find it incredibly comical that Gevlon, in his own post, includes a screen shot of a player he thinks plays like him. The player is ranked #2, but has only 80 games played, 14 of which he has won, along with a K/D ratio of 1.5. The guy with hundreds of games and zero wins is basically the same as the guy with a respectable K/D ratio and a 17% win rate (which is very high for PUBG) in the mind of Gevlon. You just can’t make this stuff up.

Posted in beta, Blogroll, Random, Rant | 22 Comments

This is a Castle Story post, 5 years after the last

Way back in 2013 I posted that I bought Castle Story off a Steam sale, and wasn’t very impressed. Bonus content in the comments section of that post, good to see some things never change. Double bonus about that post also talking about the now-dead EQNL and how it will fail. Checking the scoreboard, I believe I’m now up a billion and one in terms of accurate predictions. Why ALL developers don’t follow my advice at this point really is a mystery…

Anyway, Castle Story is officially released. I’ll have to load it up and see if its better now than it was 5 years ago. You’d assume it is, but you know what they say about assumptions (they say mine are 99% accurate).

This is also a reminder that sometimes Early Access works great, sometimes it fails horribly, and a lot of times it leads to having a game that is finally released 5 years later. The new-ish era of gaming everyone!

Posted in EQNext, Random, Rant, Steam Stuff | Leave a comment

Since he asked…

show me a bad player and I show you a bad person. – Gevlon

Does playing 1000+ games and not making it out of the tutorial ranking qualify as a bad player? Does playing 1000+ games of PUBG without a single win qualify as a bad player?

Posted in Random | 13 Comments

PUBG mini review

Forgot to mention I went on vacation. Sorry about that, but hey, I’m back now. And that was “SynCaine life updates”. Moving on.

I picked up PlayerUnknown’s BattleGround (PUBG) a few days prior to vacation, and have somewhere around 150-200 games under my belt now, including about a dozen or so wins. Not a great ratio, but not terrible either, especially considering FPS games are easily my weakest genre in terms of competitive gaming.

The game is a battle royale style game; 100 people drop from a plane onto an island, looking for weapons, armor, and meds/boosters, and the last man (or squad) standing wins. To encourage the action, the playing area gets smaller as time ticks down, and if you are caught outside the area, you take damage and can eventually die.

Being a PvP game, the initial learning curve is a bit steep. You need to get a handle for the shooting mechanics (they are pretty solid, if not top-tier for a FPS), the different weapons, and of course the island and it’s layout. The island is rather large, with a dozen or so hotspots for gear, along with countless smaller houses that also contain loot. As you play, you start to learn where in a particular building loot can spawn, how to quickly spot drivable vehicles from pre-set ones, and how to loot quickly/efficiently. Time is always ticking, so the slower you go, the faster everyone else is in terms of gaining loot or positioning themselves.

Once you have the basics down, you can start focusing on how best to play around the shrinking circle, or where the best ‘ending area’ is in each zone. You also start to get better at identifying weapons by sound, as well as being able to pinpoint a shooters location. These all take time, and as you learn, most of it comes from dying and trying again.

The ‘fast track’ to learning is to play your early matches very aggressively. Drop into hotspots and fight it out. You are going to die, but 5 minutes of learning gunplay and fast looting is better than 25 minutes of hiding in a house only to be shot once you are in the top 20+ and clueless. The goal is of course to win, so you want to improve until you can actually win, which means learning the hard way.

This is especially important if you are going to play duo or 4 man (squad), which IMO are the far better modes compared to FFA. Squad in particular plays very well, both because you can somewhat customize what role people play (one sniper + covering fire, or maybe more snipers if the loot gods are good), and because the firefights are more intense vs just always going 1v1 against someone. I also think the intensity of the final moments, especially when its just your squad vs another, are awesome to experience with 3 friends in voice chat. For me the FFA mode really is just training for multiplayer.

PUBG is also the first game of this type I’ve played, having skipped both DayZ and H1Z1, so there is a certain newness to it that not everyone might have. Having said that, I think anyone who enjoys online shooters can enjoy PUBG, just be sure to find some friends to play it with.

Posted in Inquisition Clan, Random, Review | 1 Comment

EVE: Off to war we go

When Dear Leader speaks, especially for a war deployment, our numbers in local were great than local in Jita. Seems our ‘dead’ or ‘defeated’ alliance still has a little bit of life left in it…

So we are off to war, and personally I’m thrilled. While gathering up ISK and ships in Delve has been nice, especially for my industry-focused pilot, at the end of the day if you don’t use that ISK, what’s the point? Sure, we would fly out from Delve and skirmish with others, and that was fun, but a full-commit deployment is different, and IMO the real ‘heart’ of EVE. These are the events books are written about, and the “I was there” moments people really remember.

We are going north, though our final destination is still unknown to line members. We are also not moving out Super Capital fleet, just our dreads/carriers and doctrine sub-caps. I’m moving my Chimera carrier, along with a fleet hanger of sub-caps. The move op so far has been, as expected, a long grind of jumping, waiting, TiDi, and more waiting. And even with all our caution, some people are still dying. Such is life when 2000+ people travel and countless others want to pick off the stragglers.

The event is also a reminder that only in EVE do such things happen. A lot of MMOs talk about ‘meaningful travel’, or the idea of a convoy being something that actually happens with players transporting goods. In EVE it actually does, and sure, it’s not glamorous or super-engaging gameplay (if all goes well anyway), but it sets the table for everything else. If going to war was as simple and easy as queuing up for a battleground, the actions and results wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful or memorable. In short, by putting in all of this work to make it happen, the end-result is the culmination of all that work. When you don’t have to put in much work, the end-product probably isn’t anything special.

Good times ahead!

PS: Picked up PUBG since a bunch of Inq guys have been playing it. Fun game for sure, especially playing as a duo or in a squad (4 player team). So far one win, one second place finish, and a whole lot of learning by jumping to the most populated area and brawling to learn the mechanics quickly.

Posted in EVE Online, Goons, MMO design | 6 Comments

Mobile games and ‘real’ games

Az over on his blog contemplates his time spend playing Clash Royale vs his time spend playing FFXIV. My gaming time split is somewhat similar overall I think, were I’d say 50% of it is mobile games now (Clash of Clans and Clash Royale being 95% of that).

But unlike Az I don’t view CoC and CR as ‘time wasters’ like most mobile games, where the fun lasts maybe a few hours via cheap tricks and shiny nothing and then you move on. After EVE, Clash of Clans is my second-longest played game, with my first post about the game (at least using the CoC tag) going up in June of 2014 (damn…).

I’ve gone so far as to ask if CoC is an MMO, and almost 2 years after that post, I’m leaning even more towards that answer being “yes”, certainly by the now very lax definition most people have of an MMO. Hell, in a lot of ways, CoC is far more of a traditional MMO than most MMOs today, being how heavily it relies on ‘grouping’, the long progression and difficulty curve, and how often its updated.

Mobile gaming originally was viewed as ‘cheap’ gaming, something quick to fill the time by playing very simple games. I don’t think that still applies to the whole platform. Today, mobile has ‘real’ games like CoC/CR, along with the filler, just like a console has ‘real’ games along with a bunch of filler. Mobile games are designed around the limitations and advantages of the platform, sure, but good developers can and do still make top-notch games working around or taking advantage of the platform.

Plus as hardware continues to improve, along with the speed of the networks, I expect the mobile space to further expand and more ‘real’ games to push the boundaries. It’s only a matter of time before a game the size and cost of a GTA V is released on mobile, and very likely with it will come the next “$10 for a horse!?” controversy related to payment model. And I can’t wait!

Posted in Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, iPhone, MMO design | 4 Comments

Station trading by another name

This is more of a placeholder for later, but thanks to him sharing, we can see Gevlon is playing over 7 hours of PlayerUnknown’s Battleground every day, for a week straight so far. This is consistent with how he played LoL, and while there is no official record, it’s not hard to guess that is also how much he played EVE.

The other similarity is HOW he is playing. He’s a very below average playing seemingly in all games he tries, while at the same time not needing to do what 99% of us do to enjoy yourself; play the actual game in any manner remotely considered fun by a normal human.

In EVE Gevlon hauled and station traded for 4 years straight with ultimately minimal results. In LoL he played the same champion, in basically the same way, for 1000+ games, this time with basically zero improvement. And now in PUBG he is playing a FPS without shooting, and simply sitting in a corner hiding for 99% of his playtime until he is found and dies.

Yes, he paid money and is now spending a large percentage of his day sitting in a virtual corner by himself, all so he can make a blog post that he thinks makes him look good/smart. Spoiler: It’s not a good look buddy.

Does make for fantastic content though, so there is at least some value in that.


Posted in Random, Rant | 14 Comments