Monthly Archives: May 2011

APB vs APB:R – Never let games die, or maybe never resurrect games.

When a game fails with an active anti-fanbase, something extraordinary occurs.

From the corpse of a game, the resulting shambles gives birth to someone who honestly thinks that they know how to run video games. It is one thing to have an armchair game designer, but I think it is another when you have an armchair game designer with a dead game under his belt.

Today, I think I spent too much time on the forums, talking at people who played RTW APB like I did with especially big chips on their shoulders. Of course, I played open beta as well and I had certain expectations, but I eventually grew up and realized that APB, for all its hype, was not going to be as realistic as I dreamed it would be. Now, it has aged into a interesting mix between low-mechanical shooter with movable walls. I see the merits in this weird mixture of low barriers to entry with a non-competitive, yet surprisingly unique and fun, hybrid shooter. Of course, when you say anything nice about APB:R, it becomes the civil duty of others to make sure you don’t spread false doctrine.

APB makes people angry. Furious. It was a game that embodied the possibility of a dynamic multiplayer GTA that ultimately game to grips with why game development is hard. I’ve seen a lot of bitching in my time, given that I frequented the official Starcraft II forums with regularity, but the vehemence infused in APB is legendary. You cannot give a sliver of input without having people jump on you like crazy. That and, well, it is a beta and it appears that the developers are listening. The mixture of a bad legacy with a good developer team has created a cesspool of non-stop emotions, clamoring to be noticed, recognized and hailed as the one-true-savior of APB.

I just had an argument today about how APB is an open-world, and as a result, is not a game that can be truly balanced. The other person found it absolutely necessary to clarify that APB is a glorified lobby and not an open world. I disagree on that notion because it is an open-world map where other players can directly and indirectly change the outcome of your missions, whereas a closed-world would be a Bad Company 2 map. My criteria is simple, but different from the apparent norm. The number of usable cars nearby, their position and their health does tangibly affect whether or not you will win a mission, and it is those variables to give credence to the idea that APB is open in comparison to other shooters.

Now, that’s really a matter of opinion and contexts, but at the end of everything, I was being called daft for being “over-analytic.” Granted, I understand that many people can’t analyze without siphoning gallons of tears and that insults are the last refuge of a dead argument, but this particular response is definitely the hallmark of APB’s current beta-talk state. Perhaps in being critical, I have discovered that this unreasonable behavior is carried over from the sense of participating in the death of a game. I’m convinced that APB:R’s open beta stage has awakened a spark in the lives of many angry nerds, whose calling is to hunt down and kill all optimism pertaining to the game that stole their innocence. Charming.

Personally, I wish game companies would post a really fat sticky on each forum, detailing how and where you can submit your opinion about the game without subjecting it to peer review. Not because peer review is bad, but generally because casual forum peer review is frustrating for peers with a differing viewpoint. I’ve found that the best way to dissuade yourself from a game is to read its official forums. Many testers and active players find it necessary to act as beligerent as possible. This would be fine if their arguments were reasonable, but once you get the fire started, the logic unravels.

Basically, I’m sick of other people. Today was a day ruined by a breed of people who are emboldened by the death of a title to be as asinine as possible.

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Posted by on May 31, 2011 in APB


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Sunday Stasis, and maybe Guild Wars.

I don’t blog-post enough these days. Most of it stems from having very little to say overall. I’ve been maintaining a sense of stoic quiet ever since I got it into my head that blogging too much leads to diluted ideas and that those ideas are worse than having good posts surrounded by frequent filler.

Two problems with this: One, my ideas aren’t really that good to begin with. Two, it is better to have a blog filled with dirt and gold than a blog filled with nothing.

If anything, I got myself to the point where I began to imagine that I was writing blog posts. It’s a surreal experience when you honestly believe that something has been transcribed, only to find that it has not been transcribed at all. It’s terribly disconcerting. I’m going to remedy that with simple lines of text, right here and right now. Chronological order. No items, final destination.

Starcraft 2 has murdered my desire to play/write about PvP-MMOs.

Cold-blooded murder. I realized this when I discovered Starcraft 2 fills as much time as a standard MMO. For the first time in a long while, I saw, first-hand, that PvP as I understood it had terrific amounts of drama and exposure, but lacked the necessary component of balance and difficulty that establishes some level of mutual respect.

I suck at Starcraft 2 given the amount of time I’ve spent playing it, yet still love it.

I went to a tournament. Lost to my own nerves. Still, despite humiliation, I love the game.

All video-games with any level of persistence and progress lend themselves to people without lives. Stop expecting MMOs to punish the player with less of a life. It will make your game suck.

Starcraft 2 is skill-based, which means practice time is important. Even in games where losses and wins are largely self-determined, the person with more time to practice is more likely to win.

Champions Online was great for me, but only because I never played it before it went F2P, never subbed, and Glacier was a sufficiently hilarious class during B.A.S.H.

Read: I didn’t share the common opinion of the game because I was ignorant to something.

Played RIFT OB. Enjoyed. Bought at launch.

No hype to go on. Afterwards, was super hyped. Not surprising. Early-game RIFT was a legendary experience.

I played RIFT for the sole purpose of discovering whether or not a dynamic content system is what was wrong with MMOs.

Guild Wars 2 kinda’ predicates itself on a system similar to RIFTs.

I played a Warrior in RIFT. Casually, I hit max level in 2 weeks.

It was fun, but the game was short and the honeymoon was over.

I stopped playing RIFT like a mad-man after I had a fallout with a friend. Discovered that any MMO, no matter how good or bad, may go sour if your sense of community goes ka-put.

Emotions win most of the time. Considered going into a monologue about the importance of moderation, but kept that silliness to myself.

I quit RIFT because I forgot how expensive, both in monetary terms and guilt-points, it is to maintain a subscription.

It is as if paying money makes you addicted. No, seriously.

RIFT wasn’t right for me. Conflicted. I like talking about it, but don’t play it. Owch.

The point where I stopped talking about video games to myself because I disagreed with my conscience.

Full hero parties have resurrected my interest in Guild Wars.

Knew it was coming at some point, but I was surprised that you didn’t need to buy mercenary slots. Overall, henchmen were a great idea when the game wanted to pair people together, but six years down the line, the built-in inconvenience lost its function. So glad it’s gone.

I am definitely still awful at Guild Wars, but I like to talk about it relentlessly.

I am not at 50/50 on my Hall of Monuments. It is embarrassing, but for some reason, I feel like there’s a lot of cute things that I can blog about.

Terraria is one of those games that demonstrates why the collective MMO-playing-whole hates MMOs right now.

You can build a house in Terraria. Can’t do that in most MMOs. You definitely can’t customize a home to the level that Terraria allows. Overall, we probably want Terraria housing and customization, but we’ll never get it. Segway into, “Cheaters/Trolls/Etc. are the reason we can’t have what we really want in MMOs.”

Okay, that was painful, but it needed to be said. Now I feel like I can write again. Maybe doodle.

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Posted by on May 22, 2011 in Guild Wars


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