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Author Archives: Sinborn

Transparency: Reloaded

http://apbreloaded.gamersfirst.com/p/apb-development-road-maps.html

This is a good idea. No, this is a strategic snipe at one of the great screw-ups of RTW’s old secrecy model. Implementation of a development map will satisfy the silent majority quite nicely, but I doubt the vocal minority will pipe down. There isn’t much to analyze, honestly. I can see the nipples of the work being done and that’s sufficient for me.

In regards to the vocal minority, I am reluctant to call it trolling because many people are being their honest, stupid selves. Most people are completely unaware of how difficult the development process is in regards to gaming in general. I remember Aion’s beta where one of the elements of the network outside the direct control of NCsoft was bad and was causing significant lag issues. People, of course, assumed that it was an internal problem.

Overall, I like the projected changes (Okay, I lied. I barely understand them), but there’s one thing I’m concerned about:

While players will not be stopped from moving around to different districts, as a future enhancement there will be penalties for very high level players joining low level districts and trying to ROFL-stomp newbies.

I’m not sure where the high-level barrier starts, but in regards to fun-factor, I really-really enjoy 1v2 Silver-Bronze as a format. I would hate to see this taken away because it is an unusual matchup that is unique to APB at the moment. Most games take fairly linear matchups and reasonably so, but the 1v2 is balanced in a non-linear fashion.

That and friends playing with friends. Although I do see this as a possible way to move character slots off the shelves, this produces an extra barrier between friends who want to play together despite great differences in time played. Matchmaking will still likely pit an adequate number of players against a higher ranked team, but the rewards will be reduced by the assumption of ill-intent made by the developers.

I’m curious to what the penalties will be. Dedicated players understand that money and reputation are relatively cheap. The tears, however, are priceless. While this does deter the use of lower-level players as a platform to advance, I can see myself hanging in these districts and pummeling lowbies knowing full well that I will remain in the same ranking category. The most effective solution would be a penalty that reduces the quality of the game itself, such as slower movement speed or reduced regeneration rate, because I wouldn’t be there to farm cash or reputation in the first place. Of course, this poses the possibility of purposefully joining low-rank districts to down-rank quickly by purposefully losing.

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Posted by on June 7, 2011 in APB

 

MLG Columbus – American E-sports is real.

I spent the entire weekend watching Starcraft 2. Not playing it, no. Watching it. Hours and hours of non-stop, glued-to-the-channel watching. I wasn’t the only one.

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=230086

Look at how big this thread is. This is the third and final day of the tournament. You do not get this kind of event-centered community in every game. It is a unique and awesome reward for committing to a game that is a flat sixty dollars.

In a way, I feel like I’ve emotionally and logically resigned from MMOs. The community within is a fragmented mess that requires constant participation within the game to evoke enjoyment. Most discussions will be about how broken the game-state is without any semblance of universal enjoyment of the title. Starcraft II provides something tangibly different and positive. You can still feel like you’re actively participating without having to be at a certain level of play. The only real requisite to enjoying Starcraft II is the basic knowledge that what the players are doing on stage is worth watching.

However, MLG Columbus was beyond being positive. It was a great production that lasted three solid days. Compared to other spectator-sport programming, this was immense. It was like going to a convention, except I didn’t have to buy expensive water or deal with parking.

I can’t really type or talk. I’m just gushing. I love Starcraft II. It’s not perfect, but it’s damn near close for me. Personally, if you can stand a lot of losing and some mean competition, I would spend the time getting acquainted with the beauty of the game. It pays out rich returns for a relatively small investment in understanding the context of higher level play.

Anyway, yeah, had to get that off the chest. I want to start drawing comics again for SCII specifically. There’s so many jokes to be made and smiles to be brought.

 
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Posted by on June 5, 2011 in Starcraft 2

 

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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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This got me a temp ban. That’s cool.

Sorry guys, but this game absolutely sucks.  I uninstalled it shortly after exiting the nub area.  The game has no visual stimulation.  What I see is a designer who copied warhammer, except wanted to also make it prettier.  When I start a game, and I’m in the nub area I usually see high level NPCs with awesome armor and think, “damn, I want that!”.  In Rift, all I could think is “I hope that’s not waiting for me at the end game.”

The combat is ultra generic and completely mindless wow-standard button pressing.  Combat is tedious to say the least. slash slash, build up points, use special move. repeat.

The leveling system is a joke, and it prevents you from speccing all your points into one tree, instead it forces you to spend them in other roles else they just sit there.

The UI is a complete rip off of every other mideival game.  It looks just like WoW and even takes the pact system/combo points right from it.

The only semi- cool thing is that my dude looks decent by level 7 instead of looking like some peasant.

As you can see, this is a very detailed review, but this is nowhere near the rating it recieved.  There is nothing pulling me in, and especially due to the poor visual design.  I’m really glad this ally weekend happened, b/c now i wont need to worry about wether or not I want to play it.

Sorry OP, but this review absolutely sucks. I stopped reading it shortly after exiting the first sentence. The review has no mental stimulation. What I see is an armchair game-reviewer who copied the the last thread, except wanted to also make it personal. When I start a review, and I’m in the first paragraph I usually see high level analysis with awesome comparison and think, “Damn, I want to think that!”. In Rift Got a high rating, why?, all I could think is, “I hope that’s not waiting for me at the conclusion.”

The copypasta is ultra generic and completely mindless, wow-standard keyboard mashing. Comprehending is tedious to say the least. Stroke, stroke, build up ego, use special vocabulary. repeat.

The lettering system is a joke, and it prevents you from seeing all your points into one thought, instead it forces you to spend time in other realms else they sit there.

The organization is a complete rip off of every other rant about miedeval games. It looks just like crying about WoW and even takes the inane gibbering/talking points right from it.

The only semi- cool thing is that my ego looks decent by line 7 instead of looking like some scrub.

As you can see, this is a very detailed review, but this is nowhere near giving an actual numeric value for the review. There is nothing pulling me in, and especially due to the poor psuedo-intelectual yammering. I’m really glad this post weekend happened, b/c now i wont need to worry about wether or not I want to read it.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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So yeah, banner + some Lost Planet 2.

Every time I start drawing, I remind myself that I’m pretty easily frustrated by the process. It’s akin to being new at Starcraft 2, watching GSL and then wondering why you can’t do what they’re doing and not lose. Yeah, that’s me. Actually, no, it’s more like my tablet and me. I’m inexplicably awful with this intuos3. I see people make sweet-ass curvy lines and I just make jagged nightmares. Don’t worry, it’s not the driver issue that made stuff even worse. It’s well beyond me at the moment and I’m pretty awful at that MMO known as Google.

Whatever, there’s the justification for my banner. Enjoy it not going away on one scroll. Yeah, it’s that way on purpose. Helps convey the irritation I feel towards being paperless. On to LP2.

LP2 for PC has an awful IGN review. It’s a copy-pasta job. No joke. It’s not a 60% game unless you are absolutely committed to soling the game on hard, where it becomes largely unbeatable due to the inexplicably stupid partner AI. Back in the day, sure, this issue would cripple the game, but we’re in the age where you probably have a decent internet connection and a couple friends. The game climbs from a 60 to 80 with a friend, then 90 to 95 with two or three respectively. Big friggen’ bosses, requisite teamwork, a really-really solid engine and plenty of silly stuff to engage in. So the default controls suck. Remap them, damnit. Crank up mouse sensitivity in-game to get rid of the deadzones. Rebind crouch and run to non-alphabetical keys. Suddenly, no real control issues.

The only real reason to not stay away from the purchase is due to this weird GFWL and Steam bug where Steam bought copies cannot interact with retail copies for some stupid reason. It cuts down the pool of potential players rather drastically and I find the divide to be irritating as hell. If this doesn’t get fixed, then yeah, game’s gonna’ have some pretty awful arena in the long run.

But Sin, this isn’t a MMO. Yeah, no, it isn’t, but it’s a pretty good semi-persistent online game. There’s progress for upgrades and a sense of development that follows you throughout your long trek through fifty feet of snow and space Mexico. My friends and I have been absolutely raping our sleep schedules to get playtime in. All of it has been well worth the loss of sleep.

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2010 in Lost Planet 2

 

AmiWest 2010

I think I just had an event where everything I’ve done as a gamer has coalesced into a single, mind-melting moment. The Amiga Games competition hosted by Amigadave at AmiWest 2010. Don’t bother looking it up.

Remember a Kid in King Arthur’s Court from the days of early 90’s childcare? Yeah, I was the kid and I had a cd-player. I was that little bastard and it felt great.

Long story short, I won a game competition. Not a big one, five-people-big, but it was so one-sided that even my dad could acknowledge that it was like taking candy from a baby.

There were four games in the competition with an eMac as the grand prize. (It’s a vintage, but it actually works in the modern setting.) The heat was on for me, the kid who said that he would win this the day before the competition began. My reputation as a gamer was on the line. Not just for myself, but my dad actually expected me to win. My dad who, reasonably so, disliked how much I gamed throughout my youth. That and I kinda’ wanted that computer. Not so much that I would kill for it, but bodily harm was not out of the question. Everything was coming together for a fun thrill ride.

Check them out after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

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