Oh Darkfall…

Darkfall holds this bizarre place in my heart. On one hand the game itself is mostly terrible. The company that made it is also mostly terrible. The people who play it are — you guessed it — terrible. Yet at the same time, Darkfall is the game where I met some of my best friends. Darkfall is where our gaming community had the most fun playing together.

The reason for our enjoyment rests solely on one of the only things Aventurine got right: They created a game where players had to rely on each other. That’s the magic right there.

So why am I writing about Darkfall of all games? I saw a post on Reddit from a Darkfall dev asking (unofficially) if people are interested in bringing back Darkfall 1.0.  No, I’m not interested. The only way I would be interested in playing Darkfall ever again, 1.0 or otherwise, would be to cut Aventurine out of the equation, turn development over to a team of people who know what they’re doing, and give me (or someone sane) full power and authority to ban just about everyone who currently or previous played, and retain that power to protect the community.

I would try a player-run server of Darkfall if operated in a similar fashion to P99 or SWGEmu. A team of people who are passionate about the game, remove what sucks, bring back what works, and continue to develop more things the game needs.  Otherwise, nah.

Pathfinder Online CEO Schooled by Players

pathfinder-online-settlements

This was emailed to me over the weekend asking for my commentary. The Pathfinder CEO took to the very public Pathfinder Online (PFO) forums last week to make what he felt was a heartfelt and genuine push for his players to help grow what is currently a rather stagnant player population. You can read the entire post if you wish, but I’ll quote a summarize.

“In my opinion, Settlement recruiting activities in the wider MMO community continue to be almost zero. […]

We need recruiting activity in the EVE community. I don’t know what the best vehicle is for that, so any and all suggestions are welcome.

Settlements that are committed to growing should have someone delegated to be visible in these places making regular posts and talking about the cool stuff their Settlement is doing. When the wider community sees activity and fun, that is a powerful attractant.” – Ryan Dancey

Within his post he points out a few places like MMORPG.com and TTH for players in settlements to go and essentially advertise the game, their settlement, how much fun they’re having, etc. Should players do these things? Yes, I talk about this all the time when I instruct MMO devs to have their players champion their game. Should the CEO make a public post telling people to do this? No, that’s suicide. This translates to the following: Our game isn’t popular, people think it isn’t fun, and our population is shrinking so we need you to go out and spam advertise – HALP! [Read more…]

D&D Group Looking for Players

community-dndOur community is creating a Dungeons & Dragons group! We will be playing on Sundays at 5pm central time (3pm pacific/6pm eastern). The group currently has a DM, Gnome Bard (Me!), and a Dwarf Wizard — we’d like to hopefully find 2-3 more players.

We are starting our first game this coming Sunday (4/26) and hope to get our characters rolled and maybe the first encounter created.

We’re using Roll20.net to play and will be using 5th Edition ruleset. Since we’re doing this all online, we ask that you please have a microphone. A web cam is optional, and some of us will be using one.

If you’re interested, please visit our new Tabletop Games forum or post here. If we can’t get more players this week, we will officially start the first week in May. I look forward to hopefully playing with some of you.

Paid Mods

Update: Bethesda/Zenimax has cancelled their paid mods with Steam. Refunds for all according to Valve.

Steam has once again made a move toward monetizing all things games and placing themselves smack dab in the middle to take a cut. Now the Steam Workshop is going to support “paid creations” aka paying for mods.

I’m not going to come right out and say that I am in blanket opposition to all paid mods. There are some mods that end up being better than the original game. In fact, some of the best games we’ve ever seen come straight from studios who started out as being mod developers. I support this 100%. Some mods are good enough that I have and would in the future donate to the creator.

Part of what makes mods so incredible is the that they are largely free. The people who make these mods are downright passionate about what they do, and they are doing so fueled entirely by that passion. What we see from them is a result of their own desire to create the mod, make a name for themselves, or do something fun. When you monetize modding, something special there is lost. Motivations change.

Art of the Catch taken down for using someone else's work for profit.

Art of the Catch taken down for using someone else’s work for profit.

Modding in general has often been what feels like an open-source community. People take mods and combine them with other mods to create the perfect modding packages. Sometimes mod devs would tweak someone else’s mod and create something new. Paid mods have only been available for like 24 hours and Steam has already taken down a mod for “using the work of other modders.” This is just the beginning.

Part of what feels so slimy here is Steam. I don’t like Greenlight, I don’t like their early access stuff, and I don’t like the idea of them creating a marketplace for mods. I don’t like the precedent. Personally, I hope it doesn’t take off. I hope most game studios will not allow their games or brands to be monetized in this fashion.

Good mods do not go unrewarded or unnoticed. There are many examples where mod devs actually get recruited to work at the company that made the game they modded. I’m torn between this feeling that mod devs should be compensated for their work, and a desire to never have to pay $5 to download a map mod for Skyrim. I can’t shake my gut feeling that says, “Keen, this doesn’t seem right.”

Update: Steam is also now removing links to off-site donations. You know those “If you like this mod consider donating to the creator” solicitations? Yep, gone. Looks like Steam wants their cut.

Partnered with GMG

GMG-Logo-Hi-Res

I’m excited to share with you all that we are now partnered with Green Man Gaming!

We’re always on the lookout for opportunities to provide our readers and community with resources to save them time and money. At the same time, we have a requirement of anything we endorse, recommend or affiliate with: We must have already used it ourselves and love it.

Green Man Gaming has been a great resource for gaming deals over the years. Being as transparent as possible, here is a list of every game Graev and I have purchased from GMG in the past two years:

Keen and Graev voucher

Use code: KEENAN-DGRAEV-G20OFF Save 20% on games like Mortal Kombat X and GTAV

  • Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition (NA)
  • The Wolf Among Us
  • XCOM: Enemy Within (NA)
  • Battlefield 4
  • THIEF: Master Thief Edition (NA)
  • Titanfall
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: Imperial Edition (Two Copies)
  • WildStar
  • Tropico 5
  • The Evil Within and Season Pass
  • Sid Meier’s Civilization®: Beyond Earth™

Most of those are Steam keys, some are on Origin, and the rest are stand-alone titles. TESO, WildStar, BF4, and Civ 5 were all pre-orders. GMG handles pre-orders very well and has never been late delivering our keys (which they store in a convenient section on the website under your account).

GMG is a great place to save $5-$10 on new games. For example, when ESO hadn’t even come out yet I purchased both copies at 20% off. The way GMG does this is through these voucher codes like the one in the image above. Using the code KEENAN-DGRAEV-G20OFF you can save 20% on even new titles like Mortal Kombat X and GTAV. It’s silly to pay full price for games when they’re available at a discount right at launch.

So what do we get for this partnership? It’s an affiliate program. That means we get a percentage of what you buy. All of our earnings go directly toward paying for our hosting, domain, and Ventrilo server (which cost more than we have ever made on ads/affiliate programs).  I want to get to the point where we can break even by sending you to places where you can actually save money (like GMG) and ditch these Google ads we have on the blog.

How will we utilize this new partnership? I’ll be watching GMG closely and letting you know about deals. Follow us on twitter (@keenandgraev) where I’ll tweet about a great deal when I find one. I’ll also likely include a link in a review or something. No spamming, no banners, nothing obnoxious. Just honest down-to-earth good deals when I see one.

Thank you for your support!