Conglomo “what I think about that” blog entry

I’m in a dry spell here folks.  I can’t think of anything specific to talk about, so I’m going to give you the quick rundown, aka “what I think about that”, on a bunch of random things undeserving of their own entry.

[Mortal Online] The last thing I ever want to see in a game is some dip’s dong as he teabags my corpse.  I won’t link to any of the NDA violations out there here, but you can find them out on the web if you look hard enough and it will make sense.  Apparently things are going pretty rough for the testers and my spidey sense is tingling with Darkfall vibes.  I didn’t pay the big bucks to get into their beta (I draw the limit at $20 for a beta – payed it for SWG back in the day) and I’m starting to really feel good about that decision.  I don’t know if I have it in me to try a game like Mortal Online.  If doing it “different” means getting burned, then I’ll stick with what I know.

[StarCraft 2] Sales figures are already being predicted for SC2.  I wish it was my job to predict a Blizzard game would do well.   If it wasn’t clear yet that they care about $$$ more than releasing good games – even after delaying Bioshock 2 because they didn’t want to release too many good games at once – then this article should clear that up.

[Steamboat Willie Steampunk Mickey] This is the first “steampunk” game that has ever interested me in the slightest.  I have no idea what to expect and quite frankly I’m a bit unnerved to see pictures of zombie Goofy and Mickey with spider legs… gives me the willies (see what I did there?)
landing sea_transport

[38 Studios’ Copernicus] All it’s going to take for Copernicus to launch is 100 billion dollars!!!! bwhaaha!! 50-100 Mill a lot of money. For a minute there I was afraid that Bobby Kotick was going to be proven right.  Don’t EVER SCARE ME LIKE THAT AGAIN!  I guess it was all some poor reporting by the Boston press, but it’s still interesting to hear that 38 needs more money.  Hey, I’ll start paying $15 a month right now if you let me play what you have so far guys.   Some people are running for the hills screaming “Not again! We just got over WAR!” but I’m not ready to put on my running shoes yet.  Look, pay cuts need to come from somewhere and I think it’s time to let Munch go.  He’s a drain guys.

[Aion] I’m still debating whether or not to pre-order/buy from Steam, Gamestop, or NCsoft. If I get it from Gamestop then I won’t get the CE.  If I do decide to get the CE then I want to buy it digiticaly (already have it installed) and pay just $10 more for the in-game extras like wings and a week of play.  Buying it on Steam means that Steam launches the NCsoft patcher and that seems like a silly extra step when I can just get it from NCsoft.  I do love me some Steam though…  In other news, I decided that I’m going to play a Chanter as my main character and a Gladiator as an alt.  I’ll be giving lots of feedback on the class this weekend when I play CBT#5.  I decided that I’ll casually play my Elyos Chanter (level 12) and not spoil Asmodian content.

[Heroes of Newerth Beta] A big patch came out today.  S2 added a new 3v3 map, a new hero, and revamped a lot of the front end match making stuff.  The new map is decent; It’s a 3v3 diamond shape with two lanes on either side surrounding a circular area of jungle full of creeps.  It’s just big enough that you can’t run across in time to participate or stop a gank, but small enough that you don’t feel overwhelmed when running back to the shop.  The new hero is the Valkyrie (aka Priestess of the Moon from DOTA).  I haven’t been able to play as her yet, but I loved the PotM from DOTA and the magical touch of polish and gloss makes her oh-so-nice.  Unfortunately, lots of performance issues accompanied this patch.  Hosting games is borked and something throws you into someone elses game making multiple hosts and sometimes the lag is so bad it’s unplayable.  Should keep them busy for a while.

[Modern Warfare 2] PC users are not special enough for a special edition.  We’re not even harden enough for a Harden edition. :(  That means no toy night vision goggles for those of us who like to play the games the way they’re meant to be played. Yeah, that’s right, I’m a Mouse and Keyboard purist baby.  I also like my graphics crisp and my gameplay above 60fps.  Is that a crime?  I would have gone for a digital download anyway.  You can keep your goggles.  There was also a price hike though so it’s going to cost $60 … for a PC GAME!!

That’s all I got.

  • “PC users are not special enough for a special edition. We’re not even harden enough for a Harden edition. 🙁 That means no toy night vision goggles for those of us who like to play the games the way they’re meant to be played. Yeah, that’s right, I’m a Mouse and Keyboard purist baby. I also like my graphics crisp and my gameplay above 60fps. Is that a crime?”

    No but we’re not a priority either. Developers and publishers are making consoles their lead platforms because there they have a rigidly defined platform to design to and the higher barriers of piracy on the current consoles mean that far fewer potential sales will be lost to it. PC gaming isn’t dieing, but insofar as games are translatable across platforms, what incentive is there to promote the PC release over its console brethren?

  • Well the incentive could be the fact that with a console bleeding edge technology has it’s limits, and that’s the consoles built in limits. How else will they market extraordinary visuals and gameplay on something so limited? But at the same time I guess that also answers the question as to why to develope on the console, it’s limits are known, everyone that has the console has the same limits, no one complaining that it works on my friends pc well but not on mine… Damn a canundrum…

    Oh btw keen, just order the game from ncsoft, it’s a median, with the benefits that u were really looking forward to, namely the wings. I already ordered when I found out about it and i dont want to feel alone 🙁 You know u want to!!!

  • Oh damn just found the site with the damn leakz er… teabag and sausage party haven for the game “mortal online” i really do hope they arent pushing the nudity aspect first and foremost, AOC tried that and that was a wash.

  • Don’t worry about the nudity in MO.

    It’s there at the moment because of the lack of clothing; people will be starting off with some basic rags and things, and if heaps people still insist on going around completely naked (in which case they will die instantly) they might put in a nudity toggle.

    But, really, it’s nothing major. You see a few digital penises and you stop caring. It’s not as if you’re constantly going “eww, penises!”

    It seems to be that the nudity is just there to reinforce that the game is aiming for a mature market and because it fits in with the game world.

    And, really, when games can have nudity and people won’t completely freak out about it (just look at the MO forums for some massive overreactions) then it will be a good thing, it will show that the game industry has matured more.

    I’m not sure how much I can say about the beta without breaking the NDA, but it’s improving rapidly. And MO looks fantastic. Also, heaps of communication with the devs in IRC is very nice.

  • “price hike though so it’s going to cost $60 … for a PC GAME!!”
    hahahahahahahahahahahaha i wish i could get it for $60 try $120 in a australia

  • I hear ya Malik! When I hear people complaining about paying more than $50 for a game I get kind of depressed.

  • I really recommend the NCSoft store. Aion is already using the NCSoft launcher, is tied to the NCSoft Master Account and all that… you mentioned it.

    BTW: Can I actually violate NDAs by posting links if I am not a beta tester at all? :>

    I was quite sarcastic about Darkfall… but Mortal Online seems to set out to top that. In a very negative sense. *coughs*

  • “If it wasn’t clear yet that they care about $$$ more than releasing good games – even after delaying Bioshock 2 because they didn’t want to release too many good games at once – then this article should clear that up.”

    Uh… the article says that they’re going to hold the game until it’s ready, even if that means a disappointing sales number for this year. That sounds like the opposite of the point you’re arguing. They do care about money. This is, presumably, the publisher’s JOB. As a result, they’re quick to point out that the company has other things to sell this year. I just don’t see how this particular article proves the case that they care more about money than quality, especially since it’s all effectively third party speculation.

  • Keen,

    Is there a way to get into Aion’s Beta this weekend? Is that a Pre-order bonus somewhere?

    I want to check it out after hearing all the good things.

  • @Green Armadillo: It’s just another article about money more than it is about gaming. That’s the point I’m trying to make. Lately it feels like publishers are getting more and more control over games.

    @Pseven: Pre-order from almost anywhere and you’ll get a key to get in. Steam, NCsoft, Gamestop/EB, etc.

    @Malik: I wish you could too. Paying $49.99USD has been real nice.

  • I’m optimistic for MO but I’m not getting to hyped. I already purchased the game because it looks interesting to me. StarVault isn’t really pushing the nudity, the community is. There is a large vocal group who wants a toggle and a larger vocal group who doesn’t. I’m not sure how a toggle would hurt those who are pro nudity though.

    From my understanding after the game is really going you wont see naked people very often.

  • The MO threads currently are pretty hilarious, recommended reading for anyone that’s bored and looking for e-drama. I’ve been getting the same Darkfall vibe – 11 guys with no MMO history, horribly rabid fanbase rapidly turning on them. Though I don’t remember Darkfall charging extra $$ for access to what amounts to alpha testing. I still hope the game does well, because I’d like to see a company with serious resources get into the genre.

    Honestly there’s very little to talk about right now. Although I have to admit I’m curious about that Champions writeup when the NDA drops. A lot of the leaking around the web has been fairly positive but you’ve given more than enough indirect hints that the game didn’t really float your boat.

  • “Isn’t WAR a steampunk game?”

    Only as much as WoW is…..

    So…. kinda. they have “steampunk elements”, though neither game focuses on them.

  • I’m on the fence about Mortal Online. I’m really in the mood for a good sandbox fantasy MMO but no mainstream developers seem to want to make one. Shame.

    As for SC2, yeah it’s going to be big. I read that they are predicting 4million copies sold which is a fair number. Gonna huge in Korea for sure… they’re still avidly playing SC1 there on TV tournaments!

  • @We Fly Spitfires

    I do not know how popular Bnet is in Korea, since LAN play if there is will be through that. The other option is you have to authenticate your game every time you log-on.

    Until we know more though, no LAN play means Korea will hold onto SC1+Brood War

  • The only game I am looking forward to is Diablo 3 and maybe SW:TOR.

    I almost got the same Darkfall vibe from MO when the pre-orders came out but they got that working quickly enough that I didn’t get all pissy and give up like I did with Aventurine. After reading the DF forums I’m kind of glad as it doesn’t appear to go as far as I would have liked. Now if MO can live up to their claims (and I have my doubts) I will be fairly happy for a while.

    The thing is I know I will love Diablo 3 because it would take a huge effort for Blizzard to screw it up so that is the only title I am at all excited about.

  • Keen,
    Any opinions on going the way of monitization… is that a word? Also I pissed that SC2 wont support LAN. I’m in the Army and playing LAN games is one of our major pastimes. We were devistated when Counter Strike required Steam to install any of the new versions of the game.


  • I haven’t heard anything official about Bnet going the $$$ route yet. It’s something Graev and I have been expecting would happen for some time. We’re predicting an Xbox Live type deal with different plans and access levels. I’m predicting it’ll be a platform like Steam here soon.

  • When they moved WoW accounts over to Bnet I figured it would go the way of Steam. Steam really is a good system but I hate requiring internet to install and play games.

    I have purchased games simply because of LAN play. Looks like when I deploy we wont be playing SC2 unless I can shell out the money for private internet.

  • I assume the no LAN play on SC2 is to limit piracy (which is so Rife on PC), at least for ppl that want to play multiplayer. It’s just the way things are going to go.

  • I gotta say I’m disappointed in you. I enjoyed reading your slew of nostalgic posts about what MMO’s have lost, yet you blow off a game that is trying to do exactly what you were detailing, saying you don’t even have it in you to TRY it?! Don’t preorder it, fine I don’t blame you for being reserved and seeing what happens, but with an attitude like that it’s no wonder no good MMO’s come out anymore, when even fans of the “old school” like you marginalize it so easily.

    “If doing it “different” means getting burned, then I’ll stick with what I know.”

    So much for trying to regain what we have lost over time, as what we “know” today is WoW and WoW clones. I expected you of all people to at least give MO the time of day.

  • @Darthas – I highly doubt Keen is “Raking in the Dough” from doing this blog, I remember when he was writing about how crappy a laptop, or someother, he had. obviously he now has a better rig. In turn, it is costing him money to give us his honest or humble opinion, where usually people charge good money for thier not so honest and definitely not so humble opinion. because he’s drawing a line at paying to beta test and not even that, paying above a certain price to beta test, your burning him? I don’t get it… How bout this, Darthas, U mail, forward, depost or whatever, the equivalent of $20 US dollars if your not from the US, so he can beta test it. I’m sure he would be much obliged to test it then.

  • @Darthas: I was burned really, really badly by Darkfall. Let me clarify that I don’t know if I have it in me to try again as an early adopter. I will definitely try it if people say it’s worth a try, I just don’t want to be that guy to try it before everyone else.

    The “different” (notice the quotes) was a dig at Darkfall, and not an unwillingness to try games that are trying to be different from WoW.

    I really don’t have the money, despite playing a lot of games, to play EVERYTHING that comes out. I also just don’t have the time (College student, holding a 4.0 gpa and being a “hardcore” gamer).

    Do me a favor though. Try MO for me. Be one of the people that says “hey Keen, it’s worth it”. I’m not ruling it out, I’m just extremely skeptical.

  • I don’t know what it is about the 38 Studios guys, but I find myself wondering more about Copernicus than any other game down the pipe. I’m not a baseball fan and both Todd McFarlane and R.A. Salvatore have made a lot of material that I never jumped into– but even when I’m not a fan, I can see when talent is talent.

    It’s also the whole “game made by fans” approach that’s seriously intriguing me.

  • Based, in part, on your “in the past”/EQ posts recently, my latest excitement is about the following two games:
    Shards of Dalaya – classic EQ for free.
    Dawntide – fantasy sandbox, now going into beta 1, by the developers of SoD.

  • @Keen

    I in Block B for the beta of MO. I’ll go through the NDA to figure what I can and can’t say and I’ll let you know how the game turns out. I was sort of burned on DFO too but I’m going into MO expecting less of a game and more of a gaming experiment.

    I am also interested in Copernicus but I guess that what good PR gets you. I’m also looking forward to SW:TOR now but more as a single player online game perspective than a MMO. I just don’t think it’s going to be as MASSIVE as MMO’s are suppose to be… not that any is anymore.

  • “Hey, I’ll start paying $15 a month right now if you let me play what you have so far guys.”

    While I hardly think they have anything to play right now, you still make an excellent suggestion nonetheless Keen. I mean microfinancing has already been proven on the Web with a variety of sites (i.e. Therefore I’m surprised an AAA developer hasn’t taken this route yet to bypass corporate game publishers and finance directly from their fans.

    For this to work though, they’d probably have to finance the initial development stages of the game themselves (i.e. concept, core gameplay mechanics, planning, etc) and once they’ve got something solid to show (i.e. artist renderings, UI interface wireframes, basic gameplay flow, etc) they’d then “pitch” it to their fans.

    In terms of fan investments, I’d actually see a variety of ways people could contribute depending upon the funds available to them. So the lowest tiers might have single one time contributions ranging anywhere from $20 to $100 and giving access ranging from basic forum membership all the way up to closed beta membership. The very top “elite” tier though would be a subscription contribution as you indicated (i.e. $15/month or more likely paid annually, i.e. $150/year) that would give the hardcore fans “insider access” to the developer’s development plans, including early alpha access and the honor to directly influence certain aspects of the game’s evolution.