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“Twelve Days” or “Three Games”

October 22, 2009 5 comments

Werit’s post troubled me.

Life is busy. I am in the middle of a new launch at work, and it’s taking up 12-13 hours a day, at least 6 days a week. I am also writing extensively every day, something I enjoy immensely. I am playing Champions Online, World of Warcraft, EvE Online, and thanks to Syp, I may be starting a 14-day Fallen Earth trial as well. I would say I hate you Syp, but your kid is apparantly Yoda, and you just don’t mess with freakin’ Yoda.

nine-days-or-three-gamesThen there is Risen, Mass Effect (no I never played it before, yes I know that is gamer blasphemy) and an unhealthy obsession with the versus mode in Left 4 Dead to soak up my time.

That being said, I am getting increasingly and acutely aware of three RPG titles that are coming out in the coming nine days, and frankly, I have no idea as to when or how I will play them unless I learn to stay perpetually awake on Red Bull or the Chinese take over the world and enforce day cycles that are 96 hours long.

  • First and foremost, there is Borderlands releasing on October 26. The Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions are out already. There are more guns in the game than there are doves flying in slow-mo in a John Woo flick. And that, my friends, is an accomplishment. My infatuation with things that go boom aside, Borderlands looks slick, sly and full of attitude.
  • The very next day we get Torchlight. There are several reasons why this spiritual successor to Diablo may be the next best thing for the RPG genre. First, it’s cheap, just $18. You spend that at cheap dinner on a regular basis. I am sure this would produce more endorphins over the course of several hours instead of momentary relief from hunger pangs. (There is a fat joke in here somwhere, I know it.) Second, the game is randomly generated. Although you follow a pre-determined story arc, all the levels, monsters and even environmental puzzles are procedurally generated. Third, the game is single player, but an MMO will shortly follow. The MMO will also be available at the amazing low price of $0.00.
  • And last but most certainly not the least is the heavy-weight contender from Bioware, Dragon Age: Origins. Popular game outlets have been over-saturated with information, screenshots, concept art, origins videos, character bios, creature profiles, trailers and a breathtaking cinematic. Yet, incredibly, none of us can get enough of it. There is no doubt in my mind that all the bloggers and writers that write about RPGs and games in general will mysteriously disappear on November 3, 2009. That is the date Dragon Age: Origins gets released, and we relinquish our souls to the might and magic of Bioware yet again.

Imagine some sort of clever transition here.

Alec Meer is one of my favorite writers over at Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Most recently, he has been documenting his (mis)adventures in Risen. The Risen Report is now six episodes long, exquisitely detailed, annotated, and opinionated. His style of writing and the structure of The Risen Report has inspired me to document my own journey through one of these upcoming games.

Perhaps you can help me pick one?

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Se7en Tidbits: “80 is the new 10” or “Apparantly, Cricket Bat =/= Shotguns”

October 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Here are a few tidbits that caught my attention for one reason or another this week:

  • “Only 0.13% of [World of Warcraft players] actually beat the hardest content in the game. The other 99.87% are complaining that WoW is too easy, without having been able to beat it themselves.” – Tobold, Wipe/gear quota, Tobold’s MMORPG Blog
  • “You have the choice of a signature shotgun, a sawed-off shotgun or a cricket bat.  Hmm, one of these is not like the others.” – Werit, Days of the Dead, Werit’s Blog
  • “First off, we need to discuss conversion factors. Cryptic is following the Microsoft model by making one dollar worth 80 points. The hilarious thing is that they also followed the Microsoft model by pricing just about everything in multiples of 80. Do that many people (especially MMO players) really have trouble doing that kind of math in their head? I don’t get the point.” – Marty, Random Shots: The Cryptic Store, Untangled, Bullet Points
  • “If you bought Aion, you are telling NCSoft and the genre as a whole ‘more of the same please’. Paying the $50-65 up front, and any months after, and you more or less give up your right to complain that the genre is boring, that no one is trying new things, and that too many games are just shallow time-sinks that apply a fresh coat of paint to the same themepark and rides.” – Syncaine, What buying Aion says about you, Hardcore Casual

Categories: Se7en Tidbits

“A Matter of Statistics” or “0.13% L33t!”

October 22, 2009 1 comment

Gear acquisition in contemporary WoW is considerably more complex than it was in vanilla WoW. Originally, you could get epic gear that was well crafted to suit your class only from 40-man instances. Since then, 5-mans, 10-mans, arenas, battlegrounds, quests, vendors, reputation rewards all give epic loot.

A question arises:

  • Is the ability to acquire epic loot from a plethora of different sources responsible for a decline in the pursuit of endgame content?

Tobold made an interesting post recently on his blog. According to Tobold, a mere 0.13% have cleared endgame content.The remaining 99.87% of the player population has not.

This in turn begs two other questions:

  • Is raid content in WoW really that hard?
  • Does it make sense for Blizzard to design content that statistically so few can master?

Larísa over at The Pink Pigtail Inn had a few interesting comments on the subject from another angle, which you can read here.

You be the judge.