Remember when you could buy a brand new game, go home, open it up, put it on and play it right away? Well that may soon become just a memory and I fear that the next generation of gamers won’t even know what that feeling is like. More often than not when you purchase a new game, it requires an immediate update. Ok, fine, whatever. Download my update. I’ll go grab a drink and take a leak while it loads. “Sorry, but the servers are currently down for maintenance.” That is the most infuriating message to receive after just purchasing a new game and it is inexcusable. There is no argument, no line of thinking, no rationale, no excuses, NOTHING that can justify why that happens.
Let’s say you just bought a new car and it’s sitting in your driveway and you’re about to take it out for the first time. As you turn the key, instead of the engine starting, you get a message stating, “Sorry you can’t use your car yet. We still haven’t finished working on it, but we sold it to you anyway.” You’d be pretty pissed. A TV, a fridge, a toaster, ANYTHING – when you purchase it, you expect it to be usable upon receiving it. “Hey, Jimmy, why aren’t you wearing those new shoes you bought?” “Because they’re having problems finishing attaching the leather.” You would call BS on that immediately, and you’d be in the right to do so. It’s not okay when any other retailer of goods does this, so why can video game publishers get away with it?
Players of MMOs are quite familiar with the situation, but that’s to be expected when a game is played entirely online. Even so, it should work at launch. I can accept server downtime for routine updates, large patches, bug fixes, add-ons, etc. but when a game is released for retail sale, as a finished product, it should work out of the box. Especially if I’m going to be playing a single player game. Why do I have to log into a server to play by myself? I’ve heard all the arguments for this, but as I stated earlier, it’s unjustifiable. Oh, okay, you’re making sure I have an authentic copy of your game. EA’s Origin and Ubisoft’s Uplay network require constant online access to play any of their newer games regardless if you’re playing multiplayer or not. Fuck you! I bought your damn game. Let me play it on my own terms. This also brings into question the concept of true ownership of the product. If I can’t use something that I purchased, then is it really mine? Generally, something that I own, I’m free to do with and use as I please and is mine forever until I so choose otherwise. Let’s say, 25 years from now, I have this game that requires their servers to play, but the servers have been permanently shut down. Then I can’t play this game. I can still play my old NES games that I bought years ago without any problem, so why shouldn’t I be able to play this one? What did I really buy? Did I really buy anything or did I just rent it? Granted a long, extended rental period, but it would be a rental nonetheless.
In case you weren’t already aware, Sim City, a game published by EA, and the impetus for writing this, had a disastrous release. For over a week, servers were unstable at best and many users had long wait times to log on and even then would get booted from the game due to server instability. For the first few days, the game was essentially unplayable, with an almost complete inability to log into the game. Similarly, but not nearly so awful, Diablo III and Starcraft II had a near inability to log on the first few days; both requiring constant online connections to play even a single player game. EA said that they had no idea so many people were going to be playing. The Sims is the best selling PC game of all time. Did they really think that they wouldn’t need more than a few servers to accommodate such a large fan base? At launch, wouldn’t it make sense to go a little overboard with servers because everyone is going to be logging in all at once. Blizzard is awful with this.
EA has as least admitted they screwed up. To anyone who purchases Sim City before March 25th, they will be entitled download one free game – Battlefield 3, Bejeweled 3, Dead Space 3, Mass Effect 3, Medal of Honor: Warfighter, Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Plants vs Zombies, and Sim City 4 Deluxe. It’s nice that they’re giving out a free download. They didn’t have to. They could have just said, “We already have your money. Things will be fixed in time. Until then, deal with it.” It doesn’t make the situation right, or fix the increase in constant online games, but it’s nice to see a big publisher admit they were wrong.
The point of all this is, don’t release a game if it’s not finished. I wouldn’t have minded waiting another week, or month, or whatever for the game to release as long as I get a completed product. I paid for it, I want to be able to use it right away. If it’s not finished yet, don’t release it. And this mandatory online crap has got to go. Bottom line, if a game has a single player mode, then DO NOT require online server access.
Warhammer 40k: Dark Millennium Online cancelled?! That’s terrible news! Rumors ran rampant this past weekend that all of THQs 2014 lineup was being cancelled. However, this is not true… for Dark Millennium anyway, the others I couldn’t care less about.
The future is still uncertain for Dark Millennium. Though THQ has denied all the rumors about their lineup being cancelled, that doesn’t mean it couldn’t still happen. But as it stands now, the game is still thankfully in production.
I know a lot of other MMO fans are not looking forward to this game because it doesn’t break from the standard MMO mold enough. Basically a WoW clone with a new skin. But I’m certain that for hardcore 40k fans like myself, this game would be a dream come true. I swear I would quit life for at least 2 months for this game, annul my marriage, leave my job, stop eating, etc. So even if THQ does cancel the project, I’m sure another publisher would pick it up.
Of course I’ll leave you with a trailer. I’m most excited about the vehicles. I mean who woulnd’t want to control a dreadnaught?
Check out the official site for more information at Dark Millennium Online
Stop making avatar games for Xbox Live. And I don’t mean games like Kinect Sports or whatever other Kinect games use avatars. Don’t get me wrong, those games aren’t worth my time, but I will at least acknowledge their right to exist. My problem is with the games you download from the indie arcade like Avatar Sudoku, Avatar Lawn Mowing, Avatar Fighter Online, or Avatar Granny Assassin (actually that one might be kinda cool if they made it). Does anyone actually download this garbage? I’m insulted that they even make these. I wish I could say that most people don’t care about the Xbox Live avatars, but I’d be dead wrong. This is apparent through all the real world money that is spent to acquire fake digital clothing items to play dress up and make your avatars pretty. What an absolute waste. If you’re going to throw your money away like that, instead of spending a dollar on that new shirt that came out for your Xbox Live avatar, that in no way is going to affect your life either positively or negatively, and if you avoid the transaction altogether you can continue on your way and nothing will have made a difference, donate that dollar to charity. Pretty much every super market ever has a donation thing. I really don’t want to infuse my political or social agenda on this blog, but instead of spending 3 bucks for that lighsaber – which I will admit looks cool, but is utterly useless in every aspect of your life – buy a pack of socks for the homeless.
Sorry that got a little off topic. So the indie arcade avatar games are never any good. If there’s a good one out there, I challenge you to find it and prove me wrong. I’m not too proud. I’m willing to admit when I’ve been bested. Or better yet, someone make a good avatar game. Since their inception, the avatars have painstakingly gone out of their way at every turn to make it abundantly clear how useless they are, but since they’re there, let’s give them something good to do.
Avatar paintball – garbage. Avatar Laser Wars – horrible. Avatar Fighter Online – why not just play Street Fighter? I’ve had these thoughts before but I usually keep them to myself. I don’t like to be a hate monger, especially on the internet because we all know that’s the last thing we need to see here. But Avatar Adventure Online has me so personally offended that I just couldn’t hold it back anymore. It’s just dumb. The concept around it is dumb, the graphics are dumb, the playability is dumb, the enemies are dumb, the idea to make the game is dumb. Seriously, how many MMOs are out there now? How many of them are good? MOST of them are completely free! So right there, before we’ve even delved into why the game itself is bad, is a reason for why the avatar games should stop being made. Why would you ever pay money to play a horrible game when you could easily play another horrible, yet slightly better game, for free?! Yet still I was curious. I’ve played nearly every MMO I’ve come across and I wasn’t about to stop, so I had to at least check out the demo. I would say that I was disappointed when the game loaded up, but to be disappointed would make the assumption that positive anticipation was present. When compared to pretty much any other game from as far back as 10 years ago, Avatar Adventures Online still looks like it’s a few years behind. The landscapes, if you want to call them that, looked awful. Clearly the mentally challenged designer was rebelling, possibly infuriated by his lack of enemas.
If we do a side by side comparison to Everquest, considered to be the genre defining game, which launched in 1999, it still looks slightly better. The only reason a game shouldn’t be up to graphical standards is if it’s integral to the game design. Obviously a game designed to be 16-bit shouldn’t be expected to look like Crysis. But I don’t see any reasoning to intentionally take a 3D landscape, which uses polygonal features, and not use current gen lighting, texture mapping, etc, when the system it’s being played on is clearly capable of it. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe people do miss the early days of polygon graphics and have a nostalgic soft spot for that “devoid of all detail” look. Oh, and the first enemy I came across was a big, round, dumb, bumble-bee. That’s when I turned the game off.
As promised, the update on Square Enix’s press conference. Since I wasn’t man enough to stay awake and get the information from Square Enix as it unfolded, I’ll just give you all a link right to IGNs report on Dragon Quest X. If clicking on that link is too much work for you, I’ll break down the key important elements here.
- Dragon Quest X will be coming to the Wii and Wii U
- It will be a MMORPG
- There will be 5 playable races along with a job class system
- Player crafted items
- Turn based battles
- There will be an offline mode as well
- Release date set for sometime 2012
Considering there’s an offline mode I wonder how this will work as an online game. Will it be like Final Fantasy XI but in a Dragon Quest setting, and I have to pay $15 a month to play? Or will it be like Diablo, where I can experience the whole game at home by myself and then if I choose, play online with others but at no additional cost? I prefer the latter and hopefully that’s what they decide. Actually, there’s a 3rd possibility I suppose. Phantasy Star Online. Same deal as Diablo, except you still had to pay money if you wanted to play online. Let’s hope that’s not the case, I’d rather it be more like your standard MMO if I have to pay money.
Will there be multiple factions with a PVP system? Will there be a raid system with huge dungeons? If they go with the Phantasy Star Online paradigm, I suspect that won’t be the case. My personal speculation is that it will be PVE heavy and will probably allow you to form groups of 4 -6 people. I base that mainly on the fact that you can play through the game offline. I don’t see a 20 man raid happening with 19 NPCs. I suspect that towns will be hubs where people can gather, then once venturing out into the field, it will act like an instance and only those in your party will be present. Since the battles are turned based, this is the only way I can think of that makes sense.
I am excited by Dragon Quest becoming an MMO. When Dragon Quest IX came out with multiplayer support I thought that was a great idea, but it was too limited by it’s lack of an infrastructure mode. I am worried though. A console MMO hasn’t really “worked” yet. You can argue that Final Fantasy XI was successful and then I’d argue that game was trash. Perhaps excitement with a tinge of nervous anticipation.
The Wii U really didn’t impress me initially, but now that I know this is coming out for it, I guess I’ll have to get one. I am a little disappointed though that they didn’t make any solid announcements for a 3DS game.
I leave you with some gameplay footage from the press conference. Sorry there’s no subtitles, couldn’t find one with any.
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