I have completed 4 games in the Assassin’s Creed series. I did not get all the flags in Assassin’s Creed 1, but I achieved 100% in Assassin’s Creed 2 and direct sequels. Assassin’s Creed 1 had some progression in that each chapter I got an upgrade, and the more objectives I completed the higher my health (to a cap). It was rather slight all told. Assassin’s Creed 2 had a much more varied progression, and it went up to what felt like a lot of progression in Ezio’s finale in Revelations. And, I’m not sure I played it as intended. Continue reading
After playing Guild Wars 2, going back to the standard structure of quest NPCs is like driving a car with a hand-crank starter. It does not seem like a big thing, but PvE theme parks have been quest-based ever since World of Warcraft became the trope codifier, so your metaphorical car stalls at every pause and needs to be hand-cranked again.
With the Guild Wars 2 Fractals update, there is also a bit of the Living World going on. The first time players enter the Mistlock Observatory (fractals hub) they get to go in to story mode to experience the new Thaumanova fractal. It’s story mode because Kiel attempts to commandeer Mistlock Observatory and make Dessa use the technology to figure things out. Story spoilers abound beyond.
The fractal itself, even though I have only done story mode, is well-designed. It’s a big puzzle that is mostly combat light. The goal is to cool down or shut off the Thaumanova reactor, which is being invaded by Scarlet’s (proto-?) armies. The end boss is an anomaly, which appears to be a godlike energy being. The fight is all about keeping as much of the disappearing platform available as possible as players get hit with the energy and cause the platforms beneath their feet to disappear for a short time. Spreading out is the key tactic. I think I will enjoy it as part of the Fractals lineup.
However, as far as the story instance goes… it was a mess. I will give a nod to the pain caused by a bug, which prevented wiped parties from reviving, but only a quick one because this bug has been fixed. Otherwise, it was really tough to get pieces of the story. Here we are in a puzzle dungeon that we’ve never played before, and story dialogue is happening while we are racking our brains with in-game mechanics. Who knows how much conversation I missed. Continue reading
High self-monitors are social chameleons. They ask themselves, “Who does this situation call for me to be?” Low self-monitors have a more fixed self-image, instead asking, “How can I be myself in this situation?” Low-self monitors are prone to see high self-monitors as two-faced and inconsistent, while high self-monitors may see low self-monitors as social incompetents. You probably know some people who could get along just as well in a biker bar as at high tea, and then others who are very good in their comfort zone but completely inappropriate outside it.
I found myself thinking of this in a gaming context based on how people adapt to their circumstances. Loosely, “how can I play my character in this situation?” versus “what does this situation call for?” I think we all want players to display some adaptability, but the range of what you think is reasonable for a game to demand probably varies in a way similar to degrees of self-monitoring. People with lots of alts are generally displaying more adaptability, but people with three alts of the same class (“Alice runs dungeons, Bob is my crafter, and Cindy PvPs”) are adapting on a different scale than someone who feels comfortable respecing the one character four times in a night.
Why is it okay to play multiplayer online games in a state too impaired to play well, when you would be slapped and sent away for doing it in meatspace?
If it is your own group of friends, and you all know you’re messing around, that seems fine. You all implicitly agreed on the level of play, and you had disclosure up front of who was drunk. When you play with strangers, that is the equivalent of joining the local pickup basketball game or sitting down to play chess in the park. If you are too drunk to make a shot, you will be forcibly removed from the game. Even chess players may get violent if you get a dozen moves in and then decide to giggle about horsies and how high you are instead of making a move.
In online gaming, people queue up or LFG while too drunk to realize that it is a bad idea to talk about how drunk they are. That’s not quite true; they have enough restraint left to avoid mentioning it until you are committed. It is a rare group that advertises “drunk DPS seeks understanding tank and healer to carry him.” League of Legends players wait until they die a few times to start talking about how high they are, rather than mentioning it during champion select. And they generally have enough sense left to pick a system like LoL’s where you cannot avoid with their choice to ruin your game without suffering some punishment or significant inconvenience. After all, the joke’s not funny if you don’t have anyone to play the joke on.
The usual refrain at that point is “it’s just a game.” But no, most people have the good sense not to do that where other people are in physical proximity, so they know it is not socially acceptable. Except apparently it is socially acceptable, because very few people seem to attach any stigma to it, and the drunk troll is not the only one who will go with “it’s just a game.” So maybe it’s me, but I cannot see an ethical system that supports making a negligent, unilateral decision that worsens the entertainment of most people around you.
A principle sometimes used to contrast economics and politics is that exit is more powerful than voice. That is, the capacity to take your business elsewhere has a stronger influence on most companies than asking them to change things. This is contrasted with politics because your exit options are smaller in political situations: you might leave your town, but things need to get pretty dire before you leave your country. (It is a related truism that you can quickly judge the freedom and prosperity of a society by which way the border guards face. No one was trying to sneak into East Germany.)
Gamers treasure voice. I mean, here we are on an online gaming blog, so we talk at length about what we like and would prefer. The advantage of voice is that you can send a more precise message. “I think it was a bad idea to add the Living World PvE content to the WvW zones. Please remove it.” Exit is a blunt weapon: you leave, and the company can draw its own conclusions. Of course, the discerning company is going to draw its own conclusions anyway, because what people say and what they do often differ (another major economic principle).
If you have not yet bought the new Humble Bundle, you can go do so now. Has there been a better one? I considered half the games worth buying at full retail price, and now you can get all six for however much you want to pay.
- Arkham Asylum GOTY
- Arkham City GOTY
- FEAR 2
- FEAR 3
- LotR: War in the North
- Scribblenauts Unlimited
I used to play Magic the Gathering Online (MTGO) back in the day. The reason I don’t play anymore is because they took away my beloved leagues, and now are hiding behind developer incompetency to make it look like the absence of leagues is not a business decision (yeah, I might be cynical after a few years of waiting). I don’t have time to sit around to play a sealed format in MTGO, and playing high-level constructed format is just not worth my money. I get better multiplayer jollies in real life so I don’t play MTGO.
Oh yeah, leagues. So leagues in the Magic the Gathering world is a game format where players get a pool of cards (e.g., 6 boosters) and then they create a 40-card deck. Unlike a more standard sealed deck tournament, the sealed league deck survives week to week. On top of that each week players are allowed to add one booster of cards to add new card blood to the pool. Leagues are fair (closed/sealed format) and give time to think and fiddle with the deck. Players are rated based on matches in the league, and usually there are rules for extra games to be played. Once the league is over the deck is retired.
At Richard and Astalnar’s suggestions, I tried Arena in Hearthstone. I will admit it was much better in terms of what I might be looking for in an online CCG, and more importantly it scratched that league’s itch. Continue reading
I just got in to the Heartstone beta. Hearthstone is the computer-aided, online TCG or CCG, whichever suits you best, created by a small-squad Blizzard team. I was interested mainly because the UI grabbed me, and I like playing Duels of the Planeswalkers, which is the Magic the Gathering video game series. I am a long time CCG fan, and I frequently play Magic the Gathering with my gaming group.
A Lighter Faire
This is a light-hearted CCG. I remember picking up Pokemon a long time ago back when I did not fully understand the intricacies of Magic (like the stack, which is f’in critical to understand). Pokemon is still pretty complex compared to Hearthstone, and that is part of Hearthstone’s charm. Continue reading