Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Old Republic revisited ... rambling ... semi-ranting ... I hate George Lucas :)

Ok I haven't been playing this game again, I'm still adhering to my new years resolution of not playing video games.  I've had a few cheat moments.  I downloaded SPACE MARINE from steam and played like 5 minutes.  I downloaded sim city and age of empires III onto steam for some reason but never really played.  Video games are amazing, awesome fun but I just don't have that much time for them anymore.  Reading a book or taking a walk or ... watching something random on netflix would be more interesting these days. I'm sure at some point my old tried and true (and tired) entertainment choice of video games will return for me ... just not in 2012 (and probably not 2013 either).  On that note ... besides we all know this is the last year of planet earth anyway right, all those Mayan prophecy conspiracy theorists can't be wrong can they? For example look at the much more based on logic and reason worry about Y2K stuff proved to us ... making money by selling bomb shelters to nuts ... depending on where you live .... can actually make you money!

Anyway I digress ... I've been talking to people (not just the people in my head either, like real live people) about ToR and reading some newer reviews and critiques of the game I've still surprisingly seen much fanboy gush and paid for "review" type stuff out there but I've seen more vitriolic hate.  While I love vitriolic internet hate as much as the next guy ... come on don't you just love internet rage ... it has surprised me a little how all or nothing the argument gets.  I suppose that is to be expected with anything Star Wars. Anyway all that combined with my own experiences with the game sort of got me thinking about it a bit again and how this just plays into larger issues with video games in general. 

This game is terrible but in its defense nearly all video games are terrible. Big corporate control = death of innovative, creative, actually fun stuff. Before we even go down this road ... eff off you Apple fanboys ... for all the innovation your beloved company has you have to deal with crap like Itunes and total corporate control of your life ... for the record I own an ipod, nano, yada yada and I think they are good products but the propaganda that Apple is some iconic "not the man" corporation is BS.  The reality is more about organizational theory than anything else.  

EA and Lucas are massive corporations. The ToR project was worked on by thousands of people and ultimately the failings of big organizations come through. Games designed by small teams who are just really trying to think outside of the box vs. games designed by a massive corporation are going to yield different products. I played the hell out of skyrim then played this game and then decided that 2012 is going to be a video game free year.  

This game delivers if you want WoW 2.0 set in the ancient past of the Star Wars universe. If you want the standard MMO format, no one can really say this game doesn't deliver that. In the first few weeks of the game I played several characters up to lvl 20-40 range on both sides and just got bored of the grind and annoyed with shortcomings of the game. That doesn't mean its the worst game ever, yet for me my love of Star Wars finally died here. As someone who has been a life long Star Wars fan (since I was a kid in the 80s ... I'm an old guy) it has been death by a thousand cuts. I very much enjoyed the KoToR stuff and very much felt this was just a cookie cutter effort. A cookie cutter of KoToR in the WoW format with some slight improvements to the format of this generation of MMOs. 

I would give the game 7s across the board not negative 10s :) Though symbolically I can't disagree with those who would give it negative ten out of ten.  As far as the defense of this game ... people who love it and like to spend their lives hunched over in front of a computer screen rather than living as we were meant to ... well ... not much you can say. They are going to say "haters gonna hate" and ignore logic just as much people who completely hate all video games are going to laugh at the nerds wasting their pathetic lives (ok I'm channeling the anti-gamer people there ok ... I don't believe that I think video games have redeeming value!! Just showing the two sides to the coin). I'm somewhere in the middle. I see that video games and even MMOs are worth playing if well made. I like the concept of the MMO the large open world with lots of players in the same game. I have played MMOs extensively in the past UO, WoW, WaR ... I played WoW far, far too much. But for me no major innovations have been made in video games at all that benefit the players in the past five or so years. I don't just mean MMOs I mean shooters, I mean stand alone RPGs. I think the only innovations have been the little downloadable games, the five buck xbox/steam specials. Beyond that just like with Hollywood these days ... its all reskins and sequels.  Anymore there is less new and more with the oh wow a new gun type, or oh wow ... a new crafting system. 

Big corporations are risk averse, they are going to go with tried and true money making ventures ... and that is what this is. It is a bankable license, a bankable format ... combined. To expect amazing innovation is unfair and silly actually. This game is what we should have expected. I spent my money, played like a fiend for about two weeks and then called it a day once that theory was proven. It isn't the worst game ever and it is far from the best game. If one wants just another licensed Star Wars ... "I'm playing this because it reminds me of something I used to love" kinda thing ... well ... erm ... have fun. For me I'd rather spend my life doing new things with people I know in reality as opposed to sitting on my already a little too large gamer ass in front of the screen for another 10,000 hours (that I wish I could get back from WoW). 

See I don't just hate this game I hate MMOs and dare I say I hate 95% of the new video game releases. Thankfully there is always the 5% ... I guess that is where the hope lives ...

Anyway all of gaming for me be it tabletop or video games has had diminishing returns the past several years and I'm just finding that gaming just because it reminds me of something I used to enjoy doing ... well ... if that is the only reason I'm doing it, perhaps doing something that is actually fun would be better.  So that is my quest this year ... a quest to just have fun rather than do stuff to because it used to be fun. 

I will say thought that my patience level with tabletop gaming is far, far deeper than it is with video games.  Because at the end of the day if you take the time to make tabletop gaming happen ... your sitting around with friends and family doing a shared in person social activity.  Really mediocre tabletop gaming is far better than all but the best of video gaming just by virtue of that IMO.  I'm not talking random store gaming with some troll who hasn't bathed in fortnight, no I'm talking about gaming and beer with your buds ... a crappy night of that beats the hell out of raiding Ony for the 503rd time.  SO on that note 2012 I will continue to try to make yea a video game "free" year and focus my gaming energy upon the tabletop stuff.

I guess in a way this post was as much about counting my lucky stars that I escaped  ...  Lucas CGI revision ... rocket R2D2 flight style ... oh yea! 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Warmachine Colossals ... sigh ... Privateer-Apocalypse??

These models look cool ... for me though years and years ago when I was hardcore into Warmachine (pre-hordes days ... way back) our gaming group all saw the "escalation" of the game coming.  We loved the early days of boxed set vs. boxed set true skirmish.  Some of the most fun I've had with gaming was the few years of early Warmachine.  I love Privateer Press and their products, etc. but I just don't like the inevitable GW style need to sell more models by slowly ramping the size of armies up and up and up.  The warma-hordes rules are good but I hated them at high point levels ... just like GW's rules kinda break at lower levels I always felt warmachine at least (and the core mechanics are still the same so I don't see how it would be different now) broke when you got to multiple casters and more than 20 figures per side.

The games just took too long, too much combo ... too much ... too much.  So I agree with the previous comments here is apocalypse-clone time for this game.  Cool models, I could see picking them up perhaps even ... to use with other games.  But as was stated ... if the battle engines are 80 how much are these going to run? 100 ... 150 ... :(   People joke but one of the big things I began to hate about 40K was that the 4x6 table is just sort of stupidly small for big games.  Its fine if your in a store or playing "floorhammer" or whatever but if your in your own house/garage and you have enough room for a single table.  Tossing out baneblades and titans on a 4x6 is just dumb.

I've come to appreciate 15MM or smaller for really large scale battles, for 25 MM or larger I prefer to stick with true skirmish.  Squad level with one or two vehicles.  The size of the battlefield seems to fit the games in a more satisfying way I find if I stick to those paramaters.

Steam Sale on SPACE MARINE!!

I have made a vow to avoid video games if I can this year and so far I'm pretty much sticking to that.  But II did see something flying around the net about a sale on steam for the Space Marine game (and all the Warhammer 40K games, Dawn of War, etc. etc.).  So for those of you who don't own the game it is on sale on Steam through Sunday, Feb 5th ... for the reasonably price of $17.00.  The game was around $50.00 at launch and for a 40K video game its been well reviewed and is a good, gory ole' arcade style shoot-em-up romp with the Ultramarines vs. the Orks!

Nothing that is going to alter your world view, nor is this an earth shaking new title ... it is solidly done though and I have enjoyed it.  At 50 bucks I would have felt that for the amount of content the price was kinda steep but at 17 bucks this game is very much well worth it.