Early access is the modern cancer of games industry. That used to be free to play monetization methods in my mind but lately that thought has changed. While they remain an issue ftp is more an assault on the sense, something that activates the gag reflex and makes you wretch into the air a few times before pushing on. People of course differ in how dull their senses may be from simple skittles dripping from the mouth to a large pool of vomit for the particular heinous elements.
Recent free to play fuckery news that came out was around Revelation Online and there new $50 mounts. I would have liked to rage about that but A) I’m not feeling it right now and B) it would feel rather disingenuous considering how much this happens now. It’s a commonality of free to play games of asking ridiculous amounts for certain cosmetics and while it seems most have acclimatised to it, I still just shake my head in disbelief.
The Free to Play fanatics have been shouting for a while that its the best business model for mmo’s. The business model of the future that’s good for consumers and publishers but i never have, and probably never will see it like that when it’s being abused so overtly. I can’t possibly consider it the cheaper option when I single cosmetic is going to cost you more than the base price of a game. I can’t possibly approve when founders packs for these ftp phishing scams cost more than we have ever payed for an mmo before.
This mount is the tip of that iceberg though and just like that monoclegate Eve episode its use and pricing is so blatant you can’t help but be annoyed. I just don’t understand how anyone, at any position of the game, playing or within media could justify this cost. Justify exorbitant pricing for a digital item that really has no inherent worth and regardless of the apparent savings from already having dumped money into this new Eastern money pit it’s still just incredibly overpriced.
And yes, I get the argument that it’s only a cosmetic and not something you need but then, as I’ve argued before, for many people cosmetics are the endgame for mmo’s. They are pretty much the only reason I keep playing mmo’s at end game because yeh the power boosts are nice but gaining new looks, mounts, and whatever else keeps you motivated. It just seems to remind me of what I felt playing BLack Desert Online, I grinded forever to gain levels but in the end lost interest because there was no interesting goals to look forward to. Nothing shiny to work towards. Most, if not all of the good stuff was hidden away for exorbitant prices in the cash shop and be fucked if I was going to support that when I’d already spent enough just getting the less crippled version.
And that’s the thing. this isn’t the only expense. If it was just some rare, overpriced cosmetic you’d probably just brush it off. Maybe even partake once in awhile but it’s not – it’s just a constant channel of crap from beginning to end. We’re expected to pre-order, to loosen those restrictions, to sub as well and then on top they through out these ridiculous prices. These aren’t mmo’s at this stage, they’re a gamified shopping network. A shell of a game with the bare minimum of mechanics there and everything else supplied from your friendly cash shop candy man, ready to get you your next fix for a price, over and over and due to the state of the mmo industry right now we fall for it. We expect it. We crave it…. we encourage it.
For a while now it’s been the common thought that toxicity in gaming is just this weird vocal minority. A small group making trouble harassing woman, poc, and others and general acting like assholes but now – now it seems that’s not exactly true. The US election has shown us all this isn’t true with a huge number of people voting for, and by proxy, supporting a ignorant, angry, misogynistic racist. They are showing they don’t care about these elements and those they affect or worse, actively embodying these beliefs themselves. I am honestly rather shocked and appalled at that huge number right now and even if Hillary did the win the effects of Trumpism were going to be long lasting.
One of its core tenets seem to be this apparent war against political correctness that the gaming menimists have been chanting for some time now. The ability to access every platform out there, to say whatever very you want, to whoever you want without recourse. That anyone attempting to showcase diversity in the form of women, poc, lgbt, and other minorities is merely pandering to the so called SJW movement. That attempting and aiming for progress, for change is some kind of abhorrent ideal. Like… How dare they, and this is what I see when I watched those results pour in. A backlash against change. Against Progress. Against the other.
That’s not something they want to see, or deal with. They want their quiet little bubble back and fuck everyone else creating this division we currently see yet forgetting just how much they have tormented, ostracised, and discriminated against these poeple for years. Those feminists corrupting the media with their fancy critiques and game analysis. How dare they maybe.. possibly.. get a few percent more female characters. Them damn blacks are getting AAA protagonists now too – like 2 this year is so fucking unsettling. And of course it’s all about ethics in gaming journalism right. So sexism, racism and a distrust for media – or hate against the other, the founding pillars of trumpism and something that has been highlighted as much larger than we thought.
And then there is the hate. I’ve felt it, I know many others have around me as well and we see it each and every day amongst twitter, youtube, twitch, reddit, and elsewhere around the gaming community. Even then, with the tirade of toxicity I held the idea that it is still a small group of toxic assholes being as loud, obnoxious and obvious as they possibly can to make their position larger than it is. To make it seem more important and powerful, and I was comforted by the fact that only the most dejected, lonely, loser could possibly think like that. I mean how could people not believe in diversity, and inclusivity? How could people be so filled with hate? But they can, and are for mostly misguided reasons believing they are being forgotten and ignored when, by and large the majority of gaming, the culture at large, and western civilization is still overtly focused around them and their experience.
Why, because intrinsically many of these poeple consider themselves and their view more valuable than others – that’s plain to see, and become angry when the situation even slightly changes. You look around at the industry and we aren’t even close to parity when it comes to representation. The majority of our characters are still white males and yet even the slight changes we’ve seen are enough to threaten this. Enough to make it feel unequal to them, to make it feel like they are less…. no… equal to those around them. That is abhorrent to them after feeling so entitled over the years to the entirety of what this medium creates. And thus we see the lashing out with hate.
Now of course there are larger ramifications with this election than gaming right now, or likely to be results of it anyway. Changes that are going to possibly affect many people’s livelihood and I am so deeply perturbed by that as well. I actually cried watching it last night and still tear up thinking about the pain, anguish, and fear it is creating and will create. I’m not american though, and I don’t know there political system. I can’t rally and fight for those rights from abroad that well but what I can do is speak up for the mediums I do know, the communities I am present in and fight this change. Because make no mistake, this is an issue for us to fight as well. A culture of hate, ignorance and toxicity that has been growing for some time now has just been legitimised to a certain extent and I expect the emboldened assholes will creep out from their holes louder, and in greater numbers than before. But that just means I too will be more vocal to contest that – to offer an alternate view.
I don’t intend to let twitter trolls derail a conversation anymore, or misinformed youtube idiots to spread their idiocy. I won’t just fall back to silence when entering voice oriented games I enjoy, or stay quiet around the misogynistic monologue we so often here in our daily gaming lives. Fuck that, and fuck them. This isn’t their space alone. It is meant for everyone.
It seems it isn’t just me having a break from the blogging business at the moment. There just doesn’t seem to have been anything big enough to really get me interested in writing and the same seems true for others.
Which is not to say nothing has been happening in the mmo world. The huge One Tamriel update has finally gone live and most that are playing seem rather pleased about the change. I am finding it a little odd that I haven’t seen more reports around the blogging community about this huge update. I only really read about the features from Starshadow but am sure I read one or two more.
From what I have read and looked at over YouTube it does seem like a magnificent change for the game and putting it into the position where I always thought it should be. You can now travel nearly wherever you want at any time and scalled accordingly. You get appropriate loot for your level, are able to group with people more easily across Factions and with various types of content. It’s just going to be a far more open experience that reflects what the elder scrolls is as a franchise.
With this now, and the other DLC packs it looks to have a greater range of content and options for the player to engage with. This was one of the issues I had with he game that pushed me away so I have thought about going back. The combat still doesn’t look very impactful though which is the main reason I left before and have never tried it since.
But the way they have lifted a lot of the restrictions is making me want to try it again. It was so annoying having to slog through the specific Ones the game wanted before and after level 50 and when you were having to choose the same faction for PvP – it got old way too quickly. This is good though.
And talking of removing faction restriction it looks like Wildstar is going that way as which I think is a great thing for it as well. Regardless of faction you can now join groups, instances, raids, housing neighbors and more. Judging by how many players are left its obviously going to be a great thing and make the experience far more socialbfor many and allow more people to experience the various types of content.
This whole removal of faction restrictions once again makes me wonder why mmo’s even bother with this stupidity anymore. Factions never seem to be a good thing; creating meaningless restrictions that make a far less enjoyable experience. It means you always have to be worried about your character creation picks, that you want be able to play with some friends, less people to meet whole playing and usually makes pick up groups for instanced content harder to create.
In this age its just not something that works for mmo’s that aren’t an entirely realm vs realm experience – and even then I think guild created groups and alliances is the better idea.
If you haven’t seen it already my Next Versus article facing off the two story focused mmo’s: Swtor and TSW is up over at mmo games.
This was actually a harder one to write, and one I don’t think I really did justice two as I haven’t played either of these stories through to completion. Sure I’m making decent progress in TSW but I have still yet to step into Tokyo which is a huge combat and gameplay change.
On the other hand I’ve only just gotten back into swtor and barely had time to play through much of the Knights of the Fallen expansion before the deadline. This was just because I couldn’t afford it at first but then I remembered I have that small nest egg in the paypal and ordered up. It does seem like a decent expansion for swtor, and a vast improvement of what they have been doing but personally, I feel like it makes a terrible MMO expansion.
I get the reasons for it as the story has been one of the main draws to the Star wars mmo for a while now but should they have really doubled down on it so forcefully. No new dungeons or raids for a while now and I believe not intended into the future. Just a focused narrow story for each of the classes that is mostly rather similar and completely instanced. Correct me if I’m wrong but what is the point of this even being an mmo any more. Why keep up the charade.
At this stage I feel like they should just burn it all down to the ground and make the single player story focused star wars game everyone wanted from the beginning. This way they can focus completely on the story without all those endless mmo restrictions and frustrations as they really do hold the experience back from what it could be. Not to mention actually having a comabt system that doesn’t feel so cumbersome and graphics that don’t make it look like a game from the ps2 era.
Sure the combat and visuals have gotten better with this expansion as they have polished what they have. The visuals are better, the new characters look more detailed and the environments are more interesting. The cutscenes and story direction seems far superior too but then that’s like saying you polished up a big, fat, stinky turd. It might recoil less upon seeing and being near it, but it’s still a heaping pile. There is no redeeming this hack job of an engine at this stage.
Now TSW is no different and has aged but I feel less badly then swtor. Some of it’s environments still seem rather pretty too and worthy of screenshot fodder. In terms of the story though I still feel it would have made a better single player game as it is, still the mmo mechanics that hold it back. Honestly I don’t see why mmo’s bother with a story focus. Having lore of the world and creating and engaging narrative is good but the sole focus on it as the guiding content is silly. It just won’t ever compare to what you could have achieved with the mmo foundation. I still wonder how well TSW would have done without it’s mmo baggage. It probably would have been the witcher 3 of its day.
It seems the big news coming out today is now that Colin Johanson, what amounts to the previous face of arenanet has been poached by Amazon game studios as well. He left the Arenanet back in march, but seems to have been picked up by Amazon Game studios in April which makes you think a little about the reasons he initially gave for leaving. With others like Eric Flannum Jeff Grub and John peters, as well as others so it’s reasonable to assume that employees at Arenanet had been talking about Amazon studios before and after leaving. AND I would guess had some knowledge about the projects before jumping in which means AMazon is at least creating something interesting enough to pique the interest of these employees enough to sign on.