Diecast #44: EVE Online, The Bureau

By Shamus
on Feb 4, 2014
Filed under:
Diecast

71 comments

This episode was recorded AFTER our Spoiler Warning session this week, but it’s being released first. We were a little tired and a couple of hosts short by the time we got to this point.


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Hosts: Josh, Chris, and Shamus.

Show notes:

1:00 Shamus is playing Elder Scrolls Online and EVE Online.

We can’t talk about ESO yet. (Embargoed until Feburay 7th.) But we can talk about the battle of B-R5RB. Note that we had this conversation before I did the homework for my recent EVE post.

28:00 We move on from EVE and talk about space games more broadly.

Like I said in the show, there are a lot of space games on the way. Check it out: Blockade Runner, Elite: Dangerous, Felix Vast, Kerbal Space Program, Kinetic Void, Limit Theory, The Mandate, No Man’s Sky, Pulsar: Lost Colony, Rodina, Space Engineers, Star Made, Starbound, Star Citizen, and Starpoint Gemini 2.

Did I miss any?

34:00 Chris is playing Call of Juarez: Gunslinger.

We only cover this briefly. Not because there’s nothing to talk about, but Rutskarn already went over this a couple of months ago.

38:30 Chris is also playing The Bureau: XCOM Declassified

Here’s the rant (and comic) that I wrote about this game way back in 2010, when it was still in development. Here’s the Polygon Article Chris mentioned: The many faces of the bureau: xcom declassified: from 2006 to 2013

This conversation got sidetracked into…

43:00 Another Mass Effect rant? Really? REALLY?

I blame Chris.

53:00 Mailbag!

We talk about Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and about Steam Early Access program and the difficulties of defining when a game is “done”.

Request: When you send us a question (the address is in the splash image at the top of the post) please put “Diecast” in the title so Josh can find them when we finally get around to reading them.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:


2020201171 comments. (Seventy-one is the largest supersingular prime!)

From the Archives:

  1. Jokerman says:

    Reading the comic you linked, you mentioned “A Metal Gear dating sim” Peace Walker (released after the comic) does veer into that territory a few times. So that line tickled me a bit.

    • mwchase says:

      I’m less familiar with Metal Gear than I probably could be, so I was unaware, but my gut reaction was “It’s not like Konami hasn’t already put out a dating sim. Why not combine the properties?”

  2. Tohron says:

    For those interested in the battle of B-R5RB, here’s a very good article about what happened and why it’s significant:
    http://themittani.com/features/largest-virtual-battle-ever

  3. Jexter says:

    There’s Star Trek Armada 3, a total conversion mod for Sins of a Solar Empire that’s replaces all assets with Star Trek stuff. (Federation, Klingons, Romulans, and the god damned Borg.) It’s a mod, true, but it’s becoming popular enough to almost qualify as a Star Trek game in its own right.

    I’ve been having a lot of fun playing it lately. The pew pew lasers are very pretty to look at.

  4. False Prophet says:

    There is a resurgence of space opera in broader popular culture, at least in North America. There have been a few well-received space opera SF novels in the last couple years. Also a bunch of films, like the Star Trek reboot (whatever your personal thoughts on it), the Star Wars handover and new films, the successful Marvel superhero franchise is putting out a movie about a ragtag bunch of space-based heroes, a bunch of original space-based films all over the quality spectrum (Gravity, Oblivion, After Earth, Elysium, Interstellar, Jupiter Ascending). Doctor Who is increasingly popular on this side of the pond (not a space opera, but regularly tells far future/outer space-based stories).

    My theories as to why?

    -Vampires, werewolves, zombies, and dystopias are all getting long in the tooth. Everyone wants to be on the Next Big Thing.

    -Chris Hadfield’s YouTube videos, the end of the NASA shuttle program, the increasing accomplishments of the Chinese and private-sector space programs, and a few related things have brought attention to space exploration again.

    -From the gaming end of things: space sims were big in the 90s because with the hardware limitations of the time, it was easier to have a lot of mostly black and empty backgrounds with the occasional star or planet instead of complex surface textures. Since most of these upcoming games are indie titles, they probably save a lot not needing an army of texture and asset artists. Even a game with gorgeous backgrounds like Strike Suit Zero: I’m not a graphics programmer, but that’s basically just a fancy omni-directional skybox, right? You don’t have to worry about lighting and textures to the extent you would with art assets you actually rub up against.

    • Kana says:

      I don’t know why, but this situation makes me giggle:

      “Vampires, werewolves, zombies, and dystopias are all getting long in the tooth. Everyone wants to be on the Next Big Thing.”

      The funny thing, to me, is that CCP is making a Vampire MMO. Yeah, the EVE guys are working on Old World of Darkness MMO, specifically Vampire: The Masquerade. So far we don’t know a whole lot other than “its being done.”

      I wonder if it could spark a resurgence of the Vampire genre if it manages to hit off. Think of the community-driven stories/events coupled with inter-clan rivalries. Gets even crazier if they add in the two factions, Camarilla and Sabbat. I think it’s got potential to hit it off well (if not at least cement itself as a niche title), but we’ll have to see how it develops.

      • Aldowyn says:

        Respark the old, serious, dark, 90s, political vampires, maybe :D Which I wouldn’t mind, really.

        Relatedly, another staple of 90s fiction seems to be having a bit of a rebirth: Cyberpunk, in the form of all this ‘surveillance state’ dystopia stuff coming out – Watch Dogs being the prime example.

        Oh, and is it supposed to be the ‘old’ WoD? I’m not for sure, but that seems surprising. Why promote the game/setting you’re no longer officially supporting?

        • Nick says:

          Well, remember that Bloodlines was old WoD and you will find plenty of adherents to old WoD over new WoD in the pen and paper scene, trust me. Also White Wolf stopped putting out new content for new WoD a few years back so they’re not officially supporting that either. Or by the standard that they support new WoD, they support old WoD!

          But from a gameplay perspective it doesn’t matter too much, they should just use the lore that they prefer.

        • Kana says:

          Yeah, it was Old WoD. I’m just going to assume CCP went “Hey, we like oWoD*. Mind if we make an MMO?”

          Now that you mention it though, it does feel like a bit of a revival of a darker, more edgier, spin on things. Which I’m fine with, I like personal horror and more dystopian settings. Probably why I bought a bunch of White Wolf’s books.

          * Which is good, because I’d have held a 1-woman riot if they took Malkavian as a clan away from me.

    • krellen says:

      My theory on why space is making a come-back?

      Curiousity. The Mars rover.

      It’s been a long time since space exploration was a cultural event, and almost all those “cultural event” moments in my lifetime have been disasters, not successes. Curiousity was a resounding success, and the whole world was watching while it happened. Space is finally cool again, and not as scary as it used to be.

      • Shamus says:

        I think there’s a lot of truth in this. I’m more excited about space than I ever was as a kid.

        Although, I’m not so hopeful about manned missions. On the other hand, I’m more confident than ever that we could accomplish really cool stuff with RC robots. And better telescopes.

        Man, I can’t wait until the E-ELT is done.

  5. Bruno M. Torres says:

    About the “death” of space sims, I think it ties with us giving up on space exploration. With people finally understanding the costs and hardships of going to space, it all seemed not only pointless, but actually depressing when you remember the optimism of the 50s and 60s.

    But now we are getting into a real space renaissance, with companies like SpaceX making space travel more affordable, and some serious talks about asteroid mining (back to work, Shamus), lunar bases and – with the ionic rockets – even visiting Mars.

    Now, we only need go back to the tech tree and research force fields, artificial gravity and warp drives, and we can have a scientific victory :-)

  6. Neil W says:

    My slightly-punch-drunk-from-Spoiler-Warning-Binge question jumps the queue thanks to appropriate subject line use. Email labelling for the win.

    Well done in getting something relevant and interesting out of my tangled conspiracy theory.

  7. noahpocalypse says:

    Josh: If someone sends you a Diecast question that doesn’t have Diecast in the subject line, forward it to yourself with Diecast in the subject line so finding the questions is a simple search. Not saying people shouldn’t put Diecast in the subject line themself, just suggesting a way to cope with the problem.

    And MAN am I excited for the Skyrim season. Really curious to hear the crew’s thoughts firsthand. We need some new rules for the drinking game to transition to the fantasy genre, though…

    • Rutskarn says:

      Thanks for reminding me! I’ll draft up a set of rules immediately.

      • • Obviously, arrow to the knee = drink.
        • Shamus saying how much better Morrowind (or the original Fallout) was than Skyrim = drink.
        • Bees (they’re an alchemy ingredient) = drink.
        • Josh trying to kill an NPC he knows is unkillable = drink.
        • Comparisons to any Dungeons & Dragons campaigns/rules = 1d4 drinks.
        • Any puns involving the word “Nord” or ones delivered in any Northern European accent = drink.
        • Making said pun worse by ending with “bork-bork-bork” = drink.
        • Any “Rock Climbing, Joel” references = drink.
        • Chris doesn’t get a reference that 99% of the audience is familiar with (see “Steve Bad”) = drink.

        I’m sure there are many more you can see coming, but that’s all I’ve got for now.

        • Jokerman says:

          “Shamus saying how much better Morrowind (or the original Fallout) was than Skyrim = drink.”

          I think Rutscarn is more likely to give everyone liver disease than Shamus for this one.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          The knee line deserves some kind of bonus, like smashing the bottle over your head or something. Anyway, here are some of my suggestions.

          -there’s a dragon encounter but rather than fight the dragon circles around in the sky, then drops down about a kilometre away to fight a random bear or nord
          -a companion (if there is one) gets stuck or runs into a trap repeatedly, or stops in a doorway blocking Josh’s way
          -complaining about the interface
          -Josh gets encumbered while carrying a number of quest items that he cannot drop for quest she doesn’t intend to finish

          • Klay F. says:

            Sadly that last one won’t be happening, as (almost) all quest items in the game weigh nothing. That’s actually one of the only design decisions I like in the game.

            • GTRichey says:

              The wording of the rule allows it to still occur, since it doesn’t require the quest items to cause him to be encumbered. Only that he is carrying a number (which could be argued even ‘0’ counts which would mean any time he becomes encumbered counts) of non-removable (IIRC they didn’t change this, just made them 0 weight) quest items for quest(s) that he doesn’t intend to complete. The only way this doesn’t occur at all would be if you don’t allow for 0 items to count as “a number” (which is fair mathematically) and the game doesn’t place these items without the quest being initiated (since I doubt he’ll go out of his way to initiate quests in a game as large as Skyrim).

          • Abnaxis says:

            Oh man, I can just see the trolling for that last one now:

            “Noooooo, Josh! Don’t pick up the Elder Scroll!”

        • IFS says:

          I think we still have to include the rule from Fallout about pausing and eating a ton of items in the middle of combat. As well as anytime the game tries to tell you who/what your character is.

          Also I agree with Jokerman that Ruts is probably more likely to be saying that, but maybe it should also be expanded to “how it was so much better in (insert previous elder scrolls game)” so comparisons to Oblivion count as well.

  8. Parkhorse says:

    There’s a bit more to controlling your ship in EVE. Granted, it’s still mostly about keeping your angular velocity high (relative to your guns tracking speed), but it’s slightly more than just “approach” or “orbit.” Check out this, for starters: http://www.evealtruist.com/2011/12/video-tracking-and-spiralling.html?m=1

    Also, several (all?) of the alliance tournaments are on Youtube. Check out how the frigates are flown, and in the latest tourney there was some great maneuvering taking advantage of the arena boundaries.

    • Is there some rule about not shooting the camera-ship(s), or are the videos compiled from various players, post-fracas?

      I suppose history is YouTubed by the victors most of the time, eh?

    • Volfram says:

      Good video.

      He touched on, but did not particularly explain, that you actually do have direct control over your ship’s heading, but it’s something that’s only really useful for Frigates and Destroyers. Anything else is just too big, unless you’re hoping to park it off in the distance somewhere(which my Corporation’s CEO did regularly with his sniper boat)

      Double-click anywhere in space, and your ship will take that heading.

      In a Frigate, spiraling is often ideal, but like the guy in the video says, there are some cases where it’s not optimal. One he did not list was if you’re familiar with the lock time and transit times, and you know your target hasn’t locked you yet. If you know it will take about as long for your target to lock you as it will to get close enough to overwhelm his turrets’ tracking speed, just point yourself straight at him, and hit every speed boost you can get your hands on.

      Another rather interesting case I found was, sometimes you actually want to run AWAY from your target. Get outside of Warp range, and then select your target and “Warp to 0m.”

  9. Paul Spooner says:

    A lot of the “dear diecast” questions seem to be trying to be fun seeds for speculation and rabbit trails. Or drawing entertaining connections between exclusive experiences. The writers are hoping to spark off a crazy discussion… But by the end, it seems the hosts are too tired to play with the ideas, and end up addressing them very literally. Maybe it would be better to knock out a few mailbag questions right at the start?

    • Rutskarn says:

      Yeah. One problem is that every conversation we start gets pretty rabbity–we’d probably be better off dedicating the occasional episode to the mailbag.

    • Joshua490 says:

      Then they’d never get to anything else.

    • Humanoid says:

      How about a probing questions-type episodes while Josh in the background does things like combine every alchemical ingredient to learn all the potions, smiths 10,000 iron daggers, enchants 10,000 iron daggers, sells 10,000 daggers one by one, etcetera.

      If this were Morrowind there could be a special episode mostly, I mean, wholly involving running into a wall while jumping.

  10. Benjamin Hilton says:

    The Star Wars Galaxies markets system did have some flaws, as good as it was……namely the absolute flooding of the market with low tier blasters. You literally couldn’t give them away. If someone stole a crate of them they would have taken the crate and left the blasters.

    • Josh says:

      I remember being a noob Artisan and wondering why nobody would buy my “awesome” CDEF blasters.

      • Benjamin Hilton says:

        Haha, I think part of it was that when you got a new blaster, there was no NPC to sell the old one to, and you didn’t want to waste it so you put it back up on the market….just like everyone else.

      • BeardedDork says:

        That’s why I worked as a dancer until I was a Animal Handler/Bioengineer. Another thing I loved about that game is that your skills were infinitely reconfigurable.

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          Haha you worked as dancer to put yourself through school, nice.

          But yeah I agree about the skills thing, they were not only re-configurable, but in ways that made sense, and were intuitive.

          Want to be a bounty hunter? Well then cross-train in marksman and scout.

  11. BeardedDork says:

    I really miss old school Star Wars Galaxies. It is so unfortunate that something, at the time, unique, decided to transform itself into yet another wow clone.

  12. Deadpool says:

    A few interesting tidbits:

    1) The accidental Titan warp into enemy territory thing? Was a year before the current battle… Almost to the day.

    2) This battle was so massive not because of the clerical error. The error started the battle, but what made it huge is that both sides fully believed they had the upperhand.

    The two sides had been having skirmishes for a while, and one side had a new strategy that had shown to be pretty damned effective lately. Meanwhile, the opposing team was fairly certain they could counter it this time (and they were right).

    Hence the slaughter. Under normal circumstances the losing side realizes it early enough and cuts losses. Here, both thought they were going to turn the tide any minute now…

    • Thomas says:

      It was exactly a year right? I’m sure it drove some of the EVE conspiracy theorists mad.

      Also, the side that lost had some incentive to fight other than believing that they were going to win. It was their staging system for the war that had been ongoing so they had billions of ISK in ships locked up in the space station in the system. If they lost control of the system it would mean their pilots couldn’t access any of the ships they’d brought to the war front.

      So their strategy was rushed and they threw ships in without calculating the risks effectively because if they lost the system then it would have been the same as losing a massive battle.

      • Thomas says:

        The space station was important enough that Pandemic Legion negotiated a surrender in return for those ships. It’s hard to keep your line members loyal to you when you’ve lost access to all their ships

  13. For me, the spaceship video game renaissance started when I discovered Gratuitous Space Battles the second it was released on Steam. I’d love a screen saver of those ships just blowing the stuffing out of each other in a never-ending symphony of sci-fi kerblooey.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      On the one hand, yes please.

      On the other, I would never do anything but watch that screensaver.

    • Thomas says:

      Can I ask, is Gratuitous Space Battles based on EVE or are they both coming from a common source? Because I swear the ships types and weapons modules (and even the high slot/low slot system) is identical to EVE. And Federation/Empire/Alliance/Rebels matches up pretty well with the Gallente Federation/Amarr Empire/Caldari State/Minmatar Rebels.

      Maybe they’re just very normal ideas for the medium. I guess Caldari doesn’t fit well with Alliance

      • The GSP mechanics seemed fairly starship-trope and RTS-trope to me, but I’ve never played EVE. I think it’s parent company is British (they also make Gratuitous Tank Battles) which is near Iceland, so maybe there’s an influence? It’s also a 2D top-down game rather than 3D, which helps make it more accessible, IMHO.

        It kind of reminded me of the old Car Wars tabletop game, but that’s probably par for the course when you have limited slots and have to strategize how one kind of ship can support/complement another.

  14. Grampy_bone says:

    That XCOM article is very interesting. The game was originally supposed to be about sneaking around and taking pictures of clouds? Someone actually greenlit that? It makes the lousy game they ended up with actually seem better.

    • Chris says:

      Well, I mean, I get what they were going for mechanically, it’s just something that would ostensibly never work in real life.

      Like, the concept of the game was: You’re trying to figure out what this alien presence is, what its abilities are and what its intentions are. And if they make the alien a Sectoid or Little Green Man or whatever, then it’s pretty passé. You get what they are and what they’re here to do (more or less) at the very first glance. There’s no mystery there; it’s like asking players to uncover what Vampires are. We get it, they’re vampires. At that point it’s just discussing what canon we’re talking about. Are these the little green men here to abduct us, the kind here for resources, or just the enterprising empire type?

      So the game wanted to present the players with a genuine mystery about what the force they’re fighting was; how they behaved and what their goals and abilities were. A mystery that isn’t solved in the first mission by seeing a UFO or a Sectoid, but a mystery that would last the entirety of a 6-10 hour game. And I totally get the intent of emphasizing the “unknown” part of XCom, the “the truth is out there” part of XCom.

      But in order to avoid the “it’s just a sectoid they’re clearly here to invade” problem they ran into another – how do you make a game about investigating an unknowable enemy work? Like, either the enemy is knowable enough to see “Ah, it’s got arms and legs and so-and-so-level-of-tech” and then it’s down to brass tacks about how to fight it, or it’s so abstract that divining anything about it doesn’t really work through approachable game mechanics. Investigating an enemy isn’t the same thing as solving a Phoenix Wright style mystery, and that’s where the game went off the rails.

      So I dunno. I still think there’s a germ of a good idea in there, somewhere. Investigating something you don’t quite understand in an X-Files way, set against the paranoia and limited tech of the late 50’s/early 60’s, and uncovering truths you might not have wanted to find. And maybe a more tightly controlled game – a supernatural adventure game or Lovecraftian horror title – could pull that sort of thing off. But we knew this was an XCom game; we knew it was aliens we were researching, and we knew that in the end we start an organization that shoots them in their faces. The mystery was never going to be there for this game, even if they could figure out how to make the mechanics work okay.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Is it just me or is the situation where I, as a fairly genre savvy player, have to play a clueless protagonist figuring out aliens/vampires/ghosts and especially the bloody zombies for the better half of the game becoming increasingly annoying for anyone else?

        • Benjamin Hilton says:

          I think you just hit on one of the main problems:

          It is nearly impossible to play a game without going meta on it. In a real world scenario people would be scared and confused because this never really happens. However when you play a game or watch a show, you know that its fake and it’s impossible not to think of all the previous experience you’ve had with tropes and such.

          That was the issue with this aborted idea. If this was really happening, it would be frightening and tense in hundreds of ways: the unknown, what is true, what does this mean for our “facts”, our science, our religion?

          Realistically it is a great story, but since it is nearly impossible to put yourself in that situation without serious internal roleplaying, it falls flat as a game.

          • Mike S. says:

            For a game like that to work, they have to come up with a new menace that isn’t obviously a known trope with some serial numbers lightly filed. This isn’t impossible: zombies in the modern understanding came into existence in my lifetime, and most of the main vampire tropes are less than a century old. (Stoker is the main entry point, pace Polidori and folklore, but a lot of the specifics are from film, and the Anne Rice and White Wolf elements were absorbed very recently.) Lovecraft basically came up with a new source of horror (impersonal and cosmic, rather than malign and demonic), and it’s still paying dividends decades later.

            It’s hard to come up with something that’s new, different, and compelling. And the dangers of a misfire are huge. But it’s probably the only way to produce an investigative game that doesn’t reach that point of “okay, it’s werewolves. Why has my character never heard of werewolves?!?” Or else go off into the meta with Buffy et al. (which can be great, but risks becoming as much about the tropes as about the monsters).

  15. Knut says:

    I think Enemy Starfigther also deserves mention as an upcomming space game.

  16. Horazon says:

    There is more to movement in EVE than approaching/orbiting targets, double click any spot in space and you will start flying in that direction.

    Sure, it does feel different to piloting a ship in descent/freespace but still, you are selling the game a bit short there. Personally I never use the orbit at/approach buttons.

    • Volfram says:

      I ended up using Orbit and Approach buttons in certain cases, but yes, typically my first response to finding a swarm of enemies had decided they wanted to kill me was to set an angle almost parallel to their direction and turn on every speed boost I had.

      According to my corp-mates, battles tended to consist of a whole lot of pings moving slowly towards each other and one little cloud of pings(Drone users were told to have their drones assist me) rocketing across space with little apparent rhyme or reason.

  17. Phantos says:

    I don’t know what this says about me, but I actually enjoyed the gameplay and combat of Mass Effect 3 the most out of the trilogy. Even the overplayed cover-based mechanics didn’t feel like an afterthought to me, the way it felt in games like Resident Evil 5 or Deus Ex: HR.

    Heck, I might have even gone so far as to try the multiplayer, if only EA hadn’t gotten the DLC completely ass-backwards. The multiplayer stuff should have cost money, and the story stuff should have been free. Locking Javik, Leviathan and the Citadel fan-fiction behind a paywall was monstrously stupid.

    But Shamus is right: that game is a wound that will never close.

    • Mike S. says:

      Yeah, I love Mass Effect combat. I switch out companion characters (both for role-playing reasons and to play with different powers), I send them to positions (which half the time they’ll leave to run into fire, but still), I match powers to defenses, put ammo powers on my guns. And I spam the heck out of the pause button, which will forever disqualify me from 1337 shooter status (and multiplayer) but works for me.

      I’ve played five out of the six classes (just finished up an Engineer playthrough of all three games two days ago), and each one feels like a different experience: the fragile, back-hanging Adept, the punch-out-a-krogan Vanguard, the do-it-all-by-remote Engineer…

      (And, pace the comments on choice, between the dialog and my personal headcanon they’re all very different people.)

      I won’t defend the ending, and can criticize any number of design and story decisions. But I keep going back to Mass Effect precisely because nothing else (including other Bioware games) seems to fit my personal playstyle half so well. And saying a game plays like it is a definite draw to my giving it a try.

      • somebodys_kid says:

        Agreed. Mass Effect 3 combat is exhilarating and enjoyable. The multiplayer is fun and addictive, too, but you HAVE to wean yourself off of the pause button first. Otherwise it’s sudden death. I’m tempted to break out the multiplayer again…still have some guns and characters to unlock…

  18. TMC_Sherpa says:

    While I’m sure I will have more to say either here or in the EVE thread there is one point I feel gets lost in most discussions about the EVE training system. It’s not like most computer or p&p games where you gain a pretty healthy bonus going from level 1 to level 10 or 80 or whatever. In EVE the difference mechanically between one level and the next in most combat skills is only a few percentile. I’m not going to say that 10% here and 10% there doesn’t add up but it’s not as big of an advantage as the skill the person playing the game has vs. the skill of their pilot. Your player skill is not beholden to a time table so…no one is as far behind as they think they are.

    • Volfram says:

      Yep. A rookie player can actually match a veteran pretty quickly in skill depth, but will likely not have nearly as much skill breadth.

      And the Veteran’s skill breadth will be largely clerical skills necessary for running a corporation, commanding a fleet, or how to refine every single possible type of ore at 0% loss(I eventually got a couple of background skills to the point that I could get a 0% loss on nearly any mineral after only level 2 training, and even those background skills weren’t at level 5).

      Speaking of which, a good way to avoid running into the brick wall of “Huh. Apparently this ship will take me 6 MORE days to learn how to fly.” is to plan ahead a little bit.

    • Steve Online says:

      As well, you CAN increase the speed at which you train – it’s what your character’s five otherwise-irrelevant stats are for. You can improve those stats with implants, so a decent set of stat implants are a good early investment!

      Also, the exponential increase in training time for a linear percentage increase in reward means that, again, new players aren’t actually all that far behind older ones. If you start a month ahead of your friend and both of you spend the entire time training your Shoot Mans skill, you’ll only be 5% better at it.

      Granted, all this does break down at the specialized advanced ships that *require* you to get certain skills to level 5 to use them. But frankly you’re not going to be able to AFFORD those ships until you’re an old player yourself, and grumbling that these here whippersnappers are complaining too much about being 10% behind you. Why, back in your day, you hauled tritanium from jita to luminaire for a tenth-isk profit per ton, uphill, both ways, through interdiction bubbles!

      • TMC_Sherpa says:

        Heh. Back in my day we didn’t have warp to zero so you had to set up bookmarks between every gate you wanted to use or risk slow boating. IIRC CCP added warp to zero in the game because the server load from thousands of bookmarks caused huge performance issues on the backend.

        Oh and the skill queue. Back in my day you got up at O-gosh-thirty to swap skills and we liked it.

  19. Starker says:

    Um… Star Citizen has not raised “11 million or whatever”. Star Citizen has raised “38 million or whatever”: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/funding-goals

    • Chris says:

      I remain astounded at that figure. It really is the new Minecraft in a certain sense. We make a big deal about Doublefine’s Kickstarter success but this just absolutely dwarfs that.

      • Starker says:

        Double Fine’s Kickstarter grew into something more, though. It was originally just a project to make a documentary about making a video game, but people also turned it into a story of “let’s stick it to the man” and “let’s revive classic adventure games”.

        I don’t know if there’s something similar going on with Star Citizen, but it does seem to attract an inordinate amount of people with large disposable incomes. It can’t be that all these Wing Commander fans grew up to be NASA engineers. There has to be something more going on.

      • Humanoid says:

        Microtransactions? No, we have megatransactions!

  20. somebodys_kid says:

    I’d just like to add my endorsement for Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. I really like the storytelling (not necessarily the story itself, but the way it was told), I liked the combat (though the enemy AI was kinda dumb), the art direction (some very pretty scenery rendered kind of like borderlands), and it’s not too expensive. This game lasts just as long as it needs to, before it gets tiresome and too redundant.

  21. John Lopez says:

    Space games were never “popular”. Instead, they were popular with the crowd who did PC gaming back in the day.

    Today, there is roughly the same percentage of the public at large that are interested in space games, but the population of gamer players is now more closely mirroring the public at large. (This is why sports and shooter games are now “popular”.) What made space games *look* popular was the high correlation between computer geek status and interest in space gaming.

    You saw the same thing happen to the Internet at large: the early days had sites about science, programming and nerdy pastimes. Today we have pictures of cats and babies and mainstream news. Those early pioneers aren’t missing (by and large) but the deluge of the mainstream has made it seem that way.

    Nevertheless, I take it as a net victory. Geek culture infected the mainstream and we now get super hero, fantasy and other geeky stuff with much better budgets :)

  22. Heaven Smile says:

    Dont you mean MDK2? Bioware only made the sequel and improved upon the first game that was made by Shiny Entertainment (creators of “Sacrifice”, “Messiah” and “Earthworm Jim”)

    It was pretty videogamey, and it also had an ending for each of the protagonists. Meaning that there is more choice there than in Mass Effect 3.

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