Diecast #272: Control, Fortnite, Classic WoW

By Shamus Posted Monday Sep 2, 2019

Filed under: Diecast 93 comments

Here is a Diecast with 50% extra diecasting! You’re welcome! All this time, and we STILL somehow didn’t manage to answer any listener questions. I just want to make it clear that we’re not aloof, we’re incompetent. Big difference.



Diecast272

Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.

Show notes:
00:46 Control

I’ve spent another day with Control since recording this podcast. I’ve finished the game and here are a couple of non-spoilery thoughts:

  1. I still dislike the combat, although I found switching from survivability to DPS helped make it much less of a chore. I guess I’d upgrade my appraisal of the gameplay from “Tedious” to “Tolerable”.
  2. I really dug the story, all the way through. Satisfying ending with a tone that matched the rest of the work.

I’ll be writing more about this game in the coming weeks.


Link (YouTube)

29:02 Why is Fortnite so BIG?

I mean, it’s HUGE!

35:09 Kerbal Space Program 2


Link (YouTube)

47:56 This Dumb Credit Sequence

The story of how I used Unity to make a program to generate a credit sequence rather than doing it by hand in a video editor.

55:23 Mindhunter Season 2

The previous post where I talked about how my hometown was turned into another town through the magic of editing can be found here.

1:00:46 NBA 2K20

You might argue that the story where NBA 2K20 Trailer Promotes Gambling In Game Rated For 3 Year Olds And Above is actually a problem with the ratings board more than the publisher. But we don’t need to fight! There’s more than enough blame to go around. And can I maybe throw a little bit of blame at the gamers who buy these games? I know that seems mean, but publishers only do this because it makes money.

Dear loot boxers: You’re giving the publishers more money than fans of traditionally structured games, which is why they’re pivoting to you. Can’t you folks got to Vegas or throw your money in a fire or something? I don’t want to see all my favorite game mechanics replaced with slot machines and pay-to-win bullshit.

Also, please don’t confuse this story with the NBA2k game from last year that had unskippable in-game advertisements. Please try to keep up.

1:10:33 Classic WoW

Just like the old days. Both good and bad.

I’m not playing, but I’d love to hear from anyone who is. How is it? Is this the return of a classic, or a return to a frustrating janky past? If you had to choose between Class WoW and Nu-WoW, which would you pick?

 


From The Archives:
 

93 thoughts on “Diecast #272: Control, Fortnite, Classic WoW

  1. Redrock says:

    I only just started playing Control, but it finally drove home just how far Sam Lake typically goes in imitating whatever his inspiration is. I wouldn’t call it plagiarising per se, but just as Alan Wake was unashamedly a videogame adaptaion of a Stephen King novel that was never written, so is Control basically “SCP Foundation – The Game”. Not just in terms of setting, but even in the overall style and tone of its collectible logs. I honestly don’t know how to feel about that.

    As for the combat, I dunno, I like it better than Quantum Break so far, but overall it’s baffling how the combat in Remedy games went downhill over the years. Max Payne 2 had probably the best combat they ever made, but Alan Wake had enough interesting stuff with the flashlight and the flares to make it mostly enjoyable. Still, one would think they’s borrow some notes from Max Payne 3, or something.

    1. Geebs says:

      I think it’s more that there’s a quality ceiling for third person shooter games and everybody else caught up.

      Control is perfectly serviceable, but I agree that it doesn’t do much, if anything, new.

      1. Redrock says:

        Eh, I dunno. I can think of a number of third person shooters that are just, well, better mechanically. Vanquish, Warframe, the aforementioned Max Payne 3. Heck, like I said, even Alan Wake is more mechanically engaging. To me, it’s more like Remedy is becoming increasingly uninterested in developing actual engaging shooter mechanics, preferring instead to focus on narrative and design. Nothing wrong with that, but those two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

        In the case of Control, well, there’s nothing stopping the game, in terms of setting and story, from having some more interesting movement systems, more varied enemies and weapons and a more satisfying melee system. Nothing at all. They could give Jesse half of the abilities from Sundered, and it would fit the tone perfectly. Hell, the Service Weapon is supposed to be ALL legendary weapons at once, including the Excalibur, but no, it just turns into a shotgun and a rifle. The weapons in Vanquish weren’t all that interesting, but there was still a disc launcher and a laser gun.

        It was the same with Quantum Break – it said you have “time powers”, but time powers were actually a forcefield and a magic grenade, essentially. It’s just … oddly lazy, that’s all.

        1. Geebs says:

          It might be that the last modern shooter I tried before playing Control was Wolfenstein Youngblood. Compared to that game, Control’s combat is amazing.

          1. Redrock says:

            Oh. Oh… my condolences, Geebs. From what I’ve heard of Youngblood, I can imagine that it was quite a traumatic experience.

      2. Tizzy says:

        Even the name, “Control”, is uninspired. It not awful, but it doesn’t evoke anything at all. Unfortunate when you’re trying to launch a new IP.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          I am 90% certain the name was chosen just so that they can make a “Take back Control” pun.

          1. Syal says:

            “…for a full refund.”

        2. Redrock says:

          The name doesn’t bother me that much on its own, but it’s a goddamn nightmare to Google. Especially if you’re looking for info on PC performance, fixes, etc.

          1. shoeboxjeddy says:

            Is it a nightmare? Just do “Control game” as your search. If you want PC stats, the search should be “Control game PC benchmark”.

        3. The Rocketeer says:

          It makes some sense if this is a riff on SCP (Secure, Contain, Protect), as Redrock surmises. But that’s hardly an excuse; it is a pretty bland, unilluminating title.

    2. JakeyKakey says:

      Eh, I strongly disagree about Alan Wake’s combat being more enjoyable.

      Alan Wake had a few more thematically varied combat mechanics based around its central light gimmick, but most of the levels themselves were an almost endless onslaught of those tense Resident-Evil-style zombie bumrushes where you get ganked by a bunch of enemies and have to kite them around while making the best use of your limited resources.

      It’s obvious by about the first third of the game that Remedy didn’t have any other interesting tricks up their sleeve other than padding the everloving fuck out of combat encounters and boy do you end up doing that for a good nine more hours.

      By comparison Control’s core mechanic of effortlessly chucking massive objects at the enemies and casually wrecking the place never stops being immensly fun, imo. It’s not very inspired, but it’s far too satisfying for me to care – it’s like a Jean Grey/Magneto X-Men game I never knew I needed. Combat is also far more sparse than it was in AW so it doesn’t feel as tiring.

      My only actual big complaint so far is that you’re completely reliant on health pickups from dead enemies, but a lot of the bosses leave you in effectively 1-on-1 situations where 2-3 attacks will drop you dead with almost no good opportunity to regain your health. Thus often your best strategy is to try output massive amounts of damage and kill the boss faster than you can accidentally screw up and get yourself killed, which more often than not just feels incredibly cheesy rather than satisfyingly skillful.

      1. Redrock says:

        Didn’t mean to say that Alan Wake’s combat was more enjoyable, exactly. On a purely visceral level there’s no comparison – Control just feels so much better. What I meant was that in Alan Wake Remedy was going for something new and interesting, adding a unique twist to RE-style combat. There was some variety and strategy there.

        Control, like I said, makes you feel cool and powerful. But it’s also extremely simple – just line up your reticule and make objects, be it bullets or telekinetically hurled missiles, go into bad guys. Not unenjoyable per se, but also extremely limited. Still, much better than Quantum Break.

  2. Terradyne says:

    If you check their site (Kerbal Space Program 2) then it specifies both interstellar travel and multiplayer should both be in it, along with outright colonisation efforts (which you can see in the trailer). It’s looking like a significant leap over the first game, certainly.

    Interstellar Travel

    Next-gen tech, colonies, and systematic resource gathering all lead to a whole new level of exploration: interstellar travel. In Kerbal Space Program 2, these interstellar technologies pave the way to a host of new celestial bodies, each comprising new challenges and harboring new secret treasures. Among them: Ovin, a ringed super-Earth with relentless gravity; Rask and Rusk, a binary pair locked in a dance of death; and many more to reward exploration.

    Multiplayer/Modding

    The technological developments made to the foundations of Kerbal Space Program 2 will build on the beloved modding capabilities of the original game, as well as deliver on the long-requested addition of multiplayer. Soon players will be able to share the challenges of deep space exploration. More details on these features will be revealed at a later time.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Excellent! I knew I should have done more research than just watching the trailer!
      And yes, building off-planet structures and colonies and stuff is another feature I’m really looking forward to.
      So, looks like no procedural planets, but construction, multiplayer, and interstellar travel is in. 3 out of 4 isn’t bad!

  3. Joe says:

    Control sounds like it was inspired by the SCP Foundation. Maybe a bit of Charles Stross’ Laundry Files novels too.

    The largest game I have installed is Witcher 3, at 36 gb. Fortnite is bigger than that? Yeah, must be all the goodies.

    I keep Winamp on countdown mode, rather than time elapsed. But it’s my choice, I’d never force anyone to do things my way.

    I haven’t played KSP, but that’s a great trailer for 2. As much as I love Star Wars and Trek, I also love the relatively low-tech approach as seen in KSP and the Expanse. I suppose the crossover of those two flavours would be Babylon 5. Earth still uses spinships, while the Vorlons are full biotech and space magic.

    There’s jokes about the WOW queue timer. Like, it’s designed by the people responsible for the Microsoft progress bar, the way it jumps around. If it was me, I’d get pissed off with waiting for 90 minutes to play a game and go do something else. But so far, people persist.

    1. Fizban says:

      Oh, room to gripe about install sizes? Yeah, Total Warhammer 2 is 55 gigs. Oh, friend from work says I should pick up Vermintide 2 to play with them? How about 62 more gigs. DOOM 2016 is hogging 70.

      Shamus mentions Fortnite being a stylized game- yeah, TF2 is stylized too. And yet it takes up 22 gigs, despite being like a million years old. I’m pretty damn sure it wasn’t actually that big to begin with, maybe 10 gigs. But apparently even non-photo-realistic games will still eat ridiculous amounts of space when they start adding high-poly high-res assets, multiplied by the number of hats. Or skins. I don’t see how it would have anything to do with encryption though- it just has to have all that stuff on hand because anyone can have anything at any time. The corporation wouldn’t care if you hacked the game to make yourself see things (aside from blanket policies against any modification whatsoever), it’s the showing off that really drives the sale in a multiplayer game. And in order to make sure you see all that stuff they want you to buy, it has to be displayed seamlessly as other players use it.

      As soon as hardware can support another big jump in resolution/poly-counts/etc, the install packages will increase accordingly, even if one’s hardware can’t actually use those assets. Actually I seem to recall some installers for older games having, *gasp*, options for what level of detail to install. That was a thing once.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      What’s fantastic about this is with that much data on your computer – presumably the collectibles (that you can’t acess until you pay) are actually there. On your Hard Drive. Taking up space.
      It’s on-disk DLC all over again.

      Not that I’m surprised, but it’s another level of Taking The Piss.

    3. Chad Miller says:

      Re: SCP – my guess was that the game Paul’s talking about is SCP: Containment Breach.

  4. BlueHorus says:

    And can I maybe throw a little bit of blame at the gamers who buy these games? I know that seems mean, but publishers only do this because it makes money.

    Dear loot boxers: You’re giving the publishers more money than fans of traditionally structured games, which is why they’re pivoting to you. Can’t you folks got to Vegas or throw your money in a fire or something? I don’t want to see all my favotire game mechanics replaced with slot machines and pay-to-win bullshit.

    Typo Patrol!*

    But yeah, this is my main complaint too. Don’t reward this kind of behavior and it just won’t happen. Nothing mean about saying that.

    Sadly, the people who are likely to listen to such a plea aren’t the people who are actually funding games developers doing this.

    *EDIT: And actually the first person to point it out! Do I win a badge or something?

    1. Tizzy says:

      There is a growing body of evidence that the portion of loot boxers that makes the system profitable is a really tiny minority with serious impulse-control problem. The publishers know it and target them. The gambling industry before them have brought to bear all the modern machinery of quantitative psychology to figure out which buttons to push in their victims. Turns out, winning money is totally incidental to the compulsion to gamble, so the blueprint was there for game companies to use. Presto, we now have gambling in video games (whether or not your local laws call it gambling, it’s exactly the same mechanism).

      So appeal to reasons won’t do much. When people’s weaknesses have been so expertly targeted that they spend way more than they can afford on shiny pixels, the victims need more than stern admonishments to quit their self-destructive ways.

      Some people expect government regulation to come in, but I wouldn’t expect anything too drastic. I imagine we’ll see attempts worldwide to “protect the children”, but nothing more. Adults are on their own, any regulations for them will be weaker than whatever regulations exist for actual gambling.

      1. Redrock says:

        Personally, I still don’t get the moral panic on show. The “think of the children” argument I despise, but understand. When it comes to adults, well, sure, it’s bad when people drive themselves bankrupt by spending all their money on lootboxes (does that happen, though? I suspect that most so-called “whales” are actually people with too much disposable income). But is that so much worse than the situation a few years back when people were basically giving up on real life to play World of Warcraft? Morally speaking, I mean.

        1. Kylroy says:

          A non-trivial portion of the “whales” really are spending money they can’t afford. And it’s worse than the 80-hour-per-week WoW player, because subscription MMOs make the same money from all players regardless of how much they play; if anything, they’re incented to keep the casual player (who puts far less stress on their systems) than the diehard. Conversely, the loot box game makes money (usually almost all of it’s money) off of a tiny handful of players throwing tons of money at their gambling minigames.

          1. Hector says:

            To expand on that, there are very strong limits on casinos precisely because some people become deeply addicted and will destroy themselves financially if not held in check – and because historically operators of gambling establishments have used all kinds of shady tactics which are *identical* to what big publishers are doing today) the same . Governments hold this check because gambling can be a form of social poison. So they rigidly enforce honest odds, put in all kinds of limits on what casinos can do to collect, and prevent casinos from exploiting customers too badly.

            Lootboxes don’t have quite the same danger for most, as usually the amounts spent are smaller. But right now the publishers are basically operating small-scale casinos inside people’s living rooms across the planet, trying to dodge every regulation and rule, acting completely unconcerned about the consequences of their actions, giving all ethics rules the middle finger, and going out to their way to marginalize and denigrate players who speak up.

  5. Ninety-Three says:

    I finished Control and boy I was I disappointed. It wasn’t bad, but it was so mediocre that it burned up the last of the goodwill Remedy earned by making my beloved Alan Wake. There was nothing I really liked about it.

    I’m confused that Shamus described spending all of his telekinesis to knock down shields, my experience was that except for boss enemies, a single hit was enough to strip them down to health (even before upgrades). Also, pro tips: The railgun is the best weapon by an order of magnitude, and launch upgrades are similarly the best use of ability points.

    I am more surprised that Shamus liked the story, I found it extremely blah. The setting has potential but is wasted on a plot that spends most of its energy on “the building is overrun with possessed mooks, oh no, go shoot them.” You could set that plot anywhere! Right at the start you meet a janitor who is obviously supernatural (among other things, his dialogue responds to your inner monologue) and you might assume they’re going somewhere with that but nope, his only role in the plot is to gate your progression in a couple of places until you do a mission to get the keys from him, he could’ve just been a normal janitor for all it mattered. There’s this weird gimmick where the protagonist’s inner monologue is constantly talking to someone she calls “you” who turns out to be this weird spirit guide entity thing and the story keeps dangling hints that this is important and interesting, until the plot abruptly ends it in the last hour without having used it for anything. Why are there all these non-hostile possessed guys just floating in the air chanting creepy stuff? Never explained, just roll with the aesthetic. The game repeatedly draws our attention to the question of “Why do possessed dudes still respect their old human skills, with only demo-men using rockets, only psykers using telekinesis, etc?” Never addressed. What is the mysterious inter-dimensional Board that talks to the director? Mysterious and inter-dimensional, that’s all we get.

    Overall the whole plot suffers from a problem that it doesn’t feel like it’s building to anything. You arrive, and get a mission to find a magic telephone, but it doesn’t tell you anything other than “Find the heads of security and research”, which was probably going to be your next step anyway. You get given a diversion mission to fix the generator before it explodes, so you do. I think this is where you learn the backstory that the “you” Jesse keeps inner-monologuing to is some kind of spirit guide thing she met after interacting with a spooky Macguffin years ago. You get a mission to find the head of security, who tells you that they need to secure production of more anti-possession devices (though it’s not clear why, given that you meet literally zero people who are not already either possessed or wearing one). So you do, and that leads to a diversion mission about finding replacement parts to make more unneeded anti-possession devices. You get told to go to research, and you get another diversion mission about containing a possessed TV. After all of that padding you are two thirds of the way through the game, and you’re ready for the second thing that advances the plot enough for me to put it in spoiler tags. You finally find the protagonist’s long-missing brother, and it turns out that A: he was kidnapped by the bureau for having psychic powers, and B: he is now possessed and doesn’t have much to say to you. He tells you to go somewhere else where you learn a bunch of Jesse’s backstory, and she decides that the Hiss must be caused by a spooky Macguffin from her backstory which she needs to find and turn off. You learn more of her backstory, but it’s not revelatory, just fleshing out the skeleton you already had of “They found a spooky artifact, things went very bad, they unspooked it with help from the spirit guide, then the Bureau came in and kidnapped her brother”. Also, you learn that he’s pretty bitter about having been kidnapped, but it doesn’t matter because he will spend the entire game possessed. The Macguffin isn’t where it was supposed to be, so you get another diversion mission about finding the supernatural janitor to get the keys to the new place you have to go to. We learn that the director was accidentally exposed to some spooky stuff a month or two ago that possessed him, and he was the one who let it in now. Doesn’t really matter, given that he’s dead and we already know getting to the Macguffin will fix it. We learn the bureau located and… kidnapped? the spirit guide’s physical form from another dimension, so you track that down, and as soon as you open the door the bad guys kill it. Oops. You have a dream sequence representing how the bad guys are trying to possess you now, but you overcome it through sheer force of will, fight some more mooks and turn off the Macguffin with a disappointing lack bossfight. Your possessed brother is now in a coma and the building is still full of possessed dudes. The game ends on that anticlimax.

    All throughout this you’re picking up lore objects about the various spooky objects the Bureau has found out in the world, drawing heavily from the style of SCP. The first problem with these is that SCP isn’t that great when you condense it down to a hundred word codex entry, and the second problem is that these codex entries have as much relevance to the videogame as random SCP entries. They’re just irrelevant spooky objects because this is a house full of random spooky objects, you could swap them for actual SCP entries and the game wouldn’t be effected.

  6. Ninety-Three says:

    A few years ago when they came out with their first DLC, the community was furious because the game had launched with some promise that buying the game would get you “all the content”, and people felt that DLC should count under that promise. The devs changed their stance on DLC and made it so that anyone who bought the game before some date would get it all for free.

    Viewed in context of that, KSP 2 looks like a clever way to wring more money out of the KSP brand while wiggling out of that profit-limiting promise. I’m perfectly okay with that, because I understand that games cost money to make so the alternative is not “we get this content for free” but “no one gets this content”, but I still can’t help the feeling that if it weren’t for that promise, instead of an outsourced KSP2, we’d be seeing Squad release a content-heavy expansion.

    And regarding some of the questions raised in the podcast: It is Unity, multiplayer, and has hand-authored planets (thank god, I’d rather have ten interesting planets made by humans than an infinite number of bland procedural ones).

    1. Shamus says:

      “I’d rather have ten interesting planets made by humans than an infinite number of bland procedural ones.”

      The problem is that the planets in KSP WERE bland. Every part of Mun / Minmus / Eve / Gilly liked like any other. Like, a procgen system could hardly do worse than what we got.

      If the planets are going to be rocky cratered wastelands (which is totally acceptable, since that’s how lifeless planets tend to look) then they might as well be procgen so every game is different.

      I’ll take interesting hand-made planets OR a procgen endless universe, but I don’t think either of those options are on the table.

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Yeah, KSP’s planets were added when the game was in early alpha/beta, they were as detailed as you’d expect from that, and they never really got much fleshing out. But I expect that KSP 2 will have less of that rough-around-the-edges aspect to it since it’s not doing the extended open beta thing, and I look forward to seeing more cool stuff like the salt flats of Minmus or the Mohole.

      2. Mikko Lukkarinen says:

        The problem is that the planets in KSP WERE bland. Every part of Mun / Minmus / Eve / Gilly liked like any other. Like, a procgen system could hardly do worse than what we got.

        That’s because the planets in KSP are procgen, the game just uses the same seed every time it generates/regenerates them. So the problem is that Squad either couldn’t or wouldn’t put in the time and effort to make their procgen planets more interesting.

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          I don’t think the planets in KSP are procgen at all. I think you made that up.

          1. Redrock says:

            That’s kinda harsh, isn’t it? Could be an honest mistake at least, not a case of someone making stuff up. As it happens, there’s a number of discussions on the KSP forums that the game uses procedural terrain from a fixed seed. Which, as far as I understand it, isn’t really procgen in the usual sense. Still, seems like an honest mistake to me.

            1. Mikko Lukkarinen says:

              It’s a case of “I saw someone say that’s how it works on Reddit once, but now that I’m trying to actually confirm it I can’t find shit.” Or at least all of the things I did find were so far beyond my understanding that I can’t tell if they’re talking about just rendering or actually generating terrain or what.

              So, I’m gonna assume I was wrong, unless someone smarter says otherwise.

              Links in case anyone’s interested:
              Procedural Quad Spheres? I have no idea.
              Developer comments about PQS.
              Copy of a (now removed) dev blog about procedural crater generation.

          2. The Rocketeer says:

            That’s pretty damn rude, considering he’s right. With three exceptions, every planet’s topology and color in KSP is computer generated, with little or no handmade terrain or coloring. Dres, Vall, Eeloo, and Moho use only a height color map; their colors are directly determined by terrain height. The Mun uses its own manually-created color map, Tylo only uses a little bit of height color mapping on top of mostly manual coloring, and gas giant Jool doesn’t play nice with their generator and had to be manually colored. Few or no surface features aside from the fixed anomalies are hand-placed; the two most famous geographical features, Dres’ canyon and the Mohole, are both the result of procedural generation, and the latter is actually a glitch resulting from the engine’s frequent difficulties with stitching the poles together.

            1. Paul Spooner says:

              The height maps are static, so I guess this is turning into a debate over terminology. A full 2d height-map isn’t what I would call a “seed” as much as a whole field. But yes, if you consider the computer generating geometry from a heightmap, then the KSP terrain geometry is procedurally generated, as is the terrain in WoW and many other games.
              But yes, it seems that it was a misunderstanding rather than a fabrication.

  7. Lino says:

    I loved Max Payne (especially Max Payne 2), so Control sounds like something right up my alley.

  8. Clareo Nex says:

    I see lootboxes as good for exactly the reason you don’t like them. Frankly there’s a lot of ‘gamers’ who clearly don’t share a hobby with me, but it’s not so clear to publishers’ bottom lines. By pulling them further away from my part of the hobby with lootboxes, they’re likely to make a legible divide. In the future I may not have to compromise on game mechanics with those other folk. I can go; “Lootboxes? Game isn’t for me,” and move on to a game that is. Alienation is good when it’s from someone who isn’t like you.

    1. shoeboxjeddy says:

      Or publishers might stop wasting their time with you, if a lootbox game can be expected to pull in $500 million over 2 years (with no ceiling for expected growth if it’s a megahit) and a non-lootbox game, IF successful, has a ceiling of $50 million say. Also, the idea you’re getting at, that people who would be willing to spend money on a lootbox are this unknowable alien group, is weird and gross. Stop it.

  9. Thomas says:

    Final Fantasy 14 is one of the MMOs that seems particularly healthy.

    1. Shamus says:

      I also forgot Dungeons and Dragons Online, Elder Scrolls Online, and The Old Republic, which are probably larger and more successful than the ones I thought of during the show.

      1. Thomas says:

        I forgot DDO existed! It is odd how MMOs have turned into a niche genre.

        1. Daimbert says:

          Years ago (2014) I was browsing in Best Buy of all places, noted the number of MMOs among the PC games there, listed more that I knew about, and mused if we could saturate the market with them. It seems like that happened and is responsible for the niche status, because you don’t finish MMOs so you’re more likely to stick with one you like unless a new one does something radically different.

          1. Thomas says:

            They also lost some cultural relevance to multiplayer game world’s based on smaller numbers of random players – Destiny, DayZ and even Minecraft etc. Then that morphed into Battle Royales, so MMOs are two steps behind the latest trends now.

        2. BlueHorus says:

          I forgot DDO existed!

          Don’t let Jennifer Snow hear you say that ;)

        3. Dev Null says:

          Don’t try to go back. They’ve gone far far into the Spreadsheet Roleplaying Zone. I had Rolemaster flashbacks.

    2. Xeorm says:

      Yea, it’s doing pretty well. Got a good surge too with the recent expansion. There’s a lot of new players around and there’s so many from wow there’s even the term “wow refugees” because of it.

  10. Wangwang says:

    A game story that Shamus approved?! I have to check it out.

  11. Retsam says:

    I’m playing Classic WoW, but I can’t really comment on it compared to Nu-WoW, because I’ve never played Nu-WoW. I never got into WoW when it was new, (figured it was a bad idea if I didn’t want to fail High School and/or College), but and I’m not a huge MMO fan anyway, but I always felt like it was a piece of gaming history that I didn’t experience, so I figured classic would be a fun way to see what I missed.

    I haven’t entirely figured out why everyone else is playing Classic – it does seems really grindy compared to the other MMOs I’ve played, so are there features in Nu-WoW that veteran players don’t like, or is this just a nostalgia trip that’s going to last a month or two and then largely fizzle? I’d assume the latter, but Runescape has a similar setup and the “classic” version is actually increasingly popular than the modern version.

    1. Hal says:

      Nu-WoW has added a lot of quality of life improvements that we expect out of RPGS these days, but are seen as being a lot of hand-holding to older players. You could compare it to Skyrim dungeons, where you had a straight line through the dungeon, you fought a mini boss, then got deposited back at the beginning. Convenient, but a lot of the mystique is gone.

      Other complaints relate to the story. It’s been 15 years since the end of WC3 and the dawn of WoW. The story has gotten pretty far out there since then, with bigger threats every time. A lot of people appreciate going back to a more grounded time.

      1. SUPERVANS says:

        In regards to the story, I saw a reddit comment that summed up one of my complaints about it pretty well.

        “New characters start after Deathwing ravaged the world. But Sylvanas is warchief. But for Pandas it’s Garrosh. Then you go to TBC or start a blood elf. The lich king is alive, the world is untouched by deathwing, Illidan is crazy and needs to be locked up. Then you go to Wrath. You didn’t help lock up Illidan he just is. Now Arthas, Alive is wrecking havoc. Also you went back in time to help Arthas cull stratholm. Then you jump into Cata again. With multiple different warchiefs again. And deathwing burnt shit again. Then you go to MoP. Garrosh is Warchief unless you go to Orgrimmar where it’s Sylvanas. Then you go to WoD now Sylvanas and Voljin are Warchief. But in orgrimmar Voljin is Dead. Legit schrondingers voljin. So you now go to Legion where Voljin finally dies and now Sylvanas is Warchief. And you have no idea what these Zandalari are doing in the horde as well why we are earning honor with High Mountain and Noghtborne if they are already in the horde. Then you go to BFA. Legion ded. And now you recruit the already recruited Zandalari and Maghar Orcs into the horde.

        If you make a Zandalari you go

        BFA (Post Kings Death) > Cata > TBC > WC3> Wrath > WC2 > Cata > MoP > WoD > Legion >TBC > Legion > Pre WC1 > Legion > First Legion Invasion > Legion > BFA (Before your people are recruited) > BFA( Watch king die) > BFA (Back to where you fucking started in the timeline).”

        Characters died and things changed, but many of these things and characters still exist in older content that also simultaneously coexists with current content in which they are gone. It’s a mess.

        1. Gresman says:

          Could you please elaborate for me where the going back to WC3, WC2 and pre-WC1 happens during these things except for the caverns of time.
          Is there that much time travelling in the Zandalari storyline?

          1. SUPERVANS says:

            It is the Caverns of time. The allied races have very little storyline. All allied races start at level 20. They barely even have a starting zone. Their starting zone has one quest, and that quest is to go to the respective embassy in either Stormwind or Orgrimmar, and then you get thrown into the levelling content. Which makes no sense because it all takes place long before the Zandalari join up with The Horde.

            The worst in my opinion are the Void Elves. One of the reason the Alliance never got high elves is because there are so few of them in the world. They’re something like 10% of the surviving population of the elves of Quel’thalas, who were severely genocided during WC3. So it wouldn’t have made a lot of sense to have tons of them running around as playable characters. But then they introduced void elves, probably as a sort of compromise. Except void elves are supposed to be a small subset of defectors from The Horde’s Blood Elves, which means there’d be even less of them than the High Elves.

      2. Gresman says:

        If I am correct on my lore date we are currently at 20 years or so after WC3 because there was a short break between WC3 and WoW.

        Some of the QoL Improvements are not hand-holding but just reducing downtime. That is me saying that as an oldschool gamer.

        1. Hal says:

          Hey, I loved the quality of life improvements brought to the game. No more fussing with talent trees (despite theory crafters determining the “best” arrangement anyhow.) Viable subclasses. Affordable mounts. Flying mounts. Faster cooldowns. Quest markers. Not having to grind endlessly. Most of the content is soloable.

          I understand that these things didn’t appeal to everyone, but I can’t imagine having those things and saying, “Nah, take it away from me.”

    2. Steve C says:

      I haven’t started playing Classic WoW. I’m seriously considering it. For me it is for two reasons- 1)nostalgia and 2)I never experienced raiding in Classic. I started playing WoW during Classic but it was on dial up. Primarily it would be for the nostalgia trip though.
      I liked the design decisions in Classic. Most changes from that felt like tiny paper cuts. Cataclysm was awful and wrecked the game. So it would be nice to revisit what I liked.

      1. Steve C says:

        BTW I discovered that the current version of WoW is 65 Gigs. The Classic re-released version is 5 Gigs.

        1. Gresman says:

          Those 5 GB are only that due to shared data with retail WoW.
          If they are installed in seperate folder classic is at around 10GB.

          1. Steve C says:

            I installed Classic only. Folder is 5 Gigs not 10.
            I don’t have retail at all because 65 Gigs is too much to download. I have a limit of 100 Gigs per month.

            1. Gresman says:

              That one is intriguing.
              Especially given that I took the values from what the installer showed me.
              It might not be a case of download size but install size.

              I ahve to check that.

      2. Asdasd says:

        It’s looking more and more likely that I’m going to be dragged back in by my social group, just as I was the first time around.

        What’s less forgiveable is that in 2019 there are so many other, better, more varied, more interesting multiplayer experiences we could be having. Many of them free! But thanks to a combination of hype, nostalgia and that ineffable Blizzard pull… it’s back to Azeroth to rotate cooldowns and collect wolf parts. Yay.

    3. SUPERVANS says:

      You can get really in depth for the reasons different people are fed up with current WoW. I’ll try to explain what I find disappointing with it, but before I do I’d like to note that there are a good chunk of people out there who don’t play any MMOs other than WoW. Maybe they check out other MMOs, but at the end of the day they come back. Because they just want WoW, even with all the problems it has. I guess they’re just attached to the world and the time they spent in it. So while they want more WoW, they hate the direction went in. So they’re excited to go back and experience a version of the game they perceive as “good”

      For me at least, one of my favorite parts of old WoW was levelling a new character. That experience is terrible in current WoW. Current WoW has double the levels of old WoW, and while the levelling process is completable in a fraction of the time, many of the levels seem superfluous. They just don’t really add anything new to your class, it’s all just a minor bump in stats. The old system gave you a talent point every level, and you’d get new or upgraded abilities every couple of levels.

      Because so much of the content is focused on the top end of the level spectrum, all the low level content is a bunch of mindless filler that offers no challenge. And a bunch of older systems, stuff like old gear and professions, are crumbling under the pressure of each new thing added over the years. After several stat squishes and rearranges, some of the quest rewards even have the same or similar stats to quest rewards several levels lower in the quest chain. As an example the blacksmithing profession is useful for warrior and paladin types, but after they homogenized the gear, they made it so that the warrior classes never have to upgrade from mail to plate armor. They just only use plate armor from the start. But blacksmithing doesn’t have much plate gear available until around level 40.

      So much of the game feels pointless now. It’s to the point where, despite being able to level faster, it FEELS like it takes longer than I remember it. It’s boring to do. It doesn’t even teach you how to play your class because of how easy it is. You’re just going through the motions to get to the real game. And then when you get to the real stuff, you hit a wall where the game finally starts to become challenging. So you have to go look up a bunch of guides and unlearn bad habits unless you had the foresight to learn this stuff before jumping in.

      And I get that not everybody likes levelling, but it was an enjoyable aspect of the game for many people. Now though, it’s almost universally hated. Nobody I’ve talked to enjoys it anymore. I’m a more casual player. I don’t do a lot of raiding, and the focus on modern WoW is that endgame stuff. So ironically, Classic WoW, while seen as more of a grognard thing than the current version, actually offers me more meaningful content as a casual player. I hold no illusions that it’ll last forever. They made the expansions for a reason, after all. But it actually is fun to me on top of being a nostalgia trip.

  12. Ninety-Three says:

    I was one of those people talking about WoW Classic setting peak concurrency records, but unfortunately I can’t give a text citation because it came from a conversation with a Blizzard dev I know (and I’m just an internet rando, so I realize this is about as trustworthy as “my uncle works at Nintendo”). I tried to look something up and it looks like there’s a lot of reporting on its record-setting Twitch numbers, and some garbage clickbait that blurs the line by just talking about records and peaks without mentioning where.

    I imagine Blizzard will formally announce it soonish, it’s the kind of thing that sounds really great to shareholders.

  13. Duoae says:

    RE: The game rating process – this is equally the fault of the industry and the ratings agencies.

    I’m going to focus on the ESRB since most of you are American (I think) but the European agency is bascially the same. The BBFC had a better focus on the content of games through also playing them but their remit was narrowed and instead games ratings given to another agency which align with the PEGI system.

    Anyway, both PEGI and ESRB rely on “self-rating” with the publisher rating themselves through an assessment form. This form is designed so that the company discloses anything that is pertinent to the ratings. The thing is, “loot boxes” are not defined as “gambling” so there’s no rating assessment for or against their inclusion. which would affect the age rating.

    Loot boxes would be classified under “in-game purchases” which would include microtransactions (itself including loot boxes) and DLC.

    Pertinent info here

    Physical games sold at retail are reviewed prior to release, with two key forms of content disclosure provided by the publisher:

    – A completed questionnaire detailing any relevant content (violence, sex, language, gambling, etc.), and other factors such as context, reward systems and player control.

    – A video showing typical gameplay, missions, and cutscenes, including the most “extreme” content. Unplayable content (i.e., “locked out”), if it is pertinent to a rating, must also be disclosed.

    The decision to include the broad “in-game purchases” label:

    Here and here

    The ESRB’s criteria is extraordinarily broad, covering any game that offers “the ability to purchase digital goods or premiums with real world currency,” regardless of the context. “This includes features like bonus levels, skins, surprise items *such as item packs, loot boxes, mystery awards), music, virtual coins and other forms of in-game currency, subscriptions, season passes, upgrades (e.g., to disable ads) and more.”

    But of course, this label does not affect the age rating…

    1. RFS-81 says:

      About the PEGI rating and the Pokemon game with the 12-and-up rating: In the Pokemon game, the protagonist can go to a casino, put in-game money into a slot machine and get in-game money out (or not), so it’s simulated gambling which PEGI doesn’t want little children to be exposed to.

      In PEGI’s response to the NBA controversy, they note that, for example, using a slot machine to randomly select a character in a game would not be considered simulated gambling, because that’s not similar to real-world gambling. (And since lootboxes aren’t gambling, paying money for a spin on the character slot machine wouldn’t be gambling, simulated or otherwise? I guess? Look, I never claimed that it makes a lot of sense.)

      Finally, the rating is only for the trailer. PEGI hasn’t rated the game yet because it isn’t out.

      1. Duoae says:

        Yeah, that PEGI comment about the pokemon game (which I hadn’t heard about!) is like when they (the ratings boards) say that healing medicines are too similar to illicit drug use…

        I don’t think that a “central role” is necessary for a rating to be applied. I mean, swear words for both movies and games are taboo, despite them not being a central role for most of the releases in both of those mediums.

        At any rate, the whole “de-regulation” whereby a regulating body that is sponsored by industry then just palms off the hard work onto “self-appraisals” with a minor review of highlighted bits from the publisher/developer is not really the best way to go about things.

        Both PEGI and ESRB have blurbs in their FAQs about how it’s impossible for their reviewers to play a 50 hr game for all the releases on the market. Well, guess what? You don’t need to play the entire game, you can play a lot of it and get the gist of the tone of the game and at the same time have the self-appraisal.

        Somehow, journalists manage this feat…. I don’t see why it would be so difficult for ratings reviewers to play 10 hours of each game alongside prepared videos and a questionaire….

      2. Thomas says:

        The bit about PEGI not rating the game yet needs to be stressed. This could well be a conversation we have soon, but it’s a bit of a waste until they actually rate the game.

  14. krellen says:

    You mean I sat through an hour and half of Diecast and didn’t even get an after-closing joke? What was even the point, then?!

  15. stratigo says:

    “Nobody is talking about control”

    Well except for…. yahtzee, Jim sterling, giantbomb, et cetera :P :P

  16. Steve C says:

    Paul the indie game you might have been thinking of could be “The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.”
    However Control sounds more like what the evil organization is doing in the movie: The Cabin in the Woods.

  17. Gargamel Le Noir says:

    Since Shamus basically discovered the SCP lore, how about we share our favourite SCPs? Mine isn’t spooky, but it absolutely made me laugh! It’s a window that connects to the house a neighborly but maybe casually racist trans dimensional bug… SCP-1171

    1. Redrock says:

      Mine is SCP-1471 for now. I really liked the attached short story “Capone”. It’s both a bit creepy and in a weird way kinda cute and sad. That said, I just recently discovered SCP myself, having learned of it from some preview piece about Control. So there’s still a lot of content for me to go through.

    2. The Rocketeer says:

      I’ve read somewhere north of 1500 SCP’s, and I’ve forgotten an order of magnitude more than I can remember off the top of my head. But one that I don’t think I’ll ever (be able to) forget is SCP-455.

      It’s fair to say all of my favorites are essentially haunted houses, and all my least favorite are monsters.

    3. Nimrandir says:

      Mine is probably SCP-453, but I’ve only sampled a couple dozen.

  18. DeadlyDark says:

    If you want honest space in media, outside of KSP, I recommend Expanse. That’s my benchmark for TV space now

    1. Thomas says:

      The Expanse is so good! I finally have into the Prime trial to watch it.

  19. Steve C says:

    Posted this yesterday to a week old post. Should have waited until today:
    How to Add Literally Infinite Features into Minecraft (with one update)

    1. tmtvl says:

      Randomly generate rhinos you can milk.

      1. Jim says:

        But does it have spiders that can see the future?

    2. Paul Spooner says:

      I like it!
      I had an idea a while back for a pocket dimension tool. Here’s the presentation I came up with at the time. The Capsule mod comes pretty close to it, but it would be nice to be able to go into the dimension instead of having to deploy it when you wanted access.
      https://drive.google.com/file/d/1j2rVI35HgQy2cES3fN-LJqRMicqm8H6G/

  20. Mikko Lukkarinen says:

    Shipping all the super dangerous eldritch stuff to one place makes some sense:
    – If you’ve already got one ultra-high security containment facility, it’s cheaper to expand and improve that one than it is to make more identical facilities across the globe.
    – All of your grizzled marines are close, if shit goes down. With multiple facilities, if one branch of Scary Shit Inc. has a massive breach and needs help right now, reinforcements from other facilities will be hours or even days away.
    – If you have a choice between 1000 guards at 1 facility and 100 guards at 10 facilities, wouldn’t you rather have the 1000? You could try to increase your budget tenfold to have 1000 guards at 10 facilities, but then you could also have 10,000 guards at 1 facility…

    Now, of course, it’s not perfect (How do you secure this shit in transit? Is this shit safe to move in the first place? How do you keep other people from attacking your transports and taking your shit? One place is easier to bomb than multiple. One containment breach could cause many more (maybe keep the really dangerous things in their own containment bunkers a few miles apart?). Etc.) but I do think this is a fairly reasonable strategy for an SCP-like organization.

    1. Geebs says:

      The lore for Control has one of those clauses where the Objects of Power become stronger when exposed to other artefacts with iconic cultural status. Consequently, having more people guarding these things actually increases how dangerous they are. All it takes is one guy to start whistling “Baby Shark” next to Davy Jones’ Locker and your entire facility gets blown to kingdom come.

      1. Mikko Lukkarinen says:

        Well, shit.

  21. Out of curiosity why doesn’t Isaac use DaVinci Resolve? It’s actually professional software on par with Adobe Premiere, but you are allowed to use the free version for commercial use (which only lacks advanced VFX features).

    It’s fast, and wouldn’t choke on something like a simple 20 lines of text.

    1. Duoae says:

      Thank you for this recommendation. I’ve never even heard of this software! Mind you, I was the same with Bandicam… these companies did not do well on their SEO….

      1. Yeah Resolve has a bit of a weird history. Originally it was just professional color grading software and did nothing else, then BlackMagic bought it and integrated a bunch of other software that they already owned. Now it’s like Premiere / After Effects / Audition / Speedgrade all in one, and free. Really giving Adobe a run for their money.

        They actually devolved recently in a good way, and added more features to make quick and dirty edits for when you want it fast but don’t care about perfect shot placement and such.

  22. Chris says:

    I resubbed to wow because I wanted to smell the flowers and maybe get a little taste. Ive been playing long hours ever since. I wanna go to bed, next thing i know i cleared out all the quests in a zone and its 5 hours later. Its like in the movie. Where everyone is talking about crystal meth as this hot new drug, but the old guy is like “yeah, i dont like the synthetic shit, my drug is cocaine”. Thats the same with WoW for me. I’ve tried many MMOs, ive seen their obvious attempts at keeping your attention. How you have to log in every day to get an item for free, like a calendar with chocolates in it. But even with those kind of tricks, WoW manages to get me more hooked than anything. And i cannot tell you why. I cannot tell you why i enjoy the simple quests, many MMOs, even modern WOW have more complex ones. I cannot tell you why im okay with running around the world for 40 levels (and even then the money you need to buy a mount is insane) instead of getting it early. I cannot tell you why im excited. But I think its like skyrim. The combat is simple and kind of bad, the quests are simple, like the little outposts in skyrim, but every single time you see another thing on your compass, whether its a quest in wow, or a black outline of a site in skyrim, you wanna go there.

    Its like multiplayer skyrim, except the world is way bigger and you have way different classes. And for some reason the newer MMO worlds do not pull me in, they dont put a dot on the map that i want to chase. They do try that, but it doesnt hook me like WoW’s carrot on a stick leads me on.

    1. GM says:

      maybe it´s the social part aka the newer made it easier to avoid people.

  23. David Wimberley says:

    In regards to the indie game discussed with SCP-like monsters to manage – perhaps The Lobotomy Corporation?

    https://store.steampowered.com/app/568220/Lobotomy_Corporation__Monster_Management_Simulation/

    Edited to add link. I am at work (with Draconian viewing policies in regards to anything gaming related) so hopefully it works :)

  24. Pat says:

    Dr. Darling is played by the actor who voiced Alan Wake!

    1. Shamus says:

      I wondered why they they used that guy! He’s charming as hell, but he’s also way too young to portray the supposedly 50+ year old scientist.

      And then he takes off his shirt near the end of the game and you’re like, “Why is Doc Darling so jacked?!?”

      EDIT: I just looked, the actor himself is indeed a little over 50. He’s just the right age for the character. He just doesn’t look it. I thought he was just over 30, with some dye use to make his hair salt and pepper.

      But there it is. Some people (like Tom Cruise) just blatantly cheat at aging like they think the rest of us won’t notice.

      I still wonder when Dr. Darling had time to pump all that iron.

  25. Mark says:

    You already completed the game, but yeah, rather than throwing points into health the best way to start is by upgrading Launch (maxed-out, it can one-shot many of the shielded enemies) and buy the Pierce weapon. The utility of the secondary weapons in particular is all over the place — Pierce is way better than any alternative. In particular Spin (the SMG one you picked first) and the rocket launcher are both completely useless, or at least were in my playthrough.

    Once you have all your powers and they’re upgraded the fighting can get pretty fun, to the extent that I wouldn’t have minded if there were some optional “VR missions” to try out. It is still exasperating to die and go all the way back to the control point though.

  26. Dragmire says:

    So, I remember a bunch of big publishers decided that they didn’t want to pay for audio compression rights(*) and forced users to download all the uncompressed audio. This means that most of the space a game would take up was just audio files. I’m guessing Fortnite does this as well and that’s why it’s 50GB.

    Another example was Titanfall which was 48GB but had 35GB in uncompressed audio.

    (*)My theory, other reasons were given by devs/pubs but I don’t believe them…

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