Diecast #51: The Mailbag

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Apr 1, 2014

Filed under: Diecast 90 comments

This is it: The great Mailbag Reckoning. If you sent in a question before March 26th and it hasn’t been answered before, then it’s either answered today, or never. All questions are forever answered, or forever ignored.

To be clear: If your question didn’t make the cut, it doesn’t mean it was a bad question. It might just mean we didn’t have anything to say on the subject. If you ask about something and there’s less than three people that have something to say about it, then we usually set the question aside.

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Hosts: Josh, Chris, Mumbles, and Shamus.

2:00 What are some RPG systems you don’t like?

21:00 What happens when a vocal group of players demands things that are antithetical to the design?

30:00 What are your favorite board games / card games?

36:00 What are your thoughts on procedural content?

51:00 Question time is over. Chris talks about Infamous: Second Son.

1:04:00 Josh is playing Assassins Creed: Liberation.

Have a question for the cast? Address is in the banner at the top of the post. To have the best chance of it making it onto the show:

  1. Try to keep it no more than two sentences.
  2. Aim for subjects that the whole cast can discuss. (So, questions about Good Robot would be bad, since it would just be me talking.)

From The Archives:

90 thoughts on “Diecast #51: The Mailbag

  1. rofltehcat says:

    Haven’t listened to all of it (yet) but I wonder about what people around here think about board/card game translations onto video game platforms.

    I think a good board game does not necessarily make a good video game. However, I enjoy playing some of them (Androminion, Settlers of Catan) on my phone.
    For me they are the perfect mobile games: They are round based and can therefore be paused/saved/quit at pretty much any moment, e.g. when it is time to get off the bus. They do not require precise or tightly timed inputs. Even though the often not stellar AI they seem still a lot more challenging and offer a lot of strategic depth (compared to many other mobile games).

    Where they do not really belong is on a normal PC, assuming other games are available. But even on PCs they can be a lot of fun. Dominion and Settlers of Catan (and other board games) offer “free” (pay to unlock game modes/maps/expansions) games that allow for some slow paced side entertainment (e.g. while watching Youtube videos).

    But I guess it is more of an issue to find slow paced games that do not require permanent attention. I also love the Banner Saga (and Factions) for that reason.
    I’d like a lot more slow paced good games but I can’t find all that many (or just miss them, or end up just playing Crusader Kings or Gnomoria instead of searching thoroughly enough).

    Maybe I’m just getting old? :)
    If I am, I’ll need a lot more slow paced/turn based games. Any recommendations?

    1. ET says:

      I think the best translations from one medium to another, need to adapt the material, to play to the inherent strengths, and avoid/mitigate the weaknesses of that medium.
      Not following that guideline, is why we get adaptations which perform poorly.
      e.g. The Sands of Time film.
      Unfortunately, the only board->video-game I’ve played is Monopoly, and that one was pretty good, except for being a horrible, battery-draining, framerate-killing, poorly-coded mess of a game, which didn’t need the extra expense of being 3D…but I digress.

      (Sorry for the wall of text…)

      So, I’m very hopeful that existing board games can be translated to PC/tablet/phones/consoles, and play well, or better than the source material.
      Even better would be if they invented whole new games!
      This is my list of pros/cons, for videogame vs boardgames, as I see it:

      – Easy local multiplayer.
      – Rules can be adapted/overridden by players.
      – Medium-to-inexpensive to design.
      – Medium-to-inexpensive to manufacture.
      – Story is clunky and slow to deliver.
      – Rules must be memorized by players, or slow down the game.
      – Non-local multiplayer impossible, without external devices.
      – Medium-to-expensive to distribute.

      – Local multiplayer easy on consoles, medium on wifi mobiles devices.
      – Non-local multiplayer is about as easy as local. (barring weird network libraries, or something)
      – Story can be delivered by videos. (duh :P )
      – Rules are largely interpreted by the game, and don’t need memorization by the players.
      – Easy to save the game-state, for continuation later.
      – Inexpensive to manufacture. (assuming you aren’t chasing the pixel bandwagon)
      – Inexpensive to distribute.
      – Rigid rules.
      – Depending on market, can require expensive art assets to keep up/stand out from the competition.

      So, Monopoly was pretty damn good, except they were chasing the pixel bandwagon, I think.
      Really, that game would have been better as purely 2D, so that it would play on lower-end devices, and not harvest your battery.
      One thing I haven’t really seen, is a video-board-game, which allows players to step in, and override the game’s rules.
      Not sure what that would look like, but it might be reasonably feasible to implement.

      1. Blake says:

        Another strength of board games is the ability to easily utilize player interaction.
        In a huge number of board games you need to ‘play the player’, and try to hide when you’re trying to straight up lie to another player for the purposes of winning.
        Along the same lines, lots of board games end up with players all trying to shout over the top of each other while trying to persuade someone to deal with them, not the untrustworthy scum sitting next to them.
        Shouting ‘I have wood for sheep!’ repeatedly in an online catan game just wouldn’t be the same.

        Board games also often utilize the physical medium to enhance the experience.
        There’s no real video game analogue to holding a handful of gold and trying to hide exact quantities from opposing players (such as in Spartacus), or rushing around quickly trying to trade cards with everyone during a brief 5 second interval in something like Space Alert.

        The biggest thing about board games is that you spend most of the time focused on the other players, where most video games you have to spend all your time focusing on the game.

    2. BeardedDork says:

      I usually play Talisman: DE when I don’t have something better to do (playing it while listening to the podcast and reading the comments actually). I also routinely play Blood Bowl: Chaos Edition, Ticket to Ride, and Small World 2, I don’t have either the people to play with or the time required to play most of my favorite board games. Video game adaptions of board games are pretty easy to sell me on. I was just the other day wishing for a digital edition of Arkham Horror.

  2. Dovius says:

    The discussion of seperate weapon skills in MMO’s reminds me of back when you had to level up seperate weapon skills in WoW. Got that really sweet update in a raid, but you have 20/350 skill in two-handed maces? Off to Westfall to fruitlessly hit underleveled mobs to grind them, then!

    1. Humanoid says:

      The correct way was to beat up on the immortal enemies around the Dark Portal. :P

      1. Trix2000 says:

        Until they ‘fixed’ those. :/

    2. ET says:

      Are there any computer games where you can (or the game automatically) substitute(s) a related skill, for a skill which you don’t have many points in?
      The thing I’m thinking of, is like in GURPS, where if you have One-Handed (specializing in daggers) at some high level, but no points in One-Handed (swords), you get to instead use your dagger skill, but at* like, half value.

      * OK, in GURPS, it’s actually skill minus the penalty for “defaulting” from that skill to that other skill, but since all the skills basically model bell curves of success chance, it’s a close approximation, to think of it as just halving your effective skill/success chance.

  3. Mathias says:

    Scion. I love the lore and the fluff of that game to death, and Hero-level plays well.

    Of course, as soon as you move up a tier, the game *basically* becomes unplayable unless you know the one build that makes a character viable, at which point you’re basically untouchable. It has all the flaws of Exalted minus all the flashy combat moves that make Exalted somewhat interesting.

  4. WILL says:

    Those 6 seconds of dead air anytime somebody finishes a long sentence are really awkward. Not just this episode either.

    1. ET says:

      I’m pretty indifferent to them.
      I mean, it’s mildly annoying, but you also have the option to just download the file, and then fast-forward a bit.
      Plus, I kinda like the fact that the Diecast is (I presume) mostly unedited.
      Means that they can come out with it, without it costing a whole lot of effort, and therefore, can come on a reasonably decent schedule. :)

      1. MichaelGC says:

        I agree, and further, I also quite like the pauses themselves! It helps lend a nice casual/natural air to proceedings.

        Actually, I probably shouldn’t carelessly use the word ‘casual’ in a PC gaming context… Let’s say ‘relaxed.’

        (I’ll admit that little things like pauses & cross-talk have slowly grown on me, and I’m not sure I would have counted them as actual positives originally. So YMMV of course, but also YIMMVOT! (Your individual mileage may vary over time…))

        PS Completely off-sub-topic, but I found the Star Wars Galaxies digression totally fascinating. I’d not heard of that game until recently, but it sounds very interesting (both for good and for bad reasons).

  5. Ranneko says:

    God, Morrowind and Oblivion’s levelling systems are so terrible. Simply removing classes was a massive improvement.

    Though given the number of times I have said that, some people might be a bit sick of me saying that.

    1. ET says:

      So, do you mean that they should have been more like the Fallout games?
      i.e. “Normal” leveling, where you get EXP for doing stuff, then you get to allocate points when you level up, as opposed to the “backwards” style of the Elder Scrolls games, where you level up skills, then have those skills affect your level?
      Or do you mean something else entirely?

      1. Ranneko says:

        While I quite like the pretty standard levelling system in Fallout. I mean the change they made between Oblivion and Skyrim.

        In Skyrim they removed both classes and stats and the levelling system went from one that needed a lot of fiddly forethought to get the most ‘efficient’ and powerful character to one that rewards you for using any skills you use.

        It avoids the idea that you may want to push non-class skills before you get that next level by removing the concept of class and non-class skills.

        I wrote about it a couple of years ago on my blog.

  6. Jake says:

    Hey Shamus! You missed Derek The Viking’s question at ~21:00 about games being swayed by loud community voices that don’t seem to fit the game’s original… “Can the public be wrong about what they want?”

  7. abs1nth says:

    The fact that the renegade/paragon system exists in its form in Mass Effect is unbelievable to me. It’s a game that’s about picking dialogue options with a system that punishes picking dialogue options because the moment you say I’m Renegade/Paragon you’ve already made the choice for the majority of dialogue choices. It’s a role-playing game that punishes role-playing. For as big as Mass Effect is how did this get into the final game? WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? (AVGN voice)

    Knights of the Old Republic only gave you a non-essential stat boost if you reached maximum in either light or dark side. Persuasion was a skill and completely separate. I played a neutral character it’s totally possible which further solidifies my opinion of Kotor being Bioware’s best effort so far. There is nothing about that game that isn’t good. I don’t think that can be said about any other Bioware game.

    1. Bloodsquirrel says:

      The big difference between Mass Effect and KOTOR is that KOTOR’s morality meter actually had a basis in the setting and themes of the game.

      The light/dark dichotomy of the force is core to Star Wars. It’s core to the plot of the game. The game is about whether you remain on the light side or fall to the dark side, and so the meter makes sense holistically with the rest of the game.

      The renegade/paragon stuff doesn't have anything to do with Mass Effect's universe. It doesn't correspond to any in-universe concept or ideal. It doesn't align with Shepard's overall character arc. It doesn't connect to the themes of the game. The moral choices are meant to be genuine moral quandaries, which aren't benefited from telling the player “No, this was the right answer!” afterwards. The meter is basically there because it was there in KOTOR, which was the last game Bioware made where they actually thought about the formulas they were using.

      1. Cineris says:

        It’s there because it’s much easier for some people to internally conceptualize that acting like a jerk to everyone means, “I played a Renegade Shepard” than letting the player decide for themselves the moral valence of their own actions and deciding, “I played a complete jerk.” Same reason that many people swear by D&D alignment systems and feel at a loss to characterize their characters without being able to say “I’m lawful good!” Those labels are helpful to some people, even if they’re unnecessary and limiting once you try to analyze them for consistency.

        It also gives the marketing people a way to talk about their morality system in a concrete way (e.g. players can choose options that align them on the Paragon/Renegade spectrum), and a design objective (important dialogue choices must have at least Paragon and Renegade options) which gives direction to an otherwise really-nebulous design space for dialogue options.

        Imagine one quest has options for Be a pacifist” vs. “Be a warmonger” and the other quest done by another writer has options for, “Be a nice guy” vs. “Be a jerk.” Granted, RPing a pacifist in Mass Effect is impossible, but it’d be entirely feasible for the second writer to step on the characterization options provided by the first writer.

  8. HeroOfHyla says:

    You guys need to be reintroduced to the truly great board games you can find nowadays. Shut Up & Sit Down is a good place to start: http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/v/intro-boardgaming/

    1. Hitch says:

      Not everyone has to like everything, but it did bother me a bit as someone who likes board games that every game they mentioned in answer to the board game question are ones the modern board game players either hate or look down on.

      Oh, and if the video HeroOfHyla linked to you got you interested at all, Quinns has a much longer, more in depth video here: http://www.shutupandsitdown.com/videos/v/board-game-golden-age-talk/

      1. ET says:

        Yeah, that’s one of the misconceptions that “board games” has attached to it, as a genre/medium.
        i.e. That when people think “board game”, they think of Risk, Candyland, Monopoly, and Clue.
        (Maybe a couple others, if you’re lucky.)
        The problem is, that those games were all originally sold/released 57 to 78 years ago, and (as far as I’m aware) have not had their mechanics, incentives, or systems hugely updated in the interim.
        I know there have been updates, but I’m pretty sure that those updates are not as huge as say, creating a game about zombies, from scratch, half a century later.

        1. Hitch says:

          And another thing. If you’d like to see more of what these games are like, check out TableTop hosted by Wil Wheaton on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/geekandsundry/videos?tag_id=UCaBf1a-dpIsw8OxqH4ki2Kg.3.tabletop&sort=dd&view=46&shelf_id=14

        2. Blake says:


          I used to love Monopoly, now I see it for the largely random, sometimes unending mess that it is.

          Modern board games tend to be far more interactive, much more refined, range from the very hard analytical eurogames (which could translate to online games chess-style), to the theatrical experiences of some more American games which can cause lots of laughter and shared experiences.

          One game I’d like to mention is something some MMOs wish they were, and that is Risk: Legacy.
          This version of risk involves permanent consequences. Like tearing up cards, writing on the board and making it your own.
          You play it out over the course of 15 games, the box full of hidden sections that say ‘OPEN WHEN X HAPPENS’, which then cause you to add stickers over parts of the rule books, add new elements to the game, have your continent you’d been buffing over the course of games suddenly become a nuclear fallout zone that will never be the same again.
          You name continents, add cities, permanently buff/debuff regions with stickers, track the history of each of the races, PICK PERMANENT BUFFS TO EACH OF THE RACES WITH A PICK ONE TEAR UP THE OTHER STYLE DECISION TREE, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever played, and the memories of it will definitely stick with me together.

          I would recommend it to everyone, but you’d need to have 4 or 5 friends you could meet up with periodically to play.

          1. Hitch says:

            I have not played Risk Legacy, but another important factor about the game is, those 15 games are not the interminable slogs that drag on hours past most players’ elimination and far beyond anyone really caring about the game anymore. But each have clearly defined objectives that will be reached and a victor decided in a reasonable of time (45 to 90 minutes in most cases, I believe).

            1. Ivellius says:

              I agree wholeheartedly with the original post in this thread, and I’ll add that we had a game of Risk: Legacy that took less than a full turn to play (that is, the last player out of four didn’t even get a turn in one game). The game slows down a bit, but the first few should run ~30 minutes or so.

          2. ET says:

            That sounds super cool, although I hope it’s priced decently.
            You know…since it needs you to basically deface the game, making it a one-use kind of thing. ^^;

            1. Hitch says:

              The MSRP is $60 US. So figuring that the campaign is 15 games, 4 friends could get together and play through a copy getting a couple hours of entertainment a week for 3 months at a dollar a week a player. I think it holds up as a value.

      2. Ringwraith says:

        Although the point was that’s really the only sort of board games people know of when you ask them about them at all.
        It’s just the limited exposure of anything that’s not one of the big ones.

    2. Aerik says:

      “Oh, yeah, I tried playing video games one time in 1985, and I think they’re stupid. Like in Ms. Pac Man, you just go around in circles. What’s the point of that? Video games are dumb.”

      I felt pretty frustrated at the crew’s comments. It’s a problem in general with board game aficionados that when you say “board game”, most people think of the canon of games that they stock at Wal-Mart, i.e. board games from when baby boomers were kids.

      Maybe we should band together and buy them a modern board game? Settlers of Catan, Carcassonne and Pandemic are all good places to start.

      1. Shamus says:

        For me it’s not about the mechanics, but about the activity itself. I don’t like PvP, and most board games have you playing against the other people at the table. I can’t just socialize and have fun.

        If we play a game of luck, then I get frustrated when my luck is bad. But if my luck is good I don’t enjoy it, because who cares if you win by pure luck?

        If we play a game of skill, then I HAVE TO WIN. So I spend all my time concentrating on winning. If I lose, then I have a rotten time because I failed to achieve my goal. If I win I have a rotten time because I made my friends and family lose.

        If there are co-op games out there, I haven’t found them.

        1. Aerik says:

          Fair enough. :)

          For what it’s worth, my significant other feels the same way, and so we mostly play co-op board games. There aren’t many of those among the old canon of mainstream board games, but there are plenty among the modern ones.

          In Pandemic, you and your friends play as a team of scientists from the CDC trying to stop disease outbreaks from spreading over the world.

          In Forbidden Desert, you play as a group of explorers trying to escape a ruined city before dying of thirst or being buried by a sandstorm.

          Both those games are full-on cooperative, and even go so far as to include difficulty levels, so as you and your friends get better at the games, you can increase the challenge. My spouse is phenomenal at Pandemic. :)

        2. Bloodsquirrel says:

          Arkham Horror is pretty fun

          So is Red November

          I can play board games every once in a while, but I’m not a huge fan of them (my brother-in-law is, though). I just get bored with a game that takes 4-5 hours to complete and where I’m only actually active 1/4 – 1/8 of the time because other players are taking their turns.

          Sure, I’m hanging out with my friends while doing it, but the problem is that I’m also playing the board game, and if I’m playing the board game I want to play the board game. I’m just not good at having the board game be a background process that occasionally boots up while hanging out.

          1. Asimech says:

            Eldritch Horror seems like a better choice/safer recommendation over Arkham Horror, from what I’ve been able to gather. I haven’t spent all that much time reading about EH, since I burned myself out of reading board game rules a while back and I already own AH, and EH seems a bit too similar.

            Because of this I’ve been more interested in The Lord of the Rings card game. I’ve heard it’s good but it’s recommended to buy a second core set for four player games. It’s not mandatory and it’s LCG (no blind booster packs, you know what you get) but still.

        3. Daimbert says:

          That used to be true, but now co-op has become popular and a lot of games are either co-op or have a co-op option (I’m not sure how you’d feel about semi-co-op). Arkham Horor, Eldritch Horror, A Touch of Evil, and Last Night on Earth are examples off the top of my head. I just got a zombie game Dark, Darker, Darkest that I haven’t played yet. Legendary’s competition is just with the points at the end; want to make it co-op? Don’t total points.

          That also doesn’t mention Pandemic, which someone else mentioned.

        4. Tektotherriggen says:

          I second all the recommendations for Pandemic. I’ve played a few cooperative games, and Pandemic is the only one I’ve enjoyed. It is more of a collaborative puzzle than a game in some sense (unless you all keep your cards secret from each other, which feels weird since you’re cooperating), but it’s very satisfying to collaborate on strategy, try to carry it out, and take gambles together.

          There are a few other games, such as Agricola and Dominion, that while they are competitive, there is relatively little direct competition. In Agricola, for instance, each player is trying to score the most points by building up a farm, a good house, and a large family. There are only a few ways to hurt other players (e.g. taking an action that somebody else needed to feed their kids), but I can easily imagine a collaborative variant where you all try to maximise your total score. It even has a single player campaign of sorts!

        5. Cuthalion says:

          My favorite co-op boardgame is Castle Panic. It’s much simpler and quick than Arkham Horror (which can also be fun), fun theme, and the cooperative element has always been stronger than the competitive element whenever I’ve played.

          You defend your towers from encroaching goblins and stuff. Play cards to whack the bad guys. You can try to get the most points, but if the towers all fall, everyone loses, so it works well in a group that doesn’t feel the need to compete.

        6. Conlaen says:

          Pandemic is a really nice coop boardgame where you have to work together to fight disease (and among geeks the diseases quickly become different strands of zombie-plague).

          Ghost Stories is a very challenging coop game in an Asian setting where you have to work together to defeat the dark lord and his minions.

          The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game lets you create a deck out of the heroes of the Lord of the Rings and with expansions also the Hobbit and other expanded works. Together you try to beat certain scenarios inspired by events from all the different books. In stead of buying a second base set to play with four, you could also just buy a couple of the many mini expansions. With just the base set, you’ll have fairly tiny decks if you play with 4.

          There are many more awesome cooperative board and card games out there, but these I’ve spent the most time with.

      2. harborpirate says:

        Oh man, I was just going to post this same thing.

        “I don’t like board games…I tried Monopoly and Munchkin and they suck.” sounds to someone who plays modern hobby board games like “I don’t like video games…I tried Frogger and Kinect Dance Party and they suck.”

        Yeah, it might be that you don’t like all of them; but we have no way to be sure because all the games you’ve mentioned so far are crap.

        I get defensive about this kind of thing because this is EXACTLY the way people used to treat video games; and some still do. “Oh, you play those? Those are boring and/or only for children.” And then they blather on about how they hated whatever two video games they’ve ever seen, as if all video games are like that. And to someone in the know, they just sound ignorant, passing judgement on something they’re completely unfamiliar with. And the most infuriating part is that they often have such disdain for it that they’re entirely unwilling to even investigate whether they’re correct.

        Mumbles gleeful yarn about forcing someone to get rid of games due to lack of space was horrifying until it turned out they were mostly copies of Monopoly and Boggle. Nothing of value was lost there, thankfully. Still, for a moment my finger hovered over the pause button, nearly ready to swear off the podcast forever. Imagine if someone told you that all your video games were worthless junk taking up space and that they had to go, and then gleefully regaling their friends about how they forced you to get rid of them!

        Back to Shamus:
        To be fair, some people do really like Munchkin. Though I find those people are often Pen and Paper RPG fans who get such a kick out of it lampooning their hobby that they don’t care that the actual mechanics part of the game leave a lot to be desired. I don’t begrudge them liking it, but it’s definitely not for me.

        I see Pandemic has been mentioned, and that one is indeed a great co-op. You have to realize though, that like the first 5 times you play that game, you’re probably going to lose. For me that was a good thing (I love a challenge), but I’m guessing for you it might be a big drawback. For a lighter version of that same mechanic, try Forbidden Island. Flashpoint Fire Rescue is another good co-op option, from what I gather.

        For family fun, there are options that won’t melt your brain with boredom: Wits and Wagers (Family or Regular), and Cash n’ Guns (or Bang! if you don’t want to point foam guns at each other) would be some examples, and there are many, many more where those came from. My extended family is full of board gaming skeptics; but even they laugh, smile, and yell with excitement when those games are played.

        Also the post about Dominion and Agricola being games where you play your own game with very little interference from other players is a good one. This is one of the influences of euro-style games that have completely changed the hobby over the last 15 years.

        Hobby games span the breadth of easy but engaging to utterly brain burning, and everything in between; and cover a wide variety of topics and themes. If I can give you one tip, it would be this: if the primary mechanic is roll and move, Stay Away! This means you effectively can’t buy any good games at Wal-Mart, since that’s pretty much what they sell. (For an equivalent, imagine if Wal-Mart only sold Wii shovelware with no first party Nintendo titles; with not a Playstation or XBox of any kind to be seen)

        Even if you don’t want to take the plunge and pick up a good party game for the family/friends, take an hour and burn through a couple episodes of Wil Wheaton’s show TableTop on YouTube. The number of comments I see on there that go something like “I had no idea there were games like these, I’m going to buy it” is astounding.

        Anyway, my point is that, even if you’re not going to try to understand board games, maybe you could try not to disparage them the same way your favorite hobby has been for so long. This isn’t the first time you’ve taken potshots at the hobby out of ignorance, and it’s really off-putting.

        1. Shamus says:

          “Anyway, my point is that, even if you're not going to try to understand board games, maybe you could try not to disparage them the same way your favorite hobby has been for so long. This isn't the first time you've taken potshots at the hobby out of ignorance, and it's really off-putting.”

          I think you’re missing the point of these podcasts.

          This isn’t a review show. It’s a conversation between friends. Human beings make these kinds of judgments all the time. We form opinions based on limited knowledge. Sometimes we’re missing some information. Sometimes someone else can jump in and provide you with information you didn’t even know you were missing. What you’re suggesting is that this conversation shouldn’t take place at all.

          I watched reality TV when it was the hot new thing. Hated it. HATED it. Now, maybe reality TV is magically all new and different today. Maybe it’s the same manufactured hysterics and leering at tragically flawed people. Going by your rules, I should never share my opinion on reality TV unless I force myself to watch it every couple of years.

          “We can’t talk about board games! We haven’t played any recently and maybe the entire hobby has been re-invented while we were ignoring it!”

          If we did this, then we would never find out about the new games. You’re literally saying it would be better for us to stay ignorant so you don’t have to hear something you disagree with.

          1. harborpirate says:

            I should have gone with more jokes and cut that last part out…

            Apologies if that came off wrong; my goal was to give you an idea of how this sounded to someone who likes the hobby.

            I apologize for being Internet Overreacting Guy. My tone annihilated any good I might have added to the conversion.

            As for whether uninformed opinions are harmful, I’ll just say “it depends”, and that this case didn’t deserve my reaction. I fly off the handle now and then, and I apologize.

            I thought it might be worth trying to point out that just like video games are much more interesting than Space Invaders, board games from the last 20 years are a lot more interesting than Sorry, and that it might be worth a quick look.

            I think there are good board games out there, and even my skeptical family likes some of them.

            You have every right to your opinion.

            I do really enjoy the podcast, thanks for taking the time to reply!

  9. Andy Panthro says:

    As far as MMOs go, I think Ultima Online got it right. Preferred that system to others I played.

  10. abs1nth says:

    On procedural generation: Skyrim is a strange beast. While all the visual aspects of the game are hand placed almost all the loot is randomly generated and you have a lot of level scaling. In my trek back in time from Skyrim to Oblivion and now Morrowind I entered the Redas Ancestral Tomb today and found a kick-ass Redas Robe of Deeds with a constant 50 feather enchantment along with an expensive named chalice and a named axe. It was a really special moment. I’ll never be able to experience something like that in Skyrim.

    I wish the Elder Scrolls would either fully commit to a hand-placed style like Morrowind or go fully procedurally generated like where Daggerfall and Arena were headed. In Skyrim you have unique visuals but lack the finer details that create memorable moments the details of finding a named item, a specific NPC etc. It doesn’t matter where I go because I’ll find enemy/loot wise basically the same thing everywhere I go. Sure enemies change in texture but it’s not really like one place is more difficult than the other. You really lose the sense for the world when everything is gameplay-wise the same.

    1. ET says:

      That’s actually kinda what I noticed about Skyrim.
      Like, all the magic stuff feels generic, even though there are totally named unique magic items sitting around.
      I think the biggest part of it, is that the game is so level-scaled with regards to loot, but the unique items are static, as far as I can tell.

      I think it would be worth it, to have the unique items scale as you level up, so that they don’t become outclassed by generic loot.
      I mean, weaker unique item should still be weaker compared to more powerful unique items, but it shouldn’t be outclassed by a trivial randomized item you find.
      Maybe in raw damage, but the unique items could be a good place, to restore some of the more wacky spells/effects from earlier games.

  11. James says:

    Regarding procedural generation, what about Sir, You are Being Hunted?

    1. ET says:

      Has anyone played this, and would like to comment?
      It looks like a cool idea, but I have zero clues, as to how much is randomized in any game.

      1. Erik says:

        Sir is actually a game I keep expecting Shamus to get and play, as a procedurally generated survival/stealth game seemed right up his alley.

        Having sunk quite a bit of time into the game at this point through several successive builds, I have to say all of the stuff that is procedurally generated really adds a lot to the game, though of course this is more true every time you start anew. The maps are really interesting to explore and navigate over and over again, especially because you’re always on the lookout for any kind of supplies or machine parts or enemies. It can be daunting to start a new game and have no idea where anything is, but in my experience, as you progress the game gives you enough tools so that you aren’t just wandering aimlessly.

        I think another real strong suit of the procedurally generated content is how all of the different parts of the game can come together to hint at an interesting story behind the world. How the different environment objects can come together and the placement of different robots in them, trying desperately to make your way through the area, panicking at gunshots in the distance but realising it’s not you… what’s going on here? What happened to this world? Am I the only one being hunted?

        I guess that’s one of the big things I like about the way the game utilises procedurally generated content. More than if it was hand crafted, it contributes to the mystery of “What happened to make this world the way it is?” that doesn’t have a particularly clear-cut or definitive answer.

        So I think if things like agonising over inventory management, crawling through the underbrush at a snails pace with your heart pounding in the hope that you can get away safely or having a carefully organised plan fall to pieces and having to run as fast as you can in the opposite direction sounds like an experience that would appeal to you, I’d recommend it wholeheartedly.

  12. ferry says:

    Josh remarked that zombies don’t respawn in the Dayz standalone. They do in the last few versions, and in the latest version (beta at least), they’re much faster, almost hands-free sprinting fast. They’re becoming a real threat.

  13. Tse says:

    I would like to recommend Dixit, it’s an easy and imaginative card game that relies on being able to hint at what’s on the card and have only part of the other players guess it correctly.

  14. Henson says:

    One of my favorite RPG leveling systems is in The Witcher. It’s quite friendly to customization (within the confines of what you are allowed to do).

    So, at each level-up, the game gives you three ‘points’, which you can spend on specific skills. These points are divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold varieties; bronze points unlock bronze talents, which are at the beginning of each skill trees, gold points unlock gold talents, which are at the end of each skill trees, etc. The level-up screen has at least 15 skill trees in which to spend talents.

    In the first fifth or so of the game, all of your level-ups will give three bronze points, and you’ll fill out a great deal of the different skill trees before you get a single silver point. This system allows players to try out the different aspects of Witcher abilities early in the game, to find out what talents fit with their particular playstyle.

    It avoids the Diablo II problem of hoarding 10-20 skill points to spend on higher skills because different coloured talents are not interchangeable. It avoids the Dragon Age problem (for Warriors, mostly) of being locked into a particular build from the start – since diversifying in the beginning would cut down the number of higher-tier skills you can take later on – because you can’t spend all your bronze points on a single skill tree. It strikes me as such an elegant solution to these problems.

    And yet, its sequel didn’t use anything like it, so I guess CD Projekt Red didn’t much care for it. Oh well.

    1. ET says:

      That’s actually a really cool-sounding, and balanced-sounding mechanic.
      Sure as heck beats my go-to proposed “solution” to levels/grinding/insert-problem-with-RPG-mechanics-here, which is to basically just have very short skill trees, with small caps on each skill level.
      Like, mine might make the mental effort required of the player slightly smaller, but the Witcher’s system would make it even easier, plus as you point out, stops you from hoarding points to spend on expensive skills, makes it easy to experiment with skills early on, and stops you from over-specializing early on, where you might accidentally spend too much on skills you don’t like.

  15. imtoolazy says:

    So how many of the hosts watch/like Archer? (i.e. Do Josh and/or Mumbles watch and/or like it?)

    Cause Shamus tweeted about it a couple days ago, and Rutskarn and Chris responded to it, so I was wondering about how much the various hosts are into it, and stuff.

    1. ET says:

      Archer is friggin’ amazing, and if you say otherwise, you’re a communist, liberal, tree-hugging, alien-brainsucker, robo-hippie! :P

  16. Daimbert says:

    Well, to comment on board games since, oddly enough, I’m probably more of a geek for board games right now than video games despite playing video games more:

    First, I resemble that remark about Mumbles’ boyfriend and the closet full of board games (although it’s in a house and it isn’t a walk-in closet) but most of them aren’t kiddie games (the closest are the Hoth Ice Planet Adventure game, Poleconomy, and Ice Breaker).

    Second, for Chris, a lot of modern games allow for pretty good experiences played solo, as they’re co-operative and/or have explicit solo modes. Arkham Horror, for example, can be played quite well solo as it’s co-operative, so if you pull out a set of investigators there’s no real hidden information to worry about. And Legendary — Marvel’s living card game — has an explicit solo mode. Additionally, a number of good games have PBF (Play By Forum) sets going on boardgamegeek.com (the biggest is probably Battlestar Galactica) that would allow you to play the game without having to get a group of people together. ALL of my board gaming is either PBF or solo.

    Third, some great modern games:

    The Order of the Stick Adventure game is actually really entertaining, if sometimes clunky.

    Battlestar Galactica has an incredibly interesting traitor mechanism that would probably fit the personalities of the hosts really well.

    Arkham Horror captures the Lovecraft Mythos very well.

    A Touch of Evil is Arkham Horror light (although it’s not Lovecraft, but is instead horror movie style).

    War of the Ring does a good job of dealing with the, well, War of the Ring.

    Android does an excellent job of representing the sort of Blade Runner noir type of thing, although it can be clunky, complicated and a bit long.

    Legendary is an excellent game for people who like Marvel characters. Or, at least, _I_ like it [grin].

    And there are many, many others.

    1. Shirdal says:

      There are a lot of good board games out there with variety that ranges far beyond the (I assume) more well-known Monopoly, Risk or Munchkin. But Chris points out the real problem with the hobby: it is not a hobby that is easy to take casually. Organizing a group of people, particularly adults with jobs and family lives, to meet up physically and play these games is not a trivial task.

      I see board games as part entertainment experience part social experience, and it’s a lot more convenient to get either of those experiences through other means if you or your social circle don’t particularly care for board games. It’s not an archaic and outdated hobby, but it is a niche hobby made less accessible by its analog nature.

      I play board games on a relatively regular basis these days, and I know from experience that my continued participation in the hobby is dependent on the very tenuous existence of my social circle. I could, if it came to it, try and find a new social circle to play board games with, but that takes time and investment.

      Remote or solo play are possible, if you’re interested enough, but I feel that is a kind of skewed way to experience these games because of how I perceive them as a social entertainment experience. While I don’t mean to illegitimise this type of play, I feel it takes something away from the experience when you lack a group of people physically sitting together.

      1. Daimbert says:

        Well, considering that Chris said essentially that video games are kinda his alternative to board games because he can’t get people together to play the board games, I’m not sure that he’d have a problem with solo/online board gaming.

        Board gaming, I submit, is only harder to get into casually than, say, video games because it is so niche. It’s hard to find out what board games are good or even where to get them unless you know someone or some resource that can tell you about them. For me, it started with the fact that some of the comic book stores I went into sold them, and then finding Board Game Geek, and through all of those finding more and more board games and resources to get more into it. Beyond that, there aren’t that many barriers and with a focus on co-operative and solo play there get less and less all the time.

        Even with some social aspects, you don’t need a huge group of people to play board games anymore. Legendary plays solo, and also plays well with 2 players. Android is listed for 3 – 5 players, but people have played it quite well with two. Fury of Dracula plays well with 2 players and scales to 5. War of the Ring seems built to play with two players but you can have more if you want. Arkham Horror can play solo, which means that it can play with two players as well. Most co-operative games play against the game itself in some way, and so can be made to scale from 1 to the total number of players, and semi-co-operatives play with 2 players most of the time. The exception is a game like Battlestar Galactica, with a traitor mechanism, since you’d lose that if you tried to play with only two players (ie you’d know who the traitor is once you know it isn’t you).

        As for PBF, Battlestar Galactica is a good example for this, and the game is different in interesting ways between PBF and live while keeping a similar experience. Face-to-face, you have more immediate and direct interaction which makes the general accusations more interesting, but in PBF since you have more time to make responses you generally also get a more thematic reaction, with good games having a lot of players that make IC responses and reactions as well as OOC ones. In general, very thematic games work well in PBF because you have more time to explore the theme, which you don’t get face-to-face.

        If you see board games as more of a framework for social interaction, then, yeah, not having people who are that into it can be an issue … but the same would be said of video games. But in both cases, I think that they can stand on their own, and think that board games provide a different sort of experience from video games that means that just because you like to play video games doesn’t mean that there’s nothing that board games can give you that’s different from what you get from video games. Which was the main thrust of what I was saying in that point.

  17. StashAugustine says:

    Okay, I’m being slightly sarcastic here, but that bit on boardgames made me literally start twitching. Monopoly is literally designed to be unfun and Risk/Munchkin are really only fun as stuff to do with friends. My dad was a huge wargamer in the 70’s (we’ve got a huge pile of Avalon Hill stuff around my house) so my entire family plays a lot of boardgames. My recommendation for a introductory game would be Twilight Struggle- it’s a card-driven board game about the political struggle between the US and Russia in the Cold War. It’s relatively simple to pick up, it’s a ton of fun, and it’s two-player so you don’t have to kidnap convince more than one person to play with you. Alternate recommendation is 1960: Making of a President about the Nixon/Kennedy election- similar rules but slightly simpler and about a different subject if the Cold War doesn’t appeal to you. (I myself haven’t played it but have heard very good things.)

  18. StashAugustine says:

    Also on the subject of Infamous: while that morality system sounds pretty stupid and the enemies surrendering sounds pretty annoying, does anyone not see why it’s morally neutral to kill dudes shooting at you but a bad idea to kill someone who’s thrown down his gun and is begging you not to shoot him?

  19. Phantos says:

    Procedural generation in games is an idea with great potential, often ruined by lousy developers.

    The rise of “rogue-like” games are an example of this. What should make an experience fresh every time is essentially turned into a slot machine that hates the player. Because lazy programmers think “procedural generation” means “let’s make the game develop itself, so we can not put any thought into this and just watch Spongebob all day!”.

    (Spelunky, Binding of Isaac, Left 4 Dead, etc.)

    I’m always met with a dual feeling of optimism and dread whenever I hear a game has a theme of procedurally-generated content. Because as much as I like the potential, I know very few people in the industry have the discipline to make another Rogue Legacy.

    1. ET says:

      It’s interesting that you list Rogue Legacy as better, and those other ones as worse, since for me at least, the quality of the gameplay mechanics and the quality of the randomization, was much lower in RL than in the other games you list.
      Well…Spelunky is probably about the same level.
      I’m just wondering how much our opinions of the rest of the parts of those games, influences our opinion on the quality of the procedural/randomized content.

      As for the first topic you bring up:
      I too am hopeful for the future of procedural content.
      However, the crew’s comments today, made me think more about the whole situation.
      Like…I think that programmers must be paid more, or artists paid less, in the US compared to here up North.
      Or maybe even just the mostly-rural province* where I live.
      Alternately, I may have seriously underestimated the importance or time-sinkiness, of the other stuff going into random content.
      i.e. The “does this feel right?” stuff, which the crew was alluding to in the Diecast.
      Like, when I wrote that question**, in my mind, the relative cost of low-level artists, vs even middle- or high-level programmers, didn’t seem so extreme to me, even if the tools were only developed for one game engine, like the Fallout or Skyrim engines.

      * Rectangles are the best shape!

      ** I’m pretty sure that was my question. If not, then I claim it! Where’s my flag… :P

      1. Phantos says:

        I think I prefer Rogue Legacy to those other examples, because it always felt like the game gave me what I needed to get through a given room. Even if it would have been really, really hard to do so.

        Whereas most of the time I was completely f***ed by Binding of Isaac, Left 4 Dead and Spelunky by the game giving me an impossible situation, and then punishing me for the unavoidable defeat. Where it had absolutely nothing to do with my skill as a player, and all about circumstances no one can predict.

        EX: At least half of my failures in Spelunky and BoI are when the game would give me a lot of spending money, and put me in levels where I need more items… and then it would never, ever spawn a shop.

        So I’d have all of this money I don’t need, and nothing I could use to proceed. I guess that’s technically “random”, but it’s still infuriating to lose because of something that wasn’t my fault. Rogue Legacy depends more on your stats, which you can build up over time, but even then you CAN still take on harder enemies and situations if you’re good enough.

  20. straymute says:

    When did you guys revert to IGN’s perspective on the ME3 thing? I thought everyone was kinda past the “Fans just wanted a happy ending” take.

    1. Shamus says:

      By “you guys” I guess you meant Mumbles? I won’t speak for her, but she was never as critical of the ending as Josh and I.

    2. Mumbles says:

      Yeaaah no my perspective on it is a lot more complicated than that, I just didn’t want to get into the details of it because ME3 is one of my least favorite games to talk about.

      1. Taellosse says:

        But you (and the rest of the crew) do it so much! Therefore you must love it! ;-)

  21. Tychoxi says:

    Two things I dislike of RPG systems nowadays.

    1) They inform you of everything!!! “You gained 2 trust points with NPC# 453!” or “[INTELLIGENCE] Blablabla.” No, keep the systems buried, or let me toggle it.

    2) Another thing, especially in Bethesdian RPGs, is the removal of simulated die rolls. Back in my days, you swing your axe, and if the die says you miss, you missed! The quest for photorealism has removed the level of abstraction necessary to enjoy an RPG. Something similar happens with skill-checks and etc, they are now based on thresholds, but I liked it better when they were based on chance. Your skill level determined how likely the virtual die was to fall on good numbers, now there’s no die, there’s a simple pass/fail check.

    Also speaking of SPECIAL, I really liked that one too! And the bastards developed it in a rush after the GURPS licence fell off. In fact, it spoiled me beyond recognition. It was my first real RPG (I think I had previously played only Stonekeep and Gameboy’s Final Fantasy III and Pokemon Blue, and didn’t even know they were “RPGs”), and this led to 1) A period where, to enormous disappointment, I kept going into other RPGs expecting the same experience. 2) A period where I craved for similar systems (only things like Arcanum and Planescape scratched that particular spot). 3) Current period of jaded cynicism.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      “2) Another thing, especially in Bethesdian RPGs, is the removal of simulated die rolls. Back in my days, you swing your axe, and if the die says you miss, you missed! The quest for photorealism has removed the level of abstraction necessary to enjoy an RPG. Something similar happens with skill-checks and etc, they are now based on thresholds, but I liked it better when they were based on chance. Your skill level determined how likely the virtual die was to fall on good numbers, now there's no die, there's a simple pass/fail check.”

      I’m unaware of any strategy/Diabloesque RPG that doesn’t use die rolls today. There are a lot of RPGs that don’t use them, but that’s largely because they’re shooters/hack and slash with RPG character progression. (It’s a pity Action RPG refers to Diablo and its ilk when they have much more in common with the strategy RPG side of things.) And I much prefer threshold checks for lockpicking/speech checks/etc because it’s much less frustrating and you can’t savescum or repeatedly try it until it works.

      1. ET says:

        I think he was referring to Fallout 3/New Vegas, and Skyrim, where you hit if you hit, and there’s no dice rolls involved.
        Well…there is, if you play with VATS, but that’s really not incentivized, or toggl-able, or anything.
        So, I always ended up cheating F3 and NV, to get the best of both VATS and non-VATS in my games, since otherwise I’m just wasting my precious real-life time, to get a meager benefit of role-playing, instead of roll-playing.

    2. ET says:

      Re: 1.
      I too, hate having every number shown to me, but unfortunately, most games don’t show you anything in a non-number way, so, it’d be hard to get away from.
      I know combat games at least tend to show you with varying degrees of blood and/or knockback how effective your shots were, but the first two Fallouts were the only games I know of to try and show you other information non-numerically, like how angry the NPCs were.
      This was a bit hit-and-miss, at least for F1, where sometimes it appeared to just glitch out…or maybe that was my 2-charisma forcing the NPC into an annoyed state earlier than they otherwise would have been.
      Hmm…OK, this might have been working as intended. ^^;

      But yeah, it would be kinda hard to make that info available, without it being numeric.
      Like, a cheesy, but at least feasible way of doing it, could be to have a couple different portraits for each NPC, and they’d either be shown side-by-side, or maybe you toggle through them.
      One would show how angry they are, one how trusting they are of you, and so on.
      Actually, that could be a decent way of doing things, especially in games where you have different charisma or intelligence stats, or different skills like speech, or barter.
      Like, if you have low scores in all of those, you’d only get one portrait, which maybe would just be the “anger/happy” portrait, but if you had a high speech skill, you could get access to the “trust” portrait.
      Or, if they were a merchant (determined by their barter skill), your barter skill might unlock the “trust” one instead, or maybe it would unlock options to do other interactions with that NPC.
      Hmm…this might actually lend itself well to randomized NPCs, if they had sort of mix-and-match faces like in Skyrim or Fallour3/New Vegas.

    3. ehlijen says:

      The problem with your point 2) is that you easily end up with a system where the player cues up actions and watches them unfold as opposed to actually performing them.

      Think KOTOR vs Jedi Academy. Very different games and in general KOTOR was better, but by yoda did Jedi Academy *feel* more like you were in a lightsaber fight.

      You could still have stats change your performance. High dex = faster moves, High STR = more damage etc without needing dice based to hit chances.

      I’m not saying either is wrong, but I find games where I perform the actions more fun than one where I select the action and watch an RNG perform it for me.

      1. ET says:

        There’s no reason that a system which uses random elements, needs to allow players to queue up actions to later play out.
        As a counter-example, Diablo II (and Torchlight II, as well, I think) had (as far as I remember), miss chances if an enemy was ethereal or something.
        That game was purely real-time, without any queues for holding player actions.
        I think the damage outcomes might have been visualized as a sort of stream of coloured numbers popping out of the enemy, and fading away over a half a second to two seconds, but that’s pretty minor, and doesn’t really feel like a queue to the player, from my memory.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          The issue is more one of reliability than anything I think. It’s one thing to miss an attack because you aimed improperly – you can practice to fix that. It’s a whole other thing to miss because the RNG decided you needed to, and there’s little you can do but try again.

          Both can be fun, but I think the first plays better when you have more direct control over the PC (first person actiony titles for instance) while the second might be better for when the player is more distant (3rd person with party, tactical stuff). Of course, it may all just come down to preference anyways.

      2. HeroOfHyla says:

        I think the solution to having die rolls in real time combat is to have proper dodge animations for enemies. I’m sure that people wouldn’t complain so much about the first ten minutes of Morrowind if it showed the mudcrabs sidestepping your attack or your swing going wide whenever you missed. Hit chances need to be high, too. Dungeons and Dragons has something like 50%-75% hit chances most of the time I believe, but that’s because an attack roll abstracts a lot of things, like armor rating, reflexes, skill of the attacker, etc. into one number, and because movement is in five foot increments. In an action game like the Elder Scrolls series, attacking while not facing the enemy or while too far away for the attack to connect wouldn’t even trigger a die roll in the first place, so those factors shouldn’t be included in the percent chance to miss when the attack is rolled.

    4. C0Mmander says:

      I’m not sure if I agree with point 2. I could agree with it in a pen and paper RPG where failure would still progress the plot in some way, but the way many modern video games RPGs are made, failure or death often mean having to do something twice.

  22. TouToTheHouYo says:

    21:00 What happens when a vocal group of players demands things that are antithetical to the design?

    I believe Jim put it best in his “Perfect Pasta Sauce” episode:

    In trying to please everybody, you wind up pleasing nobody.

  23. bigben1985 says:

    Hey Shamus (or anyone else who can answer this question),
    is the line “Isn’t anybody ever glad to see me?” from a movie or game or something? I feel like I should know it…

    Good show, really like the podcast :)

  24. Steve C says:

    At one point you mentioned KOTOR and how it didn’t allow for neutral play-styles. I wanted to get a rolled up newspaper and hit you all on the nose for that section. NO! Bad! Wrong.

    I played a selfish greedy character. That made him neutral that leaned into evil; Somewhat evil but not super evil. I used both good and evil Jedi powers. I was able to play both the good and the bad ending with the same character by loading up the split in the story. Not only was my character viable, he was ridiculously overpowered to the point where it broke the game. I would literally win every fight by my team’s second action. I only had two combats the entire game that were difficult. 1) The end boss of the early planet arena fight and 2) the fight where your Jedi turn on you because you are evil. (The first because I had no Jedi and the second because my OP builds were being used against me.) There were no other combats that entire game that were a challenge. It was OP partly because I was neutral.

    1. Benjamin Hilton says:

      I think they were referring to that fact that staying neutral closed off many of the light/dark conversation options because you need to be far into one side or the other to get them.

      1. Benjamin Hilton says:

        Also, only while listening to the Diecast could I zone out and then be snapped back by hearing the phrase “Jolee Mother Fuckin’ Bindo”….

  25. John Lopez says:

    The discussion of board games made me realize that we have reached a sad state of affairs in social interaction. It is place supported by my own experience (I used to have weekly gaming sessions, now nobody has time), but I had somewhat hoped that the retreat into virtual interaction was something I was blowing out of proportion.

  26. Ardis Meade says:

    Josh, did you really describe Mumbles pantry and not include a cannibalism joke? I am disappoint.

  27. Benjamin Hilton says:

    Oh Josh why do you do this me…bringing up memories of Galaxies like that.

    As an addendum (if I remember correctly) originally no one knew what the holocrons did. It just gave you a message saying that you should look into a certain field without context. And since not many people were willing to change their play style for an odd Christmas gift, it took a long time to realize what exactly it was. I mean back in the day it would be a major coup if there was more than one Jedi on a single server, that’s how difficult it was.

    Seriously I still haven’t forgiven Sony Online for what the did to that game.

  28. “Then don’t go near the creepy guys.”

    Tumblr would have the biggest shit fit over that comment. Hell, that entire scenario would get over 100,000 reblogs.

  29. 4th Dimension says:

    As an on and off player of World of Tanks I feel I have to at least try to defend their leveling system.

    Firstly in defence of WoT, it’s a free to play game where a F2P player can level virually everything a paying player can. There are NO level caps or such nonsense incured on F2P player. As it is so they have to incentivise you to spend money on the game if you can, manly as a convinience if you don’t have the time to play as much as a teenager can.

    They don’t hide the “good” tanks behind the grind. At ALL tiers (levels) there are good and bad tanks. Now arguably first 3 tiers are kind of bland, but they do contain some gems, and you’ll power through them in a day. Also even if you get a better tank you will now be matched agains better tanks. Untill you reach the highest tier, whcih takes a loooong time, you will be undertiered in like half of the games. But even if you are undertiered, you still can do stuff to help your team, and you get more cash and XP for hitting tanks highr tier than you.

    On top of it all those “OP” (they really, with some small exceptions, are not) high tier tanks cost more to mantain (repair and rearm after battle) so much so that after like tier 6 you need a win or a really good game to break even after the ammunition and repair prices are deducted from winnings. That forces all hih tier players to spend some time in tiers 5-6 playing for cash.

    Again if by tier 5 (which can be gotten to quite quickly) you don’t find something that you migh like, and you don’t like the gameplay, it’s quite likely you won’t find anything better as you climb up the ranks. It’s like in Warthunder. Even though biplanes are generally weak, at their tiers is where the most fun can be had.

  30. BenD says:

    11:52 or so, transcribed exactly as my brain interpreted the sounds provided:
    Chris: La de da min-max morality system that we’ve all seen a zillion times.
    Shamus, Josh, and Mumbles become zombies. They roam around in game design studios looking for brains to eat, but sadly cannot find any.

  31. Taellosse says:

    Speaking of procedural generation, I just read this article, and thought it might interest you, Shamus:


  32. Csirke says:

    I know I’m a bit late here, but maybe the cast will still read it :) I just thought I’d drop a pair of recommendations.

    Video game with 3d procedural generation: Tower of Guns. It goes for the old Quake style shooting mechanics with plenty of platforming. The procedural generation of levels is good, but you can still see rooms repeating, like in Rogue Legacy. The room parts are fixed, but the way they are joined together is random, and does make for some good and interesting designs.

    Board game with co-operative play: Escape. A problem with many co-operative games is, that if everyone shares their information, the person who knows the game best/is the most bossy, takes over and just tells everyone what to do, so they can all win. But this makes it boring for everyone else. Escape gets around this by adding a time element, so it’s enough trouble trying to fend for yourself, you can’t really go bossing the others around. It’s also a great design in other ways, in my experience great for people who don’t play board games that much (but who don’t mind a bit of excitement in their relaxing activities).

    This might not even be read by anyone, but I still thought they were worth mentioning :)

  33. Taellosse says:

    I expect no one but Shamus will see this comment for some time, given that I’m posting this weeks after the thread was last active, but it’s the most appropriate place to put the link I’m about to share.

    I just saw this on Gizmodo today: http://gizmodo.com/this-incredible-animation-was-made-by-code-that-could-f-1565294456
    and thought of you, Shamus. Thought it might interest you, if you haven’t already seen it. Not sure how likely it is to see anything like this in any future game – my impression is that the event this came from is more of a programmer’s version of an art exhibition – work done for its own sake – rather than any attempt to sell a process or talent to anyone to be used in a future product. Still, it’s nifty, and given that it’s all procedurally generated, I thought you might like to take a gander.

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