Diecast #344: Are We Having Fun Yet?

By Shamus Posted Monday May 24, 2021

Filed under: Diecast 95 comments

As I mention in the show, I’m a huge fan of watching people bumble bumble their way through Hitman levels. The thing is, it’s hard to find videos of this. A lot of videos are well-rehearsed runs by players who know what they’re doing. If you have any suggestions, please leave me a link in the comments. Thanks!

Anyway, sorry for the lack of content last week. Things will probably continue to be be a little spotty around here until I’m fully recovered.



Hosts: Paul, Shamus. Episode edited by Issac.
Diecast344


Link (YouTube)

Show notes:

00:00 Apex Legends Does Not Want Players

I really do want to know what’s “offensive” or “unacceptable” about “dudecon”.

12:00 Day[9] Plays Returnal

Here is the stream in question:


Link (YouTube)

And here is the Hitman III gameplay that made me laugh until I couldn’t breathe. Note that I’m not promising that you’ll find it funny. It’s just that I’m genetically predisposed to laugh at chained blunders and cascading mishaps in Hitman games. It’s annoying that Hitman III is a stupid EGS exclusive. I have the previous two games on Steam and I’m not willing to break up the set.

Oh, and speaking of obnoxious bullshit surrounding the Hitman franchise…

21:48 Mailbag: Timed “Online Events”

Dear Diecast!

I am a long time fan of the Hitman series (with an obvious exception) and an early backer of the “new” Hitman, the start of the most recent trilogy. Despite it raking in very positive niche reviews (like Super bunnyhop – who, btw, I’d like to hear on the show again some time), I bounced hard off of it. Upon reflecting why, it wasn’t the gameplay or level design, but the timed “elusive” targets. Not to delve too deep into that feature, it’s just a relatively small piece of content that requires the game being played at a certain time, and after that it is gone forever.

Now, I am neither a compulsive “100% game completioner”, nor am I particularly against games-as-service online integration. But that feeling of having missed out for good, robbing me of the potential to “fully” experience the game at my own pace put me off so much that ever since it was introduced, I never even started up the game.

What’s your thoughts on that? Do you feel the same as me? Or do you think it entices you to play the game even more?

Also, I’d really love to read one of those huge epic plot and mechanics deconstructions of the new hitman games by you.

Kind regards
Norbert “ColeusRattus” Lickl

29:48 Mailbag: Most Played Games on Steam

Dear diecast,

Have you checked the most played games list on steam lately?
https://steamdb.info/graph/

I find it quite the interesting list. Apparently some games stay fun
forever (GTA V still in the top 10) and others are hardly played anymore despite being very good (Metro 2033 Redux). I think the replayability factor is what keeps games on the list. Interestingly, despite Shamus claiming that nobody wants to play Left 4 Dead anymore L4D2 is on place 23 with 17,554 concurrent players at this very moment. Also I find it hilarious that Cyberpunk 2077, the most anticipated game of 2020 is now already been overtaken by Age of Empires 2, a game that launched in 1999.

Are there any thoughts that you want to share on this list?

Best regards,

Pseudonym

This is a fascinating topic. I keep coming back to this and thinking about different aspects of it.

Also, as I mentioned on the show:

  • Warcraft led to Warcraft 3 modding, which spawned DOTA and the entire MOBA genre.
  • Warcraft led to Starcraft, which led to the birth of televised esports.
  • Warcraft led to the birth of World of Warcraft, an industry-defining smash hit that’s been imitated by dozens of other games, yet towers over other entries in the genre.

I think you can make the case that Warcraft (or Warcraft II, depending on where you want to draw the line) is the most influential / culturally important PC game of all time? Given the above list, I’d certainly put it ahead of venerable titles like Doom.

Maybe Minecraft outshines it? I dunno. It’s hard to compare “groundbreaking procgen educational creativity smash hit” with “invented a genre, launched an industry, and enticed a bunch of rubes to waste billions trying to copy one particular game”.

41:15 Mailbag: AoE 2: Definitive Edition

Dear Diecast,

Since December I have been playing Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition. As of this moment, the game is ranked 50th on the most played games on steam list https://steamdb.info/graph/ <https://steamdb.info/graph/>. I wonder what you think of this game, it has some properties that I think you might find interesting:

– First and foremost: it comes with a random map generator that can generate a wide variety of map types and has a 32-bit integer random seed. The maps are well balanced and are used in competitive play. It is also fun for playing single player. I wonder what you think of this, as both of you love procedural generation.

– The AI does not cheat. While the old AoE2 AI did cheat, the new
Definitive Edition AI is smart enough to play the same game as you. It is very good at it too. The hardest difficulty levels are extremely challenging.

– The art style makes it so that heavy graphics cards are not at all
needed. (This was true even when the old game launched in 1999, the game was mostly CPU-limited). This can be played on a very low end PC.

Additionally it comes with 151 single-player scenario’s which all have voice acting. The multiplayer scene is alive and kicking. The excellent map generator provides endless replayability for both single player and multiplayer. I am curious what you think.

Best regards,
Pseudonym

Also, here is Rutskarn’s Elder Scrolls Series that we talked about.

50:11 Mailbag: Daggerfall

Hi!

I wish Shamus good health! May the «But what do they eat?» live long and prosper!

Now to the question itself. Considering that your blog has one of the prominent topics of procgen and that you are familiar with the Elder Scrolls series, is it not weird, that you don’t talk or mention Daggerfall or Arena? What’s your opinion of them and have you ever played them?

Best regards, DeadlyDark

53:57 Mailbag: Fantasy Goes Mainstream

Dear Diecast

I know Game of Thrones wasn’t Shamus’ cup of tea but with its end and popularity has come the advent of numerous high-budget fantasy shows being put into the production from multiple studios and companies, HBO has a multitude of GOT related prequels coming up starting with House of the Dragon, Wheel of Time is finally getting a show and so is Percy Jackson, and Amazon is developing their own show set in Tolkien’s Legendarium with a ludicrous budget of $400 million on just the first or two seasons. Was wondering how Shamus and Paul is feeling about this.

Sincerely, Donkey

 


From The Archives:
 

95 thoughts on “Diecast #344: Are We Having Fun Yet?

  1. MerryWeathers says:

    Amazon’s still untitled upcoming LOTR show is set in the Second Age, the story likely spans from the creation of the One Ring to the War of the Last Alliance, all possibly told in five seasons. Ironically “Lord of the Rings” would be a fitting title to the show as it all centers around Sauron.
    Biggest concern is that the showrunners don’t have much experience in the industry (having only been “temporary screenwriters” for Star Trek Beyond) and the actors constantly coming and going gives off the impression that production is being done video game industry style where they plan on doing something ambitious without exactly pinpointing what. In this case, make a LOTR show but come up with the specifics as they go along.

    I’m a bit more enthusiastic for the Wheel of Time show, that has a ton of source material that’s actually complete, the showrunner has past credits and seems to be a fan, production isn’t secretive at all, and I can’t wait to experience the story without the dreaded SLOG.

    1. bobbert says:

      I don’t know if I am remembering this right. The rings are forged many centuries before the triumph at Umbar. So, how does the ring not end up at the bottom of the sea when the gods crush the Grand Fleet?

      I can’t decide if 5 seasons is too many or too few to cover 2000 years.

      At least we can be certain that they will be terrible like the movies were, if not worse. Rip out the Christian themes and replace them with pointless fights, show-boating, screwing, and fart jokes.

      1. MerryWeathers says:

        I certainly expect, whatever happens, they’ll completely obfuscate or even ignore the timeline, just as Jackson ignored that 17 years passed between Bilbo’s disappearance and Frodo setting out on his journey.

        I don’t think they can quite get away with eliminating the time jump between the War of Sauron and Elves and the Downfall, or the time needed for Gondor and Arnor to rise to power (unless they adjust things so that the Faithful have been exiled from Numenor before the Downfall, with maybe Elendil visiting the island to try to dissuade Ar-Pharazon from his course one last time), but I think otherwise they’ll simply have events taking place over 100-200 years happening in what could be seen as a few months on-screen and not sweating it.

        1. bobbert says:

          Maybe they could handle the big time jumps gracefully. It could be interesting. All of the Important elves stay the same, but men give way to their descendants with startling speed.

          But we have forgotten the biggest draw for the show. Being set pre-fall means we get pretty-boy Sauron.

          1. MerryWeathers says:

            It is indeed highly possible for the show to cause a resurgence of Sauron x Morgoth yaoi fanart, maybe even Sauron x Ar-Pharazôn.

            1. bobbert says:

              RE-surgence?

              I don’t want to know; do I?

              1. MerryWeathers says:

                Well some of the art can get quite graphic (on the gore side, not just sexually).

          2. Joe says:

            My guess for Annatar is either Ismael Cruz Cordova or Maxim Baldry. They’re both pretty. Though if it’s sinister Sauron, I’m thinking Joseph Mawle. And Dylan Smith looks like some crusty old Númenórean king. Nazanin Boniadi… possibly an elf. I dunno.

      2. Joe says:

        “I don’t know if I am remembering this right. The rings are forged many centuries before the triumph at Umbar. So, how does the ring not end up at the bottom of the sea when the gods crush the Grand Fleet?”

        He left it at home.

        1. John says:

          I was going to argue with you. After all, Sauron survived the destruction of Numenor and returned to Mordor under his own power. My initial thought was that the One Ring also survived the destruction and that he simply brought it back with him. After skimming through the appendices to The Return of the King, however, I think you are probably right. I can’t find anything in the appendices that specifically says that Sauron did or did not take the One Ring with him to Numenor, but the appendices do make it quite clear that that the destruction of Numenor also temporarily destroyed his physical form:

          Sauron was indeed caught in the wreck of Numenor, so that the bodily form in which he had long walked perished; but he fled back to Middle-earth, a spirit of hatred borne upon a dark wind.

          It’s hard to imagine that he carried the One Ring with him back to Mordor as a body-less spirit, so I think that the most reasonable assumption is he left the Ring somewhere in Mordor before he surrendered to Ar-Pharazon. The Silmarillion may have more to say on the subject, but I don’t have a handy copy of that book at the moment and can’t check.

          1. bobbert says:

            I checked my copy.

            “[…] his spirit arose out of the deep […] back to Middle Earth and to Mordor that was his home. There he took up again his great Ring in Baraddur, […]”

            It is not 100% clear cut, but I think that reads in favor of ‘kept at home’. (It saws nothing on having or not having at the surrender)

            I like a lot of the stories in the Simarilian, but have never gotten very far in any of my attempts.
            The last attempt was while sitting in the hospital when my daughter died.

            1. John says:

              I read The Silmarillion and also The Lost Tales in a single day back when I was thirteen because it was Christmas, because I had nothing else I needed to do, and because I was apparently some kind of maniac. I haven’t read it in years, but really liked it at the time and suspect I still would. I am, however, the kind of person who reads history books for fun. The funny thing is that I am also the kind of person who can’t stand it when video games start off with a massive lore-dump.

              1. eaglewingz says:

                A single day? That is some…heavy lifting.

                1. John says:

                  I regret nothing. The Silmarillion and The Lost Tales aren’t as long as you might think. If people have difficulty with them, I think it’s because they’re more like history books or even the Bible than they are novels.

                2. Philadelphus says:

                  I believe it. Reading physical books is a minor crapshoot for me, as every once in while I become almost literally unable to put them down; from memory I’ve finished a few books from the Harry Potter and Eragon series in a single protracted sitting. Thankfully, despite reading it several times (and loving history in general) I’ve never been bitten by that particular bug with The Silmarillion, but I could see finishing it in a day.

            2. Gaius Maximus says:

              In one of the Letters, (211, if you want to check),Tolkien confirms that Sauron took the Ring with him to Numenor and his spirit bore it back to Middle-Earth with him.

              “Though reduced to ‘a spirit of hatred borne on a dark wind’, I do not think one need boggle at this spirit carrying off the One Ring, upon which his power of dominating minds now largely depended.”

              1. Joe says:

                Huh, thanks. I thought I remembered Corey Olsen saying Sauron left it at home, but apparently I was wrong.

      3. Steve C says:

        So, how does the ring not end up at the bottom of the sea when the gods crush the Grand Fleet?

        Not sure what you mean. Are you referring to the sinking of Númenor? The Rings had been forged in Middle Earth and distributed there. There were only Men + Sauron on Númenor or its fleet (The Great Armament) when it sank. The Men who had Rings never went to Númenor. Sauron didn’t make the One Ring until later after that and after he remade his body. It was the last Ring crafted and a betrayal of the others. It is what sparked the following War.

        1. bobbert says:

          That was what I thought at first, from memory. But, it wouldn’t make sense for the show to leave out the ruin of Numenor, so I looked it up.

          SE 1600 – Forging of THE ring
          SE 3319 – Drowning of Sauron, and the fleet, &c…
          SE 3430 – Last Alliance

          There was a different war in the XVIIth century (the one that ruined Hollin). That is probably the one you were thinking of.

    2. BlueHorus says:

      I’m a bit more enthusiastic for the Wheel of Time show…I can’t wait to experience the story without the dreaded SLOG

      I’ll second this – while I’m not excited, per se, a TV show is – by necessity – faster moving, less detail-oriented and more streamlined than a book series: and there is a LOT of fat to be trimmed from the Wheel of Time.
      A version of the story without the infinitely-spawning side characters and their POV chapters, ever-increasing factions plotting against each other other or speculating about how other people might be plotting against them*, and all related bullshit would be very welcome indeed.

      I’m also wryly interested in seeing how the show handles the gender relations as depicted in the books….

      *For fuck’s sake, will one of you people stop speculating all day and just act on your plans, then something can HAPPEN in these books!

      1. Retsam says:

        I’m also wryly interested in seeing how the show handles the gender relations as depicted in the books….

        Yeah, I’m overall looking forward to the show, but I’m not optimistic on this point. IMO there’s a good chance they’ll make the story worse trying to “fix” the gender stuff to better match “modern sensibilities”, or if they leave it too faithful to the books, there’s a good chance of being a lot of “culture war” debating over it, which isn’t going to be fun, either. (Or both!)

        1. Falling says:

          Yeah, I’m hoping they just try to tone it down, rather than copy exactly or try to fix it according to modern sensibilities. My first read through I was very irritated by how much snippiness there was between the genders (braid-pulling, wooly-headed men, etc). However, I’ve just been re-reading it and knowing what I was getting into and reading really fast so as to skim those parts, it wasn’t quite as irritating. That would be my suggestion, just breeze on past men and women taking pot shots at each other and every character will probably increase in likeability by a certain percentage.

          1. Fizban says:

            I feel that this could be defused quickly and easily with some simple lampshading- it becomes quite obvious over time that the stated gender biases of the characters are completely bogus- women ranting about men having control problems and trying to solve everything with force and just needing to listen to guidance, before turning around and freaking out whenever something doesn’t go their way and resorting to force. Men ranting about manipulative women and then withholding information and/or outright lying to manipulate them. Etc. The gender stereotypes used in Wheel of Time aren’t meant to be any more true than those in real life, and are most often used by hypocrites who are worse than those they’re complaining about.

            So, you just have someone lampshade it a couple times with “uh, did they just complain about X/Y/Z and then do X/Y/Z?”. Twice should be enough to get the audience to look for it on their own.

            I’m more concerned about the cuts that will be required. I stumbled upon a book-tuber (which is apparently a word/thing/whatever) who’s bonkers into WoT and had a video with an excellent summary of what characters to merge and plots to cut, which I basically had to agree with. And now that I’ve seen the correct way to do it posted by some random nobody, I can be 100% sure that will not be what the actual show does, which means things are gonna get rough. Assuming it doesn’t just get cancelled after 1 season because WoT got covid delays and then they decided to move all the money to lol even more LoTR.

            1. Retsam says:

              Assuming it doesn’t just get cancelled after 1 season because WoT got covid delays and then they decided to move all the money to lol even more LoTR.

              Well it’s already been renewed for a second season, so no worries on that particular point.

        2. BlueHorus says:

          Yeah, I’m overall looking forward to the show, but I’m not optimistic on this point. IMO there’s a good chance they’ll make the story worse trying to “fix” the gender stuff to better match “modern sensibilities”, or if they leave it too faithful to the books, there’s a good chance of being a lot of “culture war” debating over it, which isn’t going to be fun, either. (Or both!)

          Oh, there’ll be Culture War bullshit whatever happens. If the SHOW avoids it, all it will take is some book fan or journalist to point out that ‘Actually, in the books…’, and it’ll spiral from there. The internet feeds on outrage, and if the show becomes popular it would be way too juicy a topic for clickbait journalists or trolls to ignore.

          That said, I’m not convinced that the show ‘fixing’ the gender politics woud be a bad thing – it’s one of the things that really drove me away from the series.
          (Specifically, the way the Aes Sedai recruit, try to outright control world rulers and even treat each other puts me in mind of a very nasty cult.)
          Just cutting down on the amount bickering would be an improvement in itself.

          …of course, whether the people writing the show can or will fix it in a good way is a different matter. I think Fizban’s idea is a good one, though. Show it happening, but at the same time make it clear that the writer’s don’t think it’s okay…

      2. Moridin says:

        I’m interested in the Wheel of Time show, but it’s mostly in the sense of “I wonder how they’ll screw it up.” Turning fantasy novels into movies or TV-series tends to not work very well.

    3. Falling says:

      “Biggest concern is that the showrunners don’t have much experience in the industry (having only been “temporary screenwriters” for Star Trek Beyond)”

      Yeah, this is my biggest concern as well. Being completed untested, it’s a huge shot in the dark. Maybe they are the next David Simon or Vince Gilligan or the writers for the Expanse. Or maybe they are a bunch of hacks or mediocre tv writers or enthusiastic fans, but incompetent, or all action and no sense writers. . . there’s a lot of things they could be and most of it not good. Giant question mark for sure.

  2. bobbert says:

    We got Victoria III, from paradox. I am very happy.

    1. Philadelphus says:

      We need a new meme now, “Vicky 3 confirmed!” is dead. Maybe we can find some other beloved video game series with only two entries…

      1. The+Wind+King says:

        “Blood 3 confirmed!”

        Would be kinda cool to see a third entry in the Blood series (one of the better Boomer Shooter), if only the beginning of that game wasn’t so bloody harsh.

        1. Higher Peanut says:

          Crudux Cruo!

          With the revival in boomer shooters now would probably be the ideal time. Pity the re-release didn’t garner much attention and the publisher dropped update support pretty quick. There is a new setting now to increase cultist reaction times above the nanosecond, so that can help with the “getting hitscanned as soon as you round the corner” thing Blood has going.

      2. tmtvl says:

        Yeah, Baldur’s Gate 3: Siege of Dragonspear is also out, so can’t go with that one either.

      3. Syal says:

        Blaster Master 3 confirmed!

        Oh wait.

        …uh… did Milon’s Secret Castle ever get a threequel?

        No?

        Milon’s Secret Castle 3: DoReMi Fantasy 2: Milon Lullaby Adventure confirmed!

      4. Liessa says:

        I can’t believe no one’s suggested KOTOR yet…

  3. bobbert says:

    RE: CRTs

    You mentioned the static and heat and weight, but you forgot about the X-rays.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Pretty sure the voltage in a CRT is not high enough to generate x-rays.

      1. Philadelphus says:

        They actually do, just not enough to be dangerous (and only soft X-rays), and have gotten better over time. (Though I wonder if this, being known in the 60s, might be the origin of the eternal maternal admonition to “not sit so close to the TV!”)

        1. bobbert says:

          Yeah, part of the reason they were so heavy was all of that leaded glass trying to keep the radiation down.

  4. Chris says:

    I’ve played quite some apex. Its set 60 years after titanfall 2 in a remote area where they run a bloodsport. Initially it was just a battle royale where people died, but since they try to write a story with characters they changed it and it became nonsense. Titanfall 1 is still very much brown and bloom, TF2 they already made it a lot more colorful, and apex they once again more colorful. It always was a hero shooter, although it is a lot less pronounced than overwatch or team fortress 2. Everyone uses the same weapons, can heal themselves, move at the same speed, etc. Only difference is that everyone has a passive (like bigger magazine size and reload speed on LMGs) and active ability (like a scan pulse that makes you see people through walls for a few seconds) and an ultimate (like throwing a black hole generator that drags nearby enemies in it). You still have team chat in the game, but you can also ping things (and if you ping a weapon your character will call out something like “volt SMG here”) and if you hold the ping button you get a radial menu with things like “enemy here, going here, loooking here” which makes teamwork (you cannot play solo) a LOT less painful. If youre shot, you can ping the enemy and your teammate will get a voice callout “enemy here” and an objective marker telling them the location.

    Apex is 60 GB. If you sell cosmetics everyone needs to download your textures after all. I think you couldn’t get a name with EA in it to prevent your from impersonating an EA rep. Also, the game requires you to make an origin account, but after that you can play it through steam and have your steam name be your display name. And since steam allows for more stuff than origin people figured out they could crash apex legends by inputting some weird steam name (since before it was origin only so they probably didnt test it). Im not sure if the game has bots (ive heard rumors the first few matches you play are half bot half noobies) but there is some matchmaking involved. If you play poorly the game throws you in with others that are bad, if youre winning a lot the game throws better and better players at you. This creates a zigzag pattern where you do well until you hit a brick wall of superplayers, then you lose until youre stronger than the rest, and you win again so you go up again. You can even abuse it by killing yourself at the game start 10 times, then the game just throws you in with other poor players.

  5. Fizban says:

    Hitman vids: Many a True Nerd loves Hitman, and has first-time blind playthroughs of the last couple games, which should include some amount of bumbling, of the experienced player on new maps variety.

  6. Dreadjaws says:

    I absolutely hated the whole “Elusive targets” system in Hitman. This is understandable in MMOs, but unforgivable in single-player games. I knew they were doing it to get people to buy the game sooner, and that’s precisely why I didn’t do it. I didn’t purchase any of the new Hitman games until they were at a heavy discount (except the last one, which I’m not even going to play due to the EGS exclusive BS).

    I hate these anti-consumer tactics. That and the stupid always-online requirement. Make a game attractive and I’ll buy it. If you have to resort to these tactics then you’re a jerk and you don’t deserve all the extra money you’re after.

    1. Moridin says:

      I like the idea, but at the same time I’m not going to buy any game that has content I won’t be able to play five years from now.

  7. Joe says:

    Oh no, it took you an hour to download 30 gb? It would take me at least 6 hours. My heart bleeds. But I hear you on the complicated setup and tutorial and such. Indeed, I recently started a new character in CP0277. The braindance sequence wasn’t great to start with, and hasn’t improved with repetition.

    And then I stopped playing CP2077, because it just feels all the bloody same. Go here, hack these people, kill them, loot their stuff, sell, repeat at the next group of thugs. Somehow it’s just not fun anymore. Just lost its appeal.

    I also drifted back to Diablo 3 for a bit. I got up to GR70. Thing is, it isn’t fun anymore. I have to fight my way through the trash mobs just so I have clear space and can run away to recover from the champions when they clobber me down. My gear is substandard, but nothing good is dropping. Yeah, not fun.

    As for the LOTR movies, they did Faramir and Frodo worse than Aragorn. And Thranduil in the Hobbit, he got his motivation completely reversed.

    OTOH, Jackson and co aren’t involved in the Amazon show. And everyone involved is making the right noises. I’m grabbing with both hands any scrap of information that leaks. Some of that, I have no idea how to interpret. It sounds like it could be a massive confused mess, but I’m trying to stay hopeful.

    1. bobbert says:

      Massive confused mess is still better the Jackson.

  8. Corvair says:

    30 Gigs? That’s half a day of downloading in my neck of the woods – with the fastest plan. “How big is this game?” has become a significant factor for my gaming habits, and reinforces my penchant for smaller titles.

    1. Syal says:

      I’m currently on Day 4 of downloading a 20 Gb game.

    2. Echo Tango says:

      I’m in a similar situation, but for the hardware requirements instead of bandwidth. Luckily for me, there’s many games which spent their budget on story, characters, and gameplay, instead of lavish graphics. :)

  9. Chris says:

    I think people are still “siloed” in different games even now. If you read the comments under battlefield and COD reviews there is a lot of back and forth between “COD is bad why does it get the same score as battlefield” and “battlefield is stupid why does it get a high score when COD is obviously the best”. In MOBAs you often have catfights over LoL and DOTA. Unreal tournament and quake also had some enmity back in the day, but similar to C&C vs warcraft it is hard to maintain the fight when both are irrelevant.

    Talking about blizzard, valve is also huge. Halflife was enormous for shooters, halflife 2 was enormous for shooters, countertrike is huge and their source engine pushed physics and facial expression. Valve also made steam which is huge. Bioware is maybe not as big but they also went from hit to hit with dragon age, jade empire and mass effect. It’s a shame how those studios ended up as they did. They rarely release a game, and if they do it is no longer guaranteed to be good. (and to touch on both steam charts and blizzard. Diablo 2 has more players online than diablo 3. That’s how much they’ve lost the magic touch)

  10. tmtvl says:

    There is just something inherently… delightful… about this giant murder spree gone wrong.

    -Shamus Young 2021

  11. Chad+Miller says:

    For all Shamus complained about Hitman’s Elusive Targets, I think there’s another horrible property of them that wasn’t mentioned: you’re only allowed to play them once. That is, they aren’t just taken away after the time limit; if you fail the mission, it’s gone. Even if you win the mission and get the unlock, you can’t replay it.

    What makes this even more ridiculous is that some of them have introduced unique game mechanics (for example, one features a target which is also infiltrating the area and will change clothes if he thinks you may be on to him). The problem is that by making the stakes “you can’t make a mistake, ever”, who the hell wants to actually explore these levels to find this stuff? Even if you don’t care about unlocks, you can’t even retry the level for fun, while it’s still in the rotation?

    Not to mention that bugs happen. I mean, they’re not exceptionally egregious in this game, but they’ve set the stage suck that any bug, ever, is a massive middle finger. I’ve complained about Bethesda’s birdbrained decision to remove manual saves from Survival Mode in a game where you can clip into a game object and die in the tutorial, but at least they didn’t go so far as to punish death by deleting the dungeon and the loot at the end of said dungeon when that happens.

    I have the other two games and have more or less decided I won’t buy Hitman III after all the FOMO stuff is expired and the game itself will probably be like $10. Worst mechanic in a game I’ve otherwise liked.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      The thing I hate most about elusive targets is not the FOMO or inconvenience but the feeling of wasted effort. The Hitman games could be 50% bigger than they are now if the developers would just stop their bizarre practice throwing content in the trash a week after they add it to the game. I kind of understand limited time holiday events because they’re not that big, but with Hitman they must have an entire team of full time people who two years from now, will have nothing to show for their efforts because everything they made got deleted. Why!?

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        We can only hope they bundle the best ones into a DLC pack in a year.

        1. Ninety-Three says:

          Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2 (2018) (I hate reboot titling) did the elusive targets thing and I don’t think they ever released it all as DLC. So much perfectly good content just gone forever.

          1. Chad+Miller says:

            They have re-released most of the ETs (most of the Hitman 1 ETs showed up in Hitman 2, and the Hitman 2 ETs in Hitman 3)

            There’s one that will almost certainly never be re-released because their unnecessary celebrity contract was also limited time, and so they can’t re-use it without bringing Gary Busey back to the negotiating table.

            1. Ninety-Three says:

              Re-released as in “available for another week” or permanent content add-ons?

              1. Chad+Miller says:

                Available for another week. Effectively a second chance for people who didn’t play the last game when it was new.

  12. DeadlyDark says:

    Daggerfall procgen not only towns, but also dungeons, which are more interesting technology, with secrets / switches / whatnot

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-hqwyc7qxM

    1. John says:

      Daggerfall’s dungeons aren’t procgen in any way that benefits the player. They’re exactly the same in every game. Not only do I see the same dungeons every time I play, I see the same dungeons that you see every time you play. Worse, they’re a random mish-mash of immersion-destroying nonsensically arranged rooms and corridors. They’re barely navigable and by far the worst thing about the game. In short, Daggerfall is a sorry advertisement for procgen.

  13. kikito says:

    Oh man, Day[9]! He’s such a wholesome dude. I had not watched anything from him for a while, but I watched the Hitman one and I was laughing very soon. Part of it is that Sean’s laugh is highly contagious, and he uses it a lot.

    Everyone could use more laugh.

    The next video Youtube played was how he met his partner (wife?) and it was great as well. Thank you for reminding me about him! So now he’s married, and I am married too. Weird.

  14. Philadelphus says:

    I’m of the “played Age of Empires II, but not Starcraft or Warcraft” faction, though not really by conscious choice or anything. I was 10 when AoE II came out, and got it a few years later after first playing it at a friend’s, but I wasn’t really keeping up with game releases at that time: I just wasn’t aware of other RTS games (and to be fair, didn’t really care; AoE II scratched my history itch, and I wasn’t particularly interested in searching out more games in a similar vein but with different themes). Looking back now, learning to write random map scripts for AoE II was my first introduction to the concept of computer programming, and now it’s an integral part of what I do. Funny how these things go.

    (Also, I played AoE II multiplayer just fine over dial-up in the early 00’s, no LAN needed [well, except for when people needed the phone line to make an actual phone call]. And not just one or two games, I was middling-to-decent in competitive, if memory serves, though I’m content with single player now. Less need to prove myself against others with age. :-)

  15. Ninety-Three says:

    I have a theory regarding the siloed nature of some games, where you never hear about DOTA or Counterstrike despite their immense popularity. I don’t have rigorous data to back this up but here’s my claim. I bet if you looked at everyone who has played at least 30 hours of a random Hitman game you’d find that most of them have also played 30 hours of a lot of other games, and this is not the case if you looked at everyone who has played at least 30 hours of Counterstrike. They hang out on the Counterstrike forums where they talk about Counterstrike and never interact with the broader gaming community because they’re not interested in a place that talks about lots of different games.

    It seems like some gamers are into the general idea of playing games, but some are very focused on one game in particular and they end up forming these weird semi-isolated ecosystems because of it.

    1. Shamus says:

      There’s a similar stereotype regarding MADDEN and FIFA players. And to a lesser extent, Call of Duty.

      I find the theory extremely plausible, yet annoyingly hard to prove from our perspective. (Andrew Wilson or Bobby Kotick could probably prove / disprove this in under 5 minutes if they cared.)

      1. Ninety-Three says:

        Back before a tweak to privacy defaults made Steamspy a much less useful thing, you could’ve tested a weak version of this claim by checking how many games are in the library of the average CS owner vs average Hitman owner. I wonder if someone ever did that analysis back when it was possible to do.

    2. Henson says:

      I mean, since they’re primarily competitive games, it’s like talking Baseball to someone who doesn’t watch or play baseball. At some point, you’ll just get discouraged by all the blank stares.

      I could talk a bit about DOTA, but who here really wants that anyway?

    3. Echo Tango says:

      Competitive multiplayer games also eat up a lot more time, compared to a single-player or story-driven game. People only have enough time in their life to play one of these things. (See also, MMORPGs.) Even something like Minecraft – that can be picked up and put back down more easily, because it’s not competitive.

    4. Lars says:

      MOBAs are very, very popular in China. Most chinease players do play on their phone and mostly F2P titles like League of Legends. But nearby all chinease players talk about those games in chinease, so western audience cannot understand the buzz.
      It would be interesting to see a most played games list by region.

  16. DanMan says:

    Achievement Hunter typically records first-runs through games. They are experienced Hitman players who know what they’re doing, but they’re typically fresh runs (i.e. not rehearsed)
    Here is one from Hitman III (I think they did 4 or 5 videos total) that I found particularly amusing
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to5CFrrqu5U

    Your mileage may vary. Their content depends a lot on their personality, which isn’t for everyone.

  17. King Marth says:

    Maybe Minecraft outshines it [Warcraft]? I dunno. It’s hard to compare “groundbreaking procgen educational creativity smash hit” with “invented a genre, launched an industry, and enticed a bunch of rubes to waste billions trying to copy one particular game”.

    I don’t know if I’d call Warcraft a “groundbreaking procgen educational creativity smash hit”.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      Well all gaming teaches something and if you think about it interacting with other players is kind of like a procedure for generating content…

    2. Daimbert says:

      No, I think he’s actually comparing Minecraft to Warcraft there, and pondering whether Minecraft is more important or culturally relevant. Minecraft is unique for doing all of those things and proving that they can make money, but Warcraft, as he notes, spawned a lot more of the important things in gaming than Minecraft did, and it doesn’t seem like Minecraft can spread out as much as Warcraft did.

      1. Shamus says:

        This is correct.

        Sorry for the ambiguity.

      2. tmtvl says:

        I thought that was the joke: doing a bait-and-switch, like “what’s the difference between my dog and a skunk? One’s a stinky unwanted pest, the other’s a skunk.”

        EDIT: full disclosure: I don’t have a dog and I have no problems with dogs, they’re cute critters.

  18. Sabrdance says:

    Timed events were the reason I stopped playing Sea of Thieves.

    I remember it well: it was the last round of Skeleton Ships. You had to sink 9 uniquely named ships that were each available for like a month. I had gotten 7 of them. The last set of 3 -after the previous 2 sets -were impossible to matchmake. No one wanted to go after them. I spent 3 weeks getting the first one.

    To make things worse, that final week I had to go back to the office (I had been on break -so I didn’t have to work regular hours) and the one I had gotten was the one that appeared during my evening game time. The other two had to be gotten either in the middle of the night, or when I was at work.

    I stayed up late, I got up early, I went into the office early, I got home late.

    And I couldn’t get a crew to go after the things.

    Finally -I managed to get a crew to go after one of the missing ships (the other ship would then be available for 4 hours more) -and we went and engaged it off Golden Sands. And we fought it for an hour. And at the end of that hour -we hadn’t sunk it -and it went below the waves, never to be seen again.

    I didn’t play that game again for several years -and even now it is barely tolerable because there is so much backlog there is no point in doing any of it (and anyway, no one wants to do the sea stories).

    Also, that game has horrible matchmaking and the load times are inexcusable, and you only get credit for missions when you return to port. If you can’t commit 3 hours to a session, there is no point.

    I want to love that game, but just thinking about it again makes me hate it so much.

    1. Steve C says:

      Sea of Thieves is a game I love to watch people play. I have no desire to play it myself for reasons like that event system. Plus there’s the PVP. Imagine that you finally did that mission you struggled with. Overcame it with sheer willfulness. Then on the way to turn it in got jumped by a bunch of other players. All for nothing.

      It’s a beautiful game. Looks so cool and lots of fun. It also looks like tedium interspersed with keyboard smashing frustration. Other people’s highlight reels though? Yes. The high levels of skill and the high levels of incompetence on display make me wish I wanted to play it.

  19. John says:

    I don’t know about this whole gamer silo theory. I mean, I’m sure that there are gamer silos but I have to believe that not every gamer lives in one. Since this all stemmed from a question about real-time strategy games, I’ll just say that I for one played both Westwood and Blizzard RTS games. If never played Age Empires–to be clear, I never played Age of Empires–it’s not because I lived in some kind of Westwood-Blizzard silo and didn’t know or care about the game. It’s because I had (and have) only so much time and money for that kind of thing. Given sufficient time and money of course I would have played a well-reviewed contemporary RTS series. If I never talked about both Westwood and Blizzard games on the internet it’s because I didn’t talk about either of them on the internet. I saved most of my internet-talking in those days for arguing about Star Trek. I think that the impression we get of gamer silos is often misleading. People tend to speak about the games about which they are most enthusiastic. It doesn’t mean that those are the only games they play or that they’re ignorant of other games. It’s just that they’re not interested in other conversations at the moment.

    1. tmtvl says:

      Shortage of allottable resources (be that financial or time) is part of what creates silos.

      That said, I do agree that it’s not necessarily every gamer who falls into a silo. I, for example, played both Age of Empires 2 and Warlords Battlecry 2 when I was young.

      Whether silo gamers are more populous than variety gamers I don’t know. I would think that they are, as it’s easier to find time for one specific franchise than a plethora of different ones.

  20. Retsam says:

    The thing I found most impressive about Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition is the tutorials. Most games’ tutorials I’ve played (including the original AoE2) just teach you the basic mechanics of the game, i.e. teaching just enough to prepare you for low-level single-player gameplay.

    But the Definitive Edition tutorials are clearly aimed at getting the player prepared for much higher level-play, presumably for competitive multiplayer (or against difficult AI), and does a lot more to teach the strategy of the game, not just the mechanics.

    It still teaches the basic controls, (briefly, IIRC), but very quickly jumps into stuff like unit match-ups, teaching you to constantly have villagers building in the early game, teaches a full build order to rapidly get into the Castle Age, teaches how to do “zerg rushes”, how to push a wide economy, etc.

    And all of the tutorials are graded on a Bronze/Silver/Gold scale (e.g. the “fast castle age” tutorial based on how quickly you make it into the castle age, the “unit matchup” tutorial based on how many of your units die, etc), and the gold medal is generally quite difficult to pull-off and requires fairly high-level play.

    They’re really impressive, and head and shoulders above any other game’s tutorials that I’ve seen. (Admittedly, I’m not a huge connoisseur of RTS-ish games)

    1. Chris says:

      It is because AOE2 remaster is intelligently handled. They know a large part of their audience are people that watch pros play, and people who played the game when they were a kid. If they could convert some of those players into ranked players that would greatly help the community, new blood is important. They already have the map editor that has a bunch of mechanics to trigger events. All they had to do is have someone who understands what he’s doing put together those interactive tutorials. Same with AI, a lot of people don’t like the pressure of player versus player matches, but the AI feels cheap because it either cheats or is very predictable. So they got someone to make the AI a lot better while not requiring any cheats.

      As a result competitive players are happy because the game is more balanced (no more Hun wars) and has a bigger population. Nostalgic players are happy since they can pick up and play the game of their youth again with more content, and new players are happy since the game offers them the tools to learn the game’s inner workings. It is kind of frustrating to see how other games/remakes make all those mistakes (adding content people dont want, doing a terrible job of porting the game to modern systems, not getting people that are eager to work on the game) which makes classic titles die after rerelease. When AOE2 shows how to pull it off. In fact, the only other game i can think off of the top of my head is C&C 1/red alert. They got the composer to redo the music, upscaled the videos, added extra (scrapped) content, added a new difficulty mode, the stuff you hope for.

  21. Syal says:

    Was really happy to see Binding of Isaac: Rebirth at number 16, until I remembered that Afterbirth and Repentance are DLC and wouldn’t have their own categories. Would have loved it if vanilla Rebirth was the most popular version, since the DLCs keep nerfing the fun and amplifying the bad.

    Thevoiceofdog did a blind playthrough of Hitman 2016 recently, though I haven’t watched it and can’t say if it’s entertaining. ARavingLoon played through less recently and less blindly, haven’t watched that one either.

  22. Steve C says:

    Today’s Diecast highlights the reasons why I don’t play AAA games and don’t even bother trying them: The tedious account creation process. The stupid download sizes — especially since I’m capped. The inability to quickly play. The always on nature. The forced nature of patches. Where infrequent play always means being stuck downloading. The micro transactions. Then there’s the bullshit nonsense writing.

    There’s a great video by SovietWomble. It’s a perfect example of all the bullshit I’ve come to expect from AAA games. It is a perfect example of what Shamus was talking about with the straight-man vs clown. The video is hilarious but I could not enjoy that crap ironically like he did. It would perpetually set me off.

    BTW: One set of games did a timed event I liked. The Endless series. They had special timed content for their company anniversary. Thing is you could access it any time after it was released by changing your computer’s clock date.

  23. Ninety-Three says:

    Maybe Minecraft outshines it?

    I think we can’t really know for another decade (we’re less than ten years out from Minecraft, at that point in history relative to Warcraft 1 WoW hadn’t even been released yet), but it looks like no. Minecraft is arguably the biggest videogame of all time, but it doesn’t look like it has spawned any genres, or even that many imitators. The closest thing to it is the modern trend of survival crafting games, and I’m not sure how much they owe to Minecraft with their function-over-form basebuilding and heavy emphasis on resource management gameplay.

    1. Lars says:

      And Doom is still a hard competetor. Doom let to Quake, and Quake to Half Life and that to Counter Strike and that to Unreal Tournament, Call of Duty and Battlefield. And a thousand different Single Player FPSs.
      Oh and Half Life let to Portal, wich defined the first person puzzler.
      Also a strong competetor: GTA 3 for all the 3D Open World games.

  24. sheer_falacy says:

    If you want to see Hitman as a comedy game I recommend RTGame. The blueberry muffin is an amazingly versatile weapon.

    Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLliBvQE3gg9f-NGBKxFxiKOqaAYfn9brt

  25. Grimwear says:

    In regards to Apex and no voice chat, doesn’t it have voice chat? I remember reading some articles where Japanese players were getting banned for saying “nigero” which means “run away” because it sounds like some other word which is honestly just the dumbest thing I’ve ever come across.

    Also as for games that people only play I had a period where I played the original counter strike a lot. I also played a lot of other games but back then it was a much more social experience thanks to dedicated servers. You got to know the players who would show up and in between rounds if you were dead you just talked and chatted. It was loads of fun. Now it’s all focused on putting people into games with your same skill and I hate it. Back in the day yes you’d come across players who were way better than you and odds are good that they could take out pretty much everyone but there was always the chance you could kill them due to positioning or the servers had auto balancing features moving people around. I hate systems that try and keep you at a 50/50 win rate.

    1. tmtvl says:

      Ah the buttbuttins from Sc***orphe. Good times.

  26. Rho says:

    So, I am not sure if I was supposed to receive my copy of the Mess Effect book. (I thought it wasn’t actually out yet.) Nonetheless, it arrived anyway.

    Well, the content is good but it actually put in me in mind of how unusual it is to have a detail-oriented guidebook to the plot problems of a game series that I only played half of. Certainly anyone who played less would probably feel rather lost. Still it’s pretty funny and at least half the pictures work. The layout, I’m afraid, is one of those areas where an editor’s hand would have helped. Quite often there are stray sentences stuck at the top of the page, with a section break or picture underneath. That often leads to me being unable to “see” that initial sentence since it looks as though the text actually starts below.

    1. Gautsu says:

      How did you get it? Being waiting for Shamus to let us know how to order

      1. Rho says:

        I just went to Amazon, saw the listing, and ordered it. The funny thing is, it gave me a delivery date over a week away. However, I’m used to preordering books so that wasn’t a big deal. Then the delivery happened the next day!

        https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095PX8HTW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=mass+effect+shamus+young&qid=1621910154&sr=8-1

        1. Grimwear says:

          Shamus is amazon the best way for us to get it because if so I’ll order it off there right now, got a couple other books I want to buy as well so can do 2 birds with 1 stone.

  27. ivan says:

    Also, here is Rutskarn’s Elder Scrolls Series that we talked about.

    Since you linked it, I am forced to inform you that that page and possibly the subsequent series are quite crangled, formatting wise. — seems to have replaced some character, probably a hyphen, throughout.

  28. pseudonym says:

    Thank you for answering both my questions in such detail. The list question was originally a digression of the AoE2 question, but I thought that two separate clearcut questions was better. Hence the similarities between the questions.

    I am glad you had some fun with the list! When I posted the question AoE2 was just above cyberpunk, but now cyberpunk has been declining further and further. AoE2 is on the rise though. Which is strange, I thought this game would capitalize on late-80’s and 90’s kid nostalgia. You would expect the 90’s kids market to be satisfied at some point, but apparantly the player base is growing beyond that? Maybe it is because a decent graphics card is 3 million dollars nowadays and Age of Empires lets you have fun without it…

    Thank you for the Rise of Nations recommendation. I looked it up on wikipedia and it looks quite interesting. I will probably give it a try.

  29. Daniel says:

    For other Hitman playthroughs, I can recommend Outside Xbox, where the three hosts generally have three very different playstyles, which could broadly be categorised as “professional”, “panicky” and “chaotic”. They have quite a few Hitman videos, but their “3 Ways to Play” sounds like it might be up your street – example video.

  30. Lino says:

    Typolice (kinda):

    World of Warcraft, an industry-defining smash hit that’s been imitated by dozens of other games

    Hundreds. If we count mobile games, then probably thousands. And yes, it wasn’t the very first MMORPG, not by a longshot, but its impact on the industry can be felt to this day. There’s a good reason why initially MMOs were called WoW-clones, rather than EverQuest-clones, Realm Online-clones, or whatever.

    I really liked this episode! Regarding Dota 2, I still follow the game (not nearly as closely as before), and I think there are a couple of reasons why you don’t hear much about it. For one, the community is extremely insular – as we saw with Artifact, they aren’t really interested in other games, and even some of the biggest content creators in the space aren’t very interested in gaming culture outside of Dota. The other reason for this is the game’s overall marketing strategy. Since Valve owns Steam, they don’t really advertize the game outside of their own platform. Their two most recent attempts at capturing a wider audience was Artifact (which failed for various reasons), and the Netflix anime Dota: Dragon’s Blood (which I actually liked a lot).

    Regarding that new Lord of The Rings show, I’m not too excited by it. Like Shamus, I feel quite burned out on West European Medieval fantasy. When it comes to the Lord of the Rings films, I actually quite liked them. I’ve never been the biggest fan of the books – I tried reading them when I was young, and the style just wasn’t my thing. To me, any book that spends more time describing the landscape than it does describing the big epic battle that takes place in siad landscape is doing something wrong.

    Although I do appreciate Tolkien’s way of approaching fantasy – big ideas and symbolism that takes precedence over spectacle. However, I prefer the way it’s done by authors like Zelazny, Azimov, Dan Simmons, and other old-school sci fi authors. But I don’t think we’ll ever get movies or TV shows based on their works. Which might be a good thing. I guess sometimes it’s a good thing that cci-fi is a much harder sell than fantasy…

  31. Asdasd says:

    I think the perspective that this discussion lacked is the degree to which the 20sided community is itself something of a “silo”, with a predisposition towards engineering, coding, and systems games.

    Maybe you think that’s unfair. “Hey! I also really like professional Starcraft. And immersive sims. And hello, are you forgetting all my retrospectives on story-focused games?” Yes, you’re absolutely correct, Rhetorical Shamus, which brings me to my main thrust..

    I’ve played thousands of hours of Dota 2. I also play Nintendo games, Atlus games, wargames like Combat Mission, tabletop games like Blood Bowl… I don’t write comments about any of those things here, because I’ve learned that they’re unlikely to generate much interest. But if I wanted that discussion, I’d certainly know where to find it. I recognise that these are different niches, but I also think of myself as someone with a general interest in games, and some of the stuff that falls within that interest gets better coverage here than anywhere else on the internet.

    Rather than belonging to a single silo, I think a lot of gamers occupy this joint-model of multiple community membership without really thinking about it, because it’s easy to change your hat depending on wherever you happen to be. You don’t even notice it. This model makes it easy to assign labels like ‘insular’ to communities we don’t happen to be a part of, even though individuals within those communities are just as likely to be similarly interconnected as we are. Some people only go wide, others only go deep, but my suspicion is that most people, to some degree, do both.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      True enough. I guess the feeling comes more from the absence of advertising in my frustum, though the same is true of Nintendo without the same feeling. Maybe I need to incorporate some entertainment that overlaps the MOBA space of the gaming diagram.

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