The HotSpot - Kingdoms of Amalur, Darkness II - 2/8/12

The HotSpot crew tackles combat mechanics as they relate to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning and The Darkness II.

by

It's not often The HotSpot crew get to use the phrase "ripped from groin to gullet," but The Darkness II gives us the perfect excuse. Mostly because that's a thing that actually happens in this game. With The Darkness II and Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning as this week's backdrop, Carolyn Petit, Kevin VanOrd, Tom Mc Shea, Marko Djordjevic, and Tom Magrino rip into combat mechanics, from groin to gullet, one might say.

The HotSpot - Kingdoms of Amalur, Darkness II - 2/8/12 by gamespot

Audio above, video below.

EXPERIMENT TIME!!! Comment, question, correction, or clarification? Email us at hotspot@gamespot.com, and I'll make you famous…kind of like these folks!

Ash writes:

I listened into your show last week and I noticed that many members of the hotspot are indeed against the industry. However most of you fail to understand the reason why the anti-used game movements are not good for the industry. Let me tell you why i do not support the anti-used games methods:

1) online passes for games such as amaleur are ridiculous due to the fact that not only do they deny a large number of offline gamers (yes a lot of them still exist) to quest content even if they buy the game new, but in addition this online pass ruins reckoning's play-ability later on when the game is much older. The problem is that when microsoft decides to cut it's xbox live service to the 360, games like reckoning will be missing a chunk of new content if something were to happen to a user's xbox 360 data (i.e. if my xbox broke and I decided to purchase another one). While on the other hand if I were to pirate the game, I would get all the content forever without having to worry about this possible scenario (how does this make sense?)

2) What if a game like Reckoning doesn't do well in terms of sales? There will still be a lot of people who will still want to check the game out when the game drops in price, but by that point the publisher has already cut it's support for the game and will no longer publish enough copies. Therefore used games are the only way to get a taste of this game. This is actually good for the gaming market because a possible sequel will now be much awaited if the first game was good (but not marketed very well). A good example of this is Mirror's Edge. Mirrors edge did not sell very well, however used game sales have made this game a cult classic and a sequel is very wanted within the game's community. An online pass in this situation will decrease used game sales and such a phenomena would not have happened.

3) Trading in games is one of my primary ways of paying for new games. I don't buy used games very often, but it is a simple fact that as a university student I don't have enough money to pay for every new game, and therefore I must make the sacrifice of trading in some games which were not favourites. If gamestop is taken out of the equation here, i would maybe be able to afford 3-6 games per year rather than the 10+ games which i do purchase. I'm not sure about you guys, but in my opinion that seems like a positive for the game industry (I'm looking at you Tom!)

I hope I've been able to convince you that the used game market is not so evil, and it actually does have positive effects on the industry.

Adam writes:

First off piracy is wrong, it is by definition stealing.

Secondly, I am so sick of game companies whining about used game sales. Video games are a product not service, there is no argument to support it being a service. Any business that offers a product has used sales. I don’t see a myriad of businesses complaining about ebay, craigslist, classified ads, etc. Used product sales have been a fact of business since the beginning of organized economies.

On the other side of the coin video game companies have every right to do online passes, exclusive dlc to new purchases, etc. The consumer only has the right to vote with their dollar.

In summary video game companies are not exempt from undeniable facts of economy. Video game companies thinking they are is a sense of entitlement.

Even though I disagree with what some of you said about the topic, Hotspot is still the best video game podcast!

Imoyikust writes:

I'm currently 29, but in the college and pre-college years I bought almost exclusively used games, because I could actually afford them. This allowed me to play a lot of really great games without resorting to spending hundreds of dollars (literally) online to find a pristine new copy that wouldn't have seen the funds go towards the people who made the game anyway. As an example, this is how I played Ico, Shadows of the Colossus, Final Fantasy Tactics, Chrono Cross, and so many more. Also, used games serve a purpose in the modern day because there are a lot of slightly older games that you can't find new anymore. That's why I bought the first Uncharted used, instead of new (I found new online, but it was grossly overpriced).

However, with little exception all the games I buy currently are new. PC games are purchased through Steam, and games for my PS3 and various handhelds are either from GameStop or amazon. Despite what McShea says, I still use GameStop for console games (and the occasional PC game) primarily because of the in-game pre-order bonuses that might be available (Mass Effect 3 collector's edition, for example). A big reason why I still want boxed copies of some of my games is the sad truth that my hard drive space can be used up, and if I don't feel like buying a brand new, larger sized PS3, I'm then out of luck if I want to download anything else ever again. Boxed copies remove a large part of that problem. This is a non-issue on PC, however, for obvious reasons.

Liquid_Bullet writes:

There are two things I feel on these topics:

1) It is beginning to bug me one specific argument people use for piracy and buying used games: That games are so expensive, in order to play more than one a season they have to pirate or buy used. I'm in the same boat, college student, college expenses. HOWEVER that does NOT mean I have a "right" to these entertainment pieces. If you can't afford them, you do not have a right to them. Entertainment and software is the only product where there seems to be some kind of "gray area" as far as piracy goes, and I'm getting sick of hearing this argument. It doesn't justify it. (Note: not saying that piracy is always bad, and that it hurts the industry, just saying that argument IN PARTICULAR holds no water.) You are not justified in getting something for free just because it is expensive or out of your price range.

2) Used games/online passes/ etc: Let's look at this car analogy: Buy a jeep, use it for a few years, and sell it. Someone else buys it. Do they expect it to be the same condition as a new version? Hell no. Gamers do, however.

You should have every right to resale your old games, and every right to purchased used games at a discount. You have no right to expect it to be in the same condition as a new product. Think about it for a second: "I want the same item in the same condition, but for 5-10 bucks cheaper, and my money won't go to the people who created the product. And then I want to be able to use it online on the servers the company is paying to keep running." is a bit of a ludicrous statement.

What I'm getting at is gamers (and others as well) have a sense of entitlement that is just astronomical, and it's quickly getting out of hand.

Nate writes:

I found your discussion on used games interesting and as a buyer of used games I thought I'd chime in. I'm a teacher, I have a wife who works part time, and we have two kids. I buy used games a lot to save money and I feel spending 60 bucks a month on a new game wouldn't be fair to my family and the financial responsibilities I have so often buy used games, on Amazon, half.com, etc. I've pretty much stopped buying used at gamestop because as you noted they really aren't that great of a deal. I generally allow myself about 20 bucks a month on a game (or maybe a few cheap steam games). So to me if I want to buy a new one - I did pay full price for Skyrim and for Dark Souls this past fall- I am really careful about saving up for that and not buying much else in the surrounding months. I do often buy new games when they get really cheap, but used games end up saving me a lot of money and allow me to actually be a gamer instead of someone who plays A video game from time to time. I also sell games I didn't really enjoy on Amazon or Craigslist so that I'm able to purchase MORE games. Personally, I think it's great that people buy new and those sales are what keep the industry going, but that's rarely me. I like to buy new when possible, but when it comes to a 20 dollar or more price difference (yep, that happens when I find really good deals) I'll often buy used instead.

Feel free to only read the above, or even parts of it because I know this is a long email. But here's some thoughts on piracy.

I have pirated games a few times in the past couple years and I do feel guilty about it. Right now I'm trying to convince myself that I don't need to go to a torrent site and get KOA: Reckoning. So far so good. I'm not going to buy the game right now, but I certainly shouldn't pirate it. Pirating games for me is often like downloading a demo, though. I rarely finish a pirated game, just try it out. I acutally did this with skyrim, and the pirated version convinced me that DAMN this game is good, I need to support it and buy it new. So I did. That doesn't excuse what I did, but at least SOME good came out of it. An opposite example was Rage. I thought about buying this, but after playing the pirated game and finding it ran like crap on my PC, I decided I better not, even when it went on sale on steam for 15 bucks. That example saved me some money and a kinda busted experience (although I hear it's been patched I still think my PC is not up to snuff). So, I guess you could say I'm a pirate that's coming around. After listening to you guys and others in the game media talk about this issue, I'm realizing I better not do this. While I'm morally okay with buying used games even if it isn't ideal, I do know that piracy is wrong and me being a broke teacher with kids and a mortgage is no excuse :)

Cameron writes:
I spent 22 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan (and at the time may have been your only listener in that country). In Kyrgyzstan, piracy is rampant and many games are illegally downloaded, but I do not believe this comes at the expense of any sales. The average annual income in Kyrgyzstan is $1,000 - $2,000. Most people can't even afford a computer, and the only way that most kids in Kyrgyzstan get to play video games is by going to an internet cafe where they sell gaming time on old PCs by the hour. These internet cafes in turn are only able to charge about 50 cents per hour for the games, so there is no way that they would be able to stay in business paying full price for every copy of every game that they offered. There is only one store in the entire country that sells legal copies of games, and their prices are well beyond the reach of 99.9% of the population. While in America it may be true that piracy replaces some legitimate game purchases, in Kyrgyzstan this isn't true at all. Kyrgyzstan is not an isolated example either. The same situation probably exists across most of the developing countries in the world.

So when gaming industry groups quote how many millions of copies of a game were illegally downloaded, from a global perspective I think only a small percentage of these would have been replaced by actual sales.

Discussion

64 comments
coldscooter
coldscooter

@Kevin-V I agree that Battlefield didn't need to be mentioned in this particular podcast, given the topics discussed. I just feel it has been somewhat overlooked on Gamespot in general, post release (it rarely ever gets a mention). I believe it was 2nd biggest selling shooter of 2011, and has had very little coverage considering how huge the FPS community it. Also Dice had the balls to push out a revolutionary new game engine (which is a masterpiece), whereas COD rarely dares to innovate and yet gets so much GS coverage. I love COD, but it just seems like BF has been way overlooked for the ambitious and fantastic game that it is. And I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks this. That's a shame that none of the regulars on the GS team play it. If there are passionate multiplayer FPS fans on the team, what are they playing instead?

nyran125
nyran125

i didnt think World Of Warcraft. I thought Kingdoms Of Amalur was more Zelda/Witcher 2 with a pretty standard MMO quest structure. Id love for developers to innovate the quest structures in RPG's. The Witcher kind of innovates it in some ways where you really REALLY care about doing the sidequests, because i felt i was really helping the villagers and townspeople when i was doing a quest. Not many RPG's reach that level of Witcher greatness, where the quests actually feel like they are more than just a leveling up routine. There was so many times in The Witcher where i truly felt The people need my help. I agree i just kind of did the quests without even caring in Amalur. The stories in SKYRIM are HUGE. Theres tons of stories in SKYRIM. The only reason i play SKYRIM is for all the stories.

FreedomPrime
FreedomPrime

Also, not everyone can afford new game, that is why trading in your older games is a great thing. If you want the new call of duty or whatever game it is you want, most people who buy new games don't buy them at full price, they trade in last year's games towards the new ones. If used games disappear entirely game sales as a whole might drop even further. Think of it this way, if I am a gamer who cant buy every game I want then I have to start picking and choosing which games to get. That means I might not be able to buy/support the games I want. But because I can trade in my older titles, that allows me to either cut the cost of the new game in half, or pay for it entirely. In this situation, not only Did I the customer save some money, But I also supported the game developers buy getting the game I wanted new. Granted if that game was traded in later and bought by someone else then the developer may not see any of that profit but the initial sale was still in their favor so therefore they did not lose any money on that transaction. also usually games get traded in at a much later date from initial release so by that point the game might have fallen off the radar and wasn't gonna sell anymore anyways.

FreedomPrime
FreedomPrime

As far as used game sales, there are many mom and pop stores that are not evil like gamestop. My store for example sell's our used games for $10 less then the new price, and if the game offer's a online pass we will also subtract the cost of the online pass from the game as well as the original discount. We also offer 50% in store credit for your game trades, meaning if we sell a game for $50, you will get $25 in store credit. Our policy is why we have been in business for 12 years now and have a bigger customer base then gamestop, in our area. My point is used games sales should never go away, as long as the store does not rip off their customers.

carolynmichelle
carolynmichelle moderator staff

@Vince21C Thanks, nice to be here! :)

forest4
forest4

Thank you so much for audio only. Good show as always.

Vince21C
Vince21C

Nice seeing u on the podcast again Carolyn =)

BenderUnit22
BenderUnit22

One thing that always rubs me the wrong way when companies talk about piracy is that every illegal download is a lost sale to them. I can only speak from my personal experience and I admit having downloaded a couple games when I was a kid and simply couldn't afford a ton of games. However, a lot if not all of those games were titles I likely wouldn't have bought anyway (again, kids don't have infinite money.) The same can be said for movies. If you go out of your way to illegally download a crappy quality movie, chances are you didn't care to see it enough to go to a theater and spend money anyway and if it weren't for piracy, you'd probably just watch it when it's on TV later on.

WCK619
WCK619

people are actually being lead to pirating more and more because of the fact that companies are nickel and diming them for game content. Things like day one DLC or pre-order bonus stuff is frustrating people, causing more of them to resort to pirating. It's the same deal with games that use DRM or demand you install a 3rd party game manager like Steam or Origin. Games are so expensive now, if you can't legally get the full game without strings attached, you'll pirate it. Even people against pirating are willing to buy the game to support the developers, and then pirate it as well just so they don't have to deal with all the crap.

arlonborges
arlonborges

It really saddens me seeing the path our industry is taking and that not a single gaming professional is against it. Today we are already paying 60 dollars for a game and rumors says that on the next generations the price will rise to 70 bucks. Add to that, the fact that now they release a game and the next day there is a 10 dollar DLC available, and it's not even more content, is some parts of the game that were clearly cut off the final product so they could charge more from something they should have put on the released game. Some of these "DLC"s are already on the freaking disc. And now the new Xbox will not letting me use an used game on other machine...so, what they are saying is that if I have a new 3rl problem or any sort of problem, my other console will not let me play my game? Or if I have 2 consoles, I have to purchase 2 of the same games? And I can't lend my game to my brother or my friend? And all that crap about games being a service? So movies are services too? Or TV Series? Where is the service provided to me? If you say an online game is a service I can agree, since they have to pay for servers and everything...but a single player game? Once the product is finished, what kind of service they are providing? If they want to charge, sell the multiplayer feature separated. There are a lot of people that doesn’t care about multiplayer.

dbene
dbene

Kingdom of Amalur:The Reckoning was named with a random RPG name generator.....LOL...exact same thing I thought when I first read the title.

mick9lg
mick9lg

Like it was Like hard to like watch or like listen to like this you like know like beyond the last like before the like before like that one. I like wanted to like punch my monitor. Like you know? Dood

cccp3000
cccp3000

Back in the dark, again.

g1rldraco7
g1rldraco7

Very good show and excellent topics discussed. I wish the trivia section was brought back.

robbiejones
robbiejones

kevin wheRe can i find uR livestReam?

destroyeur
destroyeur

First time I saw the quest giver exclamation point system was in dungeon siege. If videogames are services you can't steal it, but since we always paid for the information on the disc, not the disc itself, it doesn't come as a surprise; entertainment is a service. Music, movies, books, videogames, even theater, if artists put their work on a plastic medium to reach mass market, they shouldn't be surprise to learn that some people did the same as them and acted out of greed. Pirates don't pay for games, we never do! What kind of question is that?

FuriousHamst3r
FuriousHamst3r

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

FuriousHamst3r
FuriousHamst3r

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

miletaxi2003
miletaxi2003

Greetings from Serbia to Marko Djordjevic.

WCK619
WCK619

32:03 if you want to see Kevin's O-face. UHHHHHH... Ohhh... UHHHHH.. ohhhh...

mingolo
mingolo

@Gamespot asks: would pirates buy more games if they weren't able to pirate? . . There's this belief that these so called "pirates" exclusively steal all their games so they don't have to pay and that if that option is removed it would force them buy them if they want to play. In reality, no one exclusively pirates games, they just buy the games they like and are excited for, and play some extra games, that they don't like enough to actually own, for free. If they weren't able to pirate, they'd just replace it with another free, or "free," activity and move on. . . PS: you guys (Gamespot staff) ever tried Ebay auctions or, dare I say, the Gamespot glyde service? You can save a lot more than $5 on used games, I bought Skyrim for $30 on its release month in glyde. Last time I checked there was one for $28. I got Mafia II NEW and WRAPPED for $8.

Kevin-V
Kevin-V moderator staff

@dbene -- But I didn't enjoy it more than Skyrim, and I don't think I said that. (Magrino is an odd duck, so if he said that, well, consider them the rantings of an odd duckman.) The combat is more fun in Amalur, but I enjoyed Skyrim a lot more, in part because it constantly surprised me. Combat is only one thing of many.

Psychokillaz
Psychokillaz

Kingdoms of Amalur is great! I am 32 and love it. It is so different form most RPGs. GotY for a new IP. Best new IP since Demon's/Dark Souls

_Judas_
_Judas_

A very interesting talk about piracy and used games. The agency of piracy differs from person to person -some dowload games to test them out; if they like the game, they will eventually buy it, while other pirates , here refering to a big part of the semi-gamer community, will download plenty of games because it is easier and it is free. Some people will not pay to play. If the option to get a game for free, many of these "semi-gamers" will opt for this option. I think, regarding Tom McShane's question, some don't care about the "industry"; if there are 10 games they want, some will download all 10 of 'em. I believe the option to trade-in games, is good. I basically trade-in many games and I use the credit/money to buy new games ; this way, me ,a student, am able to save money.

dbene
dbene

It needs to be pointed out that if used games sales are banned...there will be a ton of price lowering competition amongst publishers to get people buying games again. Because there will be a game buying "depression" when used game sales are ended.

dbene
dbene

I also agree with (I think it was McShea's idea) that if you buy a used game it doesn't necessarily mean you would buy that game new. I buy must have games for a new price, but with used games I get to play tons more variety and more games that I would never buy new.

dbene
dbene

Also, @ Marco.... I don't think it's true that a used game is only $5 cheaper. Sometimes, you can buy a used game for $20+ cheaper. Like ...for example if a game that has been out for a month is still $59 in the store...you can get it for around 32$-36$ on ebay or something. I can see the argument on both sides.

dbene
dbene

I usually feel you guys....but I'm a little lost on the "I enjoyed playing Amalur more than Skyrim, but Skyrim is a better game". sometimes, don't we have to stop overthinking ....and just admit that if the game is more enjoyable when playing then it MAY be the better game?!?

Magrino
Magrino

@kittygus The current plan is the next one will go up February 20. Looking at a every other week schedule. This may change.

_Judas_
_Judas_

It's great to listen to Kevin Van Ord and Tom McShane; they are truly masters of their field. Wish I had their job :D GameSpot is filled with such great shows :) keep up the good work!

Almighty-mints
Almighty-mints

Really love the quality of podcasts you guys have been putting out lately. Interesting topics being discussed by true experts of gaming = yes.

kittygus
kittygus

Yay a long podcast!!! One question, when is the next Esteemed Colleagues?

Magrino
Magrino

@everyone OK, that faint clicking noise? It has been vanquished.

zzanzabar
zzanzabar

Amular was an attempt to mix a God of War fighting mechanic with an RPG and it just doesn't really work. It looked pretty and should have sold for about $25 or so and it would have been fine, but to pay $60 for this mediocre game sort of doomed it to the used rack. As for the used vs new argument, the margin of game prices vs how much they sell for is actually larger than most people realize. This is NOT just my opinion but that of Cliffy B also (check out his comments when he was interviewed and stated that Gears of War and any game for that mater should SELL for $20). After he made that comment the stockholders were in an uproar because they felt he was undermining their high profit margin. He was only trying to say that at a $20 price point there would be little or no pirating and most gamers could afford to buy 3 or 4 more games and thus keep the industry growing.

Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

I hope there's some DLC for The Darkness 2. The ending's just....so bad...

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

I've been enjoying Amalur, It's pretty good.....It's definitely better than Fable III but nowhere near as good as Skyrim. I think some of the lore and story of Amalur is kinda interesting, is it awesome? maybe not but I like it. Used games....I think used games are kinda important because in some cases new games just aren't worth buying. There are some games I wouldn't pay $60 for and there are some I would or would be willing to pay more for the collector's edition. One of the strength's of the console has always been the ability to buy, trade, sell and lend games out to folks and taking that away hurts everyone. Personally I buy games new when I can but I like the option to buy used especially for older titles.

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@Sevont, That's where things get interesting. For instance, there are two ways I could get a copy of Earthbound, a game I really want to play. 1) Win an online auction or 2) pirate. In neither of those scenarios would I actually give money to Nintendo. It's a weird and easily avoidable dilemma that I hope gets resolved in the future.

lazarius12
lazarius12

So if the next systems can't play used games, what does that mean for the user? Do I have to then put a code in for every new game I buy? I don't want to have to do that. Or does it mean that when I buy a new game it will be locked to my system? Well I like to drive over to my friends house and spend time with my games there, or maybe even let him borrow it for a week or two. Now I can't do that? It seems like this is a good idea at first glance, but it's ultimately hurting the honest gamer in much the same way as DRM does.

Magrino
Magrino

@Minishdriveby OK, I think I've figured out how to fix this. It's going to take a couple of hours to render and upload, though. Sorry about that.

lazarius12
lazarius12

Well I'm glad I went with my gut rather than listen to other people on the internet when I decided to pass on Amalur because of the clunky animation system in the demo. Everyone told me it was just the demo and I shouldn't hold that against the full game, but I wasn't having any of that crap. Not being able to pull out of a weapon animation in action games and in RPGs is one of my biggest problems with them.

xtraflossy
xtraflossy

Just a thought: So, there is a game that is 4 years old I wish to play. Since retail doesn't have the shelf room for something that old, I can no longer get it used. And It is unavailable in PSN(SEN) or XBL..... What can a console owner do? -PC is different. It's "out there someplace" So, That is instant death for any game over a few years old on consoles. The developers would have to have resort to the retail of their own products (more storrage space, an outlet for purchasing..) meaning additional cost.. Which they might not be inclined to do. *Not to mention, I traded in 2 games not long ago to buy a NEW game. *I took a chance and picked up Killzone for $7 used. Loved it and bought the next 2 on release day. Tl:Dr = death of "retro" gaming on console. The whole idea of blocking used games is stupid

jomipira
jomipira

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

uglypinkmoose
uglypinkmoose

when I buy used games it's because I couldn't afford it when it came out....It's ganna mega suck if I can't buy a game I wanted later on because it's no longer new and supplied

Sevont
Sevont

Why Pirate? I can pack a lunch and save 30$ a week....$7.50 on a combo at any fastfood, or make a sandwich for a buck. I've pirated one game, cause they haven't made it in a decade and it's impossible to buy.

jomipira
jomipira

@Kevin-V Those two grades gave you a lot of grief! So many fanboys who just hated that you gave any of those games a grade lower than 8 or 9. For me an RPG is all about the setting, the story, the world, the people, the ambiance. To exist in a singular world that's the point for me. Mass Effect games, the Souls games, the Elder Scrolls games, the Fallout games, Deux Ex, they all have a very unique world and setting. The rest, action, narrative and so on, needs to build on that. And even if action is a big part of it, it has to be a thinking man's action (like Dark Souls). I think I'll wait until the price drops to get Amalur.

Aut0cr0nix
Aut0cr0nix

@beeftaco3232 I think you're being a little narrow minded. I'm all for buying new and supporting developers, but used games have their benefits. I don't buy used because they're $5 cheaper, I buy them because if I don't like it, I can return it for the full price. There have been more then a few times that I purchased games that looked amazing, but turned out to be pretty lame, and then I'm stuck with a $60 game that I don't want. The day that they make releasing a demo for every game mandatory is the day I will never buy used again. Players should be entitled to at least try a game before they shell out $60 for it. If a company is confident enough to sell their game for $60, they should be more than confident to let players try it out first.

Sevont
Sevont

All these guys are invited to a DoD source LAN at my house...the banter would be legendary