toddx77 / Member

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toddx77 Blog

You can't always rely on internet.

Hey Adam Orth, Ubisoft, Blizzard, and anyone else who thinks always online is no big deal, listen to my story.  So as some of you might know from my posts I currently live in the Republic of Georgia for work.  It is developing country so we dont have all the luxuries of the first world.  One of those luxuries is good electricity.  Here when the weather gets windy the power usually goes out.  I know in countries like the US power sometimes goes out due to wind, but this type of wind wouldnt take out the power in US, but this is Georgia so yesterday when I got home from the city the power was out.  So no power means no wifi and since I am in another country I dont use my phones 4g as it would be too expensive so I had no internet.  However my phone, tablet, Vita, and DS all worked fine.  I could play Temple Run, Final Fantasy Dimensions, Persona 4: Golden, and Pokemon White without any problems because those devices which are all connected to the internet normally, do not REQUIRE a constant internet connection to be used.  All of those devices are always connected to the internet by wifi normally because wifi is available.  That is what people like Adam Orth do not seem to understand.  Our consoles and other devices are always connected to the internet anyway because most people have internet available not because we think our consoles being connected is important.  It would be pretty sad if in the future portable gaming systems required always online as well because that is even more pointless.

Now you might be telling yourself that my use of portable devices is a poor example because they run off batteries and consoles relay on electricity so naturally in a power outage you couldnt play one.  Well some people have generators, but there is more to my story.  So the power came back in sometime early the next morning.  I go to my computer to check my e mail and there is no internet.  I check my phone and tablet and no internet.  The router is plugged in and my devices are connected, but there was no internet coming from our provider as the power outage affected something.  That right there is a major problem with always online DRM.  If  the Xbox 720 does have always online DRM than someone in that situation could not play their games even with electricity.  If I had Diablo III or Simcity I wouldnt have been able to play them.  I would not be allowed to play games I legally bought simply because publishers put stopping pirates above their legit customers.  I know some people have mentioned that Microsoft would maybe add a 4G service to the 720 so you could connect to the internet if your wifi or broadband had problems, but I say it is pretty sad something like this is even being thought of by Microsoft at this point.

Microsoft what are you doing?

So by now you have most likely heard Adam Orth's opinion of always online DRM.  Like many other people have already mentioned, the recent Sim City problems are a perfect example as to why always online DRM is terrible thing.  You would think that would be fresh in Microsoft's mind as well.  Also when Microsoft issued the apology for Orth's comment they didn't deny the rumor either.  Why would they hide something like that?  I know they are waiting a few months for their event, but you would think with something getting such a huge backlash like this Microsoft would just come out and say the new Xbox would not require an online connection if it were true.  We all know they are making a new Xbox so no reason to try and hide things before the press event.  I have even heard some people say Adam Orth is just made up and while he is indeed a real person I would not be surprised if Microsoft paid him a hefty amount to say this in order to test the waters and be their fall guy if their was major backlash.

 

Now I am not going to list all the reasons why always online DRM is bad because we all know why.  Instead I am just going to talk about some important factors.  First of all if the new Xbox requires a constant internet connection it is going to greatly change console gaming, at least on the Xbox.  For the first time console gamers on the Xbox are not going to just be able to  just put a new game in and start playing.  They are going to have to enter the cd key for the game, make sure the games server recieves the code, and everything is authorized.  I know a lot of console games already have the online pass which is almost the samething when it comes to multi player, but considering that console gamers have never had to do this in the past and the PS4 will not require a constant internet connection it will just drive more people over to the PS4.  That brings me to my next point.

 

What happens if your internet goes out?  Even with something like Steam you can play it in off line mode.  Even Ubisoft made it possible to play Assassin's Creed 2 on PC without internet.  If your internet goes out with the new Xobx you can't play any game at all.  Why would anyone want to invest in a new Xbox, $70 games, and multiple controls if they cannot play their games due to no internet?  Don't tell me that it is no big deal because eveything is connected to the internet because while true it does not matter right now for console games if there is a internet problem.  You can still play your single player games no problem.  For anyone that says they do not care about always online DRM because they have good internet or they will just deal with the problem then to that I say there will be a day when you really want to play a game be it just getting home from a might night launch, having a hard day at work, or just in the mood for a certain game and when you can't play due to server problems or the internet being down you are going to be pissed.  Then you have developing countries which have terrible internet, trust me I currently live in one for work at the moment.  My host families wifi can sometimes require me to hit refresh 10 times before this site loads.

 

Finally there is the question of will console gamers even accept an always online console?  Sadly us PC gamers accepted always online DRM in some of our games and with a computer being something you use to surf the web I think people had an easier time accpeting always online DRM.  As I stated earlier though if the rumors are true than that would mean every new Xbox game would require a constant internet connection, not even something us PC gamers have to deal with. Judging by all the comments I have seen on this site I think it is safe to say console gamers are not going to accept it, plus I don't think I have seen any pro comments for this matter either.  Also there are the parents who don't bother to connect their Xbox to the internet and don't pay attention to gaming sites like this.  There is no way parents like that are going to buy a console that always needs to be online to play games, especially if their 360 isn't connected because they don't want their kids connected while playing.  Top that off with having to worry about entering CD keys and then their kid crying if they can't play their games due to no internet, server problems, or traveling somewhere.  The PS4 is going to be the better option for people like that too.  I wouldn't be surprised if Gamestop and other stores tell each customer it will require a constant internet connection to avoid mass amounts of people trying to return the Xbox.  

 

Microsoft has already said it cannot have another Windows 8 type launch where they did not sell a lot of units.  If the new Xbox require a constant internet connection there is no way it is ever going to sell as much as the 360 did.  If that happens who knows what might happen to Microsoft or Windows.

 

DC's alternative to the New 52

When I first started reading comics I preferred Marvel over DC.  I was familar with more Marvel characters from tv and movies so it made jumping in much easier.  I was reading DC too but not as many Marvel books.  A few years into reading comics though and I began to notice Marvel liked to pander to the movie crowd a lot.  They were making their comics look more like the movies such as adding the computer Jarvis to Iron Man and pretty much trying to distance themselves from the human one.  At the same time DC started to have some really good stuff.  Batman Battle for Cowl was a great mini series leading up to Dick and Damian being Batman and Robin as well as all the Batman Reborn stuff.  Blackest Night was very intertaining, I loved Superman Secret Origin, Superman finally left New Kryppon, Barry Allan was back, etc.  So I really liked the direction DC was going and I loved how they were not changing their comics to fit the movies or their cartoons.

 

Now when I heard about the New 52 I was actually excited.  As much as I love DC I could understand where they are coming from.  Action Comics was over 900, Batman and Superman over 700, and Wonder Woman over 600.  I know books like Green Lantern, Flash, Teen Titans, Justice League, Justice Society, Green Arrow, and such were at lower numbers from re numbering but they all had that back story which could put people off.  Now when I started comics though I started with the current issues for the month, bought as many back issues as I could find, then started going back with graphnic novels that were a great starting point like Superman up up and away, Batman face the face, Amazing Spider-Man coming home, Teen Titans a kids game, and Green Lantern rebirth.  The problem with that though is not all those graphic novels are numbered so you have to do some research and not everyone knows where to start.  DC obviously wanted to just start from the begining so I decided to give them a chance.  As much as I loved the old DCU I was excited for a new one to start from the begining.  So far there are many stories I enjoy very much such as Justice League, Aquaman, Batman, Earth 2, Batgirl and Green Lantern.  How ever one thing that always seemed strange to me was how DC started their Earth One line back in 2010 but did not seem to do much with it.  The point of Earth One was to start in a new continuity so nothing would hold the writer back and attract new readers.  I loved Superman Earth One when it came out but we did not get another Earth One until mid 2012 when Batman Earth One came out and in late 2012 when Superman Earth One vol 2 came out.  Why start a graphic novel line aimed at attracting new readers only to reboot your enitre main universe a year later?  So today on the comic book resources forums someone asked what our alternative was to the new 52 and below is what I posted about how Earth One should have been the New 52.

 

Instead of making a new 52 I would have just pushed the Earth One line of books and have gotten more out there. I love all 3 Earth One books currently out right now and found it strange that DC decided to do the reboot a year after Superman Earth One. DC said the point of Earth One was to not be tied down by established continuity and attract new readers but yet no Earth One was released on 2011 and we got the reboot.

I would have 1 or 2 Earth One books come out every 2 or 3 months. Each character would get their own book. I would start with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. I would have them all be in the same universe but be very self contained with only little mentions of the other heroes like how in Superman Earth One vol 2 there was that little reference to Batman in an issue of the Daily Planet. Later add a Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Flash book and maybe have 2 or 3 come out every month at that point. Get DC to market the crap out of them and let people know this is a new Earth not connected to the ones in the monthly comics. Let people know that what is going on with Earth One is completely different from everything else. I think Earth One would be a better way to go because buying monthly issues can get kind of expensive and I think it is not the best way to bring in new fans at this point. Books seems to be more popular with the youth, especially girls, and you have books like The Hunger Games, Twilight, Harry Potter, Pretty Little Liars, Vampire Diary's, and Gossip Girl which all all modern books that have became movies or TV shows. I know the Walking Dead is a monthly series but ever since the show started I have heard the graphic novels were selling better then the monthly issues. So the way I see it is start advertising Earth One as something set in its own universe and you do do not have to read every book to understand what is going on. So if you one wants to read Batman and Wonder Woman only then they only need to read those 2 books. By having actually graphic novels come out every 2-3 months I feel this would make new fans feel better because they are getting a nice hard cover book with over 100 pages and a wrapped up story by the end then instead of getting 20 pages every month and taking 4 or 5 issues to complete a story. After a few books of each character have been released then maybe do a Justice League Earth One. Also get Bruce Timm and Andrea Romano on board to adapt them into animated movies.



So what do you think?  Would Earth One have been a better way to attract new readers and still let long time fans keep the old DCU, was it time for the old DCU to go away, or could there have been another option?

Playstation 4 blocking used games may not be so bad.

So if the rumors are true and Sony does indeed make it impossible to play second hand games on the PS4 I have to say this may not be a bad thing depending on how things unfold.

I myself am I PC gamer so the idea of not being able to sell a game I have purchased is not new to me so this change would not bother me so much even though I do buy a lot of console exclusives used after a year or two. A great thing about being a PC gamer we have Steam, Origin, Uplay, GoG, and many other digital sites that have sales. So if there is a game we are unsure if we will enjoy, all we have to do if wait a few months for a sale or a price drop. Sony has already began putting some new games on the PSN the day of their release and to me that shows they are serious about consoles moving to the digital distribution method. If Sony starts putting all their games on the PSN the day of release once the PS4 comes out that might not be such as bad thing if Sony invests in putting a big hard drive in the PS4 or includes the option of a model with more hard drive space. This will allow gamers who do not want to have a lot of physical discs around to be able to store all their games in their hard drive and re download them off the PSN when ever needed. Also Sony could do sales on games just like all the PC digital platforms do.

Now you are probably saying all this could be done without Sony blocking used games and that is true and I am not against used games at all and hope Sony reconsiders their position if this is indeed true. If Sony does go through with making used games not playable on the PS4 then this or something like it needs to be done because what is going to happen when a game is stopped being made new? Say someone wants to buy a game from 5 years after the PS4 launch that is no longer being anymore? You could try eBay, but will probably have to pay an arm and a leg which is ironic because I see people selling new games years later on eBay making a lot more then they are now and Sony still wont be getting any of the money. Another option Sony could do is basically go the screw you route kind of like with the PSP Go. Great idea for a hand held when you think about it. Download your games so you have them all with you because no adult is going to carry all their PSP games around with them. The biggest problem though was not every PSP game was added to the PSN so if you only had a PSP go you were screwed because it had no disc drive. Also people who even had a regular PSP were kind of screwed because they had to keep it if they got a Go in order to still play their disc games. By adding every title to the PSN it lets people play old games they missed out on.

The biggest problem I see though is this is probably going to drive parents away from buying a PS4 for their kids. This does have its advantages though. I love kids, I majored in child development in college, but I cannot stand it when I play online and there are kids as young as 12 swearing and saying sexist remarks that if I said while playing games as a child would make my parents smash my SNES with a sludge hammer. Just go into any Game Stop and you will see parents tend to buy used games over new for their kids and often they are older games by a few years, at least that is what I see. If the Xbox 720 allows used games that will pretty much seal the fate of which console parents will buy their kids. Sure some parents will still buy it but probably because they themselves will be playing it. Even if Sony makes old games cheap on the PSN I still dont see parents going for it as they will not be able to re sell the game back to Game Stop.

If Sony does do what I described above though it may not be perfect, but to me that is the best solution if they are going to block used games from their next console. What do you guys think? Is this a good idea or should Sony do something else?

The Mass Effect 3 ending controversy could have been avoided.

*Spoilers from Mass Effect 3 and Leviathan DLC follow.

The whole Mass Effect 3 ending controversy could have either been avoided or at least not as big as it was. I am not going to go into too many details about how the ending could have better, but rather explain how the ending could have been made to avoid all the controversy.

If you saw the games original ending than you remember how the ending was. Full of plot holes, no real explanation of the reapers, and no real closure to the choice you made. Now I know opinions differ on the ending, but the two areas that caused the most problems I seemed to see from people were no real explanation about the reapers origins and no explanation about what happened after you made your choice. We see the catalyst, are given a very vague explanation about the reapers, make our choice, see the color of our choice spread across the galaxy, the Normandy crashes, credits, epilogue. When the extended cut was added I was happy to get the epilogue pictures because they gave more closure. We got to see the outcome of our choice and got to see how the galaxy was continuing on after the reaper invasion. To me that made the ending good, I was happy, I had just only wished I learned more about the reapers origins. Ever since the first game I was always very curious about just who the reapers really were. When Sovereign would say lines such as "We are the apex of evolution, you cannot comprehend us, we have no beginning or end" I really wanted to know if all of these things were true of if it was just reaper arrogance. On my most recent play through of Mass Effect 3 I had both the Leviathan DLC installed (for the first time) and of course the extended cut installed and I have to say if those two things were in the original game there would probably either be no outcry about the ending or the outcry would not have been as big as it was.

At first I was a bit hesitant of purchasing Leviathan because I had already paid $10 for "from ashes" and the "take back Omega" DLC is going to be $15 so if I was to get that as well I would have paid $95 for Mass Effect 3 at this point. After finishing Leviathan though I was very pleased with my purchase. I did Leviathan before going to the Illusive Mans base because that seemed like the most logical way to do it. After finishing it I was very satisfied because I learned about the origins of the reapers. At the same time I thought to myself "why wasn't this in the actual game?". Leviathan would have been perfect as a priority mission at some point in the game. The DLC gave us the origins of the reapers and a much better explanation of why they harvest the galaxy every 50,000 years and finally explained where that arrogance came from. When I reached the catalyst there was an added dialogue option to mention the Leviathans which did add a little more to the conversation with the catalyst. Then after I made my choice and saw the extended cut epilogue scenes I felt rather pleased with the ending.

If the original game had included both of these than for starters I feel the conversation with the catalyst wouldn't feel so random and added last minute because the Leviathans do mention it when you talk to them. Also when meeting the catalyst having known about the reapers true origins and more about them makes the catalyst explanation of the reapers make more sense. We would know the reason the reapers think the way they do is because the Leviathans thought that way and Harbinger was made from the Leviathans. We would also know the Leviathans tried to stop the conflict of synthetics turning and organics which created the catalyst which in turn created the reapers. So just knowing that makes the catalysts explanation of the reapers make more sense. Yes the catalysts explanation is vague and doesn't offer much at face value, "the reapers are my solution to the chaos.....synthetics will always turn on organics", but knowing about the Leviathans helps clear up the vagueness. I do feel though that if Leviathan was in the original game there would be more dialogue about them with the catalyst though. If the conversation with the catalyst focused more on about the Leviathans, how they failed, and how the current cycle proves them wrong the ending would have made more sense. That is not taking into account your option on the A,B,C choices and what happens to the relays and such, but as far as the catalyst goes I feel Leviathan makes him more bearable. Then add the extended cut scenes giving us more closure on our choice and that makes for a decent ending I thought. You get to learn the reapers true history, or at least enough, the catalyst feels a bit more relevant, what it says makes a bit more sense, and you get to see what your choice did and how the people of the galaxy are living with it. Add little to no hype to that and I say you got an ending more people would be willing to accept more that what they originally got.