sieg6529 / Member

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sieg6529 Blog

piling on EA

Oooh, me too! Let's all pile on the hate for EA. They didn't earn that Golden Poo for nothing. So let me bullet-point what's on my mind (nothing original, just venting).

1) Origin. Look, I understand the appeal of getting a slice of that Steamy pie. However, if you're going to make a play for it, how about making it good? Don't embarrassing yourself with a system that's buggy, incompatible with many firewalls, and crosses wires with Steam (see my previous post). It's awful, and I have uninstalled it.

2) Dumbing down games. Why do they need to appeal to lowest common denominator? Their games seem to get simpler and simpler, taking more and more of control and immersion away from the player. Look at the changes from Dragon Age: Origins to DA2, and the same goes for Mass Effect. Some of the changes were good (loved the combat in DA2), but the overall simplification doesn't appeal to me. I like being able to choose between sets of armor or types of sniper rifle, I don't want that restricted.

3) Dishonesty. Lying about the restricted on-disc content for ME3 was pretty low, and they got caught on it. This shows that they have no respect for their paying customers, and even a little disdain us. I also do not believe that the non-ending to ME3 was truly part of their "artistic vision". The truth is that they were going to make the ending DLC to be made available later this year, but they underestimated (another manifestation for their indifference and contempt) how poorly it would be received. Which leads to:

4) Nickle and diming. More like $5 and $ I don't know how to apply the gerund to those values, but still. And it's never discounted, never bundled...I mean, all the Dragon Age 2 DLC will now set you back 3 or 4 times what the game itself costs. An Ultimate Edition which contains it all would be nice, but maybe they've abandoned that practice.

I also fear that the recent uproar over the ME3 (non)ending will drive home a bad lesson for EA. I think their takeaway is that we want conclusive endings very badly, and that means (to them) another potential for DLC. Sure, the backlash may make them learn a good lesson, but this is EA we're talking about. They've got bad margins and a dropping stock value - we have not seen the last of their "revenue stream innovation".

Origin, aka pathetic Steam wannabe

So my ongoing saga to play Mass Effect is finally resolved. What a freakin' mess. The Gamefly download agent never did work, even after disabling firewalls, restarting, running as admin, etc. The download would just time out and start over infinitely.

So I was directed to Origin by the Gamefly support and just told to use my purchase keys in the Origin. So I dl'd ME1 and enjoyed it thoroughly. Then I go to redeem my key for ME2 and the download completed in a suspicious 10 seconds. My internet is not that fast. Well, the stupid Origin engine found my ME2 demo from Steam and assumed it was done. Sure enough, launching ME2 from Origin took me to the demo, not the full game. So my thought process at this poing was "Oh well, I'll uninstall the demo and try again". So I made the horrible mistake of uninstalling through Steam, not Origin. By doing so, I removed all local content but Origin still thought it was active and playable. So I thought I would uninstall from Origin and start over.

Wrong - Origin uses the Windows add/remove program function, and Windows couldn't find ME2. So then I tried re-entering my purchase key, but Origin wouldn't let me because it was already active on my computer. During all of this, I tried uninstalling and re-installing both Origin and Gamefly, engaged in no less than 4 useless tech support chats, and in the end I figured it out myself. I had to re-install the demo for ME2 from Steam and then uninstall from Origin. Then I was finally able to re-download the full game.

Moral of the story - never stray from Steam. Saving a couple bucks on a Gamefly or Origin sale is not worth it.

gamefly plus D2D equals fail

Gamefly had a nice big sale on PC games this last week, downloads only, so it looks like they're trying to get a piece of the Steam pie. However, someone needs to tell them that Steam works because the gawddamned downloads do not interrupt halfway through and start over ad infinitum. I bought Mass Effect 1 and 2 for like $15, but I'll never play them at this pace. The download has been cycling for 3 days now. For reference sake, I started the Witcher from Steam last night and it's done this morning. But the Gamefly downloads are still going. What's weird is that when it stutters, it has to start over completely, whereas Steam saves any progress. Their support was equally useless, telling me to restart my computer and router, as if I hadn't thought of that.

8th generation consoles

Wow, it looks like I might be destined to be one of those PC gamer snobs. I know it's early and rumors are insubstantial, but all that I'm hearing about the next generation of console games is disheartening. A Playstation that is locked down and hostile to used games, an Xbox that has a weak-a$$ graphics card, and a WiiU that doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. However, there could be some things that cool my simmering discontent:

1) PS4 - if the system were to support a Steam-like game distribution system, in which older games can be downloaded for Steam-like low cost, I could overlook the fact that used games need to be "activated" at cost because I could just play older games and be a year or two behind everyone. I already do that, and I don't mind not being the first cool kid on the block with the latest release.

2) Xbox - Rumor has it that the graphics card would be akin to the HD 6770. That's disappointing to me, because that's not even a mid-tier card. If Xbox wants to be the bargain brand this generation, that's fine, but they'd better 1) price it appropriately and 2) not count on me buying it because I'm a shameless graphics whore.

3) WiiU - if Nintendo makes a system that is primarily a powerful gaming device that happens to have a tablet-like controller, I could get on board. However, Nintendo's biggest problem ever since the N64 is getting 3rd party software support. I loves me some Mario and Zelda, and I have since the old NES days, but they need some original titles to spice things up. Square, EA, et al., need to view Nintendo as an equal player in the console trinity.

reverse hibernation

As the weather warms, I find myself gravitating once again to the shelter of my evercool basement. I think there's going to be a reverse-hibernation cycle, wherein I hide during the warm months and emerge in the cool months to enjoy the upstairs heating. So console gaming in the winter and PC gaming in the summer. Sounds good to me.

I just beat Twilight Princess on the Wii, as I continue to catch up on good games I didn't play because I was buried in Oblivion (when I should have been finishing my thesis). It's fun, but it seems like the wolf+darkness purging elements were shamelessly lifted from Okami, which came out first. I don't know if there's any validity to that theory, but the similarities are striking. It didn't take away from my enjoyment, but it was an observation. Overall, I very much enjoyed it and wish I had gotten to it sooner.

But completing that one made me realize I never completed Windwaker. I know I spent a long time on it a couple of years ago, got stumped at the entrance to the Wind Temple, and just kind of faded away from it. So I dove back in (get it?) right after Twilight Princess and beat that damned temple. Strange that I got so far in without finishing it, but I should be done by this weekend. I love the cheerful-yet-post-apocalyptic feel of Windwaker, as you cheerfully adventure above a drowned kingdom.

learning the wrong lesson

Let me start with a fair bit of blasphemy - I've never played any of the Mass Effect games. I didn't have a gaming PC until last year, and I know that Bioware games are best enjoyed on one. I intend to play them all, once they're available as a bundle with all 3 games and DLC included. For no more than $20, even if that takes years.

So right now we're all ticked about the bad ending and DLC BS. But all the hoopla, it's really the gamers at fault here. We buy the day 1 DLC, we buy the collector's editions, we pre-order to get premium content. So why should they do any different than sell us what we're clearly willing (but resentful) to buy. Now sure, it's pretty deceitful of them to deny unactivated content on a disk exists when it was proven otherwise, but the root of the problem is still us. I'll admit guilt; I bought Dragon Age Origins as a Collector's Edition, I bought all the additional DLCs, I bought the Oblivion DLC...but I've learned. I purchased none of the DA2 DLC, and I bought the Fallout 3: GOTY for $10 on Steam instead of buying each of the DLC piecemeal.

Worst of all, I think EA is going to take away the wrong message from all this. You think we've won by their consideration of an improved ending? I foresee endings for sale as DLC. Don't like the ending? There's a better one available for $4.99 on Origin. Want the silly ending? Also $4.99 on Origin. You know the masses will grab it up despite their complaints. We could be creating a monster.

Look, I hate nickle-and-diming as much as the next semi-decent person, but EA is a publicly traded company interested in margins, profitability, and little else that doesn't serve those first two directly. It's naive to think otherwise.

that Slate article about Dark Souls

So I stumbled upon this article earlier today, and it got me to thinking. The author's basic criticism is that Dark Souls is too long, that you can enjoy all that it really has to offer in just a few hours as opposed to the 100 he supposedly spent. It's true that Dark Souls is a long game, and one that is long by design. Skyrim, for example, is easily capable of sucking 100+ hours away, but it isn't required; many have beaten it in just a few hours but they fail to experience so much. Dark Souls requires time, as there's no amount of skill that will allow you to beat Seath or Nido at level 2. The fastest time I've found online was a 12 hour completion at level 50, and I doubt it was his first time through the game. Now, I would argue that most people who beat it for the first time spend no less than 60 to 80 hours to do it, and that's assuming they're fresh off Demon's Souls and still sharp with their parrying+riposting. Most likely, the virgin player spent closer to 100 hours (I spent about 117, but I could have ended earlier had I not been farming that damned twinkling titanite). So his 100 hour statement is certainly fair. Let's move on to what is less so.

Let's attack his basic premise - you can experience all the game has to offer in 10 hours. Really? In 10 hours I'd barely made it out of the first level. I mean, you can probably argue that you've already gotten a representative understanding of the crushing despair that permeates throughout the game. However, without experiencing Anor Londo, New Londo, or the Crystal Caves, how can one claim to have experienced all the art available in Dark Souls?

Next, let's attack his use of the affective fallacy. It basically says that it is erroneous to judge a work based on its emotional response. That's an outdated and controversial method of literary criticism that really is not applicable to a video game in the new millenium. Now, if you want to throw that critique at the tomes produced by George RR Martin, there may be some traction there.

Now, it's painfully clear to me that the author 1) should not be reviewing games as he clearly disdains anything that lasts longer than 10 hours that doesn't make him fluent in a new language and 2) he didn't really play the game through because he's failing to comprehend it based on his statements regarding Frampt (I think he mined a wiki for info). If he's so keen on languages and higher art, he should stick to that and not wallow in the muck of Blighttown.

Basically, he seems angry that the game is hard to figure out and that the story is very, very vaporous. I'll agree that the story could have used more meat, and the "good" ending was sorely lacking. But Dark Souls is for the imaginative as much as the tenacious, and I consider myself lucky to still be both as I stand on the brink of my 30s.

she's dead jim

Aaaand then my new TV died. 20 days old, bad panel, whatever that means. The Geeksquad guys basically confirmed I had a 51" paperweight and recommended replacement. So I took it to BB, they dinked around for an hour, couldn't find my model (even though it was still on display) in the store, in sister stores, or in the warehouse. So I took my business to TigerDirect, and I even saved some money.

I'm thinking about getting a small one for the spare bedroom so that my wife and I can watch different things or if she wants to watch TV while I play games. There's already a Wii in there with Netflix+Hulu, just that the TV is one of those old CRT that takes up a ton of room. It would be much nicer to have a smaller, wall-mounted LCD to free up space.


Oh yeah, bought a new TV. 51" Samsung plasma with really good active 3D effects. It can even render minor 3D visuals on non-3D movies and games. It really shines on games like Arkham City and Killzone 3. The other big bonus is that this can take a direct hookup to an HD antenna, which means we can watch TV again since we cut the cable. It also means we have a summertime viewing apparatus, as my projector suffered from ambient light dilution in the sunny months. The projector will move downstairs for more home-theatre applications, but to make that guest-friendly we gotta clean up and furnish what is currently just a lair for my monster PC.

Also, after 110+ hours and may more deaths, I finally beat Dark Souls. They make you earn it, that's for sure. I'm not sure if I want to do a NG+ run just yet. I don't want to get burnt out. I only missed out on a couple of tail drops and covenant rewards, so there's not much more for me to do.