Video Game Tuesday: Black Armory’s Launch was a Failure

I’m back with a familiar topic for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. It’s all about why Black Armory’s Launch was a Failure!

Black Armory?: Black Armory was the first DLC drop after Forsaken launched for Destiny 2, and it was a massive middle finger to the player base once again. There were many things I had faintly hoped Bungie had learned from in the past, but apparently five years into this series they still make really stupid mistakes.

Like what?: They decided to make the first new activity of the new DLC an activity that even people who had the very best gear the day before the DLC released couldn’t complete without being highly skilled premade group despite flaunting the ability to match make the activity and locked it behind a tedious grind. Black Armory wasn’t like past DLC that included Story Missions, Strikes, New Vendor Gear, New Exotic Armor, or Crucible Maps, instead it included none of those things, and just added a new activity and a raid that was locked for a few days after it’s launch that started off at a new gear level that was vastly over the previous cap. They included no ability to catch up for those who hadn’t reached that previous cap, so those who were just hitting 500 power level were still unable to even contemplate doing these activities until a month or more had passed depending on their luck. This has been lessened with a recent hotfixed change that made Prime Engrams drop more often up to the 600 power level cap, but that’s a really shitty bandaid that doesn’t fix the issue with RNG deciding to give you the bird and still requires players to grind constantly.

The fact that the very first activity was geared for people at 630 power level was a big fat screw you to the player base considering the cap was 600, and getting 1 or 2 increase in power level is a serious grind for everyone at the level.  People who had stocked up multiple bounties with Powerful Rewards and keys from the Raid could easily skip most of the grind and get a character past this with ease, but most people weren’t expecting to have to continue doing the same old content just to even think about doing the new stuff and still most likely fail.

This was a serious mistake on Bungie’s part, and instead of really creating a solution they hotfixed it the next day to give the activity a 5 power level decrease in total, meaning people had to spend only a day or two less in a very lucky week to get to that level. I’ve long held that Bungie has no clue how to properly communicate with their consumers, and this is another mark in the long list of proof I’ve been keeping of this fact. I had been playing Destiny 2 nearly daily since Forsaken up to the release of Black Armory, a thing that hasn’t happened since the Dark Below way back in 2014. That quickly changed when I was told to continue the grind just to do a new activity that wasn’t really all that fun in comparison to the work required to do it. I’ll be deleting Destiny 2 off my PlayStation’s hard drive once again and I’ll hope Bungie gets a clue in the future on how to treat their player base, but it’s a tiny hope now and I expect only more screw ups from them.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

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Video Game Tuesday: Setting Expectations

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about the importance of a very key factor when discussing future games or plans for content. It’s all about Setting Expectations!

Expectations?: So recently we’ve had two really good examples of how NOT to set fan expectations both prior to announcing something and afterwards. The Diablo Immortal Issue, and Final Fantasy XV’s cancellation of almost every future DLC and PC support.

Diablo Immortal: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Blizzard royally screwed up with the announcement of Diablo Immortal at the recent Blizzcon. I don’t think I remember them screwing up so bad, ever. There was the Real ID fiasco that occurred years ago, but that wasn’t as bad I think. They could and had plans to announce not only Diablo Immortal, but also Diablo 4 as well at the end of that announcement. Instead they just announced Immortal, which was a huge freaking mistake. First hardcore gamers in general, and PC gamers in particular, all hate the idea of Mobile games, add in the fact that Blizzard was teaming up with NetEase to make Diablo Immortal and the whole situation looked like a huge betrayal of the Diablo fanbase. One of the developers incredibly poor response during a particularly pointed question during a Q&A session later only exacerbated the issue. They should have gone with their first plan, as it was would have been much better. People would’ve been upset, and arguably rightly so in some views. Having multiple teams working on separate projects for Diablo could be seen as overly ambitious, and division of potential labor towards the quicker goal of completing Diablo 4, as well as the blatant cash grab that was the initial response to Diablo Immortal. I don’t agree with the direction of making a Diablo game for mobile, first it seems like it could easily be a poor clone, and while the demo available was apparently okay, that was a controlled demo that was made to showcase the best of the game. The rest of the game could easily be a huge disappointment, and the response from the people who played the demo doesn’t rule out that possibility. The Blizzard seal of quality has meaning, and if they handle this poorly they could end up repeating Bungie’s mistakes that cost them pretty much every shred of credibility with the gaming community.

Final Fantasy XV: The loss of Director Hajime Tabata seems to be the root issue of this issue, and frankly it’s a huge disappointment. I was really looking forward to playing the second wave of DLC, and because it was announced I hadn’t touched the first wave of DLC. Now I’m not sure I will for a good while. I’ll probably have fun with the Final Fantasy XIV crossover stuff, but I’m highly saddened that Square Enix is cutting back on the entire DLC plan they had for 2019 and beyond. Unlike many, I was looking forward to seeing a different ending that would’ve been included in the Noctis DLC, as while I really enjoyed most of the game and the story, the later portions of the story were incredibly depressing. Knowing that we lost this DLC is highly discouraging and a huge black mark on Square Enix’s record of making Final Fantasy games for me.

How can Developers handle expectation better?: Honestly, knowing their consumers better would prevent many of these issues in my opinion. Nintendo lost many hardcore gamers with their decision to cater to the casual market with the Wii, and they are still feeling the repercussions of that decision still. Granted that the Switch is a huge success, but they lost a lot of trust with the decision to pursue gimmicky controls with the DS and Wii. Others should take note of their mistakes and keep them in mind when they are planning announcements.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: The Importance of Timing

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m going to talk about why doing certain things pisses off players and how to avoid them. It’s all about The Importance of Timing!

Timing? Yes, Timing. It’s pivotal in making the most money and keeping your player base happy. It’s also why people hate Bungie so much in regards to Destiny and it’s sequels content, or rather lack thereof.

Keeping to a schedule: If you commit to a schedule, and especially if you do so publically and on record, you have to keep to it to the best of your ability. Bungie for example promised frequent content updates for Destiny and it’s various sequels, but it’s frequently and often quite lacking. In particular is the dearth of meaningful content being released regularly, which is always a death sentence for an MMO. It’s why Wrath of the Lich King was the last great World of Warcraft expansion before the disaster that was Cataclysm. The content drought was incredibly long in between Wrath of the Lich King’s final patches and Cataclysm, and that was unacceptable in terms of business. The fact that Cataclysm was highly despised as well did not help matters and led to a significant decrease in subscription numbers for the game. And by regular releases, I mean in periods of no longer than two to three months, which is the acceptable amount of time most games have content updates. Final Fantasy XIV has a major patch about every 3 months, and in between those patches are smaller content patches that add additional content. Compared to a game like Destiny 2 whose first content update post launch happened 3 months and was universally despised and you can see why timing is everything in business.

So what about other games? Well other games, in particular games like Fate/Grand Order’s NA client which is two years behind the original JP client, the community has a general sense of what the hell is going on and what is coming out when. That all went to shit when Aniplex decided to move the Paid Gacha pull, where you paid ~$30 to get a guaranteed SSR servant, two months earlier and left out on two highly sought after servants in that banner, Mordred and Jack the Ripper. It’s a move that would have been acceptable if that was an NA exclusive event, but it was a replacement for the typical New Year’s Paid Gacha that occurs yearly for the JP client. So it pissed off a ton of people, including myself. Not only would it have made a ton of business sense to have both those Paid Gacha occur, in addition to the delayed Anniversary Gacha that just happened a couple weeks ago, but it alienated and upset many people.

In addition Fate/Grand Order’s localization team seems to think that announcing content updates at Anime Conventions is a smart move. That’d be acceptable if they lined up to the expected schedule that the community projected, but they didn’t. They let the NA Client fall 4 weeks behind schedule just to announce an event at an Anime convention that at most .01% of the player base went to. It was just another insult in a long line. Such things could’ve been avoided if they remembered how important Timing is.

So that’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. I’ll close out with a quote from Wit from the Stormlight Archives that puts it best. “What is it we value? Innovation. Originality. Novelty. But most importantly…timeliness. I fear you may be too late, my confused, unfortunate, friend.” 

Video Game Tuesday: Forsaken Thoughts

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m talking about my thoughts on Destiny’s upcoming content. It’s my Destiny 2: Forsaken Thoughts!

Forsaken?: The next “Expansion” which should be on the level of Taken King in terms of content. Whether it lives up to that particular benchmark, as low as it is notwithstanding, remains to be seen.

What’s in it?: A new story, new Patrol Zone, Bow as a new weapon, Completely Reworked Weapon System, Random Rolls for Weapons (I’m not so psyched about this), New Raid, New Mode of Gameplay, and New Supers and abilities.

Bow?: Yep, honestly this might actually be really cool, especially given the…

Weapon System Rework?: Yea, changing one of the worst decisions Bungie made in regards to trying to balance PvP was to make secondary weapons into Power weapons along with the Heavy Weapons. This was a really unnecessary change that only highlighted one of the bigger issues I’ve had with Bungie which is having PvP balancing influence PvE play. I’ve made comments about that in the past though. Now in Forsaken, you’ll be able to equip weapons to any slot, if you want 3 rocket launchers you can do that. Go crazy.

Random Rolls?: Uh huh, each weapon will have random rolls once more, I personally find this to be a horrible change. It adds replayability, but of the worst sort in that it’s completely random and absolutely bullshit for some people. Others will disagree, but I see this one coming to bite Bungie in the ass given the Weapon system rework. PvP is going to be a nightmare to balance, and I’m already laughing at the amount of crap Bungie will get for this change. God tier rolls will be a thing again, and I personally hate this. I don’t want to run stuff over and over again just because it won’t drop a good roll for me.

New Mode?: It’s called Gambit, and it will be a mix of both PvE and PvP. It features two teams going through a set of rooms with various enemies. The first to reach the end wins, at least that’s what I can understand from the various sources I’ve read from. The PvP part comes into play when you finish certain rooms and cause a mini boss to spawn for the other team that they have to kill before moving on and/or one of your team members gets to go over to the team’s side and take them out. I’m hesitant about this, it sounds interesting, but it’s just another mode where you queue up, which is not what made Destiny fun. It was meeting the random people during Patrol and having them help you out and vice versa. Gambit lacks the spontaneity that marked the best of Destiny 1.

Finally they didn’t announce they’re making Patrol modes doable with a full fireteam of 6 people, which is a huge oversight. If they don’t add that, I’m going to be highly disappointed.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Video Game Tuesday: Bungie Can Do One Thing Right

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering one of the better things that Bungie can do, other than screwing up gameplay constantly for fans consistently. It’s all about how Bungie Can Do One Thing Right.

Huh?: So Bungie has always been known for their rather well done ARGs, or Alternate Reality Games. Now while this particular one was done mainly with Vicarious Visions, I have no doubt that Bungie had a hand in it. Stuff like I Love Bees. Now while these are all outsourced, they definitely were helped out by Bungie and they often get the credit for it.

But this one?: So players were given a puzzle in the latest Destiny 2 DLC which lead to a rather massive cipher and it lead to a message from an in game lore character from the first game. It also included a GPS location where there was two containers. One contained a replica of the Valkyrie weapon you get to use in the game temporarily and was given to the first person who found it. There was a second container holding commemorative gold coins for each person to visit the location. I have no doubt they are all gone and probably up on eBay already after the weekend that this was found, which was the week of the DLC launch. Honestly this kind of thing is really cool, though I’ll never get to take part in one really as code breaking isn’t my thing, too much numbers for me.

So give Bungie and their outsourced help credit for doing at least one thing right, their ARGs. If only they could make their actual games halfway as decently as these ARGs. That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday!

Video Game Tuesday: Warmind

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering what we know about Destiny 2’s latest expansion. It’s all about Warmind!

Warmind?: Yeah that’s the title of the next expansion, and frankly the only sure thing we know about this. However there are reports and possible leaks by retailers like GameStop that gives us a look at what it’ll actually contain.

New Enemies: Yay? Frankly I could give less of a shit at this point about new enemies in Destiny 2. They weren’t significantly different from Destiny 1 with only a few additions to the already limited types of enemies. Supposedly the new enemies are called Crypt Exos, which may mean we face things that are roughly “Guardian” shaped and sized and have to fight more traditional humanoid enemies. Again this isn’t really a big change and if anything only more boring.

New Area?: We’re headed back to Mars, whether it’ll include areas from the first game is unknown but highly likely given what we know about the backstory of this expansion which is supposed to deal with the Clovis Bray facilities we last raided during the Dust Palace strike in Vanilla Destiny (If you played on the PlayStation at least). Again I don’t particularly care at this point, but even if just is the same map, which wouldn’t surprise me and I wouldn’t put past Bungie to just copy paste into Destiny 2. Frankly while Mars was an interesting location, like all of Destiny’s various locales it was fairly with sparse enemies. At least if they copy paste the map from Destiny into Destiny 2 we should be able to use our damn Sparrows.

Raid?: Nope, we are supposedly getting another “Raid Lair” activity. This is highly disappointing. At least the Dark Below gave us the Crota raid even if it was ,and still is to the best of my knowledge, a buggy mess.

Horde Mode?: Another thing we are supposed to be getting, and frankly again really disappointing. Firefight hasn’t changed all that much since the Halo ODST days and Prison of Elders wasn’t all that different from that mode Bungie first made in 2009. I’m expecting nothing more, and just more disappointing stuff.

Story?: Supposedly we’ll be getting a story, but again I find that I just don’t give a fuck anymore. None of my friends regularly plays Destiny 2 anymore and I’m not suprised in the least, because it’s a freaking terrible game.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Video Game Tuesday: Bungie’s at it Again

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a warning against holding high expectations for a company that doesn’t deserve your patronage. Bungie’s at it Again, and this crap is getting old.

Again? Really?!?: We’ve been here before, many, many times. I’m almost considering making an entirely separate category on my Blog for Tuesday posts that deal with me bashing Bungie. I’d name it Bungie Bashing Tuesdays, or something like that. The fact that I’m even jokingly considering this is mind blowing. I won’t because I’m much too lazy and unwilling to give Bungie the even minimal respect that such a column would give them, even if it’s disrespectful on the most part. So when they made an announcement this last week with their plans for 2018 I’m not going to give them the time of day anymore. I don’t care that they are trying to make up for their mistakes. The fact is really simple, we’ve done this crap before every freaking year since Vanilla Destiny has launched.

We’ve been locked out of content before, with the Dark Below “expansion”. We’ve had massive changes occur for gear before, with House of Wolves and than the Spring Updates (seriously every freaking year). We’ve had all our gear become essentially useless with The Taken King, and the following Spring Update. They’ve promised to listen to their fans, they’ve promised to be more transparent, they’ve promised to not make really freaking stupid mistakes like Legendary Engrams not dropping Legendary Gear, Pushing Atheon of the edge, or their Public Events being worthwhile #TwoTokensAndABlue. We’ve had this told to us so many times that even Kotaku, whose writers are pretty forgiving compared to me, is getting tired of their bullshit.

So please, don’t spend that Holiday gift money, on Destiny 2. Stop buying or pre-ordering their content. They don’t have a reliable track record anymore when it comes to actually delivering a lasting solution to problems their games have. The fact people have started making shirts clearly ridiculing them is not a good sign for the games they make. But hey, at least I have content to bash every year around this time.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.