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.

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Video Game Tuesday: Swatting is Stupid

This week for Video Game Tuesday I wish I wasn’t writing this post.  Swatting is Stupid, among many other things.

Wait what?: So a little less than two weeks ago there was an incident in Wichita, Kansas (which is part of the US if you are unaware) where some asshole swatted a completely unrelated man who was fatally shot. Andrew Finch was the victim, and in respect to him and his family I won’t be naming the bastard who did the actual call.  I’ll just be referring to him as the “Asshole” from now on in this post.

What is Swatting?: Well I’m not talking about a playful slap or trying to squash a bug. I’m referring to the practice that has become a trend in recent years that has people falsely calling in highly dangerous situations into law enforcement agencies to interrupt other people. Whether they be streamers who regularly broadcast on Twitch to some poor sap who just handed someone else their ass, all these people are victims of an incredibly stupid stunt. I’m not going to call it a prank, because pranks don’t get people killed. It was really just a matter of time until this occurred, but the fact that it happened at all is incredibly telling of how toxic the online world can get.

Andrew Finch was a father and husband who didn’t even play online. So when Asshole lost in a game of Call of Duty he proceeded to Swat someone else thinking it was the person who had just beat him. It wasn’t, and it’s a very sad situation that occurred. Law Enforcement teams that are often termed as SWAT are frequently some of the mostly highly trained people in their respective forces, but even they make mistakes which can lead to tragic consequences.  In addition to actually taking care of situations where innocent lives can be lost because they didn’t act on a subtle cue on a regular basis, these teams are often among the first responders to arrive at a mass shooting situation. So they are under huge amounts of stress. While a portion of the blame goes towards the Law Enforcement teams of Wichita, it wouldn’t have even occurred if Asshole wasn’t being such a childish prick.

Asshole is now in custody and awaiting extradition to Kansas where he’ll be tried on multiple felony charges.

Wait you can get arrested for this?: Of course you’ll get arrested for pulling shit like Swatting. Making a false emergency call is a misdemeanor in the US according to a quick Google search while writing this post, but it can become a felony in certain situations. Such situations include calling in false threats, which is the main way Swatting occurs. For those unaware what the difference is, the general rule of thumb is that a misdemeanor is a crime in which you will go to jail, but not prison. Felonies on the other hand are crimes in which if you are found guilty of said crime you’ll go to a prison. There are differences, jails are short term while prisons are long term. So the general rule of thumb is that you go to jail for less than a year with a misdemeanor and you’ll be enjoying prison food for over a year if you commit a felony.

So moral of the story is really simple. DON’T SWAT. It’s stupid, dangerous and highly illegal.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. I’ll hopefully be back to a more regular post next week.

 

Video Game Tuesday: Things to Improve in 2018 Edition

Happy New Year everyone! I hope all is going well and you’re enjoying the first day of this New Year as much as I will be, hopefully. I’m back with a couple topics that could really use some attention for this week’s Video Game Tuesday.

Transparency: Lots of games failed to do this and made the players do this on their own. When games start treating players like tools and walking cash cows, they need to be stopped. Destiny 2 has had repeated failures on this part, and frankly it’s insulting at this point. Having your game limit you and tell you it’s doing otherwise when it comes to something as basic as earning experience points is unacceptable. It’s exploitation of gamers and everyone knows it. Doesn’t matter how many PR sprinkles you put on it, it’s still a pile of horse shit.

Communication:  If you are running a game that is getting content updates, regularly or not (I’m looking at you Destiny and Bungie), there needs to be a lot more discussion into future plans so people can A. Look forward to it and B. Know that the developers aren’t just taking their money and running off. Final Fantasy XIV and it’s Dev Team headed by Naoki Yoshida is an often used example of mine of how to do this right. So again please take some freaking notes!

Loot Boxes: Let’s all agree that these need to follow some simple guidelines in the future. First way of doing this is that all things in Loot Boxes are cosmetic in nature. Nothing earned from a Loot Box affects gameplay at all, in any way, shape, or form.  The second way of doing this is the Fate Grand Order example, where it can affect gameplay, but you just have to re-roll for a decent 5 star servant that you want. However the kicker is that you can’t have any form of competitive modes AT ALL. Finally and this applies to both ways of doing this, it has to be potentially attainable through purely gameplay means, which means that if you grind or wait it out long enough you could potentially get what you want from these loot boxes.

Net Neutrality: I’m trying to make this horse into so fine a paste that it could be sipped in through a fancy twisty straw like those you see used by kids who just had dental surgery. This shit matters, please don’t let it die. And hey I’m not saying riots in the street are necessary, it might be justified but it’s not necessary. Check both of of my two links in the this paragraph to see some simple things you could do.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday. Happy New Year!

Video Game Tuesday: My Games of the Year 2017 Edition

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering my picks for my favorites of this year. It’s My Games of the Year 2017 Edition!

Best Gameplay: Tales of Berseria is by far my favorite JRPG of all time, it’s got an amazing combat system and an equally amazing story with a really kickass female lead who has tons of character depth. Berseria allowed even people with minor physical disabilities like myself to enjoy the hell out of the combat system while still feeling like you were growing in skill along with the characters growth in the game. By the time I was done playing this game I was at the hardest difficulty setting in the Post Game Dungeon beating the hell out of enemies with Mystic Artes Chains while doing tons of damage. Not many games allow for people to really grow into the combat system and still feel like it’s got depth enough to be interesting endlessly. Berseria captured that quality easily, and that’s why it’s getting my Best Gameplay award.

Best Story: This was a close one for me between Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood and Tales of Berseria. However as Berseria is it’s own complete game and FFXIV is somewhat episodic given it’s nature, I had to give the award to Berseria.  It was really close though.

Best Artwork: I might hate everything else about the game, but Destiny 2 was pretty freaking beautiful to look at. However that’s about the only good thing it had going for it. However tying this was Stormblood, it’s got a less realistic art style, but it’s no less beautiful and it had a hell of a lot more locations to explore.

Best Musical Score: Final Fantasy XIV has always impressed me with it’s amazing musical score done by the incredibly talented Masayoshi Soken. The only gripe I have is that the Stormblood OST hasn’t been released yet! I want to listen to the sounds of the Azim Steppes while I’m writing or enjoying the thrilling pace of Stormblood’s exquisite Primal fight themes while on a walk to the store. Needless to say that Stormblood impressed the hell out of me, and while the currently released music of Stormblood hasn’t exceeded the awesomeness that is the Sophia boss theme it’s equaled it many, many times.

Best Mobile Game: Fate/Grand Order wins this one. Sure it’s got some serious grinding going on, Christmas Stocking farming sucked, but the story and lack of any competitive mode made it the top Mobile Game for me. I don’t like PvP modes all that much, so the fact that F/GO doesn’t have one isn’t a bad thing.

Overall: This was a really close one for me, but Berseria beat out Stormblood based purely off the same fact that it’s not an MMO that has content patches. That enclosed experience was amazing, and while Stormblood is without doubt the most fun I’ve had playing a MMO including the days of Tarren Mill versus Southshore on a PvP server, it isn’t a fully enclosed experience. So Berseria wins this one again.

Runner up: Stormblood for reasons stated above.

A Distant Third: Fate/Grand Order, it’s at least upfront about what you’re getting into, unlike a certain space shooter…. even if you have shit luck at anything RNG like me.

We Can Still Save Net Neutrality, If We Act

Hey all, so last week in a flagrant act of corruption and just being plain assholes, the FCC voted along party lines to dismantle Net Neutrality. Normally I tend to refrain from Politics in my posts, but this is such a blatant act of corruption in the United States government that I felt I had to speak up.

First off, if you haven’t read my previous post on Net Neutrality use the link above to do so. This post will wait while you read it. Back? Great.

Here’s what you can do other than riot in the streets and/or create graphic and obscene graffiti featuring Ajit Pai: Call your Members of Congress. Frankly we just had an amazing week last week with Democrat Douglas Jones winning in the historically Republican state of Alabama. The reason that’s significant, other than preventing a known sexual predator from taking public office, is that it proves that people can truly make a difference if you speak up. So raise a riot, metaphorically speaking.  I won’t advocate for an actual riot, although at this point it might be justifiable.

Other things you can do is call candidates who are running for office in 2018 and tell them you won’t vote for them if they won’t make Net Neutrality a central issue. Finally call your State Attorney General and ask for them to join other AGs in their lawsuit against the FCC for this flagrant act against the public interest.

I won’t be able to continue writing daily blog posts if this causes changes in my internet plan. So if you enjoy my work and pretty much anything on the internet, you need to be making a ruckus about this. This isn’t a joke, get out there and start banging on doors if you feel you can get others to listen to you on this. Again I won’t advocate rioting in the streets, however justified it may be. But get your voice heard and tell the FCC and Telecom Companies you won’t put up with their bullshit.

Video Game Tuesday: To Platinum or Not

Hey all, I’m back with another answer to a question I receive a lot for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! It’s whether To Platinum or Not!

To Platinum?: I mean to complete a game 100% or to unlock all the achievements (Trophies for those PlayStation gamers) in a game. This often involves beating the game on the hardest difficulty and/or doing so in a certain way. Whether that is a time limit or a character level limit, or even just a side quest completion rate it doesn’t really matter. The actual question I get asked however often goes like this, “As a Game Reviewer do you complete a game 100% before writing the review?”.

So do you?: As a general rule of thumb, the answer is a big fat NO. I do not achieve a Platinum Trophy in a game before reviewing it, because for most games that would take way too much time to accomplish. I’ll often do the story and if it’s an RPG any sidequests, before giving a review. There have been exceptions like the one time I reviewed Coffin Dodgers, which is my all time record of lowest score ever for a game I reviewed. Now if a game was to be so short and simple to beat that I was easily able to earn a Platinum trophy in a matter of hours instead of days I might end up going for the Platinum. That is if I find the game worth investing that time into. I have a busy schedule, and while I do what I love which is to review stories in all sorts of various formats, doing that takes up a bunch of time for me. So spending hours upon hours to Platinum a game that I find boring or even just mediocre I won’t bother going for a Platinum.

But have you ever fully completed a game you reviewed?: Yes I have, Final Fantasy XV and InFAMOUS Second Son are both games I’ve completed 100%. Earning the Platinum on Second Son was pretty interesting as you ended up hearing Delsin give you a message upon achieving the final Trophy. That was a fun way to reward the player alongside the Platinum Trophy. I’d love it if more games followed that example.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday! Do you go for a 100% completion in games you own? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below!

Video Game Tuesday: Gacha Games Aren’t Evil

This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m back with a follow-up to last week’s post. It’s all about why Gacha Games Aren’t Evil!

Gacha?: In these games, there are usually numerous characters, cards, or other items that players can obtain, and most of them are only obtainable via the “gacha” mechanism. The “gacha” mechanism would allow players to “spin” the gacha using a specific amount of in-game currency, which would give player a randomized character or item. Sometimes, these gacha would be limited, such that those characters and items can only be obtained within a specific event time frame. Because some of these items or characters would be given less chance to appear, typically players would need to spin the gacha many times before they can get the most desired outcome.

Isn’t that just the same thing as Loot Boxes in last week’s post?: Well let me make a distinction, what I think of as a proper “Gacha Game” doesn’t actually include all the games that utilize the Gacha mechanic. Many are pretty popular in Japan and the more successful ones are ones that don’t include a PvP component. This removes the need to get the highest tier characters to do well against players who will spend loads of money on the game. They are often called Whales because they are essentially just like the Vegas equivalent.  Games like Battlefront II included loot boxes that had actual gameplay advantages like getting Heroes which offer a significant power boost over the regular player. That goes into the Pay to Win category, and should never be put into any game. The fact that EA thought they could get away with doing something so monumentally sleazy is just further proof that they are run by greedy jerks.

What’s a good example?: Fate/Grand Order is a perfect example of a proper Gacha Game.  The game is highly popular in Japan and while you are highly encouraged to re-roll an account to get a desired rare servant like Artoria from the Stay Night sub-franchise, this isn’t absolutely necessary to succeed in the game. Although it will help you out greatly if you aim for a top tier servant like Jeanne D’Arc or Waver Velvet who were Servants available at launch. I enjoy playing Fate/Grand Order quite a bit, mostly because the story is excellent. I ended up re-rolling about a hundred times to get a Jeanne for myself. That single character has probably saved my butt more times than I can count. I consider the time I spent re-doing the intro over and over again well worth it since I got a top tier Servant that will last me the entire game’s life no matter what comes along in the future.

And before people ask whether I’m a “Whale” let me answer you. No, I don’t have anywhere near the amount of spending money needed to do that sort of thing. If I had the money to do so would I? Maybe, the story of Fate/Grand Order is quite good, and I’d love to make a top tier team with my Jeanne as a highlight. The game earns tons of money because people want their favorite characters and people end up sketching or creating various things to “summon” their desired servants as a weird form of superstition. Sometimes it works for them, other’s not so much.

That’s it for this week’s Video Game Tuesday, next week I’ll go back to my favorite topic for this column, bashing Destiny!

P.S.: For those wondering how my luck is in Fate/Grand Order, It’s definitely E Rank or lower. RNGs and I have always had a poor relationship. That might end up being a topic for a later column.