Update Powers Activate!

Well it’s 5:14 AM here, so what does that mean?  Holly is crazy and needs sleep!  Yes!  Always true.  Yet there’s hope!  Okay, not for Holly being crazy, or getting sleep, but hope for an update!  Well I guess reading this you know there’s an update, but I don’t!  I might fall asleep halfway through this or decide to scrap it!  More exclamation points!!!!!

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that embarrassing display of sleep deprivation out of the way, let’s talk shop.  Where have I been?  You may theoretically be answering.   Why I’ve been gaming, sick, trying to procure a new recording implement, and gaming.  That’s my response, and I’m sticking to it.  (It has been a lot longer than one night without sleep if you can’t tell.)  Anyway,  Holly has also been very close with somebody, then gotten very rejected by that same somebody so Holly’s emotional spectrum has been all over the place.  Also, I keep switching from first and third person, I blame Twitter and Facebook.  Oh, and sleep deprivation of course, but you knew that already!  Jeez, why do you have to bring all this stuff up?

What have I been playing?  What haven’t I been playing since my last post, I’ve gone from Pong to Defender to Battletoads to Kirby Super Star to Super Contra to Bomberman 64, to the entire Mass Effect series to Day Z.  That last one is definitely getting a mention later in this post.

What have I not been playing?  Diablo 3!  And to some, that’s a travesty, I have to admit I was very torn on it too.  So let’s talk about that in a segment I shall call.

Super Auction House Mania 3d!

First, let’s talk my love of Diablo.  I have had Diablo essentially as long as I’ve had the internet.  Period.  I love the series,  I love to throw out classic Diablo quotes.  I love the characters,  I love the mood, the action, and playing multi-player.  I’ve met some great people on battle.net servers.  Diablo 1 was my very first beta test.  I’ve beta tested every Diablo game up until 3.  It was a game I sat on the edge of my seat for for years and was probably willing to forgive massive oversights and poor development just to continue the franchise if I had to.  Heck, I even gave Duke Nukem Forever the benefit of the doubt through half the game.  I can be victim of fan loyalty to a game.

It doesn’t mean I won’t critique it fairly mind you, but I can forgive it for me.  Guilty pleasures being just that.  What I could not forgive, was some seriously unethical decisions all built around one purpose.  Fuel the auction house, while remaining PR neutral enough to stave off the harsh criticism that some would throw at it.  Actiblizzard are great at PR and marketing.  Far better than I’d ever be, we saw it when they launched the virtual pet store in WoW, let’s make one of the two give 50% of the pure profit we make to charity.  So anybody that can critique the system of charging 66% of the  monthly subscription for a vanity item that is for all intents and purposes resized/reskinned models looks like a total and complete scrooge during Holiday shopping season and saying that the charity pet is bad.

Brilliant marketing indeed.  D3’s is a little shakier, but people are defending it none the less.  Why must we have always on capability?  Why must a single player character be able to hop from single player to multiplayer instantaneously, and not offer an offline option?  Why can’t there be a separate offline mode where the characters are incompatible with online play?  Because they want even the single player people to be tempted by the online auct-no wait, it’s to prevent cheating!  Hacking!  Dogs and cats living together in the streets!  Because people playing single player matter to the holiness of the system!  They might get access to game code that they in no-way have access to with this system.  And it prevents piracy!  Like all those others always-online games did.

Yes it’s an inconvenience to legitimate buyers, particularly when the servers are full, or their connection is unshaky.  Yes it means that if you’re playing D3 you are most definitely going to be spotted by anybody on your realid friend list, even if all you want to do is enjoy the mood and story of Diablo 3.  But, it’s to uphold the integrity of the single player experience and the game as a whole.  Yes.  The biggest PC only launch in years, must have ironclad, user abusive DRM to prevent pira-what do you mean it’s already cracked?  Well of course it is, silly game developer, you’re a popular game, and with such invasive DRM, you’ve become a prime target for every cracking team on the grid.

It’s a joke, and anybody that thinks otherwise is well, delusional.  Every online decision in Diablo 3 is made revolving around this idea of the Auction House because it, ideally is supposed to help fund the servers.  And you know what?  I’m okay with the idea of that.  It took me a lot of soul searching to become okay with the idea, it really did.  I’m still disgusted by it, and I know I personally will never use such a system, but I can see it’s purpose.

This sort of restrictive DRM from Ubisoft to ‘prevent piracy’ caused a literal riot.  Blizzard implements it to ‘protect the integrity of the game’ and everybody’s okay with it.  Sometimes people hurt my brain.  To me, DRM should never hinder/hurt legitimate customers.  Like security, think of if every time you entered a store, you had to go through airport like security.  Because some people shoplift?  Some people even murder while in the stores!  It’s to stop murder!  Sure it takes you 2 hours to go pick up a gallon of milk, but it’s for those lives that could be lost, think of them.  And that’s good milk, yeah?  Not starving to death is totally worth it!

So no, I don’t think Diablo 3 is a bad game, as a game, everything I’ve seen points to the opposite, for a full price triple A title, it’s graphics are lower than I would expect, it’s optimization is…sub-par from all accounts, and it’s repetitive, like many of the games in the genre are.  I can’t verify those, so I can’t say I stand behind those ideas fully, that’s just from gameplay footage I have seen (and I’ve seen a lot of it, it’s everywhere.)

But, these are still bad decisions, I was not offering money to support.   Not that I had to pay money, I did get a copy free with the year contract I signed with Blizzard (primarily to get into the Mist of Pandaria beta.)  And attempting to return it based on that feedback, has proven impossible.  I first attempted to exchange it for a title I’d like, the original starcraft on my battle.net account for example, or perhaps one of the Warcrafts prior to WoW?  I didn’t expect that to work, but you can’t blame a girl for trying, eh?  But apparently ‘just remove it from my account’ is also not an option.  I could transfer it off to another account, or transfer my other games off to another account, but just return it?  Why that’s ludicrous woman!

Anyway, enough rambling on about Diablo 3, lets get to a game I’m actually happy for.  One that’s actually a mod (yay games that still offer mod support!.)

Day Z – The Mod that Sounds like a Rapper.

 Do you like games with great atmosphere and sound design?  Particularly your horror games?  Did Amnesia rock your socks off despite how rarely things actually attack you because you were afraid of things attacking you?  Let’s introduce perhaps one of the best examples of survival horror at it’s finest to date, in alpha form.

Day Z is a mod of Arma 2, a shooter known for it’s realism.  What does Day Z feature?  Consistant characters, the need to survive, eat, drink.  Being squishier than a watermelon, broken bones,, breathing and blood loss affecting aim.  24 hour real time day/night cycle.  Beautiful sound design, the fear that other people are a bigger threat than the zombies, because you fight over very limited supplies.  Bandit gangs of real people roaming the highway, and a life expectancy of 4 hours.

4…hours….in a realistic time scale.

Well, it’s nice to know how screwed humanity will actually be when the zombie apocalypse comes.  The atmosphere in the game is great, though the Arma 2 interface is a brick wall learning curve.  The game is horrid to watch someone else play and wonderful to play.  The tense moments of sneaking by zombies for a can of baked beans is super exciting, and the tense gun in face encounters with other players while you try to guage if they’re friend or foe, and if they’d be more helpful to your survival alive than dead. Carrying weight is limited and realistic, shooting is limited and realistic, interactions with people fairly realistic.  Damage fairly realistic, to the loss of blood requiring a transfusion.

This game is not for everyone, it’s 90% calm, 10% level 13 excitement adrenaline rush on the 1-10 scale, and 100% atmosphere.  It’s also  60% buggy, and other statistical numbers I’m throwing out there!  (the 4 hour survival rate is very true though, confirmed!)  It’s walking dead zombie apocalypse come to life.  It’s kill or be killed trust no-one mentality.  It’s scraping by just enough to survive, and finding a place to rest the night in pitch black darkness.  Overall a very interesting and unique experience I hope we see more of if the zombie trend must continue.  Now let’s do it on a grander mmo scale.

But I’m off for now, see ya later gamers.

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