Aside

League brings on the man tears: A Loadout Review

These last two weeks have been so busy I haven’t had time to do much of anything other then work, write a few words, and booze it up.  Always time for booze.  My nice liquid cooled PC master race box, has gone utterly unused.  After a long day while I sit on my couch, with my cat on my shoulder, I just can’t bring my self to take the 20 steps and reach my desk.  Then it takes time to boot the beast up and talk to people to set something up. I guess it’s just supreme laziness, the kind of laziness that stops people from burning time on dumb things and instead literally doing nothing for an hour.

On the couch, I have turned on the TV to catch some of the LCS and every single game makes me want to boot up league and have another go.  I am definitely one of those players that is more negative then anything else, but I’ll have you know I suffer in silence.  It takes maybe 5 losses in a row, trying to just win one game before bed, around 4 in the morning on the sixth game and I can’t seem to catch a break.  In my head, my options come down to 2, pull all my hair out or say something to the top laner pushed up to the enemy tower with no wards and 4 deaths.

For the last two weeks I’ll go as far as to have the computer booted up and league updated.  Then I’ll hover my mouse over the ‘Play’ button and flashes of horrible games will bring me to tears.  Shuttering with sobs, my girlfriend will put a blanket over me and whisper, “It’s ok, take your time.”

At this low point, when I question my very will to game, grassy snipes.  “Come on try Loadout”, I can hear his evil smile.  I am a 100% jaded gamer and don’t fall for the ‘new thing’.  I like to sit and wait for a game to ripen before I decide to spend any time on it.  Free to plays are so rarely worth the time they want that I stay away. A new one, ‘that is totally different’, pops up every 2 months and Grassy eats that crap up.

Fine, it can’t destroy my day like league does, let me give it a shot.  It turned out to be ok. I would give it a solid ‘meh’ and a half.  Didn’t suffer from crazy lag and only required some fighting with the dumb Friends list.  Why, if you are on steam, would you make your own clunky friends list?

Quick review, stages have little to no thought in them. It doesn’t matter so much, since the game modes are what any other came would consider novelties.  With check points bouncing here and there and people spawning everywhere, it’s just not possible to make a balanced map with any kind of depth.  OK, maybe it is, but load out definitely didn’t manage it.  Might not bother casuals, filthy as they are, but the time required to start getting a customized character isn’t worth spending in a game with so little depth.  I could be spending my time on something productive, like trying to get karma on reddit or crying in front of the League play button.

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8.537 thumbs out of 5 stars

I was working with someone to create a review channel. As it turns out it’s a crap ton of work making reviews. While I was preparing to create the channel I started to ask questions like, “What is the use of a review” and “What purpose do they serve”. That shot me on a search for anything to do with reviews. I jumped around checking out highly entertaining reviewers like Zero Punctuation down to the less then perfect ones on /r/gamereviews. We all have to start somewhere.

Some of them broke games down by sections: story, gameplay, “graphics”. Most used a grading system, 8/10, five stars. That got me thinking of ways I should grade the games. I tried to come up with a way to take some of the subjectivity from a star rating system. It’s even possible to turn to a pass fail system, “buy or stay away”.

Spent some time with all that bouncing around my mind and was unable to clamp down on anything. What good is having a rating system? It bothered me that after a while I will end up with a list of games and a list of ratings. It then makes sense that it would be possible to use the ratings to compare the games.

One game gets a 5 out of 5 and that one gets a 4 out of 5. Why? Games are just so drastically different from one another, that comparison is impossible. Skyrim and Gone home have completely different goals, what would a comparison between them even mean?

Ok, so if we give limbo a 9 or 10 in aesthetics and we give BioShock infinite the same. Are they as good as another? Is it fair with one having a huge budget? Should the money even matter? How about the time to play through. Journey would also have to be given high marks for aesthetics but that can be beat in like 2 hours.

The system wouldn’t even work when looking at one game at a time. What could I give in story to something like League of legends? There is some lore to it, but a player would have to go out of their way to figure out what’s going on and it wouldn’t change the gameplay.

If the rating can’t be used to compare then it only serves one other purpose, as a summery of opinions, but that’s the whole review. If by the end of the review, the audience is unsure what the reviewer thinks, they are watching zero punctuation and are wondering if he actually liked the game or, the review is missing something significant.

Systems like this serve the reviewer more then anyone else. It simplifies formatting and attempts to remove some of the subjectivity from the review. Which is the conclusion I finally found my way to.

Reviews are more then their end rating. They are there to provide some ones personal tastes. There are a few reviewers of movies and games that I watch. Like Grace from Beyond the trailer. She does a crap ton of movie reviews. I can’t possibly watch as many movies as she does, cause that’s her job. No, I don’t trust her every opinion but I have seen enough of the movies she’s recommended or rejected. I now have an idea where her opinions and mine are relative to each other, which has a lot of value for me.

If you are a reviewer out there. Forget trying to be objective and share your true opinions. Don’t apologize for having a weakness for anything to do with dragons. Say it proudly. That honesty tells more then thousands of words trying to remove yourself from the reviewing equation.

How much should I be concerned what the audience wants compared to what I want?

While trying to write, this is a chief concern of mine.  Should I be aiming for just the largest possible audience or focus on trying to attract the particular type that enjoy what I want to make.

I have this little issue on my Youtube Channel.  I have put up more of TF2 then anything else, but that’s cause I usually play TF2.  So some people have grown to expect the channel to be only TF2.  My plan has always been to just share my fun times, regardless of what game I am playing.

When I am focusing on my writing this worries me.  Mainly since I can’t produce nearly as many iterations of a novel as I do with the videos.

Am I doing all this purely for the goal of gaining fame?  No, but my audiences, however small they are now, are important.  That balance is rough.  Some times I just end up saying, “This is what I want, so it’s what I am going to do.”

My Chivalry Review.

Thanks for checking out Fair game.  This is Mr Lion. I am going to be reviewing Chivalry and I don’t care that it’s a free for all map, don’t be a wuss and 1v1 me like a real man. [ Quick clips of the game and maybe shot of the title screen]

Number one on indiebd.com’s ‘indie of 2012’, first game by torn banner and example of a successful kickstarter.  Did any of this drive me to play Chivalry? Nope. It had a free weekend and knights’n swords are cool.

My first match started with the gates opening to a crowd’s applause and me, being the predictable nublit I am, went archer first. Between getting stabbed, dismembered and hearing my last breaths through a bloody esophagus. I recognized that certain frustration.

In my twisted world this frustration is what drives me.  That which makes me willing to poor hours into improving my skills in a given task.  In this case Chivalric task of liberating limbs or cheaply putting a spear in other unexpecting limb liberator.

This ffeeling and I say it with and extra ff, because of their rare and annoying… This ffeeling of Frustration meant I was having FFun.

What brought me to this eemotion?  Could it have been the weight of the weapons?  Maybe it was how after some time playing I still found occasions, where I feel a wince from an especially brutal blow.  No, it was the enjoyment of a deep mechanic, that I wasn’t good at.

Combine the fighting anticipation and positioning skills of ‘Jedi outcast’, the larger scales of savage, and a slower pacing then ‘pirates vikings and knights’ and what get’s spit out is Chivalry.  In Fact it reminded me of PVK so much I kept expecting the ‘Final Countdown’ to start up while the stage filled with lava.  The major differences between the two being, Chivalry is a more complete/polished game and everyones is pretty much made up of so many watermelons.

The arsenal contains a few classes and groups of class specific weapons that are all mechanically different enough for me to suck all over again when I try them.  My biggest gripe here was with the spearmen who only has 6 spears. In the game types with no way refill ammo, I’d be left with a dagger to convince people to death.

With goals like, “kill the villagers” or “protect the trebuchets” I want to praise Chivalry for what is offered in the modes department.  But, Most of the time I would freeze and the massage ‘Team blabla has won’. I would think, ‘is that my team?’  Then hold tab to bring up a spreadsheet of information that I read as ‘eh, whatever… positive kdr, YEYAAa’.

Many tables were also flung, trying to get a few friends in the same match.  The invite errored if it was full and it was impossible to tell if server had room or which one a friend was in.  I just kept switching back and forth from the steam overlay to the game trying to squeeze in.

Once I managed to get my crew in the devs were nice enough to let me see each name in green even through objects and walls.  We could actually group up and and charge hi fiving the whole way.

Watching the enemy team descended on my group and our group reacting to them reacting to us was something that happens only in games that focus on melee.  Once I reached an enemy the fighting was just slow enough to think and make calls and fast enough to get suprised by a pike through the chest.

Team Leader Steve Piggott gave an interview November 22, 2012 here’s the TLDR version.

Will there be customization?
yes

Will servers be allowed to cap classes, like archers?
yes

Controllers/game pads?
yup

Siege mode?
Bet your last spear on it.

Modable with sdk?
only a matter of time

DLC?
Gameplay stuff will be free, so tell your friends about the game already.

For one final note I’ll give a tip.  If you don’t want to get kicked when you’re going to team kill,  just before you go for the kill press f10.

Talking about something that is inherently ambiguous.

The Idea Channel, on YouTube is one I happily subscribe too.  Lately the little man in my head that critically listens to everything that I pay attention to, has been making a fuss at their new videos.  This little man isn’t nice or mean he’s just a builder.  Looking at each idea like a new part to fit in a whole.

The builder touches and considers where this would fit in the structure of my thoughts. If needed, he’ll test it to see how to see if it can fix more then one hole.  So while listening to a lecture, like the amazing one by Brandon Sanderson, he’ll take each idea and see what I can it for and trashing the obvious or redundant.

During the video, “Are MP3s & Vinyl Better then Live?“, he yelled and screamed. These ideas are all caught on one major problem that is never brought up, leaving it lacking the structure to securely fit and cover any hole. The problem of Definitions.

‘Better’ is the real problem in the video and it’s why there is so much of a debate.  Mr. Mike Rugnetta, never even tries,and so just circles around and around, to define ‘better’.

In specific case, if we define better as ‘More accurate representation of the sound produced by the vocalist and/or instrument’ we can make some conclusions.   Vinyl would be out, since it adds sounds and looses quality. A very high bit rate MP3, one that might as well not even be compressed, could have better then a Vinyl. Both MP3’s and Vinyl are altered by sound engineers. So, under this definition live and unplugged would be better.

Problems like this happen all over: “What is better apple or pc?”, “Is it better to have a person play the piano or a robot who recorded a persons movements?”, “Which game is better?”

The ‘better’ isn’t the only ambiguous term: “Is it love or lust?”, “Small businesses are the big job creators.”

I particularly enjoy the last one. Is a small, the mom and pop store down the street worth around $500,000 or Walmart?

It’s not about being right.  Words mean what we want them to.  It’s about being clear.  So audience knows what YOU mean with the words you use.

 

Here’s the video:

Timing, when is enough, enough.

I have multiple projects in the works.  Most of them are on time limits.

This blog is daily. I’ve got me HelpMeNotSuck channel that is also daily. There is only so much time I can put into each piece.

So there is a point at which I have to say ‘ok this post isn’t exactly right but it’s at a point where I am comfortable’.  I’ll later look back and find more and more I can tweak.

These, mostly small, mistakes scratch on my mind.  What keeps me going is the times I looking further back.  Back when I was completely new to this.  At that time my errors were much larger.  Slowly my quality average is increasing.

Could be that is just something I am telling my self.

I do feel this is a significant part of working on anything.  Things are just never done.  My novel will never look complete and whole. I’ll just have to get it somewhere that I can accept it.

Not a new thought.  Neither is the realization that simply knowing there is no end doesn’t stop me from wanting to try and get there and being annoyed sometimes at how far away it seems.

The state of Game Reviews.

A friend and I have started a new Youtube Channel ‘Fair Game Reviews’.  Naturally my first impulse to starting a new project, is to start doing research on how others have done it.  I focused mainly on video reviews but not exclusively.  My net even opened wide enough to look at entertaining movie and book reviews.

In short the game reviews I saw broke into 2 categories.  Higher quality with a gimmick or quick, dirty and cookie cutter.  The quick & dirty ones did things like pros/cons list or breaking the review into sections(story, game play, multiplier).  They never seemed to consider if this structured way of reviewing added anything.

Each review must have a goal.  Are you trying to inform or entertain?  Maybe you want to talk about a particular grip.

Games are just so different that the goal may change from game to game.  In fact I am counting on it.  I am not going to lean on a gimmick (Ex Zero Punctuation, Angry Video Game Nerd, Egoraptor).  Cause I just don’t know if I have it in me.

I am going to try something new, well Null and I our.  Check it out.  When I complete the idea to a point I can formalize I’ll post up a brief write up.