A longer 1:30 version of the song from the commercial.
I used to struggle a bit with being alone. I have never personally have ever been a social butterfly or in fact really comfortable with social interaction. But I have always have some sort of irrational need or likely fear of being alone. Now I am not saying alone as in a love/relationship but the act of physically being alone. I have always had the need for someone else to be around for no other reason than to have someone else around.
Recently I have accepted that I am going to likely be alone for the rest of my life, however long that may be. Instead of harping on about how awful that is and woe is me I have instead decided to embrace it. If I am going to be alone I am going to be the best at it. And in turn by embracing this mindset I have also cured myself of the need to have anyone around. I have actually grown to actively dislike most other people being around. Dealing with other people in day to day life has become increasingly difficult, mostly because I have grown to find 99% of people on the planet today to be so stupid I am amazed they understand to concept of speech let alone where to put the food.
Is this healthy behavior? Perhaps not. I truly have ceased to care about things of this nature. I am going to live my life as I see fit, do what I enjoy and feel like and not give a second thought to other people. Does this make me a asshole? God, I hope so.
So I did actually get a copy of Diablo III launch night, thanks to a friend at Blizzard whom will remain nameless to whom I am eternally grateful. I have been playing pretty regularly since launch and I have to say that all things are not well with the game.
I know, I know pretty much all you have read about Diablo III since launch has been people complaining about one thing or another. I am sure you have read it all and probably are as sick of it as I am. But it doesn’t mean the game is not a mess at the moment and I think I have figured out why.
Diablo and Diablo II were both Action Role Playing Games, hell they basically invented and perfected the genre. They are both easy games to learn to play and are rewarding for nearly any type of player if they have 10 minutes to play or 10 hours. The ARPG genre is wonderful in that respect as you can sit down, discover new ways to play it, get rewarded and most importantly have fun.
Fun… you know the whole reason why you play a game. That thing where you do something for no reason other than enjoyment; see also anything that is not a chore or work.
Diablo III on the other hand seems to have not been designed for this thing called “fun”. Seemingly the design of the game seems to be radically different than what most players want or expect to be able to do. See the massive nerfs to pretty much anything but doing what the developers want you to do; which is start a game, progress through the entire Act/Storyline, kill Elite mobs, get the buffs from them and hopefully get some loot from things you kill, if you can actually kill them. Sadly this design philosophy contradicts pretty much the entire reason why people play these types of games and how they play them.
In a MMO like World of Warcraft one takes on quests and follows a loose storyline to gain loot, IE items and money. In such a open type of game it is a needed element as you need some structure to allow people to play and to lead them to where you want them to ultimately go. It works quite well as Blizzard themselves learned after you reached the level cap many people who were not interested in either end game raiding or PVP had nothing to do anymore. They then created daily quests to do to try to appease that playerbase to various levels of success.
In Diablo III it seems they tried to do much the same thing, which is give a questline and much handholding through the entire game. Ultimately this is done less for a narrative reasoning but more to attempt to keep the playerbase to play the game as they designed. What the problem is that which works for a MMO like WoW does not work for a ARPG like Diablo. Diablo is about one thing and one thing only: loot. The game is effect a giant casino game with pretty colors. You farm various things over and over again to attempt to get that jackpot of loot. You kill things>you get loot>you have fun.
Right now all three of these things are in short supply. First off whomever is in charge of the class ability decisions right now needs to have their head examined. I will come out and say it, ALL THE CLASSES ARE SCREWED RIGHT NOW. The design philosophy oh “If something is working too well or is too good it must be nerfed.” is not only short sighted but ultimately dumb. This is not a MMO, we have no need for class balance. I understand that they want all abilities and builds to be viable but perhaps instead of nerfing the stuff that is obviously working, how about you focus on the things that are not working and instead perhaps bring them in line with the things that are working. Wizards, Demon Hunters and Monks have all been utterly devastated by the recent nerfs and poor Witch Doctors can barely play right now. Diablo is not a game about balance. At a certain point you want to be able to get to a point where you are powerful so the mobs that used to give you trouble eventually become a joke. This brings in reward and fun.
Secondly the design philosophy of playing through the Acts to kill Champion packs and Elites to be able to get gear and the only way is frankly dumb. Instead of effectively forcing people to play the game as they want or envision perhaps the best idea would be to perhaps embrace the new ways people have found to do things. Things like stacking Gold Find to break Pots is a brilliant idea and if someone is having fun doing that then it should be embraced instead of killed. Blizzard is acting like the little kid on the playground when they don’t get their way they take their ball and go home. Many of the “fixes” in the last several patches have tried to punish the people who don’t want or don’t enjoy playing the game as Blizzard designed it. This is ultimately only hurting Blizzard as they turn more and more people off from being able to play and enjoy the game there will be less people playing it.
Which ultimately leads too…
Thirdly, the Auction House… I am actually a fan of the auction house. Well, at least the Gold Auction House. I think it was one of the few things missing from Diablo II and may have stopped the proliferation of the shady third party sites. The problem with it in Diablo III is that they did it all about as bad as they possibly could have. First off I am level 60, I haven’t had a single item drop for me that I could personally use since the teens. For a game that is ultimately about loot, there is a major problem here. I don’t want to use the Auction House solely as my option for gearing up my character. It is much more satisfying to fight and earn something on your own. As it stands I know of no one that is or even can do this. This is a problem. The Auction House should be a resource of last resort or convenience.Â It should not be factored into the drop rates of anything. But here in lays the problem with this, the Real Money Auction House. Blizzard can’t make their 15% if people can earn (yes I said EARN) the gear they want, especially on the end game gear. While I understand how and why the design choices were and are made it doesn’t mean I agree with them or that they are right. There will always be a market for people that will spend real money on perfect items, however small that is. That is what the RMAH should be for and if Blizzard wants a cut of that more power to them. But a majority of the player base wants to be able to earn their items mainly by playing the game or if their luck is incredibly bad by the gold they earned by playing the game on the Auction House. As it stands right now none of these things are happening and in turn people are not getting rewarded and having fun.
So what have we ultimately learned by this long winded article? Mainly that the developers right now have the wrong mindset to how to properly design the game. They have taken too many of their design choices from MMOs which does not ultimately work in a ARPG. The game is just not very fun to play at the moment for a multitude of reasons not just what I have wrote about here. I have hope that in time the game will someday become what we all want it to be, but I fear that the bullheadedness of the developers will continue for some time due to recent postings about upcoming changes and patches.
Personally I am likely done playing for awhile. I, like many people, am just not having any fun playing it. I can see a fun, good game lurking underneath the surface and when it finally comes around I will happily come back to play. Until then there are plenty of games for me to play where the goal is to actually enjoy myself.
So I won’t be getting a Diablo III Collectors Edition. This isn’t due to a lack off effort or planning on my part either. Here is the sad story of how I won’t be enjoying Diablo III tonight.
Back in February I decided to preorder a Collectors Edition from GameStop.com. I had the money and really wanted the extras in the package. Ok, to be honest I was slightly obsessed about getting the Diablo skull, take that how you will. I placed my order and took ease in the fact that I wouldn’t have to worry about getting a copy anymore.
Fast forward to last Thursday, May 10th. Around noon I received a mail stating my order had been canceled. I called their customer service line to figure out why my order was canceled as I have plenty of money in my bank account and I hadn’t canceled the order myself, let alone less than a week before the game was released. After about a hour of being on hold and dealing with a representative whom couldn’t tell me anything other than, “Your order had been canceled, sorry about your luck.”, I talked to a manager who informed me that GameStop was not receiving enough copies to fill their orders. I was told that they were trying to get more copies but they were not hopeful. Needless to say I was not pleased not only for my order being canceled but it being less than a week before release so my hopes of actually getting a copy elsewhere was next to impossible. Add to this the fact that GameStop would do nothing to ease the heavy burden not placed on me.
I went around to various retailers locally to see if I could get a copy and they had all sold out themselves.Â I had resigned myself to trying to get a copy waiting at a retailer at midnight on the 15th. Later that night I saw that Walmart.com had opened up their preorders and I luckily scored another copy from them. I was saddened to see it would not come until the 22nd at earliest but I was just happy to get a copy.
Around 8:00 PM tonight I received a email from Walmart.com stating that my order had been canceled due to them not getting enough copies. Needless to say I was livid. To add further insult to injury they had already charged my card for the game and I would not be receiving a refund for 10 days. So not only did they take my money and not give me my game, I don’t have the money now to try and get a copy elsewhere tonight.
I am pretty distraught over the entire ordeal. I have been crying a bit. It might be silly for a grown man to cry about not getting a video game but the Diablo series has meant a lot to me over the years. Also you add the fact that I did everything in my power to get a copy and I am still sitting here tonight without a copy and no way to get a copy at all.
So in closing Dear GameStop and Walmart: You ruined what was supposed to be a enjoyable experience for me. Thank you for screwing over not only me but probably thousands of other gamers who are stuck in the same situation tonight. I hope we all band together and sue your asses over it like I hope the Aussies do to GAME. Needless to say I will NEVER shop at either of your businesses anymore. I will take my dollars to establishments that don’t take advantage of their customers.
PS: FUCK YOU!
So I turned 30 years old a few months ago. As so many internet memes will tell you, your world kind of changes when you hit this age. Gone are the days of your friends posting pictures and talking about the things they did last night. I am now inundated with a onslaught of baby pictures, wedding pictures and talk of mundane life middle aged life. Â Yet, I have somehow not changed at all since you know I missed that boat.
Single life in your late 20s and early 30s is a strange one indeed. Gone are the days when you could go out with your friends to a nightspot and meet a potential partner. I had the pleasure of going out this weekend to see a friendâ€™s band play at a local bar. It is the first time I had really gone out socially since I had moved and was excited by the prospects of perhaps meeting a lady friend or at the very least have some actual social interaction after months of being cut off from civilization.
My night instead basically went like this. I showed up, said hi to my friend, ordered a beer, sat around for awhile, watched the set and walked home. There were plenty of women there but none seemed interested in me or were with dates. Most were nearly a decade younger than me. Â I realized that while I have plenty in common with them still in style, tastes and interests the fact that I am older puts me in another world from them. I remember being in my early 20s and it was a great time. Every day I think to myself that I should have taken advantage of that time more than I had. But I have grown out of that time of my life. The idea of going out every night and drinking just really doesnâ€™t interest me anymore. Sure it is fun to go out with some friends every so often and have a enjoyable evening but it is not the end all of my existence anymore. Â I am much more content to stay at home, make a good meal and watch a movie or whatnot. So even if I would date a 20 something I would feel guilty in doing it because I would feel that I was taking away those experiences and time away from them to just be with me.
Not to say that being with me is a bad thing of course. While I am not a perfect person in any stretch of the imagination, I am a pretty good catch in my humble opinion. Convincing anyone else of this of course is easier said than done. This is why it drives me crazy whenever I see on television women complaining about not being able to find a guy. Ladies, I am not sure if you are aware but it is incredibly easy for one of you to find someone. Go walk down the street and start talking to us; I am pretty sure in a couple of minutes you can find someone to take you out on a date. Any women who says they canâ€™t get a date is either lying or hasnâ€™t left their home. Trust me you are the predator and we are the prey.
So, all my friends are adults becoming boring and turning into their parents. I am stuck in purgatory, unable to move on to the next stage of life but also have moved on from my youth somewhat. I havenâ€™t really dated in two years so I am not exactly sure how to even go about that anyone even if I could find a date. There really isnâ€™t a playbook for dating in your 30s so I guess I am just going to float to where ever it takes me next.
There has been a lot of talk in the last several days about Ubisoft’s controversial decision to not release a version of the new Ghost Recon game on the PC. Their reason; piracy.
Ubisoft more than any other publisher in recent memory has tried to blame their poor sales of their PC games on piracy instead of the truth. They have released cruddy ports of lackluster games with draconian DRM. People aren’t buying your games because “they are just pirating them from the Pirate Bay”. People aren’t buying them because they are rubbish. When is the last time you have read anything about a Ubisoft title other than the silly DRM included? That’s right you haven’t.
Gabe Newell of Valve Software has basically said it best that if you make a quality product, give it a fair price and make it easily and simply available you don’t have a piracy problem nor a sales one. I don’t hear Bethesda, Activision or EA complaining about PC piracy effecting the sales of their latest games and all of their latest big titles have been available pirated either before or right at release.
Piracy is the boogyman excuse in the PC gaming world for the last several years, as if publishers just discovered the practice and that it hasn’t been going on since the beginning of computers. The real facts for it becoming such a hot topic now is that the large public companies whom publish terrible games need excuses for the shareholders why their awful games aren’t selling. The world of video games is still basing itself on the Hollywood movie model of production which in the modern game development world is quickly starting to run to the end of it’s course.
Where with Hollywood you can release a couple of bombs but a cheap movie that becomes a hit subsidizes the losses of the failures. With the ever rising costs of creating video games even a crappy shovelware title costs a great deal of money and manpower to create. It is not like the 8-bit days where a publisher like LJN could get a license, put 3 guys to make a game regardless of quality and shove it out the door in a couple of months and recoup the costs and then some. Even a terrible game, and this is according to Ubisoft themselves, $18.8m-$28.2m to create. This is not counting the marketing that is put behind it as well.
I think the best solution is this, publishers need to stop trying to over saturate the market with software. We all need to take a page from the book of developers like Blizzard, Valve, Nintendo and iD. Make a quality product, release it when it is done and support it post release without nickel and diming you without crazy DRM. Sure you might not have a new version of Call of the Battlefield Hero Creed every year. But, you will have a fanbase whom will be glad and eager to put down the cash for your title.
Gamers are pretty smart, crafty folk. We can smell a lemon.
Steve Jobs is dead. It still hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I found out at work from a coworker and hoped it was a cruel joke.
Unlike many of the things you may read today about Steve’s passing I am not going to run through a list of accomplishments and talk about how he was a visionary. Instead I am going to talk about he directly effected me.
As most kids growing up in the 1980s, every school I went to was full of Apple IIs. The very first computer I touched was a Apple IIe and it changed my life. The foundations of all my computing skills came from those lowly Apple IIs, I learned to type on one, I learned how to program in BASIC on one. It started a love affair that has turned into a obsession at times.
The first computer I ever owned was a Macintosh Classic, from that I got online for the first time although it was not really what we consider the internet today. I learned HyperCard on that system. Also I started my first hacking adventures on that machine. I probably loved that computer more than any other in my life.
I didn’t own a cellphone until fairly recently, the iPhone really has changed my life in a million different ways. I really do feel lost without it.
Steve Jobs has influenced and changed everyone’s lives in so many ways. The 3D animated movies you watch, having access to a music store anywhere at any time, even that crappy Breakout Clone on your crappy 1952 cellphone is because of him.
We lost a great person today, one that perhaps comes once in a lifetime. I know the plans he had for the future are still in the works and we will continue to feel the effects from him for some time.
I just want to say, Thanks Steve for all you have given me.
When you are a kid your friends are the most important people in your life. It is a natural thing really as they are those who are closest to you and theoretically spend the most time with. As you get older life catches up and you start to see less and less of them until you don’t see them at all. It is expected of course as in the design you are supposed to get a partner, grow up, maybe have some kids and a million other responsibilities.
There are some of people who the design didn’t quite work out for though, like myself. I’d love to have that “grown up” life but something tells me I just am never going to have it. It is kind of painful really, to be on the outside looking in. You waste years trying to get there and in the end if it doesn’t work out you are left behind.
I think back to all the things I used to do with my friends; the endless nights of drinking and having deep conversations about whatever, the dumb things that you don’t understand how you weren’t arrested, trips, etc. I don’t really do any of that anymore. My days are spent now very uneventful and alone. While I may make light of my situation that when my friends are older, have kids and have become boring that I will still be free to have this adventurous, interesting life the truth is my life is already more boring than theirs.
When I was younger I used to say that I wanted to be Peter Pan. The idea of being stuck at a age and with that lack of responsibility is very compelling to me. I have always been afraid of growing up and changing mostly because I have no idea how to do it. They don’t really give out handbooks on this kind of stuff. Change scares me to death because honestly I have never really had any sort of stability in my life. The only way I have known how to cope is to try to not focus on it and to quote Eddie Vedder “Change by not changing at all”. While I admit I have changed a little, I have gained knowledge over the years, have slowly became less angry at the world for my shit hand I have been dealt and perhaps become more understanding for the people around me in the end I am still the same guy I was when I was the green haired college kid.
So I sit here at my computer writing things that no one reads like I do every night, thinking back about the nights I used to have and wonder, where are my friends tonight?
So I just finished watching Captain America (which is excellent by the way) and after it was done I think I took some things from it that others perhaps won’t. In the movie as in the comic Steve Rogers is bullied by others before he becomes big and strong. To solve his problems he becomes a bigger bully and saves the day.
Now this type of thought and behavior has become rampant in the last several decades in which it is perfectly acceptable if not out right encouraged for the strong to punish the weak for no other reason than they can. We see it in our schools, in our home lives and workplace, even in our government and business communities.
I have been playing a game with friends recently and we have just started to venture out into the world verse other players. When you are matched up against people of the same skill level and experience it is a joy to play, sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t but it always seems fair and you know that your own faults normally cost you the game. Now unfortunately higher level players will come in to the less experienced brackets to basically cause grief to those against them. You have no chance to defeat them and you are guaranteed a loss no matter how much resistance you put up. In the end you are slaughtered badly and you don’t have any fun.
Now after this happened a few times I wondered if there was a way to report these players to those who administrate the game. To my surprise there was a option to report a “unskilled player” but nothing to reprimand those who are in effect bullying the other players.
After thinking about it for awhile it occurred to me that there is no option because it is fully acceptable to nearly everyone today. There is no more stigma about the strong hurting the weak, it has become as mainstream as letting seven year olds wear thongs. But, much like the latter it is no more wrong.
I understand people like to be good at things and I don’t take any fault with that. But I know for myself I feel better about my accomplishments when I know I had to struggle and fight to win. In today’s society it seems that those things are not acceptable. People want to take the easiest route they have for anything. It is easier for the Captain of the Basketball team to beat up the skinny nerd than it is the Captain of the Football team. It doesn’t make it any more right though.
I won’t have any children of my own but if I did I would most certainly raise them with that little bit of morality, that just because you are bigger, stronger or better than someone else doesn’t give you the excuse to exercise it. When I was a kid I used to make it a point to be extra nice to the poorer kids. I learned that generally the kid with the dirty, shabby clothes was generally the best person to be friends with. While they almost always had some sort of bad home life and god knows what other kind of nightmares in their lives having that one person around who didn’t judge them and treated them right always meant a lot to them. In the end they were always much better friends and much cooler than the more popular kids. I still hold that belief today as most of my best friends aren’t the cool people and aren’t perhaps the most successful but they are more loyal and care more about you because we have all been in that place.
I don’t think there is a easy answer to get people to at least respect each other a little more. I just try to lead by example and maybe it will rub off in time.