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It's over!

As of last Friday my annual descent into writing madness, Nanowrimo, ended! This year ended on a triumphant note as my first time achieving the 50k word goal with a "novel" that will never see the light of day. My Nano group actually had a very high number of winners this year, significantly skewing the average. Usually a lot of people come out to the welcome party or the first few write-ins, but very few stick it out to the end. Our gang of miscreants, goons, and (ugh) redditors, nailed it out of the park though and I couldn't be prouder.

Nano is a fun event. While my "book" is an unreadable pile of disorganized half-baked plots and awkward transitions between scenes, the idea isn't to write a masterpiece or something worthy of publication. It's more of a way to enforce good habits. A way of making you plant your ass down day after day and force out 1,600 words and change or face the scorn of peer judgement. Writing is something many people aspire to but always find some excuse to put off. If you have any interest in creating a work of art (or in my case, churn out a schlocky sci-fi dime-novel) it's a great way to apply a little discipline to the idea.

Nano is also a lot of fun! I've met some crazy cool people participating in it. If Dtoid is my second family, my Nano peeps are the weird in-law cousins I only see a few times a year. We had our "Thank God It's Over" party, shaking off our collective pent up frustration with some contact laser tag and Thai food, a questionable combination to be sure. I even got to play a little Capcom Vs SNK 1 on a cabinet with two busted sticks! You learn to love the roll technique pretty quick when neither person can jump.

With Nanowrimo done I hope to have time to write a few blogs that have been bubbling away at the back of my brain pan. I do love the camaraderie and excitement of Nano, but it devours your spare time like a blackhole.

Hope you guys like hearing about Mechwarrior Online!


- I like to melt things with my nipple lasers. Pew pew!

Yes, I continue to be absorbed by this game. It's like watching a really cool train wreck in slow motion where you're hoping against reason that everything will work out okay even though you know deep inside it won't.

MWO had it's 5th open beta update today, adding in a slew of new and interesting features. Balance tweaks aplenty for some over powered weapons, some new level design changes, an revamped mini-map, and the introduction of the powerful ECM radar disruption package; equipment that casts an umbrella of target scrambling goodness around the unit carrying it and nearby allies. Long range missile bombardiers are crying in their cockpits on planets all around the core-system.

This 5th patch also introduced a new hero mech, a $20 REAL DOLLAR hero mech.

I'm just speechless. I have no idea what the guys at Piranha Games are thinking with their pricing choices. I know F2P games need someway to make a dollar and I don't begrudge them for charging for premium content. The mech in question comes with a unique configuration which allows for some powerful build options (just riding the razor edge between fair and "pay-to-win") and a 30% bonus to generated in-game currency. It's a cool mech with a sweet paint job sure, but there is no way in hell it is 20 bucks worth of cool.

Think of how much content you get in the average $60 game. All the maps, skins, weapons, and functionality of Halo 4, the architecture, art design, and voice work of Dishonoured, the depth of XCOM. Granted these were games developed by major studios, but there is noway a game with not even a 1/8th of the content of those examples should be selling a single PART of their game for a third of the price.

Oh alright, maybe I'm being unfair. Maybe those triple A games are bad examples. After all they can count on massive sales to recoup their development costs, MWO and Piranha Games trends closer to an indy studio. A small team working passionately on a single property with everything on the line.

Then I think of all the hours I've spent playing Binding of Issac (about $7 with the Wrath of the Lamb expansion), FTL ($10), Hotline Miami (also $10) and I actually get a little mad. How does Piranha Games even dare to charge so much for a single imaginary robot when other indy devs are selling the whole hog for less?

MWO walks an unenviable line between an indy release and a full blown retail quality game. I get that. I can even cut them slack for that. But this $20 hero mech isn't the only unseemly item on the docket. Mech bays (character slots), paint and camo schemes, premium-time, they all seem like they cost more than they should. Compounded by the fact that you have to buy into their moon-money points to pay for things. I want to cut them slack, but I can't see anyway to justify such rampant price gouging. Especially when the general vibe around the community is that Piranha is in over their heads and likely bleeding money. Are they just making a wild cash-grab before tanking?

I'm a dumb guy. I would probably buy a really cool imaginary robot with a sweet paint job and some interesting build options for $5. I would probably do that again and again over a year, after all, it's just like picking up a coffee and a bagel right? I'm dumb enough to even pay for the occasional month of "premium time" if I like a game well enough. Why not earn a little more in-game currency and XP? If you price things low enough, I'm exactly the kind of sucker who will probably grumble a little and pony up the dough, MWO could milk me like a cow if they did it right. But I'm not dumb enough to start shelling out $20 for one character.


- I think MWO is heading towards a bleak and empty future. Sad to say.

The sad part is that MWO is crazy fun once you get into it. I've been dumping every bit of spare time I've had into it. I've downloaded Teamspeak, made MWO buddies, I'm even joining a clan (something I haven't done since my Xbox TF2 days). When I read about the pie-in-the-sky ambitious things the devs want to do with community warfare, persistent conflicts, and mercenary contracts, I get super excited! I WANT this game to succeed and go on and do cool things!

But I know it's not. A month into Open Beta and they still don't have any kind of decent tutorial for new players. Trial mechs (a newbies first taste of MWO) are still abominably horrible death-traps that generate heat and frustration in equal turns. Nobody is joining, and these morons are pricing themselves straight out of the game. Who wants to try a game that is incredibly difficult to get into and promises a future of price gouging?

* - Strider has some late night thoughts. Mostly about cavemen. Sweaty, shirtless cavemen, grappling each other and sharpening their spears. He also likes teen girls and tanks. Strider he's a complicated guy.

* - The Curious Case of the topsauced blog.

* - Another episode of SMB with our favourite latex enthusiast, AngelEena!

M - Some fun moments in RiseUp44's year of gaming. Watch out of Walking Dead spoilers if you haven't played it yet!

M - Word to Metro 2033. CarbonRevenge plumbs the dank cavernous tunnels of his memory to list some of his favourite gaming moments from the year. Lost of variety in this one.

M - Short and sweet, John Simone likes a spot with a view.

M - I think I read this before? But Hightower's biggest moment in gaming this year was a bucket of cold water. Spec Ops might have had a troubled production, but it knows how to send a message.

M - HOLY CRAP IMAGES! For a guy with a lot of negativity in his last blog, Fzzywarbals sure played a lot of games this year! Love seeing Dark Souls on people's GOTY lists two years running guys!

A - A look at the impact of choices you make in the Walking Dead

A - Some (mostly) kind words about FFXIII-2. By god those titles are getting ridiculous.

A - Got those crowdfunding blues.

P - Another new podcast, oh my!

A - The Taco Tuesday post that screwed up my caps. Damn them!

T - Returning Dtoider nilcam has a tough choice between systems that will give him the most retro-goodness for his buck. Welcome him back and help him make a decision!

N - A very tiny review for Lego LOTR (try saying that 3 times fast).


L - Crackedbat spies himself some Chibi-robo Chibi-plagerism. Not cool self-pubs.





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