It's Thanksgiving! If you don't live in America, you're probably wondering what us cheeto-eating, Wal-Mart perusing Americans do on the good ol' T-Day. The way I see it, there are three kinds of Thanksgiving Americans.
1) People who sit down, enjoy their friends and family's company with a big hearty dinner bringing them all together.
2) People who don't care for a big, energy spending dinner shindig. Instead they just take T-Day's principles to heart, show their thanks to their loved ones, and go on their day without worrying about a dinner or a big meal.
3) People who identify themselves more strongly as another ethnic identity like Vietnamese or Mexican and don't give much a fuck about some day in November.
My family's never been about spending a lot of effort for Thanksgiving. Sometimes we'd celebrate it by buying a tray of BBQ chicken from a local Asian butcher. This year it looks like we just coincidentally bought 100 eggrolls to save for leftovers in our day to day meals so Thanksgiving will probably be about 100 eggrolls. A story also known in Asian legend as the Hokuto no Ken.
Or maybe I'm confusing that name with something else
On the shuttle ride back from work, I sat next to a co-worker of mine who also doesn't do much for T-Day. She was also Mexican. As it turns out, it looks like Thanksgiving isn't terribly celebrated, at least with multi-cultural families. But hey, there's always Christmas. Everyone fucking loves Christmas.
It seems next-gen is also here, so let me talk about Pokemon again. Because I don't have $500 to plan on spending.
I reinvested myself into Dtoid's Pokemon thread on that place where they're bettr pepple apparutnly and found comfort in a few things, like agreeing Mega Venusaur is an awesome tank and that Brightside promised me a Technician Shroomish (still waiting). I've so far raised a Sticky Web team, Stealth Rocks team, Sun team, and a Rain team with no signs of stopping when Pokebank comes out. I've also bought my first Ability Capsule, which is a handy one-time use item that switches your Pokemon's ability if it has two to choose from. It's nice for when you've bred yourself a great Pokemon that has everything its supposed to have right except its ability. I have an amazing Bisharp named Toriko that continues to surprise me in offensive strength and slight bulk but its ability is Steadfast. Defiant is the way to go man, because Intimidate only gives him a net gain of +1 on ATK boosts and an rare stat lowering from something like Shadow Ball or Energy Ball gives him a free +2 to ATK, both of which Toriko can easily switch in on. Steadfast protects against flinching but who cares? Toriko knows Sucker Punch and has one of the most threatening priority moves in the game with STAB while sitting at nearly 200 ATK at level 50.
So yeah. There's a reason why I nicknamed this sword-themed power ranger Toriko.
I haven't battled anyone from Dtoid yet but I think I can do so now with my head held high with the teams I've constructed. I've deconstructed a lot of random teams online with things like Sticky Web/flinch hax Togekiss (with Leftovers), Assault Vest TTar tanking all sorts of hits, and even an extremely niche Future Sight combo core made up of Tangrowth and Slowking (I'm Grump and Not So Grump respectively).
Hell, I've got a double Intimidate tag-team going on between Mega Manectric and Staraptor. Yup, Mega Manectric. The dog with the lightning bolt shaped furstyle going on. If I'm facing a physical attacker, they're getting -2 to ATK before being able to do anything and it's a hilarious combo that also covers a few of the weaknesses between the two Pokemon even. Manectric is weak to ground, which Staraptor can fly over. Staraptor fears electric attacks but Manectric naturally resists his kin and can throw Flamethrower for unresisted damage.
Such scare. Much lighting bolt. Great sped. Fuck, I should've named my Manectric Doge.
Oh, and that Sun team I mentioned earlier. I Wonder Traded away my old Houndoom, which had +20 SPD on my new one. Why am I using a newer, slower Houndoom?
He's shiny. The first shiny I've caught that I can actually fit into a team. Well, Drapion is usable but I don't know where I would want to fit a bulky dark/poison Pokemon. Shit, this is the 4th shiny I've caught. That's more then all my previous Pokemon games combined. They say there's a hidden value assigned to all trainers that slightly determines your shiny frequency and shit man, I think I've got a high number. Who cares if I might not outspeed certain high speed Pokes? Rather then outspeed certain threats, I'd much rather be FABULOUS while Mega Evolving. Priorities man.
Ah who cares? ME boost to SpATK + Sunny Day + Solar Power to Fire Blast will kill anything that's not Blissey anyways. Mine knows Sunny Day just in case but Drought Ninetails usually sets up enough sun for him and he can still replace Sunny Day with Nasty Plot for extremely, unnecessarily powerful Fire Blasts.
In celebration of Star Citizen's first anniversary, Cloud Imperium Games with Robert's Space Industries held a week of sales offering exclusive ships, perks, and premium content to dedicated backers, culminating yesterday in a massive four hour live-stream with Chris Roberts and the rest of the Star Citizen team.
The result? They sold FIVE MILLON DOLLARS worth of spaceships in one week.
This boost catapulted the total funding raised for the SC project to a nigh-unimaginable 33 million crowdfunded dollars. Mark it down for the history books. This is one giant middle finger for every publisher than turned Roberts down and insisted that there was no room for a space-sim in today's gaming market, that people only want grey & brown military shooters and their yearly copy of Madden. As a sci-fi nerd who loves the idea of scouring the galaxy, searching out new life and civilizations, meeting them (and occasionally blowing them up), I'm thrilled to see the project do so well.
- UGH! Must... resist... urge... to grab deal.
But after all the toasting and celebratory champagne, there are some troubling shadows dancing in the wings.
Right now, Star Citizen has raised $33,175,766, a tremendous war-chest supported entirely by fans of the project. However, while the coin keeps rolling in, the number of total BACKERS has not. At the start of this week of sales, the RSI website boasted a citizenship of around 303,500. After the week of sales and marketing insanity they pushed, that number has grown a bit; there are now 316,458 backers that have pledged money. So while they may have raised 5 million this week, they only attracted about 12,900 new pledges – the vast majority of sales came from upgrades and ships bought by people already invested in the game.
In fact, if the numbers showing the total amount generated, and the number of backers it came from, are accurate, than the average amount of money spent by each of those backers is a whopping $104.83! That's quite a bit to invest in a crowdfunded game sight unseen, even if you are a big believer in the idea.
It gets a little more disturbing when you consider the great number of backers who, like me, only pledged a minimum amount. I got on board months ago with a special "introductory pack" that nabbed me access to the alpha and beta tests, the full game on release, and a single person shuttle craft to admire in the hanger while we wait for the rest of the game to make it out – all for the comparatively small price tag of $45. I know there were thousands of other Citizens who grabbed that deal when it was on, it offered the least expensive way to secure access to the game and it's development, the snazzy little starter ship was just an added bonus.
So if there are thousands of backers with only the $45 package (or less) to their name, how much are some of the whales spending to bring the "average" up so high? Well, A LOT. I have friends that have spent over $500-$1000 on SC so far and show no sign of stopping.
With that kind of buy-in, could any game ever live up to the hype?
- The brains behind all of Tony Stark's awesome HUD UI in Iron Man 3 is in charge of the visual HUD design at RSI while a hardcore nerd gamer makes sure it all works as well as looks pretty. High budget Hollywood design meets practical gameplay. Sweet.
Don't get me wrong, I'm super into SC. I look at the materials they've put out – the hanger module, the concept art, the background lore – and my heart leaps. I look at developer interviews like the one I posted above, and I see an incredibly talented and passionate team that has the goods, and the organization, to carry out Robert's ambitious design. But I'm also a realist, and I worry that some of my friends are going to feel the sting of buyer's remorse in a year or so when their $1000 fleet of star-ships are parked right next to similar fleets earned with in-game credits from people who bought the game at launch for $50.
But then again, most of the high-rollers I've talked to seem incredibly self-aware about it.
These people aren't buying for power. Chris Roberts and the entire RSI team have been VERY explicit saying that the vast majority of ships available for early backers will be entirely earn-able in-game using in-game credits. Other than some alien-tech (that are comparable to regularly available ships in their class but designed to be an esoteric status symbol) and the large super-cruisers (designed to be a sort of home-base or power symbol for spend happy guilds and clans), all of the ships and weapons and sub-systems people are so hyped about, enough to blow anywhere from $60-$250 on, will be attainable for free in-game. While they haven't quite figured out the economy yet, but Roberts has been clear that he hates "grind" and absolutely will not tolerate P2W shenanigans. So if you're the kind of player who can make peace with the average level grind in a MMO, Star Citizen's economy shouldn't even make you break a sweat.
And the whales seem to know and understand this. I haven't come across many people who thought they were buying some killer-app that would let them effortlessly dominate noobs when the game comes out. In fact, what some people seem to be spending the most money on are space-freighters and exploration ships. Ships designed to mine asteroid belts far outside explored space, flashy speedsters that are more status symbol than practical, and the iconic Constellation, a ship that takes it's cues from the Millennium Falcon and Serenity more than anything – a ship that when you get right down to it, is designed to be a cool place to hang out and play space-men with your friends.
- The Freelancer is a glorified refuelling vessel, a tank hauler - it costs $110.
It's a bizarre phenomenon. People are not paying hundreds of dollars into SC intending to become some space Khal-Drogo leading an unbeatable war-pack on an epic path of destruction; they're buying to live a life style, to show off a status symbol, to support a dream.
And really, isn't that what we're doing every time we buy a fancy pair of Addidas? When you buy a car based more on the slope of it's design than its Industry Award Winning traction ratio?
There is some crazy stuff going down with Star Citizen. Some of it is THRILLING. Some of it is potentially problematic. But I think it is way too quick and easy to write it off as some kind of modern day tulip mania.
This has been a great and shit weekend all rolled into one. I'll keep the shit part to myself though. HAVE YOU PLAYED SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD BECAUSE ALL OF MY SMILES. I got that and Tearaway this weekend and they are both just so good. They're just the kind of games I need right now. Why don't more companies release games like these?
I suppose it's because they don't sell as well as a lot of the rehashed sequels do. But don't they? The Mario games sell insanely well. Not everyone can do mario though can they? I think it's because publishers are afraid to let developers really shine and show their full talent, and that's super depressing to me.
Let's talk some more about Tearaway. This game is gorgeous, a thousand times more beautiful than any LittleBigPlanet game. the platforming reminds me a lot of Super Mario 64 but feels fresh at the same time. The use of the rear touch pad is ingenious and seeing your finger burst through into the game world is hilarious and just doesn't get old. That whole Teletubbies face in the sun thing is kinda creepy to me though.
Then there's Super Mario 3D World, the best Mario game since Galaxy 2. This game really shows that Nintendo finally "gets" HD gaming, it is jaw droppingly beautiful. The cat suit is easily the best power up since the Tanooki suit in SMB3. I haven't had a chance to play multiplayer since the demo I played at PAX but if it's half as fun as that was then I can't wait. And of course I'm playing as Peach because Peach is the best. Who are you guys playing as?
"What? No Zelda?" No, not yet. I could only really afford one of the games releasing this past week so I chose Mario and got a review copy of Tearaway. I will hopefully get Zelda for Christmas, but my good friend Jackal27 got it and I watched him play it; it looks so good.
What all did you pick up this weekend? What are your impressions of it?
So Anita Sarkeesian released another video, which cheeky scamp Steven Hansen shared with the oh-so-level headed Dtoid bunch. It's like waiting on the next instalment of a well loved webisode to a sci-fi...only it's not well loved.
No one likes this show right?
Regardless of your opinions on her opinions, people are kinda straying off the beaten to death path. Be you pro-Sark or anti-Sark, be you a bottle of vinegar or a tramp under a bridge (those two are connected, you'd see that if you didn't hate genders) - then you need to realise that we're talking about the same issue in a constant loop, only time and social media has increased the sheer rage and fury that accompanies it.
Sexism is wrong, bigotry and phobia is wrong. That's the basics, that's the truth. We need to stop rehashing and start actually doing something. Game companies need to start implementing equality in gaming, especially as it should be the easiest thing in the world to do.
New consoles will come and go, but hate will always remain. Unless we just y'know, stop.
*read that in Enya's voice, it might sound a bit more meaningful and wise*
In other news, for those that don't know and those that do, I tried to organise a charity event in London that focused on inclusion for disabled gamers. I had everything but the advertisement support and it got too close, with too few numbers so I cancelled the event. Still a little bit of money was raised and donated to the charity and I am glad for that at least.
To anyone out there with free time and who want to do something really groovy, that will mean a lot to others, I'd suggest volunteering or getting involved. It doesn't consume too much time or your life. I volunteer as a reader in a school (fuck yeah The Bear and the Bee is a great book) and also as a scribe for disabled students. I do it mainly because I have a lot of free time, but it does make me feel like I'm helping and you get to meet amazing people and share amazing stories. If you want to donate to charities, even a few quid does indeed make all the difference.
I finished my Deadly Premonition Let's Play! Yep. You may remember from my excited blog that I started watching a particular DP LP just to get to know the game, and after weeks of watching someone talk to people, kill zombies and driving around town I have finally experienced the whole story.
My opinion in 10 words or less?
"Wow. Well that was certainly an endgame alright."
I'm not going to spoil anything here, but Deadly Premonition's final few hours are utterly brilliant. They're stupid in all the right ways, but pretty damn intriguing all at the same time. Not that I hated the rest of the game or anything, that was fascinating as well. But the endgame is where it's at.
What a weird game this is. What a wonderfully weird game.
Anyway, I'm going to be off now. My big-ass paper is going pretty well, I'm hoping I can finish it today, even! Off course, after that there's like four other papers to finish, but fortunately they're not nearly as long. Things are going according to schedule; maybe even a little ahead of it. I'm sure it will all work out.
Some great blogs have been written today, so check them out! Have some CAPS and some more music.
I've stepped into the dark side of Pokemon battles. A dark side known as Stealth Rocks.
Me and my friends pretty much battle with no restrictions on a flat level. I'll use Togekiss or Espeon and my friends will be using Weavile or something or another. But so many of my friends use Charizard that it's ridiculous. I know he just got a Mega Evolution this generation but goddamn, don't you remember that he's shaky in the tiers due to Stealth Rocks?
Of course, rocks haven't been nearly as prevalent this gen due to its low distribution. But that doesn't mean its not going to be used. After all, some Pokemon will continue t see OU usage based simply on their ability to use Rocks. I had so much trouble with Charizard these past few weeks that I decided to raise a unique Stealth Rocks lead. One that had a mix of pros and cons of other existing Rocks leads but had specific, unique pros that could guarantee they go up; Mamoswine with the newly buffed Oblivious ability.
After breeding a Smeargle that copied Stealth Rocks and Curse (Sure, why not?) with a Piloswine, I put him to use after another goddamn loss to my friend Wade, who boasts a Mega Charizard Y as one of his major threats. He also had a scarfed Gengar that was for revengekilling, as well as a goddamn Wobuffet as a second revengekiller. If you didn't know, Wobuffet belongs in Ubers for it's powerful revengekilling ability. With Shadow Tag, Pokemon can't retreat when its in play. It's then left up to mind games to either use Counter or Mirror Coat to throw double damage back at the attacker. And while Wobuffet has meager defenses, it has tons and tons of health. So much that when it can kill anything it sends double damage back at with a simple guess. I haven't even gotten to Charizard yet, who is a problem due to its Drought ability weakening water counters. Unless I can OHKO it, it will OHKO anything that faces it.
That's where Oblivious Mamoswine comes in. With bulky amounts of health and some investment in defense, he's guaranteed to survive anything to be a 2HKO as long as its not something like Surf from a special attack sweeper. This is where his strategy comes in. Its nearly impossible to kill Muriel (my Mamoswine) in one hit, so Stealth Rocks are all but guaranteed (forgiving goddamn crits). If my opponent tries their luck on a super effective hit though, Muriel is carrying Weakness Policy, which sharply raises both attacks so long as she survives. This is what it means to be a suicidelead: do your job then do as much damage as you can before inevitably going down. No switches and no saves for you.
But other Stealth Rocks users of similar bulks and prospect suffers from one problem: Taunt. Antileads are known to be fast Pokemon who outspeed their opponents and Taunt them, breaking their attempt to use Stealth Rocks as Taunt forces the target to straight up attack and block non-attacking moves. Normally available Kalos Pokemon like Golem and Gigalith has Sturdy to guarantee 2HKO survivals but lack the ability to get past fast Taunters. Muriel on the other hand trades the guarantee of a 2HKO survival for her ablity Oblivious. Normally Oblivious protects against the rare infatuation ailment, which has a 50% chance of freezing you in infatuation if your opponent somehow charms you. But in addition to immunity to infatuation, Oblivious has been buffed to include immunity to Taunt.
A lot of my friends now aren't prepared to rocks and my life ends up easier now that some of the biggest threats in the game lose 50% of their life just from switching in with Rocks present.
But I've been training even more Charizard counters since there are so many of them online. I can counter Blaziken with my Sticky Web set and that is ready to go. But its amazing how much better a Pokemon trained for battle will be compared to one you've raised through story mode. I had a Helioptile at level 62 that got through story and I raised a new one with its hidden ability that surpassed its stats at level 50! Not to mention this new one has Solar Power for a boost in sun. Pretty much, I'm making a sun team since I caught a Drought Ninetales and have a Houndour I can train to mega evolve (which also has Solar Power). All in all it works to use strong sun to its advantage, which is something a few of my friends will sometimes provide unintentionally.
I've raise a bunch of Volt Switchers, a Mega Venusaur, and even more. It's like Black and White all over again with tons of battle ready Pokemon being trained and ready for battle and yet I can't possibly battle all the opponents.
Geez, I need to write a blog about competitve lexicon. You think fighting games have lexicon? Do you even know what revengekiller even means?