Warning: This blog is full speculation. I am in no way saying Kickstarter does this or anything of the sort.
Let's say, a Rollercoaster Tycoon 4 kickstarter project occurs. Someone wants to revive an amazing, yet dead, franchise. The support for that would be pretty strong seeing how popular the first three were. It promises new HD content, more building options, better AI, etc. etc. That sounds like it fixes everything in number three. So, like an ordinary gamer, you feel like supporting an idea that you can agree with. But on the game's release, you notice problems like
- Screen Tearing
- Bad AA management
- Constant crashes
- Insane difficulty
So what do you do now? Nothing, you're left with a dead product. Essentially, you donated money to bring a game into existence, so you can't really ask for a refund back. And if you claim it as false advertising...well...you bought the game without it ever being released yet! It was only an idea and you supported it. It's different when someone buys Mass Effect 3 and hates it and wants a refund. Because they specifically bought the game and expected it to be good. All of the things EA/Bioware said about it could be considered false advertising. But with RT4's case, it wouldn't be like that, because you DONATED money to the project and got a game in return. Not only that, but you donated and got the game before it was even established as a public game.
In a time where people are against the corporations producing games because they're evil...you actually want to support that? If everyone would have paid for ME3 before it came out, you mind as well have torn another half of the content out. “But they're indie companies!” Not all of them have to be (Double Fine) and indie companies can be just as bad. Notch's rate of improvements to minecraft was much slower than Jeb's, sadly. Yeah, notch started it. But then it got annoying with how he went on vacations a lot more than he did work on his actual project. Yes, minecraft was still good. But it was still taking advantage of the customers, and later Minecraft revised the ToS to say that you would indeed have to pay for different versions of it (When it originally stated it wouldn't require for you to).
You can say developers are bad nowadays. I can see that somewhat. But then when you go and donate $10-$100 to a company for a promise that they're going to release a great game, you're really stretching it. While companies can do it for good, I'm sure there will be ones there to abuse the system. Donating to random companies on Kickstarter for an explanation of what it will be is like buying a good they show on TV. Have you ever used to Robo-Stir? It doesn't work. The snuggie? Blankets work too. Sham-Wow? They can't absorb worth a crap.
I realize that no company has done this yet to a really bad extent, and the chances of it occuring are low unless people keep giving companies money with pinky promises that they'll get a good product.
I love TF2 with a passion, in fact, I've racked up over 430ish hours on it and occasionally turn it back on. So when people start hyping a game said to have team-based objectives, I get kind of excited. No other game to that point had reached TF2's level of gameplay. Nothing really made you feel like a team and had the most balanced weapons imaginable. But what game was being hyped?
Oh, and it was nothing like I expected.
When I first got into a game, my eyes started watering. They cluttered my HUD with so many tiny little icons and do-hickeys that I couldn't see five feet in front of my face. They gave all of the different classes objectives to do, but the problem was, it was set to where every class had a different objective, but all it consisted of was going somewhere and holding the action button. You mind as well have everyone on the same objectives if it's that easy.
TF2 did well because: All characters were distinguishable, each class had it's own weapons, each class had a role, and they were balanced. Brink, had none of this. You can't see a character and think “Oh, that's a medic” or “Oh, that's a spy”. You just see him and think “Oh, well, I guess I gotta kill this enemy.” The problem with that is, no one knows who the priority target is. In TF2, if a heavy and medic team up, everyone gangs up on them because they're an obvious threat.
Another downside to Brink, again, is being similar through all of the classes. Each class has access to the same guns. wat. Again, by doing this, you make working as a team so much harder. That, and no class distinguishes. For example, the reason I've played TF2 so much, is because sometimes I feel like being a spy, while at times I feel like being a heavy. They all had their own play styles and in a way they all felt like their own game. But Brink offers none of that, making each character use the same everything while the only variation that exists is what you do in terms of an objective.
Brink tried to drum up excitement by showing off the SMART feature a lot, and it wasn't even that practical. There were times I needed to navigate, but I wasn't using it as much as the producers said it'd come in handy. I'd use it a few times in a game and I could do pretty well, so it wasn't like I was horrible at it, therefore I sucked. In all honesty, the problem with it is that the scoring system works off of objectives and kills, so why do parkour?
The storyline was the most half-assed thing I've seen in a while. Games 10 years ago called it “Offline multiplayer”, and they were bots. But no, this time they tried to tie in the word “Story” into it and it lost all credibility. That was as much of a story as my big toe. All it did was offer offline multiplayer, which is NOT a story, but a deathmatch or assault.
Brink with it's lack of differentiation throughout the game, horrible story mode, useless parkour system, and such, really drove the game down to probably my worst disappointment of all time. A game that claimed to be the next TF2 had a lot to live up to, and dropped way below anyone's expectations, and is now sitting in Gamestops everywhere, in the bargain bin.
I'm not trying to be a douche hating on Daniel's story or anything, in fact I agree with the points he made saying how it isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. The fact of the matter is that there's a lot of hatred on ME3's ending, and some of it is well deserved. I'm not saying harassing Jennifer Hepler will change anything, but simply being vocal can help a lot.
A lot of people got on the guy who complained about ME3 to the FTC saying he was going too far. But right now, in the current games industry, I wouldn't say he's going too far. Mass Effect's series promised choices, which were never really relevant as the game goes ahead and dictates to everyone that whatever choices they pick are only valid in the game it's played in. I haven't played ME, but I have read up a lot on the controversy. From what I've heard, ME1 let you vote for a council member, and in 2, they automatically choose one they figured you may have voted for. That's kind of crap.
You might say, “Big deal who cares”. But I do. This is the first step to a company shoving garbage down your throats. If you support good game developers such as Valve, and then support games that were made cutting corners, other companies might hop on that band wagon. If a company finds out that they can use public domain stock photos in their games without gamers being upset, I'm sure a lot more would! And that itself is not bad, unless it escalates. If it gets to where developers really start to drag this out further and cut more costs, I can't help but feel like I wouldn't be able to play video games anymore. It's starting to feel like hollywood, cutting corners and butchering what could have been good.
The case and point, is that if we don't tell EA/Bioware that this is bullshit, then they're going to keep on. And other companies will follow suit, and eventually we'll have games that are literally just copied and pasted onto our screens. And I don't want that, I want new content that works, is thought out, and allows for what it advertises.
If anything, I'd like for more people to be vocal, and I don't care how much. Send EA and Bioware emails that you don't want to be treated like sacks of money.
I recently got a 360 for the first time ever, and my friend's letting me borrow Deus Ex. I played it for a bit before on PC, but grew sick of how poorly my PC handled it, so I stopped. But now, I can play it a lot better, although with a worse controller (I love my Keyboard and mouse, and I hate analog stick controllers for FPS/TPS). But I've been playing through, and one thing more than any gets on my nerves.
When Deus Ex was first being advertised, they brought up the different forms of gameplay. They said there were 3: Stealth (Don't get noticed), Adaptive (Use the environment to your advantage), and Aggressive (Shoot everything you need to). The problem is, the last two...are pretty much obsolete.
If you really get into adaptive, it essentially means look for air ducts and move around boxes and fridges to your advantage. The problem is that air ducts are usually predictable, as they'll have one entrance 100% blocked off by enemies. So then you think, “Oh well, if they're going to completely block off my path, then there's probably an air vent around here somewhere.” To make an example, when you first get to china and have to get into the penthouse. There are 4-5 guards blocking off the obvious entrance, with an airduct slightly farther to the right of it. And if you decide to move stuff around to your advantage, it's either very limited or very cheating. The carrying augmentation costs 1 praxis point and allow you to move whatever you want. Essentially, you could run through the game, smashing anything that moves with a vending machine, and you'd be pretty safe with doing so. The vending machines would work as cover and a weapon.
Aggressive is what really gets me. I'm pretty bad at stealth, so I try my best, and most of the time, I at least make someone get suspicious of activities going on. The problem here is that aggressive won't work nearly as well as the other two. For one, there's a limited supply of ammo. In detroit, there's one guy selling weapons, and he has limited inventory. So at first, that's kind of okay. But then scenes come like when you face the bosses and are forced to unload all of your bullets into them. Then you walk away with a lot less. The second downfall to playing aggressively, is that if you do, you miss out on heavy experience gains. If you go through a part of a level without alerting anyone, you get Ghost for 500 exp. If you don't set off alarms, you get Smooth Operator for 500 exp. But killing a person gives you 10, and knocking them out only provides about...30? And with the limited praxis points in the game, you're probably going to want to get the most exp so you can augment completely.
Don't get me wrong, I love Deux Ex HR. But I just feel like if you make seperate ways to go about handling things, you should also make it a bit more balanced and fair, so that someone who's amazing at stealth gets about the same benefits as someone who has to kill or knock out a few people along the way.
I'm switching it up a bit and makng a full blog out of just audio, of me talkng. My laptop's keyboard is a bit messed up, and i figure this to be much easier anyway. I realize it's probably gonna disqualify me from being on the front page, but I don't think that that's what matters. I think these topic-specific blogs are meant just more for us to get our opinion out.
Before I get started, I also made this into an audio blog here. They both basically say the same thing, although one is read by a 17-year old's weird voice.
What is DLC? According to wikipedia, DLC is content made downloadable to work as addons for games. So that map pack you bought? DLC. That extra character? DLC. But if you take DLC apart and look at the words behind it, you get "Downloadable Content". No shit, right? Problem is, the words and the meaning are two different things. Downloadable Content is used today meaning extra addons, but the words themselves when put together basically refer to just about anything. You can't download nothing; it's really not possible (Unless we want to get into theoretical computing).
So then in the word form, it can mean anything from a document, to a downloadable game, like Bastion or Super Meat Boy. But for the sake of this blog, I'm going to refer to the DLC commonly associated with being addons of a video game.
Why is everyone against DLC?
It seems like everyone's against it, but they're not. They're for it. Everyone living and breathing should be for DLC. It takes a good game and adds more content. What they're actually against is when you order an entire pizza (game) and you only get two slices (1/2 of a Totino's Party Pizza). The problem is that people feel like they deserve more...and quite frankly...they should at least be somewhat retrospective about the game industry.
People who complain about DLC act like up until now the game industry has always been on your side with video games. Everyone thinks back to the Atari days and thinks, "Gee, video games sure were good then." but they really weren't. The vast majority of people are wearing nostalgia goggles so thick that a bullet couldn't penetrate it. Remember old RPGs on the NES? I'm not saying they're all bad (as they did lay the blue print for future RPGs), but...a look at storylines real quick. The storylines were usually something along the lines of a wizard attacking your hometown and you want revenge, you're the chosen one and have to save something or someone, or you're off on an adventure and get caught up in some strange situation. The graphics were good for the time, but easily outdated. The music was just beeps and boops, and they can still be catchy, but the music design overall has been outdated for way too long.
And before you go off on a long rant about how I'm wrong about saying what i just did, if you have a 360 or PS3 in your room, then you have no place to talk against this. If you do want to talk against this and say I'm wrong, sure, go ahead, but realize that the vast majority of the people who'll say I'm wrong do have either a wii/ps3/360/GamingPC in their homes.
Remember E.T. the video game? They knew it was going to be a huge seller, and yet, they didn't give half a crap about how good it came out. They were in it for the money, and that led to their own downfall.
Oh, and a classic: "All your Base Are Belong to Us"
DLC done right
DLC, in it's prime form, only adds to the pizza. Along with the pizza, you should get a side of breadsticks. My absolutely favorite piece of DLC of all time thus far has been Beat Hazard Ultra. Beat Hazard functioned fine on its own, and worked wonderfully. Ultra just added more features such as co-op, more bosses, perks, powerups, new weapons, and other functionality for just $5.
DLC can also be done right in other ways. The two best genres for DLC are Music based games and Sports games. I used to be a huge fan of Madden, and it really pissed me off how new rookies were always ranked lower no matter how well they did in college. So, why not make DLC for a game like madden, where for $5-$10, you can get updates on their stats as the season progresses? Make it feel more realistic. If Peyton Manning gets injured on the colts, then he does on your game too. Music games like GH should focus more on DLC rather than making sequels every few seconds. Then maybe, just maybe, the franchise would last longer.
When DLC doesn't matter
DLC, no matter how much is packed onto a disc, isn't really a bad thing (to me) in a few different cases. Locking off character costumes, extra maps, and things of the sort doesn't really bug me unless it impedes my actual gameplay. A lot of hate went towards Gotham City Imposters for having so much DLC, but all the dlc really did was unlock costumers, something purely a cosmetic effect which is similar to TF2's store system.
TF2's store system, while not really being DLC, is a good way to go about handling a game's extra financial gains. You basically allow customers to support the game in a non-harmful way in which functions perfectly. The workshop was a fantastic addition, and I hope to see Valve implementing more of its ideas across their future games.