A programming geek and gamer from Israel, and Dtoid newbie. I was introduced to Destructoid Europe and immediately joined during Eurogamer Expo 2011. (You can find the post about it all on this cblog!) I'm a big fan of PC gaming, but sometimes I play on my PS3. Rarely.
This is my Dtoid Community Blog, but my main blog is at smileybarry.com. I post everything there and cross-post some stuff here.
The shirts I got at Eurogamer Expo 2011. The important bit is the front, so I made sure to take a picture of just the logo/graphic. From top-to-down:
1. id Software shirt I got for attending the 20 Years of id Software developer session.
2. Uncharted 3 shirt I got for scanning the QR code on the billboard at the entrance
3. CS:GO shirt I got from Valve for playing CS:GO. I got three of these, each for every day I played it.
4. A knitted symbol on the side of the CS:GO shirt.
5. OnLive shirt I got from the OnLive stand.
The Uncharted shirt is very comfortable and feels great, plus it's the least-branded -- only the sleeve part has "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception" written on it. I've yet to try the CS:GO shirt but the texture feels great so I'm pretty confident it'll fit well. Same goes for the OnLive shirt. Sadly, the id Software shirt is much more snug-fit than the rest, despite them all being the same size. It's a bit tight.
Time for a giveaway, folks. I walked out of Eurogamer Expo 2011 with several CS:GO beta codes, and this coming week I'll give away one of the codes. This giveaway is only open to PC Steam gamers, as the codes I got were only for the PC beta -- sorry!
To join the giveaway, join Destructoid's unofficial Steam Community group Steamtoid, open the giveaway announcement and answer this question: (via comment) "What is the acronym CS:GO for?". The challenge is to think of your own interpretation of the acronym, so don't answer with "Counter-Strike: Global Offensive". The most creative response wins the code. :D
Seeing as the beta has yet to begin, the giveaway will run until this Wednesday, the 26th of October 2011 at 20:00 UTC/GMT (13:00 PST) (26/10/11), so you'll have plenty of time to think of a clever response. Good luck!
UPDATE: Due to the request of Vitruvius Otoko in the comments, I've looked for a reliable source to all this and found a post by Blizzard Entertainment themselves. Here it is:
In addition to all the other benefits that we believe ultimately come from having everyone online such as an active, centralized community, a popular arena system, accessible character storage, etc. etc. Diablo III is built on a client/server architecture, which means not all the data for the game or mechanics reside on the client (your computer).
This is not too unlike World of Warcraft where the world itself, the art, the sounds, etc. are on your machine, but all of the NPC’s and enemies are controlled by the server. Diablo III doesn’t function in all of the exact same ways, but things like monster randomization, dungeon randomization, item drops, the outcomes of combat, among others, are all handled and verified by the client talking to the server, and vice versa.
We’ve learned a lot from this type of architecture from World of Warcraft, and the added security and oversight it provides. It allows a great deal of control over the game at all times for all players, so if we know there’s an issue or bug we can usually address it right then and there through a live hotfix. Hotfixes can’t be used for everything, we’re still going to have client patches, but we’re definitely looking forward to being able to deliver a consistently high quality experience to all players simultaneously through processes like hotfixes.
In addition there are some pretty intense security concerns. While there’s never a fool proof solution to stopping hack and cheats, we’ve found that a strict client/server architecture is a huge barrier for their development and use.
Ultimately we made the decision to make the game client/server based because of the security and quality it can provide to those playing, and as a bonus it reinforces a lot of our ideals for a thriving online community.
Diablo III requires a permanent internet connection to play. However, what it doesn't tell you is that the requirement is not just forced -- it is actually required.
Diablo III servers don't just keep a constant connection with your computer, they do the number crunching. They calculate damage, AI, loot, actions, the whole thing. You are playing one-user multiplayer, not single-player. Unlike previous Diablo games, your computer does nothing but create the scene. Sure, sometimes it compensates for missing data and lag -- just as any online game does-- but just like World of Warcraft, you are playing on a server no matter what.
This is more than digital rights management. You are sold an incomplete product. Blizzard market Diablo III is an RPG with online features, implying offline is possible and not the main focus. This is false. Instead, you are buying a MMORPG in which you are playing alone. When Blizzard pull the plug on Diablo III servers, you will have a digital or physical paperweight. (You might question that statement considering Diablo II servers are still up. But that is directed at such products in general, which are only usable as long as the developer or publisher feels like it.)
Unlike Ubisoft's Online Services Platform, your games are non-functional if you don't maintain a connection. If your connection is flaky or if the server is far away, you will experience game issues: rubberbanding, lag, errors and maybe even discarded actions -- in situations of extreme network congestion your "click" may not register in time or register at all. This is one example of it. (And this is another)
One example of discarded actions prevalent in online gaming is Minecraft multiplayer. If you own a network card made by Atheros or Realtek, you cannot play Survival Multiplayer. Despite efforts made by Mojang to cut back on traffic, Minecraft sends an immense amount of data back and forth that these brand cards simply can't cope with. The result is lag, changes that aren't seen until later and sometimes even having the server undo your actions because your network card didn't send the actions to the server on time. The server thus determined your actions to be impossible and reverted them.
That's why Diablo III's online-only requirement is a real requirement and not just DRM, and why it is actually worse than online-only DRM. I'd have less of a problem with it if Blizzard didn't market the game for what it's not: a single-player RPG with online features, but instead marketed it as a multi-player RPG with a one-user option.
Last weekend, I was at Eurogamer 2011. I got to play lots of great games before their release, but that was not the highlight of the weekend. Not in the slightest.
On Thursday, I indeed went around the expo, played a (more than fair) share of games, saw some neat developer sessions and got some great swag. No, plenty of great swag. But on Friday, that changed. I still went to the expo, I even came to the line early and waited patiently for the doors to open. But after the expo and during it, I hung out with some of the coolest people I've ever met.
Thursday was the least busy day of the expo, probably because it was initially a "Preview Day" for press people or something of the like. I actually played more games on this day than I did on the other days, combined. Queues were significantly shorter, developer sessions were not packed and some game stations had no people playing them(!). On this day, I met my first Dtoider - Wayne. We talked, played some fighting games (I beat him at Tekken Tag Tournament HD, he beat the crap out of me in UFC 3 Undisputed), and had fun. I also got a free OnLive Game System.
There were also tanks outside, advertising World of Tanks. Yes, motherfucking tanks.
Friday was different. It was packed. Massively packed. Wanted to play Skyrim? Arkham City? Battlefield 3? Modern Warfare 3? Forget it. On the upside, I met DJ from Valve and I talked to him about Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and gave feedback. Great guy! But, the highlight of that day was in the evening, when I went to see Jurassic Park at IMAX UK with some Dtoid folks. I met some of the Destructoid Europe group -- Beccy, Nik, Jamie, Joe, Jake, Gavin, Sam and more -- and we got to see big-ass dinosaurs on a big-ass screen in big-ass digital format.
But, Saturday was the best. I met up with a few more Dtoiders at the expo -- Sean, James, Adam -- and we hung out, talked, played video games (though we usually stuck around in the older games section at a pre-release games expo -- the horror!), and just generally had fun. We went out to eat during lunch-ish and I got to know them better, while they learned of the guy who made it all the way from tiny Israel. I played some Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which was orgasmic. GOTY right there, folks. It's a game I'm going to pre-order, and I barely even buy console games (I'm primarily a PC gamer). Also, I played Street Fighter x Tekken.
Come Saturday evening, we went to the Eurogamer-StickTwiddlers Expo After-Party, where we were a giant Dtoid group - tens of us! We were literally stuffing the upper floor and the open area next to it. It was one of the best nights of my life, easily. I met the Destructoid Europe Community Manager, Hollie Bennett, who's kind of a big deal. She was really surprised I came all the way from Israel and that Destructoid reaches that far. I met a lot more people at the party -- Jordan, Gandy, Aidan, Becca, to name a few -- and had a blast. We goofed around like only the internet's dirty uncle Destructoid can, I made a whole bunch of new friends and some best friends, and I simply had the best night of my life that night.
Oh, and I met Mario and Professor Genki at the expo.
On Sunday, which was the last day for the Dtoid group and the expo (I was already dreading the idea of the weekend ending!) we went to Bodeans and had some meat in and around our mouths. I tried pork for the first time in my life, which, in a cliché way, tasted a whole lot like chicken (surprise!). I didn't do much at the expo then, but I hung out with the Dtoid crew again, laughed at Kinect (lol movement-controlled gaming), and later that day I went for drinks with them. We laughed and had a great time. But, through the evening something bothered me terribly and I ended up talking about it to one of the group, who was a great listener and gave me great advice. She helped me with a genuine, big problem I had and put my mind at ease. For some reason, I felt like I could trust her, and apparently my feeling was correct. Through the evening, I spent some amount of time talking to another specific Dtoider and we became great friends. Great in that way that makes you feel like you're going to remain great friends for a long time, and that it wasn't just an awesome night.
To make a long story short, or TL;DR, I had the best weekend of my life with Destructoid Europe. I met a bunch of new friends and, as you can see above, some even became part of my inner friends circle. There's something Hollie told me several times that I remember clearly: the Destructoid community is more than just a bunch of people to share funny cat pictures with -- they're a group that you can talk to about serious stuff, too. They'll understand, weigh in their advice, and be generally awesome about it. It's a group you can actually talk to rather than just "goof off" with (Even though the latter is also very much possible with them. Too possible). She was right.
And it was that weekend that I wanted to be a part of this great community. A great group of people that not only shared my interests and were funny and interesting, but also listened to what I had to say and could be serious when it was time to be serious. A group that is not just an internet group, but more than that. A group you never want to let go of.
After Sunday's hangout, I was very sad to leave them and say goodbye. It was also a rushed goodbye, because my train had just arrived. But more than that, I just met a bunch of people I actually fit in with very well and I didn't want to say goodbye. But I had to.
And that was a full recap of Eurogamer Expo 2011. I've gone back to my original life now, but I'm staying in touch with them. I'm anxiously waiting for the next meetup, which hopefully won't be too far off. There is no way I'm leaving Dtoid Europe now that I've seen the awesomeness that it is.
Oh yeah, and we had our group photo taken on a motherfucking tank.