Category: Wish List

Edit: For anyone else who may have had the same fears as me (either not having played the original, or not remembering it very well like me), I’m happy to point out the Developers were already on this. The original Planetside did a fantastic job of creating female player models, and I’m very eagerly awaiting on how we’ll get to look in Planetside 2. A massive thank you to Tramell, Higby, and everyone here and over on Reddit that confirmed what I dared to dream. Can’t to get my boots (never going to forget about that) dirty on the fields of Auraxis with you all!

Dear Planetside 2 Devs,

Do you mind if I call you devy? Too informal? Okay, I’ll keep that in mind. I don’t want to be too formal, because we’re all good friends around here, right? You guys work on the bestest game ever, and we salivate and jump around at all the tasty morsels you throw at us. Like sweet air vehicles or concept art of a human/transformer hybrid. And we absolutely love it. I love it. PlanetSide 2 is setting itself up to be one of the greatest games I could imagine playing, and I’m happily sitting here, PC Gamer beta key in hand, waiting to lovingly get into your game and tear it apart from the inside out. What, you called it a beta test. I’ll test it, even if it means jumping up and down for an hour to break the world geometry. And shooting. There will be shooting.

However… I’m now generating some doubts about a single aspect of the game. See, I was perfectly fine with PlanetSide 2 as a whole when I assumed that everyone would be a similar-ish Male type character, which is standard fare. You don’t see a female option in, say, Call of Duty. Or Tribes. Battlefield 3. I could go on, but the point is most of the time we’re given a homogenized ‘Man’ character, and that’s that. It’s not like we’re playing Dark Souls and spending an hour and a half crafting a face, it’s about the game play and guns, right? And since all of the war shooters are first person anyways, it’s simple enough to ignore the occasional grunt and pretend that I’m playing the game. But you see, I wasn’t born a guy. No, I was born as a space butterfly girl. A girl who likes war games, and likes to kick a little ass.

So, it seems perfect that PlanetSide 2 would offer a female model, right? I mean, that’s like a dream come true for me. You mean, I get to be in on the action this time? Not just as some faceless guy, but as a faceless girl? I love the choice, it brings a smile to my face. And having it would really cement PS2 in the top 5 ranking games ever in my heart (assuming game play is what I’m expecting roughly), but I am worried now. See, my half of the population has a pretty abysmal representation in gaming. Let’s look for a sec at another FPS coming into beta real quick, alright?
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Hidden Knowledge

This one will probably be a quick one, just because I can’t really think of many images to go with it that are actually coherent to the words at a glance. Now the, I’m noticing a major problem with gaming recently, and the worst part is, it has to deal with my other preferred hobby: reading. I’m talking about the almost retarded tendency of releasing of a game with a paper-thin story, and then releasing a book with more story and going “No, see, you didn’t read the book! The book explains everything!” That is extremely bad storytelling. Your job is to tell a complete and thorough story, not to point at a book and use it as an excuse for plot-hole filling. But that isn’t to say using other media as a tie-in or to fill backstory shouldn’t be done. Let’s give off a few examples of how this is done right and how it’s done wrong.

The Bad:

Right out of the gate, Halo falls flat on its face for this one. The Halo universe is one of political intrigue, survival against impossible odds, and the culture clashes of unlikely friendships. Guess how much of this the player sees? About none of it. At all. The closest hint comes in the lowest rating of the series, Halo 2, when you play as an actual member of the alien race, the Elites. The politics and high-stakes games played by the Covenant are intriguing and deep, and the answers are never quite satisfying enough to want to stop looking. The human side of the story involves gunning down hundreds of fanatically religious aliens. The Alien side involves fighting to regain lost honor and a massive conflict of self as Arbiter uncovers more and more of the truth.
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Living World

Today’s is going to be a bit of a short one, mostly because it’s not something that needs much elaboration, just a little better implementation. All I’m asking for a little better weather, and that’s all! Think about it, when was the last time you saw weather being used realistically to heighten a sense of immersion, and not as a cheap pull to set up weak atmosphere. So, we’ll do this in two ways: One is how weather is used poorly, and the other in how it could be used better.

Poor Use:
First and foremost, MMO’s and other genres that use a realistic 24-hour day/night cycle, I’m calling you out. The worst offenders of this have a grand total of three weather effects: Day time, Day time with rain, and Night. This is only made worse by the fact that rain falls for, at most, about 30 minutes.  In an entire day. Guys, I know people make fun of gamers for not going outside often, but can we not prove that by having ‘realistic’ rain that lasts a half hour? It was raining here at my house almost three days straight last week, then nothing until this morning. I know you want some kind of ‘consistency,’ but I’d rather have a more believable world. If that means having rain at night and a five-hour storm in a zone  or whatever, I am perfectly fine with that. It helps breath a bit of life into the zone.

Maybe if it rained more, some places wouldn't be dead.

Speaking of rain, can we stop using it as this cheap knock-off horror-hill style effect? The worst thing in the world is running towards your new quest area, and then it starts raining. Back up and it stops. Why not just scrap the whole thing and save your programmers some time, just insert a sign that says “Warning: Evil Ahead.” You’d accomplish the same thing without wrecking immersion or making me sit around all day enjoying the one place in the world that got all the rain. Why not through the player for a loop and actually have a bright sunny area where crap is getting real? Or, better yet, nothing out of the ordinary until you get underground/inside/whatever. Pacing people, pacing.

The other thing that bothers me, where is the rest of it? The world is not a binary Rain : No-Rain world. There is snow, gusts of wind, overcast days, sandstorms in deserts, extreme rainfall in tropical areas. Why does near everything have the same amount? The only time you ever see snow is if the one zone takes place on either the top of the mountain or the top of the world, and it’s never an actual snowstorm like you’d expect from that. Sandstorms never happen unless it was some gameplay mechanic involved.  The sky is usually cloudy, credit where do, but very very rarely in games do those clouds have an effect on the ambient lighting.

... What if it was snowing?

Good Use :
Now, the good news is, a lot of these effects actually are in games. Quite a few show up as either special mechanics for a single area, or as ambiance in a single zone. The entire world would be immersive and beautiful though, if it was a living breathing entity. Let sandstorms rage in the deserts, and the monsoons storm across the plains from time to time. Let the stop of the world be a cold, hateful place where the snow and wind beat out the living. Let the world come alive, and let the player become lost within. Games these days like trying to splice in varying environments, make them feel alive.

As a final note, anyone have a game to add where they feel weather was used exceptionally well?

Crafting, Crafting

Today’s topic is something I’ve been wanting to talk about for a little while. Today, we’re going over the crafting system that is found in some games, usually mmo’s. Remember that this applies for all crafting specialties in games, I’m just referring to Weapons and Weaponsmithing because that’s what I have the most experience with. Now with that out of the way, we can begin. Crafting is something of an oddity in gaming, that is both hated and loved, sometimes at the same time. I hate leveling my weaponsmithing because it’s expensive, and it just involves standing at a forge making what ever weapon uses the lest ingredients and get’s me the highest chance of leveling. And yet, my rogue was creating level 50 weapons when she was in her 30’s. I hit the max smithing level of 300 at level 39 and am close to already buying an epic recipe. At level 40. I can’t even use any of the stuff I’m now making or working on until I hit the level cap of 50. So how did this all go down?

Two words: Damascus Shiv. While I was leveling before, it was a common thing for me to use my marks, the currency you buy recipes with from doing dailies, when I noticed something odd. For one, this recipe was almost 5 times more expensive than it’s counter-parts. A normal recipe around this point cost me 13 or so marks. The Damascus items cost 68 minimal. I was intrigued by this odd recipe, and it was closed for me when I found out it was a blue, and a beautiful dagger too. I had to have. I began hording marks, doing every single daily to get as many of them as I could, until I could finally buy the recipe.  A more hidden reason for why I wanted the Damascus Shiv, it’s crafting materials were nothing special. Some planar dust I had kicking around, a piece of leather I already had for my warrior’s armorsmithing, and then the steel. Steel was the weird thing, I couldn’t make steel yet. Until I went out to mine a little…. and got the quest within a few lodes to learn how to create it. Now, the Shiv is a beautiful weapon. I’m level 40 and still using both of mine. They are relatively cheap and easy to make, and equip-able by level 32. It’s a wonderful item that really got me set and the fires of the forge burning for a long time. Finally around the high twenties, I was done. I had forged my own Damascus Shivs…

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Elder Scrolls: The Old and New

So there is a new Elder Scrolls title just around the corner, and I am finding myself more and more sadly optimistic. I remember my time spent on the last game, Oblivion, roaming the country side and being murdered by wolves. Always wolves, you’d think there would be a roaming band of hunters formed or something to keep wandering adventurers safe. After talking with a friend, I decided to do a quick run down of things from Oblivion that really stuck out in my mind after all this time and things I would like to see for Skyrim when it releases. Some of these things may have already been confirmed by Bethesda and it’s slipped my, but if that’s the case then hey, I just got one point off the wish list fulfilled. Speaking of…

Wish List- Things I’d personally like to see in the next game:
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Big Sister, Little Splicer

Lets try this again. Maybe my last post satisfied the Internets hunger. Anyways…

Time to expand a bit on the last post, mainly dealing with Big Sister – Player/Rapture relationship and the Splicers this time around.

Big Sister
Yes, there is more. The main folly of the Big Sister (and every killable enemy ever really) is that as time goes on the player gets stronger and stronger. Think back to BioShock, remember your first real Big Daddy fight? That was a hard, but exciting, fight, and killing him gave a certain sense of superiority. Now try and remember the fights from the end of the game. Got anything? Trap crossbow bolts and explosive buck-shot, proximity mines on a gas tank with Telekinesis plasmid, there were no fights. It was a slaughter. Only the very last Big Daddy could be called an actual fight, and that is because he came flying through the wall towards the end of a long grind. By being a killable enemy, Big Sisters share the same fate. Scary and pulse pounding at first, but  then almost trivial later on. The scariest Big Sister fight was the first when she shows up out of no where and you have to fight her off before she just bolts. That fight left me shaken, unsure of how to go on or if she was still in the area.

The first Big Sister kill? Shredded her with Armor Piercing rounds and some rivet melees. Yes, the rivet gun melee is that awesome. When I killed the first Big Sister though, all I could say is ‘That’s it?’. It wasn’t much of anything.  Was she harder than a Big Daddy? Yes, easily. Was it more fun to kill her? Not by a long shot. If more fights had been like that first one I would have loved the Big Sister.

Imagine; you walking around Rapture. Stopping off at a Circus of Value for a few medkits or EVE hypos, then going on your merry way. You see a group of splicers and start planning on how to take them all out when a piercing scream echos throughout the decaying halls. The Splicers all turn and flee, you all know whats about to happen. There is a Big Sister coming. Maybe on these ‘random’ fights (not completely random, there has to be a limiting factor so you aren’t just gibbed by a Big Sister) you stand a chance of lying low and trying to avoid her before she screams in frustration and leaves. You know all to well, you can’t kill a Big Sister, you can only survive.

Much more interesting to me than just Adopting/Harvesting all the Little Sisters on the level then , whoops, Big Sister. Like clockwork, every time. Its not as much fun when you know exactly when and where the main enemy will be showing up. No one ever has to worry about finding one on accident or being stalked by one. Take  care of the Little Sisters, kill the Big Sister, move on. Maybe if you took the evil option you have a chance of spawning a very angry Big Sister. A little… variety perhaps? (Okay, I won’t milk the Spider Splicer quote from the first game for the rest of this. Maybe.) Also, and here is your only spoiler warning, why on earth do we have to fight two as the ‘climactic battle’ between us and the Big Sisters? I beat the whole thing by running in circles spamming Security Bots and letting them do the work. The only time I ever took much damage was when I decided to turn around with some Incinerate! 3 and the Big Sister walked through the flamethrower my hand had become to punch me in the face. Repeatedly. So back to SecuBot spam. Feels like there was a big opportunity for the Big Sisters and they got the short end of the stick.

Shorter section. First off, the new Bouncer Splicer is fun and a blast to fight. Although sometimes I did feel like it was some bad cross-fanfiction about a Big Daddy fighting a Charger (Left 4 Dead 2), that only added to the charm! A bit disappointed that Houdini Splicers either didn’t make a come-back with their own cult from the first game or find a  way to incorporate the Family of Rapture into it. You know, spice it up a bit. Speaking of cults though, would have liked to see more than just some body on an alter before the port-holes. Have fun with it! The best religious moment in the game was fighting the Father in his own church, that really brought across a feeling of religion (or that everyone in Rapture is scared to hell and back and are looking to save themselves from her fall), there should have been a bit of that in the cult meetings too. Starting to wonder though, what happened to all the female Spider Splicers? Maybe without the creepy lady in the ceiling talking about her ‘variety’ I just didn’t notice, but my hats off to you Ms. Creepy-Lady-In-The-Roof, you will be missed (Even if I took a shotgun to your head at some point. It wasn’t personal. Just business).

That’s all for now. Next time, Pandora!