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Monthly Archives: November 2012

So Planetside 2 is out and having heard some suggestions from people online about how good the Beta was, I decided to try it out. Now to give you an idea of how good I was told it was, I downloaded the 7GB installer on my 1.5Mbps DSL connection. Yeah, that took most of an overnight to get done. Given the recommendations though, I figured it should be worth it.

So far I  have to say that I am enjoying it though I have found that between this and DUST 514 I suck at First Person Shooters (FPS). This does not keep me from having a good time with them but I do not have the skill level many of the other players have honestly. This could be mitigated by a thorough tutorial or even hints during loading screens as to things I could be doing to improve my skills. Unfortunately Planetside 2 lacks both of these.

When you start you are given the ability to lightly customize your character, select the server you want to be on, and choose a name for yourself. After having done so, you are IMMEDIATELY thrown into battle with nary a tooltip in sight. Luckily the controls are fairly simple so it was a simple matter to move and shoot. Selecting the different weapons was easy as well as you could use the number for the weapon or the scroll wheel on your mouse.

Figuring out fittings was where it got to be a bit more difficult. Again with no tutorial there was not much to guide me when I went to a fittings terminal and hit the “E” key to access it. I found I had “cert” points I could spend as well as real-life money if I chose that route. Near as I could tell the certs opened up different weapons, attachments, and effects for your chosen weapon or class type. I immediately invested the one point I had in boosting my shields as they did seem to drain on shots very quickly.

From that point on I hit the “M” key for the Map and that had a very nice tutorial like screen with it! Finally, something that I could understand that would point me in the right direction. I found a contested area I could jump into and selected the “sniper” class. What can I say; I always function better when I can find a nice spot to sit and snipe. Call me a camper if you wish but I say if they did not want camping they should not have given me a sniper rifle.

One thing I found with the sniper rifle is that it has a LOT of lead on it and the bullets take quite a bit of time to get where they are supposed to go. The problem is that the class is squishy enough that getting close enough to hit the targets consistently meant that I was dying quite consistently too. Luckily I had several spawn points to choose from but still, it can get quite frustrating dying so often.

I finally decided to switch to the more “up close and personal” classes of Light Assault and Heavy Assault. I actually started getting some kills with these classes though one thing kept getting me killed and that was the one thing I could not resolve: LAG! While it did improve throughout the day, finally getting to the point where it was playable, I had a lot of problems with lag. Characters would jump around or just disappear even as I was shooting at them. This meant that often enough I died simply because the enemy was not where they were supposed to be.

Now once I got the hang of it, my “kill to death” ratio finally went to around 1:5. Ok I know that sucks but for me that is fantastic! I am still having fun playing it as well even with dying so much so that says something about the game itself. Once I figured out how to get into the action, and how quick it is to get back into the action when you die, the game definitely increased in appeal for me.

The visuals are fantastic as well with brightly colored everything! Nothing is bland and colorless and everything is quite sharp and crisp even on a mid-range PC. You can quite obviously tell which faction is controlling an objective and the faction colors extend to the vehicles and characters as well. I never had to guess whether an enemy vehicle was coming at me or if that person coming over the hill was a friend or foe.

Overall if you are looking for an online shooter to pick up and enjoy for a few minutes a day; or if you are looking to take an online experience seriously, Planetside 2 is definitely a good choice for you.

Why is it that when someone does not like something that is produced they say it is a signal that the industry is dying? Take for instance causal games in the gaming industry such as Plants Vs. Zombies or even Bejewled. You would think that someone said they were implanted viruses that would destroy the core of what makes gaming good while at the same time replicating and capturing those who would otherwise be “real gamers.” This is ridiculous!

Casual games are usually defined as those games which can be picked up, played, and put down again with little to no major time investment. “Farmville” by Zynga is touted as being the biggest offender in the casual games genre; sucking down millions of people a day who spend ten or fifteen minutes maintaining their virtual farms. These games have a low amount of investment in both time and money (many are free) and are often not very technical in nature; having easy controls and easy mechanics to grasp.

A “real” game is one that is often defined as…well it is not really defined as a rule. They do not meet the definition of the exact opposite of a casual game but they are certainly not casual games either. This is part of why I feel the argument that casual games are ruining gaming as ridiculous. If you cannot properly define as “real” what you are arguing as being ruined, then you cannot argue that something is destroying it.

What I do not understand is denigrating something that is bringing more fans into whatever it is your hobby is. Surely anything that brings in more fans and more money into your hobby is good right? Apparently that is not valid when it comes to video games.

What gamers appear to be worried about is the influence of this money in what games are going to be made. If more money is coming in to these “causal” games then why would a game company not make more of the casual games than the “real” games that gamers love? The thing that gamers seem to forget is that causal games can be an entry point into “real” gaming. If your mom suddenly loves “Farmville” as a game, maybe you could introduce her slowly to other games she might like with similar controls but increasing in complexity?

That is what gamers seem to be forgetting. Even a “casual” gamer is a gamer by definition. If you can introduce them into the games you define as “real” via these games, then what have you lost? Suddenly you have one more person to play with, and more money going to make those games you enjoy.