Couch Podtatoes Episode 52: Talking Points Four

CP4

This week I go it alone, as time conflicts and mixups happen, even when you’ve been doing this podcast thing for this long! As the 4th of July rapidly approaches I decided to push this episode out solo so that I could enjoy the holiday with friends. It’s another talking points episode, so I’ve got some articles from the gaming sphere that I found interesting enough to talk about and share with you. If the audio sounds a little funky it’s because I ended up having a fan on in the background and editing that shit out makes everything sound tinny. My bad. But I wasn’t about to re-record the whole thing again! I encourage you to check out the links below so you can get some extra information on the things I ramble on about!

 

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Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 52: Talking Points Four (runtime: 40:43)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:33)
Discussion: Talking Points (starts at 5:59)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Eri
Blog: Healing the Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Articles Referenced:

World of Warships/Humble Bundle debacle:
http://kotaku.com/humble-bundle-confusion-leads-to-world-of-warships-ange-1714082047
Makes good: http://kotaku.com/world-of-warships-humble-bundle-mess-finally-cleaned-up-1715036609

Batman: Arkham Knight pulled from steam:
http://steamed.kotaku.com/batman-arkham-knight-and-the-art-of-a-good-pc-port-1713965589
and related: Stop Preordering! http://kotaku.com/stop-preordering-video-games-1713802537

Fan pays for Fallout 4 in bottlecaps:
http://kotaku.com/bethesda-actually-lets-fan-pay-for-fallout-4-with-2-200-1713989151

Fans make spiritual successor to P.T.
http://kotaku.com/fans-are-making-a-spiritual-successor-to-p-t-and-it-l-1715045419

App Store pulling games with Confederate Flag:
http://kotaku.com/apple-yanks-games-with-confederate-flags-from-app-store-1713885047
and related: Gettysburg Dev refuses to edit game: http://www.polygon.com/2015/6/25/8846695/apple-confederate-flag-civil-war

Steam Summer Sale Data:
http://www.polygon.com/2015/6/25/8847597/steam-summer-sale-data-steamspy-2015

Diablo III Patch adding new zone, new artifact:
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/06/25/diablo-3-adding-kanais-cube/#more-297527

Devilian Announcement from Trion
http://www.destructoid.com/trion-announce-they-re-publishing-f2p-mmo-devilian-295095.phtml

Steam Group dedicated to reviving dead multiplayer games
http://steamed.kotaku.com/the-steam-players-dedicated-to-reviving-dead-multiplaye-1714999608

Block “action figures”
http://www.polygon.com/2015/7/1/8877193/thomas-was-alone-3d-figures

Austraila bans over 200 games in 4 months
http://www.polygon.com/2015/6/30/8872277/over-200-games-banned-in-australia-in-4-months-new-ratings-system-on

Music Credits:
“Level Up” by Cookie Monsta (from the Riot! EP)
“Elektra” by Refused (from the album Freedom)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at http://couchpodtatoes.libsyn.com/. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

#couchpodtatoes #podcast #gamesdiscussion #gaming

Fantasy Thursdays Week 5

fantasylcsthursdays

I was beginning to lose hope for my fantasy season, but I suppose that it was really too early to tell how things might turn out. Either way, I was back matched up against Teamsoapymid once again, and their team looked pretty superior to mine. However, super stand out performances by my Team Impulse players and some bad luck for their CLG picks gave me the edge. I did still feel like Powerofevil and Unicorns of Love let me down overall, so I made some adjustments this week as well. Here’s the results for last weekend:

week5results

It’s took bad I didn’t hold onto Impact and Xiaoweixiao from Impulse, because they too also posts 60+ point games. But that’s ok, I don’t see them doing that every week, because they’re a middle of the road team right now in the NALCS. Like I said, PoE and UoL have been failing me each week outside of the first, so I dropped them like bad habits.

week6roster

I picked up Fenix and Team Liquid to compensate for those drops, but despite wanting to remove PoE, there weren’t any other mids worth trading for so he ended up on my bench. I also benched Hauntzer despite his good recent performance, only because he has harder matchups this week than Liquid does. Here’s hoping they give me the big points. I also dropped BunnyFuFuu in favor of the Fnatic support, as Rekkles has given me steady points all season, and if Lustboy tapers off I’ll give Yellowstar a whirl. I’ve been happy with the play of Rush and Apollo all season, so they aren’t going anywhere either. As of now, my projected points totals are better than my opponent (I’m facing Nertle again, who is still rocking the entire Origen squad), so I’m hopeful to be 3-2 after this weekend. Here’s the matchup:

week6matchup

Nertle has come up with one win, and he’s had this same team for all weeks except the first where I demolished him. I think the “all eggs in one basket” strategy is a poor one, but he seems to have lost interest in tampering, unlike the rest of us in the league. Here’s the other matchups going into week 6:

week6matchupothers

They look pretty even as well, but that really will depend on the performace of TSM and CLG, where a lot of their power is coming from. We’ll see ya next week to see what happens!

#fantasythursdays #fantasylcs #nalcs #leagueoflegends

Back in Norrath (Again)

Everquest 2 has been free to play for a few years now, but every time I played the game in the past I was always a subscriber. After my initial stint I would almost always come back for an expansion, during a promotion, or just because I felt like it. But I always resubscribed to the game. With many of the limitations having been lifted from the free to play version of the game, and knowing that I have two expansions worth of content ahead of me just to get caught up to the latest expansion (which I would have to buy, mind you), I figured free was a viable option this time. So far, it has been. I don’t have that subscription guilt where I feel like I need to play the game to get my money’s worth, and I can still experience parts of the game that are new to me.

The new login screen

When I took a trip back to Norrath last year, I managed to get my Brigand past a barrier to entry for the next expansion, which was having 280 AAs. That was the point in which you could finally level beyond 90. However, playing through a bunch of old content I hadn’t seen before sort of gave me my fill for the game, and I was distracted by friends who were playing Rift. That also lead to a bunch of other MMO experimentation which I’ve written about over the course of the last year. I am still playing a few of the MMOs I’ve tried since then, and currently have about 5 or 6 installed on my system, so I can jump between them all at a whim. But I’m getting off point. Since my last excursion, the game has seen another expansion and a DLC (which is the model Daybreak has since chosen to follow), and that meant another balancing of the experience curve. As such, my Paladin who would have needed to grind out another 60+ AAs to be able to level past 90 earned them all just for logging in. So basically what I did last year on the Brigand doesn’t have to be done over again, but it kind of makes me wish I would have waited. However, there were tons of dungeons we cleared that I wouldn’t have been able to solo and hadn’t seen, so I suppose it was worth the experience.

Anyway, I had left off in the Withered Lands, which was a free content patch that came out somewhere between the release of Velious and Chains of Eternity. It’s a full zone with everything you’d expect, including quests galore, collections, named and raid mobs, and a series of dungeons at the end which are designed to be soloable, however I’m not quite to that point yet. This is supposed to get you prepared for the next expansion and so far it has been more of what I’ve come to expect from the game, but for some reason it’s grabbing me like it hasn’t in a long time. However, I know writing this won’t mean that I will stick with it… I’m still rather fickle when it comes to how I want to spend my gaming time. There’s something about the depth of systems within the game that keeps me interested, even if I’m just spamming abilities and skipping quest text. I just like Norrath. It feels like home.

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As you can see the Withered Lands are rather dark and foreboding, but this doesn’t stop flashes of brilliance it their design. The questlines lead  you through the zone in typical themepark fashion, but I still enjoyed clearing the zone slowly but surely. There were raid bosses who crossed my path, named that I killed who also dropped some nice fabled gear, a quest that rewarded a new fluff pet, and I even picked up a new elite mercenary who heals but also churns out steady DPS.

The overall lore of the zone deals with the Remnants of Growth faction (followers of Tunare) who are trying to push back the corruption of what was once a lush land. Dragons have over taken part of the zone and are maintaining a spell that causes the corruption, but it is supposedly for a good cause. More is learned from the Dragon who resides in the Village of Alivan with the Droag. I sort of know what comes next, but I won’t talk about it til I know more.

During my travels I picked up quite a few shinies and ended up completing one of the collections for the zone, which ended up being all I needed to hit level 91. I still have a few quests left to round out the zone before moving on to Skyshrine, but all told I ended up with 5 extra AAs and 5 prestige AAs along with the level.

EQ2_000034

It took quite a bit of time to make this last level, much longer than I remember levels taking to earn in the past. However, this was during a time when the game stopped doing ten level incremental increases with expansions, and instead only raised the cap two levels, opting to added extra AAs instead. This is a process I’m aware of and I don’t mind, because the AAs really feel like you can full customize your character, and its a feature many games seem to lack. But I’ve droned on about horizontal progression in the past so I won’t do it again now. It also took a bit longer because I’ve had my AA slider at 50%, so half of my earned adventure xp converts into AA, since there are a lot more of those to earn than levels at this point, and because I know that I have a lot of content ahead of me, so leveling shouldn’t be an issue. For posterity, here’s my AA trees as they stand now:

That’s all I have for this update. I will add more as I progress through more content that’s not necessarily new, but new to me and probably most of my readers, who probably don’t play the game.

#everquest2 #daybreakgames #mmorpg

Your Gaming Style : Action-Oriented and Competitive

This is another post inspired by the Blogosphere, and with my lack of posts for a few days I figured I could cram a couple into one day. I first saw a link to the Quantic Foundry Gamer Motivation Profile survey over on Keen & Graev’s blog, but also saw a snippet about it on the latest Link Dead Radio post from Eri. The survey is comprised of some basic questions with the standard scale of “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” based on generalized statements. Like most personality tests, it doesn’t seem like what you’re answering will give you a very good idea of your gaming motivations, but I have to say the results page most definitely nailed it.

Survey says: I am Action-Oriented and Competitive, and I couldn’t agree more. My competitive nature has fueled many a rant on this blog, and has turned off some people from following my writing and/or social media presence. Competition has driven me to play titles that many of my blogging compatriots try to avoid, and keeps me playing PvP-oriented games.

graph

As you can see, I scored highest in Action, Strategy and Social, though I would have thought Immersion (which is very important to me) would have beat out Social. However, as we delve deeper into the categories, you’ll see why.

The Action Components (78%)

Gamers with high Action scores are aggressive and like to jump in the fray and be surrounded by dramatic visuals and effects. Gamers with low Action scores prefer slower-paced games with calmer settings.

Destruction (81%): Gamers who score high on this component are agents of chaos and destruction. They love having many tools at their disposal to blow things up and cause relentless mayhem. They enjoy games with lots of guns and explosives. They gravitate towards titles like Call of Duty and Battlefield. And if they accidentally find themselves in games like The Sims, they are the ones who figure out innovative ways to get their Sims killed.

Excitement (68%): Gamers who score high on this component enjoy games that are fast-paced, intense, and provide a constant adrenaline rush. They want to be surprised. They want gameplay that is full of action and thrills, and rewards them for rapid reaction times. While this style of gameplay can be found in first-person shooters like Halo, it can also be found in games like Street Fighter and Injustice, as well as energetic platformers like BIT.TRIP RUNNER.

Yeah, I enjoy blowing shit up. I’m surprised when I looked at Eri’s results that she didn’t score higher in this category. This is where my love for first person shooters and fighting games comes into play, both of which fueled early PvP experiences. Destruction and Excitement fuel most of my gaming wants and needs.

The Strategy Components (49%)

Gamers with high Strategy scores like challenging gaming experiences with strategic depth and complexity. Gamers with low Strategy scores enjoy being spontaneous in games and prefer games that are accessible and forgiving when mistakes are made.

Mastery (58%): Gamers who score high on Mastery enjoy playing games that rely heavily on skill and ability. They take the time to practice and hone their gameplay so they can take on the most difficult challenges that the game can offer. These gamers play at the highest difficulty settings and don’t mind failing missions repeatedly in games like Dark Souls because they know it’s the only way they’ll master the game. They want gameplay that constantly challenges them.

Planning (40%): Gamers who score high on this component enjoy games that require careful decision-making and planning. They like to think through their options and likely outcomes. These may be decisions related to balancing resources and competing goals, managing foreign diplomacy, or finding optimal long-term strategies. They tend to enjoy both the tactical combat in games like XCOM or Fire Emblem, as well as seeing their carefully-devised plans come to fruition in games like Civilization,Cities: Skylines, orEuropa Universalis.

While I don’t necessarily agree with the initial statement, I do agree that I love needing skill and ability to be good at a game. Dark Souls is a good example, but so are MOBAs, as the toxicity that sprouts up around those communities comes from the split between players who have skill and those who lack it. I am less of a planner when it comes to games that are face paced, but turn-based strategy and 4x games come with enough down time to really figure out the best course of action, and I enjoy that just as well.

The Social Components (45%)

Gamers with high Social scores enjoy interacting with other players, often regardless of whether they are collaborating or competing with them. Gamers with low Social scores prefer solo gaming experiences where they can be independent.

Competition (83%): Gamers who score high on this component enjoy competing with other players, often in duels, matches, or team-vs-team scenarios. Competitive gameplay can be found in titles like Starcraft, League of Legends, or the PvP Battlegrounds in World of Warcraft. But competition isn’t always overtly combative; competitive players may care about being acknowledged as the best healer in a guild, or having a high ranking/level on a Facebook farming game relative to their friends.

Community (20%): Gamers who score high on Community enjoy socializing and collaborating with other people while gaming. They like chatting and grouping up with other players. This might be playing Portal 2 with a friend, playing Mario Kart at a party, or being part of a large guild/clan in an online game. They enjoy being of a team working towards a common goal. For them, games are an integral part of maintaining their social network.

When I was thinking of social components, I was figuring it had to do with grouping, chatting, and things of that ilk. It turns out that my competitiveness figures into the social nature of gaming motivations, and I guess that’s true. Can’t have opponents if there aren’t other players. It seems that I prefer killing other players to being cooperative though. However, if I was to take this survey during my time playing the Everquest franchises religiously, I’m sure it would have skewed back the other way. These types of surveys aren’t static, as we change and grow as individuals over time. I do think that games are an integral part of maintaining a social network, but I’m not super involved in playing games with many people. Just a select few.

That’s the top 3, and when delving into the other aspects, it turns out my achievement score is reflective of enjoying the gathering of loot, upgrading gear and having the best possible min/max setup when it comes to characters I play in a game. I have broken my need for earning fluff achievements that are mostly present on Steam/consoles and inside of some MMOs. My immersion components reflect my desire to play characters other than myself, and to be immersed in a fantastic story. Story is actually very important to me, so I’m surprised it didn’t rank higher. The last part of that category had to do with character customization, and I’m not really all that enthralled with fluff gear, fancy hats, or the need to sculpt a nose that’s simply perfect.

Overall, I think the survey ended up being very reflective of my personality when it comes to gaming, but as I said, these types of things change as we evolve over time. Perhaps I will revisit this again in the future to see what’s changed.

#survey #gamermotivations #community

The Steam Calculator: One Year Later

This post was inspired by Aywren’s look at her progress through the Steam Personal Challenge, which was going around the blogosphere around this time last year. I jumped on board with a post about the Steam Calculator, in which I took a look at various stats based on my Steam account. From that post, some stats for comparison:

This account is worth $607.64. If all games were bought on sale, it would be $276.54.

* *Games owned:* 55

* *Games not played:* 5 **(9%)**

* *Hours spent:* 304.5h

Keep in mind, at the time I had just gotten my hands on a computer that was capable of playing most games on the market, and at this point I actually have a far superior gaming PC, so those numbers were all fairly low, but I’m just using the facts for a comparison with this year’s results. It seems that some upgrades have been made to the Steam database page itself, as this year there is more information, or maybe I just left bits out last year. Either way, we’ll start with the side by side comparison. Extra facts to follow.

This account is worth $2054. If all games were bought on sale, it would be $562.

* **Games owned:** 168
* **Games not played:** 34 *(20%)*
* **Hours on record:** 660.0h

As you can see, there’s been a considerable jump between both stat sheets. I’ve tripled the amount of games owned, have a higher percentage of games not played, and have added 360 hours of gameplay. However, some of this information is still skewed, and the calculator developers have said that the Steam API is funky and they can’t explain it away. For instance, all of the Total War games were free to try this past weekend, and they are showing up in my library and are counted towards in that 20% not played. Take those away and the percentage should be something more like 15%, because I very rarely get a game and don’t immediately try it out. However, there are exceptions. Sequels to games I haven’t beaten (Like F.E.A.R.’s sequels that I got in a bundle) will sit unplayed. I picked up Borderlands: The PreSequel a couple of months ago but was already mid-playthrough of another game so it’s been sitting. I do know my backlog needs work but I do slowly but surely get through them as time allows. It doesn’t help that I spend a bunch of hours on MOBAs, MMOs, and console games. Netflix and the DVR eats a bunch of time too.

Anyway, there are some other stats that I found interesting as well, that are now included (or I missed in the past) on the profile.

* **Average price of games owned:** $12.22
* **Average price per hour:** $9.86
* **Average playtime:** 4.9h

I’m not sure how they calculate this average price, because there is a huge discrepancy between the $2k price tag and the $500 sale price. Because I’m relatively cheap there are few games that I picked up for full price, meaning my total cost overall is probably somewhere between the two figures, and I’d wager it’s probably around $6-700. The average price per hour is a breakdown of what the game actually costs based on how many hours you put into it. Looking at that price per hour, it feels like I’m getting ripped off, but there’s a number of titles I have that were gifts, I picked up for free, or were parts of bundles so I got them for pennies on the dollar. The game I have with the most hours put into it was Awesomenauts at 160, and that breaks down to $.06 per hour, which is definitely cost effective. I think more games end up being more cost effective like this, because as we’ve discussed, the stats are entirely accurate or specific. The worst example is RPG Maker VX Ace, in which it shows I have about an hour put into the software, and the price is $70. However, I picked it up in a Humble Bundle for $1. So yeah, you can see where this isn’t entirely reliable but it’s still interesting to look at.

In conclusion, it seems that I’ve kept up pretty well with getting new games and actually playing them. I do know that most of those are still in need of completion though, despite being “played.” I have a good grasp on what my backlog entails and have a plan to keep playing MMOs, MOBAs, and other games that don’t necessarily have a win condition, along with playing through a single player game til completion before moving on to another. It’s been working, my last completed game being Shadow Warrior, and I’m currently working through Fallout: New Vegas.

How’s your account looking?

#steamcalculator #steampersonalchallenge #gaming #backlog