E3 Killjoy 2010

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In point of fact, I haven't seen many Nintendo-made games that "shoehorned" the motion controls in. What I have seen are reams of third-party developers doing that. An example of it working: Metroid Prime. Once I got the hang of it, it took me forever to get the hang of manual aiming in the other games when I went back to replay the story.

Shamus Young:
The Old Republic

Actually some got to play ToR at E3. At least a PC Gamer employee did. He said:

"In a private meeting room above the E3 showfloor, I had the chance to play many of the zones in The Old Republic: the massively anticipated, massively multiplayer Star Wars game. And guess what? It's the most polished game at the show."

Also, they wrote a XCom preview.

http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/06/15/xcom-invades-e3/
http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/06/17/star-wars-the-old-republic-e3-hands-on/

OT: Hiding the url didn't work. Can I only hide url withing www.escapistmagazine.com?

Therumancer:
Alliance Syndrome is a term for factional MMO imbalances, usually afflicting the good faction. It's come about in various game reviews and such over the years, for example when "Aion" was coming out, in the "Game Informer Review" they said under one of their pictures "let's hope the angelic faction doesn't suffer from Alliance Syndrome".

It comes from World Of Warcraft where especially early on The Horde had a great number of advantages, the designers liked that faction better and it REALLY showed. This involved simple things like racial abillities, and the Shaman class (compared to the alliance exclusive Paladin class), and other things like the positioning of towns and flight points, to the rate at which certain kinds of loot were aquired. A Horde character starting "fresh" will for example find quests that grant rings a lot earlier than alliance characters will, meaning that they will be able to fill up that equipment slot and have better gear granted stats earlier than Alliance characters will.

You also saw it in PVP battles where you had things like how a druid shapechanged into cat form could walk inside the graphic of a mounted tauren (due to the sheer size of the mount) and cap flags and such. Not to mention the fact that to begin with Undead had the abillity to remove fear (massive PVP abillity) along with Shamans having "earthbind totems" that were a massive advantage for things like flag running.

Right before BC came out Blizzard more or less admitted to the stat imbalances, and said they were going to correct them. However they mostly engaged in some slapdash fixes by allowing both factions to have access to the other one's former exclusive class. They also tinkered around with some of the racials, though The Horde still wound up a bit better off on that side of the spectrum. Not to mention the fact that all of the benefits accrued from the time period of imbalance were still there, nothing was stripped, nor was compensation given to the Alliance. As a result even when things evened out more you still had The Horde leading by quite a bit due to simply having more stuff accumulated.

Or in short "Alliance Syndrome" is when one of the factions is signifigantly, and noticibly gimped compared to the other factions when viewed from an impartial perspective. While many WoW players of course insist that there wasn't any balance issues, it's been common knowlege both among players (comments aside) and the gaming culture/industry for quite a while, and the subject of many jokes.

Warhammer Online is sort of an example because it was pretty obvious leading up to things which side the developers spent more time on, and despite the arguements about 'equivilents' which side wound up having the better abillities in most areas.

In Warcraft there have always been more Alliance players, in part because of the typical fantasy feel, but also because the Horde imbalance was not well known until the game had been out a bit. Still min/maxers (those who care nothing for RP or lore, and just want to dominate the game) have gone Horde, which also contributes to the domination because comparitively less of the real hardcore players go Alliance (far more casual) due to the numbers involved.

For the most part numbers don't matter that much in WoW because battlegrounds are set based on teams with the same number of characters on each side. World PVP didn't really get serious for a long time on the normal servers. Having more alliance players pretty much giving no signifigant advantage.

In Warhammer however the problem was especially irksome because it involved world PVP from the very beginning, and actually gave global benefits based on controlling regions. That meant that Destruction not only having better stats, but more players (due to those stats and people being more Savvy than when WoW came out) lead to problems as well.

If "Old Republic Online" plans to involved world PVP, they are going to need to carefully look at the interest and number turn outs. Ideally they need to balance the stats, however if there are far more bad guys than good, at least when it comes to PVP the good guys are going to need to be a lot beefier to prevent one sided steamrollings.

Things were so bad for so long, and the problems are so integral to the game, on a lot of servers you'll find Alliance can barely ever take and hold "Wintergrasp". Warcraft is broken on such a fundemental level that I honestly don't think it could be fixed... or at least not without chasing off a lot of players who would need to be heavily nerfed.

I'm a bit tired, so sorry if this rambling is unclear and contridictory.

It actually is quite coherent. The only place I've run into it was in STO, where it is somewhat debatable (except for the mk VII-X store that's bugged). Klingons have almost no access to PvE content (and actually had none at launch) which means they have to build their characters completely of PvP winnings. While Federation characters can pull in high end gear from drops.

Therumancer:
The bottom line is that my major concern with "Old Republic" is that like other MMOs it seems like the bad guys have received far too much attention, and are being promoted too heavily... something we've seen before with other games.

It's not just the canon either, because technically during this time frame The Sith should be about to get so badly wtfpwned that a few thousand years later nobody will even know for sure what a bloody "Sith" was. The Republic not just pimp slapping this fleet despite the initial surprise attack, but also heading off to it's "empire" of Origin and decimating it. If you can't make the Jedi/Republic cool knowing what is supposed to be happening, I think there is a serious problem at work with the design team.

Despite how that might sound I'd like the two sides to be balanced for actual gameplay. The thing is that we aren't even seeing any real equality, either in concept, or in implementation so far.

As far as the Sith seeming cooler in the movies, consider that the movie timeline is the exact opposite story of the one being told in these games. The Star Wars universe works in cycles. Good was dominating, a period of balance is thus destinied to happen, followed by another empire of evil. As such "bringing balance" involves tearing the good guys down, so the good guys have the force being very cloudy, and the bad guys are much stronger because the universe is literally on their side. This is why Papaltine is able to take on multiple Jedi masters, and Darth Maul is able to take down a Jedi Master despite being an apprentice. It's not that Sith are inherantly more powerful, or better fighters, it's all about a prophecy.

To be fair, if this is a direct response to my comment I did mean it strictly in regards to the visual aesthetics in Star Wars. Visually Darth Vader is more interesting than Luke, Maul is more interesting than Qui-Gon, and even in KotoR 1 and 2, Malek is more interesting than Revan, and Nihilis and Scion are more visually interesting than Jedi Jesus any incarnation of The Exile.

This even extends outside of the Sith, Boba Fett and the other Bounty Hunters in ESB are enduring images because they're so visually interesting, in contrast to the Rebellion.

Therumancer:
This is also integral to the storyline of KoTR 2, and why Kreia wanted to kill The Force (even if the details were sketchy). Ending it, would end the cycle, and give everyone free will. She was neither Jedi OR Sith in her objectives, arguably she was probably one of the more heroic and philanthropic characters in the series if you really pay attention to her motives, even if her techniques were rather brutal.

See, my arguement is that we should not be seeing trailers with Jedi getting plastered, and multiple heroes having to combine forces to fight one Sith. For the purposes of the game it should be pretty well balanced. However if they wanted to be accurate to how things should be "canonwise" , going back to the original "Sith crash ship into Jedi HQ on Corsucant" trailer, despite being outnumbered each Jedi should have been taking down as many Sith as Papaltine did to the Jedi because that's what the universe has decreed is going to happen. We're talking 3-4 Sith going down for each Jedi "storywise". Bioware of all companies has demonstrated it SHOULD know better.

Generally speaking they are creating "Sith Mania" and in a factional game, that is going to create a massive imbalance. "Alliance Syndrome" again afflicting the good guys due to less time being spent on them, the designers liking the bad guys better, and more players gravitating towards the superior/more promoted side.

I want to see the two sides balanced in play, and honestly my big fear is that it's not happening just going by what I've seen.

Sorry about the length, congrats if you (or anyone) read this far. Sorry again if it's unclear or contridictory.

Can I haz cookie?

Some of the second section is a little weird, but for the most part it's coherent.

EDIT: Sorry, the quote frames seem to have bjorked themselves.

Chipperz:
Are you kidding Shamus? Really? You seem to know at least something about this industry, and you're jumping on the "Motion Controls=Shovelware" bandwagon? Motion Controls don't equal shovelware, being the highest selling console does. The Wii is the highest-selling console, and it has tons of shit for it. Last generation, it was the PS2 that had piles of shit... And no motion controls! It was shovelware for the (utterly devoid of motion control, although they DID try to make a controller that worked via telepathy) Atari 2600 that caused the first Video Games crash!

Honestly, I expect this kind of crap from the leet kiddies that populate this site (and seem to have replaced the "I hate humanity" crowd...), but I thought you would have known better...

Exactly. You said it really well. I still don't understand this rage against motion controls. I'm honestly not sure what sort of crap-ass games these people are playing because the ones I've played on the Wii have all been acceptable at worst and quite fun for the most part. I can understand a preference for a certain type of control scheme, but the blanket rage against motion controls sounds more like an "It's popular so it sucks" kind of mentality, like somehow they'd be lowering themselves to the level of the 'unwashed masses of casual gamers' by enjoying it.

Therumancer:
snip

So is this based on the marketing so far? I can understand your concern, because marketing can have a lot to do with public perception of a game's factions and I see how that could snowball into a preference for one side. However, you may be worrying preemptively. I'd save this post for later on. You may be able to use it as a "told ya so" response to the game's balance, but right now you might just perceiving an imbalance in the game's PR thus far.

The reason this latest cinematic has the good guys struggling against tough odds is because that's compelling story-writing. Some fans may be stoked either way, but basic story technique advises against letting the good guys stomp all over the bad guys constantly. A hard-won victory is more satisfying. And actually, all those flares at the end suggest that the good guys ARE stomping all over the bad guys, but we lucky viewers got to see the epic battle against a powerful foe. Much more compelling that way.

Cowabungaa:
Really Shamus, I can only say 1 thing about this little article:

I feel the same way. The lack of research for this is absolutely stunning. A quick search brings up a ton of SW:TOR game play from last year. Plenty of info about this game is available, it isn't some closely guarded secret, Shamus just seems too lazy to go look. Being lazy isn't a good enough to

Plenty of games have both single player and multi player, some of them are good and some of them are bad. Apparently because AC:B will have bit of both it will immediately suck because... well because. Whatever.

Most people have already decided that the new XCOM looks like shit, you're hardly a killjoy for bring up week old opinions. In fact you say it could still be a good game, that sounds more like a createjoy than anything else.

Everyone knows that Kinect and Move are looking terrible. You aren't killing joy, just confirming everyones previous opinion.

Jandau:

Dexter111:
It's like all you people forgot X-COM Interceptor, X-COM Enforcer or all the UFO titles that followed them till up to 2007 like UFO Afterlight, UFO Aftermath, UFO Aftershock and UFO Extraterrestrials...

It's like you forgot that the newer UFO series has nothing to do with the franchise and would be as relevant to it as if I made a shitty bugged FPS and called it a new Halo game...

If nothing else, then it had the name and basic gameplay in common with them (the first X-COM was called "UFO: Enemy Unknown" around here), the one main thing you people seem to be bitching about the most xD

Dexter111:

Jandau:

Dexter111:
It's like all you people forgot X-COM Interceptor, X-COM Enforcer or all the UFO titles that followed them till up to 2007 like UFO Afterlight, UFO Aftermath, UFO Aftershock and UFO Extraterrestrials...

It's like you forgot that the newer UFO series has nothing to do with the franchise and would be as relevant to it as if I made a shitty bugged FPS and called it a new Halo game...

If nothing else, then it had the name and basic gameplay in common with them (the first one was called "UFO: Enemy Unknown" around here), the one main thing you people seem to be bitching about the most xD

Yeah, but they were shit games. You can take any awesome game, copy the basic concepts and still make a shit game.

I completely agree with motion sensor gaming, pointless and I don't like it all! Persoanlly there were only two games at E3 that I'm excited about; Fallout: New Vegas and the Twsited Metal remake, also you're wrong about TOR, there have been plenty of actual gameplay videos, which people have already proven before me.

This kinect motion controllers have encapsulated everything I have come to dislike about modern times. It's all a money making exercise with great hype and a bland product.

The trouble with these motion controllers is that you can do the same thing anywhere at any time, without a 150 quid price tag. Games should ideally be relaxing and not trying to justify themselves as a keep-fit tool within today's politically correct social climate. (All because it's afraid of the fat-gamer / violent gamer stereotype.)

Sorry if my post appears inflammatory. I'm just very disappointed that Microsoft has wasted all that money on that god-awful Kinect and the inevitable array of shovelware that's coming with it.

One problem with the column.. was there anyone out there who actually did think X-Com looked good?

"It was near future, and anime styled"
...
What the hell? I just watched that and I can tell you that is definitely NOT anime style.
That looks much more like American cartoon/comic style to me.

Totally agree with everything you said even before you said it.

Legendsmith:
"It was near future, and anime styled"
...
What the hell? I just watched that and I can tell you that is definitely NOT anime style.
That looks much more like American cartoon/comic style to me.

"Anime styled" is a better description than the '50s Bioshock style they're going for. Even then, I can see where "anime" came into mind what with spiky hair.

I seriously expect XCOM (Not X-Com) to fail. It'll be a boring, repetitive, annoying game that will sit around a 74 on Metacritic because we all know that anything under 80 is an immediate failure.

This whole thing over motion controls makes me facepalm. It didn't work for the Wii, how will it work on the two more mainstream platforms here? If hardcore gamers aren't going to adopt, how will it take off? It seems like the 6-person family across the street is more of the gaming industry's target these days than me, the guy who spends WAY too much on games because I'm ****ing stupid. Despite what Kevin Butler may have said, I seriously think Sony and Microsoft are starting to date other people, even after the marraige.

SlyderEST:

http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/06/15/xcom-invades-e3/

Escapist and Shacknews are the only places I know that have said anything intelligent about this game. Can't believe I used to pay to read PC gamer all those years ago or maybe it has just gone really downhill recently.

I saw this link a while ago, it helps explain why people get upset when you attempt to smash their dreams on big purchases:
http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/05/19/fanboyism-and-brand-loyalty/

Dear me do your research next time. As many people have said TOR has tons of gameplay footage out there, some of it coming close to a year old.

More Fun To Compute:

SlyderEST:

http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/06/15/xcom-invades-e3/

Escapist and Shacknews are the only places I know that have said anything intelligent about this game. Can't believe I used to pay to read PC gamer all those years ago or maybe it has just gone really downhill recently.

I'm going to stop myself writing a reply that will make me look like a fanboy... of some sorts. So... Maybe.

Wow, after watching some of that Kotor gameplay footage I now see why the company opted for a fancy-looking animated short for E3. The game looks...um, well there's a lot of Kotor fans on the boards here, so let me say...umm....*cough*

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: E3 Killjoy 2010

Shamus Young explains why everything you're getting hyped about from E3 2010 might suck.

Read Full Article

With all due respect, Shamus, all the points you covered in your article preety much reflect the thoughts a lot of people had of the games/devices mentioned. So effectively, with the possible exception of people looking forward to The Old Republic, you weren't a "killjoy" for anybody. :P

Anyway, I think there are two reasons why the 3DS isn't receiving more flak from the public:

1. Nintendo is not forcing 3D gaming down people's throats. With the Wii and DS, it often felt like Nintendo was trying too hard to sell their unique control schemes to people. They practically made it a requirement for game developers to implement the motion sensor/stylus touch-screen mechanic, no matter how convoluted and tacked on it may be for that specific game. A lot of people were turned-off by this as a result.

In this case, however, Nintendo implemented a slider with which you can determine the amount of 3D depth you want to have and you can even shut it off completely. As such, it remains a selling point for those that are interested, while the rest can focus on other aspects of the handheld without the 3D aspect forced on them.

2. There is enough variety between initial 3DS games. It is practically a tradition for Nintendo to release their consoles with a strong library of games. However, people always complain that they are either a) dedicated solely to the casual-gaming audience or b) are merely rehashes of Nintendo's core franchises.

This time, Nintendo preety much topped themselves. Not only do they have a staggering volume of games for their starting lineup, the variety between them is also very impressive. You have platformers, RPGs, adventure games, fighting games, sports games, puzzle games, rhythm games...Simply put, no matter who you are or what type of gamer are you, chances are that you will find at least something in the starting library that appeals to you. Not only that, most (if not all) of them come from well-established and popular franchises and Nintendo tapped into some of the franchises they had previously ignored (such as Kid Icarus and Star Fox).

Basically, what I am trying to say is that the reason people are mostly not complaining about the 3DS is beacuse there is not much to complain about. Infact, other then Miyamoto's awkward demonstration of the new Zelda game, Nintendo handled this year's E3 conference quite well and they have preety much left it as the undisputed winners.

rsvp42:

Therumancer:
snip

So is this based on the marketing so far? I can understand your concern, because marketing can have a lot to do with public perception of a game's factions and I see how that could snowball into a preference for one side. However, you may be worrying preemptively. I'd save this post for later on. You may be able to use it as a "told ya so" response to the game's balance, but right now you might just perceiving an imbalance in the game's PR thus far.

The reason this latest cinematic has the good guys struggling against tough odds is because that's compelling story-writing. Some fans may be stoked either way, but basic story technique advises against letting the good guys stomp all over the bad guys constantly. A hard-won victory is more satisfying. And actually, all those flares at the end suggest that the good guys ARE stomping all over the bad guys, but we lucky viewers got to see the epic battle against a powerful foe. Much more compelling that way.

Well the thing is that this is not a "story" as much as a competitive, faction-based MMO. As such both sides need to be presented at their best. If the game was single player, this kind of marketing would make sense since it would be get people stoked for the uphill battle. In this case however where The Sith and their allies are playable characters this is far less of a good idea.

Given the nature of the game, I think that the material so far shows a great amount of favortism towards the Sith side.

In the KoTR single player games, the main characters were left to be customized by the player, so it makes sense that they spent that much time on the apperance of the bad guys who would only be viewed one specific way. This is however no longer a single player game, both sides are being customized, and truthfully the good guys should be just as interesting as the bad guys.

People have been making cool heroes for a very long time, and truthfully when things look as one sided as they have been so far, it leads me to believe that the developers aren't making as much of an effort on the good side of the equasion.

I've mentioned this before, over a period of years actually, I even said something on the Bioware sites (though I haven't been harping on it). With the game a little over six months away I'm guessing I find it slightly disturbing that we haven't really seen much of a shift in focus away from the "Sith are cool" promotions. I haven't seen the good guys really strutting their stuff, and really I think that side of the game needs some love.

this... sorta seems just like trying to get the jump on yahtzee's next massacre... tutt tutt

I'm glad to see that I wasn't really excited for any of those games, so I'm not sobered up much.

Still excited for the 3DS, OoT remake, DKCR.. and of course, standard non-nintendo stuff like Reach and (sigh) Gears 3.

Thank GOD someone finally made the point Ive been harping on since 2008. This is two years running now, where all we have to show for our slavish devotion to TOR is some pretty cinies, and some concept art/comics.

Im as big a fan of KOTOR as anyone else. I fully intend to play this game when it comes out. But BioWare has had legions of fans begging on hands and knees for 3 freaking years now, and we dont even have a confirmed, solid release date. I mean, cmon people.

I hope TOR is all its being cracked up to be. I appreciate the sweet spice of anticipation. The carrot on a stick. The "around the corner" hype.

But 3 years is way too much spice, the horses legs are getting tired, and while this corner may have alot of pretty corner dwellers to look at, Id like to get to the main freakin street already.

RobfromtheGulag:
Maybe it's just me, but has there EVER been a good star wars video game? I guess the "Super -fill in the title-" games were solid, back on the SNES, but since then I've been 100% content in hindsight to steer clear of any Star Wars game.

I'm assuming you're fairly young. There were several pretty good Star Wars titles -- Lucasarts put out a few back in the 90s, and the X-Wing / TIE Fighter titles were pretty fun, also from the 90s.
Honestly I'd say there have been more good SW games than bad... but that taken per cultural weight, bad is bigger than good due in no small part to that abysmal Star Wars MMO.

Therumancer:
"World Of Warcraft" got away with Alliance being "one of the biggest gips in gaming" (to quote Penny Arcade) because it was the first game of it's kind to take the factional approach, and honestly it took people a long time to figure out the problems, and by then it was really too late to fix anything in an effective fashion because of pure inertia. When it comes to new games though people are going to be more picky, and look for these problems. To put it into perspective people didn't tolerate it the same way when it came to "Warhammer" in part because players figured the developers should have known better, and there are simply tons of other games out there right now.

That isn't anywhere even close to true.
DAoC was *all about* factions, and is still the only game to actually get faction-on-faction conflict right. EQ had a (poor) attempt at factional conflict as well (good v neut v evil) -- and even though EQ's PvP servers were.. not that great.. at least they had the good sense to stick with 3 factions.

Warhammer just failed because Warhammer was an abortion unto game design. It had a lot of promise but was killed because they were too afraid to make it too like DAoC (3 factions, real PvP endgame) and to afraid to make it too *un*like WoW (liek zomg everyone lieks pveeeeee endgame).

Basically, 2 factions is cool if the factions don't fight eachother. If they do, small differences in population will make a big difference. Ya make 3 factions all fighting and it's a lot harder for 1 faction to be totally dominant -- unless one faction gets more than the population of the other two combined and that is not likely.

anyway, certainly not my killjoy. if you gathered all the reviewers on this site, gathered all the games they've panned and discluded any good reviews and were just left with the grand total of all games that anyone here said were garbage, you'd still not be able to keep up with how absolutely shitty and terrible I find most games to be.
if any of the games mentioned aren't abominations unto gaming it only could be because god himself came down and revealed his glory to mankind and bestowed some super special divinity to the game. anything shy of that will fall short.

.. except for maybe the kirby game, that sounds pretty neato keen.

Therumancer:

rsvp42:

Therumancer:
snip

So is this based on the marketing so far? I can understand your concern, because marketing can have a lot to do with public perception of a game's factions and I see how that could snowball into a preference for one side. However, you may be worrying preemptively. I'd save this post for later on. You may be able to use it as a "told ya so" response to the game's balance, but right now you might just perceiving an imbalance in the game's PR thus far.

The reason this latest cinematic has the good guys struggling against tough odds is because that's compelling story-writing. Some fans may be stoked either way, but basic story technique advises against letting the good guys stomp all over the bad guys constantly. A hard-won victory is more satisfying. And actually, all those flares at the end suggest that the good guys ARE stomping all over the bad guys, but we lucky viewers got to see the epic battle against a powerful foe. Much more compelling that way.

Well the thing is that this is not a "story" as much as a competitive, faction-based MMO. As such both sides need to be presented at their best. If the game was single player, this kind of marketing would make sense since it would be get people stoked for the uphill battle. In this case however where The Sith and their allies are playable characters this is far less of a good idea.

Given the nature of the game, I think that the material so far shows a great amount of favortism towards the Sith side.

In the KoTR single player games, the main characters were left to be customized by the player, so it makes sense that they spent that much time on the apperance of the bad guys who would only be viewed one specific way. This is however no longer a single player game, both sides are being customized, and truthfully the good guys should be just as interesting as the bad guys.

People have been making cool heroes for a very long time, and truthfully when things look as one sided as they have been so far, it leads me to believe that the developers aren't making as much of an effort on the good side of the equasion.

I've mentioned this before, over a period of years actually, I even said something on the Bioware sites (though I haven't been harping on it). With the game a little over six months away I'm guessing I find it slightly disturbing that we haven't really seen much of a shift in focus away from the "Sith are cool" promotions. I haven't seen the good guys really strutting their stuff, and really I think that side of the game needs some love.

But that just boils down to personal perception. I watched that cinematic and got more stoked about the Trooper and Jedi Knight classes. I mean, that one trooper was a beast, trying to take on those Sith, then the Jedi with the double saber? I found those characters to be a lot more appealing. The sith just seemed like more red-sabered bad guys, but again it's really subjective.

When I was talking about storytelling, I was talking about storytelling for a cinematic. A cinematic needs to tell a compelling story, even if it means showing favoritism to one side or the other (unless the cinematic is meant to be just clips of different classes looking cool, which is a different case). I realize that the entire game should probably have a sort of narrative balance, but you can't take a particular bit of marketing and use that as a basis for criticizing faction balance in an unreleased game. Not only is it based on individual perception (like I think the cinematic showed favor to the Republic and the Jedi), but it's jumping the gun on criticizing the game. Like I suggested, you may be completely right and the Sith end up being the favorite of both players and developers, but I'm not sure we could say that with any confidence at this point.

Therumancer:
however

However, looking at the site again, I can see why you'd pine for more updates from the Light Side. If they continue to use the Sith to showcase all the new content, then those of us interested in the Jedi and whatnot may be justified in wanting some more balance. But then again, just because the developers decide to use a particular faction to introduce new content, doesn't mean there's cause for worry. Hopefully coming updates will level the field a bit.

Therumancer:
le snip

I agree with it, all of it, and I fear for it too as I fear for it with every MMO I see going in production. The reason why it's happening is obvious; evil is simply so cool. Star Wars is perhaps the worst and most obvious example in fiction. Especially for a younger, more shallow audience, aesthetics are important. And lets face it, these guys:


versus these guys:

I mean, come ooooon. Did they even try? Well ok they did with Han. But since then, everything Star Wars related is stuck with this stigma. I fear SW:TOR will suffer from it too and I doubt it'll be able to overcome it. The latest Hope trailer took a good shot at it, Republic troopers are pretty awesome.

Disclaimer: I know Ackbar is a tactical genius and I know Boba Fett isn't technically aligned with the Empire, this is just about aesthetics.

You guys do NOT need to worry about the dark side "looking too cool" and being overpopulated.

That's been the mantra of pretty much every MMO with factions that I've followed since.. good grief.

They said that with WoW -- guess what, Horde never outnumbered Alliance (contrary to what some other chap posted in this thread). Yeah, a lot of the organized guilds that rolled at release DID go Horde, an overwhelming majority of those types did in fact. Thing is, and what everyone forgot to take into account, is that those people -- and especially those people who make their choices known on internet forums -- are an EXTREME MINORITY. At one point in time, if I'm recalling things right, Blizzard only had 2 or 3 servers where Horde had a sizeable (more than a few percent) majority -- and 2 or 3 DOZEN where Alliance had a sizeable majority.

Same thing was said of Warhammer. Guess what! Never happened! At least not at release -- anything after the 2-week mark doesn't count, as most people figured out the game was bad at that point and quit playing.

I can't think of any other 2-faction MMOs that've come out recently but I'm sure whatever they are, similar things were said pre-release (omg the bad guys are sooo coooool no one's gonna play a prissy fancy fairy!) and at release all such nonsense was promptly forgotten the first time you got your face smashed in by a prissy fancy fairy brigade out zerging the soooo coooool bad guys.

that said, it's still a fact that any mmo that tries to incorporate large-scale PvP (or RvR as Mythic likes to call it, which is a better term), and uses a 2 faction model is just going to fail. You can't have prolonged conflict when it's always one guy beating on another, not and have open-world combat like DAoC had and like WoW for the longest time was constantly hinting that they were going to have (hint: it never happened and they've pretty much abandoned the idea). There's gotta be that third faction to sweep in when the others are weakened from a fight, that keeps the aggressor from over-extending, and most of all that keeps faction populations relatively sane with regards to one another. 45%/55% is a big difference, but 28%/28%/43% isn't a huge deal. The two smaller factions are vastly outnumbered against the single large faction, but together THEY are in the majority.

Then again, there really aren't any MMOs where PvP is much more than an afterthought anyway, and numbers don't really matter at all when all you're competing against are NPCs in dungeons.

And yet for some reason people often take offense when I tell them that the one game they're looking forward to is going to be terrible. I don't know why this is.

You know, that is so true. I don't know why gamers defend gamers they like with such an insane deal, as if they had some stakes in them other than playing it. I remember just now when Yahtzee was chewed on for his review of Monster Hunter Tri. You'd think for the way people were attacking him that they were receiving a percentile of the game's sales. If you enjoy the game personally, what else matters?

Oh, and the fact that, for better or worse, the Wii is going downhill doesn't bode well with Kinetic/Move's attempts to steal their thunder. It's one thing to buy something that's easy to play, and another thing to buy something else that's supposed to change the way something you already own and like plays, even if the problems with vertical stacking don't come into play.

..I usually agree with you about 99% of the time, Shamus. But you're wrong on the reason to be skeptical about either Natal or the Arc-thing :) The tech behind the Arc.. move... is solid. It's something that should have been what introduced motion gaming, and it's a much easier system to port from other kinds of peripherals because of the mapping in three dimensions (along with the twist along the z-axis). The occlusion detection as well is extremely good - if you've seen it in action, you're starting to wonder why in the world no one is actually interested more in this part of the move. Because we're really having some monstrous potential going on here.

The possible fail that can happen here, is that Sony manages to blow their first and third party support, and never get another title developed for the move-controls specifically during the life-time of the console. And that we're going to be stuck with wii remakes and hand-waving.

Basically, console devs may turn up with a one-hit wonder, but then get drowned out by devs using the same scheme and abstraction for motion gaming as is there with the wii, and that will be specifically made for 2d gestures, rather than tracking an object in 3d.

It's a bit on the same track with the Knitectt..Kint.. Natal. It won't actually work with hand-gestures, and with depth-perception we're talking about very simple motions. For example, instead of pushing gradually on a Katamari, we're talking about either off or on based on two distinct layers, or else we're talking about sensing activity with the hands on a particular area. This is not something that can be universally translated to any game, but has to be specifically made for particular titles where it actually makes sense to use it.

So in either of those cases, we have different but very similar problems at this time - that the coolest games on either platform has to be specifically made to only that system (..except I guess natal-games would also work with the move, just without the entire "dip your hand into the cyber-water" thing... :/ ).

In fact, it's like you say: the presentation Sony had wasn't very good. It's strange to cut Sony for advertising too much - but that's the problem here. Instead of showing what they have, which actually is impressive, they opted for more commercials and glossy fake families.

..admittedly, no one complained about that when MS did the same earlier, but hey..

But the tech behind the move is solid. There should be absolutely no doubt about that. It's accurate, it's real, it works, and it's the PC developer's dream to a much higher degree than any infra-red camera, or virtual gloves, or anything like that. It's also cheap, durable and without moving parts. It's solid, it works.

The question is if there will be more games like Kung-Fu Rider made (with dynamic animation fitted to the move-controller, and action that really is responsive to what you're doing at all times, not just in waggle-events) - or if we end up with a slew of "console-games" with waggle support. That's what's going to make or break this.

And it's almost the same with the other systems - it's whether games are specifically made to them that will make them work well, or be worth buying. Whether we will get some hotspot on the rails experiences with Natal that really are smoking hot, just as whether Zelda is going to work neatly on the wii+.

Of course, you will notice that only the move is actually capable of mapping some accurate movement, and that it's the only system on the market with 3d orientation. So that it actually doesn't require devs to create gestures to work in particular games, and will be able to go further. We could for example see the first space-sim on a console now (someone hire Particle Systems back, hm?). Or imagine playing Homeworld or Nexus: the Jupiter Incident style games on your HD screen? This kind of thing could be freaking great.

But... Sony. So until they stop deliberately screwing everything up... skepticism. ..just not for the reasons you gave there in the article..

I love the Kinect and move. Not because I would ever pay for one (only an idiot would) but because I can't wait to laugh at anyone who does and gets nothign but 6-10 Wii game clones in return. There will be more copies of one wii game sold between the launch of both these products and the end of their production than all controllers and games for both combined. I hope Microsoft takes out a hit on the exec in charge of the Kinect project after he cuts their stock prices by 20%.

rsvp42:

Therumancer:
however

However, looking at the site again, I can see why you'd pine for more updates from the Light Side. If they continue to use the Sith to showcase all the new content, then those of us interested in the Jedi and whatnot may be justified in wanting some more balance. But then again, just because the developers decide to use a particular faction to introduce new content, doesn't mean there's cause for worry. Hopefully coming updates will level the field a bit.

Well the point I'm making here is that it took both the Trooper and the Jedi working together to actually put down a Sith. What's more one of the major problems with this game to begin with is the perceived viability of non-force wielding classes. This would have been an awesome time to have some troopers clean house on a bunch of force users, but that isn't the approach we saw. Rather we got to see another battle that degenerated into a Jedi Vs. Sith battle with the Sith coming out ahead until another hero intervened enough to turn the tide.

Now, we know from the movies that relatively normal guys are supposed to be able to take down force users. I mean Qui-Gon himself pointed out that Jedi aren't invincible. Yet really the only guys we've seen who came close to fitting that bill were the Fetts... oh and wait, the Sith side has both the Sith *AND* The Bounty Hunters (who should be neutral, but there is no neutral faction).

The issue as I see it is that right now we have seen TWO major cinematic trailers, and both pretty much could be summarized as "look, the Sith faction is made of pure awesome!".

Even if there is game balance, it's important to note that this kind of promotion is going to CREATE a numerical imbalance. What's more if this is what's inspiring the artists, I think it makes bias in the development really obvious.

All this comes down to opinion, but again consider that we're nearing the release and I don't think I've seen anything that has really shown much favor towards the good guys.

-

Otherwise I *DO* stand corrected on the bit about World Of Warcraft being the first faction based game.

-

Also as far as the pics of the various sides someone put up, it does make a point. However I see no real reason why the good guys can't be made just as cool for the MMO. I mean honestly, when we played KoTR Jedi/good guys could put on some pretty cool looking armor themselves for example.

We'll see what winds up happening, but right now it seems like this needs some really, really serious work.

DeadlyYellow:
Great read as always.

X-Com... 50 style game based around alien invasion? Sounds familiar. I can't wait for the obligatory zapper and gravity gun.

I also choked reading that Ubisoft bit. Teach me to try and drink and read.

Shamus Young:
After defending their platform as the choice for real men, Sony has showed up to the party dressed in drag.

Sony always came off as the type of bad wife in the marriage. Sure starting out everything was great, a little more expensive than some other floozy consoles, but still an enjoyable time. But now the honeymoon has passed and Sony is revealed to be more nagging that originally expected. First she starts taking away some of your old hobbies, then the predictable weight crisis, and now the rampant jealousy and impersonation of someone she thought she saw you gawk at.

That's a pretty good analogy. I'm still quite happy with my Playstation I just wish they would give up trying to be what they aren't.

Therumancer:
We'll see what winds up happening, but right now it seems like this needs some really, really serious work.

Perhaps, but only in the areas of promotional content. It looks like the game itself is shaping up really nicely. We've still got a year until the anticipated release and that's plenty of time for a Light Side media blitz. Looking at the video lineup on their site, I'm guessing the dark side just has the most development so far. That, or they have a specific plan for releasing content and some dark side stuff has just happened to come first.

I don't have any intention of changing your mind or anything, I'm just calling it like I see it, same as you. If you're basing this on the cinematic trailers, both of them just make me want to play the light side more, which is strangely the opposite of how I am with WoW; I'm a diehard Horde fan. I'm hoping that I'm not the only one who feels that way and that these two factions won't be copies of WoW's factions in terms of player make-up. If your concern is based on the other content that has been released, correct me if I'm wrong, but the Sith Warrior is the only class with an official preview video right now, save for that Bounty Hunter armor progression. And we've seen Smuggler and Trooper gameplay in one of the preview videos. It's not like they won't release any official Jedi info before the game comes out. And when they do, it'll probably look better because the game will be further developed. Or it'll happen next week, who knows?

Again, I think it's just too early to make any calls. I think your concerns are valid though, don't get me wrong. Player balance will be tough when the two sides are basically good vs. bad. There will be a lot of players who will automatically choose Sith because they're "evil and awesome," but that can't be helped. There's probably a large pool of players ready to whip out some green and blue light sabers. Lets hope that when we see the Jedi dishing out justice, people will get psyched about that too.

Another thing though, when it comes to gameplay, do we know much about how pvp will be set up? Faction balance is only really important if the pvp makes it so (or if there's competition in PvE). For instance, if "battlegrounds" consist of instanced, skill-based matchups, then imbalances on any given server are less noticeable. If it's open-world combat zones, then a less-populated or weaker faction could be a major problem.

So I'm saying you're right to be concerned, but you're probably concerned too early :P

EDIT: I'm actually reminded of how Blizzard handled the Starcraft 2 information. For the longest time, we didn't see much in the way of Zerg content, but there was never any risk of the Zerg getting jilted. Sometimes developers just have quirky ways of updating the fans.

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