In response to "Big Heroes, Little Gods" from the Escapist Forum: I've played CoX on and off over the years its been out, and the release of the mission architect brought me back for a month or so. The thing that drove me away again is that there had been no changes to the overworld environment.
I'm sorry to say it, but CoX has great gameplay, a compelling story, but its world is so dead. Its as if every fiber of the digital world screams out at you as you run down the streets "Hey look at me! I'm fake building facades!" And do you want to know why it feels so dead? There's no bloody music, and the music they do have cuts off after a minute or so in the zone. After that you get to listen to the ambiance noises of cars honking and the wind whistling past your ears.
Music helps to liven up the grind, and don't deny that CoX after level 16 turns into a very ugly grind fest (unless they've modified the curve since my last visit). All I ask for is an audio option to loop the music, and I don't think they understand how much that would improve and give life to the world they've created.
If they've added that option in recent months I might be inclined to check it out again.
I find it interesting how the CoX MA works. From what I've seen it's quite impressive, and it seems to be a lot easier that other game creators. If you're not sure exactly what I'm talking about, check out the Left 4 Dead authoring tools, the G.E.C.K. for Fallout 3, or the Neverwinter Nights toolset. Making stories has never been easier to share, as most of the heavy lifting has already been done. Then again, the Little Big Planet tools are pretty easy to build with, but doing something great with them takes more effort.
With more powerful tools you get more freedom to do what you want, but with great power comes, well a lot more work on your end to get everything to mesh together.
In response to "In Defense of the Friend Code" from the Escapist Forum: It is an interesting take on a system I've not tried. I can see the charm in what you're saying, having actively looked for the people you will play with. Having said that I'm glad I don't have to.
It's easier on PC. Hanging out on the same server means that you naturally keep bumping into the same people. I did this on Action Quake in the late 90's. There were no mics and it was 56k which seriously limited the servers you could get a good game on. Playing AQ you had to wait to respawn next round with all of the other losers so you'd chat with messages between rounds. This built up my "Friends list". I normally knew my team mates and opponents.
It was frustrating when my server local was full though.
Now I play on XBL. Yes your friends list can quickly fill with strangers but I have learnt and tend to have regular culls of people I've not spoken to in a week or so. There is a hard groups of around 10 I play MW2 with whenever they're on. There is a smaller group I play Endwar with as well. I know where they live, who their families are, what they do for a living, their real names and what they are interested in. I much prefer this to a friends list of hundreds I know nothing about.
I'm just glad we didn't have to dig out and exchange 12 digit codes.
- bjj hero
While I see his point, I still don't think any of the good points he mentioned truly excuse how f*cking annoying friend codes are. It's a well written and well thought out article, and yet defending the undefendable is a pointless task.