I hate Diablo III, so here’s some more hate

Diablo III Lord of Greed

Ars Technica has posted a piece on how Diablo III is a sloppy, unfinished game, being obviously “broken” in terms of gameplay balance.  Blizzard is lazily developing the game after they’ve taken people’s money by patching, treating it more like an ongoing beta than a final product.

Blizzard‘s defense is easily predicted (after all, it’s the same excuse for why StarCraft 2 was, and continues to be, so frustratingly imbalanced) which is that their games are so complex that multiplayer develops its own “meta game”, wherein players are blamed for not finding the proper response to apparent imbalances.  After acknowledging the prudence of tweaking things after release, and the history of patching in older games, writer Orland says:

But the ubiquity of the post-release patch has led too many developers to be pretty lax about prerelease balancing, secure in the knowledge that they’ll be able to fix any problems that pop up at a later date.

The “meta game” excuse is tried and true, because it has a deep history with the original StarCraft.  Players (mostly in South Korea) defied Blizzard’s expectations by constantly evolving the strategies of the game in creative new ways, finding solutions through innovative gameplay rather than relying on a patch.

As for my comments about Blizzard being dominated by Activision, I know that Activision doesn’t own Blizzard (they’re both subsidiaries of Vivendi) and that Blizzard is supposedly free to do whatever they want.  It’s a gray area however, because it’s also a fact that Bobby Kotick is the CEO of Activision-Blizzard as a whole, meaning that his greedy, profit-driven, anti-creative, short-sighted and hugely destructive mentality towards game development was chosen to set the vision for the merged company.  His status and his well-known vision automatically sets the tone for everybody below him, including Mike Morhaime, who is the CEO of the Blizzard half of the company.

By saying that Blizzard Entertainment is independent and free to develop as they see fit they have ensured plausible deniability, but don’t the games speak for themselves?  They are uncreative, unfinished, lacking content, and dominated by DRM shackles.  Battle.net 2.0 was, and still is, a downright embarrassment.  Let’s not be naïve.

ALSO CHECK OUT:  Video Games in the Master Plan

Part II (MGS2: A Complete Breakdown)

PART IPART IIPART IIIPART IVPART VPART VI – PART VII

{NOTE: Clips are best watched in Full Screen mode.}

So, the game was controversial because it pulled the rug out from under players’ feet, and because it denied them the trademark experience they were expecting; but what about the game’s actual story?  In part two we analyze the plot in order to find out whether its as convoluted as its critics have said.

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Nicholas Carr on the permanence of digital

Nicholas Carr and Hideo KojimaI found this interesting.  Fans of Metal Gear Solid 2 know that the game comments on the permanence of digital information, portraying traditional culture as fragile and transient, and digital culture as a swelling “flood” of eternally accessible garbage.  Physical records conform to the idea of evolution and natural selection, he suggests.  But yesterday, respected technology prophet and bestselling author Nicholas Carr flipped this idea on its head by suggesting that it’s actually old, physical culture that remains accessible, and digital information that becomes swept away in a stream of technological change…

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The Opposite of Epic

The Opposite of Epic

Upcoming God of War installment original game Asura’s Wrath combines exotic Asian mythologies with over-the-top gameplay in an attempt to cash in on what I’ve come to refer to as “epicness pornography”.  Will the game industry ever escape this downward spiral of bombastic bullshit?  Apparently not.

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SnakeSoup’s Revengeance editorial and response

I know most of you probably visit TheSnakeSoup already, but it’s worth linking to this new editorial by Ravi Singh, in which he methodically points out how stupid the backlash to Revengeance really is in context.

Rather than discussing the motive for the game’s revamped style, he thoroughly blows apart the whole misconception that the Metal Gear universe is somehow sacred and in danger of being ruined, exposing the inconsistency and ignorance of those who believe Revengeance is a new low that poses a threat to the franchise.

And while I wholeheartedly agree with Ravi’s points, I do want to acknowledge that the reputation of the Metal Gear name is in legitimate danger thanks to Revengeance.  Yes, there are plenty of good reasons why the game is being made the way it is, and the backlash may be founded on ignorance, but the fact remains that the majority of gamers don’t know or care about these things — they only know that its a full-blown, high definition, multi-platform Metal Gear game, and it looks campy and ridiculous.

Richard George’s opinion is naive, but it’s popular enough to make a difference.  Unless Kojima Productions does more to educate the game media and players about the fact that this isn’t a “canon” story and isn’t meant to be taken seriously, gamers will be confused and angry.  On the other hand, once people find out that it’s not canon and not serious, there’s an equally big danger of destroying any interest that existed before; people won’t be mad, but instead they simply won’t care.  This is why it’s so stupid to use the Metal Gear name in the first place.  (Unless you’re Hideo Kojima, secretly allowing the series’ reputation to be ruined in order to give yourself freedom to pursue new projects, in which case it’s a sacrifice for the greater good.)

Damn it, Jeremy Parish

Why the hell are people writing articles about this now?  Shouldn’t you be too busy kissing Call of Duty’s ass?  Seriously.  Since when do you care about the deeper themes of MGS2?  Go back to sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich, this is my turf!

Here I am, right in the middle of making the definitive Metal Gear Solid 2 analysis, and guys like this have to come along and try to steal my thunder.  Thankfully, they barely scratch the surface, and I don’t need to prove that I wrote about this shit years before they did.  I’m a hipster like that.

Anyway, I suggest you read the whole thing.  It’s kind of neat, but doesn’t nearly do the game justice still.

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