Browse Month: February 2009

I am weak

cj_logoI read an “interestingarticle about MMO addiction, I shall call it an article as I believe that is what it originally aimed to be, before being filled with what at times feels like general malice towards MMO games and their players.

You play a MMO, You are weak!

Smashing the first misplaced statement, I play MMOs, I also play RTS games an FPS games, and I quite enjoy adventure games too. Me and my friends play simulated musical instruments for enjoyment, it doesn’t achieve anything, there are no goals or final bosses to defeat, yet we still play. Many of my gaming friends play MMOs and many other non-MMO PC games and generally they own a console too.

Speaking of consoles, when GTA4 was released, it sold a massive 3.8 million copies on the first day, I dread to think how many people sat down a played that game until they couldn’t keep their eyes open. And I can guess that they did the same for a few days following too. I think I wouldn’t be too wrong in say that the above example is a good demonstration of  peoples generally addictive nature

And I’ll not deny there are those that have tendencies to become addicted to games, and yes it can lead to self-destructive behaviour in the real world. I have see first hand how a gamers innocent habit can spiral out of control but these case are quite rare. Are these the social rejects mentioned in the article or aren’t they just the gaming equivalent of fanatical sports fans?

Milking the life from our bones

Around the world there are people that sit down every weekday to enjoy their favourite sport, TV show or  Soap-opera, the 9.7 million viewers that sat down on January 26th to watch EastEnders on BBC1, are these people “useless, socially inept sacks of shit“? No they are doing something they enjoy.

rankings1

Even talking into consideration the fact they sit down multiple times a week to watch the same program or few programs, labelling people solely based on their past-time isn’t going to win you any friends and certainly avoids having to dig deeper into the reasons and facts behind these habits. Why bother to examine the social elements or enjoyment of these hobbies when you can just label the patrons addicts.

I would rather spend my hard earned money on one months MMO subscription for £8.99 than pay out £8 on Lottery tickets for a months worth of draws. I know which one feels like throwing my money away and which I find fun and enjoyable.

Underhanded tricks and other things

I’d like to focus on one item of the “List” of underhanded tricks:

“Constantly update and patch the game with arbitrary bug fixes and class changes that will throw gameplay completely off balance.  Just for the hell of it.  Players will complain on the forums but for whatever reason, they still refuse to quit.”

Now I took alot of the other comments with a pinch of salt, someone else’s opinion on various topics, but really the above statement just doesn’t make any fucking sense. During my entire gaming history I can’t say I recall a time when a patch was released “just for the hell of it” and class changes will generally be to balance overall game play not because the developers wanted to play a joke. Do you get the feel someone is bitter about a class nerf from along time ago?

terrible1951_000030I know we think the MMO gaming scene is still relatively small compared to other gaming types, but with completely trashy journalism likes this is it any wonder? It all reminds me of the scare tactics employed by the informational films of the 50’s, They might as well have gone with the title “Playing MMOs will turn you into an addict, just say no!”.

It’s truly sad that the misconceptions regarding MMOs are so rife, hopefully as more MMOs make the jump onto console platforms and into mainstream console gaming, the mists shrouding MMO games will lift and open peoples eyes to the true facts about the games that we enjoy and play.

Left4Dead

left4deadSo what did you get up to on St. Valentine’s Day?
Rachy and I spent the best part of the day shooting apart some zombies.

Taking full advantage of Steam’s half price offer on the Horror shooter Left4Dead, we teamed up with Matt and took to playing through some of the Campaigns. A have to admit I was a little dubious about how much I would enjoy this game, hence the long period before purchase but having tried it out I have to admit it does truly rock. Combined with the added fun of teaming with friends made the game instantly fun.

The Co-Op campaigns are well designed with AI dynamically generating spawns and equipment and not in a common way. The AI running the show is named director and it is designed to maximum the fun while not being too overwhelming, it achieves this by monitoring how each player and the team is performing and adjusting the spawn accordingly.

I must have spent half the night trying to stop myself quoting Shaun of the Dead.
“Quarter to twelve”

“You got red on you”
“Kill the Queen!

There is a free DLC pack due out in Spring, branded the Survivor pack it will have 2 campaigns opened to versus mode (pitting your wits against player controlled zombies) and the Survival mode.
I am quite looking forward to the Survival mode with wave upon wave of zombies attacking, how long can you and your team-mates hold out?

A great game and one to pick up if you are into FPS and zombies, feel free to add me on Steam.

To quote the most famous zombie i know (well in my eyes)

LRRRT 4 DURRRRD RURRRRRKZZ”
/
zombiedave2


Gaming Charts

Charts

As you may be aware I enjoy looking at the stats that GamerDNA captures for XFire usage, it is a simple yet effective  method of showing how much time was spent and what percentage was spent on each game. I’m truely suprised that XFire doesn’t capture such data already.

At the start of January I reviewed my XFire data for the month of December, I wanted to see how frequently I played certain games. I pumped the data into the handy Google Chart API which then displays an image based on the information provided.

When February came around I wanted to do a similar task but rather than having to trawl through the data and craft the url to generate the Chart I decided to automate the process. So in a frenzied weekend of wracking my brain into remembering PHP, I created a page that automatically reads the RSS feed of my gamerDNA experiences and uses the XFire data held within to generate the URL for the Google Chart.

64px-gnome-x-office-spreadsheetsvg

After a few hours cursing at stupid errors I finally created a fully working tool that achieved the result I was aimming for. Once this had been tested a few dozen times it suddenly occurred to me that It would be easy enough to allow other GamerDNA members with XFire experiences to generate their own charts.

http://charts.welshtroll.co.uk/

It’s not all that pretty but providing the username entered has XFire experiences on GamerDNA in the last 30 days it will “hopefully” generate a nice little chart. I’m hoping to enhance the functionality to include the ammount of time played as well, but that can wait for now, small steps to start.

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