Cry of the Ravens

So the recent news about TSW was aired for all to see in the investor note, it told everyone that the game had hit two main problems. Firstly that the performance tracking sources (reviews) scored the game lower than expected. Secondly that the financial scenarios for the game were unlikely to be met within the next 12 months post launch.

Reviews

I really dislike how review sites have become so instrumental in companies/share holders perceptions of games, yet I know of very few gamers who would reference score such as MetaCritic when it came to making a judgement on purchases. I often worry that we could see a re-run of the DarkFall fiasco but then you read a bit deeper and find contradictions appearing within the same review, this kind of thing it’s a sign for me to close the browser:

“the intricate combat system needs better documentation”

“The combat is your usual MMO button clicking while waiting on skills to refresh”

It does kind of feel like being given racing horse tips from an old drunk man who decides to “befriend” you at the local pub. I find it difficult to take reviews blindly without knowing more about the reviewer, their gaming origins and other examples of their work. Each person gives reviews based on personal preference and experience and that’s what makes them unique and ultimately tricky to try and reduce down into an overall score.

Perhaps I’m too biased to understand how these things work but I do know that the real life gamer reviews in my RSS feeds have been fair even by those players who have decide not to purchase the game at this time and those who never will, but that leads me nicely into my next topic.

revenant

Expectations

FunCom were very unlucky with the timing of the game launch and many gamers seemed to have a decision to make, purchase The Secret World or pre-order Guild Wars 2. Going up against a known title with a completely new IP and different game mechanics wasn’t going to end very well.
Throw the fact that World of Warcraft has been slowly drawing players back in preparation for it’s new expansion that has been in Beta and it could be considered very bad timing indeed.

A number of folks during the beta weekends seemed to be put off by the fact that EA was linked to the game, of course they are purely the publishers but the vibe about the link was certainly something i picked up on as a bit turn off for some.

I have to that I like may other gamers are watching our gaming expenditure alot more give the economic climate and if it were 6 years ago we would have bought into a new MMO and kept a secondary one on the go too but this isn’t the case anymore.

Player base Dilution

I have been pondering if Funcom may have been a little naive with the expected population figures for TSW. Just comparing the MMO landscape of 2008 when Age of Conan launched to that of the here and now, it’s clear to see that a great deal of things have changed.

The number of MMO Games is increasing as companies choose not to close them but opt for the payment model shift. Previously a mass of players would suddenly have to hunt for a new home when a title closed, now players can remain active in multiple MMO games, paying small amounts and spreading their time between them all.

My experience

I am really enjoying the game and I’m pretty certain that I made the correct decision for me between TSW and GW2. FunCom are rumoured to be looking into layoffs as a result of these recent figures and I hope that the game/support/community doesn’t suffer too badly as a result.

On the plus side the second content patch has been announce for August 28th and it brings a new auxiliary weapon system, a paraplastic surgery (barber/Facemaker) for redesigning your avatars face and a chunk of story content too. For some the content maybe coming too fast, for others it’s not an issue, some are looking forward to the challenge and changes due to arrive.

The game has recently been made available on Steam which could be a good move but currently if i try to view it I get the “This item is currently unavailable in your region” message.

In case you missed previous free weekends, you can sign up and download the game right now for a free 3 day trial.

She’s in Parties

I’ve been following the development of the game SpyParty for some time now and I received my beta/purchase invite recently so I thought it would be good to tell you a bit more about the game.

If you aren’t aware of the title, it is labelled as an asymmetric multiplayer espionage game. It revolves around an ambassadorial party (not a Ferrero Rocher in sight) where a spy is attempting to achieve a predefined number of tasks, simultaneously a sniper is trying to identify and eliminate that spy before they completes their tasks or time runs out.

spyparty

This is a games that requests your complete & undivided focus, attention to detail is very important and could result in you winning or losing. Additionally the game has tension by the bucket load no matter which side of the scope you are on, it is a game of skill where players continually learn from previous matches.

Sniper

You have a room full of people and you need to keep your eyes peeled for the tell-tale signs of a spy. Your rifle has a red laser that gives the spy some idea of were you are focusing your attention or to maybe misdirect them. You have only one bullet so you need to be 100% sure before you pull that trigger.

Spy

You have to blend into the party and work toward completing your missions, watching for the most opportunistic moment to spring into action while avoiding doing something silly that could bring that single sniper round hurtling towards you. You have to navigate between the other guests and use them to mask your actions.

As yet SpyParty has no release date as it’s still in early beta, but if you are looking for something that’s not your usual shooter title, this certainly takes a step in the right direction.

Do you ever read any of the books you burn?

You may remember earlier this year I mentioned that I was a giver as part of World Book Night, so I thought it only fair to bring to your attention the nomination process for next year’s books.

You can register, then start nominating books you’d like to see featured in World Book Night 2013 but be quick as it’s only open until the end of August. If you are not sure on what to nominate then the WBN site says to try and nominate 10 books that you love to read and which you think will be enjoyed by reluctant readers.

A list of the books will be finalised and published in October and the application form to become a giver will also be opened up, should you want to apply to share some books.

If you are interested in what books have already been nominated there is an interactive top 100 list that is dynamically updated.

The title was of course a nod to Ray Bradburys dystopian classic.