Posts Tagged ‘Gaming’

For the last few months I’ve been trying to figure out how to “redefine” my blogger experience. I’m not the greatest of writers but it’s something that I enjoy doing from time to time.

A brainwave started to develop in my head a few weeks ago “why not a website focused mainly, but not exclusively on competitive gaming”. What do I mean by that? Pretty much what it says. The main focus of the website will be to focus on gaming on a competitive nature, but I won’t ignore important tech or general gaming news.

The other thing that I want to try to do over there is highlight those who might not be in the professional spotlight. I feel with any sport (especially e-sports), that without a solid semi-pro/grassroots base, then the professional scene would never be as huge as it could potentially be.

To start with it’ll be just myself posting, but if anyone ever feels like guest posting, then I will always welcome them!

So what is the future of Lashings? I’m not going to take it down, and will save it for those rare occasions when one of my rants might not fit into a gaming/tech category. 🙂

I’ve just started the ball rolling over there, but please check out and add Competitively Zerged as I hope it’ll mature into something to be proud of.

Thank you for your time 🙂

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  I’m sure we’ve all done this in whatever MMO we have played or still do play. You’ve wanted to plan what you need for your character, or you have tactics to remember. What is the best way to do this? Well that’s simple! The best way to do this is to grab a pen and paper and write.

 I was flicking through an old notepad I found recently and it was full of possible raid groups, raid tactics, what I needed to farm to get my gear, what I could farm for profit. I even found a complete battle-plan for a particular day, starting from when I would wake up to when I  would go to bed. Now considering I’m a casual player nowadays, I certainly don’t do this anymore, and knowing me, there’s every chance that if I woke up at 9:00am, that battle-plan was out the window come 9:05.

 I was just wondering if everyone uses the good old-fashioned pen and paper method? Do people use their smart phones or tablets instead? Or maybe a little window open in the corner with Notepad or Word just sitting there? What do you use?

It’s something that you hear often nowadays “company x blames the 2nd hand game market”, “company y attributes a fall of revenue to 2nd hand games”. The developers and publishers of this world are quick to turn around and point the finger at us, the gamers. It’s our fault that they are considering only online downloads, it’s our fault as one publisher said “there is no longer a tail in selling games” (will explain later). Have they ever considered just why the 2nd market had grown so popular? Or are they, becoming like every other entertainment media in that they feel they can charge the same for less and people won’t notice?

As I said above, you hear rumours almost on a daily basis how publishers and developers are considering going to a download only model so that their games can’t be sold 2nd hand (you also hear how both Sony and Microsoft might also go down that same route with their next generation game consoles). Why are they considering doing this? Well in their eyes there used to be a time when games were released and they would make some fast bucks before slowly tailing off and after a few months become a steady stream of cash (hence the phrase “the tail”), however the claim is now that because the 2nd hand market is so profitable that the “tail” is no longer there. Therefore games companies are having to think of other ways to generate post-release sales (hence their reason for DLC’s).

Now I don’t buy this, and if you work in the gaming industry I apologize but as someone who is looking at it from outside the core of industry then I have one word to describe what I think about this … Bollocks!

In my opinion the real reason why the 2nd hand market has taken off is because the majority of game publishers/developers are disconnected from the general player base themselves and how an underlying mistrust has developed between the two groups of people. First up, and yes I’ll admit it’s a regular one for people who play games, is the pricing of games. As a rule, new release games cost between £40 and £50, and at this moment in time, with the current economic situation that’s a lot to shell out. I know there have been reports about how the gaming industry has “flourished” during the global recession but the question still has to be asked. If there the gaming industry is flourishing why are developers and publishers complaining. They are complaining because quite a few people nowadays are waiting for them to appear in 2nd hand shops, such as CEX, Game or online on Amazon, Hot Deals UK, Ebay or any other site like it. Basically once a game has been released, the title itself stops making money after a few months.

So what’s the problem I hear you ask. Surely they have a right to be unhappy about this and it’s understandable that they want to clamp down on this. Right? That’s all well and good but then you come to the mistrust part which I think is starting to play a bigger part then anyone anticipated, even if the bigwigs at EA, Activision etc, can’t see it.

With a few exceptions, games nowadays tend to feel shorter. They tend to feel as if “well this is lacking somewhat” or “I thought this was supposed to have this feature? Where is it?”, then all of a sudden, a DLC appears .. LOOK AT ME! I BRING SHINY EXTRA STUFF!

The publishers and developers might claim that they are doing this because of the booming 2nd hand game sub-industry but I would argue that it’s because of the attitude towards the release of DLC’s, is what in turn is causing the 2nd hand gaming industry to boom. I find it myself. I’m wary of buying a game as soon as it’s released because I know within 2 months time (sometimes as early as the same day of release), there will likely be a DLC that comes out with “extra maps” or “extended missions”. I look at this and I think, “why should I pay £40 for a game, and then almost immediately after have to fork out another £15-£20 for a DLC that should have been in the game in the first place? Why should I now pay £60 to make a game complete that 3-4 years ago would’ve cost just the £40? I’m sorry but I can’t see it as anything other than blatant profiteering.

Those who disagree with what I just said sometimes argue back that the cost of games are lower as digital versions then they are as hard copies and therefore people will save money. That’s not really the case though is it? Let’s give a few examples. The first price will be the digital copy price, the second price will be the hard copy price. Yes I’m using Amazon for the hard copy prices. 🙂

Look at the difference in prices there and tell me where the consumer benefits by buying a digital copy? The short answer is that they don’t. Digital copies in theory should be cheaper than hard copies and the cost of manufacturing discs and covers and the man power is requires to sell them isn’t there. Instead what you get are companies blatantly ripping people off on their online stores. This is why I don’t believe the real reason why a shift to digital downloads is due because people are buying 2nd hand games. The shift to digital downloads is for one reason, and one reason only. Pure greed.

I would like to say at this point though that not all DLC’s are bad. You have independent game companies who release a game for between £5-£10 and then every now and again will release a DLC  for between £1 and £3. These people are tiny independent companies, sometimes just with a minute team. When you consider the amount of hours they put in per head compared to the major companies listed above, they are probably putting in more effort too. Unfortunately because of the way the major developers/publishers are using and above the digital download system and the DLC system, it’s tainting that entire sector which in turn could make it more difficult for the independent companies to get their games out.

To sum it up. I don’t believe that the 2nd hand gaming industry is the reason “the tail no longer being there”. I believe that it’s the attitude of the developers and publishers in their general pricing and the way they treat the digital download sector and their attitude towards DLC’s, who are causing gamers to no longer trust them, and thus they are holding back, thus allowing the 2nd hand market to boom. It’s not the gamers that have allowed this to happen, it’s the people who make and distribute them!

 So recently I have been finding myself more and more detached with gaming, in brief spells I still enjoy a multiplayer game of Modern Warfare 3 or even a trip down memory lane with Championship Manager 2001/02, but compared with how I used to play games my interest in them has decreased dramatically.

 I first started “gaming”, when I was around 7 years old and I was purchased a Spectrum ZX. The very first game I had was Bullseye and you needed to use the gun to “aim” the dart. It was good fun and all, but as I played around with an Amstrad CPC464, a BBC Microcomputer (why it was called micro I’ll never know as the floppy disc was a big as my house), and an Amiga A500, I was more interested in writing programming code. By programming code I mean…

10. Print “Would you like to see this message again?”

20. If 10 = Y then 10 else 30

30. End.

So the above might not be exactly how I used to write it as that was a long time ago and I’ve since forgotten, even when I had a SNES and a Mega Drive my gaming didn’t go above “moderately interested”. It’s only really when I got a Playstation 2 and a PC that could actually do more than just blink at me, was when I really started to get into games.  I would spend hours upon hours playing Smackdown! and Grand Theft Auto 3 on the PS2 and Civ 2 or CM97/98 on the PC, but again It only really rose to “slightly addicted”.

This all changed in 2003 when I moved into my current property. All of a sudden I could get broadband, so I called you BlueYonder (who are now Virgin Media) and all of a sudden I was away from dial-up with my own dedicated internet connection. What did this mean? This meant that I could play multiplayer games and this is where most other things basically ground to a halt. I was hooked initially on a small game called Uniball, before moving to Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, occasionally I would dip my toes into Civ 3, Civ 4, CM01/02 but online gaming is where my attention was. This was when the big juggernaut hit me.

World of Warcraft! Now it’s unfair to blame myself sitting in front of the computer hour after hour on WoW as I was already at that stage, but it definitely rooted me down to the spot. During the worst periods, on my days off, I would set my alarm for 7am, and play right through until 1am, only taking breaks to eat, drink and visit the bathroom. In 2009 when I decided to quit WoW, I went straight into Call of Duty and played online on that instead. The only time I was ever able to break this cycle was during 2010, when I went through a 2 month phase of getting hooked on the Warcraft novels. Since 2012, well since November 2011 really, this vicious routine has slowly been altering. It had started with me playing less and less WoW. It has got to the point where at the moment I will sometimes play for an hour or two once a fortnight. At first it was replaced with Team Fortress 2 or Modern Warfare 3, and whilst I still play the latter, even that I find myself becoming less interested in.

It has got to a stage now, where I will load up a game then within 10 minutes, I will go “you know what? I don’t want to play this”, and thinking that it’s just the game I will go load up another game only for the same thing to happen. Is it that I’ve finally burnt myself out when it comes to gaming? Is it that gaming nowadays is nowhere near as enjoyable as they once where? Is it that I’m finally thinking that it’s about time I put the “joy pad” down and ventured into other hobbies? I really don’t know, it could be one of these or it could be a mixture of all three.

For most people this would probably be a no brainer. For some people they will turn around and say “well if you aren’t enjoying doing that, then go do something else”, and here’s the problem. Do what? Over the past 9 years the majority of my free time when I’m by myself has been spent playing online games. I need to find something that grabs my interest, I need to find something that I will enjoy and that overtime I could become good at.

I like to write. Even though my posting has been  pretty sparse recently. I do enjoy typing on a keyboard and posting articles. My biggest issue though is that quite often I will sit there with a topic in mind and …. NOTHING! Absolutely nothing will come out.  It’s definitely something I will keep doing though.

Nickie, my other half, as well as being an excellent writer is also a fantastic photographer. I look at some of the photo’s she takes and I wonder to myself “could I do that?” The answer to that is maybe again, although not with as much certainty as writing. With her permission I might show some of the photographs that she has online. It’s the way she can capture objects that makes me go “wow, these are fantastic shots”. Anyway!

Another option is reading. Now I’ve never been a heavy reader. I’ve tried on numerous occasions, even at one stage purchasing a Kindle, and whilst I will start enthusiastic, very quickly i will get bored and will either switch off, or go do something else. I’m pretty sure that for me, reading is off the table, at least in large quantities anyway.

I guess only time will tell what my true hobbies should be. Gaming? Writing? Reading? Or something completely different? Right now, I have no idea, but I hope I will find out soon. 🙂

 Following on from my favourite Android Apps of 2011, I would now like to focus on the games I enjoyed playing the most of the past 12 months.

Bejeweled 2

This game is so simple but so ever addictive. I’m sure most people know this game but those who don’t the aim of the game is to line up 3 or more “gems” of the same colour in order for those to disappear. The game ends when there are no more possibilities available.

Zombieville USA

 This little game requires you to walk along a street basically taking out zombies. Every time you pass a house you can tap on the door, enter it, and get either ammunition, money for upgrades or even on the rare occasion an ally to fight beside you. Well, to fight beside you until the zombies eat their brains. Nom nom nom!

Angry Birds

I know, I know. Angry Birds *yawn*, but it can’t be denied that this is one of the most addictive games to ever hit any mobile platform. For those who have lived in some sort of alternative universe the aim of the game is to slingshot birds with different abilities across the screen to destroy the green pigs that are situation amongst structures. Extremely fun.

Game Dev Story

 This is the first of two for me from Kairosoft. The Japanese developers seem to have these type of games mastered. In this game you are in charge of a game development company and your aim is to create games and at a later stage in the game, even a console. There are multiple categories and genres to choose from, and despite the repetitiveness of the game, the replayable factor is absolutely massive. Highly recommended.

Grand Prix Story

 The second one from Kairosoft is Grand Prix Story. It’s a game that uses the same structure as Game Dev Story, but instead of being in charge of a game company you are in charge of your own racing team. You get to research parts, cars, you can upgrade cars, train your drivers and mechanics and hope to win the races on multiple surface types. It’s another game that will keep you busy for hours on end.

Turbo Cricket

Simple in design, extremely enjoyable in practice. The aim of the game is to time your shots as accurate as possible to hit those sixes. You have 5 wickets to accumulate as many runs as you can. For some reason the last 2 wickets tend to give me the most runs.

Order and Chaos Online

 Order and Chaos Online is the first “MMO” that I have ever played on a mobile device. If you play it and believe that it plays and acts a lot like the MMO behemoth “World of Warcraft”, then you would be right, but trust me, on a mobile device it really isn’t a bad thing!

Gaming Applications

Battle.net Authenticator

In the first of two applications from Blizzard, the battle.net authenticator is essential for those who value the security of their World of Warcraft or Starcraft 2 accounts, or even their battle.net account on the whole. If you don’t have a physical authenticator then this is a must have application.

World of Warcraft Armory

This little app is an absolute gem of a product from Blizzard, It allows you to virtually view anything to do with your character. Can view your character, look at upgrades, read the last news, play with the talent calculator and if you have the Armory premium subscription on your battle.net account then you can also use the guild chat and even the auction house. Very good app.

Rift Mobile Authenticator

Trion for me, released the MMO of 2011 (looks at all the frothing light sabers outside of my door), and within days of RIFT being released they brought out the Mobile Authenticator. Once again for those who value the security of their gaming, this is another must have application.

Which games or gaming applications did you value the most in 2011? Thank you for reading 🙂

Great Scott!

Looking Back at 2011

Well with just 6 weeks left of 2011, I thought that now would be a good time to do what admittedly almost everyone else will do over due course and that’s look back at their 2011. At lot of things happened in the world, you had the Occupy movements that went global, the Euro on the verge of collapse and the start of the Arab Spring, but whilst I will take a look at the wider happenings, I want to take time today to look at my own 2011.

The first couple of months was pretty much the same as every other month in recent memory. I would work full-time in my retail job and then head home to play World of Warcraft, the only difference was this pain that was developing in my lower back (a topic that is well covered here and here).

Relationship? Soon after, around March time I started to speak to someone on Twitter. We got talking and realising we had a lot in common decided to meet up. Instantly we clicked and by the end of April we were officially going out. At the risk of sounding soppy and sending people for the nearest buckets, it’s not too far to say that she is probably the best thing that has happened to me. I couldn’t be without her now.

Employment? I’ve tried looking for another job. Don’t get me wrong I’m quite content where I am but I do believe that I could do so much better. The main thing that stays in my head is that right now I am in a stable, full-time job. If I were to leave my current job would I be able to find a full-time job and even if I did find a full-time job, being the newcomer there, just how stable would that job be? Those are the sort of questions that always run through my head.

Gaming?, what have I played mainly? World of Warcraft still takes the vast majority of my gaming time, but I’ve also dabbled in Rift, Team Fortress 2 and Civilization 5. I still play some of the older games like Elder Scrolls : Oblivion and Championship Manager 2001/02 so my gaming habits haven’t really changed.

Financially? Well with everything that is going on with the cost of living etc, it’s been pretty hard to keep my balance around the same as it always has been. I’ve just about managed it, but it hasn’t been easy and was possible by me selling some of my old DVD’s and even my Playstation 3 back in January

Technology? The beginning of the year I started with a HTC Desire Z, a gorgeous little Android phone, but in June I replaced it with the current king of smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S2. That phone right now is miles ahead of the competition. There are some that are due to be released that will challenge the S2, but for its display, operating system (Android) and its pure power, I’ve never used anything that has come close. The only thing that goes against it and virtually all full touch screen smartphones was the abysmal battery life. This has resulted me switching back to a Blackberry Bold 9700. I’ve also ditched my old computer for a laptop I picked up off the Dell Outlet store.

So that’s me from 2011, what’s in store for me in 2012?

Relationship? In 2012 there will hopefully be some big moves in that department, with us hoping to move into our own place. Are other things on the cards too? You never know 🙂

Employment? Well I plan to continue to work where I am working but also keep an eye out for a better job. With the economic climate expected

Gaming? Who knows? Could 2012 be the last year that I play World of Warcraft? Will Guild Wars 2 or Tera steal my heart? Or will another genre of gaming completely take me away?

Financially? I can’t see 2012 being any easy then 2011, if anything I’m predicting that either my current level will stay the same, or maybe even decrease. Come January I will have to sit down and properly look at my expenditures and try to trim certain aspects.

Technology? The only thing I really see changing is a potential purchase of a tablet, but which one? If I was to buy one this second it would either be A) The Blackberry Playbook or B) The Asus Transformer. I can’t see me changing my PC as my current laptop is perfectly fine for what I need and I am going to try to stick with my current phone until 2013 (I’m never normally able to keep phones longer then 4 months, so that will be an interesting challenge).

Overall I would say that despite the operation, 2011 has been a very positive year for me and while there will probably be the odd bump and pothole in the road, I have a hunch that 2012 will go near enough the same way.

So recently I’ve been stuck in a rut with gaming. World of Warcraft hasn’t really been doing it for me since Cataclysm. In my opinion Blizzard have made so many mistakes and in my opinion there appears to be a massive gulf now between the general player base at the WoW development team.

Anyway luckily Valve made Team Fortress 2 free to play and i have to say that I’ve become quite hooked on it. For those who haven’t played it is a team based FPS. It’s extremely fun even though I’m not that good at it. I normally pick either Sniper or Spy. It is a very good game and anyone who used to enjoy games like Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and the like would enjoy this and hey, it’s free to play off Steam. Well worth it.

When i want a gaming break from TF2 I’ve got back into Rift again. Initially I started playing Rift during the last beta and carried on through launch. I played it for a month before returning to WoW. Why did I return? Well even though I thought Rift was extremely polished for a launch MMO I felt like the time wasn’t right for me to drift to another MMO. Last week I decided to reinstall Rift and give it another go. Needless to say I am fully enjoying it. The graphics are gorgeous, and the gameplay is extremely smooth and even though the dungeon LFG is across all shards, and everyone I’ve stumbled across so far has been extremely friendly and will even take the time to explain certain things if you ask them. At the moment I have a 21 Chloromancer Mage and a 15 Shaman Cleric.

I’m always looking for new games to play, whether it be an MMO, RPG, Civ style or something goes completely different but with these two games I am having a real blast and right now I honestly can’t see myself returning to WoW for the moment, but I’m not fully quitting that game. I might write a post about what I think has gone wrong some other time but for now I will say… Team Fortress 2 and Rift for the win.