The cost of keeping up with Destiny

The cost of keeping up with Destiny

Now that I’ve spent a.. erm… ‘healthy‘ amount of time on Destiny, I’ve gone back to look at the proverbial cat that got out of the bag regarding the contract between Bungie and Activision, outlining the future of Destiny… It’s rather aggressive to say the least.

I’ve enjoyed my time with Destiny a lot up until this point. I’ve partaken in the raids, geared up to 30 before the expansion, and continue to press forward with The Dark Below DLC. My time spent playing was slowing down a lot as I felt my character had hit a good place… I had a slew of capped off weapons, exotic and legendary of all element types. All my gear worn was from the raid, and I was sitting pretty at the highest level. Very few challenges were left and the thrill of raising an alternate character wasn’t there. Since I was at around 180 hours played I considered it a wrap. I had gotten my money’s worth.

Then The Dark Below drew me back in. It’s only been out for a few weeks at this point, but I’ve cleared through the two new strikes, all the campaign missions, and have almost cleared out the new raid, Crota’s End. It’ll likely be another month or so of play before I hit that comfortable zone again, putting in about 2 hours a night of play on average. Just keeping up with the daily missions and advancing my newly reset exotic guns eats up most of my gaming time. Likely this whole thing will repeat again with the House of Wolves DLC once that drops. So sometime mid to late summer I’ll be done? Not according to this contract.

Continue reading

Let’s talk user reviews for a moment using Destiny as a focal point. While it’s been extremely polarizing (both internally and externally), it highlights the point I’ve been looking at lately of just how misguided fan base for gaming has become. I know before I’ve pushed the dream of a more positive gaming community, or even finding love for a flawed game… This is a little different though. User reviews allow a disorganized, disconnected grouping of unrelated individuals with no standards to critique and score something within a structured system. The problem beyond that is no expectation of professionalism. While critics are people and all pieces of entertainment art are subjective, there is generally an understanding when a game is well done but just not for them. Too often I’m seeing reviews of products based on the expectation that this game failed them by not being the last game they’ll ever have to buy. A bug free game with dozens to hundreds of hours of play can get knocked with a 1 or 2 out of 10. Scores that low for some people are reserved for games that are actually broken. Others just decide it wasn’t fun for them so it’s a 1.5. Swinging back to Destiny…

PS4 review of Destiny

Destiny (PS4) Metacritic

Continue reading

Once upon a time in the merry land of entertainment, there were no games. Film, books, and television were the primary means of media entertainment. With the wonderful advent of computers, a curious side effect came about. People decided instead of using them for intense calculations or completing mundane repetitive thinking tasks, they would create games. From that point forward games continued to grow in every direction. Computer games where they could afford machines (usually colleges), then into homes with video game consoles or home computers like the Commodore 64, eventually into the consoles we have today… As well as the smart phones and other handheld devices we have today. Creativity was boundless as games were being made for every corner of the imagination. Space sci-fi spoofsmisanthropic adventures of the mind, high fantasy worlds with hundreds of other players… even plumbers in kingdoms where all the citizens have been turned into blocks, turtles with wings, and walking mushrooms. Tough guys taking on biker gangs, falling shapes trying to match three of a kind, virtual casinos, sports simulations.

Small teams of developers (two dozen or less) would dedicate their time to making their vision come to life for others to enjoy. THEIR vision. Just as all art, the creator sculpts their perspective for others to see and feel as they feel. With larger demand came larger budgets. Game became bigger and more engaging. Publishers started to take a keen interest in the product being developed and making demands for their product to bend with the trends. Just as films would add in popular arch types of characters to draw in a larger audience, games began to include popular systems or themes to capitalize on the market. Zombies anyone? This still goes all the way up to the current state of games. Indies have started to revive this pioneering spirit of just pure creation without alteration to appease the publishers. Surely this is the natural, pure state of game development. Free from publishers to make whatever you want. It’s your game, your vision, your art. Why should you have to compromise?

Continue reading

With the launch of Destiny’s first DLC pack, The Dark Below, I’ve been reflecting on some conversations had with a friend of mine while playing Destiny. Currently on my main character I sit at 178 hours of play time. That time doesn’t include time spent in orbit (essentially loading / managing inventory). I’ve put more time into this game than I have any other shooter to date. Gears of War 3 had a healthy amount of play between the beta and final release, replaying the campaign a couple times with friends and a ton of MP… specifically horde / beast modes. That ended at only 67 hours (per Raptr). We were discussing about what on earth people expect from their $60 purchase, and how are they not satisfied after getting a few characters maxed out at 30?

Time Played by the launch of first DLC - 178 Hours

Time Played by the launch of first DLC – 178 Hours

Continue reading

After the PlayStation Experience keynote just wrapped in Las Vegas I had a small realization… Sony is building an accessible archive of video games. It seems everyone keeps getting up in arms every time a rerelease is announced for a titles… Either an HD upgrade, PS1 classic, or port across last gen to this. The vocal, angry minority of the internet rages about wanting new games and new IPs. I get that, I really do. I love playing new games. I also love playing my old games too. I’ve been burned in the past by trading in my  N64, PS1, and PS2 games and then regretting it years later when they are sparse or expensive. With the Xbox360 / PS3 I opted not to trade in any titles and keep my catalog. I got tired of reaching for Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance 2 and it not being in my collection. I realize this isn’t everyone, but it’s me and I like having that option.

So here we stand with the PS4. The PSX keynote bombarded us with 2015 releases of PC, PS1, and PS3 games coming to the PS4. Day of the Tentacle, Bastion, Final Fantasy 7, and Super Stardust Ultra. They also had new titles being released with Uncharted 4, What Remains of Edith Fitch, No Man’s Sky, and The Order: 1886. Some have mentioned prior to the release of the 8th gen of consoles that this may be the last generation of new consoles as we know them. Maybe this is true. If that’s the case and we’re expected to be playing with these machines for the next 10 years… Why wouldn’t we want this smorgasbord of gaming delight? As much as people have argued the price of PSNow, it does offer the ability to play a slew of PS3 games as well. They’re not native to the system though so personally I’d welcome ports to run on PS4. We’ve seen some good stuff like Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition, GTA5, Sleeping Dogs, and Tomb Raider: DE all bring last gen games forward. Soon we’ll have Dark Souls 2 available. If none of these are exclusive to PS4, what’s the big deal?

A c c e s s i b i l i t y . Previously finding a slew of old consoles and games in my attic, I’ve come to realize while the games stay fun and relevant, the hardware becomes more and more obtuse. I had to make a trip to Radio Shack (*shudders*) to purchase a piece that lets me connect an Atari 2600 to my TV. I needed to buy an adapter for my TV to take a component cable from my N64. Controllers get gunked up over the years. Also, my TV only has two HDMI slots so I’m already shuffling between my PS3, PS4, X360, and Wii U more often than I’d like. Hardware is the thing that bogs retro gaming down. If I had one device that played all my games across all platforms, that would be absolutely choice. For a lot of people, PC is that beast. I work with them all day though and get burned out dealing with them. Optimizing, reformats, downloading and reinstalling OS’s, getting new drivers, weird bugs, etc. When I game, I just want to drop in a disc, click on boot and play… When I can skip the disc part, even better.

This is where the PS4 is really starting to shine for me. There are all sorts of awesome experience previously limited to PCs. I can play old titles dating back to the mid 90’s with some of these offerings. I really wish PS4 had PS1 Classics native support, but until then I have releases of games like Final Fantasy 7 and Grim Fandango to hold me over. I have indies like Octodad or Transistor. We’re seeing a bunch of last-gen PSN gems coming forward with Bastion, Journey, and Unfinished Swan. PS3 games are getting remastered and updated like Grand Theft Auto 4. All of this is releasing while new PS4 games are being created like Drawn to Death, Bloodborne, and Street Fighter 5. It’s doing EVERYTHING. It’s appealing to a TON of demographics. From the content of their games, to the dates of the games, and the size of the games. You have free to play, PSN budget games, and full retain games. It’s slowly but surely building a massive archive of instantly accessible classics, quirky oddballs, AAA, and artistic gems. I really believe that 5 years from now, the PS4 library could possibly be the greatest variance of games available on single console at this rate. Yes, PC’s will reign supreme with being able to always rely on a massive catalog dating back as far as time can tell… For folks like me though, I welcome this open mindset Sony is laying out for the PS4. I’ve never played Grim Fandango and thanks to this initiative of keeping old games alive (even if the naysayers just think of it as padding) – I’ll get to play the game I missed out on years ago.