Friday, January 16, 2015

Q Attack, Round 7 - Are Persistent Online Worlds the Future of Console Gaming?
Tiger and Rabbit tackle the world of massively multiplayer online games in this edition of Q Attack. Are Persistent Online Worlds the future of console gaming? According to one of our bloggers, it is, but which blogger? Read on Qgers and Qbits to find out.


Tiger: So I was playing a little bit of Destiny the other day.

Rabbit: Uh-huh.

Tiger: And got sucked into one of those community challenges.

Rabbit: Is that so?

Tiger: There was a good sized group of us fighting this thing.

Rabbit: Oh really?

Tiger: Why are you doing that?

Rabbit: Doing what?

Tiger: Adding in some little quip after every sentence I say.

Rabbit: I’m trying to show you that I’m engaged with what you are saying.

Tiger: Well, please stop, it’s annoying.

Rabbit: Fine, I’ll stop.

Tiger: Good.

Rabbit: I guess so.

Tiger: No, really, just stop talking.

Rabbit: I will, I promise.

Tiger: What is wrong with you!?

Rabbit: Me? You keep asking me questions!

Tiger: Fine, I’m stopping. Alright, as I was saying-

Rabbit: Yes, please continue.

Tiger: *rolls eyes* Anyway, so I was playing this community event in Destiny, the ones where you just randomly run into them and can choose to stick around or not, and we were so close to killing this thing off. Then suddenly, everyone left and the ones who did remain, we couldn’t take the guy down within the time limit.

Rabbit: That sucks.

Tiger: It does, I really dislike that I can’t play Destiny offline. I like playing with people but only when I feel like it. I really enjoy just running around a game by myself sometimes.

Rabbit: I can understand that. It was something that really annoyed me about Demon’s Souls when I first started playing it. Your world can get invaded by other players and sometimes they were leveled up a lot more than you. I got canned so many times by high level invaders that I ended up playing most of that game offline.

Tiger: That’s exactly why I didn’t get into the Demon’s Souls or Dark Souls games. They looked interesting but I disliked the whole idea that someone could just come in and do that. There was another game, I can’t remember what it was, but I remember the developer saying that if you didn’t play it often; another player could invade your castle and steal all your loot. That type of persistent online world sounds cool at first but for those of us who don’t play the same game all the time, it can be a pain.

Rabbit: That is true but I think the idea is pretty cool too. I really think we’re starting to move into a new era of MMOs. It’s no longer about World of Warcraft or League of Legends, even though those games are still big, but I think we’re starting to see MMOs designed for the console gamer in mind.

Tiger: I can see that, the MMO market has really missed out on a valuable demographic in regards to console gamers. Making MMOs more accessible to console gamers could open up a whole new revenue stream for them.

Rabbit: To me, it’s about the connectivity with other players and a persistent world; those are the key features of a PC MMO that seem to be translating to console games. Actually, let’s call them that; Persistent Online Worlds or POW for short. MMOs are usually PC games that have you play with a ton of other people. You probably have a subscription or lots of in-game purchases. Whereas with POWs, they are designed for consoles, you don’t play with as many people; but you can purchase expansions etc.

Tiger: Are you serious? POWs?

Rabbit: I think I’m on to something here. Anyway, I just wanted to really try and differentiate between what we think of when we say ‘MMO’ versus games like Destiny. Do you think of Destiny as an MMO?

Tiger: I don’t actually.

Rabbit: But it is, if you boil it down, right?

Tiger: I guess it is. So yeah, I will placate to you on this. MMOs are games like Dota or Everquest; POWs are games like Destiny, Dark Souls, or The Tomorrow Children. Okay?

Rabbit: Awesomeista. But doesn’t it feel like there has been a shift with these types of games? I know we both don’t follow MMOs mostly because they are on PC and the ones that we have played, Warframe and the LotR game, have that very PC feel to them. But now we have The Tomorrow Children and No Man’s Sky, which kind of sounds like one of these persistent online games.

Tiger: It’s true that it feels like MMOs are evolving into something else or maybe just adapting. I mean, there is a reason why we don’t have some of the PC MMOs on consoles whether it be for licensing reasons or lack of inputs or what have you. There is that opportunity to really attract new consumers. Look at Warframe when it came out on PS4, I know so many people that played that game. It was hugely popular considering it came from a developer that is not well known to console gamers.

Rabbit: I was surprised that SOE hasn’t been more active on the PS4. I mean, Planetside was announced but that’s it. You’d think since they are part of Sony that they would have had something ready for launch or close to launch.

Tiger: We don’t have Elder Scrolls Online yet either.

Rabbit: Can you honestly tell me that you want Elder Scrolls Online?

Tiger: *sighs* No. I really don’t want to pay a subscription fee.

Rabbit: That’s why I’m excited about The Tomorrow Children. Well, at least I don’t think it will have subscription fees. Anyway, it looks like a really interesting POW. Some crazy Russian experiment goes wrong in the 1960s and suddenly all humanity is wiped out. You play an astral projection or something and have to help collect resources and fight monsters to keep your town alive. I don’t know how to explain it; you really need to watch some alpha gameplay.

Tiger: I did see some of the alpha and it looks great, I’m not sure about the gameplay though.

Rabbit: I find it really cool that things are constantly happening, even when you aren’t playing the game. You could be gone for a couple of days, come back into the game and find that your town has been expanded or maybe even destroyed. Islands of various materials form and disappear. You can even rescue little capsules that turn into inhabitants for your town. All this happens while you play with or at least parallel to other players. So even if you aren’t directly playing with another person, you are always working collaboratively with others to gain the necessary resources for your town.

Tiger: That’s actually a pretty interesting idea. I could see there’s a lot of potential with the persistent online worlds but I still think there are drawbacks too. What happens if you play with people who aren’t very “cooperative?” I could see the possibility that a player could steal resources from you.

Rabbit: At least in The Tomorrow Children there is an ability to report players and if they get too many reports, will actually be arrested in the game.

Tiger: *laughs* That’s awesome.
Rabbit: So, what do you think? Are POWs the future of console gaming?

Tiger: I hope not. I like some of the ideas that come with POWs but I don’t want this to become a trend. There’s too many downsides to me. For one, you have to get other people to help you beat certain missions. Like in Destiny, organizing a group of five of your friends to play for a few hours is harder than it sounds. I also dislike that you do have the possibility of subscriptions or lots of micro transactions. I want to be able to play a game when I want to play it and with whom I want to play them with.

Rabbit: That’s a lot of “wants.”

Tiger: It’s true though, why should I be forced into a community of gamers when I don’t necessarily want to be a part of that in-game community.

Rabbit: Wow, so anti-social.

Tiger: *crosses arms* Technically speaking, I’m avoidant.

Rabbit: I do see your points but I think this could be a great future for console gaming. Now, I’m not saying that every game needs to utilize POWs but I think a lot could benefit from them. I love the possibility that when you leave a game for a week, it continues to grow and evolve without you being there. An overgrown jungle could turn into a sprawling civilization or an overpopulated city could be turned into a wasteland; all while you were away. Subscriptions can be a pain but I think the idea of expansions could be worth the price. Instead of getting a sequel every year, you get meaningful expansions that allow you to continue the story you started with the same character.

Tiger: That to me is the best argument for MMOs over traditional RPGs. I remember how much more I cared about playing Mass Effect 2 and 3 because I could use “my” Commander Shepard from the first game. I know WoW just had a big expansion come out a few months ago. Having the option to experience new content with your leveled up character is great. Don’t forget though, you can technically do that with a lot of other RPGs. Skyrim, for example, had story DLC.

Rabbit: That is true but not on the scale that some MMOs do. Could you imagine playing a POW that lasts 10+ years? Destiny is supposedly one of those games.

Tiger: *humph* Destiny wasn’t a 10 day game for me.

Rabbit: I just love the idea of what games like The Tomorrow Children may bring to the console table. You can work together or work alone towards a common community goal in an ever persistent world that will change because of your actions. The future of console gaming is coming, be ready – POW!

Are Persistent Online Worlds the Future of Console Gaming?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

Random Happy Time, 10 O’Clock - Jiggly Jello!
Rabbit and Tiger discuss more of their impressions from The Tomorrow Children alpha in this issue of Random Happy Time! What were Tiger’s and Rabbit’s favorite parts? Read on, my friend, read on.


Tiger: So thoughts on The Tomorrow Children Alpha?

Rabbit: ー( ´ ▽ ` )ノ The islands looked like Jello!

Tiger: Okay, other than that?

Rabbit: ( ゚▽゚)/ I want a jetpack!

Tiger: *rubs forehead* What about the gameplay?

Rabbit: /(=∵=)\ I loved the night vision goggles, they looked fantastic. I like the idea of having to always be in light as a puzzle element. If it’s dark out, you can shine your flashlight so others can still continue working. What about you?

Tiger: I like the train depot, that was a nice touch. You can use it to transport your resources to your town, all without having to carry each piece and place it on the train manually. I can already see some issues with it though.

Rabbit: Like how you won’t be able to make perfect lines or squares. Or your obsession with even numbers.

Tiger: ( ̄ェ ̄;) *silence*

Rabbit: ^giggles^ (。・`ω´・。) I really do think the game looks like it is partially made out of candy, cake, and Jello though. Makes me hungry just watching it.

Tiger: Why do you talk so much about food in these segments?

Rabbit: ^offended face^ What? What are you saying? I love food and it’s a good topic.

Tiger: I’m warning you now, if you keep going on about food when we play the game, I’m going to report you and have you arrested. o(-`д´- 。)

Rabbit: Hidoi yo! ヽ(●゚´Д`゚●)ノ゚

Friday, January 2, 2015

Q Attack, Round 6 - Are Video Games too Hard to Beat?
In the first Q Attack of 2015, Tiger and Rabbit discuss how many video games they have beaten in 2014. They also debate the difficulty level and length of current video games. Are video games too hard to beat? Read on to find out.


Rabbit: Happy New Year Qgers and Qbbits! I hope you’ve had an amaztastic holiday season and that the New Year has treated you well. We’ve had a great year here at TvR and thank all of you for sticking with us for this long. How was your holiday season, Tiger?

Tiger: Cold and wet.

Rabbit: Did you get anything cool for Christmas?

Tiger: I got a Dualshock 4 controller, the white one that came out with Destiny. It looks awesome! What about you?

Rabbit: I got my stuffed toast! I named him Tsota!

Tiger: Wait... is that an anagram of "toast?"

Rabbit: You bet ya!

Tiger: *face palm*

Rabbit: What else did you get?

Tiger: I got an autographed puck from Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks! Yeah!

Rabbit: That is pretty cool. I got the Rosetta Stone program to learn Japanese. Sugoi desu ne?

Tiger: Yeah, that's super. Now you just have to use it.

Rabbit: Hey! What do you mean by that?

Tiger: Oh, nothing. *sticks out tongue*

Rabbit: Fine, don't answer me. So, did you beat many games last year?

Tiger: Not really, we both had some things come up that prevented us from playing a lot of games. My notable accomplishments are beating The Last of Us Grounded Mode, inFAMOUS Second Son, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, and Persona 3: FES. What about you?

Rabbit: I finished Hakuouki: Stories of the Shinsengumi, Skylanders Swap Force, The Walking Dead: Season 2, The Wolf Among Us, and Hatsune Miku Project DIVA f.

Tiger: I played so many games that I didn’t beat too like Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor. I also bought a bunch of games that I haven’t even tried like Watch_Dogs, Assassin’s Creed Unity, and Persona 4 Arena Ultimax.

Rabbit: We are both terrible at beating the games we buy. It’s almost more of a collection than a hobby at this point. There are just too many games and not enough time to play them all!

Tiger: I think game length has a lot to do with beating a game too. I think I sunk in almost 80 hours before I beat the main campaign of Skyrim. With Black Flag, I’m still running around trying to get all the freaking Animus fragments and treasure chests before I play through the rest of the chapters.

Rabbit: Yes, open world games have so many side quests and collectables to find. But you don’t have to have those to finish Black Flag, do you?

Tiger: Nope, you don’t but I usually like to complete a game the best I can when I go to beat it. Like with Hakuouki, you played through all the different story endings but didn’t have to do that to technically beat the game.

Rabbit: That’s true, I wanted to see how everyone’s story turned out so I went ahead and just completed that game. Skylanders: Swap Force was actually hard to complete. While you can beat the game with the figures included in the starter set, you had to wait for the other figures to release for you to unlock everything in the game. I just finished unlocking everything and beat what I wanted to play. There are still so many things to do like beat all the challenge modes and get perfect star ratings on all the levels. I don’t want to waste my time doing that though, so I’m considering Skylanders done and finished.

Tiger: Skylanders is a lot like a free-to-play game. So many things are hidden behind a pay wall, count me out. They make it too difficult, too expensive, and too frustrating to beat a game. I don’t have that much patience to deal with those. I’d rather play a game that gives me a lot to do for the price I pay. I think there are factors other than game length, endless side quests, and waiting for content to be released that make beating video games hard.

Rabbit: Like difficulty! Some games are really really hard to play. I like how there’s a market for those tough games but I wish more games had difficulty settings. Sometimes I just want to play through a game for the story.

Tiger: I like it when games are hard, it’s a challenge. You have to practice and gain some skill to beat them. Plus you learn to persevere!

Rabbit: Though some games are just stupidly hard because they suck. Remember Haze on the hardest difficulty?

Tiger: Why did you bring that game up?! That was a terrible game-

Rabbit: That we played a ton of.

Tiger: *shakes head* We also played a bunch of Rainbow Six. I’m excited to hear that they are keeping the “no respawn” rule with multiplayer. That was fun, frustrating, but really fun once we got enough practice.

Rabbit: And I get that’s great and all but for people like us who don’t have the time to throw hours into a game anymore, it’s annoying. Think of Destiny, the hours you have to put into that game to level up past 20 is insane! I don’t have that kind of time and even if I did, I’d rather spend it playing other games.

Tiger: But I really enjoy playing games that you can sink your teeth into. Going back to The Last of Us, it was so satisfying to beat Grounded Mode and playing it stealthy all the way through. There were a couple of areas that I had to play over and over again but it was worth it to finally conquer the game.

Rabbit: And a couple of controllers you had to replace.

Tiger: I did not break any controllers playing TLOU.

Rabbit: What about Night Queen?

Tiger: Why are you bringing that up?!

Rabbit: Because I had to hear you moan and complain again and again about “freaking Night Queen.”

Tiger: OMG. Yes, Persona 3: FES. I got to the final boss and was doing perfectly fine against it. Next thing I know, the boss whips out this “Night Queen” move and totally charms, enrages, or paralyzes everyone! I mean everyone! I replayed that freaking boss so many times only to have to go back and reload an old save. I spent three weeks replaying that game and grinding to level up. I finally make it back to the last boss with my 10 levels higher main character and what do you know?

Rabbit: What?

Tiger: The boss didn’t use Night Queen at all! Not even once! I did all that work, wasted all that time, for nothing!

Rabbit: You beat the game though.

Tiger: Yeah, I beat that freaking game.

Rabbit: And you savored the challenge.

Tiger: I was so freaking PO’ed.
Rabbit: You were freaking out. I guess this means that you think video games are too hard to beat?

Tiger: Nope, I think they are just fine. If you have a problem with a game’s length, don’t do everything. As much as it drives me nuts to find every little collectable, it’s something I enjoy hating. I also like completing the side quests and extra content, it just makes me feel like I’m getting my money’s worth rather than speed running through a game. I avoid games like Skylanders or free-to-play games that hide things behind a pay wall, so I don’t have an issue there. I guess if you’re into those types of games that you either spend the cash or be patient, but you can still beat those kinds of games. As for difficulty, I think trying to beat challenging games is fun and worth the effort. People give up too easily and expect things to be handed to them in video games. I like video games that make you use your head and have to apply a little effort to beat them. Even if you feel frustrated during the process, sticking with it and finally conquering a game is one of the best feelings you can have. What about you?

Rabbit: I think video games are too hard to beat at times. I’m going to go back to Destiny which feels like it’s punishing you for trying to level up over 20. Now granted, technically you can “beat” that game without reaching the endgame that is level 20+, but if you really want to get the cool loot, you have to keep playing it. I know challenges are fun but I wish there was a way to have that challenge without having to put so much time into a game. We have 20 some odd video games from 2014 that we haven’t even played yet. Why should we spend all our time trying to beat a single game when we could be playing ones we haven’t touched yet? I wish there was just some kind of middle ground or something. Like with Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, they have a “time savers” pack that you can buy to give you all the materials you need right away so you don’t have to grind. I like that idea, if you want to play the game to get everything, go ahead. If you’re in a rush and just want to beat the game, you can pay the money and just be done with it.

Tiger: I can’t believe this.

Rabbit: What?

Tiger: You’ve turned into a free-to-play gamer.

Rabbit: I am not, and what’s the problem with that?

Tiger: Did you just listen to what you just said? You are willing to pay so you can just finish a game faster. Wow. Haze and now this, I am so disappointed in you.

Rabbit: Hey! Don’t give me this whole “I’m a better gamer than you” routine. Like the Doubleclicks say, I’ve got nothing to prove.

Tiger: Okay okay, don’t get your ears in a knot. We all like what we like. I’m just surprised since this is news to me. We’ll definitely have to talk more about free-to-play and DLC in a later segment. I know we covered season passes with Eagle but I think there’s a lot more to talk about here.

Rabbit: The line in the sand has been drawn. ^evil laughs^ Well, that’s all the time we have today folks. Thanks for reading and we’ll see you in two weeks!

Are Video Games too Hard to Beat?

Tiger     vs     Rabbit

Random Happy Time, 9 O'Clock! - Easy as Pie!
After discussing difficult video games to beat, Tiger and Rabbit change the subject to talk about games that are too easy to complete. With food references galore, find out which game they think is the easiest game they’ve ever played.


Rabbit: Welcome back Qgers and Qbbits to another Random Happy Time! Since we talked about difficult video games to finish, let’s chat about games that are easy to play. /(=∵=)\

Tiger: Do you have any in mind?

Rabbit: Well, I’ve always felt that the Telltale games are a piece of cake, awesome chocolate cake. While I enjoy them, the most challenging aspect of those games is what choice to make.

Tiger: (^人^) That’s very true; they play more like interactive novels than anything. I always felt that Borderlands was a little too easy. I wish it was harder, especially when you play with other people.

Rabbit: It never felt like there was enough pie to go around for everyone. Someone always got left out.

Tiger: One of the reasons why I played as Lilith in the first game, I could phasewalk ahead of everyone so I had things to kill. If you got there last, usually everything was already gone.

Rabbit: I always loved the LEGO games but they tended to be pretty easy to beat.

Tiger: They’re kids’ games though, so it’s to be expected.

Rabbit: Not entirely true, the Skylander games are designed for kids but it has a nightmare difficulty setting that makes the game pretty hard. I enjoy playing that mode because when you kill enemies, they burst XP, kind of like candy exploding from a piñata.

Tiger: Does everything relate back to food for you? No wait, don’t answer that, I don’t even want to know. I always thought rhythm games were pretty easy to beat. Fun party games but not much substance to them other than that. I also wished The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was harder. It does have a difficulty setting but I felt that it really didn’t force you to play it any differently. That’s what I loved about The Last of Us and its difficulty settings. Want a stealth game? Play it on grounded. Want a run and run shooter? Play it on easy; it makes TLOU feel like two different games.

Rabbit: (⌒▽⌒) Is Skyrim as easy as stealing someone’s sweetroll?

Tiger: Shut up. ~(=^┬ ┬^)

Rabbit: By far the easiest game I can think of is Jurassic: The Hunted. That game was stupid easy. You could run around like crazy and the dinos would just ignore you in some areas. That game was a cakewalk.

Tiger: I still can’t believe you got that game.

Rabbit: It has dinosaurs in it! I love dinosaurs! (\˳˘ ɜ˘)˳ ♬♪♫

Tiger: But it was a terrible game.

Rabbit: A terrible game with dinosaurs!

Tiger: *shakes head*