Sway Speaks - War is Hell
Last night I went to bed planning to post a vitriolic rant about the frustrations I went through trying to install and play Battlefield 1942 last night. I was close to putting the thing up on ebay less than three hours after breaking the seal on the box. The forums at Planet Battlefield weren't very encouraging either. There were dozens of posts about high-powered computers and low-powered performance, and nobody really had any answers. As usual, a good sleep has calmed me somewhat and I'm able to deal with the mess with a little more patience.
Instead I would like to ask you about your experiences with PC games. How much effort are you willing to put into making a game work? This is different than spending hours in forums and dangerously tampering with your registry and config files in order to squeeze better gameplay out of a game you are already enjoying. I would consider this a legitimate expenditure. I often tinkered with Tribes and would fiddle with Writer's scripts for hours just so I could knock a few seconds off my turret placement. However, the game played fine from the moment I installed it. Tribes 2, as many of you know, was another story. I had upgraded my computer in the months leading up to that game's release so I knew that I would be ready to play. That game choked on even the best machines upon install. Hundreds of megabytes of patches later, it still doesn't seem to be the game everyone was hoping for.
Rather than focusing just on the negative, I am happy to give kudos to the games that did work. Clearly, the experience may not have been the same for you. However I always have a habit of checking out the forums of new games to get an overview of the things the majority of people are complaining about. If people are complaining about aspects of the gameplay instead of posting topics like "PLEASE HLEP!", then I usually take it as a good sign.
I saw this happen, specifically, with Warcraft III and Neverwinter Nights. I know these games are a little old already, but I'll touch on that in a moment. When I looked on the Warcraft III boards, I saw mostly complaints about balance and rush techniques and build orders. When I installed the software, it was three hours later when I next looked at the clock. I was deep into the Human campaign and giddy with gameplay. The same thing happened with Neverwinter Nights. Say what you will about the content of the game. Most of us at least got to see it. It installed, updated probably, and ran. Three hours later I hadn't actually made it out of the character generation screens, but it wasn't because of any issues with the game. I was still working on a good fatal flaw in the creation of my female half-orc (as if being a half-orc wasn't fatal flaw enough). Oh, the reason I mentioned these two older games is because shortly thereafter I installed Dungeon Siege and the Zone multiplayer service made me cry and return to my console for a while.
No, I'm not about to call for a boycott or anything yet. I was partly to blame since I didn't check the forums before I bought the game. I should have known better. Yes, consoles may find themselves on the same slippery slope now that they're going online and software can be patched after release. I'd probably just reiterate the general attitude of this website and recommend that you stay smart about your game purchases. We'll try and keep you informed of the disasters out there. What games have been terrible or wonderful experiences out of the gate for you?