GWJ Conference Call Episode Fifteen

Conference Call

The Burning Crusade, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, Episodic Gaming, Your Emails and more!

Cory "Demiurge" Banks joins the crew to talk about the Burning Crusade, his abiding love for Sam and Max, the future of episodic gaming and much, much more!

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The Links
WoW: Burning Crusade
Gametap
Sam And Max

Thread of the Week: Loads of emails!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Terra" - Chico Correa & Electronic Band - 0:27:54
"Impeller" - Ian Dorsch - 1:01:14

Comments

"Rock solid"

Clearly this was recorded before the authentication servers went down

*edit*
listening as I go here... I totally agree with Certis on how the playerbase definitely defines the WOW experience. I had to log out of the general chat because of a 12, 14, and 15 year-old discussing US politics, and how they have many "factions".

WoW is the most beautiful MMO out there? I'm not sure about that. I still think Guild Wars is pretty damn pretty, particularly the art direction. Prophecies has beautiful, ornate castles, Factions has cool coastal rock structures with trees and houses on them, and Nightfall's later areas are beautiful and littered with subtle cultural references.

The fact that you can tell a Canthan warrior from a Tyrian warrior just by the racial traits in their face and skin tones speaks volumes.

More later, but I'm giving Uru the nod for this distinction at the moment.

I agree with you guys.. episodic content is just another word for expansion packs.. and thats been around since the dawn of gaming. The only thing thats different is the ease of delivery.. and the mechanism behind that.

Why is all the WoW:BC talk making me picture this?

I'm totally with you Certis. DVD box sets and full games for me, please. Episodic content delivery just frustrates me, and for precisely the reasons you mentioned. If I have the time, interest, and inclination to indulge in a piece of entertainment, be it a game, a book, a TV show, or anything else, I want to be able to experience it at my own pace and on my own schedule. (Of course, I do often watch a show on TV when my curiosity about the story gets the best of me, but I'm always happier when I manage to wait and watch the show all at once.)

If I hear the word 'episodic' again....
Well... I've played a lot of hitman...
Let's say I'll make preparations to use those skills.

List:
Ratboy,
wordsmythe,
Mr Eko,
Mex

Episodic songs? Brilliant!

Thanks for the nod guys. It is a funny coincidence that my wife chose to buy pudding for us for a snack while we watched Heroes.

I am encouraged by the compatibility between my thoughts and the upcoming Conan MMO. However, I seem to recall Funcom having some forward thinking and unique features in AO that were... (shall I be nice here? no) attrociously implemented. Lag and pathing problems stand out in my memory and my experiences came a year and a half after the horrid launch.

I think Certis hit the nail on the head with the major flaw with episodic content. A company would be taking a big risk developing several episodes if a number of players play the first episode but don't bother with the rest of them.

Also, I'm really annoyed at Valve for charging twice the price of Half-Life: Episode 1 for Episode 2. Team Fortress and Portal look really cool, but forcing them to be bundled and then charging more seems like a bad practice.

*Here is your thread of the next week.
*Dibs on Elysium's seat since he is leaving to play WoW full time.
*Heavy Weapons = astroids on crack? Come on this is more like Metal Slug, R-Type, or Gradius.
*Marvel Ultimate Alliance is dungeon crawler with tights. It's more akin to Baulder's Gate Dark Alliance. Don't forget there is a group of Goodjers who play.
*Aquaman is like a Y-list. I hope he slips and falls in the bathtub making him drown. But he is DC.
*"I'm done rambling who's next?" *music starts playing*. For some reason I just laughed at that.
*Topics: Developer shuffle for Guitar Hero. More tech stuff.

I'll listen to it later, but come on dudes, sign up with Digg and vote for the podcast. 7 frickin votes? Come on!

BTW this is an Episodic Post, expect more funny in the next one. I'll tell the story of the time I met two girls who were "twins", yet they didn't really look like each other. One of them was a nutriologist, and frankly, a bit on the thick side, which was funny to me. The other was an airhead, but just plain beautiful and toned and worked as a secretar

My quick take on "episodic" games:

Episodes mean there's something that makes you want to keep going. That isn't going to mean much for games that thrive on MP popularity, so it's going to have to have to have a big SP draw. As far as I can tell, there's SP games that people would like add-ons for (e.g. Lumines and maybe some games with more maps, perhaps unlockables) and there's games that have a story going and you are invested enough in the characters to want to be part of more of their lives. This latter category seems like it would work for episodes. Think of, for example, the add-ons to Ultima 7. I'd have paid a few bucks for another reason to keep playing that game.

Another caveat: Since it needs to be on the same basic game engine, you can't be selling based on pretty graphics, either.

Adventure games, more if are 2D adventure games are more suited for episodic gaming.

A good idea, you can do something like Oblivion in a small scale, and go releasing new quests each week, so you have lets say 3 new quests each week, if you dont play in 3 weeks you can go in for a lot of hours..

When I was younger I have some D&D small town created, I just go playing in there with some friends, and the story goes on and each month or so the small town goes bigger..

I like what Valve is doing. I just like the idea of shorter cheaper games to start with.

Episodes and cliffhangers have little appeal because I don't game for the story. I'd rather watch a 2 hour movie to get my story then play a 15 hr game for one. The biggest reason is time or the lack of time. If the gameplay ain't there then just give me the movie version of the story. If the gameplay is there then I don't much care about the story.

So is it that big of a deal to get the nomenclature correct when it comes to sequels, expansions, episodes, and microtransactions? They're all sitting on a spectrum of content for money, without increments. Why draw the lines in the sand that allow for careful categorizition when it's just so much easier to evaluate each product individually as they come out?

Why draw the lines in the sand that allow for careful categorizition when it's just so much easier to evaluate each product individually as they come out?

If you're going to discuss something, you have to define terms so everyone is on the same page. It avoids a lot of misunderstandings.

I liked Test Drive.

Good show.

One aspect of episodic content that was touched upon, but deserves more attention was the social aspect. As mentioned in the podcast, one of the benefits of watching TV shows on DVD is that you can watch episodes at your convenience rather than when the networks release them. So one question is, "Are there benefits to watching TV episodes at the times that they are released?"

For some people, there's value in seeing the latest episode at as soon as possible, and the gratification is immediate. But there's another, less talked about, but highly valued aspect, and that is the social ritual that is predicated on a rigid TV schedule. It could be the next day's water cooler chatter, or deep analysis and debate in online forums (and by extension, podcasts). These are social rituals that have value, and that value is largely dependent on people watching the show at the same time.

Bringing this back to gaming, it's reasonable to expect that if a given cohort of players is exposed to the same game content at the same time, they'll be more able and eager to discuss what just happened knowing that the other players had roughly similar experiences. In multiplayer games, we actually share experiences that we help to create together. Certis pointed to this in the podcast, and I would take it a step further.

Multiplayer episodic content could have its greatest impact on casual gamers. As medium-to-hard-core gamers, many of us we make an effort to get together to play multiplayer games regularly. I say effort, because to those who are less committed it would appear to be a hassle to coordinate. For many of us, it's well worth it. But if a schedule is prescribed and presented (let's say by the publisher), it could turn out to be the simple structure that casual gamers need to anchor their social ritual. That's where I think the greatest potential lies in bringing casual gamers into multiplayer games.

jmdanny wrote:

I liked Test Drive. :cry:

I'm not a racing fan in general, but Test Drive really really really pissed me off. I'll allow that I might be the only one.

Demiurge wrote:
jmdanny wrote:

I liked Test Drive. :cry:

I'm not a racing fan in general, but Test Drive really really really pissed me off. I'll allow that I might be the only one.

I, too like Test Drive. They added a lot of new and very cool features to the console racing game. It's by no means perfect, but definitely a fun game.

IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c7/ST_Test_Drive.png)

When this first came out, seriously, it was just as important to me as the first time I played Doom or King's Quest. I remember how realistic it seemed, and I remember driving around for many, many hours. Ah, memories! I think I'll give TDU a try when I see it for cheap, if it somehow captures that neat exploration thing all over again, that's a bonus. (I did play the demo, it was.. ok)

Episodic content? I'm not sold. I would have gladly waited a year for a full Oblivion expansion than play little parts here and there. I'm sure Blizzard could have released Burning Crusade one continent at the time, but come on - give it to me in one shot! Let me play it as fast or slow as I want! I'll wait, trust me, I have a ton of backlogged games..

Excellent show, as always. I sort of droned out through the Burning Crusade stuff, but that's because I am not addicted to drugs like 8 million gamers are.

TheGameguru wrote:

I agree with you guys.. episodic content is just another word for expansion packs...

Actually, I think that "episodic content" is just an industry buzz word meaning "let's make an incomplete game so we get even more money!"

The new phrase for the community is "GWJ: Disturbed, yet tantalized." Or something like that. Ely can fiddle with the form.

Certis wrote:
Why draw the lines in the sand that allow for careful categorizition when it's just so much easier to evaluate each product individually as they come out?

If you're going to discuss something, you have to define terms so everyone is on the same page. It avoids a lot of misunderstandings.

I agree completely.

Good show guys, good job Demi. I'm feeling the same about Burning Crusade. Enjoying the ride now, while it lasts, because I doubt I will enjoy it as much when the "newess" wears off and the grind hits, around the mid thirties. Having the great group of goodgers we have on Baelgun Horde, certainly helps though. We had 16 goodgers online last night, mostly all under lvl 30 and in grouping ranges.

As for episodic video games, I guess until I atually play one and enjoy it, I really can't get excited about the idea. I enjoy episodic TV shows, but that's probably because it's the standard format for TV. If given a choice I'd probably consume it differently, like I can do when I buy a whole season on DVD, or record a show on the DVR and watch it whenever I want, often in larget chunks.

bennard wrote:
Demiurge wrote:
jmdanny wrote:

I liked Test Drive. :cry:

I'm not a racing fan in general, but Test Drive really really really pissed me off. I'll allow that I might be the only one.

I, too like Test Drive. They added a lot of new and very cool features to the console racing game. It's by no means perfect, but definitely a fun game.

I like TDU, but I'm afraid it's a serious case of love/hate. So many things I love about it, and so many things that piss me off.

The discussion over what to label what type of content is pretty interesting. To some extent they all seem different shades along the same spectrum, but there are clearly differences between a complete game and, say, microtransactions.

I do this at the risk of sounding like even more of a Telltale fan boy, but have you Episodic Game detractors tried Sam & Max yet? It's perfectly suited for this model, really.

More on WoW:BC! I'm really interested on hearing about the instances/raids/PvP content. Gameguru can speak on that, I'm sure.