GWJ Conference Call Episode 85

Conference Call

Age of Conan Launch & Impressions, Lost Winds, Hype Hype Hype!, Your Emails and more!

This week a very tired Shawn Andrich (stupid Age of Conan) slacks off on the show notes so he can go to bed. On the podcast we discuss hype, Age of Conan, why Michael Zenke is awesome and your sumptuous emails.

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

GTA IV
TF2 Steel Map
Age of Conan
Massively
Boom Blox

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Anxious Tedium" - Ouranos OST (Tom Quinn) - www.citadel-studios.com - 0:25:25
"Garibaldi" - Ayco (Eiko Ishiwata) - www.eikoishiwata.com - 0:58:49

Comments

Pardon any double posts in respective podcast feed programs. I botched the first one, should be ok now.

(A Stabby 36.5 megs, 1:119:54)

That long, huh?

nossid wrote:
(A Stabby 36.5 megs, 1:119:54)

That long, huh?

I believe that's the GWJ scripture quote: "And lo he sayeth; it was stabby".

What really loses my respect, hype wise, is the PLayboy yearly "girls of gaming" issue. When Hellgate was included the year before it came out, I pretty much became super skeptical, and lost respect for Bill Roper. When that issue comes out I usual peruse the line up to keep up who's a hack with no shame.

Of course AoC was involved this year, and I love that game. So maybe I'm a hypocrite; I think it's somehow more honest because there nipple's acutally in the game.

Do I get an award, gold Star, or the coveted "Symbol of Gaald" for being the whiny bitch of the week?

I never comment on the Podcast, but I should more often. As usual, excellent work guys. I think they should be longer (only 1 hour this week?) But that's because I like to listen to podcasts on my commute and that can be up to 3 hours per day. I could give you some ideas on how to cheaply make it longer (like play the whole song in your breaks, they're quite good/unique selections) but I'm probably in the minority for wanting longer podcasts...

Also, I like high quality podcasts and you can easily tell that you put time into editing. There's nothing more frustrating than one person who's overly loud, quiet, or unintelligible in a podcast and it happens way more than it should. I have listened to many, many game-centric podcasts, and most are no longer on my iTunes. Of the ones that are, most of those just barely meet my standards (they still have sound disparity issues among hosts to a degree, some are biased, some are just too negative). Of the best, there's two, GWJ and 1up, both (audio) podcasts are top notch.

I decided not to point out what’s bad with podcasting in general but just say - you guys have got the right stuff, keep it up. When I’m impatiently yearning for your next installment, or excited to commute on Wednesday because I know I’ll have some quality entertainment to listen to, I know you’ve nailed it.

Rabbit, your comments on NCSoft regarding their "innovation" and Auto Assault were interesting.

I was in the beta of Auto Assault. It did "hit." It was a great concept. The thing is they did just about everything they could to make it terrible, Virtually zero customization, confusing interface, clunky controls... I mean, who WOULDN'T like an MMO where you could drive around running things over?

Also they claim that they're an innovative company that'll keep trying new things yet the only really new thing they've brought to the table is Guild Wars. It was unique in so many ways: no subscription fee, no grinding, brilliant instancing system, dual classing, and the closest thing the industry's ever seen to real episodal content. Yet they axed that to work on Guild Wars 2, which looks like a WoW clone. Forgive me if I'm cynical.

I'm not attacking you on this Rabbit, just saying the nice, forthcoming lady you spoke to was giving you a PR line.

Shoal07 wrote:

Do I get an award, gold Star, or the coveted "Symbol of Gaald" for being the whiny bitch of the week?

Here you go, Shoal.

IMAGE(http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/959/wahmbulancemi3.jpg)

buzzvang wrote:
Shoal07 wrote:

Do I get an award, gold Star, or the coveted "Symbol of Gaald" for being the whiny bitch of the week?

Here you go, Shoal.

IMAGE(http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/959/wahmbulancemi3.jpg)

I need it after the beating I took on Saturday to ensure Gaald's master plan had enough time to boil over... There I go again...

That's right! Take it like a man for the greater good!

OMG PODCAST OF THE YEAR! Redefining the genre with innovation even as it refines core concepts to be pure podcasting goodness! Winner of the coveted perfect 11 score!

That is all

Lobster: hey, I smell 'em a mile away. Of course it was spin, but they could just as easily have said nothing. I agree, I don't see AA as a breathtaking innovation.

I've got to weigh in here on the whole Rock Band / GH email discussion.

Since the split with Red Octane, Harmonix has stated that their software is (and will continue to be) "open source" in the sense that any peripheral developer who wants to can get the specs needed to make their peripheral work in Rock Band. They welcome the kind of interoperability that Rabbit is saying makes sense for this kind of genre (just like it did in the flight sim genre).

Red Octane/Activision, on the other hand, have made it very clear (both now and in the past with the earlier GH games) that they are actively pursuing a policy of exclusivity. The do not *want* other peripherals to work in their game (and in fact the EULA actually goes so far as to specify that you are not allowed to use a peripheral not specifically approved by them to play the game). Try starting GHIII with a Rock Band guitar activated on the system and see what happens (answer: you get a special message saying a non-approved peripheral has been detected, and that you need to deactivate it and restart the game). When Harmonix did exactly what Rabbit suggested they do (spent hours coding a patch that would enable the use of the GH controller in Rock Band) Activision pressured Sony into not releasing it. Activision has also announced their exclusivity with Aerosmith, so that Aerosmith will not be releasing their music for any other "rhythm games" (gee, I wonder which rhythm games they are thinking about here...) Presumably, Activision will continue to pursue exclusive arrangements with other bands.

My point is that in this case, at least, one side of the competition does not *want* any kind of synergy whatsover between products, as they believe they are in a war to maintain their dominant (and what they had probably hoped would be an exclusive) position. SO it really doesn't matter if Harmonix wants to "play nice", because there's only so much one side can do. If Activision and Red Octane want to make it hard for people to own both Rock Band and Guitar Hero, there are things they can do to make it hard (and they are doing them). They are banking on the idea that, given that hurdle, the majority will stick with the better-known GH series and Rock Band will eventually be starved out. If they remove that hurdle, then in their minds they are extending Rock Band a lifeline, and they have no intention of aiding their competition. In short, they *want* to force consumers to choose between one or the other, because they are confident that in such a scenario they would come out ahead.

If they remove that hurdle, then in their minds they are extending Rock Band a lifeline, and they have no intention of aiding their competition. In short, they *want* to force consumers to choose between one or the other, because they are confident that in such a scenario they would come out ahead.

It's funny how this reminds me of when you were a kid and you had to deal with the one kid who wouldn't share his toys. If you were lucky you would find something that was more fun to play with anyway and in the end it's the greedy kid who ends up getting screwed.

And might I add to my previous post that this situaiton totally sucks a**, and that in my opinion Activision and Red Octane are scumbags. It's clear that they have no problem screwing over their customers in their pursuit of profit. I realize that most companies are like this - it's just that they seem particularly adept at communicating that message.

Miserere wrote:

stuff I agree with

I think the GH series has been hurt by their poor DL content, lack of innovation, refusal to play nice with others, and bonehead ideas like GH4 (even if they made a good choice here instead of band exclusivity, it's too soon). If anyone should be scared, it should be Activision - Rockband is here to stay and is plainly a better business model.

A rare time when I'm inclined to highlight all of Miserere's words and simply say "QFT"

When GH decided to dedicate a whole game to a band, why wouldn't they think of U2, AC/DC, possibly even Red Hot Chili Peppers?

Because they couldn't ink exclusive deals with them.

Yes Activision seems to be making some highly questionable decisions with GH. Who decided that Aerosmith were the greatest rockers ever anyway? When GH decided to dedicate a whole game to a band, why wouldn't they think of U2, AC/DC, possibly even Red Hot Chili Peppers? Those groups have many more hit singles that I'd like to "play". There must be a core of Aerosmith fans at Red Octane who are in love with that band. And I've never been a fan of that Aerosmithy Izzy Sparks character either, he looks like a coked out Viva Pinata in a jumpsuit.

After this past week's thread on profanity and the Bill O'Reilly viral video, I'm disappointed that no one snapped, "f*ck it! We'll do it live!"

Am I the only person who likes the Rock Band guitar more than the Guitar Hero III guitar? I just like the button placement and pick a lot better, and neither of my guitars (or drum or mic) have broken on me yet.

bnpederson wrote:

Am I the only person who likes the Rock Band guitar more than the Guitar Hero III guitar? I just like the button placement and pick a lot better, and neither of my guitars (or drum or mic) have broken on me yet.

I'm apparently one of those pansies that has girly hands and delicate fingers. I love the "Higher" frets on the Fender.

The clack-clack-clack of the older guitars is a bit missed, though.

I can see where the complaints come from, I share a lot of them myself, but remember that Rock Band was launched as (more or less) an unproven concept. Can you blame them for cheaping out a little on something that was going to cost almost $200 to begin with? If they had been a little more premium-minded, we would have all complained about how friggin expensive the thing was.

Ah thank you Elysium. And is there no deal with Nirvana? I would have thought they would have included Smells Like Teen Spirit on GH 3.

gargamello wrote:

Ah thank you Elysium. And is there no deal with Nirvana? I would have thought they would have included Smells Like Teen Spirit on GH 3.

Courtney Love owns the lion's share of the rights to Nirvana's work, seconded by Virgin Music whom Love sold 25% of her 98% stake to in 2006. (Grohl and ... that other guy... got majorly screwed here).

It's likely that they were in early talks with Activision/Harmonix, but finagled over the financial aspects of having greater access to the catalog. Heart Shaped Box (GH2) was a cover, so getting a Master for In Bloom must have relied upon the popularity of the GH platform.

As a result, we get to hear In Bloom a bazillion times in Tour mode.

bnpederson wrote:

Am I the only person who likes the Rock Band guitar more than the Guitar Hero III guitar? I just like the button placement and pick a lot better, and neither of my guitars (or drum or mic) have broken on me yet.

TO my mind, the wireless GH3 guitar is just better in every way, and I use a wired GH2 guitar as my bass. I'm already on my second Rock Band guitar, and it really hasn't been used since it came back from EA.

TO my mind, the wireless GH3 guitar is just better in every way, and I use a wired GH2 guitar as my bass. I'm already on my second Rock Band guitar, and it really hasn't been used since it came back from EA.

While I typically pick up the GH3 guitar to get a quick set in, the extras that the Rock Band guitar offer are worth mentioning. There are certain songs where wah wah or flange just sound awesome, when applied at the right moment. Throwing the right one at the right time while playing with a group of people can really enhance the entire experience. It's certainly not a requirement, but it's definitely a fun extra once you get it figured out.

buzzvang wrote:
TO my mind, the wireless GH3 guitar is just better in every way, and I use a wired GH2 guitar as my bass. I'm already on my second Rock Band guitar, and it really hasn't been used since it came back from EA.

While I typically pick up the GH3 guitar to get a quick set in, the extras that the Rock Band guitar offer are worth mentioning. There are certain songs where wah wah or flange just sound awesome, when applied at the right moment. Throwing the right one at the right time while playing with a group of people can really enhance the entire experience. It's certainly not a requirement, but it's definitely a fun extra once you get it figured out.

Too bad the effects switch is in a horrible spot and the guitar in general just lacks feedback to the user. I don't feel like I'm "playing a game" as much as I do "using a controller" with that - thing.

I actually love the RB Strat - the only think I don't like (apart from the fact that you apparently have to go through 2 or 3 of them before getting one that actually works properly) is the loud finger buttons. I couldn't stand the clack-clack-clack of the GH guitars as that really interfered with the music (in RB it's the finger buttons that clack). I'm so used to the Strat now that I can't even go back to the Les Paul guitar - I didn't like it when it came out and now I really, really don't like it. I understand why some people do, but for me it's no contest - the Strat is superior.

Having said that, my 8-year-old son won't touch the Strat and only plays with the Les Paul, but he is a shredder and only likes fast and crazy songs (he can almost beat Through the Fire and Flames on Expert). I also play on expert, but I'm more in it for the fun of playing the song rather than for the challenge of pulling off a nasty solo.

Hearing you guys sing the praises of certain controllers reminds me of when people used to go waaaaaaaaaaay out of their way to get the old IBM clicky keyboards. I'm not saying it's good or bad, just parallel in my mind.