GWJ Conference Call Episode 95

Conference Call

PixelJunk Eden, 1942: Joint Strike, Everquest 2 ... Wait, What?, The Rise of Cooperative Gaming, Your Emails and more!

This week Michael Zenke joins us as we bring cooperative gaming under the microscope. We mostly try and convince Sean to play with us ... and we'll probably end up winning that argument by default. Just give it a couple years.

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.

PixelJunk Eden
1942 Joint Strike
Everquest II
Wrath of The Lich King Music

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks
"Small Comfort" - Apoplexia (Benoit Casey) - 0:16:20
"Fallen Idol" (Benoit Casey) - 0:37:48

Comments

D/Ling now. Just wanted to say thanks for having the podcast up every Tuesday night. I'm a nightowl so I listen to it right off. I'd be sad if I had to wait a day.

We may not be good, but we're consistent.

I wonder if this would get 100+ comments if their was a photo of Michael Zenke posted. One of him wet, against a fence

I also wonder if there is any more Australia bashing... Grrr!!!

Nah, we know we have the best country =D

I've actually got a batch of emails (any using the contact form) that didn't show up until yesterday due to a server issue. We'll have to hit them next show!

You guys have to post this earlier. I'm Eastern Time here!

I love multiplayer gaming. I wish my family and friends had more time for it. All through my gaming history I have wonderful memories of it.
Space Invaders played with my father on the Atari 2600. One of the few things we bonded over. He had the left, I had the right.
M.U.L.E. with my best friend Gary.
Original Doom with my brother. We were late heading out to DeThroned's house one time. He asked if I had the blue key card. I did, and found him, and opened the door. We had to go anyway so as I barged into the room full of demons he unloaded the shotgun into by back. I could say "blue key card" to him today, 15 years later, and he'd know it to be the reference of betrayal it is to us.
Duke Nukem 3D. Awful command lines to enable multiplayer.
Descent.
The Diablo series too. I'm really looking forward to the 3rd.
And now my sentry alongside if my fiance's in TF2.

edit: rabbit, how is Hoop & Stick MP? Easy I bet.

hhmz, cannt find that stunning WoW music which mr. Zenke referred to anyone drop me a link?
Thx

I wonder if that science teacher will have to live down singing that song if one of his students gets hold of it. Presumably one of them might have a father who is both a gamer and has a jobs and could conceivably read the site, listen to the podcast, recognize the voice and subsequently mock the teacher. It'll be a cold day in hell before anyone hears me singing online.

So the quote of this week's show for me is: "...it's not something that you necessarily do by yourself in a basement with hand cream." Are you playing some of those odd Japanese pedophile games? I'm not sure I've ever had a 'gaming' experience involving hand cream.

Who is jiggalo_jib... a pseudonym, or somethign more sinister? Why can't he use capitalization? And whats up with the "hey" posts in Games and MMO forums? Seriously, the "mister tee" one in games is ...well, am I the only one who doesn't know whats going on?

Cramps wrote:

Seriously, the "mister tee" one in games is ...well, am I the only one who doesn't know whats going on?

I'm right there, lost with you.

Also, thanks for putting in some outtakes, I was missing those.

inspiringsn wrote:
Cramps wrote:

Seriously, the "mister tee" one in games is ...well, am I the only one who doesn't know whats going on?

I'm right there, lost with you.

Also, thanks for putting in some outtakes, I was missing those.

And now no one will know what we're talking about because its gone...

Yeah, sorry. No sense even locking nonsense nothing threads.

Certis wrote:

Yeah, sorry. No sense even locking nonsense nothing threads.

No worries. I was just wondering if it was some in-joke I wasn't getting. Guess not.

I am with Elysium here, online co-op is something that I really have no time for. Literally. This has less to do with the mechanics or design of the game and more to do with the fact that it's nearly impossible for me to coordinate fixed time slots to find other people to play with. I never know exactly when I'll have a slot of time to play stuff, and needing to find other people online at the same time in those time slots is just too much overhead.

Design for co-op *does* tend to break the single player experience though. Gears of War is a good whipping boy for this gripe. I don't want a choice between playing with 3 of my friends and playing with 3 dipsh*t AI robots. I want to play a nice single player shooter.

I think if it's ever the case that all video games must be designed with some kind of multiplayer in mind then I'll know it's time to get off the train. I admit that I'm probably in the minority, esp. in this forum. I'm not sure how it plays out in the general marketplace.

MaverickDago wrote:

I wonder if this would get 100+ comments if their was a photo of Michael Zenke posted. One of him wet, against a fence

Yeah, I'm disappointed. Where's the pic, Zenke?

psu_13 wrote:

Design for co-op *does* tend to break the single player experience though. Gears of War is a good whipping boy for this gripe. I don't want a choice between playing with 3 of my friends and playing with 3 dipsh*t AI robots. I want to play a nice single player shooter.

It's a difficult design to get right I think - make the friendly AI too good and the human doesn't have to do anything, the game will basically play itself.

The blue-orb in Fable 2 reminds me of Crackdown... Oh, how I hated that feature. Random requests every two minutes from people who WEREN'T on my friends list, trying to join my game, when I just wanted to play by myself. That got turned off real quick.

I just hope developers continue to include offline split/same screen co-op. Online co-op is a feature I take less advantage of, but offline split/same screen co-op give me lots of opportunities to enjoy a game with my family.

I have to side with Elysium, bane of zombie nazi stormtroopers. Just thinking about the idea that every game will be co-op in the future horrifies me, even if it will never come to fruition.

I want my games to be single player. I have a friend who's a big gamer, but even if he wanted to play online with me I'd still probably tilt toward offline, solitary experiences. Plowing through waves of monsters in Serious Sam wouldn't have been the same if I'd had someone tagging along watching my back for me.

I'm all for innovation and development, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are at least three of us out there who just want to be able to go kill zombie nazi stormtroopers without having to think about people.

That's a sizeable market segment, right? I mean, that's like almost twice the Austrailian market. (Sorry Erebus. Couldn't resist. )

Why don't you guys just post your gamercards on the front page?

http://www.mygamercard.net/

You guys didn't like playing Gears of War solo, and think that it's somewhat broken without a partner? I'm surprised by this, because though I've played through the campaign once with a local/split-screen buddy, I have played it through twice solo. The game works fine solo. Having a squadmate follow you around does not deter from gameplay in Gears any more than it does in Halo, the newer Unreal games, parts of Half-life, etc.

MaverickDago wrote:

I wonder if this would get 100+ comments if their was a photo of Michael Zenke posted. One of him wet, against a fence

Mmmm.... how about with D&D books covering his naughty bits? 200 comments, mainly about how the new rules suck!

About the Wrath of the Lich King music-I just listened to the entire thing(all 9 minutes!), and it sounds more like the soundtrack to a "story so far" cutscene than anything else.

From what I can tell, from the beginning to around 2:30 is new stuff, with the vanilla World of Warcraft intro theme. After that, we have a couple of background music pieces from TBC locations(I cannot remember them...). At 4:30, it's the background music from Quel'danas and the Sunwell area until about 6:50(which is some of the best music in the game so far). At that point, it's the BGM from Black Temple, and the music track from the Illidan encounter.

It's kind of disappointing that from 4:30 until about 7:30 there's nothing new-the themes are already in the game-but it really shows what the people that turn off in-game music are missing.

.

DudleySmith wrote:

I wonder if that science teacher will have to live down singing that song if one of his students gets hold of it. Presumably one of them might have a father who is both a gamer and has a jobs and could conceivably read the site, listen to the podcast, recognize the voice and subsequently mock the teacher. It'll be a cold day in hell before anyone hears me singing online.

I wonder if he subs as the music teacher.

Sorry about the long email, guys.

Guys, forgive my tone in this post if it goes a mite off the reservation but some of the comments levied about piracy today really bugged the crap out of me. I thought I'd just grab the bullet points (not in a particular order):

Major Publisher Where Activation Servers Have Gone Down - I don't have one but that's because online activation for games is a very new technology. It makes no sense to say "There's been no problem for 20 years" because this hasn't been a possibility until recently. The argument that it could happen is a very fair one. If it doesn't that's great but that it could I don't think is fair to those who pay for games. And you're cooking the argument by asking for a major publisher. What difference does that make? Whether something came out from EA or Meridian4, I paid for it and I should be able to play it when I want. This this protection makes it possible for a company to go under or shut down the activation servers and screw their customers is the issue. Reducing valid examples only to the biggest publishers isn't fair.

Shareholders Are Requiring Copy Protection - Speaking as a business owner, I can kind of get the bind publishers are in with this. Speaking as a consumer, I couldn't care less about it. I'm the one paying for the games, I'm the one giving you the revenue that your shareholders demand. That not using ineffective copy protection could put you in hot water isn't my problem. Don't treat me like a criminal for giving you my money.

BioShock Sold Well On PC - There is absolutely no proof that this was because it couldn't be pirated for a few days. BioShock sold well because it's a good game, not because the copy protection prevented day 1 piracy. Of those who couldn't download it on day 1, I would bet that very few of them converted to actual sales because they all knew that in a few days, it would be cracked. Call of Duty 4 was pirated like mad and still sold very well on the PC (better than BioShock I believe). To claim that games on the PC that sell well only did so because piracy was temporarily reduced is ridiculous. There has never been any solid proof provided that stopping day 1 piracy increases sales.

That said, I do agree as well that if you don't like the protection, you don't have to buy it. I didn't buy Mass Effect for the PC (though I really wanted to) and I may not buy Spore, though that's as much about lack of excitement for the game as the protection. But you know why this argument is problematic? Because every time a PC game doesn't sell, it's always piracy's fault. If a bunch of people don't buy it because they don't support SecuROM (even if they write e-mails to the publishers telling them this), it will be piracy that's the reason it doesn't sell. That's why I continue to make arguments like these online. Simply not buying the product if you don't like the protection doesn't fix the problem because publishers will never accept that something other than piracy is the reason a game doesn't sell.

I also agree that not liking a protection for a game doesn't give you the right to pirate it. If you refuse to buy a product for whatever reason and are true to that conviction, then you don't get to play it. Nothing justifies using something you are supposed to pay for without paying for it.

As for co-op, I'm one of those who does like having the option but I do also like my solo experiences as well. It really depends on the game. For example, I'm really excited about Resident Evil 5 having co-op (mostly since I'm a total wimp with horror games) but I don't think I would've enjoyed Call of Duty 4 with a friend. I still really don't see how co-op is going to be beneficial to the experience in Fable 2 and I don't know if I'll really use it that much.

Nice post, Parallax. I don't think any of us fundamentally disagrees with you on a consumer point of view, but we try to adopt a wider view of the issue on the podcast.

Major Publisher Where Activation Servers Have Gone Down - I don't have one but that's because online activation for games is a very new technology. It makes no sense to say "There's been no problem for 20 years" because this hasn't been a possibility until recently. The argument that it could happen is a very fair one. If it doesn't that's great but that it could I don't think is fair to those who pay for games. And you're cooking the argument by asking for a major publisher.

Like we said; it hasn't happened so far, which should be a contributing factor when deciding whether or not to support a publisher. If the mere possibility is enough for you boycott, I say good for you! I don't think I'd have the willpower. Even if we expand the possibility to include small publishers, I still think you'd come up dry so far. Unless, of course, MMORPGs count.

BioShock Sold Well On PC - There is absolutely no proof that this was because it couldn't be pirated for a few days.

There might be trends that suggest it didn't hurt, but you're right. No concrete proof.

BioShock sold well because it's a good game, not because the copy protection prevented day 1 piracy. Of those who couldn't download it on day 1, I would bet that very few of them converted to actual sales because they all knew that in a few days, it would be cracked. Call of Duty 4 was pirated like mad and still sold very well on the PC (better than BioShock I believe). To claim that games on the PC that sell well only did so because piracy was temporarily reduced is ridiculous. There has never been any solid proof provided that stopping day 1 piracy increases sales.

So there's no evidence that preventing day one piracy affected sales yet you can say unequivocally that it sold well solely because it was a good game? If we don't know the effect reducing piracy had, you can't pick a different effect that supports your own argument and hold it up as fact. There are hundreds of "good games" that sell peanuts.

There's a difference between an opinion that's "ridiculous" and one you don't agree with.