GWJ Conference Call Episode 161

Conference Call

Lego Rockband, Dragon Age, Growing Pains In The PC Scene, Cory Banks Visits Runic Games (Torchlight), We Launch The Conference Call iPhone App!, Your Emails and more!

What a show we have for you this week! Some epic (spoiler free) Dragon Age talk with Michael Zenke, Cory visits the Runic Games offices and talks Torchlight with the designers and we're launching the GWJ conference Call iPhone app! If you want to submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563.

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. You can also submit a question or comment call in to our voicemail line at (612) 284-4563!

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Download the official apps
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android
  • Download the GWJ Conference Call app for Android

Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"Dragon Age Origins" - Dragon Age Origins Soundtrack (Inon Zur) - www.dragonage.bioware.com - 0:42:03
"Title" - Torchlight Soundtrack (Matt Uelmen) - www.torchlightgame.com - 1:00:51
"Town" - Torchlight Soundtrack (Matt Uelmen) - www.torchlightgame.com - 1:43:08

Comments

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congrats on launching the CC app!

iPhone app! Awesome!

App has been purchased. I trust those funds are going to a worthy cause... like getting some new plating for Elysium's gold grill.

PS. Thanks for making it easier to get the conf call from my iPhone.

Great show guys. All's i can say is: Thank god for Rob!

We need Cory to provide his 'balancing' views.

Re: Dragon Age DLC

While the extra inventory space isn't the only thing you get as part of the DLC, they are in effect charging you to adjust an artificial limit they created.

Re: Removing functionality from PC games that we've been used to for a loooong time

Removing != improving.

Re: GWJ iPhone App

I honestly wasn't sure if you guys were joking or not because it was so ironic considering your earlier discussion concerning the Dragon Age DLC. It's like, you get the podcast and then find out you're not getting the full experience (but it's available for a small fee - after you buy into the Apple Cult). I thought our donations meant you didn't need to sell out.

Reading the rating for the Iphone App is a hoot.

Infrequent/Mild Profanity? Really?

Hope you sell a million!

deleted due to double post.

just downloaded it and I see it's over 2 hours! I love you guys (until you come back with an 1 hour show next week).

harrisben wrote:

[i]Re: Dragon Age DLC
While the extra inventory space isn't the only thing you get as part of the DLC, they are in effect charging you to adjust an artificial limit they created.

Given that they've also given you the ability to mod in an adjustment to that artificial limit for free, I'd say it doesn't really matter.

Here we are trying to make this huge decision: iPhone or Droid, and then THIS comes out to completely muddy the situation. Thanks. I fully expect the Android version of this app any day now to help even the playing field?

Thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful episode. I'm sooo loving DAO and its just so satisfying to see that others are enjoying it as well. And also for being one of the only podcasts that is covering DAO in depth. (Yes I'm a DAO fanboy).

But it just proves that this is so the place where I belong. I have not geeked out over a game this much in years!!! RPG's still rule

Sorry guys, I have to agree with Rob on one point of the DLC. Having day one DLC I kind of have an issue with but I can live with. But having the game break flow by advertising the DLC within the game (which by the way is also an indication that this content was purposefully left out to charge for it because they wrote the promotion into the base game) is ludicrous. Not buying the DLC if you don't want it is perfectly reasonable but breaking the flow and setting of a high fantasy RPG to push additional content within the game is scummy. Many people say that can live with advertising in games as long as it fits the setting and makes it more realistic (which I also disagree with) but how does this fit anything?

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

Many people say that can live with advertising in games as long as it fits the setting and makes it more realistic (which I also disagree with) but how does this fit anything?

Well, that kind of seals that discussion, doesn't it? If nothing is acceptable, then this definitely won't be. I don't consider a dialogue option that says something like "Yeah, I can help you out (I'll be right back)" to have ruined the game or even the five minutes I spent popping onto the webpage to buy some credits. If I wanted, I could even have bought the DLC ahead of time through the main screen of the game or the website.

It's a bit silly but I understand why they put it in there. There are a good number of users who will never look at other menu options on the main screen, so having one optional NPC standing there makes sense. Given your own experiences trying to advertise a business and sell your services, I'm kind of surprised you're so staunchly against advertising extra content or products in games. Don't you ever try to up-sell existing customers on further services?

I think that like Rob, your reasons are perfectly valid but I don't understand the high amount of outrage that accompanies them. It's quite literally one NPC operating within the context of the game to offer more, not a pop-up video with a man in a suit pitching a blender.

Hearing Sean Sands sing "Eye of the Tiger" with his 5-year-old son is pretty awesome iPhone bonus content, honestly.

I'm not making that up.

Well crap, I'm still going to listen to the podcast through the normal MP3 route because I always bump it up to the higher listening speed, which it doesn't look like the app will do, but I can't not buy it.

Maybe it'll get me to call the show more.

Ravenlock wrote:

Well crap, I'm still going to listen to the podcast through the normal MP3 route because I always bump it up to the higher listening speed, which it doesn't look like the app will do, but I can't not buy it.

Maybe it'll get me to call the show more.

Agreed: I listen to all my podcasts at 2X these days.

I download from listen on my droid and on my PC.
Excluded oh noez!

Re: GWJ iPhone App

I honestly wasn't sure if you guys were joking or not because it was so ironic considering your earlier discussion concerning the Dragon Age DLC. It's like, you get the podcast and then find out you're not getting the full experience (but it's available for a small fee - after you buy into the Apple Cult). I thought our donations meant you didn't need to sell out.

I do want to address this, because I'd be having similar thoughts in your shoes. I'll say up front that the app would be free if I had a choice, but libsyn did all the heavy lifting with actually making the software and publishing it, so it's only fair they receive some small compensation. Frankly, after Apple and Libsyn take their cut, the amount we'll see will be quite small. We're mostly doing it because it costs us nothing and I think it's pretty cool.

As for "selling out," I'm not sure where a $1.99 app fits into that particular concept. We've probably done over 400 hours of free podcasting over the last few years, week after week without ever charging a dime. We're going to keep doing that until no one wants to listen anymore. I won't be making it a big deal about it on the show out of respect for libsyn, but at some point in the distant future we will release these extras for people to check out. For FREE.

You can call us sell outs if we actually sell the site to a large conglomerate. In the mean time, I hope you enjoy the show and remember we're all just a bunch of guys spending what often ends up being our only moments of free time recording a show and writing fresh content. I think we do alright by our community.

Great show, guys. I enjoy it every week, but this one was the most enjoyable show in recent memory. I think it's mainly due to all of the discussions (except Uncharted 2, I'm not a PS3 owner) being about games I'm playing (and liking) or are about to play (Dragon Age just arrived yesterday). Even though I haven't started playing DA yet, I was totally into the long discussion about it. It made me look forward to diving in that much more. I also really enjoyed Cory's interview with the Runic guys. I just started playing Torchlight and it's awesome. It's so good that it may be a little while before I start Dragon Age, mainly because I expect both games to be really addictive, and I don't want to have to battle with the decision of which game to play on a given day. So I'll put DA on hold until I've gotten my fill of Torchlight. But then I still really, really like Borderlands and still want to finish my first playthrough of that. ARGH!

Anyway, moving on...

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

Sorry guys, I have to agree with Rob on one point of the DLC. Having day one DLC I kind of have an issue with but I can live with. But having the game break flow by advertising the DLC within the game (which by the way is also an indication that this content was purposefully left out to charge for it because they wrote the promotion into the base game) is ludicrous.

While I don't share your opinion expressed at the end of your post (the part I didn't quote), I do agree that I feel kind of cheated by day 1 DLC that I have to buy to get. Even if the content was intentionally held back for DLC, I would rather they wait a month before offering it and lie to me, saying that the content wasn't finished in time for the release deadline. That way it wouldn't feel as much like a slap in the face.

So I'll join Rob in calling "bullsh*t!" on day 1 non-free DLC. Rob rage FTW!

Agreed: I listen to all my podcasts at 2X these days.

I do not understand this. I tried this once and it just made me irrationally mad.

Elysium wrote:
Agreed: I listen to all my podcasts at 2X these days.

I do not understand this. I tried this once and it just made me irrationally mad.

I also listen 2x. It matters what you are listening to. With you fellas, I can do it.

Audiobooks, not so much.

But I have $2 burning a hole in my itunes account. CHEAP!

I wonder if you'll see a significant uptick in the number of voicemails as a result of the app? I know I called in last night (a wee bit tipsy on whiskey and a 14 hour day) just because the button was there!

I wouldn't say the console version of Dragon Age is that different than the PC version aside from the camera. It still has this paced (particularly in difficult fights) Baldur's Gate/NWN2 feel to the combat and I play it like I would in those games. Tactics are still crucial; if you don't have your NPC's AI set up exactly right, they're going to drop. It's not the same kind of RPG that KOTOR, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect were on the console; like Zonk said, it feels very much like an MMO with a controller rather than a keyboard and mouse.

That said, the final fight (I won't spoil it) did leave a bad taste in mouth and I'm wondering if it's better/harder in the PC version.

So I picked up the app, there's a couple things that I think need to be fixed:

1- It needs to remember where I left off listening a particular podcast.
2- It needs to allow me to download the podcast to listen to while offline.

Most of my podcast time is spent while driving, often outside of AT&Ts coverage area, or while at my desk where I may need to leave the app to answer a call or a text or something.

Anyway, I hope I'm not being too critical, but without those features, I'll just keep downloading the podcast via iTunes and pop into the app whenever I feel like checking out the bonus features.

And I agree with Rob to a point on the DLC. I don't have a problem with the concept of DLC in general, what bugs me is that all they're offering is essentially side quests. I don't think it really adds to the overall experience of the game and you won't miss it if you don't buy it. Now, some of the Fallout 3 DLC, on the other hand, is worth it, because a few of them extend the main game out beyond the ending. If they did something like that for Dragon Age, I'd be all over it.

Rat Boy wrote:

I wouldn't say the console version of Dragon Age is that different than the PC version aside from the camera. It still has this paced (particularly in difficult fights) Baldur's Gate/NWN2 feel to the combat and I play it like I would in those games. Tactics are still crucial; if you don't have your NPC's AI set up exactly right, they're going to drop. It's not the same kind of RPG that KOTOR, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect were on the console; like Zonk said, it feels very much like an MMO with a controller rather than a keyboard and mouse.

That said, the final fight (I won't spoil it) did leave a bad taste in mouth and I'm wondering if it's better/harder in the PC version.

I think they're actually fairly different in the way they play out. Being able to pause on the pc is a huge advantage and (I'm assuming) one of the reasons that Normal is quite a bit more difficult on the pc. Setting up tactics still matter on the pc so you don't have to micromanage every four seconds, but honestly it's nearly impossible to not pause every four seconds on the pc simply because of the game's difficulty (even with tactics I swear mages never heal properly). At it's core it's still fundamentally the same game, but battles play out/feel quite different on the pc and console and I think the guys did a good job differentiating the two on the show.

Anyway, epic show that kept my attention even though I don't listen at 2x speed.

garion333 wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:

I wouldn't say the console version of Dragon Age is that different than the PC version aside from the camera. It still has this paced (particularly in difficult fights) Baldur's Gate/NWN2 feel to the combat and I play it like I would in those games. Tactics are still crucial; if you don't have your NPC's AI set up exactly right, they're going to drop. It's not the same kind of RPG that KOTOR, Jade Empire, and Mass Effect were on the console; like Zonk said, it feels very much like an MMO with a controller rather than a keyboard and mouse.

That said, the final fight (I won't spoil it) did leave a bad taste in mouth and I'm wondering if it's better/harder in the PC version.

I think they're actually fairly different in the way they play out. Being able to pause on the pc is a huge advantage and (I'm assuming) one of the reasons that Normal is quite a bit more difficult on the pc. Setting up tactics still matter on the pc so you don't have to micromanage every four seconds, but honestly it's nearly impossible to not pause every four seconds on the pc simply because of the game's difficulty (even with tactics I swear mages never heal properly). At it's core it's still fundamentally the same game, but battles play out/feel quite different on the pc and console and I think the guys did a good job differentiating the two on the show.

Anyway, epic show that kept my attention even though I don't listen at 2x speed. ;)

You can pause in the console and issue orders to NPC members, which is crucial in the really hard fights if your tactics list goes out the window because you're running out of party members.

Right, but it's not the same. You can't pause and see the battlefield in the same way on the console as with the pc. We're splitting hairs a bit, but the feel is completely different on the console and the pc for me. I think you have to watch someone or play the pc version to really see the difference. In the end, the same tactics and whatnot win out, but the console version is a bit more action rpg-ish and a little less quasi-turn based.

Not to turn this thread into a Dragon Age technical support thread, but just out of curiosity: are any of you guys with Dragon Age on the PC having technical issues, particularly with the graphics? I have a Windows Vista, Intel 3.2 Ghz quadcore, Geforce GTX 285 PC, more than enough for the game, and yet, I'm having graphical tearing issues fairly frequently during the game. I looked through the official Dragon Age forums, and lots of people with Geforce 8600/Geforce 8800 series cards are having the same issue, with no clear solution yet. I thought it was a heat problem at first, but other graphically intense games seem fine, so the consensus seems to be that it's a drivers issue, but even Nvidia's latest beta drivers don't resolve it. It's very frustrating, to have a game that I love so much that I'm still playing it, even with this issue, and to have it frequently interrupted by these graphical issues.

I've never wanted an Xbox 360 more than during this issue, because even though it would limit my experience somewhat, at least it would work, no troubleshooting required. Am I the only one in the GWJ community with this frustrating love-hate relationship? I did have a videocard fail on me a couple of months ago, so it's possible that this is just some systemic issue with my PC, but I'd like to think that it's not.

I can't wait for these iPhone app checks to start rolling in. Daddy's gonna live the high life!

...

Oh. Not even a limo?

...

Do I get enough for a can of PBR?

...

That's too bad. I only got into podcasting for the money.

***

Re: Dragon Age performance issues... I'm running on a Macbook Pro with an 8600M GT and haven't noticed a lot of tearing. Have you tried non-beta drivers? Or maybe the previous version of the drivers?

I'm probably a lot more forgiving of issues like this than most PC gamers.

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