GWJ Conference Call Episode 183

Conference Call

Dragon Age: Awakening, Mount & Blade: Warband, Shatter (PC), War Storm, Star Craft 2 Beta, Winners and Losers, Your Emails and more!

This week Michael Zenke joins the show to talk winning, losing and ... a Facebook TCG. Oh dear. 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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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

"PodunkStump" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:30:09
"Los Pistoleros" (Ian Dorsch) - www.willowtreeaudio.com - 0:48:13

Comments

As someone who spent a lifetime using his good looks and winning personality cult to get what he wants, I'm a sore, sore loser. Not just sore, but irrational. I have two PSN accounts for playing MW2, and I play very differently with each (just like how I treated each of my four wives). With my eponymous account all I care about is kill ratio and accuracy. So I will hard quit out of any match where my kill ratio is less than 1 to avoid having it added to my totals, and reach about a 75% level of Rob Rage when I play poorly, taken out mostly on the lag I have to deal with playing on a 3rd world Internet connection.

But when I play on the other account, I don't give a peasant's cow about how well or badly I play. I'll even use the fricken riot shield, because it is so satisfying to kill with even though it mostly results in a serious butt kicking not in my favor. Kill ratio, accuracy, badges, kill streaks... meh. I couldn't care less. Rob Rage remains near 0 at all times. I'm very, very MPD like that.

In most other games I'm similar to Certis but probably with less patience--especially for RTS games--where I'll get tired of having my ass handed to me after a couple rounds and start letting it be known pretty quick, especially if whomever is winning is in any way making light of my failure.

As a winner, I tend to remain smugly silent.

I love you Corey!!! I'm a WOW player too and reserved a collector's edition of Starcraft 2 because of the wow pet. Up till that point I was strongly in the won't buy the CE edition cos I totally suck at RTS's and would only play the single player for SC2.

Truth to tell, I placed the reservation in case they ran out of stock and would decide later if the pet was worth $40. But it feels so damn good that there are others out there who share my sentiments!

Certis, I could not agree more with you about not knowing what to say when you are winning, or after the game is won. I play a lot of Left 4 Dead 2 versus mode, and being on the losing end can sometimes send people into the "want to kick a baby" level of rage. It's especially bad when playing on ragin redneck's servers, where the snarespeak mod that runs on there allows you to speak with players on the other team at the end of each round for a good 10-15 seconds. That's in addition to being able to talk to someone when you are pouncing on them, eating their faces and knowing that the lack of response from your opponent is probably because they are trying to not launch into a vitriolic attack about the sanctity of your mother's virtue.

I've tried the encouraging responses, telling people that they are doing well or commending them on a good fight. That seems to come off as condescending. I've tried the "not saying anything at all" routine, but that makes you seem like a smug prick, and if no one is talking at all, it really exudes an uncomfortableness that isn't fun for anyone. So, now, I just try to joke around a bit to try to elicit a laugh or hopefully a smile from someone. After all, we are here to have a good time.

When I'm losing, I still want to kick something. HARD.

I sent him another Warstorm invite this morning.

A couple night ago while playing BC2, I actually threw my headset at the wall which bent it horribly. I also slammed my keyboard tray hard enough to break it off. I don't consider myself an angry person, but if I'm constantly and consistently dominated in a game after hours and hours of effort (30 hours into Bc2, for example) the rage becomes hard to contain.

I've trained myself to get up and walk away from the computer when I feel the anger coming.

Cory, I see through your veil of smoke proclaiming that others will see you playing games on Facebook because it'll post to your wall. You don't have to allow it to do that. Applications and games must beg for you to allow it to post to your wall. So, feel free to play the 17 different versions of Farmville on Facebook without others knowing. The only people who will know are those who are also playing those games.

You too can hide your shameful Facebook gaming habits. Come join us.

Michael Zenke wrote:

I sent him another Warstorm invite this morning.

Good because it certainly seems like his aversion is more about Facebook than the games.

Anyway, enough ragging on Cory. I'm going to check out Warstorm and see what it's all about. There are some new games on Facebook that are a little less like Farmville and Mafia Wars (I've been playing Battle Punks, which didn't live up to the hype imho, but is still fun for a week) and I'm interested in seeing where things go.

Oh, and my justification for playing FB games is pretty simple: I can play them at work.

I don't mind losing at games if I feel like I'm losing because my opponents are better than me. If I feel like I'm losing because of the technology or because the game mechanics are just wonky, then I get a little sore about it.

I'll also get a bit sore at players who gloat too much when they're winning a game. I played a round of Magic Online once where my opponent had a clear opportunity to win during his turn; he'd had a clear advantage through the entire game, and all he had to do was attack during his turn to win. When his turn started, I congratulated him on a good game, but he passed on his attack and said that he wasn't going to finish me off because he wanted to toy with me some more. I think he had a combo set up that he needed another turn to pull off, but I thought that was a pretty lousy thing for him to do.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

When his turn started, I congratulated him on a good game, but he passed on his attack and said that he wasn't going to finish me off because he wanted to toy with me some more. I think he had a combo set up that he needed another turn to pull off, but I thought that was a pretty lousy thing for him to do.

Yeah, that's a dick move. You know what I love though? When the overconfident almost-winner makes a mistake and ends up losing, when he could've easily finished the game if he hadn't been such a gloating wanker.

Case in point: Gears of War. When you down a guy, he just sorta crawls around until you stomp his face or whatever. A lot of teams like to 'save' the last, downed opponent so they can jam smoke grenades him him and simulate gang rape and all that other crap.

If you're playing Execution rules, instead of bleeding out you stand back up after a certain amount of time. The real assholes will wait for the downed guy to stand up and immediately knock them back down or gib them with the shotgun.

I saw this go down once (I was already dead), where three guys were waiting for the last opponent to stand back up so they could continue their little celebration. The guy stood back up, somehow endured a shotgun blast, insta-gibbed two of his oppressors, and ended up killing the third in an extremely close fight. Man it was awesome.

Best way I can explain Mount & Blade to a novice is this way: imagine playing Medieval Total War, only you're actually the general and you have to do some fighting yourself.

Edit: And frankly M&B ruined me on Total War's tactical gameplay. I could never go back to feeling so disconnected from the battle.

Quick clarification/correction: the MSX was not a "Master System in computer format" but, rather, a PC architecture platform that was an attempt to establish a home computing standard in Japan.

It preceded the Famicom (and the Master System) and, in many ways, actually foreshadowed some aspects of the console scene. For example, some Japanese publishers that are still around today, such as Konami and Hudson, released games for the MSX and, in fact, the Metal Gear and Bomberman series debuted as MSX titles.

Damn you, Zenke. Now I'm addicted to Warstorm and it's all your fault.

Just as with last week's episode, my favorite part came at the end.

Re: Mythical game design vs. The Real World

When I was younger, I thought the most essential quality in an employee was technical skill. In the years that followed, I came to understand how quaint that is. While technical skill is obviously very important, it pales next to temperament.

A guy who's not so skilled (as the hot-shots), but who has a good temperament can be trained. They can learn, thrive, and not irritate the living sh*t out of you besides. I see no reason why this basic rule of thumb can't be applied to game development.

When humans are involved - and they have a big ego - they can muck things up nicely.

This is glib and there are obviously added factors when thinking how a game company works, but I always say that it's better to assume incompetence before you assume conspiracy. Bad games don't need to be described by master-schemes when they can be better described by a few key bad-seeds spread liberally in the fields.

Shaving with Occam's razor, baby.

Rat Boy wrote:

Best way I can explain Mount & Blade to a novice is this way: imagine playing Medieval Total War, only you're actually the general and you have to do some fighting yourself.

Edit: And frankly M&B ruined me on Total War's tactical gameplay. I could never go back to feeling so disconnected from the battle.

I played for a while with the camera locked onto the generals unit. The feeling you get is quite close to playing Mount and Blade but just not it.

On the other hand, Total Wars battles are one a scale where the earth trembles in fear and arrows blot out the sun. Can't have that in M&B.

Camnipotent and Ragin Redneck (both GWJers)-- best personalities winning or losing I've ever played with, much less the GWJ community, hands down. I don't know how, but the balance humble and hilarious either way the game turns out.

Warstorm is extremely addictive... I started when I was listening to the podcast, and I'm having a blast.

Lucan wrote:
Rat Boy wrote:

Best way I can explain Mount & Blade to a novice is this way: imagine playing Medieval Total War, only you're actually the general and you have to do some fighting yourself.

Edit: And frankly M&B ruined me on Total War's tactical gameplay. I could never go back to feeling so disconnected from the battle.

I played for a while with the camera locked onto the generals unit. The feeling you get is quite close to playing Mount and Blade but just not it.

On the other hand, Total Wars battles are one a scale where the earth trembles in fear and arrows blot out the sun. Can't have that in M&B.

You've never screwed around with a high end PC and the battlesizer, have you?

Other than Cory's unfortunate remark about hockey, it was a good episode. It was nice to have Zonk on again.

Flying_Norseman wrote:

Other than Cory's unfortunate remark about hockey, it was a good episode. It was nice to have Zonk on again.

If there's strategy to hockey video games, I'll never understand it. That said, I love to *watch* hockey.

I'm not a good loser. I blame my parents for not forcing me into little league or some other organized competition that purports to teach youngsters how to be good at losing... err, I mean a good loser. This is the fundamental reason why I don't play racing games anymore. Around the fortieth time I come in second by a hair because I made one bad turn and the AI is on rails I get sick of losing and rage quit, and spend the next few hours sulking.

Also, anyone who insults the Intellivision is insulting my wife, who owned one as a child and still feels a great affinity for the system. Do we need to fight a duel?

Warstorm looks interesting.....

Dare I hit the button?

I see your point. There is definite strategy to hockey, but hockey games are another matter.

Demiurge wrote:
Flying_Norseman wrote:

Other than Cory's unfortunate remark about hockey, it was a good episode. It was nice to have Zonk on again.

If there's strategy to hockey video games, I'll never understand it. That said, I love to *watch* hockey.

Generally I enjoy Starcraft 2 precisely because I like the thrill of trying to get good at it. If there were no pro-games broadcast on YouTube with commentary explaining what's going on, I'm pretty sure I would not care. It's the goal and the struggle to get better that is fun about Starcraft 2. In that sense, they've done very well as it's definitely a game that rewards skill and punishes ignorance.

The fact that it feels "old school" to do that, it kinda depresses me on some level.

Also Cory if you actually want to understand what's going on, watch a few game commentaries. They take like 10 minutes and teach you so much about how Starcraft 2 works. The replay feature is the #1 reason for the game's success, I think. Which is pretty hilarious considering it was probably a tacked-on afterthought initially.

PyromanFO wrote:

The replay feature is the #1 reason for the game's success, I think. Which is pretty hilarious considering it was probably a tacked-on afterthought initially.

And now it's nearly a ubiquitous feature in RTS games.

hbi2k wrote:

Damn you, Zenke. Now I'm addicted to Warstorm and it's all your fault.

Mwahahahah.

Flying_Norseman wrote:

Other than Cory's unfortunate remark about hockey, it was a good episode. It was nice to have Zonk on again.

Hey, thanks man.

The only reason I made a facebook account was to try some of the games. Warstorm is by far the best one I've come across and I've been playing for months (currnetly I'm level 23). Glad it was mentioned because a while ago some of the guys on the podcast were saying facebook games can only suck. Well there is 1 good one. Maybe more will spring up in the future.

On win/lose: A friend and I have been playing Company of Heroes for the last 2 months as Germans vs. 2 Hard American CPU's. We are currently at a 20 game lose streak. Maybe it's easier to take, being beaten by a computer rather than a person, especially if you have a friend to share the pain with.

Great show as always.

The awkward thing for me is blowouts. I can honestly and sincerely say, "Good game," to a well fought or closely fought battle, no matter how short or how long, but the blowouts are kind of awkward. I know it wasn't a good game, and he knows it wasn't a good game.

What am I supposed to say?

LarryC wrote:

The awkward thing for me is blowouts. I can honestly and sincerely say, "Good game," to a well fought or closely fought battle, no matter how short or how long, but the blowouts are kind of awkward. I know it wasn't a good game, and he knows it wasn't a good game.

What am I supposed to say?

"Good game." Sometimes it's better to be polite than accurate.

As a matter of fact, that's what I default to saying, since it's become habit, but I've gotten flak for saying that. It's like it's some kind of condescending thing to say. I can kind of see how that might be, but I can't really think of what to say instead. Uh, better luck next time? That's even worse.

PS: You guys really need to try out Red Steel 2. It is by no means 1:1 swordplay, but that's actually fortunate, since I imagine that a very small minority of us are actually competent swordsmen. Experience with WSR suggests that the gameplay potential of simulating a nerfbat is alarmingly limited.

Instead, Red Steel 2 combines action with button presses to give you a Tekken-esque experience, only you don't have to remember which button maps to the horizontal slash, since it's mapped to the corresponding action. First person view and the sense of mimicking the action onscreen gives a surprising amount of immersion.

Well, "Good game," from me has always been meant to imply that I appreciated the time I spent with my opponent. Blowout or not, if I enjoyed my time with my opponent, it was a good game.

I will say that nothing turns me off more than playing a game where someone spends their time complaining about the lag, the host advantage, or whatever glitch or whatever imbalance that has somehow prevented them from playing as well as they like. If you spend time making me feel like I have to apologize for winning, it wasn't a good game.

I think because I grew up playing competitive sports, it has been easier to take both wins and losses in stride. It's not the experience of playing, either. It's the time spent with coaches that do teach you about how to act like a winner. that's not always perfect, but over the course of several years, with multiple coaches in different sports, you do get clued into just how to be a good sport.