GWJ Conference Call Episode 232

Conference Call

Dragon Age 2, A Little Shogun 2, Rock Band Pro Guitar, Soren Johnson Talks Dragon Age Legends, Facebook Games Going Legit, Your Emails and more!

This week Shawn, Julian, Cory and Lara are joined by Soren Johnson. He's been working on Dragon Age Legends and now he's spreading the gospel of good games on Facebook.

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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CastMedium
Game Thing Daily
Good Old Games

Dragon Age 2
Shogun 2
Dragon Age Legends
Rock Band Pro Guitar

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Dragon Age: Origins - Tavern Bowl - http://dragonage.bioware.com/dao/gam... - 0:30:10
Dragon Age: Origins - The Circle Tower - http://dragonage.bioware.com/dao/gam... - 0:58:35

Comments

The lurker/emailer's story and question for the show (regarding Rob Zachny's The Women in Compartment E) were incredibly touching and of great interest. Thank you Lara and crew for addressing this in such a satisfying manner, I totally agree.

Love, sex, or shared sensuality is a huge part of life's experiences for many people, and it lends a game more realism by recognizing and engaging those human tendencies for others outside of the typical straight white male archetype we're told developers love to pander to. It makes me glad to see the contrary.

Also, I think it's great that Lara gets to play out the torrid, steamy world of romance novels in DA2. I would grab a big bowl of popcorn and an arsenal of delighted, scandalous giggles to watch that.

Fun fact: top social game spenders are known as Super Whales.

This article shows that whomever paid $99 for 6,000 crowns are essentially just drops in the bucket, and that there are probably a lot more drops than Soren wished to hint at.

I've really wanted to try DA: Legends of Facebook, but the bloody thing doesn't work if you have HTTPS enabled..... and I'm not using Facebook without it.

I find it interesting that Dragon Age 2, from what I've heard, seems to focus heavily on male gay relationships and not on female gay relationships. I'll be curious to see the reaction to it because I find a larger group of people are more accepting of two women being in love than two men. If I'm wrong in what I've heard though, please let me know.

Shawn, are they still going to be selling 1st gen iPads or are you planning to get one through craigslist or some other way?

Great show as always!

Great show.

The patience v money equation also comes into play with full game releases. If you 'have to have' the next big game on the release weekend then you pay a premium. The longer you can hold out (which is harder when your fellow GWJers are playin it) the cheaper the game gets.

Unfortunately I think a lot of men/boys feel they have to appear to be homophobic in order to fit in. I have an Australian friend who lived for a while in rural America for a while. They met a guy who seemed great but who was horribly homophobic with his mates. Eventually my friend confronted him about it and he confessed to her that he wasn't really homophobic and that, in fact, his sister was gay. He then proceeded to swear her to secrecy because he felt his life would be very difficult if he didn't keep up the homophobic banter with his mates.

Shawn, are they still going to be selling 1st gen iPads or are you planning to get one through craigslist or some other way?

I ended up buying one used from a local dude. They are still selling new 1st gen units, though.

Delerat wrote:

I find it interesting that Dragon Age 2, from what I've heard, seems to focus heavily on male gay relationships and not on female gay relationships. I'll be curious to see the reaction to it because I find a larger group of people are more accepting of two women being in love than two men. If I'm wrong in what I've heard though, please let me know.
Great show as always!

Actually I think Laura is playing a Male Hawke and having more fun with the male companions.

Spoiler:

But in actual fact, there are 4 romance options in DA2, and all 4 go both ways. The difference is Isabella is really fun time gal, kiss em bed em and forget em type. Merril you don't get till later in the game compared to the other companions and she appears very innocent so it might not appeal to all. Anders is also a hard sell for some, but my romance was with him and he's very very loving (romance wise). Fenris is the brooding dark hero with a huge chip on shoulder. Is it any wonder most woman would gravitate towards him?

PS. Awesome Show I need more DA2 chatter!

My Lady Hawke's unrequited love for Aveline (my fruitless, ignored flirtations as she woos another are just great) is my runaway favorite Bioware romance yet.

Soren really got my speculation gears a-turnin' with his Onlive/360 comment.

Since the user's hardware is already in place, Microsoft could develop a really beefy codec and use the power of the Xbox to decode it. That way they could offer a lot better quality than Onlive -- or the same quality at a lower bitrate.

Obviously that's a pretty huge hardware hurdle to overcome though. They'd need tons of server-side horsepower to encode the video fast enough to avoid latency issues. But it would also make it a lot more accessible to people with slower internet connections, which is going to be a big issue moving forward.

I could really see myself getting behind something like that as a console experience, as long as they get it sharper looking than what Onlive is offering now.

Emyln, would it be possible for you to put the details you mentioned about characters in DA2 in spoiler quotes, I haven't had a chance to buy it yet, and others may not have gotten that far either.

Anyone recall the iPad app Shawn bought? Sounded interesting...

Also, kinda on topic, Pete Hines at Bethesda recently said in an interview that horse armor for Oblivion is still selling!

http://bit.ly/iesFYy

My DA:O character (customized with wrinkles and receding, white hair) still has a thing for Wynne. It was not meant to be!

emyln wrote:
Spoiler:

Anders is also a hard sell for some, but my romance was with him and he's very very loving (romance wise). Fenris is the brooding dark hero with a huge chip on shoulder.

Spoiler:

Truly, the greatest tragedy in modern video games is that we must choose between the two.

Amoebic wrote:

Also, I think it's great that Lara gets to play out the torrid, steamy world of romance novels in DA2. I would grab a big bowl of popcorn and an arsenal of delighted, scandalous giggles to watch that.

While I suspect my enthusiasm for #naughtyhawkethoughts may have scandalized our esteemed guest and my co-hosts, it's not like I have to search too hard for the steaminess. NPCs hurl themselves at Hawke with such ferocity that it makes the Bielbers look like a chastity club.

Higgledy wrote:

Unfortunately I think a lot of men/boys feel they have to appear to be homophobic in order to fit in. I have an Australian friend who lived for a while in rural America for a while. They met a guy who seemed great but who was horribly homophobic with his mates. Eventually my friend confronted him about it and he confessed to her that he wasn't really homophobic and that, in fact, his sister was gay. He then proceeded to swear her to secrecy because he felt his life would be very difficult if he didn't keep up the homophobic banter with his mates.

I fail to understand how someone can put up a homophobic facade whilst continuing to call his (presumably same-gendered) friends his "mates." Is every other sentence he says "No homo"?

PaladinTom wrote:

Anyone recall the iPad app Shawn bought? Sounded interesting...

The Battle for Wesnoth? I don't think there's an actual thread for it here, but there are a few posts about it in the iPhone games thread.

And I will confess here that I also bought an iOS app before I owned an iOS device. Well, not actually bought -- Civ Rev was temporarily free, about one paycheck before I was ready to buy an iPhone.

misplacedbravado wrote:
PaladinTom wrote:

Anyone recall the iPad app Shawn bought? Sounded interesting...

The Battle for Wesnoth? I don't think there's an actual thread for it here, but there are a few posts about it in the iPhone games thread.

And I will confess here that I also bought an iOS app before I owned an iOS device. Well, not actually bought -- Civ Rev was temporarily free, about one paycheck before I was ready to buy an iPhone.

I owned an iPad first and I'm not embarassed to admit that I stockpiled iPhone apps for four months waiting for the Verizon iPhone. My patience was rewarded.

Stories that do not have a romantic aspect:

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow
GI Joe Resolute
Apocalypse Now
Drunken Master
Kung Fu Panda

LarryC wrote:

Stories that do not have a romantic aspect:

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow
GI Joe Resolute
Apocalypse Now
Drunken Master
Kung Fu Panda

Why all the harshing on Jackie Chan? Rebuttal: the Police Story series.

Gravey:

No harshing. I'm just trying to think of stories that don't have romance involved, and since I know lots of Jackie Chan films, I happened to mention more of them. It's hard to think of Hollywood product that doesn't have even token romantic relations in them. Hollywood seems to think that a hero without a lady is a failure of a hero.

I could say that Picross is a game that doesn't have a romantic aspect, but I rather think that the assumption is that some kind of narrative is involved. On that note, just remembered another game without a romance aspect: Professor Layton. Hellsing's Fire, too.

I don't think it's necessary to portray homosexuality in games in the sense that it's not necessary to go into sexuality at all in games. One can avoid that easily without falling into the Puritanical side of things, if one simply views sex as a part of life that not everyone is into.

For instance, eating is a part of life, too, but there is no story segment in DA2 whatsoever that deals with eating. I would have liked for some of those character dialogues to have taken place while Anders and Hawke are grabbing a bite at one of the tastier Darktown holes in the wall.

Thanks for the feedback! I know, bad parent, leveraging off an 18 month old for self enabling.

I'll try the sound byte as suggested Certis, but this is one enabling challenge not even the Goodger Gods can help out with. I fear I will be considering a second hand iPad4 before the good lady sees the merit in the device.

If I end up with a copy of Dragon Age 2, I'll be sure to let Bioware know they owe it to Lara and her #naughtyhawkethoughts. I'm fascinated that a game might let me play as a believable gay character.

LarryC wrote:

I would have liked for some of those character dialogues to have taken place while Anders and Hawke are grabbing a bite at one of the tastier Darktown holes in the wall.

In general, games could use better staging along these lines. Conversations between characters all too often happen while characters stand around doing nothing. One of the things I loved about Deadly Premonition was how the character-building conversations usually took place in realistic contexts like over dinner or on long drives.

ClockworkHouse wrote:
LarryC wrote:

I would have liked for some of those character dialogues to have taken place while Anders and Hawke are grabbing a bite at one of the tastier Darktown holes in the wall.

In general, games could use better staging along these lines. Conversations between characters all too often happen while characters stand around doing nothing. One of the things I loved about Deadly Premonition was how the character-building conversations usually took place in realistic contexts like over dinner or on long drives.

To be fair to Bioware, they did brainstorm their dialogue staging ideas pretty thoroughly. At the end of the day, when all that was left on the whiteboard was 'Realistic Contexts' and 'Soaked in Blood' they made the decision they felt made the most sense. I don't know, they've got a weird culture there.

Lara is back like Flynt! Wait, what?

Much like Mass Effect, Dragon Age is becoming Virtual Banging Simulator 2000.

I do so love saucy Isabella, with her entertaining dialog and her ridiculous cleavage. Yay boobies! (See what I did there?) Seriously though, the brief dialogs between characters as you walk around are very entertaining.

I sure hope the 80s arcade had Narc. Nothing like flying syringes and a big head on a pedestal to keep a 10-year-old off of drugs.

I have to give Microsoft credit for the Kinect. It gets me to break a sweat (which I usually hate) and Kinect Adventures is one of the few games my wife and I play together.

The best way to get a new item that your wife opposes is to just buy it, then go into a room in the house, like the basement or your office, and build a ring of fire. She won't know what to do. If anything, it will make for an interesting story to tell the divorce lawyer.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

If I end up with a copy of Dragon Age 2, I'll be sure to let Bioware know they owe it to Lara and her #naughtyhawkethoughts. I'm fascinated that a game might let me play as a believable gay character.

LarryC wrote:

I would have liked for some of those character dialogues to have taken place while Anders and Hawke are grabbing a bite at one of the tastier Darktown holes in the wall.

In general, games could use better staging along these lines. Conversations between characters all too often happen while characters stand around doing nothing. One of the things I loved about Deadly Premonition was how the character-building conversations usually took place in realistic contexts like over dinner or on long drives.

The best part about ME1's elevators. A small number of players has admitted to intentionally riding elevators more than necessary, just to catch more of those conversations.

I think that facebook game you guys talked about sounds disgusting. "Pay if you don't want to play the game as much", "pay if you're not patient enough", "look, some eucker spent 99$ on it, haha!". Why didn't you guys call him on that? The goal of the game design is to add annoying elements that you either have to pay or promote the game to get around. It's not designed to entertain gamers, it's designed to exploit them. Like I said, I was disgusted.

ResonanceCascade wrote:

Soren really got my speculation gears a-turnin' with his Onlive/360 comment.

Since the user's hardware is already in place, Microsoft could develop a really beefy codec and use the power of the Xbox to decode it. That way they could offer a lot better quality than Onlive -- or the same quality at a lower bitrate.

Obviously that's a pretty huge hardware hurdle to overcome though. They'd need tons of server-side horsepower to encode the video fast enough to avoid latency issues. But it would also make it a lot more accessible to people with slower internet connections, which is going to be a big issue moving forward.

I could really see myself getting behind something like that as a console experience, as long as they get it sharper looking than what Onlive is offering now.

As much as I am a pc gamer and am willing to spend a bunch of money on hardware, I'm horrified by the "net neutrality" legislation in Congress. I really don't want internet bills that mirror old cell phone bills where mbs used is the cost. We're already seeing pushback and its not just from the gaming sector. It's claimed that Netflix's streaming uses something like 60% of internet usage in the evenings. Add in services like OnLive (without having home consoles) and that number is bound to skyrocket beyond belief.

kyrieee wrote:

I think that facebook game you guys talked about sounds disgusting. "Pay if you don't want to play the game as much", "pay if you're not patient enough", "look, some eucker spent 99$ on it, haha!". Why didn't you guys call him on that? The goal of the game design is to add annoying elements that you either have to pay or promote the game to get around. It's not designed to entertain gamers, it's designed to exploit them. Like I said, I was disgusted.

I think because if they said they were disgusted by the game he's made the conversation would suddenly get very unproductive.

And actually I think that Lara did a very good job of respectfully voicing her criticism in the form of questions asking Soren to explain himself better.

Did he say "some eucker[sic]" spent $99? I heard him say more than zero spent $99. Maybe I missed the unrated director's cut of this podcast.

I think you have valid points kyrieee, as I am pretty doubtful I will ever enjoy Facebook games that rely on microtransactions as a business model, but I think you're coming close to moralizing an amoral issue. If people want to pay to skip grinding in a non PvP game, where's the harm in that? Or does it somehow affect your ability to enjoy the game because that option exists?

kyrieee wrote:

I think that facebook game you guys talked about sounds disgusting. "Pay if you don't want to play the game as much", "pay if you're not patient enough", "look, some eucker spent 99$ on it, haha!". Why didn't you guys call him on that? The goal of the game design is to add annoying elements that you either have to pay or promote the game to get around. It's not designed to entertain gamers, it's designed to exploit them. Like I said, I was disgusted.

So you want us to go back in time and burn everyone making hint guides, cheat codes, Game Genies, and arcade cabinets that give you extra lives for inserting more coins?

wordsmythe wrote:
kyrieee wrote:

I think that facebook game you guys talked about sounds disgusting. "Pay if you don't want to play the game as much", "pay if you're not patient enough", "look, some eucker spent 99$ on it, haha!". Why didn't you guys call him on that? The goal of the game design is to add annoying elements that you either have to pay or promote the game to get around. It's not designed to entertain gamers, it's designed to exploit them. Like I said, I was disgusted.

So you want us to go back in time and burn everyone making hint guides, cheat codes, Game Genies, and arcade cabinets that give you extra lives for inserting more coins?

Social games; arcade machines of the future!

Yes, the PAX East get-together was incredible, and the weekend of board gaming was one of the most fun I've had in my life.

Also, the BSG board game is a bitch and a half! It didn't help that I ended up as President Admiral Tigh within 5 minutes of the game start