GWJ Conference Call Episode 324

Conference Call

Our 2012 Wrap-Up Continues, A Jeff Green Segment on His 2012 Favorites and Disappointments and more!

Part two of our 2012 retrospective! Catch our top three games and a visit from Jeff Green!

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.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.02.14 FTL and the rise of difficult games
00.18.35 Torchlight 2
00.21.38 Guild Wars 2
00.27.04 Sleeping Dogs
00.29.47 Dishonored
00.35.47 Kickstarter
00.47.29 Mark of the Ninja
00.51.08 Tokyo Jungle
00.52.51 Borderlands 2
00.58.08 Halo 4
01.02.00 10,000,000
01.02.21 Orcs Must Die 2
01.06.47 X-Com 2
01.13.19 Wii-U
01.20.42 - 01.39.29 Friend of the Show, Jeff Green!
01.40.08 The stepping up of PAX
01.45.25 Soundshapes
01.46.11 Black Mesa
01.47.19 Far Cry 3
01.49.34 Assassin's Creed 3 - disappointment of the year?
01.52.16 Hitman Absolution
01.53.15 Warlock Master of the Arcane
01.54.09 Board games!
01.56.02 Dust: an Elysium Tale
01.56.45 More gaming disappointments
01.57.49 Persona 4 Golden (Vita)
01.59.48 Aaaaaand the GWJ Conference Call's Top 3 picks of 2012!

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Show credits

Music credits: 

8-bit Samples - Dexter Britain - http://freemusicarchive.org/music/De... - 1:23:00

Blink - Workbench Music - http://workbench-music.com/ - 1:42:15

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Comments

First! And always good to get some Jeff Green love!!!

I very much enjoy these longer conference call's of yours. It helps to let you guys get deeper into the discussion and makes for a better time over all. Thank you for that. Can't wait for the bold predictions.

On Seans behalf to the other hosts regarding Borderlands 2:

You know what else is a one-note game?

Dark Souls.

Merry Christmas CC guys!

Also, Borderlands 2 is awesome. I got 821 hours and counting of massive fun getting me pastel-colored weaponry.

LarryC wrote:

Also, Borderlands 2 is awesome. I got 821 hours and counting of massive fun getting me pastel-colored weaponry.

Is that a typo? That's about 7 hours a day for every day since release.

Some days, I played much more than 7 hours. Shrug. Despite our differences, Sands and I share some sorts of insanity, it seems.

Still listening as I do mindless work from home, but I wanted to jump in and mention how confused I always am when Dragon's Dogma is labeled as being similar to Dark Souls in terms of difficulty.

I can't do Dark Souls or Demon's Souls. It feels like you're playing one of those legendary super difficult modules from early Dungeons and Dragons only you're constantly five levels below what you're supposed to be. Maybe there are some people that just love that sense of accomplishment, but I cannot repeat something that many times.

Dragon's Dogma is not like that at all. Dragon's Dogma simply allows there to be higher level encounters populating the world and trusts the player to discover what they are and aren't ready for. Does this mean you may end up failing an escort mission because you didn't realize there were bandits and an armored cyclops along the path and the NPC had the misfortune of being crushed beneath the one-eyed monster's heel? Yes. Yes it does.

But you learn and say "I'll do that later when I'm higher in level". I imagine it would be more user friendly to have recommended levels on some of the quests, but Dragon's Dogma is trying to minimize that level of gaminess.

Eventually, the game just stops being as difficult as it was in the beginning. You face challenges, but you'll go from trying to avoid the chimera to spending ten minutes preparing to fight the chimera to drawing your weapons and shouting "BRING IT" as you charge head first to the chimera. But all the while there were perfectly fine low-level goblin fodder at level one as well as other similar sorts of quests.

Dragon's Dogma merely allows the world to have dangerous sections that the player can foolishly stumble upon. So did Morrowind. I feel like Dragon's Dogma is an Elder Scrolls game that is actually fun to play and explore (controversial statement).

In addition, Borderlands 2 is "better" than the first Borderlands in that there's a bit more enemy variety, the writing has improved by making the characters, well, characters, and there are a lot more environments.

But it's still mostly one note. You may get variants of that one note, but what you're looking at is the difference between a B, B# and B-Flat (or if you really want to be mean, the difference between an A# and B-Flat).

It doesn't matter what the environment is or how the room is set up, you're basically doing the same strategy that matches your character build and gun layout over and over. Sure, you CAN experiment, but my friend described himself as having this wonderfully different strategy than I have and when we got back to co-oping we were both just phaselocking and shooting guys down.

It's long, it can be tedious, and it's just not that stellar. Just like some people really like punishing difficulty in games like Dark Souls, I'd say Borderlands 2 and its ilk are for people that just really like getting the new shiny every five minutes.

Can anyone tell me what the intro song is to the GWJ podcasts are? I really really like it. Whenever I hear it I get all excited.

It was created for us by the awesome Ian Dorsch (Podunk on the forums). He's done a ton of music for the show, as well as theme music for numerous podcasts. I believe you can still get and listen to a lot of his work from the show in full here -- http://www.willowtreeaudio.com/gwjos...

Way to finish the year strong! Always good to hear from Mr. Green.

And ye Gods, fellas. With the current holiday sale, Steam should be paying you a commission.

Sleeping Dogs, FTL, Grimrock...

good times ahead.

01.56.02 Dust: an Elysium Tale

Clever Pun or Spelling Mistake (Elysian)?

I definitely side with Elysium on the difficulty thing. A game that forces you to learn how to beat it by repetition just isn't fun for me. There's a word for people who prefer those kinds of games: "masochist". Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. I wonder what the venn diagram between hard game lovers and nipple clamp enthusiasts looks like, though.

I have enough challenge and stress in my day-to-day life. I don't want games, which I am supposed to be having fun with, piling more on top of me.

I'm a sporadic listener, but this CC was great! Long, and a great listen!

Who hates pre-orders? I know people hate it when Gamestop employees are forced to endlessly ask you about them, but hey, I pre-ordered PS3 Tomb Raider from Amazon.

Great podcast. Just what I needed today. There is only so much satisfaction eating, relatives and Battlefield marathons can bring.

I don't think I'm psychologically suited to rogue likes. I need that feeling of progress. To me they feel like climbing from sea level to base camp 1 on a mountain over and over again rather than climbing the whole mountain (and when you reach base camp being punched on the arm rather than offered a nice, steaming mug of tea.)

I like to build up the difficulty level gradually when playing games. I've played through all the Mass Effects and all the Halo games (not 4 yet) on the hardest difficulties but I played the one or two difficulty levels lower down before that. The main reason is that I'm pretty slow/bad at learning game mechanics (it may be why I dislike overly complex games) and prefer to learn gradually through a steady escalating difficulty. It just seems more fun that way.

Also, on higher difficulties, a games mechanics need to be impeccable. I can take glitchy or slow controls when the game is fairly easy but not when it is as hard as nails. I can watch people play DayZ (and be reasonably philosophical when they lose all their belongings because they ventured into water or break a leg opening a door) but I know I'd be way too frustrated if I tried to play it myself.

I have yet to play Dishonoured or X-Com. It's a nice feeling having those games in my future.

Thanks for another year of fantastic podcasts.

Ok back to the Christmas treadmill. Those nibbles won't eat themselves.

I would be interested in the crew's take on Dust. It's a fantastic game with a very strong story. It's kind of how I imagine games would be in the future during the SNES era.

Giant Bomb included Dust in top 3 game stories of 2012 along with Walking Dead and Papa y Yo

Sorry, i have to chime in here, and say that Zombicide is NOT worth the asking price. I wouldn't even say it is worth half the asking price. The game is slightly pretty - but the components other than the minis are pretty poor. And the gameplay...the gameplay is almost completely void of interesting decisions. It is boring, it is long, and it is unexciting.

jflartner wrote:

Sorry, i have to chime in here, and say that Zombicide is NOT worth the asking price. I wouldn't even say it is worth half the asking price. The game is slightly pretty - but the components other than the minis are pretty poor. And the gameplay...the gameplay is almost completely void of interesting decisions. It is boring, it is long, and it is unexciting.

Have to respectfully disagree on all counts. I've played four games of the first mission (with different groups of people) and we all had a blast with it. Fairly easy to grasp, each run played differently and the quality of the components is generally good throughout. Finally beat it on the fourth try.

Bummer it's not clicking for you.

I returned my Zombicide because yet another "shoot zombies" game can't compete with the awesomeness that is City of Horror/Mall of Horror.. Now THAT is what Zombie survival should be..

Preface: I love FTL, a lot.

FTL's gameplay difficulty hearkens back to the days when beating a game was by no means a certainty so long as you put in the time. When I was a kid playing games on the NES, beating a game was an enormous deal precisely because it was a measure of your skill with and commitment to the game (and perhaps some luck, depending) and not something that everybody did eventually. There were and are lots of old NES games that I freaking love but haven't even come close to beating.

Nowadays having "beat" a game says precisely nothing about your relationship with that game, other than that you played it at least some amount of hours (usually under 10) to see the main quest line through to the end.

I am NOT saying that every game needs to be highly difficulty. But I am saying that I'm coming to the realization that if a game isn't difficult then I have no need to engage with it on a more than surface level. FTL reaaaally demands I engage with it, and I couldn't be happier to

**double post, please remove**

Valmorian wrote:

I returned my Zombicide because yet another "shoot zombies" game can't compete with the awesomeness that is City of Horror/Mall of Horror.. Now THAT is what Zombie survival should be..

I saw City of Horror the other day on Amazon, and decided to add it to my wishlist since I still really dig Mall of Horror as a quick and easy game to teach people. Not to mention a lot of fun to make innuendo as to what people were doing hiding in the mall bathroom when the zombie outbreak occurred.

How is City of Horror in comparison? It looks like a different company put it out than Mall of Horror, but the description made it sound like a "sequel".

ccesarano wrote:
Valmorian wrote:

I returned my Zombicide because yet another "shoot zombies" game can't compete with the awesomeness that is City of Horror/Mall of Horror.. Now THAT is what Zombie survival should be..

I saw City of Horror the other day on Amazon, and decided to add it to my wishlist since I still really dig Mall of Horror as a quick and easy game to teach people. Not to mention a lot of fun to make innuendo as to what people were doing hiding in the mall bathroom when the zombie outbreak occurred.

How is City of Horror in comparison? It looks like a different company put it out than Mall of Horror, but the description made it sound like a "sequel".

From what I understand, its basically the same game "system" with some refinements that improve (or purport to) the gameplay. I have heard that Mall of Horror will be rendered almost insignificant since City of Horror is better, prettier, newer, more easily available, and very similar.

RolandofGilead wrote:

Who hates pre-orders? I know people hate it when Gamestop employees are forced to endlessly ask you about them, but hey, I pre-ordered PS3 Tomb Raider from Amazon.

As a rule, I don't understand the concept of giving a corporation money to hold an item that is easy to find everywhere.

I will pre-order the occasional game if it grants me some meaningful bonus. But I'm not giving somebody money in the hope that it happens to be where I want to buy it when the day comes.

ccesarano wrote:

How is City of Horror in comparison? It looks like a different company put it out than Mall of Horror, but the description made it sound like a "sequel".

It is essentially the same game, but with a lot more "stuff". No longer does everyone have the exact same group of survivors, and all survivors have something unique about them. You need to worry about antidotes and rations, and equipment can appear in any location, not just the center one. There's a water Tower space that is a good spot to be in because it allows you a decent advantage, but it can be collapsed by explosions so it's a big risk as well.

jflartner is right in that it basically renders Mall of Horror obsolete.

I just realized I haven't really said WHY Mall of Horror/City of Horror are the best zombie games. Basically it's because they simulate zombie fiction better than any other game. The real enemies are the other players, since they are the architects of each death, but you HAVE to use diplomacy with them if you are to survive to the end at all. The zombies aren't the focus, just like in ALL good Zombie films.

I'm no artist, but the "GWJ Best of Pax" badge is a fun idea. Here's what popped into my head:

PAX Maximus as a banner above/below the conference call logo tweaked to include the Penny Arcade guys on the other two soup cans (assuming/hoping they'd allow it, of course). Just drop their images if they're not keen on the idea.

Since Maximus is Latin for "great" and Pax, the non-acronym, is also Latin (peace) it includes a bit of word play. "Great Piece" might be a stretch -- it's probably enough to have it mean "Best of PAX."

If you make them as stickers they might get displayed on the booths during the show. If you make buttons the people working the booths might wear and display them. Box art would be great, but please don't shut down the podcast if that happens.

Resource scarcity matters, so give each official GWJ attendee a limited supply -- 1? 3? 5?

Great podcast again. Love Jeff Green!
Here is his list of 2012 on Giant Bomb website.

Waiting for the bold predictions thread now. So we can all chime in again

So I just got to the part of the podcast where Cory was unfairly dismissed by Sean over his opinion that Apple releases solid products. While the cell phone market is absolutely an 18 month rotation of products, the overall reliability of Apple products produces a strong reale market.

I write this on my 5-year-old black Macbook, and not my nearly 7-year-old iMac, both of which I have not been able to replace because they just won't die. But when I do, there is an actual resale market for them, because they have a solid reputation for longevity. I also still take my 7-year-old iPod to the gym when I work out.

While Apple absolutely tries to get Apple fanatics to churn their tech regularly, that results in a used market that is a million times more trustworthy than trying to buy a used console, which is usually a machine that has shown signs of dying and the seller is looking to unload it quickly to replace it with a new one.

And before I get the Apple fanboy treatment, I will be replacing my iMac with a Windows 8 computer, my (1st gen) iPad with a Surface, and I use my WP7 phone to listen to most of my music and podcasts, which I will will replace in the more timely manner with a WP8 phone. I will probably replace my Macbook with a Macbook Air, though.

So Cory was absolutely right to mention that Apple produces solid products that last compared to what all three console makers have been able to accomplish. Just because consumers churn through cell phones is not a good reason to dismiss Apple's challenge to produce launch devices as simple because they are only expected to last 18 months.

And I'm still going to buy the next Xbox on day one.

Let's amend some language here.

When someone says "This game is the most over rated game of the year."

What they really mean to say is "I heard a lot about this game via my selective Twitter feed, Facebook, and social connections."

If FTL was an over rated game, in the game industry ... it would be doing Halo/Assassin's Creed numbers.

Not really an arguing point since everyone on the podcast, and I'm assuming everyone listening "got" what Sands was saying.

But seriously, FTL [and I haven't even played the game] didn't make most peoples radars until niche gaming people and outlets picked it up [barring the select few who contributed to the Kickstarter].

Bboy_Izilla wrote:

Let's amend some language here.

When someone says "This game is the most over rated game of the year."

What they really mean to say is "I heard a lot about this game via my selective Twitter feed, Facebook, and social connections."

If FTL was an over rated game, in the game industry ... it would be doing Halo/Assassin's Creed numbers.

Not really an arguing point since everyone on the podcast, and I'm assuming everyone listening "got" what Sands was saying.

But seriously, FTL [and I haven't even played the game] didn't make most peoples radars until niche gaming people and outlets picked it up [barring the select few who contributed to the Kickstarter].

Technically it is still possible for the game to be over-rated if the ratio of people who played it is only a bit higher than people who thought it was zomg so f*ckin awrsum.

So let's say 100 people play game X, and 90 of those people rated it 10/10. The remaining 10 people rated it anywhere between 6-8 out of 10.

Those 10 people would be right in claiming the game is over-rated, even if only by those who played it. You're discussing the percentage of people that thought it was of a higher quality than you seem to think, after all. Not a product's overall popularity.