No Piracy for Crytek, Free Rainbow Six & Diablo III? – Welcome to the column that cares about you as the consumer but asks that you don’t let the other consumers know about our torrid affair known as Dare to Play the Game.
Welcome to another edition of Dare to Play the Game. Rule #1 for this week, if you aren’t a twink in the 10-19th level World of Warcraft Warsong Gulch battleground, be prepared for many many deaths. I have a level 19 blood elf hunter and after my main Lantanador (who is level 49) had so much success in the 40-49 WSG battleground, I figured I would give it a try with my hunter. HAHA, yeah. I usually have the same # of kills as I do deaths. My first battleground with my hunter was a slaughter. I managed 4 kills and died 15 times. Fifteen. At one point I got killed by the same guy five times in a row. My second effort was a lot better as I killed 6 and died 8 times. But then you might ask, don’t twinks (or people who buy insane enchants and pay ridiculous amounts of gold for gear that is solely used for the purpose of succeeding in battlegrounds) exist at any level battleground? True, to a point. At level 19, the difference between somebody who is twinked and somebody who is not twinked has a much more noticeable difference than say one would at a level 49 battleground. I can do pretty awesome in the 40’s bracket with good gear but if I only have good gear in the 19 bracket, I can get owned because I don’t have amazing gear. Anyhow, safe to say I’m just trying to have fun with the early brackets and not worry about dieing so much. I am after all, earning honor and marks which will be used towards at least one very nice piece of armor.
Here is Morgan with some flowers that were either given to her or plucked from a nearby garden. (I guess they could have been bought too) Those are some pretty awesome looking flowers too. I wonder if it would always take special flowers like that to impress Morgan. Or if you could get away with a simple red rose. Or perhaps a carnation. Heck, I really wonder if I could get away with a dandelion. Hrmm, probably not. I’ll stick to something a little more adventurous perhaps.
Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Morhaime formally announced Diablo III during the WWI’s opening ceremony this morning, not that this will come as a surprise to anyone with the Diablo III forums already active on the official Blizzard site and rumours running rampant for nearly a fortnight.
After recapping on the success of the previous Invitational held in Korea, Morhaime premiered a trailer and then demoed a level playing as a Barbarian and a Witch Doctor, showcasing some of the improvements over the original game as well as giving attendees a hint at what they can expect from the final product. This includes a new UI in place of the potion belt and the ability to play the game just by using a mouse. Similarly the health system has been augmented by God of War and Devil May Cry style red globes which replenish not just the health of the character but also those near by.
After the Fire Dancers had left the main stage and the crowds has dispersed, many jubilant, I headed for the jam-packed press conference where journalists got to give Blizzard’s Jay Wilson (Lead Designer on Diablo III) and co-founder Frank Pearce a grilling about Diablo III.
“It’s been in development for a few years. About four.” Wilson admits and of course, when asked the next Big Question: a release date, he gives the typical Blizzard response. “When it’s done,”
Blizzard co-founder Frank Pearce was quick to add that, even after four years, “it’s far too early in development.”
Despite being vague on many points such as how much of the game was complete – a process Wilson described as ‘super fun’ – and the specifics of the storyline, He revealed the game is set twenty years after the War of Destruction and the events of the original games have become regarded as myth, indeed even those who were alive (and that’s not many) are either insane or convinced that nothing happened.
Unlike Warcraft, this is not a game about crafting your own unique virtual persona. Other than the classes and the gender, avatars aren’t customisable; instead the idea is to “dive right in and get to the monster killing”.
Being a Diablo title, it really wouldn’t be right unless there were plenty of monsters to slaughter and bosses to defeat. The monsters themselves are huge but even the obese charging abomination we saw steam-rolling towards a Barbarian – a giant in its own right – was just a mob. But the most impressive aspect was not the size of the mobs – it was a wall of zombies which managed to elicit cheers from the crowds.
While the assembled masses were shown two areas, a dungeon and a grassy wilderness, that was more than enough to show off some of the more interesting aspects of the Barbarian and Witch Doctor. The first, for example, uses a special attack called Whirlwind to send zombies and other trash flying to their deaths while the Witch Doctor makes use of pets who do their bidding. They can also summon swarms of locusts who devour enemies and anyone nearby. Like World of Warcraft’s priests and warlocks, they also have the ability to send enemies running using an ability called Horrify as well as mind control which is going to make for some interesting fights. Even more so when you consider that maps aren’t all static, some are random meaning the exit and entrance to an area might not be in the same place each time.
Diablo III, oh heck….everybody quick and run to your nearest game store and put in your pre-order now! Hold on, hold on. Don’t do anything rash. (Like give Gamestop any money up front) This is very good news, however there is no clue as to an actual release date. I mean the game has already been in development for four years. Think about what you were doing four years ago. Besides that. (Geez, some people) If you wanted an estimated release date, I would say “Your outlook looks cloudy”, dang it that’s the last time I use the magic 8-ball. But yeah, sometime in 2010. It will be awesome, I’m pretty sure (though I wish they would consider consoles and not just the PC platform). The details seem nifty from random dungeons to the first two classes not being Warrior and Mage. (Though arguably, Barbarian and Witch Doctor might not be too far off) Don’t expect this to be some WoW killer either. I’ve heard that in some circles. Blizzard wants to make money off Warcraft for a very very long time. Lich King is coming out relatively soon and expect probably two expansions after that if not more. Diablo III is just going to set the table as the single player RPG game, especially for those who dabble in strictly PC gaming. Anything less, is a severe disappointment.
Tucked into a wide-ranging interview with IGN is this nugget from Cervat Yerli, the CEO of Crytek, developer of Crysis:
It’s crazy how the ratio between sales to piracy is probably 1 to 15 to 1 to 20 right now. For one sale there are 15 to 20 pirates and pirate versions, and that’s a big shame for the PC industry. I hope with Warhead I hope we improve the situation, but at the same time it may have an impact on [our] PC exclusivity in the future.
Yerli goes on to say that if a game isn’t an online multiplayer game, it’s up for grabs to piraters, and for that reason the company is spending development effort making Crysis: Warhead more difficult to crack. But if it doesn’t pan out, and PC games continue to be pirated at the 15:1 ratio he offers, it’s going to affect Crysis’ development strategy in the future. “We would only consider full PC exclusives — if the situation continues like this or gets worse — I think we would only consider PC exclusive titles that are either online or multiplayer and no more single-player,” Yerli says.
So I guess the message is: PC gamers, stop pirating and start snitching on your friends if you want more exclusives out of Crytek. And to show he’s serious, he also tells IGN they’re working on a non-Crysis console game.
*Whine, Whine, Whine*, geezus, I’m so sick of PC piracy whiners. My game gets pirated, there are fifteen piraters out there for one person who buys my game. *whine, whine, whine*, look at me I’m driving in a Lexus and not a Rolls Royce. Shut the heck up and buy a clue. Truth is, pirating has existed since well there existed a computer. If it has the ability to be copied, then it will be. You come up with a new protection scheme, and somebody out there will crack it. There are too many tools out there on the PC that enable a hacker/cracker to break these schemes. If you produce a game that is put on the Xbox 360, what tools does a cracker have? Very very few. Crysis is an awesome PC game, I don’t own it (nor have I pirated it) mainly due to the hardware requirements. But you have to take the good with the bad and if you want to continue making games, stop chastising the loyal for the deeds of the crooked. And if you want to make console games, then make them. Don’t use the excuse, well nobody pirates on the Playstation 3. A simple, we want to reach more customers or we want to make more money so we can buy a small island will work just as well.
Rainbow Six Vegas 2
I am very pleased to announce that Ubisoft will be releasing a Fan Pack to all Rainbow Six fans. I am also here to give you better insight and clarification on what the Fan Pack contains:
The Fan Pack includes an Update for the game and DLC (downloadable content). The first thing that may come to mind is: “Is this free?” Yes it is, including the DLC. This pack will be available via Xbox Live Marketplace, PlayStation Network and ubi.com in July 2008. You can find out more about the Fan Pack in this video.
*** Update Features ***
An additional 99 Elite Ranks have been added for bragging rights. For those of you who are already Elite, you may have noticed that your XP continued to accumulate while playing. Once you have the update, your XP will automatically be applied towards the new Elite ranks, so it is possible that you have already ranked up multiple times past Elite.
A total of 100 A.C.E.S. are available for each category: Marksman, CQB and Assault. Each A.C.E.S. level past 20 will reward you with 5000 XP that applies to your rank. For players who have already reached A.C.E.S. 20 and continued to collect A.C.E.S. points, you will be happy to know that the update will automatically advance you to the level you have earned. For example, if you have enough A.C.E.S. points to reach Marksman 25, you will automatically be at Marksman 25 and earn 25000 (5000 x 5) towards your next Rank.
When you are within the damage radius of a Frag or Incendiary grenade, an indicator will appear on-screen telling you which direction it is. The indicator can show multiple grenades at once.
Weapons & Gadgets Balancing
Here are a couple of notes about Weapons and Gadgets:
• Explosion delay of the incendiary grenade has been increased
• Detonation speed of the C4 has been slightly increased
• Increased the damage of Sniper Rifles at long range
• Increased the base accuracy of the Light Machine Guns
• Adjusted the rate of fire for some of the Assault Rifles, Shotguns and an SMG
• Sped up the time it takes to zoom in & out with weapons, making it more responsive
To better clarify: the zoom for all firearms have been significantly sped-up and you can now fire DURING the zoom transition.
Respawns in Team Deathmatch – Host Option
An added host option has been added for Random Respawns. Random Respawns OFF will play like the classic Versus style where each team spawns in their designated Alpha or Bravo base. Random Respawns ON will have your players spawn randomly throughout the map after they die the first time.
Voice Chat – Host Option
Added as a host option for Player Match & System Link, players now have the option to talk to their team mates while dead.
Score in Deathmatch
Displayed on the bottom left of the HUD in Deathmatch, players can now see their score along with the top opponent’s score.
Team Leader – Spawn Change
Players now respawn next to the leader by default, unless players specifically choose to spawn back at the base.
Show Dead Players in Lobby
Players who no longer have lives remaining will now have a skull icon displayed next to their name in the pause menu.
Terrorist Hunt Spawning
Terrorists will no longer spawn right in front of you or behind you, or in a room you just cleared.
* * * * *
High Stakes Setting
High Stakes is a host option for every Versus mode that really pushes tactical gameplay to the next level. Here’s a detailed description of High Stakes:
Limited HUD (High Stakes)
The Radar is disabled. Enemies will not be visible on the Tactical Map (back button on 360/select button on PS3). Grenade indicator is disabled.
Health System (High Stakes)
Health regen is disabled. If you are shot and close to death, you’ll enter a visual state of critical health (screen turns monochromatic).
Cover System (High Stakes)
The cover system as been changed in High-Stakes mode to encourage players to peek instead of pop-n-shoot. The camera has been moved so your character cannot look past their cover unless they expose themselves around a corner.
Weapons & Gadgets (High Stakes)
Aim Assistance has been completely disabled. Bullet spread has also been increased when not zoomed-in (you will notice your crosshair indicators are much wider when not in zoom). Realistically, a person holding a gun would have better aim when zoomed-in than when he’s walking around. This encourages players to really take aim instead of run-n-gun. Also remember that the zoom time has been sped-up and you can now fire WHILE you zoom in and out. Players now have less ammunition (1 for each gadget you choose and less clips for your guns) so you really need to play conservatively and rely on precision use of ammo.
Kill Camera & Friendly Fire (High Stakes)
Kill Camera is always disabled and Friendly fire is always enabled.
*** DLC ***
THREE FREE MAPS
There are three maps included in the free DLC: Murdertown – Dark, CQB Training – Dark and best of all the much-requested fan favourite Calypso Casino! The three map layouts have not been changed. The re-lit “Dark maps” have a very eerie atmosphere, and may require players to use night vision to spot enemies. Calypso Casino returns with updated lighting and textures. The three maps are playable in all Versus modes and Terrorist Hunt.
This fun little pack will drop in early July which almost sounds like this week or perhaps next. The free price tag is probably the best part as previous packs in the first Rainbow Six Vegas cost 800 points a piece (unless you waited for them to go free). The new ranks are nice, but to be honest I’m not even past the initial ranks. However, the real allure here beside the bug fixes is the Calypso Casino map. Furthermore, it hasn’t been changed one bit except to tweak some graphics and lighting. I played so many head to head contests in the original Calypso, that it might peak my interest of Vegas 2 again. I still remember actually winning a survival match in there because I knew all of the hiding spots. Cause what better way to frag somebody than sitting in a vault with no obvious exits? Hrmmm, perhaps I just gave away my location, or perhaps that is just me behind another door with a very obvious laser scope focused on your head. Ssssssh, be werry werry quiet, we’re hunting terrorists. WaWaWaWahaha.
A very strong port for this week. This title started out initially as an arcade release but didn’t do very well due to the already failing arcade market. It was picked up by the Dreamcast in 1999 and the rest is a very successful history. This is actually the third game in the series (Soul Edge/Soul Blade) and introduced the concept of the Eight Way Run. This no longer limited 3d fighting games in terms of where they could move their character. Soul Calibur also had a very nice combo system, allowing players to piece together moves a lot easier than say a Tekken game which required complex controls to master. The HD version of Soul Calibur should have beautiful graphics and the full cast of characters to supplement your fighting game delight. If you have downloaded any other XBLA fighting games like SSF2T or UMK3, you owe yourself at least the trial to this one.
Known as Shunkan Puzzloop or Actionloop comes this little puzzler to the WiiWare platform. The idea is that you are surrounded by marbles (sounds like a chinese checker convention). They are marching slowly down a track. Using a launcher (to look like your Mii) to shoot out matching colors and get rid of them before reach the end of the track. Control is handled by the Wii Remote and the A button functionality. Five modes and addictive gameplay are sure you keep you puzzle fanatics playing this for a very long time.
Neo Geo has been popular lately for Virtual Console and this week is no exception. Fatal Fury 2 improves the amount of fighters from the first one from 3 to 8. This one adds new fighters such as Big Bear and the ever popular Mai Shiranui. The plot isn’t very different as after Geese Howard dies, a new mysterious villain becomes the sponsor of the King of Fighters Tournament. As you progress by defeating opponents, you try to unlock the mystery of who is behind the death of Geese Howard. Intriguing isn’t it? Expect the same solid fighting gameplay from the first Fatal Fury. If the first one wasn’t your cup of tea, then you won’t find much here either.
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
Gears of War (2-disc)
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon
Trauma Center Under the Knife 2
AMF Bowling Pinbusters
1 vs 100
Journey to the Center of the Earth
Of course a strong release week is always followed by, anybody, anybody? A ridiculously weak one. We get the weakest Guitar Hero game on record and while I love Aerosmith, I think this might get shunned as badly as Revolution X. Okay, maybe not that bad. However, what is mostly a glorified expansion pack is going for a not so expansion full retail price tag. Outside of that, we get the Gears of War 2-disc collection which includes all of the map downloads available on Live. Basically, this kinda poops on my limited edition I got not too long ago. After owning both the regular & the limited edition of this game, don’t expect me to pick this up. The Wii has yet another Final Fantasy game to wet our whistle but the idea that Chocobos have a dungeon should scare the beegeezus out of most of you. I mean what exactly do they do down there? Don’t answer that. The only other game of interest is that there is a game now where you can play with a digital Bob Sagat now (1 vs 100). At least I don’t think there was any Full House or America’s Funniest Home Videos games. But I guess if there are Jackass games, we could certainly have one where entering in a video where you kick your Uncle Frank in the crotch wins you $10,000 succeed on some level.
I had mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had purchased Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Encore for the Xbox 360 on clearance. Well I had been playing it on and off and decided to give the full American Idol experience a try, in one sitting. Eighteen songs. In a row. I did do it on easy, but some songs were not pretty (Sweet Dreams are not made of this, I have every mind to disagree, please stop traveling the world and the seven seas, My girlfriend is looking for the remote and finding the button to turn off my voice). Anywho, it was fun regardless and quite the challenge, even on the entry difficulty level. Mainly cause you can’t do the same song twice, enabling you to be very careful about your musical choice. Don’t pick a song you are awesome at in the beginning cause you might need it closer to the end. In other news, I tried both the demos of Commando 3 & Ticket to Ride. Commando 3 was mostly a meh experience, it was everything I had seen before in run n gun. A note to people who make demos, don’t make a demo that ends right before a big boss. We want to see at least one big boss typically and then we can make a good decision if we want to purchase. Ticket to Ride was pretty cool, a good purchase if you like Catan or Carcassonne. It was a much better demo experience as it gave you a tutorial on how to play and then a good playthrough with the North America map. I learned a lot and may purchase it here before too long. Well, that’s it for this week kiddoes. Have fun and be sure if you plan to karaoke, that you sing something that actually matches your voice and not another (much higher) gender.
Kedrix of Aldrianian
(*The Forgotten One*)