Why I had to leave Smite, again…

So a few months back I left Smite because I found I was yelling at the screen more often than not. Not at my fellow players, no. While I found some of their actions upsetting I know I’m not the world’s best player and am quite forgiving of other people just learning. No, I was yelling at Hi-Rez because of their utter disregard for their community.

So I took a break hoping that several months away will let Hi-Rez pull their collective heads out of each other’s asses and fix the game to the point where it doesn’t cause massive frustration. 6 months later the reveal of Ratatoskr got me intrigued again so I reinstalled Smite.

3 days later it is uninstalled. Hi-Rez still has their heads up each other’s asses.

On average I put in 1-2 hours playing Smite. That’s 2-5 rounds depending on round length. Almost every round someone from either team DCs and never returns. It is a perpetual 4v5. At the start of the round we should not have to wait until the 10m mark to surrender. 2m without the 5th player, let us leave without penalty or allow surrender at that point. Something! That 8m difference means I could get more decent rounds in.

Worst still is when it is my team because we have the “No surrender” crowd forcing other players to stick in a lost game for another 10-20m because, reasons. That’s fine. I get that some people don’t have a functional F6 and lack the funds to buy a replacement keyboard. But why the **holy fuck** does Hi-Rez believe that 2-0-2 vote isn’t a surrender? Or a 2-1-1? I can get the argument for a 2-2. But when it is clear that the people who do care to vote don’t want to continue and the others can’t be buggered to slap a key that maybe they should kill the round? Esp. on a losing 4v5!

But no, Hi-Rez clearly can’t be bothered to help improve this situation. In the past 3 days I’ve been dropped twice (not my connection), servers crashed once (yay!), the game client itself crashed twice, almost every round was a 4v5 on one side or another, and the broken vote system kept me in far too many games that should have ended.

The last straw was the match I just finished. We started 3v5. Yes, 2 drops on our team right out of the gate. 2m pass, they’re not back. Somehow we held on until they both returned by the 6m mark. But now we’re severely behind the enemy team. We try to make a good show of it but by 20m we’re down to 1 tower and 2 phoenixes. The enemy team has 4 towers still. The game is OVER. Called a vote. 2-0-1. Oh, look, it failed! We have to continue with the farce! At that point our mid took the sensible route and dropped. So now we’re 4v5. I figured, fuck it, I’m done, and dance party in spawn. Few minutes later someone else calls another surrender just as the enemy team gets to the titan, all phoenixes down. 2-0-1, nope, we have to watch them kill our titan.

Smite’s the only MOBA I can stomach. I can’t stand the pseudo-isometric, RTS-esque style of MOBA and the FPS style (MNC, SMNC) are dead. Smite’s it. And Hi-Rez can’t be fucked to do fix their shit. The only thing I’m glad for is that I got it out of my system before I dropped more coin on their sorry asses buying the slew of skins that were available since the last time I played.

TL;DR – Fuck Hi-Rez for going for the cash grab instead of healthy longevity. But then, after how they put Global Agenda and Tribes: Ascend in the shitter I guess I can only blame myself for thinking they’d actually do anything different with Smite.

The Definition of a Bad Game

Wargaming has an event going on right now where if you play 200 rounds of World of Warplanes in the next 4 days you’ll get 5000 gold deposited to your account. That is about $20 worth of in game currency.

I’m doing my doubles in World of Tanks then probably moving on to Planetside 2, Marvel Heroes or Minecraft.

World of Warplanes is such a turd of a game they literally, right now, cannot pay me to play it.

It’s A Whole New World!

Like a great many long-time Minecraft players I have gotten heavily into modded Minecraft.  I tried one or two manual installs, that didn’t go well.  Then I found Feed-The-Beast.  Talk about an eye-opener.  A plethora of wonderful mods, all in one collection, with launcher that made it easy to download and update.  Glorious!  But limited.  It didn’t take long for geek me to whack slacker me over the head and regain control.

These days I use MultiMC to control several instances of Minecraft spread across multiple versons, each with its own set of mods.  I’ve added mods to, and subtracted mods from, Feed-The-Beast that the best I can say now is that I used a no antiquated version as the basis for my worlds.

With the 1.5.1 update of Minecraft most of the standard mods I use were updated.  So it is new world time!  This time around three mods were dropped, replaced by two others.  Thaumcraft2, Red Power 2, and Steve’s Carts are gone.  In their place come Ars Magica and MineFactory Reloaded.

I just couldn’t get into Thaumcraft’s research mechanic this time around.  It was set to replace the fire-and-forget mechanic that was in TC2.  However this mechanic is a pure grind.  Instead of dropping something into the table and letting it run, now we have to drop the correct something and spam a button.  However since we didn’t get to choose what we wanted to research going for something specific often required many attempts as you kept getting other things popping into the research table first.  It got so bad that TC3 was often something that I would only start after I was well established in other mods.  Of course, by that point, TC3 was overshadowed by the benefits of those other mods.

Red Power 2, oh the love/hate relationship I have with you.  I love your red alloy wiring & logic gates, but your insistence of being obstinate almost to the point of hostility to other mods just means moving on before you’re updated stings a little, but is oh, so freeing.

Ars Magica looks to have a much progression mechanic.  IE, it is useful early on and provides increasing benefits as the player progresses.  I really haven’t tried it before so we’ll see how it goes.

MFR.  This is the reason why I stopped my 1.4.7 world and decided to jump to 1.5.1.  A few worlds back I dropped Forestry.  I never liked bees, I didn’t like the new farms, the only thing I really got from it was biofuel.  MFR provides an alternative method of automatic farming.  This, too, is why Steve’s Carts was dropped as I was only using it to provide automatic farming.  But as of this latest version MFR really nailed it.  Rednet was introduced.  Remember the Red Alloy wiring that I loved from Red Power 2?  Yeah, Rednet addresses that gap quite nicely.  I am really excited about diving into this mod!

She’s Right, We’re Not Producers…

I wanted to take a short moment to respond to Christina Norman’s rant at GDC wherein she said, “We just want to release awesome stuff. Players please, give us a chance. Judge our games based on what they are. Judge the DLC based on what it is. Stop thinking you’re a producer and telling us when and where we should be building our content.”

Christina, I can understand your sentiment.  And you’re right, we’re not producers.  We’re your customers.  You remember who those are?  Yes, the people who purchase your product.  It is those purchases that is the whole point of producing a game for sale.  You want us to purchase and play the game.

If we feel slighted by day one DLC, especially on-disc DLC, or DLC which is supposed to be an enticement for a problem which doesn’t exist on our platform (in my case, PC) then we do have the right to express our displeasure.  That includes not purchasing your game.

You’re right, we’re not producers.  Our opinions do matter.  Cross those opinions at your peril.

MMO Macros

Obviously given that I consider a programmable UI as a Massively Forgotten Feature I am not opposed to Macros. However, in a recent discussion with fellow OTGers I pointed out that Macros are really just covering up something that the devs should be doing. Here is that post.

I am of a mixed mind on this. On the one hand I’m ambivalent about macros after having reduced one class in Rift to a single button. There was no case where I would want to cast one power over another if they were available. The end result was to place the powers in order of preference and spam 1 constantly. I even top-ranked PvP matches with that setup. *shudder*

On the other hand I think that they should provide some mechanic whereby a skill which modifies another can be overloaded onto the same key. For example there are three pairs of this in the Gunslinger tree alone. There’s Charged Shot and a power which makes the charged shot hit for 100% crit on the next shot. Then there’s Speed Shot and the associated modifier which instantly clears it’s cooldown and makes it so the next use has no cooldown, either. Finally there’s Nut Shot, er, Dirty Kick and Cheap Shot. Nut Shot incapacitates, Cheap Shot is only available against incapacitated enemies.

In the first two cases the second power modifies the first and chances are there is no time, at all, which I would not want the power so modified! In the third case you can’t use the second power without the first nor would there be a time when you would do the first and not follow up with the second. I like modifier skills like this. I like 1-2 combos like this. I don’t like that MMO developers require us to use up 2 slots when overloading one would do.

I know macros cover this. In fact, as a programmer, I’ve got no problems whipping up macros on a whim. But for most people macros are DEEEEEP MAGIC. What needs happen is the devs should make a simple UI mechanic to allow the non-programmers in the crowd (Hi, honey!) to overload keys. Something visual instead of the DEEEEEP MAGIC of stringing things together. Like being able to click a button and have a stack appear where you can drag & drop your powers into that stack.

Alternatively they should do what the developers of Aion did. Just make the stack already! Aion’s combat system was slick. Some of the powers you got were explicitly chained off of other powers. Some stacks would go 5 deep. In other MMOs that means for one stack you would have to do something like, 1,2,3,4,5. However in Aion they realized this would get cumbersome really quick. So instead of requiring each power have a separate button they made it so the next power in the chain appeared on the same button. So that 5 chain power resulted in pressing 1,1,1,1,1. Of course they also had branching chains, but I digress.

Point being while macros address the problem I think that they are not the resolution to the problem. It is time for the industry to stop relying on the community to band-aid over these issues when it is simple for them to resolve. If the power modifies another power, make it a pre-fab chain. If it is a 1-2 combo off another power, make it a pre-fab chain. Don’t make the end user have to jump through a hoop to get the intended result. Leave macros for the truly odd combos players come up with (Sabotage Charge into Speed Shot being my current favorite!).

P.S. the corollary to the above is that if you have more than 15 powers then anything above that should be a modifier or chain of an existing power. Finding binds for more than 15 keys is tough for most players. More powers doesn’t mean more depth. MOBAs get by with four standard and one or two optional.

Yay, Kill 10 Rats! Yay!?

The Kill Ten Rats (KTR) quest is a staple of MMOs.  Well, actually, most games when you get right down to it.  It is so named because early MMOs had newbie players tasked with something trivial, like killing 10 rats.  The format doesn’t change as you level up, either, only the rats are now goblins, or orcs, or whatever nasty critter is nearby.

TOR has a near perfect implementation of the KTR.  Almost all of TORs KTR quests are offered in the form of bonus quests.  They are completely optional.  Furthermore, most of them get completed as you work on the main objective.  So 90% of the time you complete the quest before you’re really aware you had it.  As for the other 10% of the time you’re either so close to completing that it’s hardly a hardship to hunt down the last group or two of mobs or, if you’re not close to completing it, you can just blow it off.