Dear BioWare

Posted in Uncategorized on August 16, 2016 by tattoohero

I’ve been a fan of your games since you made Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic back in 2003.  Mass Effect got my creative juices flowing to the point I wrote over two dozen fan fiction involving my canon FemShep and her love, Liara.  They had those little blue children mentioned in the Shadow Broker DLC.  I’m hoping Andromeda does the same the trilogy did and gets me writing about my Ryder like I did with my Shepard.   For some reason, I doubt it because of what you’ll do with the story telling.

Story telling is what BioWare is known for but the last two games I’ve played, the Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion for The Old Republic and Dragon Age: Inquisition has very poor story telling.  Both Mass Effect 3 and Dragon Age: Inquisition had uneven romances between the two sexes.  A female Shepard loses two of the three romances from the 2nd game.  Male Shepard can continue all three romances from 2.  The best part of Jacob Taylor’s romance arc is this…

 

While Mass Effect 3 had plenty of feels depending on your actions in the two previous games.  Especially if you save the genophage cure data in 2 and shoot Mordin from using it in 3 with Wrex and Eve still alive.  Lots of drama there.  But that’s the last game you’ve made or content you’ve made for your MMO that has consequences to your choices.

I’m not going to go into too much about how you treated the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 users as a money grab without following through to support those consoles when it came to DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition.  Let me put it this way, Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 2 and 3 all looked better on the Xbox 360 than Dragon Age: Inquistion.  Because of the poor graphic quality, honestly, that game should not have been released on the old gen.  The support for those consoles was lacking and out of three story based DLC, only one of those was released on the old gen.

 

To get to the actual reason why I’m posting this, Star Wars: The Old Republic-The Knights of the Fallen Empire.  I’ve been playing the game since late March/early April 2013.  Right before Rise of the Hutt Cartel was released.  I rarely play without being a subscriber.  Mostly because of the gates the game has in place for free-to-play players plus I felt the game was worth my money.   I really enjoyed the class stories, which ended after the end of chapter 3 quest once you finished off Coreilla.  I enjoyed the Hutt Cartel story line only on the Imperial side, the Republic side was only okay, but I can say that about a lot of the Republic in general.   I have 19 characters on the Shadowlands with most of them being created on The Bastion and moved them over.  I ran 10 of them through the first nine chapters, but only two of them through chapter 16.

Knights of the Fallen Empire expansion has been and is an utter failure.  The marketing team promoted Choices Matter and they didn’t matter at all.  The story is the worst I’ve ever seen BioWare write.  I’m extremely embarrassed Drew Karpyshyn is listed on the credits.  First project with his name as a writer that the story utterly sucked, especially chapters 10-16 with chapter 12 being the worst in way how I felt after I was done playing it.  I unsubbed, that’s how I felt.  This was April, I’ve not subbed since.  I’ve been waiting for chapter 16 to come back.

I wish I had kept my $15 and bought a single player indie game with that money after I resubbed over the weekend and finished up the story as through chapter 16.  I feel lied to, my choices didn’t matter at all.  I ran my dark side sniper and my light side commando through all 16 chapters and I can’t bring myself to run another class through it, why bother?  It’s the same no matter which faction I am in or what I do.    I made a list of choices during the chapters, I’m sure I’ve missed some and the consequences of those choices.

Choices that should matter but don’t

Chapter 1-Save a few soldiers or not.   Changes dialogue in chapter 6 for 1 NPC

Sound the alarm to get the crew to the escape pods or jam ship   Changes dialogue in chapter 6 for 1 NPC

Kneel to Valkorion or not   Changed dialogue with Valkorian in chapter 12. Dictates what Arcann does to attack his father

Chapter 2-None

Chapter 3-Save the reactor from exploding or not   Makes Koth happy and Senya Annoyes Lana if you save it, nothing comes of this later

Show mercy to the Zakuul Knight or allow Lana to kill him.   Matters not, Valyiln kills him anyway for failure if you let him live.

Chapter 4-Save refugees in swamp or not   Koth is happy if you save them, nothing else comes of this

Can tell Lana about Valkorion being part of you or not   Nothing comes of this, Lana is grateful you told her, that’s it

Chapter 5-Use Valkorion’s power to save Lana or not.   Not equals Lana only getting hurt because Koth saves her.

Chapter 6-Kill Tanno Vik or not. Even Tropper loses this companion because he’s not coming back, period.  He shows up to fight in chapter 8.

Play nice with the Scions or be a jerk Nothing comes of this.

Chapter 7-Stop Senya from hurting informant   Nothing comes from this

Choice to have either Senya or Koth with you.   Other is pissed

Chapter 8-Use Valkorian’s power or not.   If not, get stabbed with Arcann’s lightsaber or deal with Valkorion’s power overwhelming your body  You are dying either way and Valkorion is why the character is still alive.

Chapter 9-None, fluffy wrap-up chapter with busy work.   Nothing comes from getting the Alliance specialists to level 20

Chapter 10-Allow Kaliyo to blow up the city.   Koth leaves if Kalyio blows stuff up Koth steals Gravestone at the end of chapter 16

Chapter 11- None

Chapter 12-Who to send on mission with Commander, Catdude or Kaliyo.   The one you didn’t send disobeys your order.  Can exile them from the Alliance in chapter 13

Pick how you assemble your new weapon   Don’t even need the weapon in the end when 60% of the fight is with a shield lying on the ground in chapter 16.

Chapter 13-None

Chapter 14-Tell the Mandos about the info Theron gave you or not. Gets a lot of people killed if you don’t.

Undermining Manalore’s authority with the other clans, especially Khotto Fett or not    Nothing comes of this outside a letter from Fett.

Chapter 15-Can save two of the three groups, Imp, Pub, Zakull.   Nothing comes of this outside of a few comments from NPC at the end of the chapter.

Chapter 16-Nothing in the previous chapters made a difference here outside of Koth taking the Gravestone at the end of the chapter, which means nothing we did for 15 chapters meant a damn thing.

I promise you this, if the next expansion is released monthly, I’ll wait until all of it released, play through it once with my sniper and unsub again.   There is no replay value to it, none.   This started with Shadow of Revan.  That too had very little replay value to it.  The story is the same for both factions.  Stop doing that.  I’m a solo player and I absolutely hate the personal instances.  It makes being in a group to do quest harder than it needs to be.  Stop thinking a few different lines of dialogue is going to placate the players desire for their class to have meaning.  You gave us one in Shadow of Revan.  I enjoyed that very much, but it was one quest.  Please test the game better.  Honestly, the broken state the game is released in and EA has a lot of games released that way is also turning me off on The Old Republic.

I have plenty of hours invested into the game, I love story, but stop promoting things you can’t follow through on.  Stop saying how exciting things are coming down the line and then when we get it, it’s broken and lackluster at best.   The personal instance on Odessen is broken when you are in a group because the entire group gets dropped into the same instance.  Please get rid of the personal instance.  Allow people to group together to get stuff done, not just help them with it then having to do it again for yourself.  Forced solo play is as bad as forced group play.  Players want choice.  I’m a solo player 90% of the time, but the 10% is enough to turn me off on the stuff since Shadow of Revan and especially the stuff on Odessen

Do better BioWare, do better because I know you can do better.  BioWare is known for their stories and the stories the past few years have been lacking.  I just finished playing Knights of the Old Republic again on PC, which was a first on PC.  I also own it on Xbox.  The story was more engaging, the choices felt they mattered.  Being dark was very different from being light.  The Old Republic isn’t giving me that.  Light/dark, it’s all the same in the end.

I want nothing more than to enjoy your future games as much as I do the older ones.   I’m a small streamer on Twitch and I play Mass Effect every Monday.  Once I finish 3, I create a new Shepard.  I’ve also been playing Knights of the Old Republic on stream.  Showing these games off.  But I won’t stream The Old Republic again.  Last time I did that, I raged quit after PvPing while being at the end of chapter 11 and having the color switches to lower the force shield down glitched out forcing me to restart the instance.

While I’m just a baby streamer, I do bring people in to watch your games.  Hell, I tell people they need to read the three books by Drew Karpyshyn when it comes to Mass Effect because they give good background to things in the game.  Like why is Tali and the quarians are so pissed off and mistrusting of Cerberus at the beginning of Mass Effect 2.  I want to be able to give glowing reviews on your games and Mass Effect 3 is the last game I can give a glowing review about.

I know you can do better, so please do so this fan begs you.  Do better at story telling.  Make choices actually matter and have ending that differ from each other.  Which hasn’t happened since Knights of the Old Republic.

Reagan and GOP Policies

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2016 by tattoohero

I can’t have an intelligent conversation and be restricted to 140 characters.  I just can’t

Reagan is not one of the best President ever.  He’s the start of the acceleration of the decline of middle class.  While the Democratic Party has enabled the bad behavior, the problems facing the country are at the feet of the GOP.  Massive tax breaks for the rich at the expense of the working people.  link  Take note on the last graph, highest bar is Reagan.

You can not give a bunch of tax breaks to corporations and think that money is going to stimulate the economy.  It hasn’t because if it did, the ecomony wouldn’t have crashed in December 2007 and lasted for over a year.  The Bush tax cuts added trillions to the debt, Medicare Part D was unfunded.  Two wars were also unfunded until Obama took over in 2009.  Reagan actually added to the debt, raised taxes while doing so, cared nothing for the LGBT community even though his own friends where dying of AIDS, Rock Hudson.

Reagan should have died in prison for Iran-Contra scandal and should have resigned during his second term because mentally he wasn’t there, Alzheimer’s and what not.  HW Bush was not out of the loop.  Ollie North took one for the team on that.

You say fair?  I’ll explain corporate greed to you via my actual experience with it.   Cracker Barrel Old Country Store are a restaurant/retail store hybrid, I worked for them for 10 years give or take.  They might be in Idaho, but there are no stores in California.  Property cost too much.  They rather flood the Southern States with 6 stores in an area with maybe 1 million people.  Anyway, I started there in November 1998.  Worked my way to better pay, to earn the better benefits then the turn of the century happened.  Every year starting around 2002 we lost a little of our benefit package, while the company was still making a profit, still opening new stores.  The more stores they opened the more benefits they took away.   My husband worked for them for 15 years and refuses to step foot inside one because of how they treated people towards the end, before he quit to be a manager a BK.  Which now he’s a 4th year electrician apprentice.

I saw them cutting people’s hours not because the person didn’t do the work because they needed to cut labor at all cost even if the cook had to cook by themselves and do over $500 in business that hour.  Normally for sales over that there’s two people in the kitchen.  I did many hours on Saturday’s alone doing anywhere between $600 and $800 hours and that’s a lot of food going out the kitchen door when the average cost per person was around $8-9

Lost my stock options, lost good insurance to the point t he policy they offered for the 2009 calendar year was an utter joke.  Seven office visits per year and if you have a sick child, no way is seven office visits going to be enough.  Any after that was out of pocket.  All because they felt the employees didn’t need those things.  Too many people to give it to, so they’d just removed them as benefits.  That’s corporate greed.  The shareholder getting their dividend is more important than the 100 people per store average or up to anyway.  When you have over 400 stores, maybe more, been 7 years since I worked for them.

I hope you understand companies like BP got a tax break on the fine they got for the spill in the Gulf.  That should never happen, ever.  We give massive tax breaks to big corporations and their employees struggle to make ends meet.  That’s no fair.  It’s not fair the tax burden on hedge fund manager has a smaller percentage in taxes than someone working a blue collar job like plumber, electricians.

The taxes the federal government received before income taxes became the new thing was via tariffs and I would love for them to return.  Because that would force American businesses to return to the US because having the tariff would cost more.  Shipping would be more expensive to ship from China to the US vs making something in the US.  We need to get back to that and it’s not automation taking jobs, it’s greed at sending jobs to the country with the fewest labor laws.  I’m tired of cheaply made underwear falling apart a few hours after putting a brand new pair on.

Buying American made products was a matter of pride.  I remember WalMart proudly selling American made product then Sam Walton died and the kids took over and look what WalMart has become.   They’re shutting down stores in areas the really shouldn’t have added them.  You wouldn’t catch me dead in a WalMart.  There are better places to shop and the ones around me are incompetent.  Manager says, my computer here says we h ave it, goes in back, comes back not even five minutes later saying its out of stock.  Either your computer lied to you and your cashiers aren’t ringing stuff up correctly or you really didn’t look for what we were needing.  Been about eight years since I went to MaulMart as I like to call them.  I’ll stop saying that when I stop seeing stories of idoitic behavior over cheap items like fifty cent towels(2014)

I remember the union ladies singing about the union label and look for it on clothes then the 80’s happened and the clothing industry starting making stuff overseas.  NAFTA didn’t help but to put that on Clinton is wrong when it was a treaty that saw both US and Canada have head of state changes and was HW Bush’s baby.

You can not have minimum wage at $7.25 per hour, it’s $8.05 in Florida, still too low and cut social programs.  You can’t do that and call yourself.

Here’s an interesting graph about the country’s debt.  link

My Review of Dragon Age:Inquisition

Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2014 by tattoohero

First off, I’m not a paid professional, I’m a gamer.  I have not completed the game yet, but what I’ve seen so far is making it hard for me to continue.

I own a copy for the Xbox360.  I’ve not really played on my console for the past 18 months.  I own Dragon Age:Origins and Dragon Age 2 on PC, but I don’t like the controls on PC, so I passed on getting the PC version because I have everything for both games on my Xbox.  Yes, I own two copies of the other Dragon Age games.  I highly doubt I’ll do the same for Inquisition, unless EA gives it away like they did with Origins.
Graphics for the Xbox360 are horrible.  Mass Effect 3 looks better and that game is 30 months old.  The Frostbite engine is junk when it comes to the older consoles.  This makes me wish BioWare had just released it on the new consoles and PC.   I had zero expectations for the game and I’m very disappointed.

The graphics are junk, the load times are over one minute.  I timed one at 72 seconds.  Really?  Over a minute for load times?  That is completely unacceptable.  Mass Effect 3 didn’t take that long.  Again, Mass Effect 3 is a 30 month old game.  It looks better and runs better.  Different engine too, Unreal.

They have difficulty settings.  Casual, normal, hardcore, and nightmare.  I like to play on casual.  If I want a challenge, I’ll turn up the difficulty.  But I don’t.  I want to see the story not die 10 times trying to close a rift.  I’m on casual and dying way too much.  The loot drops are junk, nothing worth using.  Schematics are nice, but I don’t want to spend most of my time getting mats to make stuff.  The game should drop useful stuff, but so far, it’s not.

I wanted to love this game, but I don’t.  I’m very frustrated with it.  I should not have issues beating enemies on casual, but I am.  I shouldn’t need to use the tactical to get people were they’re needed on the easiest setting.  I didn’t in the other two games, but BioWare seems to force that in the third installment.

The only thing keeping me playing is I want to see the story.  That’s good enough, but the graphics, long load times plus getting beat down on casual is making it hard to keep playing.  Which is sad because I really liked the other two Dragon Age games.

Shopping on Thanksgiving/Black Friday

Posted in Uncategorized on November 30, 2013 by tattoohero

When I was growing up in the 1970’s, Thanksgiving was a time for family.  Nothing was open not even the grocery store.  I did live in a small town with a population roughly about 2,500.  It was time you spent with family members you don’t see very often.  We always went to my grandmother’s house in Missouri.  We lived in Kansas, so the drive was only a few hours, but we always spent the weekend.  It was a time I loved because I got to see cousins I didn’t get to see very much because my uncle served in the Marines.  This was the only time of the year, I could see these family members.  We’d sit around the TV watching football all day or napping something both.

As I said before, Thanksgiving day, none of the stores where open.  Over the years, grocery stores started to stay open until noon so people could get the last-minute things for your meal.  Gas stations on the highways were open, but retail stores were never ever open.

Police, fire, and medical service jobs are never a straight 9-5 job.  There is someone working those jobs 24-hours a day.  Holidays included.  These jobs are essential jobs.   Who are you going to call when your dumb uncle didn’t thaw out the turkey properly before trying to fry it and burns the crap out of himself?  Yup, that’s right, you’re calling the fire department.  These people love what they do.  They love helping people.  That is why they do those types of jobs.  They know when they take these jobs, they can work any shift on any day.

Even people in broadcast media know they don’t get holidays off.  The person working at the utility company, might get called in to work for an emergency outage.  These jobs are essential.  Holidays off are not an option.  Typically, they do get a holiday off every once in a while, or get a schedule easier for them to have dinner with their family.

That is what is important.  Spending time with your family.  Is it too much to ask that people get one day a year off to have that time with their family?

Since when is shopping for a cheaply made item from China more important than spending time with your family?

To those that feel that it is okay to work on Thanksgiving because there are jobs that require it.  Retail jobs are not, I repeat, are not, essential.  Being closed for one day, doesn’t not hurt anyone.  Believe it or not, being closed on Thanksgiving doesn’t hurt the big box stores at all.   If a small business can close for a day, so can the big box stores.

Is it too much to have some civility while shopping?  Is going to jail over towels or a parking space worth it?  People are fighting over these things and the police and ambulance are being called.   Link  Nothing is worth fighting over.  If you can’t get it today, you’ll be able to get it later.  At the same price?  Probably not, but again, I ask….Is going to jail over a parking space worth it?  Is a trip to the hospital worth it?  Did you really save any money?  I doubt an ER bill saved you much money when you wanted to save bucks on a cheap TV or laptop.

Stores being open on Thanksgiving and how they do their sales are Black Friday are excellent examples of GREED!  That is all it is.  Pure unadulterated greed.  Where are these family values I keep hearing about?  Of course these are the same people who defend Wal-Mart’s dirty business practice too.  I’m not against profit, but I am against profit at  the expense of the worker.  When greed rules everything, when stockholders are the only ones who are important, then we, as a country, have lost our way.  This country wasn’t built by white-collar jobs.  It was built by hard, manual labor.

Thanksgiving is a day meant to be spent with family and be thankful for what you have.  It was not meant to be another day of Black Friday.  Which really started last weekend.  Next year, Halloween will be the beginning of Black Friday sales.  Hell, why not?  More sales are good right?  Fighting over a $29 tablet is good.  Buying crap you don’t need on credit because you don’t have the cash to buy is it good?

People need to think about that.  Buying crap you don’t need with the bank’s money and you pay interest on it.  Or pay off the balance.  Those people I don’t get.  If you had the cash, why didn’t you use that instead.  Why give money to the bank unnecessarily?  Even if you pay off the balance every month, the bank is still making money off of you.  Fees, baby, fees.

People of this country need to step back and think what is important.  Family and community vs buying cheaply made crap from China on a day we’re suppose to give thanks.

 

My Thoughts on Mass Effect 3

Posted in Entertainment, Gaming, Social on November 13, 2013 by tattoohero

Mass Effect 3 is a video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts.  It was released 6 March 2012.  So, yes, this is something I probably should have written back in March of 2012 and not have waited until November 2013 to give my review on the ending of game I wanted to play as much as I wanted to see Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith.  I even reserved my copy at Gamestop a year before it was released.  At the time, it had a Fall 2011 release date then it got moved to 1st quarter of 2012 then the actual 6 March 2012.   Summer of 2011, they announced the Collector’s Edition, so I paid the extra $20 and got the version instead.  I have never been as excited for a game as I was for Mass Effect 3.

I made sure I knew enough about the game without spoiling any of the story.  I’m a fan fiction writer and I have written over two dozen stories set in the Mass Effect universe. [link]  I did a lot of speculating about how the war with the Reapers would play out and some I hit on and some I didn’t.  The last thing I wanted was to know what was in the story.  I knew about certain characters returning.  I was okay with knowing that, but I at the same time, I wasn’t surprised they were returning.  Some of the squadmates from the first game didn’t join the fight in the second game.  The way BioWare create this trilogy is amazing.  Choice matters.  Do I pull a doucher move and punch this reporter chick in the face?  Even as a male Shepard?  Or do I walk away without answering her questions?

I was set, ready to play once I got my hands on the game at the midnight release.  I had been keeping an eye on Twitter because the Mass Effect team had started tweeting about the Reaper invasion, bringing the story of the game to Twitter.  They didn’t spoil anything in the game, they added to the story.  Which I loved.  I applaud them for doing that.  At 11pm EST, I did read a tweet that shocked me and I mentioned to those I was standing around waiting for Midnight what was tweeted.  My favorite reporter had just died.  Why couldn’t it be the one I always punch in the face?  Oh, because I get to punch her in the face for a third time.  That works too.  I was sadden by the lost of Emily Wong, the reporter Shepard helped in the first game.

I knew about the reporter, Diana Allers.  Before the game, I was dead set against letting her on board the Normandy.  I didn’t want to be like General Custer, having a reporter with you all the time.  But once I found out how things were going to work, having her on the ship is a plus.  Allers wasn’t as annoying as I thought, but still rather not have a reporter on the ship.  Some of my playthroughs, she’s not on the ship.  I had 10 different Shepard ready for import.  Five male, five female.  Every Shepard is different some how.  I played the game every way possible, I think.  I still think I might have missed something some where.  I found something new just last week during a PC run.

I get home and start playing by 1am.  I played until the sun came up, went to bed, got up and played all day and all day on Wednesday.  My plan was to import my first run of Mass Effect 2.  It was an import with zero DLC from Mass Effect 2 completed.  It was a rental at the time and the Cerberus Network code wasn’t available to those who rent.  Keep the game, they send you to box and the contents in the box.  Which I did a few weeks later. My plan was to slowly import all my different Shepard(s).  I had conflicts with different love interest.  Some people died because I made a bad choice in Mass Effect 2.  Some died because I had to choose between two people(Mass Effect).

As a fan fiction writer there were a few things I really wanted to know.  What is Dr. Chakwas first name was tops of my list of things I was hoping to get answers to.  Getting more background on characters makes it easier for me to write them into my stories.  Is the things I heard were going to be addressed in the game actually going to be in the game?  Yes, I was very happy when I learned Dr. Chakwas first name is Karin.  I never laughed so hard as I did when Liara finally meets with her father and listen to that conversation.  Pure gold.

There were decisions in the game that were gut wrenching to make.  Some of the renegade moves cut me to the core.  How did I just do that?  What was I thinking?  That happened more than once during my first renegade Shepard.  That was a very rough run.  Shooting people in the back, allowing someone to take their own life in front of you.  Yea, rough stuff.  The game was emotional rollercoaster.  I laughed, I got mad at what was going on, and at the end, I cried.  The ending to this day still brings tears to my eyes.  Seeing that Shepard died had me crying so hard, I couldn’t play anymore that night.  I even tried to play the multi-player but my mind wasn’t into it.  I had to take the rest of the night off.

Even knowing in my stories my canon Shepard lives a long and happy life with Dr. T’Soni.  Knowing you can head-canon Shepard living if your war readiness is high enough does not stop the tears.  The music is very moving at times and sets the tone for the end game scenes.  I found the ending to be very fitting to the arc of the story.  BioWare stated this was the end of Shepard’s story before the game launched.  Seeing the choices with Shepard possibly living in only one of them.  Yea, it’s the end of Shepard story.  I am perfectly fine with that.  I was fine with the ending.  I questioned a few things.

I had many chats with a Xbox buddy about the ending.  Many, many chats.  Then BioWare announces the extended cut to placate the nerd rage about the ending.  Again, they stated they were not changing the ending.  The fans reaction to the games ending and how BioWare handled it makes me question why a company would want so much input from fans.  The extended cut and the Leviathan DLC added much to the back story.  But it wasn’t something me and my Xbox buddy hadn’t already thought of.  Everything in the extended cut, I thought would happen.  

People were freaking out about the destruction of the Mass Relays.  What?  They can’t be rebuilt?  I wonder if people sat and thought about things before they started freaking out?  It’s wouldn’t be the first time in human history for things to be lost during a war and rediscovered a few decade/centuries later.  Knee jerk reactions help no one.  There was a lot of that going on with the ending.  The rage at BioWare Social Network caused me to stop posting there.  There are sections of that forum I refuse to click on because I don’t want to read what people are posting.  It’s been almost two years and people still bitch about the ending.  Get over it already.  It wasn’t that bad.

I hated hearing how our choices didn’t matter.  Actually, yes they did.  Just not in the manner you thought.  They turned everything into a numbers game.  And if you had an import with 100% done in the other two games, it was easy to have a high enough war readiness number to make it seem like your choices didn’t matter.  But I ask this.  What does curing the genophage have to do with a choice at the end?  I wonder how many players who ranted about the ending knows there are actually 6 different cut scene ending to the game and none of them deal with the three choices at the end, but are attached to the war readiness number.  There are ranges to them.  The lower the number the worst things are.  I destroyed the Reapers and everyone else.  No one got off the Normandy.  The two squadmates who were with me died during the trench run added content.  Choices matter, just not how most thought it would.

I think the biggest problem with the war readiness number and how that was configured by adding the multi-player as part of it.  As much as I think the way they added multi-player to a single-player game was a good one, but looking back on it, I’m not so sure it was a good idea after all.  Some one can promote enough classes from the multi-player to never ever have to worry about their war readiness number at the end of the game.  Hell, all the added single-player content did that too.  If you bought it.  This after they lowered the number when they released the extended cut.

After all these months and after taking a lengthy break from Mass Effect, I have can still find things I’ve not seen before.  Which is cool as hell.  I still don’t get all the hate about the ending.  I wonder about the indoctrination theory crowd.  As soon as I started hearing about that, I started laughing.  Then when I read more of the arguments, I stopped trying to figure these people out.  I could go on and on about it, but I won’t.  No way does that theory work in my view.  I’d go with everything was a dream before I go with the indoctrination crowd.

At times, I do think the writers left the ending and what happened to Shepard for the player to decide.  Is that last gasp from Shepard on the pile a rubble, Shepard’s last breath or coming to from being knocked out from the explosion?  I know what happens with my Shepard.

 

 

Gamers and Bad Attitudes Toward Others

Posted in Entertainment, Gaming, Social on November 11, 2013 by tattoohero

I’ve been playing games at home since my parents bought a Tandy version of Pong in the mid-1970’s.   I didn’t play much when I was in my early 20’s, but I got back into gaming with the Super Nintendo and I’ve had ever new generation of consoles since the SNES.  Games have improved so much in the past forty years.  While the quality of games have continue to improve with each passing year, the attitude of the gamer as been on a steady decline.

I found this article back in August.  I want to comment on this paragraph….”I could go on and on about this, but I’m just going to consider one example: the word ‘noob.’ If you decide to take up almost any other hobby in the world, you can find beginning classes teaching you how to do it. If you want to knit, you can go to a yarn store and meet fellow knitters who will help you get the basics. If you want to play basketball, you can join a rec center or community league at a beginner level. And generally, the people already involved in those hobbies are thrilled to have someone with whom they can share their passion. But if you want to get started as a gamer, you get told, ‘go home noob,’ because people in this hobby hate newcomers so much they turned the word itself into an insult. How are we supposed to thrive as an industry if we are actively hostile to growing our audience?”

When I read this article in August, the above paragraph hit home with me.  I’ve been in the receiving end of the insults because I was new to something in a game.  People don’t think twice about insulting someone on the internet.  We’re all anonymous.  What does it matter if you call someone a ‘fucking retard’?  Gaming is all about you and your desires correct?  Never mind you are playing in a small group with people you’ve never played with before.  Someone in the group might be new to the game and doesn’t know what is going on or hasn’t fully grasped everything and is still trying to learn.  Berating them doesn’t help.  It makes you look like an utter and complete asshole.  It makes the new player question if they want to continue to attempt to learn the game or not.

I’ve been playing video games since Pong.  I grew up with them.  I play games on console and on a PC.  I even play some on my phone if I’m that bored and not home.  I did take ten years off from PC gaming and just this past winter did I finally build a gaming PC tower.  Trying to play games on a cheap laptop wasn’t cutting it when I keep hearing how great games look on it compared to the consoles.  At the time, I wasn’t seeing it.  I have noticed the difference since building the gaming tower.  I do think my monitor looks better than my TV.  That might have something to do with it.

In the years I was only playing games on console, I never really had any horrible experiences playing with others.  I have met some very nice, helpful people on Xbox Live.  I think the worst thing that went on with me was when Mircosoft ran the 1 vs 100 game.  I got many hateful messages because my gamertag was listed in the top 10.   The hate towards me was nothing compared to what others in the group I played with were getting for being in the top 3.  Being called stupid when you were listed in the top 10 for high score in a trivia game is actually funny.  I did laugh those messages off.  The vulgar ones got turned in as a complaint.

Even playing with random people on Xbox Live, I never really had any horrible experiences that caused me to quit playing in the middle of a match.  I wish I could say that with the PC.  I really do.  Some of the experiences I had these past few months while playing with random people has been unpleasant at times.  I’ve never been one to just rage quit on a match with others.  I’ve seen others do it on a whim, but I always try to work my way through the rough stuff and finish.  Whether or not it was successful or not didn’t matter to me.  At least I stuck around to finish and didn’t quit when things got hairy.

I have quit on groups out of frustration while playing on my PC.  Mostly it’s because someone has an elitist attitude and starts berating me because I wasn’t doing what they felt I should be doing.  Too many players have no patience to help a fellow gamer grow as a gamer.  Instead they’ll talk down to them and make them feel unwelcome to the community.  I am curious on how many new MMO players tried any of the bigger title MMOs and quit playing because they didn’t know anyone else playing and those they meet treat them with contempt because they are new?  I’m sure it happens more often than people think.

It’s bad enough when we treat our fellow gamers with contempt, it crosses the line when gamers start harassing game developers like what was going on at BioWare with one of their writers.  Games only thrive when players play them.  When gamers treat other games with contempt because they don’t know everything there is to know about this or that game, it puts gaming in a negative light.   Mass Effect 3’s ending is the prefect example of this.  I, personally, did not hate the ending.  I felt it fit with the story.  Me and one of my Xbox friends had long talks about the ending.  He, like me, was fine with the ending.  Could it have been better?  Yes, it could have.  The original ending should have had the epilogue in it and I think that would have quelled most of the fans frustration.

The easy access to gaming companies make is easier for us, gamers, to communicate with developers of games.  We, as gamers, have a responsibility to communicate with them in a civilized manner.  Nothing turned me off more reading comments at BioWare’s Social Network than those that called the writers of the story lazy.  Those people were not lazy, they had to take choices the player is allowed to make into everything they wrote.  To tied everything together.

The attitude of many at the BioWare’s forums caused me to stop posting there.  Then the one area I was posting in got closed because of the infighting between players over certain characters.  I don’t even know what character thread the problem was in or if it was in many threads.  I was at the site a few days ago looking at stuff for the next Dragon Age game, and took a look and that sub-forum of the forum for Mass Effect 3 is still closed.  A year later, it’s still closed.  Sad.

This is because people can’t get along.  Has the internet jaded us that much that typing an insult is done without a second thought?  Do people forget there is someone on the other side of that connection playing along side them reading the insult and know its towards them?  Or do people just don’t care about anyone but themselves?  The attitudes I have seen while playing MMOs have left a horrible impression on me and makes me question if I want to continue to play in the genre in the future.  People need to take a step back and remember a time when they were new to something.  People need to learn patience with new players.  Either ignore their questions or help them.  Being a smart ass doesn’t help anyone but your ego.  Communities only work and thrive when people work together.  That means the experienced player needs to help the inexperienced player or leave them alone.  The community is at its strongest when everyone works together.  This includes helping the new player gain experience and help them to grow as a player.

Fiasco In Miami

Posted in Entertainment, Social, Sports on November 9, 2013 by tattoohero

I’m sure most who have paid any attention to the sports section of the news knows about what is going on in Miami.   There are allegations of bullying by a veteran towards a younger player.  I don’t live in the Miami area, I’m about five hours north on I-95 in lowly Jaguar Country, so I don’t know all the details on what is  happening inside and outside the Dolphins locker room.  

From the outside looking in, it looks bad.  Hazing has been a part of our society since long before I was born in the late 1960’s.  As the years have gone past, hazing has slowly been frown upon.  Joking around is one thing, but being mean and vicious with the hazing is another.  Far too many think the younger player, Jonathan Martin, needs to “man up” and take the abuse from Richie Incognito.  

I’m not sure what bothers me more.  That bullying in the work place is allowed or how many fans are reacting to this story.  From the stories I’ve read on this through out the week, it seems to be all over the place.  I’m sure some place in the middle is the actual truth. Truth is this…we as fans will never know what was actually said between them or the context on which it was said.  

Maybe the coaches did ask Incognito to “toughen up, Martin”.  Does that mean threatening texts and voice messages were necessary to toughen up a younger player?  My question is if the coaching staff felt the Martin needed to be “toughen up”, why did keep him on their roster and not just release him?  Or draft him in the first place?  Did the Dolphins do enough digging during the interview process at the 2012 combine to get a glimpse of the character of Martin?

One story has a Wide Receiver saying Martin laughed at the text.  Martin may very well have done that, but doesn’t mean he found it haha funny, but used laughter to mask how he really felt.  People do struggle fitting in to groups.  Even ones they should fit easily into.  Martin could be that type of person.  Someone who struggles with mental issues.  A person is unsure if they fit well with others and may not say anything is bothering them, but they struggle every day with trying to fit in.

Do I know for certain this is happening in the Dolphins locker room?  No, of course not.  I don’t know either player nor have I even been to a football game in Miami.

From the outside looking in, it looks bad and it looks like its Penn State all over again.  People knew bad things were going on, but no one bothered to step up and stop it until it becomes too big and blows up in everyone’s face.