Friday, March 26, 2010

Warhawk Tournament

Earlier today, Dylan Jobe, president of Lightbox Interactive (and former member of Incognito Entertainment, developers of Warhawk), announced a new tournament on the PlayStation Blog.

In Dylan's post he said "Many of us here in the States have been spending way too much time staring at our brackets so we’re opting not to do a traditional 'bracketed' tournament based on teams or clans. Instead, we’re going to make this competition more accommodating of the individual player by hosting special Capture the Flag Servers that players can join and play on. These servers will have their stats tracked separately for the duration of the competition, specifically Points earned ...  [and] the top 50 players that have earned the most Points on these designated servers will win the competition."

Now, this tournament is obviously designed to get players to return to Warhawk, so that the announcement of Dylan's next project (unofficially named 'Starhawk') will reach more people. 

But so far it doesn't appear to be working.

Many people are disappointed. Several years ago the Global Gaming League hosted an Official tournament, and everyone on the winning team was rewarded with a "champions blade."

This competition will end much the same. The winners will receive a champions blade (exactly like the 2007 GGL one) ManlyMisfit, a Warhawk General who has been playing for some time, said "Umm… I already have a champions blade… This 'tournament' is a good idea. But you SHOULD NOT give out the champions blade again. Simply because the majority of people WITH a champions blade would come back to warhawk IF the prize was worth it."

Another user, chemicalgroom, voiced his opinion, saying "Count me among the disappointed. It’s a team-based game; having a tournament that rewards individuals with the most points on an aggregate basis simply encourages video-game addicted lunatics to do whatever they can to steal kills and flag captures from teammates." Then he continues " Your no.1 player will be a well-known racist and homophobe who plays 24/7 and exploits a known glitch that you never fixed. Will you have your picture taken with him, Dylan?"

What really needs to be with this game is a patch. This game is full of glitches, and if fixed, many players would race back. Dylan has claimed in the past that Sony is in control of whether they can release a patch, and that they have denied them several times.

To me, this tournament seems to be a poorly constructed advertising technique that rewards players that live in their mother's basement and cheat  play for 20+ hours a day.

Originally posted at

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Game Review - Battlefield Bad Company 2 - 2nd Review and Tips

So I've been playing Battlefield Bad Company 2. I've spent more than 24 hours online and started though the single player mode.

This is a long post and covers lots of different aspects. In an effort to combat the simple tl;dr, this post is split up into several different sections, so here's the TOC:
Multi-player Review - The Bad
Multi-player Review - The Good
Multi-player Review - Overall
Multi-player Tips
Single Player Review - The Bad
Single Player Review - The Good
Single Player Review - Overall

Multi-player Review:

The Bad

In less than 24 hours of online play I've unlocked all the vehicle and recon upgrades, which is sad. While it encourages play in other classes, those other classes start off pretty bad. Take for example the medic: you start out with a light machine gun and a pistol. Add in a grenade and knife you're good to go. Except, you're a medic, how do you heal someone without a med kit?

Once you actually unlock the med kit, advancing in the medic class is easier, but it is just a little weird. What would have been better is to start everyone off as assault and then unlock classes. X number of long range hits, you unlock the sniper class. Y number of savior kills (killing an enemy who's shooting at a team member) you can be a medic. Z number of blown up vehicles, you should be a grease monkey. This would have made a lot more sense then a medic who can't heal.

While it is unlikely that a game developer will be reading this post, I still want to put out this proposal, if you're going to have to unlock weapons, Why not unlocking classes as well based on performance? Help guide the player to where they can do the most good for their team.

Also, from time to time I'll encounter a glitch or two, such as I had a reverse repair gun for a while yesterday. I couldn't repair an empty tank, but I should as hell could tear it apart.

The Good

Despite my previous reservations with the game, as it turns out the multiplayer isn't a knocked out in a weekend. It really takes some skill and practice to get good. While sometimes your team just steamrolls the competition, more often than not the battles are well balanced. I mean my best game to date is one where as defenders, we lost.

I also learned something, you can get a road kill with the UAV. That was a learning experience.


The multi-player aspect has some real replay value. It may seem easy, but there's some real effort needed to become a well rounded player in game. When you start getting good with one class there's another to try.


First, I cannot stress enough using the select button to highlight enemies. Especially as a recon, that is your job. Spotting enemies gets you points when they are killed as well as gives your team a chance to react. Don't be a douche and try to get the kill without spotting, spot first then shoot.

Stay with your vehicle. Until it blows up. Not kidding about this one as well. I can't count the number of times I've seen a tank run up the enemy base, and then everyone jumps out since it is damaged. Why not put a bow on the gift at that point? 1 engineer with a repair gun and you've just handed the enemy team a shiny new tank.

While we're talking about vehicles, take them when they spawn. If you leave a vehicle at your spawn, the enemy will take it if you don't.

Get behind the enemy force. Especially important for recon, with expanded ammo packs. A single recon behind enemy lines can cause havoc.

Spawn on your team mate behind enemy lines.

Give the recon some ammo. 2 "motion mines" isn't a lot. The can be the difference between win and lose in a close game. Spawn on your snipers and drop off a crate.

Oh and about spawning on snipers, if you spawn on a sniper who's in a nest, get away. You're drawing attention to them and going to get them killed.

Single Player Mode

The Bad

My biggest complaint so far with multiplayer mode is the trigger based story line. For example there's a scene where you have two guard towers and 3 guys standing around. The game instructions is to jump down follow the river and take the towers and such out from the side. That seemed like a piss poor idea to me, so I took out both towers with single shots and then the 3 guys on the ground. Quick, so there wasn't anything to worry about.

There's no movement, nothing. As soon as I hit the river, people start spawning out the banks. WTF? Even if I took everyone out, why weren't they camped out down there? I much prefer an Uncharted like approach to the baddies, it allows me to choose the style of combat rather than have it forced upon me. Is that really too much to ask?

Additionally, there's some glitches in the dialog from time to time. These same glitches appear to affect multi-player as well.

Finally, I keep trying to spot people in the single player mode. Yeah, that doesn't work so well. I use spotting in multi-player all the time and having it in single player would certainly help in identifying enemies.

The Good

The game play is smooth and the story line is interesting. It's fun and shouldn't be too bad to complete on any level of play. It also appears to be reasonably long, could be knocked out in a weekend.


Despite the glitches and slightly different controls, the single player is fun and interesting. Worth playing though once at the very least.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Battlefield Bad Company 2 - First Impressions

I have a headache this morning. That headache is left over from last night.

That headache is from too much BFBC2. Now let me say I've played through the first couple missions of the single player mode, so this will focus mainly on the multi-player mode.

And really, the online play is what drove me to buy this game. First let me say the demo and the game are different beasts. The medic doesn't start with a defibrillator or medpack. The engineer can't repair anything. The infantry can't restock anyone. At least not until you unlock those items for each class. This is not like the demo at all.

Also, it seems the point values are too low. 34,000 points to get the ultimate sniper rifle? In just a couple of hours I had 7,000 points. Within a few days it should be possible to unlock the sniper completely. A far cry from the determination that games like Warhawk demand to make general.

That said, the game controls are tight and it is a lot of fun. I played on my own some, then with an online friend, and meant to quit. I didn't and played for a while longer on my own again. I have the 15 sets of dog tags to prove it too.

I love the dog tags, great to know who fell into your knife range. To my victims, well enjoy the respawn screen.

The game play was enjoyable, but in looking at the leader board, more than a few game shops must have broken the embargo. As of 10 PM PST last night one of the top players had 36 hours in game. To do that, there has to be at least enough players to start a game so WTF? I would expect the game developers to reset the stats just at release time. How does one spend 36 hours online playing with multiple other people when the game was released less than 24 hours before?

Oh and, there's this note inside the box that early adopters (before April 1st, 2010) who buy the game will get two free maps on the first day and free access to maps later on. At first I thought this meant I had to go to the online "store" in the game to get these updates. Turns out I didn't have to download a thing, they are already included.

On my wish list, I would put a training or play alone mode to get used to things like the helicopters and such. I haven't figured out a way to do this yet. Also, if there were more specialty items (such as the repair wrench) per class, that would be awesome.

So bottom line, is the game worth the money? Yes, if you don't let the leader board thing bother you.

As for single player mode, I've still got to play that. The online game is just too much fun.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

24 Hrs Without PSN

So by the comments you'd think Sony sent a representative to kill someone's grandmother.

"I hope Sony gets sued to absolute oblivion over this."
- (salty language, beware)
Really? Good ol' American entitlement there. Yes, some games were not playable for almost 24 hours. Oh the horror. You might have to talk with your parents or see the sun. And you should have seen how upset people were getting that they might be missing a trophy or two.

"I don’t even care if they offered me a slim to replace my old one. I want my trophies back and thats[sic] all I care about.
Far as I’m concerened[sic]: if they can’t get me my trophies back they’ve lost a customer for life, and I’m taking as many people with me as possible. It’s harsh, but I’m speaking the truth."

Am I the only one who feels this is a slight over reaction? Being the first product to ever show a bug like this, I'm sure no one has ever had to cope in the past. Some people resorted to removing the internal battery, something I strongly recommend against.

The spectacle was fun to watch as I worked through the day. And then, the problem day passes and everyone is happy again, well almost.

Now I'll say, this is an inexcusable error by the PlayStation team, and this will definitely be a learning experience. Just think about the online sales? No PSN means no store. That said, the fan reactions are just as inexcusable. 24 hours without one game console. If that represents a life changing event, you probably should seek help.

The Ctrl-Alt-Delete comic is reproduced with permission from the author.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Is Your PS3 Borked Too?

So, not playing too much PS3 right now. Like a vast majority, I'm getting an error on log in.

Since this appears to be related to internal time tracking and leap years, I'm going to diverge a little bit and discuss the strangeness of our calendar.

For example, everyone knows that every 4 years is a leap year. This is a LIE. In truth, the rule is more complex but not too much more. Here's how the rules work.
  • If the year is evenly divisible by 400, it is a leap year
  • If the year is evenly divisible by 100, it is not a leap year
  • If the year is evenly divisible by 4, it is a leap year.
  • It isn't a leap year.
Now I know the math inclined are going, but wait a minute, 400 is evenly divisible by 100, and 100 is evenly divisible by 4. Yes, that's true, but the first match wins of the rules.

Yes, this means that 2100 will not be a leap year. Look it up for your self, if you don't believe me.

So what the heck does this have to do with the PS3 issue? Well without trying to excuse Sony for this bug, I'm trying to show the day/time rules we live by are a little, well, insane.

It does seem likely that this is a leap year bug. Understandable? Yes, given the date/time rules we have, but excusable? Not on your life.

This is one of the specific cases that should be tested for. And while some people claim, "this is the first even non-leap year since the launch" well that's true. The launch was on November 11, 2006. If you're trying to say that Sony wasn't testing the hardware February of 2006, you're just plain nuts. I guess it is just a game of wait and see right now.

Reality. Worst game ever.
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