Tuesday, July 31, 2012

This Was Predicted

"The game that shall not be named" is going free 2 play.

To quote my predictions for the year:
3. "the game that shall not be named" will have a tough year, but will survive.  The argument to take the game Free 2 Play will begin around July.
Next time, I'm putting money down in Vegas.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

DOTA2: Single Draft

I've felt lost lately in DOTA2 playing against heroes that I have never seen in a game before.  At the same time I was getting frustrated playing the same heroes over and over because I felt comfortable with them and ending up with completely different results.  One game I will dominate as Viper and the next one I can't even scratch my laning opponent.  To force myself to expand a bit and help learn about the numerous heroes in DOTA2 I have switched to playing Single Draft mode.  Each player is randomly given a choice of three heroes to choose from (one hero per main attribute type: intelligence, agility, or strength).

Since this change I have played games as Phantom Lancer, Nightstalker, Omniknight, and a few others I have almost never seen in pub games before.  I found myself doing well with some such as Phantom Lancer, but not feeling like I really knew why I was doing well.  That forced me to research the heroes a bit and actually learn something (like how to control illusion minions!). 

Out of all the things I've done in DOTA2, this is easily the change that has resulted in the most knowledge gained on my part.  It has also wisened me up to some intricacies of DOTA2 which I can explore more as I find heroes I enjoy playing.  My end goal is to have at least ten heroes I feel comfortable playing in a pub game, which is about where I was with League of Legends (though in LoL I felt like I could far more easily pick up new heroes).

For anyone playing DOTA2, I highly recommend some time in Single Draft mode to open your opportunities to try and learn other heroes.  Its a surprise each time you load up a game and if you care about team composition, single draft's randomness can land you some wonderful learning opportunities.

NOTE: Yes, I understand this makes some players angry as they don't want "scrubs" using Single Draft as a sort of testing bed.  However, the fact that the picks are random, there is always the chance of a team being shafted.  This makes the match all the more fun in my opinion.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PC Upgrade

My PC died two weeks ago, so its upgrade time:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/bJFA
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/bJFA/by_merchant/
Benchmarks: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/bJFA/benchmarks/

CPU: AMD FX-6100 3.3GHz 6-Core Processor
Motherboard: ASRock 970 Extreme3 ATX  AM3+ Motherboard  ($84.99 @ Amazon)
Memory: Corsair Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3-1600 Memory  ($48.99 @ Amazon)
Hard Drive: Samsung 830 Series 256GB 2.5" Solid State Disk
Case: Antec One ATX Mid Tower Case  ($49.99 @ Amazon)
Power Supply: OCZ 650W ATX12V Power Supply  ($92.65 @ Amazon)
Total: $276.62
(Prices include shipping and discounts when available.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Too Many Assumptions: EU Court Ruling Allows for Re-sale of Used Digital Games by End-Users

There is a stir in the online PC gaming community today over a EU court ruling that allows for the resale of digital licenses.  Read up here.  The important part of the ruling is: "Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy."  This is big news.  HUGE news for software copyright.  The immediate Internet conclusion is that Steam or any other digital distribution platform for games will have to allow end users to resell their games for profit.  However, its all being taken too far in regards to digital distribution.  This will not and cannot change anything with digital distribution.

I won't claim to be an expert in copyright law, but I do consider myself a logical thinker.  Thinking this out a bit, I don't see anything in the ruling that forces a digital distribution platform to allow another user access to a game license bought by one of its other users.  The license to a game can be transferred to another user, but access via a digital distribution platform is under a completely different license.  The ruling may force the likes of Steam to allow user account sales, but it does not in any way look like it forces Steam to allow a different user access to a license you've resold.  Theoretically, as you no longer own the license, Steam could deactivate your access to the game while the new owner is forced to procure the game files and installation methods independent of Steam.

In fact, it would be like buying a new game from Walmart and then having a law forcing Walmart to resell that game for the purchaser, deliver it to the new owners house, set it up for them and ensure it is in brand new cloned working order, and then provide all the monies to the original purchaser.  It makes zero sense.  Walmart sold you the game and if you resell it, it is up to you to figure out how to get it to the new owner and its then up to the new owner to have a method to use it.

Oh and there is a little United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling (basically then upheld by the Supreme Court) for Vernor v Autodesk in the good ole' US of A which pretty much puts the kibosh on the reselling of software licenses.

Even if we were in fairy-tale land and the resale of used digital games was allowed, I wouldn't want it.  The sale of used physical copies of games already forced developers into the models we currently have.  Downloadable content (DLC) and the piecemeal sale of games is a direct result of developers looking at ways to get around used game sales.  Every developer now is building or has built online service platforms around their game franchises to lock features behind pay walls.

I much prefer the path the PC gaming industry is actually on: free 2 play (F2P).  Players want to pay for games and are more than willing to happily spend away on games that keep them engaged.  The F2P model allows them to try before they buy and then show the developer in a tangible way what they like about the game.

There is so much doom-casting about the current gaming industry that we are all missing the fact that the PC gaming industry has completely transformed itself over the past two years.  Reselling of digital licenses for digital games would be a huge derailment.