Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Diablo 3 servers are down.

Sooooooo servers are down again for D3. I was browsing reddit and they pointed out that Diablo 3 is being completely blasted on  metacritic which is pretty surprising since pretty much anyone who I've spoken to so far loves it as much as I do.

The theory is that people are upset about server instability, particularly that it took at least an hour for the vast majority of players to log on. Judging from all of the comments crying about the always-on DRM that seems likely.

To be honest I expected a bumpy launch.  Expect a shitty launch from a popular game and you'll never be disappointed, but may be pleasantly surprised. I admit that after a very smooth Cataclysm launch I thought Blizzard had their ducks in a row but admittedly D3's an entirely different game.

So I thought "What is wrong with you people, it's been less than a day and you're already whining and moaning? Give them some time to work it out!"

And on the one hand I still feel this way, but on the other hand I'm starting to understand the other side. redditor TravUK made an excellent point I've not considered before: Why am I so willing to say "Give them a chance, it's just the first day" when I paid for a game to play today?

His example is a good one. If you buy a car from a car dealership and they say your car can be picked up at 9 AM your car will be ready at 9 AM. You won't arrive at the dealership and find that they're actually not open for a few hours, and when they do you have to wait in line behind hundreds of people, and when you finally do get your car you only get it for a few hours at a time since they'te going to keep taking your car back to make repairs.

As a gamer and particularly as a fan of Blizzard's online games I've grown accustomed to the first few days being rocky. Hell, when Ulduar came out very few people raided on my server for at least a week the servers were so unstable. And let us not forget the Summer of the Door Boss. (Yes, it lasted for months!)

I'm actually a bit angry at myself that I've become so easy-going about Blizzard constantly delivering unfinished products. The game itself is amazing, but with the servers going down so often it's particularly annoying. It'd be one thing if this was the first release of a major online title but they've had years and years to prepare and anticipate this.

I still love the game and wouldn't give it a terrible review over a temporary, soon to be fixed issue but I do have to say I've found myself annoyed over this recently.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Review of Diablo 3 Gold Secrets

This review is for the product as it is on 5/14/2012 and does not reflect any future additions or changes.

A few of my friends are producing a free Diablo 3 guide and they got into a discussion with Markco, who writes Diablo 3 Gold Secrets, about the validity of guides before the game's even released, all that stuff. Markco approached me to review his guide, I assume to give it some credibility, and I answered the call.

First off, note that no affiliate links appear in this post. I'm not reviewing this to make money or advertise, I'm reviewing it because, as I said when I reviewed WoWCrusher, if I have the time I will review any guide provided to me for review purposes. (Assuming I have the time!)  So here's what's up.

The Guide
Markco's guide is currently rather small. That's kind of to be expected when the game isn't even out yet (technically it probably is by the time you're reading this, but the guide's been available for a while now) and, to be honest, the information that is in the guide is informative and useful for players who are new to Diablo 3's item system or to using in-game economies.

As someone who didn't study much about D3 beforehand I'll admit even I, an avid D2 player and skilled WoW gold-maker, found the basic rundown of the Auction House set up useful.  It helped me get a handle on the mystery that is the crafting system, something Diablo didn't previously have, and as far as money making goes gave me a nice breakdown of fees for using the Real Money Auction House.

The Forum
When you get Markco's guide you also are given a free trial of the forums, I believe the free trial is about three months. The forum both provides a community of players to speak with as well as a way for Markco to dispense information regularly. I was particularly surprised to see a podcast section with over a dozen episodes already out. The podcasts are short, usually only a few minutes, but they're all to the point and informative.

One thing to note is that buying the guide only gives you a trial of the forums. So after three months if you still want to be a part of the forums, something that seems to be the highlight of the service, you have to continue to pay an ongoing amount.  I would have liked to see permanent forum access rolled into the purchase of the guide considering the guide will apparently cost nearly as much as the game itself, but that's not my decision to make.

The Bottom Line
Here's the deal about pretty much every guide, and I believe it rings true here. The information is probably available out there, scattered around the internet for free. If you're interested in spending the time teaching yourself how to do all this stuff I'm sure you can without paying a cent.

However, not everyone has the time or inclination.  I think that this set up provides a very easy way for players not interested in doing a lot of homework to stay up to date on relevant information. 

According to the sales page it looks like the guide will eventually cost about fifty dollars. I do recommend you ask yourself if you're willing to pay almost as much as you paid for the game for a collection of information about it. Odds are as more people sink their teeth into the game more and more sites will pop up with great, free information, and so I do not think I would ever say this guide is a necessity. TBH at fifty dollars plus an ongoing fee to remain a member of the forums I'm not sure I would recommend this guide, but I will say that it wasn't a bunch of fluff, the information was useful. I'm just not sure it's fifty dollars worth of useful.

Friday, May 4, 2012

"The Beta sucked so D3 will suck."

I'm surprised at how often I've heard this.  I, for one, am stoked for Diablo III and playing in the Beta just got me more hyped.  I was happy to have my normal "Annual Pass Welfare Copy" of D3 but after a few hours on the beta I was so impressed I went and ordered a Collector's Edition.

Some things some folks have said to me about the beta as well as my "Srsly?" responses:

  1. The beta was so easy, the game will be a joke.

    The beta is not the entire game, it is a small chunk. On top of that it's the chunk that's meant to introduce new and veteran players to the new mechanics and backstory. It's not going to be difficult. But you know what Diablo has? Difficulty settings.

    To be honest pretty much everyone should be able to beat Normal. Normal is the intro that gets you acquainted with the story and that you let your little cousin play when he won't leave you alone. Advanced players will eventually end up spending their entire time in the higher difficulties. I'm not sure how they're tuned for D3 but I can personally say that the upper levels of D2 were very challenging, especially if you didn't build your character perfectly.

    Still not enough for you? Well put up or shut up: Play hardcore.  Diablo has a hardcore mode in which you get one life. If you die you are dead forever, no respawning. When you have maxed a hardcore character then I will allow you to tell me the game is too easy.
  2. The servers were unstable during the weekend I got to play, Blizzard hasn't got their shit together.

    A lot of people got their first access to the beta during stress test weekend.  Stress. Test. Weekend. The entire point of that weekend was to experiment with what the servers can handle. If you judge game stability on the stress test weekend you are . . . beyond stupid.
  3. I hated the story from the beta, it wasn't evil enough, it didn't feel epic.

    For people who played previous Diablo games think about it from another angle. Had someone given you D2 before release and all you could do was clear the Den of Evil and kill Bloodraven would you think the game was too easy? Not epic enough? Probably. You really can't judge the storyline from the beta any more than you can judge the Deathwing encounter from Hogger.
  4. This is nothing like WoW.

    Of course it isn't.  A lot of people will be getting into the Diablo series starting with three. And welcome, new fans of the series!  But understand that this is not World of Diablocraft. Diablo is a game unlike any other in the Blizzard series, at least any of their big hits most folks will recognize. An adventure RPG, dungeon crawling spam-clicking experience, Diablo 3 will be very different from the Blizzard games most people have been playing for the past decade or so.   I hope you enjoy it as much as I know I will but remember: It's its own game, think of it as that, and not "This better be like WoW."
Anyways, just wanted to get that little rant off my chest. So excited!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gameathon 2012: The Streaming

For the past few days I've been just sitting here staring idly at my Steam library. I have many many amazing games left to start, play, and finish and yet I've been feeling overwhelmed. With so many games backed up I don't know where to start. So I've decided to make a little game out of gaming.

I am going to try to beat every game I have currenly backed up by July 31st. What's even more fun than the ultimate gameathon?

Streaming it.

That's right. From now until July 31st anytime I play a game I'll be streaming it at twitch.tv/faidtastic and since I'm making an effort to get through all my games let's just say I'm going to be streaming an awful lot.

So let's do a round up of games I need to start, play, and finish!

Gameathon Master List
And Yet it Moves
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Batman: Arkham City
Breath of Death VII
Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Dead Island
Dead Space
Dead Space 2
Defense Grid: The Awakening
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Dragon Age: Origins
Dragon Age II
The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Fallout: New Vegas
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Left 4 Dead 2 (Does it even have a campaign? If not, scratch this!)
Mirror's Edge
Penumbra Requiem
Rock of Ages
Sid Meier's Civilization V
Tomb Raider Anniversary
Tomb Raider Underworld
Tomb Raider Legend
Trine 2

Now, a few of these games I've already beat once but would like to do so again (Dead Space, Dead Space 2, the Tomb Raiders, etc.) and others I just have goals, such as Civ V that I want to beat a game on a difficulty higher than "You must be a toddler, let's make everything easy."

As you can see we've got a hefty amount of game time ahead of us. Two Elder Scrolls games, New Vegas, and a few other pretty serious undertakings. But I've got three months and my only time constraint is 9 hours of WoW raiding, so let's get this underway!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Minecraft Mornings: The Playlist!

Woo, got it all figured out. And I killed an Enderdragon too!  For a little over a week I streamed Minecraft every morning. The result is a playlist that tracks an entire playthrough from spawn until the Enderdragon was defeated. I was able to figure out some tricks to get even the longer episodes uploaded to Youtube so, when you've got several hours to kill, take a look!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Minecraft Mornings! continue!

Okay, after this post I should be all caught up! Below is the full playlist for Minecraft Mornings!, so the incredibly long second episode (five hours again, ugh, I need to start pacing myself) and this morning's two hour episode 3. May I suggest grabbing some popcorn before hitting play? 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Minecraft Mornings are coming!

Yesterday morning I had a lot of fun livestreaming Minecraft. (Check out the massive five hour Let's Play here!) The great thing about doing my Let's Plays as a livestream is that it removes the terribly long time spent uploading videos to Youtube at the cost of a slight loss in quality, though I feel that loss was negligible. So I've decided that I'm going to start doing a live Let's Play most mornings. I wasn't able to move the first episode to YouTube because it was so incredibly long but in the future I should be able to get them on the 'Tube. So be sure you're following twitch.tv/faidtastic if you want to be there live as the action happens. Rest assured that if you can't attend a livestream recording it should, Google-willing, be on YouTube after the fact from here on out. Catch up on the first episode here! (I recommend a snack, it's long!)

Further in on the video it gets a fair bit laggy. In the future this shouldn't be an issue. I'm pretty sure this is caused by streaming for five hours straight, I've heard other streamers talking about it, so from no on I'll stream in smaller chunks, so it should be a non-issue in the future! =]