What is this? The Borrowers?
I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve started to notice a very blatant trend in the gaming industry lately. What I’m about to discuss has happened for a very long time (and not only in the gaming industry) but it just seems so much more clear now, for whatever reason. In a previous article, I mentioned that the longer a game runs; the fewer ideas developers have for the future. This statement also proves true for the industry leaders themselves.
We can go with any of the bigwigs but I’ll stick with the three major companies anyone can recognize; Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony. For a very long time, each had unique things to offer to their fans and it remained that way indefinitely. All of a sudden, it was like these guys decided it was more about grabbing as many people as possible and making them want their product. An example would be when Nintendo released the Wii. We all know Nintendo for catering to a more family oriented audience, Microsoft for appealing to the “hardcore gamers”, and Sony having a middle ground between the two extremes. Nintendo’s innovation with the wii/wii remote ended up making them the forerunner in console sales and when Microsoft and Sony saw how this set Nintendo apart from them; they decided they wanted a piece of the pie as well. The prompt release of Microsoft’s Kinect and Sony’s Playstation Move proved that done are the days of being content in appealing to select audiences.
There are two sides to this equation though.
The fact that each of these companies is “borrowing” ideas from the other means that, at the very least, whichever console you decide to go with; you’ll still be able to take part in the fun involved in using whatever was borrowed without absolutely having to buy all three consoles.
Another plus of this “idea borrowing” is that the cut-throat nature of trying to be the best pushes each company to out-do its competitors, resulting in awesome leaps in gaming tech, game design/development, and gameplay altogether.
More competition means each company is going to try to crunch numbers, keeping the prices of consoles as low as possible. (We all remember Sony’s Playstation 3 and its whopping price tag of $500+).
If our favorite companies continue to “borrow” from one another, we may end up being left with an overwhelmingly stagnant taste in our mouths as each console comes closer and closer to almost completely emulating its “family members”.
If bullet point 1 does come to pass, these now separate companies may continue to want to stay that way; resulting in the possible demise of any one of them as a whole (they’d do better to combine their efforts and come up with a super-console if this were to ever come about) and us gamers will be left with fewer options to quell our thirst for console gaming.
Since we’ve reached the point where Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony are consistently and blatantly borrowing ideas, it may be a warning sign that console gaming needs drastic change. Will that mean the gaming world may be planning console gaming’s funeral next?
How do you feel about it all? A lot of people I’ve mentioned this topic too hadn’t even noticed until I pointed it out to them. My advice would be to keep your eyes open and (since we’re not able to predict the future) be ready for whatever ends up happening.
Here’s a link to the original article — http://www.thehim.net/what-is-this-the-borrowers-2/
Camping. No, Not the Kind You Do Outside
Remember “back in the day” when playing a video game was as simple as sitting in front of the television, popping in a game cartridge, and having at it to your heart’s content? Unfortunately, those days are mostly gone. Sure, there are plenty of stand-alone games offering that same cut-and-dry linear content that we grew up with and enjoy but this new craze of online play is sweeping over everything.
There are many pros and cons to online play, whether it’s massively multiplayer or just online multiplayer (such as console games like Battlefield or Halo) but one of the largest cons in online gaming is a word all of us gamers hate and dread. Camping. Let’s raise some awareness about this plague upon gamers worldwide.
To pull directly from our trusty Urban Dictionary:
The Act of staying in one spot in a map in a first person shooter video game to gain a tactical advantage over an enemy or group of enemies.
The person committing the act of camping is the “camper” and the spot on the map it is happening in is “camped”.
Camping isn’t limited to one weapon, or playing style.
“Is *gamertag* camping? I haven’t seen him all game”
“That guy camped the Redeemer all game”
“I keep getting sniped, where is the camper?”
Camping doesn’t just apply to FPS games (first person shooter) but I’m sure you all catch my drift. Now, there’s also a difference between unacceptable “camping” and actual camping. An example of acceptable camping would be that, you as a player decide to find a spot sitting in the jungle at the center of the map, slightly off away from battles and such. You wait there, poised. And when someone walks by you, you kill him or her. You’re camped in one spot but you’re not exploiting the game, doing anything unfair, or creating an extremely angering and un-fun environment for other players.
Conversely, Actual camping is an atrocity to gaming and it needs to stop. The biggest reason that camping still occurs to this day is because developers do not put the proper mechanisms in place to prevent camping from happening. A very good example of this is in past versions of Call of Duty games. A match starts with two opposing teams on different parts of the map, as the game goes on, players from the opposite team make their way into (or just outside) your base where you “spawn” (come back to life after being killed) and plant themselves there, killing you every time you come back. This ultimately means that you will never be able to do anything but die and you don’t have a fair chance in winning the match against the other team. This is just one example of the many ways players can camp the enemy team and ruin the experience for them.
Developers have been very good about trying to prevent this sort of thing from continuing to happen; yet it still does. First of all, what needs to happen is that developers of games in which a camping situation may present itself should sit down and plot out every possibility conceivable at the time of creation, then again after beta testing.
After eliminating areas of the game that can be exploited before release, there should also be a system set in place where players are flagged and penalized (in a way that actually deters them from trying to exploit the game) for camping, sort of like a “criminal record”.
The problems associated with game exploits and camping may start with developers and the game itself but it ends with gamers. There has been many a time that I have met people who feel too safe and secure being however far away they are, playing over the internet, that they’re obnoxious and rude. Not only do they act a fool but they are normally the ones to start exploiting and camping. None of that would make anyone want to continue playing something they were once excited to take part in.
There are ways for players to report poor conduct (such as the reporting features on Xbox live) but there’s no real way for other players to know that someone they’re matched with has camping/exploitive tendencies. Hand-in-hand with that, there’s not much of a penalty for players that do these things. Even if their account gets banned, they can go out and buy a new Xbox Live subscription. I’ve also seen this happen on League of Legends. Players who end up getting their accounts banned on LoL (League of Legends) will just make a whole new account and continue with their shenanigans. I know that some of you might be thinking, “Well there are some games that have already done what you’re asking/talking about.” While that may be true, what I am proposing is for all games involving online play where camping and exploits could become an issue to use what I am suggesting.
So this is for all of us out there who just want to enjoy the games we play and not have it ruined by someone else. If you gamers continue to exploit games, act rudely towards one another, create a negative play environment and get away with it, then not only are game companies going to lose money because people will stop buying their games; for fear that they’ll only have to deal with the same thing that they already experienced, but the gaming community will become fractured and broken, irreparable.
Much like Uncle Sam, I am advocating for the gaming community. I want YOU to save online gameplay now! Do your part, people.
Here’s a link to the original article — http://www.thehim.net/fps-camping/
The Death of World of Warcraft; When’s the Funeral?
Not many people have wanted to talk about this sore subject, but I think it’s time to bring it all out on the table.
Let’s start with what is plainly obvious; World of Warcraft is not what it used to be. I think we can all agree on that. Whether one believes that is a good thing or not, it’s definitely morphed into a whole new beast. Now, think about it, what MMO do you know of that’s lasted indefinitely? I know that in order for a precedence to be established, something has to do it, but the only thing infinite in this world is the universe. So if we branch of that fact, there will be a time when World of Warcraft is no longer with us.
There comes a point in everything’s existence when we all question when it will end and I, among many others, speculate that World of Warcraft’s time is running out.
Here’s some reasons why:
World of Warcraft has been up-and-running since 2004. While impressive, it’s concerning because the longer a game runs, the less ideas the developers have to go from in creating fun/engaging content that doesn’t break the canon of the game’s story.
Sources reporting on the number of people playing WoW say that the numbers were holding steady around 10 million subscription holders; but in the past year, the number of subscriptions has dropped over 1 million people. This means that since the release of Cataclysm, there’s been almost 3 million people who have quit playing WoW.
Rivals trying to make a name in MMO history have clawed on for dear life, trying to compete with Blizzard (now Activision) for the top spot. For a very long while, no one could even come close. But in recent times, some games have popped their heads around the corner that are enticing the MMO crowd to go elsewhere. Among these games are Star Wars: The Old Republic and the more-recently talked about Elder Scrolls Online.
It’s come to the point where World of Warcraft is ripping off game-style and content from other existing games. It is no longer a stand alone original or a powerhouse for uniqueness. A clear-cut example of this is the fact that Mists of Pandaria introduced an almost exact replica of Pokémon as part of the expansion. They call it the “Pet Battle System” and you can even battle these creatures out in the world to “catch them all”. There’s nothing like a real-world example of the Xzibit “Yo Dawg” meme to make you chuckle. “Yo dawg, I heard u like WoW so we put Pokémon in ur WoW so u can WoW while u Pokémon.”
Those are just some of the reasons, not all. And I’m sure that anyone more interested will go do their own research into the matter. But the points I’ve touched on are major ones, to say the least. Coming from a 7 year veteran of WoW, things are not looking good. I really do believe that if Activision listened to its fans and made the game diverse in ways that truly appealed to all MMO players (whether they are hardcore or casual) and didn’t limit either side of the equation, they would be able to last a good bit longer.
So when will World of Warcraft’s funeral be? I suppose we won’t know until it happens. But it’s up to you to decide whether you accept its inevitability.
Here’s a link to the actual article — http://www.thehim.net/death-of-world-of-warcraft/
The job search is on!
Hello Sarah fans! I’m proud to announce that I’ve decided to step down from my role as freelance designer/writer in order to scope out the job market. I greatly enjoy working with clients on a freelance basis and providing them with all their design and writing needs but I’m interested in experience the other side of it all.
I’ve talked to a lot of my friends and peers that are also in my line of work and they all agree that while working freelance is exciting and rewarding, so is working for a company. Honestly, I want to be a part of a team and learn all there is to learn. That’s one of the biggest drawbacks to working on my own. One of my favorite things in the entire world is learning and when you work alone as a freelance designer, there’s no one else around for you to learn from or show you new techniques and skills.
What do I want to get out of working for a company? A different work experience, meeting new people, and adding to my knowledge-base. That’s my goal for the new year, wish me luck!