Shall we go on? Transformers Universe Episode

For many reasons, I don’t normally reveal the next episode, but this is kind of important.

Slated for the last episode of the year was going to be a Browser-Based with Optional Client Download title of “Transformers Universe” which I looked at previously in a sidequest episode. Since the game was constantly going under changes, I delayed looking at it as a full episode until it seemed like it would settle into a groove and build from there.

Note that when I gave my clue in the ZMR episode, I stated that the game I was looking at was starting to worry me. Yes, it was Transformers Universe and my reasons were as follows.
My first login to the game in a while was immediately met with someone asking me why I was logged in, and proclaiming the game as “dead”. I’ve see it before, though. A lot of times when a game is new, or makes a change, people get upset, and make a big stink about how they will never play again, offering up grand announcement forum posts as if their personal investment in the game was a load bearing beam in which the game solely rests upon. I’ve seen it happen in SMITE, FFS, and look where that game has headed.
However, when looking over the forums and announcements, I noticed that it had been a month since there was an update. That’s nothing major, as Funcom has gone months without posting news letters on occasion, but it was the fact that checking back the next month still had nothing. Also, the last thing that was posted announced that “something big was coming” (which ended up as a community meme of sorts) and that they would reveal that answer in two weeks from that post. That now three month old post.

And instead, this is the announcement we got today: http://www.transformersuniverse.com/en/news/2014/12/important-tu-announcement-161214

Yep. The game is being shut down on January 31st.

So my question is… should I still bother? The due date for the episode was the 29th, so I have PLENTY of time to find another one, but there was a lot of people looking forward to doing this as well. Knowing that the game will be completely gone in a month after the episode airs seems disheartening, and of course, renders the whole point of my show moot. It’s one thing to have a game suddenly announce it’s shutting down after I’ve made an episode on it. It’s a whole other thing when I KNOW the game is shutting down, and when, before I start to make an episode on it.

Let me know how you feel, as you’re the key audience here. Would you like to see a comprehensive guide on the game that you’ll only have a month to play, or should that time be spent looking at something less doomed?

THIS POLL IS NOW CLOSED. ALTHOUGH WE WILL NOT BE LOOKING AT TRANSFORMERS UNIVERSE AS A FULL EPISODE, I WILL BE DOING SOMETHING WITH IT.

Immersion Broken: The Problem With Meme Reliance in MMOs

I have had this happen before… people calling me hypocritical for laughing at corny jokes and writing in one game, while bashing another for doing the same thing.

I laughed when Kaguya in Onigiri used the Doge meme.

I groaned in frustration when quests in TERA said things like “Gotta Kill Em All”

I chuckled when an NPC in the Secret World screamed “Get your stinkin paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”

I shrieked at my monitor when MegaGWolf linked me to the image of a Primal fight in FFXIV called “Quake Me Up Before You O’Ghomoro”

Why is it “ok” for that to happen in one game, while other games that do it infuriate me like no other? Well, as I said in the video that likely brought you looking for this article, “It’s all about context.”

In games like Onigiri, Loadout, or ZMR, the tone of the game is fitting of this kind of humor. Even in games that aren’t exactly lighthearted, like The Secret World still have moments of humor, and the real world setting of the game means these references aren’t uncommon or out of place. TSW’s leader of the Illuminati, the Pyramidion, is a disembodied voice that speaks using internet memes, and yet the character is presented in such a manner that you feel they actually are a character, and not simply a sequence of jokes serving to compensate for someone’s failed career in stand-up. Balance is key.

Alternatively, we have TERA, FFXIV and hell, even World of Warcraft. These are all worlds with established lore, yet plagued by stupid shoehorned modern day memes and stupid jokes. I can sort of give a pass to WoW, as the game is Blizzard’s through and through, but they have an occasional tendency to rely on memes too much.

This is why EnMasse is so much more suited for ZMR than TERA. ZMR is a Chinese GoW clone, filled with busty scientists, jiggle physics, guns, robots, zombies, Egyptian gods, and undead concubines. The game is clearly batshit insane and should be treated as such. Regardless of the choice outfits in TERA, however, that game is a world with established characters, an ongoing story, and a fantasy setting. The constant barrage of rampant perversion and stupid jokes with modern references seem painfully out of place in the setting, and comes across as blatant disrespect to the developer and their story.

This is also what makes Final Fantasy XIV so intolerably frustrating. As I said, it’s a FINAL FANTASY GAME. Why did the translation team need to rely on that stupid crap to carry the story? Were they being lazy? Were they not aware of the pedigree of the game they were working with? Are the blissfully unaware of the seriousness of the story, and what came before it?

Here… I’m going to put this in perspective. Below is a video showing the final moments of FFXIV 1.0 before the “extinction event” that took that version of the game down forever. I want you to put yourself into the shoes of these players… to stand around and witness the burning sky of their world…the slow haunting music singing them to their end… the inevitable countdown to their demise that all culminated with this cutscene:

I didn’t even give a shit about FFXIV 1.0, and all for dancing the “Suck it, Squeenix” dance upon its failure, but holy hell if that scene didn’t resonate with me on an emotional level. To witness such utter despair, to see the world people had played and lived in, torn apart by fire and destruction… to see the look of hope upon that Elezan’s face as he manages to port away most of the population of that world, smiling before being consumed by a wall of flames, and fading out to black… it got to me. Now I have to imagine that image. That scenario… every time I come across another instance of “Giant Enemy Crab”, “Give It To Me Raw” or the EX Shiva achievement being called “Let It Go”.

The translation team feeling its story is so weak that they have to rely on stupid jokes and memes for nearly everything in the game is blatant and utter disrespect for the source material, and I find it utterly reprehensible and disgusting. Hell the whole thing gets me so riled up that I had a knee-jerk reaction of anger when I saw a quest called “Too Many Cooks” until I realized there was no way that was made in reference to that very recent Adult Swim sketch.

Now, I understand that we are not all roleplayers. Not everyone cares about the story, or the characters, and that’s fine. But keep in mind those that do. Lord of the Rings fans aren’t going to be pleased when they’re trying to roam around Middle-Earth and take in the sights and sounds of Bree, while seeing an elf named Bonerlord69 running by.
When the game itself starts making the boner jokes instead… we feel the devs really don’t care about the game that we care about, and our confidence in their abilities, our hope for the future of the game, and our immersion, is completely broken.

I’ll leave you all with a final link to a video that Rob “Tyger” Rubin did on his show MUD2MMO that also covers the subject of immersion and memes, and his reasons for abandoning all hope for World of Warcraft.

ZMR (Episode 66)

The Truth About Rested XP

Oh, so you actually came here looking for this article after I mentioned it in the FFXIV review, huh? Well, here we go.
There’s an ugly hidden truth to the Rested XP system most often featured in World MMOs. What could be wrong with a system that rewards you for not playing, you ask? Read on.

For those of you who might not know what Rested XP is, it’s a system first implemented by World of Warcraft but adopted by games like Rift, SWTOR, FFXIV and many others. By finding an appropriate location, usually an Inn, you will gain a limited amount of bonus experience when killing monsters, until it wears off. Sounds awesome right? This way you can more easily catch up to friends that can play more often, as long as you log out in the appropriate spot every night!

Now before I start explaining something, I want to talk about another experience system often featured in Chinese and Korean MMOs, called “Experience Fatigue” also known as a Stamina system. A game like Rappelz would feature multiple tiers of this, dropping your experience gain by 25% per portion of your stamina level. If it was depleted, there was nearly no point in enemy grinding, which was a heavy part of the game, and you’d need to log off for a while to recover it. Some of these systems are more Draconian than others, some forcing you to log off, or making it impossible to progress through the game until you do. MMO players HATE these kind of systems, and every time I made mention of one in a game, I’d see more than a few people talking about how much they refused to play games with these restrictions. XP Fatigue systems were put in place to discourage players from playing a game for far too long, as MMO addiction and lack of productivity was an epidemic in these countries.

In fact, when Blizzard started to create their MMO, they knew the risks of addiction, and seen what happened with Everquest, so they decided they would include their own XP Fatigue system.
As you play the game, you gain normal XP amounts, but slowly become fatigued as you kill enemies. After a while, you’ll reach Fatigued status, and earn half the experience until you find an Inn and log off to replenish it. Players in the beta threw a FIT, flooding the forums with complaints, screaming about how Blizzard had no right to control how much people play, and punishing them for doing so was wrong.

Come the next patch, Blizzard announced a new system called the “Rested Experience Bonus”. As you play the game, you’ll gain normal experience from monster kills, but if you take a break by logging out in an Inn, you’ll earn a Rested Experience Bonus, giving you double the amount of XP you’d normally gain until you run out. Players rejoiced, and considered Blizzard as the most amazing and giving developer.

Here’s something you’re probably figured out unless you’re not very good at math. The values were never changed.

Under the Fatigue System, if a monster gives you 100 XP with normal status, it would give you 50 XP when you were fatigued.
Under the Rested XP System, the same monster will give you 50 XP with “normal” status, and will give you 100 XP with the Rested XP “bonus.”

It’s the exact same system! By switching which version of XP gain was called “normal”, and making it sound like players were being rewarded, rather than punished, they were able to keep their original system without changing a single thing about how it worked.

THE RESTED XP SYSTEM IS, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN, A FATIGUE SYSTEM.

Blizzard wrapped it in a pretty bow, changed around the terms, made us feel special, and we all fell for it. GG, Blizz.

Final Fantasy XIV (Special Episode)

S4 League (Episode 65)

Sidequest: Trove

F.E.A.R. Online (Episode 64)

ArcheAge (Episode 63)

Open Beta Tester Event: ArcheAge progress

Week 2.
I no longer remember my human name.
We’ve been losing our crew as the days go on. Those of us who’ve managed to survive have endured hardship after hardship. One of our crew was left so broken and battered, we though we lost him, but he managed to recover at a great loss to his sanity. We endure, but not without a loss of our souls.

What a damned adventure this has been, eh guys? It’s not too late to join the Open Beta Tester Event in ArcheAge if you so desire! If you’re not on board with our crew during this event, remember you too can test your mettle by going here: http://mmogrinder.boards.net/thread/230/archeage-open-beta-tester-event
Remember to register for the boards, or that link will lead to an error page!
Most everyone in the guild is a different style class, and we don’t find ourselves “needing” any one specific thing, so feel free to roll whatever you desire. We just highly suggest it be some form of mage or archer. For your sake.
We have a few upper level characters, we want to murder everyone, and regular trade runs are happening as we speak.
Feel free to add anyone on that list to your friends list with “Shift-V” to see when we are online, and get yourself an invite to the guild.

Speaking of the guild, or the MMO Grinder community-at-large we call “Grindstone”, we have a symbol now! Check it out below!

Grindstone logo

It’s available with or without the added text. You might also notice that default avatars on the forums are now this image.
If you’re thinking, “Man, that would look awesome on a t-shirt!”, well, so was I! Here’s the link to the image on a shirt at Redbubble! Available for purchase whenever!:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/mmogrinder/works/12764279-grindstone-logo

That’s not the only new shirt to grace the MMO Grinder store, as my commission of Ciann a few months in the making is finally complete. While the original intention of the image was to replace the WoW poster behind me, I thought the image was so cool that I included it in the Redbubble store as well. Artwork by Andarix

Ciann Art Nouveau

If you’re a fan of mages, redheads, red-headed mages, flowers, red-headed mages with flowers, art nouveau style, red-headed mages with flowers in art nouveau style, original characters do not steal, or just bad-ass artwork in general, feel free to get a shirt or poster of Ciann Magnol here:

http://www.redbubble.com/people/mmogrinder/works/12764235-ciann-art-nouveau

Also, don’t forget to vote in the Halloween Poll! Even if you’re already voted, there’s a week long “cooldown” on the voting process, so you’re free to vote again if you haven’t done so since it first went up. remember the poll expires on the 13th, and the winner WILL be the Halloween episode for this year.

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