Daily Archives: September 14, 2012

Stormpowered, Steam, and Divorce

There is always a pile of things, ads, press releases, and what not waiting in my inbox every morning.

Because of this, my tendency is to delete unless there is some hook that grabs me.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day to run all of this stuff down, so I relay on things standing out.  This is the heart of advertising, and that is what most of the things in my inbox are, ads in one form or another.

The award for the hook of the day has to go to Storm Eagle Studios for their Divorce Pack Bundle.

I’m worried that it is back…

The package itself rolls up their WWI naval combat game Jutland with the three available expansions for a single price 50% off of retail, making the total $74.99.

Technically, 50% would be $74.98

This ad was in my mailbox because I actually tried out the demo of Jutland a couple years back.  In one of those after hours fits of interest, I suddenly decided that naval warfare simulation would be an interesting avenue to explore, and so I ended up at Storm Eagle’s site where I downloaded their demo of many hurdles.  One does not simply download into naval combat.

After a couple of hours of tinkering, the realities of the situation were brought home.

As I noted in a past musing on battleships, fleet engagements in the age of 20th century battleships were things that took place at considerable distance.  The romance ideals implanted in my brain by the likes of Patrick O’Brein of laying alongside and blazing away were replaced by shooting at small dots on the horizon.  Encounters tend to be prolonged sessions of wandering about trying to make something happen, followed by trying to figure out what actually did happen.

Basically, it is a game for a grognard, a hard core wargamer, who wants as realistic a simulation as can be managed.  World of Warships (formerly World of Battleships) will pose no competitive threat here.

This is doubly so because, like so many such war games from small studios, the UI feels like it was designed by the IT department at my last company, where “Good Enough” wasn’t just an excuse, but a treasured organizational value.

It was enough to overcome any interest I had in simulating naval battles from the WWI.

But I remain on their mailing list, and so it was that the ad showed up and I decided to head on over to their site, if only to figure out how “divorce” played into this bundle.  Thoughts of the studio chief attempting to goose sales in order to pay alimony were in my head.

Unfortunately, the site seems to owe a debt to our old IT department motto as well.  Look at the description of the Divorce Pack Bundle in the screen shot above.  Yeah, that.  It looks the same in Firefox, IE, and Chrome.  And I could go on.

In my looking around, I also found out that, among the changes that had occurred since I last visited their site, Storm Eagle had taken their onerous copy protection scheme and decided to turn it into a digital distribution system.  They even lay out their features (detailed chart) and ask how they stack up against Steam.

Which is kind of an awkward question to ask, because it isn’t even possible in my mind for them to stack up, as far as user experience goes, with Steam.  And user experience is important.

None of which should be taken as an explicit slam of the studio or their products.  I get that, in a small studio with a small audience and a complicated, niche product, you have to pick your battles.  Realism has to trump for your audience, and they’ll put up with a certain layer of awkwardness to get it.

And you have to have a delivery system for your games and if you expect low volume you like to be sure that you get as many sales as you can in a world where wild claims of 93-95% piracy exist, which means copy protection.

But am I going to buy Tropico IV here rather than at Steam?  I don’t think so.

But I wouldn’t buy it on Origin either, so don’t feel too bad.  I just already have this relationship with Steam and a desire to minimize the amount of content management software running on my system.

And speaking of relationships, what was the divorce bit all about?

Ah, marital problems.  I get it, ha ha.

Look, I play MMOs.  Anything with a pause button is like ice cream and cake in my marriage.

But, as I said, the game is also too hard core for me.

However, if you are looking for a realistic battleship fleet engagement simulation, you don’t have a lot of choices, so there it is.  And you can even play it for free this weekend.

Random Items for a Friday – Wii U, Wallpapers, and Nostalgia Edition

Remember the Sleeper

Over at Giant Bomb there is a post up titled Tales from Norrath: Don’t Wake the Dragon.  It recounts the famous, one-time (per server) event, the waking of The Sleeper in EverQuest.  A unique event and a bit of MMO history.

I told you to just let him sleep…

What Ever Became of Wallpapers?

Walltreipers, the SoCo alliance that defiantly held onto the system T-IPZB in the 2012 Delve War after the region had been abandoned by its allies and Nulli Secunda had thrown in the towel (see Notes from the War in Delve), were hailed as champions on par with the 300 for a short bit.

Cornered in Gaul, but holding firm

There was all sorts of loose talk about bringing them ammo or coming to some sort of honorable accord with them, and then the Honey Badger Coalition finally brought their weight to bear and stomped them, thus completing the conquest of Delve.

What are they up to?  It looks like they are still together and active and gate camping TEST in Fountain these days.  I just wonder that nobody has found a system for them to hold.  This seems like the type of alliance you want guarding sovereignty in a corner of your region, not as renters but allies.

Launch of the Wii U

Consoles were never really my thing.  Yes, I had an Atari 2600 like… 35 years ago… but after obtaining a personal computer, console gaming fell by the wayside, as did arcades.  (My arcade memories are pretty old.)

That changed with the advent of the Wii.  The Wii became the favored past time for my daughter and I.  For a long stretch we would get up early on Saturday morning, jump into the big beanbag chair parked way too close to the TV, and play Mario Party 8 and LEGO Star Wars and other titles, including some classics from the Game Cube era.  It was a golden age.

The Wii has since fallen into disfavor at our house.  After a couple of years, the computer started to take over.  Like father, like daughter.

My daughter plays the Wii when she has friends over, but it ceased to be a daddy-daughter thing after she began to favor games at which I, frankly, suck to an embarrassing degree.  And her favorite games aren’t on the Wii any more.

Now the Wii U is coming out.  It promises backward compatibility with the Wii, which is good, and a controller that looks like a PDA, which is… I don’t know.  Ars Technica has all the Wii U answers, at least around the technical side of things.  And the price isn’t that bad, relative to the the historical launch costs of consoles (thanks Tesh).  But do I really need this thing?

Wii U in white

Indications are that I do not.  Sure, Penny Arcade seems hot on the idea, or at least its potential, but they are hot on a lot of games for about two minutes before they are installing the next thing.  And then there are the forecasts by those who purport to know.

https://twitter.com/michaelpachter/status/246666561555922945

How about you?

Torchlight II Next Thursday

The next game on my “must have” list is less than a week away.  I did not pre-order it, as the incentive was a copy of Torchlight and, well, I already have that.

This means I probably need to get my mage a lot closer to level cap this weekend.

Then again, my daughter is insisting that I play Minecraft with her, which is all the rage with her and her friends these day.

As I always say, we shall see.