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Everything posted by Flynn

  1. Spelunky!

    Short answer, yes to both. Alive is better than dead.
  2. Spelunky!

    I actually think the Jungle is worse than the Temple. In part because if you make it to the temple you usually have some good equipment by then.
  3. Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time

    Both iPad and the most recent iPod Touch. I am surprised to find myself by logging a ton of hours on the smaller device even though it is still fairly annoying, as my tolerance for tiny screen gaming with anything is pretty low.
  4. New to dota, some experience in other RTS and Lords Managements: looking for guild invite or other new players.
  5. In the game thread I posted thoughts on PvZ going free to play: I think I groaned the loudest of anyone when I heard that PvZ was going to free to play. But if the game is fucking over anyone, it's the people who pay money and suck the difficulty ramp out of it. This is one of the only f2p games I don't hate, one of the only exceptions to the free to play trend.
  6. Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time

    There's a lot of f2p ire in the air, and much of it is landing on this game. And I'm there with the f2p ire. I think it's ruining games. I hate hate it. But the thing is that on the spectrum of shitty f2p stuff, this particular game is leagues better than the others and second only to games with a no-gameplay-effects wall like Dota 2. I'll explain. Look at the two of the most popular games right now: Candy Crush and Puzzle and Dragons. The player numbers on these games are absurd as is the income they bring in. The company that owns Puzzles and Dragons is valued at roughly the market cap of Nintendo and Puzzles and Dragons is by far it's main product... that's how huge these games are getting. And how do they work? Both games utilize the 'energy' you see in almost every f2p game. You run out and have to wait real world minutes to recharge... or you can buy more with money. Even Double Fine's Middle Manager of Justice utilizes this system from what I have heard. There is no energy system in Plants vs Zombies 2, nothing ever prevents you from playing. In Candy Crush, you will reach a point where only absurd luck or paying for single-use powerups will let you get to the next level. I just finished all the main levels in PvZ2 without spending a coin, never mind a dollar, and without hitting any difficulty walls. I'm no tower defense pro -- I could not beat the later missions in Defense Grid for example. In Puzzles and Dragons the real money currency is stones. Spend stones and you get a slot machine pull of a random monster (5 dollars a pull) and your odds of getting anything actually useful are very low. Maybe 1 in 4? This is the only way to get most of the monsters in the game and without them, you will cap out fairly quickly. The other way to spend your stones if to resurrect yourself and they give you strong reasons to do so. If you die in a dungeon you lose all the loot you acquired and don't get your energy back. The dungeon may be quite long and the loot may be very rare, and acquired early in the dungeon. So you can find a super rare drop and feel compelled to spend a stone to save it... and then die later and have to spend another stone, etc. Each stone costs 1 dollar. This is the loss-aversion tactic, if you don't pay, you lose real-world-time, in-game energy, and the loot. There are no slot-machine pulls in Plants vs Zombies. I'm not sure what determines key drops (new plant upgrades) but it seems to be gated by star progression. For that matter the levels themselves are not RNG based like the games above, so you can't keep hammering away hoping for a lucky setup. Instead every zombie is delightfully deterministic. This means you can iterate on your opening strategies. Very often I lose and then stop and refine. I realize that if I stall a zombie here instead of killing it, that gives 3 more seconds, which lets me get one more sunflower up earlier, which means later I have 75 more sun can afford what I need to stop the super zombie. And so on. Pure skill. So given all that I'm a little sad that this particular game is talked about as if its a poster-child for f2p bullshit when it happens to be the almost the lone exception to most of it. True, it does nag you with purchase screens, and it doesn't avoid letting you make the game absurdly easy and boring by buying stuff if you wanted to. These are negative aspects but truly orders of magnitude less so than almost every other f2p game, and much easier than tune out since the gameplay with them removed is good. Perhaps the craziest irony of the whole thing is that if PvZ 2 had not been f2p, as a casual mainstream game, it likely would have been a lot easier, and I would have gotten a lot less out of it and maybe even quit early, bored. This is the first time I might actually say a game benefited mechanically from changing to f2p model (not just benefiting the revenue stream) because of this strange side-effect. Truly this game, without upgrades or coins, hits a nice spot in the challenge zone. I even being very selective with the wide range of upgrades since I don't have many keys -- it was an important choice like shopping in FTL. In the first game it had no impact as I assumed I'd grind everything soon enough. Not to take this particular happy result as a defense of the business model in general -- I'm as shocked as anyone it worked out like this, and this game is surely the exception. I certainly have never seen a f2p transition work out this in other games. And maybe the new worlds they add will be full of bullshit, who knows. But as it stands this one of the very few f2p games not really worth of such ire.
  7. Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time

    To confirm what I have heard with my personal experience: The difficulty ramp in PvZ 2 is fantastic. Buying anything would make the game worse. If you are an experienced tower defense player this game is tuned just right. Why pay to skip the star challenges when they are the best part! I'm having to make tough choices right from the first map and loving it. I would recommend self-limiting yourself to also not spend any coins. You can theoretically grind levels for coins, but if you pre-decide to never spend any, the game has no grinding. Instead it's merely a question of finding and defeating the appropriate star challenges with smart play. I'm on the last map and have never found myself in a spot where I couldn't progress, and this while not even spending the coins the game gives me. Consider this third party verification that there are no bullshit Candy Crush walls in this game. There's no energy system. There's no loss aversion. There's not really any of the evil free to play shit. I can't believe it worked out this way, but the vanilla game, without using coins, just happens to have the perfect difficulty progression for me and probably anyone who plays other tower defense games. Kudos, I guess? Weird.
  8. Plants vs Zombies 2: It's About Time

    Tom Francis's sums it up for me: The sad thing is that by the accounts I have heard PvZ 2 is quite generous and avoids almost all the typical f2p bullshit. The entire game can be completed without purchasing anything, without huge difficulty spikes that require money to pass like in Candy Crush, or buying pulls on a slot machine with real money, etc. But even when f2p games are not abusive... what they can't get around is that it is an unpleasant experience to be constantly evaluating real money financial transactions in game. I don't want to do that while I play. The only way I can somewhat tolerate f2p games is to pretend there are no purchase options and whatever the game is, is. By ruling it out entirely it's not on my mind while playing.
  9. That's true, haven't seen a LoL pro match since winter. It's cool that people are doing some different stuff lately. What sorts of things are you seeing? I know in Korea there were always some different ideas - is it spilling over into other regions? In Dota you can see 1,2, or 3 champs in any particular lane, may or may not have a dedicated jungler, it's got a lot of variety from the little I've seen. You have the typical one hard carry "4 protect 1" or tri-core (3 semi carries), etc.
  10. There was an arstechica article where the author tried playing DF for 12 hours and just hit a brick wall. Though I believe article would have gone very differently if the author had known one thing: 'k' is the look key. If you don't know what is going on on a tile, look at it. That and embrace the "losing is fun" thing.
  11. DOTA 2

    So many matches at TI3 have been incredible. I can't believe how many times Navi goes right up to the edge of defeat and pulls off an absurd comeback. The Fountain Hooks. The Loser's Bracket final.
  12. DOTA 2

    If you're as good you say you are you should be winning a million dollars this weekend. Likely your hidden matchmaking rating reset from either your long period of not playing, or the influx of new players from Dota launching officially, and you need to win a ton of matches to catch up. Over time the differences average out, just like poker, if you're truly playing better than everyone, you're matchmaking shoudl start seeing better players. And comparing gold and experience and among team members is silly anyway... in any LoMa, gold and experience is distributed based on team decisions to optimize efficiency. The person who gets the most is a strategy decision not a competition. If it is a competition... well your team is going to have a bad time.
  13. I don't know if things have been solved but certain things in League are fixed that are not in Dota. For example in League, it's just accepted that teams go with 1 top, 1 mid, 2 bot, and occasionally go 2 top. Compare to Dota where you have every possible combination including 'trilanes' seen even now in Pro matches.
  14. One thing I'd like to understand is how Dota can have so many snowballing mechanics, it's notorious for them, but still produce lots of close matches at the Pro level. Why don't the snowballing mechanics take even minute differences between opponents and magnify them and turn every match into a blowout? I've been watching Ti3 this week -- a few blowouts sure, but plenty of matches where things are tight all the way through. As an extreme example two hours ago I saw this match ending at TI3 If the other team was just seconds faster they would have won. Wow.
  15. So glad you guys don't save-scum -- really makes strategy games like this so much better. Also the 'bad' decisions make more so much of a better story, and feels like more like real history too.
  16. I think streaming at 1080p would make the text more readable. For other games it's a bad idea but with the mostly static map and UI screens should work great in in this game.
  17. Moonbase Commander has a basic campaign. I can't remember anything about it so it was probably not too great. The AI is quite good though! Not just in competence but in having different bot AIs with different personalities and styles.
  18. I too couldn't believe you talked about Paradox Games and Rogue Legacy without mentioning Crusader Kings, the Paradox game about managing your legacy. Moonbase Commander is sublime. I never knew that it started as a game built by themselves for themselves to play in the office. Is there an article or anything it? I would love nothing more than to see a Moonbase Commander revival. 2v2 tournaments streamed on twitch?
  19. Dota Today 2: The Lord's Pitch

    Really enjoying the discussion on the quote unquote bad game design in Dota 2. I think the post Brad references is here:
  20. I love this style of design. I'm surprised they can keep it up in such a competitive game. Thinking about it, I suppose the pick counter-pick structure of the pro level games is a good safety net that lets them experiment more.
  21. On people only acknowledging AAA games and not seeing the long tail, it makes me think of people who complain about the drop in quality of modern music and only listen to the radio. That conversation has produced a few real life facepalms.
  22. Ryan brought a wonderful energy to this episode. So excited for all the horror games that abuse Kinect in the future!
  23. On Sean's XCOM ironman chances: You can pull out of that death spiral because of the difficulty level but it may not be easy. On normal and easy (but not classic/impossible), the alien campaign progression is capped so that if the player falls behind, the aliens will only pull so far ahead. So you always have a chance. You'll probably have to do things like: shoot down a UFO, go on mission, get some kills, retreat and fail mission but with your squad surviving. You won't get a panic increase long as you shoot down the UFO so this really isn't so bad. Even on non UFO missions, if you have zero veterans, you want to sacrifice panic level increase to keep your soldiers alive. Just get a few kills and retreat if you have to. If you are in a spot where you can't even get a few kills and retreat you are probably out of luck but you should always be able to do that on normal. In any case you can lose 8 countries before losing the game. Losing 3 really isn't that bad of a position.
  24. Episode 214: We <3 the Swarm

    It is a bit chicken and egg. The viewership isn't there but I can't think of a single big tournament like MLG that tried a 2v2 tournament. A few online things with barely any prizes are the only examples I can think of. Two weeks ago MLG did a 2v2 king of the hill online (for $100) and .... had more viewers than their regular weekly content by 2 or 3 times. Balance: They don't have tournaments because it's not balanced... and they don't balance it because they don't have tournaments. Maybe it is impossible to balance each race combination but to a certain extent that doesn't matter as long as their is enough variety for interesting games. I just think there's a disconnect between what people who play starcraft actually do, and the competitive scene, and bridging the gap a bit could go a long way.