The Strange World We Live In    2013-01-27 12:03:07 ET
So there is this little game that some of you might have heard of called World of Tanks. I have railed against it before and I feel the need to now. The game recently introduced Chinese tanks into the mix and to be honest most of the are rather power machines. I understand why, from a marketing stand point that the Russian developers are doing this. They want to get the 2 billion Chinese into buying their product. Fine that is all well and good. But the issue seems to be the same. Why make one team massively better then the other and then claim that the game is balanced between tanks.

The developers seem to be very eager to wrap themselves in a cloak of "We know what we are doing because our math tells us so," But the issue with their math is that they have gotten very good at getting statistical numbers from their server that serve their purpose. They have no ability to strictly identify those tanks that are significantly out performing other tanks in the same tier. And what ends up happening is that they either nerf the wrong tank or buff something that really does not do what they want it to do. The main reason I find myself railing at this point against the game and the developers of it is not because they do this. But because they are unwilling to accept any point that is counter to their belief structure. And even trying to do so gets you banned for short periods of time.

I myself have lost my EU account because I caught what turned out to be a developer using a cheat in his own game. When I called him on this he permanently banned my account. This is not only poor customer relations but is genuinely missing a golden opportunity to get free development time from people who genuinely want to help the game get better.

About 2 months after I got perma-banned from the EU server I got a strange message from the game developers. It was not an apology but an invite to test their latest game World of Warplanes. I guess this is a case of idle hands.

 Back In The Day    2013-01-05 11:03:18 ET
So its been a long time since I have looked looked at this site let alone entered something. So here is goes and see if anyone notices.

I have 2 full time jobs robing most of my time. Neither of them are any good but I'm trying to build up management experience so that I can get into something better. As my one manager said to me 'you don't foot soldier well'. I guess it my nature at this point to always try and make things better, even when people don't want it.

I work as a service writer (guy who talks to you at the service center of a car dealership and sells you things you may or may not need) at a Toyota dealership. The place is run by the rules of anarchy and there is a much better way to do it. But they seem very rooted in their ways and the shouting and screaming ways they are.

I also work at game stop where I'm a management assistant. The job is easy enough but again I run into the corporate issue where too many people are invested in a model that is so out dated that it mine as well spell the doom of the company. But I do what I can to show I am a positive force the company.

I have had a girl friend for the last year or so. She loves me a lot. Not sure why =P. Shes a nutritionist at a hospital in Boston, or was. She is now going to grad school to become a PA. So there is all the stress in that. I am trying to keep the relationship as smooth as possible. She does not seem really receptive to certain ideas, so I don't tell her anything that might get complicated if I don't have to.

So after those two jobs I have come to the conclusion that i really want to be making video games. I have been writing up game ideas and fantasy worlds of all kinds of as long as I can remember. I love playing a well thought out and loved game. And I'm being driven nuts by the complete lack of good games coming out of the triple A publishers these days. Too much about making the same game over and over again and not looking to improve and develop the business into something that can produce great stories with great interactions. So off to school with me I hope.

Anywho here is a wave to SK, hope to post more soon.

 When yah can't sleep    2011-09-18 04:18:16 ET
So I went to a camp site for a LARP. The sit had issues earlier in the year with bed bugs. But we were assured by the management that the issue was taken care of. The game was a lot of fun until the start of the third day. I was getting dressed to go out and hit some PCs what I discovered a very large bed bug sitting on my sock. Now I must say that this building that we were in did not have the bed bug infestation, or so we were told. After a quick search of my sleeping bag I found 5 more adults and even more younger ones. I sounded the alarm and everyone started searching. It quickly became apparent that there was a long standing and major infestation in the building. I bagged everything and started the quarenteen process. I hoped in the shower and counted nearly 100 bite marks. The final number ended up around 200.

I spent the week being itchy and miserable hoping that the bites would go away on their own, and hoping that I did not bring any of them home. Over the last 2 day the bites have all swollen to the size of silver dollars or bigger and I'm getting phantom pains all over. Right now I'm sitting in the ER waiting to see what the he'll is going on.

 In Other News    2011-08-25 16:40:44 ET
I was driving my mother around today and we were just talking about future stuff. A subject I don't even like to think about most days because I don't see any way out of my current situation. But she decides to tell me that she does not think I suffer from depression of any kind. That my feelings are just passing and situational. Now she is basing this off a few classes she took back in the 90's when she was becoming a registered nurse. Mean while I have had an entire college carer on mental illnesses. But what do I know. She also comments that shes glad I'm somewhat normal and not like those crazy people who dress up in those animal costumes and screw each other in the woods. Cuz those people are really messed up and deserve to be in a loony bin.

This is why I will never be able to fully trust my mother. That and she will always tell me that she never lies. Which, in and of itself, is a lie. Some times I just don't know what to do.

 World of Tanks: Review    2011-08-21 20:18:23 ET
Not that anyone really cares about my opinions on games but I feel compelled to post my thoughts and feelings on the game. Might do this more often.

So the game is World of Tanks which supposedly focuses on tanks form world war two, but we will ignore the fact that many of the tanks didn't even show their face on the drawing board until well after the end of the war. But we will get back to that annoying fact in a bit. For those people who like tanks and nothing but tanks this game should be the one for yah. I say should because there are some nagging and rather glaring issues that become more and more apparent as you gain levels. But suffice to say the game is rather straight forward in an interface of point gun at enemy tank, pull trigger, repeat until all the enemy are dead or you explode.

The three races are Germany, Soviet Union, and America. Now because there really are not enough tanks that were put into production to make a real tech tree for progression. So they added in a lot of paper tanks and other experimental tanks. This is fine but gets rather annoying when you start rolling through some parts of the tech tress and realize that none of these tanks ever made it into a prototype stage.

There are 5 tank types, supposedly some of them are better at doing some jobs then others. But in reality it really comes down to the fact that if you don't have a turret you are kind screwed right off the bat. Even the highest level tank destroyers are very easy to murder once you have their flank. But again the game is very heavily focused on the high end vehicles and barely makes an attempt for the player to enjoy the other classes of vehicles.

When you get into the game it quickly becomes apparent that all the talk of ballance and fairness is really just a smoke screen for good old fasion Russian nationalism. Russian tanks often have a better armor configuration, better guns, and better speed for the same tier as their counterparts in the other 2 groups. In fact that are many Russian tanks that are combat effective against targets that are 5 tiers higher then the tank itself. But I digress.

The game has 2 modes, random battles where the game tries to put multiple tanks of roughly the same tier into a battle (15 on 15) and have them fight it out. This makes games that are laughable as tanks that have no hope of damaging anything on the field are pitted with tanks that fire VWs and have battleship hull plating for armor. The other option is a company battle, where people get together and make a pre set formation and try to work as a team. This is by far the more enjoyable part but suffers from being very very hard to get a team together and it often takes a very long time to get a battle rolling. More often then not you are likely to fight the same team over and over.

The maps are steadily improving. They are trying really hard to make the maps more dynamic and give more options to people. But a few elements are rather conspiquasly absent. There is no weather, no day time or night time, nothing to make each battle a bit more dynamic. It would make the very buggy vision system have a coniption fit and die, but it would make the grind for tanks a bit less intolerable. It really comes down to the fact that a lot of this game feels rather incomplete and forgotten. Simple game mechanics seem to be missing, like the ability to trade tanks, or to do simple things like turn off you engine to increase your cloak. The game also likes to hid stats. For example its not only armor thickness that matters but its angle. And the game tries really hard to hid those stats. After digging through the game data it is rather easy to see why. In the name of game ballance the developers have changed the angle of a lot of the tanks armor in game. King Tiger have nearly flat armor compared with some Russian tanks which have a suprisingly angles armor plate considering their model shows them to have nearly flat armor.

Again the theme or Russian tanks come up a little to often. Having driven all 3 races I can tell you that Russian tanks are by far the easiest of all of the races to drive by far. But that is not the biggest issue in the game. Because of a silly concept they have come up with for game ballance, namely because some tanks had paper armor but made up for it in shier numbers, and that becomes a limitation of only having 15 players per side. They have decided to boost the effectiveness of some tanks by giving them more armor then they would have ever had and to give them much more damage or rate of fire then is humanly possible. This becomes a massive issue then you come to artillery. In this game they have ballanced artillery to have the same effective firepower of 5 artillery pieces. This ends up making artillery the most powerful units on the map. And with a very easy to sue aiming system anyone can easily rack up kill at an alarming rate. This may not seem so bad, but in reality it makes all other vehicles on the field nothing more then moving targets. Instead of making the artillery supporting the other tanks, they end up becoming the main fist of the force.

The game continues to suffer from what can only be described as poor planing. Tanks seeming to operate well outside their tier, poor match making mechanics, lack of game types, a rather poorly designed tech tree, and a complete bias for some tanks. The developers seem to be more interested in new features then fixing the ones already in the game. In addition, I have never seen a group of developers abuse their player base as much as the World of Tanks team have. Anyone who does points out rather glaring issues in the game and possible ways to fix it are more often then not gagged on the forums. Only to come back a few months later with game changes that had been suggest by the player base and is now being toted as their original ideas. The last few MMOs that have treated their player base like this did not last beyond 2 years.

It would be really nice if they could make each battle more interesting. Keeping the fighting tiers closer to each other so that the fights are more interesting. Increasing game types for a change of pace. Recently the developers introduced Clan Wars, basically think of risk with tanks. The Clan Wars mechanics frankly sucks. Players form clans and fight for sections of the map that give them in game money. Each area is valued differently. Unfortunately its all about who has the biggest tanks and nothing els. But that is not the only issues I see with the mechanic. It suffers from the fact that the maps are too small and the number of players on each side too few. They really need to add more game types and increase the number of players per side before clan wars would be anything of interest.

Overall the game had a lot of potential, but rather glaring issues with ballance and bias seem to be strangling this game before it has a chance to do anything. Serious changes are needed to really make this game into something that everyone can enjoy instead of a road side attraction.


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