19th Aug2012

My Musings: Pre-Order Bonuses and Gamer Entitlement

by Timothy

First of all, what exactly is “My Musings” supposed to mean? Well, I’m always having thoughts about different things and topics in the gaming industry, so I figured I could start a series of articles in which I give my thoughts on a couple of topics that I have been thinking about, hence, musing. I will apologize in advance, since these are my thoughts, they could very well be random, and incoherent.  I will attempt to make them coherent, though anyone who has heard some of my emails to the podcast will know that can be a tall order. So here I go.

My Musings on Pre-order Bonuses and Gamer Entitlement

Hearing some opinions on the Mechromancer class that you can get as a pre-order bonus for Borderlands 2, and the Nuketown 2025 map for Black Ops 2 is what got me thinking of this. I have heard opinions that deals like these are fracturing the player base right from day one, and altering the experiences of the player based on what they want to pay. First off, is there even a problem with this? Do people not realize that this is how many things are in life? For example, buying a car. I can go to Joe Schmoe’s Auto and buy a brand new, standard, SomethingOrOther 300 for $10,000 on the day it is first available. Great, right? But then another person comes along and buys the deluxe one with AC, cruise control, heated seats, and the turbocharged 0.95 L engine for $11,847.52. That person’s experience with the car on day one is going to be completely different from mine, AND THAT’S NOT FAIR, RIGHT? What I’m trying to show though this analogy, (Notice, ANALOGY. That means it is not going to be completely the same, so no need to nitpick details), is that I am still getting 100% of a car, it still drives and gets me from place to place, it isn’t just part of a car. This is what I think people seem to be missing, and where I think the entitlement comes in. It seems that sometimes gamers think that they should be given everything for a game with their purchase of that game, regardless of whether they purchased the Deluxe Edition of a game or not. There is nothing wrong with a developer giving something special to the hardcore fans who are more than likely going to be the ones who will pay the extra money for a Deluxe Edition of a game, ESPECIALLY if said content can be had by people who did not purchase the Deluxe Edition after the game releases.

As far as fracturing the player base, is this really even an issue? By this logic, would not for example Borderlands DLC have done the exact same thing? I don’t recall people ever complaining that Borderlands wasn’t a complete game on its own, and that they had to buy the DLC to get the complete game. To look specifically at the example from Borderlands 2, the Mechromancer was scheduled to release 60 days after the game launched, which is approximately 2 months. Now, Borderlands released on October 20th, 2009 for consoles North America. The Zombie Island of doctor Ned, the first DLC, came out for console on November 24th, 2009. That’s only 35 days after the game released!  If the Mechromancer were to be ready and Gearbox released it in half the time that they planed to after the game drops, it would only be a few days sooner than the DLC for the original Borderlands!  And again, I have never heard anyone complain that the DLC was “nickel and diming” then, even though it changed the game just as much as the new class will likely change the second.  I would personally say that I think the problem people have is because Gearbox announced the DLC before the game released.  If they had said nothing about it, not had it as a pre-order bonus, and simply released it somewhere in a window of 30-60 days after launch, everyone would have simply been talking about how great Borderlands 2′s first DLC was.  But since it was mentioned before release, and given that it is a pre-order bonus, there seems to be some gamer entitlement that they want everything that is mentioned before release to be in the game, regardless or whether it is a pre-order or not.  And like Eric has mentioned before, if you are planning on playing day one, why not just pre-order?  And even if you may not have the money right now, if you are going to purchase it on PC, pre-orders I have seen before run at least until the day before, if not right up until the time the game unlocks, so you simply could pre-order it the day before.

It just boggles my mind at how people can get all upset and angry about getting a good deal on something.  Let’s take a moment to run some numbers here.  Doctor Ned cost 800 Microsoft Points = $10.  Now, let’s guess that it takes about 15 hours to complete it once.  From what I’ve played of it so far that might be a little low (and not taking into account multiple playthroughs), but I’ll use it to make the calculations easier.  That works out to a cost of  $0.66 per hour of gameplay.  Now, I haven’t seen any price point yet for the Mechromancer thus far, but let’s assume that it will cost $10 as well.  Now, I also think it is safe to make the assumption that Borderlands 2 should be roughly the same length as the first game.  I pretty much everything in the main game in about 50 hours, so we’ll take that to be the length of 2.  If you bought the Mechromancer, and did a complete playthrough with her, you would be paying $0.20 per hour!! If this is nickel and diming, I definitely want more of it!  And that is just a single playthrough, that doesn’t even take into account to playing through multiple games with friends, or extra playthroughs.

I will admit, DLC can be done wrong, where it is simply cut out of the game to be released later.  Capcom is somewhat infamous for this with their fighting games, holding out different modes to be released in special editions of the game and such.  They were also involved in Asura’s Wrath, of which it was said that if you wanted the true ending to the game, you need to get the DLC.

As I have said, it boggles my mind how we can complain about getting a deal on something.  If you don’t want to pre-order a game, then don’t.  Just don’t complain about not getting something extra for not doing it.  And if you know that you will be getting the DLC, why not take advantage of the deal and save some money?  The logic involved simply does not add up to me.  I have no problem with a company rewarding people who are willing to support them before a game releases, providing that what they are rewarding them with will be available for people to purchase if they didn’t buy early, and providing it does not lock out portions of the game’s story (like the ending for example) if you do pre-order.

We need to remember that we are not owed anything by developers, we should be grateful that they give us games that are complete on their own when we purchase them, and if they are willing to give away content for free if you pre-order, then is a bonus.  If the trend was towards making you buy the beginning of the game, and then the ending separately, then I would gladly join in on the outcry.  However, as this trend is not going in that direction, it simply does not make sense.


01st Aug2012

Orcs Must Die! 2 Contest

by Chris Maeurer


Death to the Orc Horde!!! On July 30th, Robot Entertainment launched the sequel to last year’s smash hit, Orcs Must Die!, exclusively on PC.  If you haven’t already picked up Orcs Must Die! 2, and you should, then we are giving away one copy to one lucky fan!  If you want to team up with a friend and start swatting Orcs this weekend, here’s all that you have to do:

1) Head on over to this link, on your mobile device and subscribe to the Everyday Gamers feed on Google Currents and get us up to 200!

2) Email Me at Chris@everydaygamers.com, with “Orcs Must Die! 2″ in the subject line and in the body of the email write “I subscribed to Everyday Gamers on Google Currents now make me an Orc Slayer!!!”.

It’s just that simple!  All entries must be received by 1 PM EST on Friday, August 3rd, when we will randomly select the winner with a little help from random.org!  If you are one of our loyal fans, and have already subscribed to our Google Currents feed, than just fire off that email, thank you so much for your support and you will be entered to win!  Good luck to everyone, and let’s have a blast thinning the Orc Horde this weekend together!

For more information on Orcs Must Die! 2, check out the game’s Official Page or check out the Store page on Steam, here.

Update : Sorry, the contest is closed, Congrats to our Winner – Eric Glover! icon smile Orcs Must Die! 2 Contest

31st Jul2012

DayZ: A Survival Guide

by John Danforth

If you’ve been bitten by the DayZ zombie bug, you might find yourself to be a stranger in a strange land. DayZ is not your average arcade shooter. The post zombie-apocalyptic country of Chernarus is a cruel and unforgiving place. Zombies roam mindlessly through cities and villages while bandits lie in wait over cities. To survive, you’ll need every little bit of help you can get. Hopefully this strategy guide will keep you alive a few hours longer.

DayZ Summary 01 e1343791432691 DayZ: A Survival Guide

Rules in a nutshell.

Tip #1: Do NOT get attached to your loot.

Before you begin the game, you should know and accept this rule. Death comes easily in this game and when it does, it is permanent. It is usually swift and often you have no clue who just killed you (most deaths will probably come from other players). As I write this, the average time spent alive in the game is 49 minutes. You might get lucky and spawn near where your dead body is, but Chernarus is a huge country and you will often spawn far away from where you died. Whatever happens, just be ready to start over from scratch often.

Tip #2: Bust a move!: Become acquainted with the controls

DayZ Controller 1024x817 DayZ: A Survival Guide

At least it’s no Steel Battalion.

Imagine you are being chased by a horde of zombies. You accidentally trap yourself in a fenced in area. Zombies are breathing down your neck and you have just a fraction of a second to jump over the fence…*pause* “Now which key is the ju……AAHHHH”…Congratulations, you just became zombie happy meal #15,032,124.

While the controls aren’t overly complicated, there are a lot of key commands to learn. Learning the basic movements can make all the difference between life and death. If this is your first time playing Arma 2, I suggest doing two things. 1) Print off a keyboard layout for Arma 2 (Found a pretty good map here: Arma 2 Keyboard Layout) to have close by on your computer and 2) Run through Basic Training on single player. Basic training will help get you acquainted with the movement, shooting, action buttons, vehicles controls, and inventory UI (which early warning, is a major headache!). There are a lot of things you can do with the items you find in DayZ and will discuss more on that in the next tip.

Tip #3: Those Simple Bare Necessities: The Loot you’ll need to survive

DayZ attempts to be as realistic as possible.  Your character will become hungry and thirsty over time and since there are no McDonald’s in DayZ, scavenging will be an essential function. Icons on the side of the screen will indicate your hunger, blood, and thirst levels. Pro tip, you don’t have to satisfy your hunger and thirst needs until they start flashing, so save those food cans and water bottles as long as you can. Water bottles are a great item since they can be refilled at pumps, water holes, and lakes (but not the ocean). Animals and livestock in the game aren’t just for show either. You can kill these grazing animals and if you have a hunting knife, collect their meat. However, the meat will be raw and you’ll need to cook the food over a fire before you can eat it. And don’t disregard “trash” items such as empty cans or whiskey bottles. Items like these can be thrown near zombies and serve as a distraction.

In addition, all the items in the game spawn randomly, but certain logical items will have higher spawn chances in buildings where you’d be more likely to find them in real life. Residential homes and farms are more likely to spawn food, drinks, and small weapons. Industrial areas will likely spawn machine parts for vehicles and other items. Military posts/camps will most likely spawn automatic weapons, military gear, etc..etc.

It is also never a bad idea to right click on items in your inventory to see if they have any secondary functions. Right clicking certain ammo clips allows you to alter what guns it can be used for (many handguns share the same bullets but are just loaded differently). Certain items can be used for both utility and as a weapon. Axes can cut down trees, but if you “remove from your toolbar”, can be turned into your primary weapon. And not to make the item UI even more confusing, but sometimes certain actions can only be seen or selected from the middle scroll button on your mouse and often can only be accessed by looking at an item at a certain angle/distance. For instance, you can upgrade your backup when you come across a bigger one by looking at it, scrolling the middle button on your mouse so that an action tree appears on the left side of the screen, and selecting “Take Backpack”. Overall, the UI is the most challenging thing you’ll face and will take the longest to get use to and discover all the intricacies.

Tip #4: You Are –> Here: Maps

DayZ Lost e1343791666252 DayZ: A Survival Guide

Was that a left or a right at the goat?

Skip this tip if you don’t want to spoil the feeling of true exploration or if you know how to read Bulgarian. Wondering if you can read Bulgarian? Here’s a little test: Ако можете да четете това, тогава знаете, баща ти е хамстер си и майка си, миришеше на бъз (и че сега можете да чете пътните знаци в Chernarus)!

Can’t read it? Want a fighting chance on getting to a place with decent items and weapons? Then read on. As mentioned, Chernarus is truly a small country and there are miles upon miles to explore. It’s very easy to get lost or end up on a road that takes you to small town after small town with little-to-no loot. While there are maps in the game, it may be a long time before you find a map. I recommend having a DayZ map handy as you explore the Russian wilderness. Best map I’ve come across is DayZ Map. It not only lists all cities and roads, but you can select and highlight best areas to look for certain things.

And keep a sharp eye out for a compass. It’s honestly one of my favorite and most used item I have (aside from trusty “Winona”). It is very easy to veer off course when traveling through the country side with no landmarks and become lost.

Tip #5: Fast Food (If you are being chased by Zombies):

DayZ Rule 1 Cardio 1024x526 DayZ: A Survival Guide

Rule #1 – Cardio

In the event that you walk too close to draw the unwanted attention of a walking corpse, that zombie will lock onto you like a heat seeking missile. If this happens, the zombie will make a dead sprint in your direction. If you’re crouched or lying prone, get your butt up and RUUUUUUNNNN, Forest (unless you can kill it of course)! Once alerted, the zombies can run as fast as you do, if not a little faster, and will continue chasing you until they catch you or their limbs fall off. But never fear! There are some things you can do to escape this pursuit.

1) Use the environment to your advantage. Zombies can run very fast, go through doors, army crawl under walls, climb ladders, but can’t navigate around a narrow opening very easily. Try running alongside fence lines looking for a small break in the fence to dart through. Jumping over small fences and walls can also help shake the zombies but can be risky since the vault animation is a slow animation and a zombie may get a few hits in before you’re over. Also, zombies will stop running and begin to walk through many buildings. Try running through buildings that have an entrance and exit or are big enough that you can draw the zombies far enough in to run back by them and out.

2) Once you’re forced to run, don’t be afraid of picking up a few more zombies along the way. The more the merrier, right? Zombies will zig-zag enough toward you that you can usually run right by them before they can take a swing at you. Combine this step with running into a building and you’ll be able to turn your zombie conga into a zombie massacre (just be sure you have enough bullets).

3) Abort…abort…abort! You can hit “Esc” and click “abort” if you find yourself in a situation you can’t escape the zombies. When you respawn, the horde will be gone and you will be left in peace. I honestly hate using this method since it feels like it breaks the spirit of the game but you are left with no other choice when you spawn and are not given anything to defend yourself with.

Tip #6: Stranger Danger:

DayZ Creepy Van e1343792246434 DayZ: A Survival Guide

Don’t believe them! All they have is generic hard candy.

Many times you’ll run into people who say they are friendly. You know who else says they’re friendly? Creepy old dudes in the back of windowless van! Be very wary of any other human you come across in this game.  Many will just shoot at you on site while others make a game of lulling you into a place of security and then shooting you in the back (or at their watering hole…you know who you are). Beginners should also be on the look for servers that enable Global Chat (termed “Site Chat” channel in the game). Not all the servers have this and this option will eventually be disabled once the programmers get the radios to work correctly in the game. But for now, some servers have this chat option. This chat server lets you type or voice chat with anyone on the server and is a safe way to ask questions. Just be careful not to reveal your location. And again, don’t TRUST anyone right away even if they say they’re friendly or that they have candy (they usually NEVER have any candy). These servers can be hard to find, but don’t worry, even if you play on a server that doesn’t have global chat, you can still voice chat with people on the local chat (proximity based chat).

I’m not saying kill everyone you see. There is safety in numbers. Often the best reward is taking a chance and approaching a group of people and finding out they decided not to kill you. And when traveling, stick to the trees and bushes. It is much harder to see someone, let alone take a shot at them, as they dart through the shrubs than if they were running on an open road.

Tip #7: Expecting the Unexpected:

My final tip…expect anything to happen. DayZ is a world where trivia knowledge might save your life, you might develop Stockholm syndrome, come across a murder scene and piece together what happened, be stalked by a group of bandits who are flying around in a helicopter, find a man in a tractor running over zombies, or be chased by a deranged player who can only say one word. I haven’t had too many crazy encounters (at least not to the level of the videos below), but I definitely have very interesting experiences thanks to other people, random glitches and random encounters. Now, for your entertainment, a taste of the crazy that is DayZ (warning, some of these videos do contain strong language):

1) Stockholm Syndrome: How Six Men Kidnapped Me in DayZ

2) Destiny vs. The No (language warning)

3) Harvesting Season

4) Seinfeld Trivia Might Save Your Life (language warning)

5) Attending the Last Church of Elektrozavodsk; Last Church Witness 1; Last Church Aftermath Witness 2

24th Jul2012

Buy Wanderlust, Support Starbound!

by Chris Maeurer

If you’ve read the blog post title, you may be a little confused.  Starbound is an upcoming indie title developed by Chucklefish, who has also chosen to publish this week’s release Wanderlust : Rebirth, read on and please help support the developers of these great games!

First Things First, What Is Starbound? Who Is Chucklefish?

ForestPlanet 1 215x106 Buy Wanderlust, Support Starbound!

Chucklefish is a small team of less than a dozen developers, who are currently feverishly working on the upcoming release called Starbound.  Starbound has seen much attention as a sandbox/crafting game with a heavy science-fiction flair, allowing the player to travel to many unique planets.  In addition to it’s grand scope, Starbound will be the first of these new games, seemingly inspired by the innovations of Minecraft, that will offer quests, persistent characters and more in-depth action/rpg elements.  One of the team members, Tiy, has previously worked on Terraria with the rest of the Re-Logic team.  We can expect a similar retro-2D aesthetic in Starbound, randomized planets and biomes that will all hold unique loot and creatures, and many more features that you can read about at the games main page and forums found here.

Where Does Wanderlust : Rebirth Fit In?

16 215x161 Buy Wanderlust, Support Starbound!

Wanderlust in a retro RPG, developed by Yeti Trunk, and releasing on Steam this Friday, July 27th!  To recap, Tiy and the rest of the Starbound team at Chucklefish, have received many, many requests for fans to donate to the development of Starbound.  Tiy has made it very clear, on the forums, that as appreciative of the support as he is, he is reluctant to receive money in advance for a commercial project.  Not long ago, Tiy took to the Starbound forums and polled it’s members on a new solution that would appease both the fans with money in hand and the principles of the Starbound team.  What if Chucklefish were to publish an indie game that friends of theirs were working on?  It seemed like a win-win situation, with a portion of the game sales going to the now-publisher Chucklefish, and the exposure and attention being added to with the already spectacular looking Wanderlust, from Yeti Trunk.  The result is the best way I’ve seen for fans to support two great indie developers; receive an amazing looking RPG now, and help support the development of Starbound, due out later this year!

Tell Me More About Wanderlust!

screenshot105.1 215x161 Buy Wanderlust, Support Starbound!

Well, the best description comes from the horses’ mouth, the developers description states that “Wanderlust: Rebirth is an online four player co-op arcade-action RPG set in the uniquely crafted fantasy world, Valandria.“.  The game features four classes and will support both single-player and co-op experiences.  In addition there will be a survival mode to unlock, and unique item crafting mechanic to add more excitement to the typical loot-searching and multiple endings.  If that isn’t enough to whet your appetite, head on over to their homepage, here, for more information on the game.  Wanderlust can be purchased directly from the game’s website, for $10.00, or you can wait for the upcoming Steam release on July 27th, which can be bought for $7.99 prior to the release date(and presumably at $9.99 thereafter).  Both games look absolutely fantastic, and I’d highly encourage you to join me in supporting these developers on their upcoming titles!  We will certainly keep you posted on any new developments and hope to review both games for you!

Links, Links, Links!

Just to recap, here are all of the necessary links to any information relating to the project that you’d like:

The Starbound Homepage – www.playstarbound.com

The Wanderlust Homepage – www.wanderlustgame.com

An Explanation of the Joint Venture By Chucklefish’s Tiy – here

The Official Press Release for Wanderlust : Rebith – here


13th Jun2012

Torchlight 2 Beta

by Chris Maeurer

What can I say about Torchlight II that hasn’t been said?  The Beta has closed and E3 is now in the past, so hopefully this post won’t get lost in the E3 madness, and we will still foaming at the mouth with anticipation for Torchlight II!

Many, many thanks to the fine folks at Runic Games for allowing us to test drive the Torchlight II Beta. If I had any doubts before (and I had not), they would’ve been shattered like an ember crystal in the mines below Torchlight!  The game seems even better than anticipated, ripe with a sleeker artstyle and brimming with refined features.  Most underused new feature seems to be the ability to now give your pets a shopping list.  Yes, previously you could load up your pet and let them sell your unwanted junk in town, all while you continued to click-attack and loot in the nether regions of Torchlight.  As if that isn’t enough, you can now make sure your pet returns with not only money secured by selling your overflow, but also with a supply of scrolls or potions!

Skill trees for the new classes really seem to pop.  I’m sure it was part my own fault and part innovation on Runic’s part, but in the original outing I didn’t seem to focus my character classes on a specific skill tree.  Now, rather than attempt a jack-of-all-trades, the skill trees really seem to encourage you to focus your class skills in a specific direction and then replay with a new character to try out different builds.  This was especially apparent with the Embermage class, who has the option to study Fire, Ice or Electric schools of magic.  Sure, you could take the buffet approach to this, but focusing all of your skills points and harnessing the power of one of the three sets is much more attractive.  Still, the skill trees are a work in progress with perks for higher level skills and respecs being put under the microscope.

Now, all of that is fantastic, and I cannot wait for Torchlight II to launch, but there was one thing that stood out of this “Multiplayer” Beta: its performance online.  Now, a little clearing of the air before we proceed.  I in no way intend to fuel a competition between Diablo III and Torchlight II; they are both outstanding games and any hint of a competition between the two is silly at best.  Go out and enjoy them both for the top-notch experiences that they are. There is no “winner” or “loser;” they are both stellar entries.  Yes, they are both in the same genre and both releasing in the same year (hopefully); beyond that, I will not be accused of putting hashmarks in either column.  Now, having experience with the Diablo III Beta, of which you can read here, I knew that playing on a home internet connection that was awarding me an abysmal ping of 1740 probably meant that I would not be able to enjoy this Torchlight II multiplayer Beta at home, at least not without the lag noted in my Diablo III post or similar results with the internet connection required game Darkspore.  Both games lag out like crazy on my wonderful home ISP, but, to my surprise, Torchlight II did nothing of the sort.  Now, this means nothing outside the Beta, because Torchlight II will not require an internet connection to play on launch, unless, of course, you are looking to play co-op.  However, I did think that this was a great topic to bring up and discuss.

The video posted above is a gameplay capture from the Torchlight II Beta being played on the same home connection that rendered Diablo III and Darkspore, along with any other online game, completely unplayable.  You will notice the absence of any and all lag, but how exactly does Torchlight II do it?  Well, first, let’s look at the previously mentioned games, Darkspore and Diablo III.  Both of these games feature characters persistent to single-player and multi-player, so your single-player loot and progression is immediately available in a multi-player or co-op session.  As such, and with very competitive PvP players invested in these games, there must be anti-cheat measures taken to preserve an even playing field, free of hacks, cheats and illegal stat buffs.  To achieve this, the player must be constantly connected to the game online, via the company’s servers, with the bulk of the work being done server side.  Now, we know that Torchlight II will operate on an “honor system”, basically meaning that there will not be anti-cheat measures; it is simply up to the player to surround themselves with co-op partners that will not employ any unwanted hacks, cheats or the like.  So, should you not care if your co-op partners use such things, that is fine.  Should you object, then you must find other co-op partners that you can trust.  Either way, the onus is taken off of Runic Games and off of their servers.  This opens the game up to using a peer-to-peer server system, in essence placing the workload on your computer and not on the Runic servers.  The end result is a game that can be freely played on any internet connection AND used in all of its beautiful, lag-free glory in the LAN space, regardless of what type of an internet connection you are running the game from.  No matter how you choose to play—solo, online co-op or with LAN buddies—Torchlight II will provide you the best possible experience.  Now, of course, the seamless drop-in/drop-out co-op will still not work should you have a very high ping and desire to play with online partners, but I commend Runic on the approach that they are taking to ensure the best gameplay experience for everyone.

Now that we have the technical jargon out of the way, let’s talk a bit about this fantastic Beta experience.  The artstyle has changed very minimally, but it seems much cleaner and sleeker.  The four classes are all new–The Engineer, Embermage, Outlander and the Beserker.  The Engineer, previously titled the Railman, seems especially interesting.  This character has the damage dealing of the Barbarian/Beserker, being skilled with 2-handed weapons, but then it has the summons of an Alchemist.  The ability to summon bots, not very much unlike the Alchemists’ golems, bring with them buffs for the parties health/mana regen or stats.  The Outlander and his rougue-like skill tree and Glaive ability makes him immediately attractive.  All characters come in male and female customizeable flavors and there are many more pets to choose from.  In addition to the original cat, you now have a Wolf, Hawk, Weasel, Panther, Bulldog and Chakawarys, in addition to the star of the show—the coveted Falcor, the pet of Runic’s own Minister of Culture.

The Beta gave players a sizeable chunk of the game to explore—more than I could get around to during the Beta period.  I managed to finish the complete portion available and play with more than one of the characters and pets, but I can’t help but feel there was a portion left unexplored when the Beta came to a close this past May.  Fans of the original classes need not worry, as Runic has promised in the past, and we can now attest to after playing the Beta, those fond character classes will have there own “cameos”, so to speak.  All in all, the Beta confims what we already know: Torchlight II is going to be a complete home run.  The game is already available for pre-order on Steam for $19.99, giving you a free copy of the first entry with each pre-order.  I would highly encourage you place that pre-order now, it will be the best twenty dollars you have ever spent.  See you in Torchlight II later this year!