Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Humble Bundle w/o the Bundle

The Humble Bundle people have a new thing starting today called the Humble Weekly Sale. Apparently one game will be for sale each week and they retain the whole ‘pay what you want’ thing. They have however created a tiered system where paying more will get you more. Interesting, though I do wonder how this will affect future bundles. We’d certainly be less likely to go after a bundle if we already have an included title, or wait for a certain title to show up. Guess we’ll see what happens.  For it’s debut the lucky game is Bastion.

Paying at least $1 will get you a Steam key, game works on Mac, Windows and Linux. Paying more than the average (currently $2.68) opens up a bonuses including the soundtrack, a digital art pack, sheet music and ringtones. Perhaps for the first time there’s also physical bonuses if you cough up $25, including a bandana, a soundtrack CD and 2 postcards, this tier includes free shipping on the bonus items.

Also while I don’t see it specifically advertised, I believe you can still pay 0.01, one freakin’ penny, to get the game directly from Humble with no Steam key.

I don’t have Bastion, apparently having missed it in various bundles t’s been in. It’s currently $15 on Steam, with the soundtrack an extra $10. I love soundtracks and feel they should be included in everything. How hard is it to stick a few MP3s in a zip file anyway?

I think I’m gonna pop on this. Though I must say I often feel embarrassed on behalf of my fellow gamers when I forums filled with people paying $1. Do they expect the developer to turn a profit on that and remain in business? I’m leaning towards paying $7. Even that seems low from a standpoint of the developer turning a profit. We’re such entilted blowhards. On the other hand it’s more than I paid for Mass Effect during a Steam sale. If an indie title really needs to make more than Mass Effect to stay afloat, that shit ain’t my fault.

Friday, March 15, 2013


So the gaming community has decided the SimCity fiasco is just yet another example of how EA is The Devil and how Always on DRM is a demonic entity. And people say gamers never over react.*

Full disclosure, I have not played the new SimCity so I don’t have first hand knowledge of how bad or overblown the situation actually is. I’ve always looked at the SimCity franchise and though ‘That looks cool. But… complicated…’. The streamlining (curious how a game I’m interested in is streamline, while a game I’m not interested in is dumbed down) of the latest SimCity has almost moved me to buy it. Almost. And no, it’s not because of all the horror stories, it’s simply because of finances and I can’t afford another new game right now.

However, let’s look at the problem and try to be rational. A heavily anticipated game is released and there’s so much interest it crashes servers… Is this really a surprise? Let’s take a deep breath and chill out for just a minute. On launch day everyone that got the game tried to log in and play, servers weren’t designed for this and the system broke. Sucks yes, but let’s be realistic here. Aside from the first week after release, there’s no way everybody who bought the game is going to be playing at the same time and it would be ludicrous for EA to devote resources to make servers that can cover everyone when after the initial wave hits numbers will balance out. EA in the last week has more than doubled it’s capacity, capacity it likely wont need next week.

When Star Wars The Old Republic was released they had 77 servers up and running to prevent this kind of launch day problems. A month later many of those were ghost towns. The game has since consolidated to eight servers. The quality of the game aside (I still say it’s better than most give credit, it just should have been a single player game – KOTOR3), they obviously didn’t need that huge capacity. Merging nearly 10 servers into 1 I’m sure damaged communities that had formed and caused many irritations. Notably I personally was forced to change my Legacy name, and out of 11 characters only 2 were able to retain their name. Due to unique names I simply could not find a name I wanted that was available. I ended up naming my Jedi Knight Arbitraryname just so I could log in. Haven’t played him since because that’s a stupid name, but apparently the only one not taken. Is this going to happen to Simcity a few months from now when EA doesn’t need all the servers they added and starts consolidating? Will people need to rename the towns they’ve created?

Does it suck not to be able to play something you just bought? Yes, yes it does. But people also need to not flip out. If you go see a highly anticipated movie on opening weekend, say Dark Knight or The Avengers, there’s probably going to be a line. Don’t bitch about the line. Suck it up. Or go next week.

As I said I haven’t bought Simcity, yet. I probably will at some point. Right now I’m trying to decide if I should go ahead and do it now to take advantage of the free game EA’s offered for the problems or hold off hoping for a sale. Origin doesn’t really seem to have good sales… but lacking any specific details I’m assuming EA’s free game is a choice between Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age 2 or Dead Space 2. All of which I have.

*Nobody says this, I lied