Posted Fri, Jan 10, 2014 by Martuk
Controversy has been the name of the game this week for a number of develops. This week SOE boss John Smedley, who I jokingly refer to as Judge Smed (see why here), cleared up confusion about last week’s announced subscription changes, Razer revealed a LEGO style computer concept with a scary name, Titanfall devs fought back criticism after Respawn’s Vince Zampella confirmed that matches would cap at 6v6, and Undead Labs signed an agreement with Microsoft to expand the zombie apocalypse.
Judge Smed takes to Reddit to clear the air on SOE subscriptions.
Last week SOE revealed plans to make changes to their subscription plans. Unfortunately, this was done in what may have been one of the most confusing ways as possible. Each SOE game posted details to its website, none of which really fit into a picture that accurately explained what SOE had planned, especially if you were a subscriber to the All Access plan. Just read my attempt to decipher it. What followed was a weekend of fan backlash and negative feedback.
To kick things off this week, Smed took to Reddit to help clear up the confusion and address feedback from fans. What Smed inevitably revealed was a much better option that would see a single subscription cost now counting as an All Access pass and provide players with one single 2k Station Cash or less item in each game each month that they remained subscribed with no carry-overs.
Suffice to say, that deal sounded really sweet, but amidst backlash and feedback Smed did two things: First he posted SOE’s philosophy to address criticism and accusations of greed. Second, he announced changes based on feedback, which now keeps the pricing change, dumps the 2k SC or less item each month and returns to the monthly 500 SC stipend. Players can save that up same as before but now they’ll now have to claim it each month rather receive an automatic distribution.
My Take: Personally, I quite liked the previous deal better once it was cleared up as it seemed very generous. But like it or not, that last one is where we are now. While SOE’s intentions were good, their initial message delivery was not. Had their initial reveal not been quite so confusing, I think many players would have liked the original deal much more.
For those calling SOE greedy, let me say this. I've not always agreed with every SOE decision nor been a huge fan of the free-to-play microtransaction model as it is easily abused. That said, SOE's model is far from the worst. Just the mobile games market for some truly cringe-worthy free-to-play practices and then look back at some of the nickle-and-dime models even on PC. SOE is a long way from the front of the line for worst and most greedy practices in that arena.
If you want to see an argument of epic flamey proportions, there was no better place to be than NeoGaf this week. The forums erupted in a flame fest after Respawn Entertainment cofounder Vince Zampella, in response to a question on Twitter, confirmed that the maximum match size for Titanfall would cap at 12 players (6v6). Flaming and backlash ensued, leading Zampella and Producer Drew "DKo5" McCoy to defend the decision and urge players to try the game before passing judgment.
While I, like most of the rest of the world, haven’t had a chance to try Titanfall as of yet I can’t say how that may or may not affect its intended design. Luckily, Ten Ton Hammer’s Lewis B. did manage to get a peek at it while he was at Eurogamer Expo last year. Check out his initial impressions and then let us know what you think about the 6v6 limit.
I don’t know if Razer’s LEGO style modular PC concept is brilliant or terrifying. I can certainly see a future where PCs go to this simplistic design, and Razer’s Project Christine is certainly a concept that could move things in that direction. The real question is what would these modules cost, who would make them, and just how cost efficient would it be as opposed to just building a regular old gaming PC? Cost and feasibility will be the two future issues to watch. Until then, maybe Razer can pick a less terrifying name than Project Christine. Didn’t anyone tell them what happened the last time someone sold something named Christine?
Undead Labs managed to create a rather huge success with State of Decay, their debut title, last year. It didn’t take State of Decay to rack up over a million sold copies across PC and the Xbox 360, and that success has helped secure the future of the series.
Undead Labs this week announced that they’ve signed an extended development agreement with Microsoft. Without going too deep into details, Undead Labs founder Jeff Strain did indicate that the team is hard at work on a prototype. As for my own unconfirmed speculation, it’s almost certainly their Class4 extension of State of Decay, which initially was an MMOG style of game, though Undead Labs prefers to call it a persistent virtual world to avoid certain stigmas associated with the MMO label.
If you haven’t checked your inbox, be sure to do so as The Elder Scrolls Online shipped out another batch of beta keys for another event this weekend. On the free play side, if you previously subscribed to Final Fantasy XIV, this weekend is your chance to log back in and see what’s changed.
Two burglars fumbled their way into game developer Robotoki's Los Angeles-based office this week. The two world class criminals smashed in the glass to the front door and quickly fled when Robert Bowling, the company’s president, pulled a Jackie Chan and leaped towards the door just as one of the two would-be burglars crawled in. The burglar promptly crawled back out the hole that he came in through and fled the scene. Fortunately, no one was hurt during the attempted break-in. Bowling has added the security footage of the incident to his Instagram, eternally immortalizing the wounding of the silly criminal's pride.
And that wraps us up for this week folks. Have a safe weekend and we'll bring this to a close with a look back at some of the exclusive Ten Ton Hammer content this week.
Here's some of the hot new content available at Ten Ton Hammer this week: