You Have To Admit, It Would Explain a Lot…

I think I’m getting old.

No, no, it’s true. Suddenly it seems like I’m a cranky, difficult-to-please grumpy jerk.

I suppose I first noticed it when the whole ‘Bottom’ fiasco was going on. But now… now, I find myself dissatisfied with the quality of a game. For the first time, I’m going to stop playing a game because the bugs bother me too much.

And this is me we’re talking about. I may not like things, but rarely do I out and out criticize them… okay, okay, that’s a lie. But in the words of the great philosopher and famous mariner Popeye: “I’ve had alls I can stands and I can’t stands no more!”

I think the problem is that I really love the game! That’s what’s bugging me. I am enjoying the heck out of it. It’s got me all excited about calculating the perfect template again, and researching things on the web, and scanning message boards looking for advice – stuff I haven’t done since AC!

Yup, I’m totally into the game. Problem is, I can’t get into the game – no, literally! I have trouble because the login servers are always down. And if they’re not down, then the lag on the server is completely unplayable. Bungee-cording might be cool off a bridge, but in the middle of a fight, it’s a pain in the nether regions.

What really has been bugging me too is that the few times I’ve talked to people that claim to be UBI employees (or CSRs or whatever you call them), they keep denying that the problem is on their end.

“Are your settings properly configured?”
“Yes – I have everything set at it’s lowest possible configuration.”
“Ah. That’s probably the problem then.”
“…”
“You see, sometimes your computer can get jammed up trying to turn down the textures…”
“You’re just making this up, aren’t you?”
“I’m afraid so, sir.”

It’s like some demented version of the Parrot Sketch in Monty Python. I don’t know who these people are that claim they can help me, but every one of them I talk to keeps trying to tell me it’s my system, or my cable modem, or my ISP, or sun spots, or evil hate beams being sent to me from orbiting alien death ships that want to ruin my life.

It really makes me wonder where they get these CSRs.

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to put a game like this together. I mean, if I have to match a pair of socks in my drawer, I’m breaking out in a cold sweat. And this game has some of the coolest, most original designs I’ve ever seen in a MOG. Some of the features – the guild cities, for example – are so cool, they make me hawt with lust.

Of course, I’d be lot hawter if they would actually allow me to partake of said hawtness instead of rebooting the servers, lagging all to hell, and just generally not working.

Then again, maybe that’s exactly why they released the game as buggy as it is. My hawtness has been known to intimidate a lot of people…

But really, this is a good game. There’s some great ideas here. Shadowbane is like the Pinocchio of MOGs. It has the possibility to become real.

But so far, it’s just running around, nose getting bigger, and slowly turning into an donkey. And you know what another word for donkey is, don’t you?

That’s right: burro.

Shadowbane: Friend of Monsters Everywhere!

I just don’t understand it.

I mean, unless you plan for failure – wouldn’t you sort of expect a lot of people to be in your game? And, I dunno, call me crazy – but wouldn’t you want to sort of support all those people in your game? Especially when one of your selling points – really your BIG selling point – is big, giant, MANY player battles?

Now, granted, I’ve never seen one of them. Silly me, I’m basing all of this judgment on doing such graphics-intensive processes like “running through the woods” and “shopping” and maybe even entering a city! I know, I know, I really should restrict my complaints to valid occassions.

But look, Wolfpack – I love your product. I’ve been having a great time playing it. I’m damn near drooling just thinking about how much fun laying siege to a city or defending a city under siege is going to be. I know how much I love keep raids/defenses in DAoC, and this is supposed to be even better than that.

Unfortunately, I don’t know that I’ll ever actually get that far, since every time I log on, it seems to be a race between leveling or my head exploding in frustration.

This comic might not make sense. You might look at that last panel and say things like, “Wait a sec – where did Kwip go? Who killed him? Where’s everyone else in his party? Where’d that little lizard guy come from? How many text balloons can he fit in one window?”

Rest assured, though, that this is a staggeringly accurate portrayal of actual gameplay. One second you’re standing there, bitching about something important (today, I was bitching because my shirts didn’t match my pants, and neither ONE of them matched my helm). Next thing I knew, I was completely dead, everyone in my party was dead and my helm STILL looked out of place. And then – because I wasn’t pissed enough – some little dumbass centaur named Lighthawk decided to loot all our corpses (yeah, another pleasure in the game is that you drop everything on your corpse except what’s actually being wielded – and yes, that does mean all your gold, too). The small ray of sunshine that Fate decided to deliver to our party was that he got about 50 feet from our corpses before some lag-friendly monster kicked the crap out of him. And then someone in our party looted not only all OUR gear from his corpse, but all of HIS gear, too. Hee – see, it doesn’t pay to be an asshole! Take notes, children! Of course, then lag killed me twice more before and that person logged before I got a chance to get my share of gold back – so now I’m penniless, unable to train up my skills (they cost money), and generally very, very bitter at the lagfest and the makers of such a frustration machine.

Sigh.

Quit? Are you kidding? I’m only 90,000 xp away from being able to get off newb island!

The Blame Game

Saying that thieves aren’t trusted is like saying that sometimes I die.

Now that I’ve finally gained level 10 and figured out where the heck I needed to go to get trained, I’m officially a thief.

The problem is, when you’re a thief, you’re instantly at fault for every thing that someone supposes they had. It’s like five minutes after I join a group now, someone’s screaming, “OMG I HAD FIVE HUNDRED TANLARION SWORDS N NOW THEY R GON! KWIP STOL THEM!” So I’m looking around, trying to figure out what the hell tanlarion swords are, and what it means when they become ‘gon’ because I ‘stol’ them, I’ve been kicked from the group, broadcast to the server that I’m a general bastich not to be trusted, grouped with, or dealt with in any way except a sword to my face. Of course, I sign on the next day, and the brainiac is telling me he’s sorry, he got this character confused with another one, and this one didn’t have the swords on it. But it’d be too much effort to tell the rest of the server he was wrong…

Sigh.

Thieves are underpowered. We need to be given a bazooka that we can blow off someone’s face with any time we’re wrongly accused of stealing something.

Well, okay, I’m overreacting…

Death says, “You? Overreact? GASP! I can’t believe it!”
You say, “Quiet, slut!”

Er…where was I. Oh, right, overreacting. I guess it’s kind of a given that if something goes missing, and you’ve got someone in your party that basically has “THIEF” stamped on their forehead, it kind of pinpoints where you want to start your questioning… I mean, if I came into a room where seven young women and men had just been eaten, and a minotaur was there licking his lips – well, I might get a tad suspicious. Or if I went into the FORBIDDEN LIBRARY and the deadly volume Necronomicon was out of it’s chained vault, laying open on the floor, and a young wizard was sitting next to it with his eyes smoking, yeah, I might be suspicious. Or if I came into a room and there was an empty pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie and I saw myself sitting there, looking innocent but with strange brown stains down the front of my shirt, I just might be suspicious. Or if…

Death says, “GET ON WITH IT!”

Oh. Right. Anyway, that’s where today’s comic comes in: the fun of being the only thief in the group when something goes missing.

Yeah. Normally the groups I’m in start out all warm and fuzzy, but quickly degenerate into “Let’s See What We Can Blame On Kwip”-fests. And I mean, it’s not like they’re blaming their deaths on me – that’s rather expected. But now – I think it’s safe to say that if this were Salem, I’d be first on the pyre.

Has Anyone in Aerynth Ever Heard of a CURVE?

Apparently, the people at Ubi Soft are mathematicians of some sort. They subscribe to the theory that

A) The shortest distant between two points is a straight line

And, therefore, it logically follows that:

B) When a player clicks someplace they want to go, they don’t REALLY want to get there, they just want to see how far along the straight line they can go without running into some unpassable terrain feature like a tree or a wall or one of those invisible things that you can’t see, act upon or even know it’s there, but by golly it will completely disrupt your straight line-ness.

Yes, I’ve been playing Shadowbane again. But I would like to state for the record that it is not my fault; I’m obviously a product of a violent environment and unattended computer access. I’m currently pursuing plans to sue the video game industry, my parents, society, and God. (Although God may be dropped from the label if I suddenly win the lottery or if Gillian Anderson parachutes into my lap).

I’ve heard TONS of bad stuff about the game. So I went in prepared for a bit of annoyance – I even expressed my frustration at not being able to get into the game right away. I didn’t vent about my fury at losing several hours worth of experience (yet). But despite that rough start up, I’m enjoying it so far. Granted, the only reason I’m enjoying it is because so far I’m having a lot of ease leveling. Apparently the word hasn’t gotten out yet about my ability to bring Death to an entire party faster than you can say, “What the hell was THAT?”

So I’m playing a lot of it. But one thing that just makes me bite RIGHT through the leather straps is the pathing AI. Apparently, when you click “here,” the AI seems to think you mean “I’d like to wander around for a bit unless something gets in my way, or something pretty catches my eye, or really, if you just feel like dropping me off on the same continent as where I clicked, I’ll be fine with that.”

It’s completely normal for me to have an experience like this (inspiration for this comic blatantly stolen from an idea by Phil, who was planning on stealing it from Family Circus anyway, so there):

And as if it weren’t hard enough to get from point A to point B (never mind C or that bastich D!), they then put tons of CRAP in the way! I think I can understand that – I mean, if I were the Rogue Trainer, and every five minutes some goombah came running up to me yelling “OMG HI PRZ TEECH ME 2 USE SWERD!1!!,” I might find a stack of bags to hide behind, too.

But I ask you: are there no Safety Inspectors in this town? Do you have any idea what sort of liability these store owners are opening themselves up for with this stuff piled up everywhere? All it would take is someone to stumble over a bag of grain, sprain their ankle a bit and WHAMMO! They’d have lawsuits up the wang about their unsafe public areas! Why, a shady sort could own a store here with nothing more than a bit of clumsiness, a bit of overacting and a big mouth! Hrm…actually, I have to go now. I forgot to…uh…pick up…supplies, yes, supplies while I was in town…I have to hit the provisioners…and then I think the blacksmiths…oh, yes…Kwipville shall be!

Fate, Why Dost Thou Torment Me?

I understand that developers work very, very hard on games.

I get that.

I understand that people involved in the game company work very, very hard on games.

Got it.

However, it seems that there’s always some person or persons that are in charge of a vital, important, NECESSARY part of the game that are completely and totally deranged.

I’m not sure who gets the blame here. All I know is that I pre-ordered my copy of Shadowbane, and I was not only happy about getting it express shipped, I was downright smug about it. I couldn’t wait to get my minotaur rocking faces a full DAY before my friends (and Yellow Rat Bastard) even got their copies of the game! I would spend long hours composing hiakus to Rat about the fun I was going to have a full DAY before he got his copy.

Receiving my game
Creating a minotaur
Rat are you jealous of me?

I was a little miffed that the game didn’t arrive at Casa de Kwiplings on the 25th, the day it was supposed to ship. I mean, silly me and all, but I kind of consider “Same Day Air” to mean “It Comes To You The Same Day It’s Released,” and not “We’ll Get Your Shit To You One Of These Days.” But hey, I had Ben & Jerrys in the fridge, I was prepared to be patient. More importantly, Rat hadn’t got HIS yet, and he had longer to wait than I. That’s the string I clung to in order to preserve the little marble of sanity rolling about my skull.

It was with great eagerness, then, that I raced home tonight. Sure enough, Federal Express had given me the sweet, sweet love. The package was there.

The Grail.

The first thing I had to do, of course, was to log into IM and send peals of laughter directed at Rat. Smugly, I sat before my powerful computer, Shallow Thought, and installed this new obsession. Yes, I had heard all the bad stuff about the game from a lot of people. But remember the key point here: I had the game. Rat did not. That was the important part.

So of course it was that Fate took notice. She’s never been kind to smug bastards. Especially smug bastards named Kwip.

When I attempted to create my account, I received basically the same results as trying to engage in an intellectual debate with Rat.

Yeah. That was exactly how much fun I got out of Shadowbane on day one.

Does it make me evil to wish the fleas of a thousand camels infest the jockstrap of the person responsible for this joke? Because if so, you can color me solid evil, baby.

I don’t know, I think the problem is I was spoiled by AC. It was the first MOG I played right at launch, and the smoothest launch I know of. Curse your togetherness, AC! Well, granted, I also remember the later woes of the zone troubles…guess they learned their lesson…

Anyway, one of these days I’ll (hopefully) get into SB. Maybe even long enough to write about it…