The official home for discussion surrounding the Minotti brothers' long-running gaming podcast.
User avatar
User

Tolkoto

Posts

25

Joined

Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:16 am

Location

Ohio

Favorite Genres

Platformers, RPG, action, adventure.

Episode 331 show discussion

by Tolkoto » Fri Jul 11, 2014 4:07 am

http://ebpodcast.com/2014/07/10/show-331-wings-and-things/

Notable things we talked about:

Why preorders suck
Man, MOBAs are popular
Is Elder Scrolls Online already fading?
Is it better than Final Fantasy XIV?

Feel free to offer your own opinions on those topics or anything else we talked about this week.
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by Angry Jedi » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:07 am

I shall be listening to this while I empty the dishwasher and paint the wardrobe today! Thoughts to follow. :)
User avatar
User

Angry Jedi

Posts

557

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 3:10 pm

Real Name

Pete Davison

Favorite Genres

JRPGs, visual novels, adventures

Now Playing

Sword Art Online: Re:Hollow Fragment, The Fruit of Grisaia, Hyperdimension Neptunia U, Final Fantasy XIV

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by Angry Jedi » Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:28 am

Good timing! Show finished just as my painting adventures came to a close.

Thoughts on the topics above:

Why preorders suck

I started a thread on this very subject over on the Squad's Squawkbox forum, but I'll reiterate what I said here -- it's pretty much in line with what you said on the 'cast, in fact.

If a game is likely to be difficult to find shortly after release -- niche JRPGs, say, which as you may know are my bread and butter these days -- I'll preorder it so I can have a reasonably priced copy on release day, even if I'm unlikely to get to play it for a few months or even years in some cases. This hasn't helped with my Pile of Shame, but it has helped me build up an enviable library of sometimes quite rare games, and a collection that will keep me busy probably for several years yet, given that there are still some PS2 games among it.

If a game is the latest and greatest triple-A release that is holding content to ransom unless I preorder -- hello, Alien Isolation -- then fuck that noise; I'm not supporting it. Not that I play many triple-A games these days anyway, but preorder bonuses -- particularly retailer-exclusive ones -- can eat a bag of dicks.

Man, MOBAs are popular

Played DotA2 a bit with friends because we wanted something to play together -- and, given the lack of specifically five-player games out there, it seemed like a good choice.

Did not get it. I can sort of see where the appeal comes from -- similar to a fighting game, it's about mastering a character, but there's also the element of knowing how that character fits into a team as well -- but it wasn't for me. It's one of those games where I feel like someone who knows it well will utterly crush and dominate newbies. That's not at all a bad thing in a competitive game -- skill and training have to count for something, after all! -- but it makes the learning curve almost inaccessibly steep at times.

I didn't like it, but I get why other people do. I do wish, however, that other companies would stop trying to jump on the bandwagon. EA doesn't need to make a MOBA. We don't need a The Witcher MOBA. I would rather have played a Transformers MMO than another MOBA. DotA and LoL have that market stitched up; it seems silly for people to even try and compete. Defeatist? Perhaps, but I'd rather companies worked on interesting new things than trying to get a piece of the pie that is popular at the moment. (See: all fucking mobile games, ever)

Is Elder Scrolls Online already fading?

I'd almost forgotten that this existed. As someone bored to tears by the mainline Elder Scrolls games, I figure an MMO incarnation would put me into a full-on coma. Although that said, I always felt that the format of past Elder Scrolls games would have been ideal for adaptation into an MMO -- everything I hear about it, though, suggests to me that they've gone about it in pretty much the worst way possible. No thank you.

Is it better than Final Fantasy XIV?

No MMO has ever enraptured me as much as Final Fantasy XIV -- not even WoW, which I played for a significant amount of time.

I love it. And AJ's right -- it's great because it feels like a Final Fantasy game first and foremost, particularly during the unfolding main scenario. At endgame it becomes somewhat more traditionally MMO -- there's a lot of grinding to get better equipment, for example, but each new patch adds a significant number of alternative means of getting gear -- but the way the main story continues in an episodic manner with each major update, along with the entertaining sidequests (some of which are more fondly regarded by players than the main scenario), keeps things consistently interesting.

It's a game that I'm still enjoying and learning new things about, even after having played since last August. It's a wonderful feeling to master a difficult fight or dungeon. It's satisfying to reach the endpoint of a long-running questline. And Eorzea is a world I just love spending time in. I've spent so long running around those areas that it's a second home now; my character an extension of myself despite looking nothing like me and, indeed, being the opposite gender.

AJ, for what it's worth, your average four-player dungeon in FFXIV takes about half an hour. The two eight-player dungeons at the end of the main scenario take about an hour tops, and likewise for the two 24-player Crystal Tower raids. Even the super-hardcore eight-player endgame raid The Binding Coil of Bahamut is split into small, manageable sections of no more than about half an hour each rather than being something that takes all evening.

And yeah; when you both come back online after your summer of shenanigans (what's the timeframe for when you'll have some time to sit back and relax?), give me a shout and I will happily help you out with your dungeons. I'd really like to play more with you guys -- you should both at least try to get to the end of the main story, which is absolutely spectacular.
User avatar
User

Alex Connolly

Posts

477

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:40 pm

Location

Kagoshima, JPN

Favorite Genres

Early Access Curios

Now Playing

Helldivers perennially, knicknacks, paddywacks, dog bones.

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by Alex Connolly » Fri Jul 11, 2014 12:07 pm

Will be thrilled when this MOBA glut subsides. The MOBAs that have touted innovation have fallen by the wayside and the subgenre is the poorer for it. Demigod was amazing. Now? Dead. Stellar Impact - a novel MOBA featuring isometric space combat? Dead. And yet here we are, with these marque titles all relative clones of each other, and moreover, all featuring the most tired art design. Yawns aplenty.

Usually I'm not that shallow, but the mechanics don't lend themselves to any great creativity; skills being bled down to a tired stat-crunch. I dislike it in RTS games, I dislike it in RTT games and it's at its most bare, right here in the MOBA scene.
User avatar
User

asatiir

Posts

95

Joined

Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:15 am

Location

Dubai, UAE

Favorite Genres

SRPG, turnbased strategy, Point and Click Adventures

Now Playing

Fallout 4, Destiny, Binding of Isaac

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by asatiir » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:18 pm

Will listen to it tonight, that's a list of topics I am pretty interested in.
Image
User avatar
User

Beige

Rank

Site Admin

Posts

342

Joined

Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:54 am

Favorite Genres

Arthouse, conceptually audacious, thinky, polarizing, masocore

Now Playing

Witcher 3, Axiom Verge, Monster Hunter 4 (STILL), Invisible Inc.

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by Beige » Fri Jul 11, 2014 7:37 pm

I'm fortunate to work beside a mid 20-something CSS developer who is a die-hard DOTA 2 player, having logged over 1000 hours into the game over several years. We go out for lunch regularly and I get stories of Roshan, Dendi, Etc. Etc. and excitable handwaving about the beautiful game. Before these sessions I was outright dismissive of DOTA (and Free-to-Play as a concept). My mind has been changed on both counts however, at least in regards to this one particular title.

It's safe to say that without this initial injection of MOBA knowledge I'd neither know nor care a thing about MOBAs and their ilk. Hanging out with Chris got me curious about the International, which I watched last year and absolutely *loved* once I was primed to understand what I was seeing. Prerequisite: I had to watch several youtube videos just explainging *jargon* and various concepts of the game -- jungling, hard carry... whatever. It's got a whole lexicon of terms inside it and it's absolutely impenetrable at first blush... like any pasttime worth its salt though, the more investment I put into it, the more I was intrigued and entertained.

I have never actually *played* a game of DOTA nor am I likely to -- but (armed with this little knowledge) going out to a pubstomp at the local sports bar last year and watching the International on the big screen(s) was an absolute blast and I will certainly be doing it again in 2 weeks, only this time in a theater.

I credit my DOTA awakening to a longstanding love of tactical strategy as well as a love of Watching A Plan Come Together. I am (or at least was once upon a time) a competitive chess player with a rating in the ballpark of 2000 and I am also that guy in our D&D campaign who plays the tactician and whose job it is to understand strategy and coordinate *plays* centering on things like how the ranger's disruptive strike can be gelled with the 4-square-cone shaped blast effect delivered by the party mage in service of granting Combat Advantage for the party rogue's 3w 8-square sliding daily rapier attack on this archer... right... here. The same part of my brain that pre-plans a checkmate 5 moves back and then cackles with delight as my party rolls 20s can't help but love DOTA.

The entire game is absolutely unapologetically skill driven, with 100% of its design focused around player mastery and 0% focused around learning curve. It is a black box that opens up only if you give it time and attention -- which is to say that it shares its DNA with sports. When people talk excitedly about soccer and wave their hands, this is what they are visualizing... only DOTA is better because it has powerups, skill trees and the ability to kill players on the field.

Watching the International last year, it was crucial to have a human DOTA encyclopedia sitting next to me the whole time so that I could ask questions like "why did everybody just cheer when this character was drafted" and get replies like "They need a defender against this lineup but Nightstalker is a very nontraditional defender choice. He's very weak during the day cycle, but they probably picked him so that during the night cycle he can leap out of the woods and attack X character with his ultra. One of his superpowers at level 4 is being able to be slip into complete invisiblity at when it's dark out."

Armed with this knowledge you know what you're looking at, and you can sit back and just watch the match unfold... watch as Nightstalker slips into the forest and fades into semi-transparency as he inches towards the gank of character X. You can applaud and appreciate the synergy and team effort that comes with watching a character who has a one-shot-every-two-minutes teleportation power succesfully warp a teammate into the absolute pitch perfect position to steal a decisive kill which, in pure chess style, will inevitably cascade into a checkmate.

There's something like a hundred characters in DOTA and I'll never know or care about them or all their powers, but I appreciate that there are people who do and that I can be entertained by them. The D&D tactician in me can't help but respect the coordinated effort and skill involved in these perfect plays -- the alley-oop, setup and slam dunk you get when five people working together teleport some ringer deep behind enemy lines to slay the enemy controller whilst simultaneously throwing up wards and running a distraction to keep the foe from noticing the guy creeping up for the win stealthily from the trees with an invisibility ward on.

Games like this are pure geek symphonies. All the nerdery, technical complexity and exceptions based design of a collectible card game -- the swatch watch coordination of Mission Impossible, the human drama of sport. I accept that only a very very small percentage of people can enjoy this kind of entertainment -- it's exclusionary by design. To exist comfortably as a player in the venn diagram you must be intelligent enough to parse one of the most complex video games ever made, skilled enough and situationally aware to pull of moves with oiled precision, tactical enough to understand the meta-game at the draft screen and empathic enough to be able to read your opponent(s!) from across a room and adjust strategies on the fly to find what works right now.

Those battles? They're the most beautiful D&D game ever made. Until the human race can teleport around and shoot fire from their eyes on ESPN this is as close as you're going to get to actually watching Ender Wiggins and Gandalf fight Dracula and Plastic Man on a football field.

I can't get into anything less than Ultra Difficulty in this regard. Stuff like LoL and Heroes of the Storm or whatever is the more accessible flavor of the month is just bush league. When it comes to pure strategic competition (IMO) you're either in at the highest levels of complexity and skill or your out. Winning the MOBA lite trophy is like winning at touch football. Still an achievement, but it's not the same. LoL may have umpteen million players but what makes DOTA special (like chess) is its depth and the unforgiving nature of how all its tactical choices genuinely matter. More choices, more systems, more complexity, all hanging in an ecosystem of balance that rivals a Rolex watch. It's the most batshit-insane difficult Euro board game ever made, only digital.

I'll never play DOTA for the same reason as I'll never play Final Fantasy XIV. To really get the most from it you have to be willing to put the work in and I have no desire to be monogamous to a single *anything* in that way, videogame or no. I stopped being a karateka for the same reason after I hit 1st degree black belt. 5 nights a week at the dojo in the company of other people who also spent 5 nights a week at a dojo and who as a result have nothing else going on in their lives isn't roleplaying a monk, it's BEING a monk. If you want to be an pro you must also be a specialist who sacrifices variety for mastery. 1500 hours is too much for any single activity regardless of how good it is. For the same reason, I am not an olympic gymnast or a tennis pro or a figure skater. I'm unwilling to pass on the breadth of gaming around me in 2014.

That said, I will happily watch figure skating and shotput on TV. More power to those who want to dedicate their life to the pursuit of excellence, I salute you crazy people.

It's possible that I might one day play a pickup game of DOTA sometime but I doubt it. I'd much rather watch people at the top of their game who know what they're doing go at it and appreciate them from the sidelines. DOTA is a wonderful spectator sport. A tactician's dream entertainment.

If only we had a word for sport that wasn't... you know... sport. I don't agree that MOBAs are equivalent to baseball. You don't.. you know... sweat. Nobodys muscles do anything. Let's not kid ourselves here. But it IS competition and human drama of the highest order. Geekier, more intricate, more imaginative sure -- and, let's not forget also building a legitimate sport-esque history and tradition, if only a few years old.

I guess my point is "Find someone who knows DOTA really well and watch the International with them." Go and drink beer and cheer with the crowd when Wisp or Puck pops their BKB and goes Bot to the rosh pit with the Ult and the Jungle. For great justice.
User avatar
User

Alex Connolly

Posts

477

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:40 pm

Location

Kagoshima, JPN

Favorite Genres

Early Access Curios

Now Playing

Helldivers perennially, knicknacks, paddywacks, dog bones.

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by Alex Connolly » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:06 pm

Beige, so why DOTA and not something like Pro-league? Simply because of a knowledgeable friend?
User avatar
User

Beige

Rank

Site Admin

Posts

342

Joined

Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:54 am

Favorite Genres

Arthouse, conceptually audacious, thinky, polarizing, masocore

Now Playing

Witcher 3, Axiom Verge, Monster Hunter 4 (STILL), Invisible Inc.

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by Beige » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:26 pm

You mean StarCraft? I suppose yeah... just daily proximity to a young 20-something who constantly evangelizes about DOTA 2?

Before the International I had never watched an e-sport 'televised' before, so I was blown away by the quality of the "Sports Desk" reporting and presentation elements. The cuts to the guys in ties, the girl on the floor with the mic, play-by-play commentary by gifted announcers. It was sports... only you know, people were being set on fire and bottling runes on the pitch. I am not anti-sport by any means... the human drama of it can be electric IF you know what you're watching.

Well, and also what I said earlier. The D&D commander in me delights in the Mission Impossible stunts. The clockwork precision and coordination which really lends itself to the asymmetrical 5-man sentai team of the Dota Party. Our D&D team also has 5 members who have distinct job descriptions (this is how 4E works... it is very mechanical). The defender, the generalist, the long range glass cannon, the controller, the tactical commander (me) whose powers don't do much on their own, but combined with others... Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses.

Watching the International I was immediately taken by characters like "wisp" who is a shitty little glowing orb who has basically very little in the way of attacking or defense but who has a suite of fascinating powers which do nothing on their own which have rediculous potential when combined.... Here I saw my kindred spirit. Being the tactician that I am, I immediately groked the significance of wisp's signature mechanic: a little umbilical cord with about about a 15 foot range that latches on to (potentially) a single friend or foe standing within 30 feet or so of it.

If an ally is connected to wisp by the cord, and a character casts a healing spell or a buff on wisp, it vectors up the cord and heals the connected ally too. A thousand possiblities.

Wisp has a power that makes the cord an "elastic band" which attaches itself to an enemy. If the cord "snaps" the enemy takes damage porportional to 'how stretched' the band was at the time of snapping. Pull too far, the band automatically snaps and the foe takes max damage. This makes the character into a dangerous mobile tether which can be ameliorated by having the opponent do their best to stick like glue to wisp and not leave the close radius of the tether until the effect fades.

Wisp can also teleport anywhere on the battlefield *taking whatever is tethered to it with them* as their ultimate power.

My tactician's mind was blown at these possibilities, and sure enough when the International came about, I watched all sorts of rediculous stunts take place thanks to this dumpy little orb. This is exactly the kind of character that you could never play in an online game with strangers -- you need absolute, precise, verbal coordination across a 5 man band to make it work. Calculated plays, coordinated strategies improvised on the fly and coordinated with barked commands with total precision. "Come here and we'll warp together to the undefended zone" or "I'll hold him in place for 10 seconds here!" Teamwork. Total, precise, coordinated teamwork firing like a well oiled machine.

Wisp is only one of.. what... 100 units? all of whom operate in this crazy tactical way. There's a guy who can throw up mirror walls that do nothing on their own but if some other player hurls a unit through them (with a push/pull power) then crazy effects like creating temporary friendly clones of your foes can happen. You can't make victory happen on your own. Maybe you don't have a power that can actually pull someone through that wall -- but - your TEAM can make it happen. They can throw out a big grappling hook and yank that sucker through your wall if you slap it down.

I think it's the asymmetrical D&D "everybody playing to their strengths" nature of the game that appeals to me. The slow, strategic pace of the draft -- the tactical cost-benefit evaluation. The chin stroking as each unit is either selected or banned. Watching the crowd go wild when someone chooses just a totally off-the-wall hero normally considered sub-par and watching them completely upend their opponents' strategy through unconventional play. It scratches that itch when you discovered that Snake Eyes was going to be on GI Joe again this afternoon and you love Snake Eyes.

I like that in DOTA each player is controlling only one single chesspiece- not base building, not macro command - but they must have total understanding of both their personal strengths and weaknesses as well as their opponents playbook with the units they are fielding to survive. And I like how these strategies and tactics are so fluid -- how they organically change based on who buys what item or who gets how much gold or who controls what territory or who is in play and nearby at the moment. I appreciate that a master DOTA player will have a matrix in their head of all 400 or whatever units and powers and how they interopperate and how there are no good units or bad units, only different units for different situations. How the first may be last and all that.

Last year in the International I watched a team slowly and carefully put all their eggs in the basket of "buy multiple copies of ultra powerful sword which is godlike and stack it on the toughest character on the field (which happened to not even be a human player but a druid-summoned NPC grizzly bear companion lawl)" get absolutely ruined. The sword's property of "drops on the ground when its owner is killed" became a troublesome worm on which, after an hour of heated play, the match turned. The bear, which was a damn near unstoppable killing machine in the 11th hour thanks to its four swords was tearing shit up hither and yon. It was isolated, ambushed and laid low through a complicated and super-coordinated lure-and-immobilize effort that took the entire opposing team to execute. The swords (which represented an entire match's worth of gold investement on the part of team X) dropped from the bear's corpse as its body hit the ground. The opposing team grabbed these swords from the grass and ran like newly-minted gods up over the hill, their powers suddenly magnified beyond all hope of practical defense. GG. GG. Again, as a chessplayer, I watched the gambit unfold. The bear, the swords, the plan -- the sudden twist -- the Oh Shit moment. Not shortly thereafter somebody won five million dollars.

I'm given to understand that one of the International's signature moments in the final match from last year -- one of these defining bear moment things-- has literally been stylized and rendered up and placed behind glass into a crystal headpiece equitable by one of the characters in the game. The hat and the move, and the entire moment -- now collectively known as the "Million Dollar Dream Coil" will literally worn into battle this year by the guy whose Dream Coil won the million dollars.

Image

It's that shit I'm talking about.

I'll totally grant that there are way too many clones of the "heroes with 4 powers who fight towers" genre out there. The world needs only one (or apparently 2) MOBAs in the same way as it needs only one WOW. But it's a hell of a game. It's worth caring about.
User avatar
User

Beige

Rank

Site Admin

Posts

342

Joined

Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:54 am

Favorite Genres

Arthouse, conceptually audacious, thinky, polarizing, masocore

Now Playing

Witcher 3, Axiom Verge, Monster Hunter 4 (STILL), Invisible Inc.

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by Beige » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:35 pm

Behold: Korean announcers take on that match, including the Bear and the rapier. Bear bear bear bear bear. BEEEEEEAAAAARRRR. Dat 1 million dollar dream home!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkHVLeR72b4#t=187
User avatar
User

Alex Connolly

Posts

477

Joined

Fri Jun 27, 2014 9:40 pm

Location

Kagoshima, JPN

Favorite Genres

Early Access Curios

Now Playing

Helldivers perennially, knicknacks, paddywacks, dog bones.

Re: Episode 331 show discussion

by Alex Connolly » Fri Jul 11, 2014 10:17 pm

I wish I did enjoy it, I really do. The sign of a good e-sports game is half the meta element atop a simple set of solid mechanics. But nah, horses for courses.

It's also annoyance that something like Wargame: AirLand Battle's paradigm shift of 10v10 in an RTT - we're talking a battlefield of nearly a thousand units going at it in much the same way as a MOBA operates, except with various terrain modifiers and assorted systems - can not get the recognition it deserves, but some dire laneway scrim can be copied again and again, not even letting the visual design apple fall and roll away from the tree.

The injustice.
Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Powered by happyfish | phpBB3 Style by Beige
cron